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.