Posted by on March 15, 2013 in Blog

By Jade Zoghbi

Spring 2013 Intern

The Arab American Institute Foundation’s fifteenth annual Kahlil Gibran Spirit of Humanity Awards Gala will be held on April 16, 2013 to honor individuals and organizations who promote cultural understanding, cooperation, and inclusion. We are pleased to recognize leaders who have demonstrated an exceptional effort and success in inspiring inter-community dialogue between different ethnic, religious and immigrant groups and promoted common good around the world.

This year, Christiane Amanpour will receive the Anthony Shadid Award for Excellence in Journalism, named for the two-time Pulitzer Prize winning New York Times journalist. The loss of Shadid, who passed away on assignment in Syria last year, is still felt sharply within the journalistic and Arab American communities. On the ground and as Beirut Bureau Chief for the Times, Shadid’s reporting was renowned as much for his compassionate coverage of those caught in the midst of conflict as for his courageous pursuit of stories that reflected the complexity of the Arab world.

Like Shadid, Amanpour has demonstrated a dedication to reporting with a rational, global perspective, often braving the most dangerous political and physical climates to shed light on human rights issues, political instability, and international conflict. Much of her reporting has focused on the Middle East, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict to the treatment and advancement of women in the Arab world to the humanitarian cost of ongoing violence in Palestine, Afghanistan, Bosnia, Iraq, Syria, and elsewhere.

Born in England to an Iranian father and British mother, Amanpour grew up in Tehran, and received her education at British and US institutions. She began her journalism career at CNN in 1983, serving as an international correspondent in New York. She traveled throughout the Middle East and Eastern Europe, tackling controversial issues and hotly-debated questions in interviews with figures from President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and Mohammar Ghaddafi to Hosni Mubarak, Jacques Chirac, Yasser Arafat, and Tony Blair. She is currently the global affairs anchor for ABC news and the Chief International Correspondent for her CNN show, Amanpour.

“Christiane’s courage and her pursuit of the human element of the story are reminiscent of Anthony’s reporting,” said Maya Berry, AAI’s Executive Director. “We all felt she was an ideal candidate for this inaugural Shadid Award.”