BRUSSELS - Journalismfund.eu has learned with sadness of the death of Caroline Pauwels. Caroline was a director of Journalismfund.eu for 14 years (which from 1998 to March 2013 was called the Pascal Decroos Fund for Investigative Journalism vzw). Her connecting and positive personality was instrumental for what the organisation looks like today.

In January 2002, Caroline Pauwels became director and vice-chairman of Journalismfund.eu. The non-profit organisation was very pleased with her candidacy because of her knowledge of the media landscape, but her European view was also a great added value for the organisation.

Caroline Pauwels was naturally - given her field of study - attracted by the organisation’s mission. The idea of stimulating investigative journalism through grants, at a time when media - with the advent of the internet - saw their income steadily decrease, attracted her strongly.

But her enthusiasm also came from the idea that the loss of a young family member, friend or colleague - no matter how cruel and traumatising - can still have something positive and lasting impact. Caroline was drawn to the positive that prevailed in this circle of friends and relatives.

When Caroline became a director, the fund was a young organisation that had to find its own voice and way, which also gave room to develop new ideas and plans. It certainly appealed to her. When it started, the fund was busy developing the Flemish Thesis Prize. She placed the full weight on her shoulders to develop this project. She was a director with a broader international outlook. Her PhD focused on the audiovisual policy of the European Union and she worked for a while in the office of European Commissioner Van Miert. Caroline was, therefore, one of the directors who looked beyond the Flemish region. She was very enthusiastic about the idea of starting a European working grant programme with the fund (European Cross-border Grant Programme). It was launched in 2009 and led the organisation to develop it into a fully integrated European programme in 2013.

When Caroline became rector of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, being a member of the board of directors of Journalismfund.eu was no longer possible. Her association with the organisation has never ended since an official farewell never took place. Journalismfund.eu was involved in its new project around the press freedom day (Difference Day). Although Difference Day will never be the same again without Caroline Pauwels, Journalismfund.eu will continue to push forward this important activity in the future, as a respect and gratitude for her commitment, positivism and unifying force will continue to inspire us.

Journalismfund.eu offers the family and relatives of Caroline its deepest condolences. Her optimism, positivism and unifying force will continue to inspire us.

Photo ©2022 Difference Day

Caroline Pauwels
Luc Tayart de Borms & Alia Papageorgiou

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