It is with deep sorrow that IAWRT USA announces the passing of our longtime member, Dr. Maureen Nappi.

She recently retired as the Professor of Media Theory + CGI and as the Coordinator of the MA + MFA Programs in Media Arts, in the Media Arts Dept, Long Island University in Brooklyn.

It was Friday, June 23rd, at Noon; IAWRT USA president Sheila Dallas-Katzman was on the Safety Training call for IAWRT Afghanistan members when she received a telephone call from a total stranger.

“Is this Sheila Dallas?” She said yes.

“Do you know Maureen Nappi?”

She affirmed and asked, “What happened?”

It seemed like forever, she was anxious to learn the news, which could not be good.

He (introduced himself as Ray) had more questions to which Sheila asked, “Is Maureen alright?” (knowing damn well that she wasn’t). 

Ray said, “I am a cousin and she was visiting us for the weekend.” After dinner last night and chatting a little, Maureen told them she was not feeling so good. She retired to bed. She never woke up this morning [Friday morning].

Dr. Maureen Nappi’s work has been exhibited + published internationally at MoMA; IBM Gallery of Science and Art; Whitney Museum of American Art; Bronx Museum of the Arts; the Kitchen/NYC; Franklin Institute Science Museum, Philadelphia, PA; Hiroshima Museum of Contemporary Art; Art Futura-Virtual Reality, Barcelona; London Film Festival; ISEA; and several New York Digital Salons, ACM SIGGRAPH Art Exhibitions and CAA conferences. Her multi-screen animation commissions include the video wall (VW) exhibition for the Rose Center for Earth and Space, American Museum of Natural History; the 42 projection cube OS/ VW on-air set for CNBC’s Trade Center Wall, Art Director for HBO’s The MAX Talking HEADROOM Show, and VW animations. She taught two of our founding members who will miss her dearly.

She received her Ph.D. in the Critical Studies Area in the Department of Art and Arts Professions from New York University as an American Association of University Women (AAUW) Doctoral Fellow. Publications include “Drawing w/Digits_Painting w/Pixels: Selected Artworks of the Gesture over 50 Years,” “Lillian F. Schwartz Redux: In Movement, Color and 3D Chromostereoscopy,” “Shulamith Firestone: Cybernetics and Back to a Feminist Future,” “Indubitable Hybridity: Amy Sillman + Charles Bernstein collaborate on Pinky’s Rule.”

Dr. Nappi recently retired as the Professor of Media Theory + CGI and as the Coordinator of the MA + MFA Programs in Media Arts, in the Media Arts Dept, Long Island University in Brooklyn.

For our colleagues and founding members of IAWRT USA chapter, Dorothy and Arshiya, we know you must be impacted by this loss. We send you our warm embrace, holding you tight as death is sweet and kind to those who feel unbearable. Maureen slept. We will miss her. We wait to hear from her cousin about arrangements for the final goodbye.

by Smriti Nevatia

(Chandita Mukherjee was among the founding members of IAWRT India chapter. She was a documentary filmmaker and served as the executive producer of IAWRT’s documentary “Displacement and Resilience.’ She passed on April 18, 2023, just two days before her 71st birthday.)

A framed greeting card hangs above my bed. It depicts the auspicious feet of Laxmi, tiny at the centre of a large Madhubani flower that resembles the sun. There is a handwritten inscription on the back:

For Smriti, for her first home.

With lots of love, Chandita    

January 1986

That first home was my first independent living space in Bombay, a rented flat I shared with three other working women, and just like that my life changed forever! Since I had been assisting Chandita for a couple of years, she not only understood how essential such a space had become for someone like me, who lived in a conservative joint family home filled with everyday conflicts, she enabled it through the regular monthly salary I began to earn as a member of her ‘Comet Project’ team.  

Bharat ki Chhap team cross-country bus journeys

Over the next few years, we went on to travel cross-country by bus, filming for Bharat ki Chhap (The Identity of India), a 13-part TV series on the history of science and technology in the Indian subcontinent. There was worldview-forming research and reading and writing, there was the recording of songs and mixing of the final episodes in late-night studios, and not to forget the fights! Yes, of course, we fought (as who could fail to, over years of such intense collaboration and proximity), over everything from creative ideas to tones of voices. And I learned. About filmmaking, history, politics, and, not least, friendship – the many friends I made then are still, nearly four decades later, friends I made for keeps, and Chandita was the fulcrum of this group. Comet was hands-on film school, postgraduate studies in history, and life lessons all rolled into one.

Bharat ki Chhap team reunion in 2020, more than 30 years after filming the TV series

What sort of life lessons? On Chandita’s 69th birthday in 2021, in the midst of the pandemic, some of us organised a “Zoom party” for her, in which Niti, a friend working at an art gallery, told Chandita how much she had always admired:

…the quality you have when…in public, you so thoughtfully introduce two people, giving some bits of information about both, in such a manner that both want to know each other. I think that’s a gift…something I wish I can learn from you.

