Membership Committee

The first GFMD Membership Committee was established in January 2022, after the body provided for the new GFMD constitution that was adopted at the GFMD General Assembly in September 2021.

How is the committee appointed? The GFMD Membership Committee is selected by the Steering Committee.

What is the role of the GFMD Membership Committee?

  • To provide advice and support to the GFMD Secretariat, Executive Director and Steering Committee on matters relating to the membership of GFMD.

The current members of the GFMD Membership Committee are:

Jaime Abello Banfi - General Director and Co-founder, Fundacion Gabo

Jaime Abello is a graduate of the Law School of the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana in Bogotá but has dedicated his professional life to journalism, communication and culture. He is the co-founder of the Gabo Foundation, together with the late Colombian Nobel Prize for Literature Gabriel García Márquez. Between 1990 and 1994 before joining the Gabo Foundation, Jaime Abello Banfi was the Managing Director of Telecaribe, a regional public television channel in the Colombian Caribbean.

He is the head of the Gabriel García Márquez Foundation for New Ibero-American Journalism (FNPI), an institution in which he began working with Gabo himself since its creation. The foundation has now been assumed to keep García Márquez's legacy alive. To date, more than 35,000 young people have benefited from the FNPI. Furthermore, he has been decorated with the official cross of the order Isabella the Catholic from the Spanish royalty for the merit of a lifetime dedicated to journalism.

He is an active participant in media development. Among others, he was part of the board of directors and the advisory council for the Global Agenda Council on Informed Societies of the World Economic Forum in Davos in 2010 and 2011, as well as the representation of Latin America.

Milica Pesic - Executive Director, Media Diversity Institute

Milica Pesic holds an MA in International Journalism from City University, London. She has been working in the diversity and the media field for more than 20 years designing and supervising multi-national, multi-annual programmes in Europe, NIS, MENA, South Asia, the Sahel, Sub-Sahara, West Africa, China and Cuba. She is currently the Executive Director of Media Diversity Institute, an organisation that works internationally to encourage accurate and nuanced reporting on race, religion, ethnicity, class, disability, gender and sexual identity issues in media landscapes around the world.

A journalist by profession, she has reported for the BBC, Radio Free Europe, the Times HES, TV Serbia, and other media houses. She has also worked for New York University, the IFJ (Brussels) and the Alternative Information Network (Paris). Amongst her successes, she has co-designed a MA Course in Diversity and the Media which is jointly run by the MDI and the University of Westminster.

Milicia Pesic occasionally gives lectures to journalism students; in 2013, she gave a lecture to the MA International Journalism students from around 25 countries talking on the subject ‘Why diversity matters’.

Thierry Vallat - Chairman and Managing Director, CFI

Thierry Vallat is a Master in Law graduate from Pantheon Assas Paris University. He also has a qualification in Arabic Language and Literature from the National Institute of Oriental Languages and Civilisations. He is currently the Chairman and managing director of CFI, the French media development agency - a subsidiary of the France Médias Monde group and under the supervision of the Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affair.

The former head of the Department of Training and Deputy Director of Communications for the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs has also spent many years nurturing a deep interest in issues surrounding the development of the media and digital communication, as illustrated by his time in Tangiers as Consul General. He has devoted more than half of his professional career to the region of Africa and the Middle East. He has served in Saudi Arabia, Syria, Lebanon, the Palestinian Territories, Israel, and Morocco as Consul General.

Thiery Vallat is considered a qualified Arabist, and a specialist in Africa and the Middle East. He speaks German, Spanish, Arabic, Hebrew, English and French.

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