The Aurora Humanitarian Initiative announced today that the inaugural Aurora Humanitarian Journalism Award will be presented to journalists Jane Ferguson and Nicholas Kristof on October 19, 2020, during the first event of the “Gratitude in Action” series planned to mark Aurora’s fifth anniversary.
Inspired by award-winning newscasters and co-anchors of the PBS NewsHour, Judy Woodruff and the late Gwen Ifill, this new award pays tribute to the role of journalism in broadening understanding and awareness of humanitarian issues and solutions around the globe. As part of this new award, with gratitude and respect for the many journalists who continue to put themselves at risk to report on the issues and defend human rights, Aurora will make a special grant to the Committee to Protect Journalists, which has an exceptional record in the U.S. and abroad for promoting press freedom worldwide.
“We are delighted to present the inaugural award named in honor of two outstanding journalists that have time and again proven their commitment to the humanitarian cause. Gwen Ifill, who sadly passed away in 2016, was a very talented anchorwoman. In 2015, she co-hosted the launch of Aurora Humanitarian Initiative in New York City together with George Clooney, the first Co-Chair of the Aurora Prize Selection Committee, and for that we will always be grateful,” said Vartan Gregorian, member of the Aurora Prize Selection Committee, Aurora Humanitarian Initiative Co-Founder and President of the Carnegie Corporation of New York.
Jane Ferguson is an award-winning International Correspondent for the PBS NewsHour, contributor to The New Yorker and McGraw Professor of Journalism at Princeton University, whose reporting highlights include front-line dispatches from the war against ISIS in Iraq and Syria, an up-close look at Yemen's humanitarian crisis, and reports on the war and famine in South Sudan. She lived and worked in the Middle East for 12 years and continues to travel to and cover conflict areas from her base in New York.
“Having dedicated my life to frontline war-reporting and telling human stories from places in turmoil, I’m deeply grateful to receive this award,” said Ms. Ferguson. “One of the most important things that Aurora does is shedding light on the work of the people around the planet who are trying to make it a better place, and I’m honored by this recognition.”
Nicholas Kristof specializes in reporting on human rights abuses and social injustices. He has been a columnist for The New York Times since 2001 and has won two Pulitzer Prizes for his coverage of Tiananmen Square and the genocide in Darfur, along with many humanitarian awards such as the Anne Frank Award and the Dayton Literary Peace Prize.
“I’m in awe of the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative prize winners in the past, and I hope efforts like this can remind us of our shared humanity,” said Mr. Kristof. “I’m humbled by the company and thrilled by the chance to support, in turn, the Committee to Protect Journalists, which helps keep reporters alive and out of jail worldwide.”
The “Gratitude in Action” event series is set to raise funds from international contributors in order to increase the impact and reach of the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative, which is more committed than ever to giving a second chance to those in need worldwide. Today, when the violent attacks carried out by Azerbaijan with the support of Turkey in a gross violation of international law lead to the loss of life, the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative Co-Founders remain deeply alarmed and saddened by this large-scale military action unleashed against Artsakh and encourage everyone to demonstrate their shared humanity by joining the global Aurora movement and contributing to the world peace.