As I replay that recording now, I recall nodding and saying to myself, “Yes! And also how, in social situations, she always has the grace to include people on the fringes of any group and to clue in anyone who came in late, so they don’t feel left out. That inclusivity, based on noticing and on caring – which I have tried to emulate ever since, and realised most people don’t bother to do.”

Chandita didn’t just bring people up to speed on topics under discussion at parties; she famously discovered the occasional outlier, sensed their potential, and nudged them towards fulfilling it. In the words of Freny Maneksha, a well-known senior journalist and author of two books:

If it hadn’t been for Chandita and Feroze I would not have become a journalist. She ferreted me out in the Taj shopping arcade where I used to sell shirts…and enthusiastically told me that Feroze was going to be the magazine editor for ‘The Daily’, a new tabloid…and that I should join him. I had no experience whatsoever but…she breezily brushed away my concerns. I had studied English literature, she said, and hadn’t we displayed our felicity with words back in college days, writing up lyrics, and mad verses!

“We” were a bunch of young women, who had studied in Miranda House in the seventies and become friends. Chandita was clearly the lodestar, bold and beautiful in her cotton sarees, encouraging us to stretch the goalposts….It was through Chandita among others that we began getting acquainted with ideas of leftism, of a more equitable world, of feminism, all the social ferment of the seventies. What was wonderful was that that knowledge was not shared in any didactic way, she had a vibrancy and humour that kept us deeply engaged….Senior to us, at the end of her term Chandita announced that she was going off to FTII in Pune. We were struck with amazement. Women seeking a career back then stuck to studying for the civil services exams…But films? Her parents had refused to fund her but with her poise she took up some modelling assignments and earned enough to pursue her courses….Not for nothing did you choose the words “Comet Media”, Chandita, for your venture. Cannot forget your blazing energy.

In a compiled video of messages for what would have been Chandita’s 71st birthday, old friend Anjali Monteiro, filmmaker and retired professor, author of books on documentary cinema, and current member of IAWRT’s International Board, recounts:

It’s actually been 46 years…When we first met I was this shy and timid “Ms Angelica”, as you would call me! Being with you and doing things with you I think has transformed me so much, I became much more adventurous, much more able to deal with new people and new situations – and I think what I am today, I owe a lot to you.

Neela Bhagwat, renowned Hindustani classical vocalist, feminist activist and author, echoes Anjali as she refers to the slide shows on menstruation and women’s health on which she worked with Chandita and Anjali in the early eighties:

I must tell you…how much you have done for me to develop into a woman with [the] confidence…to struggle and fight for [one’s] ideas and rights. When the three of us worked together…it gave me that identity…I became a different person.

CK Muraleedharan, cinematographer of several successful Bollywood films, adds:

…I think I never got a chance to tell you this: my first big project was with you, and you influenced me a lot in forming my work ethics, and equality in [the] workplace, and my political viewpoint about cinema…thanks a lot for being there for me in my formative years.

And Surabhi Sharma, filmmaker and film teacher, recalls:

You’ve always been there for my first screening, both Feroze and you –  even at a time where I didn’t think you knew me at all, but just an email from a fresh graduate from FTII was enough…over screenings and festivals and IAWRT and meetings and FTII strikes, one got to now you more…and came to depend on you…thank you for your presence in our lives.

When Reena Mohan, filmmaker, editor and mutual friend, sent out a call for these video greetings, I knew Chandita was already sinking. We all hoped we were wrong but, as it happened, she left us two days before her birthday.  

Chandita’s housewarming gift to me, that framed Madhubani, was followed over the years by innumerable other gifts. My home contains many cherished objects I received from her over the decades: ranging from a dozen hand-painted ceramic bowls from Kashmir (this was to compensate me for having missed the Kashmir location shoots for Bharat ki Chhap as I was unwell) to a circular cane-and-wood dining table with four chairs (my first dining table! for what is now my third home) – a set she claimed was just taking up space in a corner of the immense sea-facing flat where she lived with her husband Feroze, and which she made forever and indelibly her own with her plants and her contemporary art and traditional craft collections – and all those unforgettable parties with amazing food! – even as she never failed to honour the memory of Feroze’s grandmother whom she had loved deeply, and from whom they had inherited their home. And the day I came out to her as a queer woman, she was so overjoyed for me that she pulled open a huge cabinet drawer in which were stored the artisanal treasures she never failed to acquire on her travels, and asked me to pick a present, any present! How can I describe what I felt? So affirmed, held, special, moved (it’s another matter that I chose a pair of sandals with vaguely rainbow straps, which I never managed to wear because they were some two sizes too large, but it was still one of the best presents I’ve ever received).

