Author and Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times journalist Nicholas Kristof, engaged in classroom discussions and presented at an all-school special program on Tuesday, January 31. After his presentation, he responded to questions fielded by journalism students Bryce Wachtell '17 and Amira Nazer '17.
Mr. Kristof touched upon several current topics, including climate change, the role of the press vis-à-vis the new administration, human rights issues such as sex trafficking, and his responsibility as a journalist "to give a voice to the voiceless."
Although he has reported on some dire circumstances in third world countries he remains optimistic about humanity's future. He noted in 1982 when he began traveling and reporting on Sub-Saharan Africa and the Indian subcontinent that diseases such as river blindness, trichiasis, and cataracts were a scourge. Since then, these diseases "have been mostly eradicated through global health initiatives." When asked about his most profound interview he noted it that wasn't a head of state or a president, but a Polish nun whom he had met during his coverage of Congo's brutal civil war. Her determination to feed orphans, stand up to war lords and comfort survivors in a war zone left a deep impression. "I came back and decided: I want to grow up and become a Polish nun." Kristof, who has lived on four continents and reported on six, urged students to take advantage of the many opportunities afforded them "to travel or serve in some capacity" and "to get out of their comfort zones."
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."
Mr. Kristof's visit was made possible by the Thalheimer Educator-in-Residence Program.