Farhana Haque Rahman has more than three decades of experience as a senior official at United Nations organizations. For over 25 years as an official at the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), a financing institution and a specialized agency of the United Nations, and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, she provided strategic guidance in media relations and advocacy. Under her leadership, the media and outreach sections harnessed knowledge to disseminate to a broad spectrum of national and international partners, targeting primarily decision makers and influencers.
Before joining the United Nations, her wide and varied background includes several years of living and working as a journalist and communications expert in Europe, Africa, Asia and the Middle East.
She spent 8 years in Africa, first in Lesotho and then in Ethiopia. A citizen of Canada, she began her career as a journalist in the early 70’s; during this period, she was the principal anchor and commentator on Television and Radio in Bangladesh, her country of birth. She is distinguished for her personable style; drive combined with content, that made her a trend setter for the youth, many following her as a pioneer in popularizing TV anchors in the country.
Haque Rahman was honoured with one of the highest awards – the Bangladesh Jatiyo Television Puroshkar (National Television Award), for outstanding performance in the field of Television and Radio journalism/anchor and broadcaster. Among several other awards, she also received the ‘Prekkhapat’ award, recognition by a citizens group in the country.
She served as an advisor on media relations, communications and parliamentary affairs to heads of state and/or government and leaders of international organizations. For two consecutive years she served as special envoy to the United Nations General Assembly, addressing the First and Third Committees on matters pertaining to disarmament, youth, women and apartheid; and as a public delegate calling on the then UN Secretary General Mr. Perez de Cuellar for urgent emergency assistance to Bangladesh after disastrous floods.
During this period she also lobbied extensively with Member states of the United Nations to build momentum for the release of Nelson Mandela.
Between 1984 and 1990, she wrote for various newspapers and magazines including the Vancouver Sun, Canada; Khaleej Times, Dubai; NRC Handelsblad, The Netherlands; Nuclear Spectrum, Australia; Diplomat, Ottawa, Canada; International Agricultural Development, U.K.; The Nation, Lahore, Pakistan; The Hindustan Times, Delhi, India; Morning News, Bangladesh; The Dhaka Courier, Bangladesh; The Bangladesh Observer; Holiday, Bangladesh; The Bangladesh Times; The New Nation, Bangladesh; and AIDOS News, Rome, Italy. She was a contributing editor for FAOs review magazine, Ceres; a consulting editor to the forestry journal, UNASYLVA; and a contributor writer to periodicals such as Newslink and Ideas & Action.
During her career Haque Rahman interviewed several high profile world leaders, including the Archbishop Desmond Tutu whom she has known from when she lived in Lesotho where he spent considerable time as well; two former Presidents of the United States, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter; the founder of CNN, Ted Turner and Nobel Laureate Dr. Norman Borlaug; and moderated a large number of international press conferences by heads of state or government and heads of UN agencies.
Among several publications, she authored an IFAD study on the Status of Rural Women in China, released on the occasion of the 1995 Beijing Conference. Additionally, she has three personal publications, including a novel ‘The Eye of the Heart’ published by the University Press limited.
She studied journalism at Dhaka University; and attended a high-level programme on Strategic Leadership Management at the Said Business School of Oxford University. In early 2000 she brought together Asian parliamentarians on a number of occasions, especially during TICAD 3, to galvanize support for small farmers and rural poverty alleviation, collaborating closely with former Prime Ministers of Japan, Mr Yoshio Fukuda; and the late Mr. Ryutaro Hashimoto and other notable Asian parliamentarians.
In close collaboration with the City of Bonn and the UNCCD, she coordinated the Second World Forum of Mayors on Cities and Desertification held in 1999, with some 100 mayors participating in the City of Bonn.
Haque Rahman planned the production of a film ‘ ABC Africa’ by the renowned film director Mr Abbas Kiarostami, supporting him closely throughout the production period in rural areas of Uganda featuring the families and children of HIV AIDS victims. She also supported development of media organizations such as the Inter Press Service and worked extensively with the Thomson Reuters Foundation to enhance the reporting capacity of a large number of developing country journalists on key issues affecting regions worldwide.
She joined the International Fund for Agricultural Development in 1987, working with four Presidents of the Fund as spokesperson. She is credited for coordinating global media for the IFAD sponsored Summit on the Economic Advancement of Rural
Women and for launching from key world capitals, three flagship publications on Rural Poverty (The State of World Rural Poverty 1993, The Rural Poverty Report 2001 and the Rural Poverty Report 2011).
During her time at IFAD, Haque Rahman was responsible for transforming the organization’s media profile, and placing it firmly on the world’s top media panorama, including the Financial Times, Newsweek, The Guardian; The International Herald Tribune, Le Monde, El Pais BBC, CNN, and Al Jazeera.
In mid-2014, she joined the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations as Senior Advisor in the Office of Communications and was responsible for coordinating a series of Dialogues among member states, including BRICS; G77 and China; and the United States leading up to the Second International Conference on Nutrition.
Haque Rahman is a visiting scholar at the IULM University in Milan where she lectures on media and communications. She is also a guest speaker at the John Cabot University in Rome.
Haque Rahman speaks fluent English, Italian, Bengali and Hindi and conversational French.
She has written extensively on development issues.