What was behind that deep drawerful of presents, the works of Vivan Sundaram and Sudhir Patwardhan and Nalini Malani on her walls, and those rows upon rows of brass and copper lotas? Chandita had lived abroad, on and off, till she was 16, and after returning to India for good and completing her formal studies, she immersed herself in the nuances and histories and processes of Indian crafts and textiles and art and culture and food. Everything interested her, deeply, seriously, joyously. No wonder she was a polymath – speaking of a painter’s characteristic brush strokes with the same easy familiarity with which she expounded on the use of a certain spice in a specific cuisine, or bewailed the commercial mass production of her beloved Bastar bell metal art on which she had made a documentary towards the start of her filmmaking career.

Of the spirit that made her such a traveller of so many realms, we get an early glimpse from Betsy Wollheim, who remembers Chandita as her “dear, dear high school friend”:

…her wonderful mischief-loving soul, her intelligence and informed world view helped me get through some of the toughest years of my life. 

We used to go to Christmas midnight mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral (a Jew and a Hindu) because it was different and exciting for us. One year we came out at 1:45 am (high mass) and it had snowed. There were no cars anywhere. Without even speaking, we both ran down the middle of a deserted, snow covered Fifth Avenue with joyous abandon. 

I cried when she went back to India in 1968, but happily, we did live to see one another twice more…  

And Dorit Kehr says:

Chandita and I were close friends in High School and she was an expansive influence in my life, introducing me to Living Theater and much else. We lost touch for many years and reconnected in 2009. I visited her in India and was fortunate to have her as my guide, teaching me history and providing an insider’s view.

Celebrated photographer Pablo Bartholomew gives us his version (along with a glorious and already widely shared photograph) of the teenager from New York newly arrived in Delhi:

In my mid-teens, I was part of a street play, nearly ready to hit the road, when in walks Chandita Mukherjee…This lovely-looking lass with a glowing face and broad smile…Rumours were that her father was in the Foreign Service and was back on a home posting, so here she was….Feroze Chandra was a prefect in our school…So I remember him too…a tall, lanky, good-looking lad with wavy middle-parted hair…. and I distinctly remember Feroze’s eyes popping out at seeing Chandita. So he swooned, and she swept him off his feet…Cut to this photograph taken in my late teens; Chandita was studying at the Film and Television Institute (FTII). We rendezvoused in the canteen with Ketan Mehta. It seemed they were up to some mischief, and Chandita very expressively and enthusiastically egging him to induct me into their scheme of things.

Chandita at the FTII canteen © Pablo Bartholomew / All Rights Reserved.

Who knows quite how and when that young woman who was often “up to some mischief” grew into a mentor figure for younger practitioners, one of whom recalls that “she was someone whom two generations of young filmmakers worked with at some point in their lives.” Filmmaker Reema Borah shares an email that she, as a newbie film school graduate, received on 30/12/2005:

Dear Reema
I was wondering what you plan to do after the Institute. I need someone to work with me. It is difficult for me to give a job description in a nutshell. We will have to meet and play it by ear. I liked your film on Arun Kolhatkar and so I thought we may hit it off.
Do you plan to visit Mumbai at any time? Do let me know.
Best wishes for the New Year!

And Pooja Das Sarkar recounts:

…I was a fresh graduate from TISS…who wanted to work with her idols, especially women who made films….I had a short stint in 2009 at Chandita’s storehouse of wonders — her NGO Comet Media Foundation…She represented everything dear to me – documentary, education, media for advocacy, media for development, science education, children’s media, workshops for training….[The] office on Lamington Road [had] a spacious library with books on sociology, science, feminism and all kinds of material on the development sector….Chandita was tall and intimidating, but also she would break into her exuberant smile and welcome people warmly….she would share her ideas and knowledge openly and encourage us to experiment, be radical, and not be “pen-pushers”!…there was no slacking around her….[her] impact remains on all of us who were touched by her sheer force of intellect and joy at sharing and disseminating knowledge. She inspires me to live my life according to the principles that matter to me….Chandita, your work will live on in film…Your courage, spirit and erudition will always lead us — women in cinema. 

Pooja remembers last meeting Chandita at a screening of theatre practitioner Anamika Haksar’s acclaimed first film, ‘Ghode ko Jalebi Khilane Le Ja Riya Hoon’, and here’s Anamika speaking of Chandita:

My sister’s friend, who helped me too….Brought up my son on her bookshop of Indian publications and toys. She came…for my play ‘Uchakka’, supported me thru ‘Ghode ko Jalebi…’, came for my first talk in Mumbai.

