Colleagues, friends and fellow journalists! Thank you so much for this award. To receive it from this institution is truly humbling. The International Center for Journalists has created a network that includes thousands of people who report, write and take photographs in profoundly difficult circumstances. They do so while living in dictatorships, fighting wars, experiencing cataclysmic natural disasters. Some of them pay an enormous personal price to do what they do. But they know how important it is to write the first draft of history, to inform their fellow citizens, to inform the world about what is happening around them.
I am not a war reporter or a professional investigator, I am not as brave as they. The best thing I can say about myself is that I am an avid consumer of their work, that I try to make sense of it and then translate it to American and European audiences. I believe very deeply that what happens in one part of the world can shape the reality in another part, and that this works in both directions. Bad decisions made in Washington or Berlin can affect people in Kiev or Capetown. But by the same token, corruption or violence that originates in Kiev and Capetown can have a big impact on political life in Washington and Berlin. The Syrian war seemed far away to Europeans, until a refugee wave from Syria altered European politics. Russian experiments with mass disinformation seemed an exotic problem to Americans, until it affected an American election. As the covid pandemic taught us, our world is now deeply integrated, whether we like it or not.
For that reason, all of your efforts, whether in Sri Lanka or Ecuador, Cuba or Nigeria, Egypt or Georgia, matter to all of us, in ways we are only just beginning to understand. Thank you again for this honor, and for what you do.