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The University of Iowa University of Iowa

Nick Kristof

  • Half the Sky
  • Date: September 30, 2013 7:30pm
  • Location: Main Lounge, IMU
  • Cost: Free Admission

Two-time Pulitzer Prize winner and New York Times columnist Nicholas D. Kristof is often called the “reporter’s reporter” for his human rights advocacy and his efforts to give a voice to the voiceless.

In 1990, Kristof and his wife, Sheryl WuDunn, then also a New York Times journalist, became the first husband-wife team to win a Pulitzer Prize for journalism for their coverage of China’s Tiananmen Square democracy movement. Kristof won his 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.”

Kristof and WuDunn have written three best-selling books: Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide; China Wakes: The Struggle for the Soul of a Rising Power; and Thunder from the East: Portrait of a Rising Asia. Oprah Winfrey devoted two full programs to their work and they have been on countless other television programs. Archbishop Desmond Tutu dubbed Kristof “an honorary African” for his reporting on conflicts there and President Bill Clinton claimed “there is no one in journalism, anywhere in the United States at least, who has done anything like the work he has done to figure out how poor people are actually living around the world and what their potential is.”

Kristof graduated from Harvard College, Phi Beta Kappa, and won a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford, where he studied law and graduated with first class honors. He later studied Arabic in Cairo, Chinese in Taipei, and Japanese in Tokyo.

After working in France, he began backpacking in Africa and Asia, writing articles to cover his expenses. Kristof has lived on four continents, reported on six, and traveled to more than 150 countries. During his travels, he has caught malaria, experienced wars, confronted warlords, encountered an Indonesian mob carrying heads on pikes, and survived an African airplane crash.

After joining The New York Times in 1984, Kristof served as a correspondent in Los Angeles, Hong Kong, Beijing, and Tokyo. He has covered presidential politics, interviewed everyone from President Obama to Iranian President Ahmadinejad, and was the first blogger on The New York Times website. Ben Affleck executive produced an HBO documentary on him titled Reporter. He has won innumerable awards including the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, the Anne Frank Award, and the Fred Cuny Award for Prevention of Armed Conflict. He serves on the board of Harvard University and the Association of American Rhodes Scholars.

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