While Chandita encouraged her juniors and supported her peers, she didn’t hold back from pointed albeit constructive criticism. That a “scolding” from her could be appreciated, retrospectively, as an act of mentoring, speaks to the wisdom of both scolder and scoldee. Filmmaker, writer and curator Paromita Vohra recalls:

I was young, overwhelmed by the city and the idea of work and nervous about saying no, so I flaked massively on getting back to her. The second time I met Chandita, she gave me a scolding. I was assisting another filmmaker and ran into her while we were shooting a peace concert in a maidan…She told me in forthright terms — not mean, but definitely firm — that what I had done was wrong. I was suitably ashamed. Yet I recognised, even in my foolish and shameful young way, that this scolding meant she was taking me seriously; telling me to take myself seriously, to be professional, dependable and to excel if I wanted to make something of myself in this world I’d entered. It was a strict, impersonal gesture of apnapan (kinship); an expansive act of mentorship. In the 30 years that followed, until her death last week, I ran into Chandita everywhere — at film screenings, at art shows, at political protests, at book readings and talks. That continuous presence had a profound meaning: it signified belief and confidence in a world she had chosen to be part of and had also helped to build….We did not always agree and sometimes complained about each other to our colleagues. So what?…Community is built by witnessing something together, by being able to recognise the meaning of what someone does, not simply their success or their pleasantness….Chandita’s commitment to media, education and social change was deep. Her smile was big. Her saris were beautiful….Her scoldings had been many and may we count them among her achievements as acts of idealistic love and feminist comradeship.​

Filmmaker Miriam Chandy Menacherry echoes Paromita’s thoughts about community-building: 

Right now when the Indian documentary is being hailed internationally I look at your work, your generation and your legacy and salute the way you carved the path with your comrades, each fiercely independent women, yet able to come together with a common sense of purpose to build community. It is on your shoulders that we documentary filmmakers especially women have climbed higher. I am happy that I got a few stolen moments between screenings with you in the last IAWRT festival just before the pandemic… bright-eyed, fiercely critical, generously kind and always with that smile.

For all her pioneering contributions, and the many awards and felicitations that came her way, one of Chandita’s most disarming qualities was how she never seemed to consider herself particularly deserving of compliments. When people recalled some personal act of kindness by her, she looked bemused, as if wondering how else we were supposed to behave towards one another. Feminist academic and activist Vibhuti Patel remembers her as:

…a helpful, self-effacing and highly refined comrade….On 6-3-2009, SNDT Women’s University, Mumbai had collaborated with Vacha Charitable Trust to commemorate 8th March…where short films made by girls from VACHA, who were trained by Chandita, were screened. We felicitated Chandita who was not prepared for so many nice things being told about her by so many of us!! She blushed.

We at Vacha Trust salute Com. Chandita Mukherjee for her commitment to Development Media for Equity and Social Justice.

While Chandita could wax eloquent about cinema, or impress you with her knowledge of things ranging from saree weaves to elliptical orbits to watermelon rind pickle (“When I was a child in Poland…” begins one of her WhatsApp messages on a group where some of us exchanged recipes during the pandemic, and she goes on to detail the method of making that long-ago pickle, not forgetting to stress the importance of sterilised hands and bottles, and describing the eventual taste and texture), she could also point to someone walking on the pavement near her home and regale you with their life story – in scenes complete with dialogue! Your protests of “But how can you know s/he said that? You weren’t there!” made no difference. What she didn’t know, she invented, a documentarist playing the fiction card with élan.

Filmmaker and cinematographer Avijit Mukul Kishore, who worked with her in 2012 on a film on the teaching of Mathematics, recalls the fun they had on location: 

Chandita was a great storyteller, full of anecdotes and good-natured gossip! Nothing oils film crew conversations better!

Arindam Ghatak, who spent some time in Chandita’s office editing films for her as well as for others, has vivid memories: 

…she was encouraging and firm and warm all at the same time though her fierce nature sometimes made me a little edgy but then simultaneously, she was also so open-hearted and passionate that [it] made you drop unnecessary defences…

Storyteller, fierce, open-hearted: all true. Make no mistake, Chandita could also be exasperating! I worked with her from time to time on different projects, till as recently as five years ago, and she was so adamant things be done a certain way, whether it was how you named a Word document or how you made columns on an Excel sheet, I would get intensely irritated. She was always apprehensive that someone was going to ignore the golden rules of standardisation, because that kind of shoddiness, which she encountered at every turn, upset her terribly. I had to remind her many times that I now freelanced as a text editor and that for me a certain kind of standardisation was next to the godliness to which neither of us actually subscribed. I told her I yelled at students who gave me scripts with tenses, cases and colons all mixed up, but I wish now I had also told her (perhaps I did) that I had pretty much learned the value of basic stylistic consistency from her, all those Comet years ago. And that maybe we had both absorbed this particular lesson from the Harappan bricks and weights and measures that we made such a song and dance about in Episode 3 of ‘Bharat ki Chhap’!

