Monday February 25, 2013

Chronicler of Humanity

Nicholas Kristof, two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for The New York Times, will give a free talk March 9.

Nicholas Kristof, two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times columnist and co-author of Half the Sky: Turning Oppression Into Opportunity for Women Worldwide, will offer a free talk at 1 p.m., Saturday, March 9, in the 1700 South Patterson Building on River Campus at the University of Dayton.

His talk, "Half the Sky," is sponsored by the University of Dayton Speaker Series. It's co-sponsored by the University of Dayton’s Consciousness Rising, a social justice conference that raises awareness about oppression, racism, human trafficking and social responsibility. A book signing will follow.

"Nicholas Kristof has been a very important voice for women in the U.S. and across the globe," said Sheila Hassell Hughes, chair of the University of Dayton's English department, who directs the series. "His on-the-ground research and advocacy have drawn worldwide attention to issues of gender injustice, even as he himself has sometimes drawn fire from various groups for his methods or perspective.  It's sure to be an interesting and engaging talk."

Kristof is currently on leave from The New York Times to work with his wife, Sheryl WuDunn, on a new book about "the emerging science of how to make a difference."

Kristof grew up on a sheep and cherry farm near Yamhill, Ore. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Harvard College and then studied law at Oxford University on a Rhodes Scholarship, graduating with honors. He later studied Arabic in Cairo and Chinese in Taipei. While working in France after high school, he caught the travel bug and began backpacking around Africa and Asia during his student years, writing articles to cover his expenses.

Kristof has lived on four continents, reported on six, and traveled to more than 150 countries, plus all 50 states, every Chinese province and every main Japanese island. During his travels, he has experienced malaria, mobs and an African airplane crash.

After joining The New York Times in 1984, initially covering economics, he served as a Times correspondent in Los Angeles, Hong Kong, Beijing and Tokyo. He also covered presidential politics and is the author of the chapter on President George W. Bush in the reference book The Presidents. He later was associate managing editor of The New York Times, responsible for Sunday editions.

In 1990, Kristof and his wife, Sheryl WuDunn, then also a Times journalist, won a Pulitzer Prize for their coverage of China’s Tiananmen Square democracy movement. They were the first married couple to win a Pulitzer for journalism. Kristof won a second Pulitzer in 2006 for what the judges called "his graphic, deeply reported columns that, at personal risk, focused attention on genocide in Darfur and that gave voice to the voiceless in other parts of the world."

He also has won other prizes including the George Polk Award, the Overseas Press Club award, the Michael Kelly award, the Online News Association award and the American Society of Newspaper Editors award. A documentary about him, "Reporter," aired on HBO in 2010. A January 1997 article that Kristof wrote about child deaths in the developing world helped lead Bill and Melinda Gates to focus their charitable work on global health, and the article is framed in the gallery of the Gates Foundation.

A tireless human rights advocate, Kristof has visited the Darfur region more than 10 times. His columns have often focused on global health and poverty, and he has also written often about human trafficking.

Kristof and WuDunn have co-written three books, China Wakes: The Struggle for the Soul of a Rising Power, Thunder from the East: Portrait of a Rising Asia and Half the Sky: Turning Oppression Into Opportunity for Women Worldwide.

Co-sponsors for the University of Dayton Speaker Series include the Dayton Daily News, WDAO-Radio, YWCA Dayton, the Bob Ross Auto Group Ross and Markey's Audio Visual.

Contact Sheila Hassell Hughes, director of the University of Dayton Speaker Series, at 937-229-3434 or Andrea Wade, communication and events coordinator for the office of the provost, at 937-229-1723.