Monday, March 23, 2015

Lecturer at GPU School of Journalism Dies

Irmelin Mei Viegas with students during a field trip (Photo Credit: Irmelin/FacebookTimeline) Irmelin was intelligent and inspirational, and has a great sense of humour, said Zainab Faal (Right, in black shirt)

Irmelin Mei Viegas, a Danish senior journalist and lecturer at The Gambia Press Union (GPU) School of Journalism has died of cancer early Sunday, March 22.  

Mrs Viegas was among a group of journalists in Denmark who traveled to Banjul to deliver lectures to students pursuing an advance diploma in journalism at the school. She has been battling with cancer for more than a year.  

“Just received news that our very gifted, warm and intelligent colleague Irmelin passed away this morning at 3am,” wrote Vibeke Rask Grøn, also a Denmark-based lecturer at the school. “… and from the first and second batch, she has been one of the best, if not the best,” Vibeke said. 

She added: “It is a big loss to the school. Our minds are with her daughters and family. Please pass this sad news to our friends and colleagues in The Gambia.” 

On January 16, 2015, twelve students graduated from the GPU School of Journalism, the first nationally-recognised institution mandated to provide journalism education in the country, after a two-year intensive programme.

The graduates of the school have send condolences to her family especially her daughter – saying they will “always remember her.”

Zainab Faal, a graduate of the school, said: “Irmelin was intelligent and inspirational, with a great sense of humour.”

Irmelin Mei Viegas (Photo: Irmelin/Facebook Timeline)
Muhammad Ndure, also a graduate, said: “Among the many, she stands out to be one of the calmest; the most friendly and always ready to share all she knows. A journalist has fallen; [Irmelin] is someone who has changed our lives in being professional journalists. Her memories remain.” 

Talibeh Hydara said he felt “very sad” upon hearing the demise of his “favourite lecturer.” 

“Most of the things she taught us have been immensely important as we venture deep into the world of journalistic work,” said Hydara, a graduate. “It’s a big loss to not only journalism in Denmark but in The Gambia because if not for her sudden death, she could have continued shaping young Gambian journalists like us.”  

Jesper Heldgaard of Gambia Media Support (GAMES) said it is a sad news indeed and a big loss to GAMES and GPU. 

"I can assure that The Gambia and her Gambian friends were close to her heart. Let us do whatever we can to join forces and pay tribute to her by making sure that what Irmelin contributed to in The Gambia will live on," he wrote.

While reporting on a training mission to The Gambia under the headline High on reporting – low on electricity’, Irmelin Mei Viegas wrote: “In this week there were more days without than with electricity, and only the last day there was an opportunity for the students to use the computers in relation to the journalistic work. Everything else was made in handwriting.

“The evaluation of the week was very friendly and positive, and it is my impression that especially the girls were happy to have a woman as teacher and role model. A lot of the students were almost high on using reporting – but it is the most fun part of journalism!”

Written by Modou S. Joof

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