Chandita was closely associated with the National Institute of Design (NID), Ahmedabad, and did a number of workshops with students there. Arun Gupta, former Head of Film and Video Communication, shares a video link of a session she took there, which archives her charm and  persona for posterity:

A true woman of substance, she was my super senior from FTII, and also responsible for getting me the teaching job at NID, for which I will remain permanently indebted. I was a great contemporary fan of her seminal history of Indian science TV series on Doordarshan called ‘Bharat Ki Chhap’ (originally telecast in 1989). Later, in 2014, I organised a talk by her at NID on the trials and triumphs of the making of ‘Bharat Ki Chhap’.

You can watch the entire half-hour video recording of that (FVC PLUS with CHANDITA MUKHERJEE) here:

Always open to new ideas, Chandita moved out of the pedagogy sphere to co-curate two editions of the travelling festival VAICA (Video Art by Indian Contemporary Artists) with visual artist Bharati Kapadia and architect Anuj Daga, in 2021 and ’22. Bharati Kapadia says of the experience:

Her dynamism and generosity were exceptional…[it] was a many-layered experience for me.

And Anuj Daga writes:

When Chandita proposed the cover for the second edition of VAICA –  the gripping visual from Tallur LN’s phenomenal film ‘Interference’ –   I knew how well she understood the moving image and her ability to immerse herself…into its discourse. Much like the slow motion of the unsettling dust in Tallur’s work, Chandita could slow herself down and pick the details, weaving a cloud of meaning through the specs of the screen.

I shall never stop coming across things I’ll want to share with her, films and articles, plays and art shows and foods, and I’ll never again enjoy the privilege of her responses and insights. And what if the Harappan script is deciphered in our lifetimes? What if Indian fascism is finally laid low, maybe even in 2024? My litany of what-ifs is sure to be endless; I’ll end instead with poetic tributes from two other friends.

from Gita Chadha, teacher of Sociology and Feminist Science Studies (STS is Science and Technology Studies):

…that face, so beautiful 

The voice so measured, so kind

The laughter, hesitant at times full-throated at others

Chandita Mukherjee 

Of Bharat ki Chhap, a classic for STS people, something I still watch with wonder and recommend with conviction

Of Comet Media, the place to go to, for toys and books…

And from Ajay Noronha, who worked with her as a cinematographer: 

…the many worlds n lives she touched

With such exuberance and generosity

We fought, we disagreed, I sulked

But she always came back

With another promising adventure

Never with enough budget

But always with that large heart n big bindi

And a jhola full of food

May her spirit continue to shower us with abundance!

Thank you Chandita, for making our worlds better.


By Liz Miller and Nupur Basu

Valerie Lew Yee-Sun
October 23, 1974 – August 17, 2022

Valerie Lew became a member of IAWRT in November 2011 during the 34th Biennial Conference that took place in Kuala Lumpur. She helped to coordinate the Awards and guided us to all of her favorite Kuala Lumpur sites. She then became further involved as a board member and over the years she filmed conferences, helped IAWRT members advance their knowledge of evolving web platforms and electoral voting systems, and brought her wisdom, her keen commitment, and wit to our organization.

Valerie loved a good challenge. She began her career as a sound engineer and location recordist, listening to and absorbing the sounds and the challenges around her. From there she became a producer of corporate videos and television documentaries and eventually founded her own company. Val was a specialist in solving problems. She put others at ease while she made the most complex circumstances seem feasible.

Take for example the Board Elections of IAWRT International in 2020. As a member of the Election Committee, she enabled the organization to hold its first election entirely online. As a co-member of that EC, we watched her plan the online shift effortlessly. There were days when planning meetings went late into the night but Val was always energetic, and always excited to navigate us through the tech challenges. Thanks to her, this first-ever online election of our organization went off without a hitch.

When Valerie wasn’t following film crews and stories around the world she was diving or jumping out of airplanes or pursuing other thrilling challenges. It was on a skiing holiday in the Alps that she had her stroke, after which she had to be transported on a chopper to the medical facility where she had therapy thereafter for months under the care of her beloved husband, Basil Rudolf Gelpke.

Nupur shared how she first met Valerie:

“I had first met both Val and Basil at the biennial in India in 2015 when they were filming a documentary in India on Sati (the horrible practice where a young widow had to burn herself on the funeral pyre of her dead husband to mourn his loss, a custom that was later banned ). Both Val and Basil were making the film and requested an interview with me. While giving the interview I watched the two of them work wonderfully together as a team and as a TV professional had admired their skills and professionalism. This encounter was to spark a friendship with Val which was further nurtured in the biennial in Manila.”

Liz also reminisced about her first meeting with Valerie.

“I first met Val in Kuala Lumpur. We developed a fast friendship around training IAWRT members in emergent technologies, and our love of film and adventure. Together we planned a safari in Tanzania for IAWRT board members and in Morroco, I had the chance to meet her soul mate. Basil and Val were partners on every level – working together, adventuring together, and enhancing each other’s lives.

Valerie’s love of life and wicked humour made her an endearing and treasured friend for those of us who got to know her well. Conversations with her were always engaging whether it was on the rights of the media, the state of world politics, Buddhism, or about the highly evolved animal kindgom.”

Val, Liz from Canada, Nupur from India, Kristine Ramm from Norway, and Ilang Ilang Quijano from the Philippines were to bond further as members of the Long Documentary Committee. They had to work through the challenges of navigating through the COVID-19 pandemic. Valerie always had an out-of-the-box solution, which made her an invaluable member of any efforts of our organisation.

Valerie was loyal and generous to her friends, her family, her partner, and to IAWRT, her extended family…

Her loss is irreparable to IAWRT and to some of us personally. All we can say with a heavy heart is – Adieu Val, your love and laughter will always resonate and be treasured.

By Tchonko Becky Bissong

The Cameroon chapter of IAWRT regrets to announce the  death of one of the architects and active members of IAWRT Cameroon, BABENI LEONTINE SUZANNE, fondly called Babel la Belle. She passed away early Monday, 4 July 2022.

She started the Cameroon chapter with Madeleine Memb. She worked with the Proximity Station of the Capital City, Yaounde FM 94. She was a promoter of culture and fine arts through a festival which had become annual event for 12 years now, FESCARY festival for the promotion of  fine arts and caricature. Reports say she died from acute malaria.  We shall keep you updated on the burial arrangements. 

Former IAWRT President Gundel Krauss Dahl passed away on February 13, 2022

Tribute from IAWRT Norway

Gundel’s voice, so often cheerful, enthusiastic and wise, will never be heard again. On February 13, she died suddenly and surprisingly. After 88 years her heart took its last beat. 

Gundel, married to Arne for 68 years, was blessed with three children, several grandchildren, and (nearly) three great-grandchildren. To her family and friends, she was known as «grandma». That is how she often presented herself. «I am grandma», she would say. But she was also a woman with a sharp intellect and a big heart, and she took a real interest in people. She always had time. We are many who have felt her warmth. 

Gundel leaves a great legacy behind. In 1958 she started working for NRK Radio, and for over 30 years she was NRK’s voice in the broadcasts abroad or the «seaman´s radio» as it was also called. Later she was entrusted with several management positions in NRK Radio and was also engaged in training new radio voices.

In the 1970´s Gundel became a strong promoter of international cooperation for female journalists. It started when she was encouraged by the then German president of the International Association of Women in Radio and Television (IAWRT) to join the then 20-year-old organization. 

But at first, she was skeptical. She believed that there was no need for a separate organization for media women. But the NRK director thought it would be valuable for the broadcaster to be represented in an international organization that worked to promote women’s participation both in and through the media. Hence NRK paid for Gundel’s membership and covered conference costs. 

At the conferences, Gundel experienced firsthand the strength of the organization’s network and the opportunities that this entailed. She became part of a professional network that gave her both personal contacts and long-lasting friendships. The members shared knowledge and experiences, and in collaboration with other organizations, they could provide members with access to internships and scholarships. They also engaged in projects for women beyond the organization, such as providing women in Nepal with access to information about their rights through the media.

This work became deeply meaningful for Gundel, and IAWRT shaped a large part of her life in the years to come. Until her death she has been an important resource for the organization and a great role model for us who have followed. When she became IAWRT’s President in 1997, she took important steps to secure funding for the organization and its operations. Not all members from Asia and Africa had bosses who paid for their participation. Gundel formed the IAWRT’s first national chapter in Norway. And as a Norwegian women’s organization, IAWRT Norway could become a member of the umbrella organization FOKUS, which secured funding for 20 years.

Without this support, the organization would not have been what it is today. We are many who have a lot to thank Gundel for. She will be deeply missed.

Born on 17th November 1933, Gundel passed away on Monday 14th February 2022 at the age of 88 years.

The International Association of Women in Radio and Television (IAWRT) is deeply saddened to announce the death of one of the organisation’s senior members – Gundel Krauss Dahl from Norway.

Gundel joined IAWRT in 1970 and was the President from 1997-2001. She spearheaded the partnership with the Norwegian organisation FOKUS, which resulted in significant projects for media women, especially in the Global South, for   20 years.

As one of the editors of the book on the history of IAWRT, Gundel talks about how this work became an integral part of her life. “The network of  friends and colleagues around the world became important both professionally and on a personal level.”

“I made it my job to convince the funding agencies in Norway that IAWRT was worth supporting and that core funding was necessary for the association to develop in a democratic, global and professional direction,” Gundel wrote in the book “The Story of IAWRT.”

Gundel was the founder of IAWRT Norway Chapter and will be remembered for her unstinting desire to help female broadcasters. She wanted IAWRT to make a significant impact around the world.

Tributes from the IAWRT network

IAWRT President Violet Gonda remembers Gundel as a dedicated veteran member who did so much for IAWRT. “I am so sorry to hear this. Gundel continued to be one of my mentors. She pushed me from a very young age to be more active in the organisation and until the very end she continued to share feedback, guidance, encouragement and support. I have lost both a friend and a mentor.”

“Gundel was an inspiration to all of us.» Kristine Ramm, Head of IAWRT Norway,

“This is very sad news. She was such a great enthusiast of IAWRT and was always there to give feedback and advice,” Greta Gober, IAWRT Vice President.

“So sad to learn of the passing  of Gundel, a senior member of IAWRT. My sincere condolences to IAWRT Norway and the entire IAWRT family,” Eunice Kasirye, Secretary, IAWRT Board & Uganda Chapter Head.

“This is really shocking news. May she rest in peace,” Jola Diones-Mamangun, Treasurer, IAWRT Board.

“I have known Gundel since 2007 but remember our deep conversation during the 2015 Biennial. I met her at the airport when I was returning to Kathmandu. I still remember her concern and happiness for Nepal chapter’s progress. Her love for IAWRT was so pure and foresighted,” Mandira Raut, IAWRT Board member.

“Deeply saddened to read the news about Gundel. She combined a rare grace with wit, charm and intelligence. She loved engaging with members from different countries and backgrounds and gave of her wisdom freely. She will be missed,” Reena Mohan, IAWRT Board Member.

“Very sad. Sincere condolences to her family. May her soul rest in peace,” Montessori Rajbhandari, Nepal Chapter Head.

‘Sad to hear. Rest in peace, Gundel. Sincere condolences on behalf of IAWRT Tanzania,” Fatuma Matulanga, Tanzania Chapter Head.

“Sincere condolences. May her family find peace during this difficult period,” Josephine Karani, Kenya Chapter Head.

“A woman I revered. May her memory be a blessing to all who mourn. A champion is gone. May she Rest in Peace,” Sheila Dallas-Katzman, USA Chapter Head.

“Sincere condolences from all of us here. Thinking of her friendship with Jai and of these strong women from an earlier generation who made so much more possible for us who came later. May she rest in peace.” Samina Mishra, India Chapter Head.

“Oh no. That’s really sad…my heartfelt condolences to her family. It’s a big loss to the IAWRT family. May she rest in peace,” Nupur Basu, India Chapter member.

IAWRT will always honour Gundel’s contribution to the growth of the organisation. 

0429 Ruth Brändli

IAWRT’s former treasurer passed on April 19, 2021

Ruth Brändli was a Swiss journalist at Swiss National Television.

“For many, many years she served as the IAWRT treasurer – in those days most of the job had to be done, so to say, by hand without all the electronic means of today,” recounted Christina Ruhnbro, president of the International Association of Women in Radio and Television (IAWRT) from 1992 to 1997.


Ruhnbro recalled how Ruth organized many board meetings in her beautiful home in Zurich, Switzerland in central Europe.


“These two circumstances gave her the position “as the spider in the net” for economy and travelling. Board members could easily fly in there, coming from all over the world,” said Ruhnbro.


When IAWRT grew outside the Western world, Christina reminisced how she and Ruth went to Zimbabwe to organize a conference. It was there that Ruth brought and donated IAWRT´s first computer.

“Many times, we visited each other´s homes both businesswise and privately and often shared hotel rooms during conferences which meant late and long interesting conversations often about her time in Australia. It is a sad fact that so much now is down the memory lane,” reminisced Ruhnbro.


Inge von Bönninghausen recalled the IAWRT board often met at Ruth’s home.


“She  was the friendliest, most generous host full of humour. Ruth was a very competent TV journalist at the biggest public service media house SRG (Swiss Radio Company). There she was in charge of several TV formats dealing with for instance healthy farming and environmental politics.,” she recalled.


She also remembered that Ruth invited Christina, Gundel Dahl and Klara Poor to meet at Ruth’s house after her eye operation, but this did not happen. 


“I will keep her memory from all the travelling to IAWRT meetings and on our own expense the last 20 years. Sofia, Jamaica, Washington, Manila, Oslo, Berlin, Cologne, Kopenhagen, London etc. And I will never forget the smell of hundreds of wisteria blossoms on her balcony,” she said. 

Photos from Christina Ruhnbro


Gundel Krauss Dahl, IAWRT president from 1997 to 2001, remember Ruth as open, kind, smiling, hospitable, who opened up her lovely flat and spacious terrace.


“She was interested in the world around her, both her near surroundings with family and friends, but also in the wider world,” recalled Dahl.

To Dahl, the global network of IAWRT’s international family therefore became a natural place for Ruth to exchange ideas and initiatives and make new friends across the globe.


“Our network has lost an important link in its global chain, but many treasured memories of Ruth will live on with us,” said Dahl.


Ruth’s family revered how she lived an independent and self-determined life almost until her death.


“We lost an openminded and inspiring personality. We thankfully remember her wide world of thoughts, her helpfulness, and her great openness. Our thanks go to everyone who accompanied Ruth on her life journey,” Ruth’s family wrote of her.


Ruth Brändli was a Swiss journalist at Swiss National Television.


IAWRT expresses its deep condolences to the Ruth’s family during this difficult time.



It is with deep regret that the India Chapter of IAWRT announces the passing away of Renuka Sharma.

One of the founder members of the IAWRT Chapter India. Renuka was the former Secretary and Treasurer and a close associate of the chapter’s founder, the late Jai Chandiram. Renuka died on November 27

“Renuka was an independent broadcaster and was extremely passionate about radio and sound..her untimely death is deeply mourned by the IAWRT family” Nupur Basu, Managing Trustee of Chapter Indiaobserved. “The chapter will always value her contribution to broadcasting, gender justice and IAWRT.” 

RIP Renuka! – a tribute by IAWRT-India member Kiron Bansal

I am still shocked at the tragic news of Renuka’s passing away and unable to come to terms with writing about her in the past tense.  Renuka, as we all know, was a very lively, vibrant and interesting person. I don’t recall when we first met – all I remember that she was always there in the IAWRT film festivals along with Jai, Ratna Bali (sadly both of them are no longer with us), Radhika, Samina and few other founding members.  Jai would totally depend on her for many responsibilities which Renuka would discharge with her usual aplomb and professionalism. As rightly pointed out by Nupur she was extremely passionate about her work and broadcasting.

One memory is etched in my mind – she was fidgeting in her seat during the memorial service for Jai held in the India International Centre (IIC) – constantly wondering ‘what should I speak’ and so on. And when on stage she kept all of us spellbound with many anecdotes of her long association with Jai.  

I met her for the last time before the IAWRT Radio festival last year when she was looking visibly frail and weak – didn’t know she would leave all of us so soon.

I know I am not able to do justice to this wonderful person and a good friend who left all of us suddenly. All I can say – Rest in Peace Renuka – You will be deeply missed by all of us at IAWRT. May the Almighty give strength to the family and friends of Renuka to bear this huge irreparable loss. 



Sudden Death of Newly Elected IAWRT Board Member

1 May 1982 – 30 November 2017

By Violet Gonda, IAWRT President

It is with profound shock and sadness that IAWRT announces the sudden death of Yasmine Ryan, the newly elected IAWRT board member from New Zealand. We have been informed that our friend and colleague died in Turkey on Thursday morning.

Yasmine was doing her last stint as Senior Features Editor at TRT World in Istanbul and was planning to return to freelance journalism in the new year. TRT World reported that she “lost her life by falling from the 5th floor of her friend’s apartment.”

Yasmine was recently elected in absentia as a board member of IAWRT at the just ended Biennial Conference in the Philippines. Just three days ago, the newly elected board had its first meeting via Skype, which Yasmine attended.

She was so excited and shared her thoughts and vision about IAWRT. It is so sad. The fact remains that Yasmine Ryan was a fearless journalist and was working on some important assignments in conflict areas in the Middle East.

Please see the member feature on Yasmine which was published a few days ago, to introduce her to members. There she talks of her career and plans and her skill in mentoring. This is an unbelievable loss for IAWRT. We will leave the feature in place for the usual time, as a tribute to her.

Yasmine was an award-winning print, television and multimedia journalist, having worked in top international news organizations. In 2016 she became a Fellow at the World Press Institute, allowing her to closely follow the US Presidential campaign last year.  Earlier, Yasmine was a member of Al Jazeera English’s online team where she was at the forefront of the web team’s coverage of the Tunisian uprising and the political turmoil that followed. Her journey in journalism began nearly 10 years ago with the New Zealand’s Scoop Independent News.

As we wait for more news on the facts behind her death, we at IAWRT, express our deepest condolences to her family and friends in this hour of tragedy. Yasmine’s death is a great loss to journalism and the IAWRT community at large.

“Have confidence in yourself, and don’t let yourself be sidelined. Go out and do ambitious projects even if no one is supporting you” – Yasmine Ryan 

May Yasmine’s soul rest in eternal in peace!

A tribute from Ashfaaq Carim, TRT World’s Digital Editor in Chief is available here.