Christiane Amanpour (center) with from left to right: Dennis N. Assanis, Provost & Senior VP for Academic Affairs, SBU; Marcy McGinnis, Associate Dean, SBU School of Journalism; Howard Schneider, Dean, SBU School of Journalism; and Ilana Ozernoy, Assistant Professor and Colvin Program Coordinator, SBU School of Journalism.
STONY BROOK, NY, February 7, 2013 – CNN Chief International Correspondent and ABC News Global Affairs Anchor Christiane Amanpour pledged a $50,000 gift to Stony Brook University’s School of Journalism in support of the Marie Colvin Center for International Reporting, which will be matched by a special grant from Jim and Marilyn Simons and the Simons Foundation for a total impact of $100,000. Amanpour’s generous gift will exponentially expand the Center’s ability to send student journalists on overseas reporting trips and assist in inspiring, training and nurturing the next generation of foreign correspondents. The School of Journalism hopes this gift will raise awareness for the need to increase international news coverage and help establish an endowment in Marie Colvin’s name.
The gift announcement was made during the inaugural Marie Colvin Distinguished Lecture Series, which marked the opening of the Center and for which Amanpour served as the guest speaker. Speaking before a full house of students, members of the community, university officials and visiting journalists, including Toby Harnden, Washington Bureau Chief for the Sunday Times of London (where Colvin worked from 1985 until her death last year) Amanpour recalled working alongside Colvin in various hot zones around the world; addressed the ongoing conflict in Syria and the need for international intervention; and shared her path into journalism and the importance of continued international news coverage.
Cat Colvin, Marie Colvin’s sister (left), and Christiane Amanpour at the Marie Colvin Lecture Series event, which marked the opening of the Marie Colvin Center for International Reporting at the Stony Brook University School of Journalism.
"I am delighted to support the Marie Colvin Center for International Reporting,” said Christiane Amanpour. “Marie was one of those rare journalists who believed in telling the human story of war. She also believed in mentoring young journalists, helping them discover that being a foreign correspondent can be the most noble and vital calling. I hope this Center will attract, educate, and send forth future generations to follow in Marie Colvin’s footsteps."
Marie Colvin was a daughter of Long Island, having grown up in Oyster Bay, not far from Stony Brook University where the Center is being established. She was killed on February 22, 2012 in Syria while covering the siege of Homs for The Sunday Times. Amanpour said of Colvin: "she had physical courage in bucketloads" but also "moral and intellectual courage.”
Amanpour’s gift comes on top of the past support she has provided to the Center, including $10,000 to help send student reporters to Kenya this past December on a Journalism Without Walls trip; and a $1,000 Overseas Press Club award that she donated at the launch of the Colvin Center fundraising campaign.
"Due to the generosity of Christiane Amanpour, and Jim and Marilyn Simons, the Marie Colvin Center for International Reporting within Stony Brook University's School of Journalism will be able to provide more internships and travel opportunities to support the next generation of foreign correspondents being educated and trained at Stony Brook."
Christiane Amanpour conducts interviews with SBU School of Journalism students following the first Marie Colvin Distinguished Lecture Series event.
"Christiane gave us two powerful gifts,” said Howard Schneider, Dean of the Stony Brook University School of Journalism, and longtime Newsday editor during whose tenure the Long Island newspaper won Pulitzer prizes for its coverage of Rwanda, Bosnia and Iraq. “A significant financial contribution and an inspiring message to our students about why they should devote their lives to journalism, even risk their lives for journalism."
Amanpour called Cat Colvin, Marie’s sister, to the stage during the question and answer portion of the event. The two deftly answered questions about Marie and the dangers of war reporting. “It dangerous, it’s difficult, but there is no substitute for being there,” Amanpour said. “There is no substitute for eyewitness news.”
Cat Colvin added, “For Christiane to so generously support the Center financially was quite simply more than anyone could have ever expected. I hope her generosity will inspire others to support the Marie Colvin Center, so that it can be permanently endowed and established.”
After the presentation, Amanpour spoke to student journalists offering this piece of advice: “Just go there and do it.”
About the Marie Colvin Center for International Reporting
The Center’s aim is to honor Marie Colvin’s legacy, while fostering proactive and innovative solutions to meet the need for foreign news coverage. It will offer a specialized curriculum developed by faculty with decades of international field experience.
Christiane Amanpour is pictured with Marie’s mother, Rosemarie Colvin at a reception following the first Marie Colvin Distinguished Lecture Series event.
A travel fellowship will be established in Marie Colvin’s name to offer journalism students in need of financial assistance the opportunity to intern in foreign news bureaus and go on overseas reporting trips. The Marie Colvin Travel Fellowship will help expand Stony Brook’s “Journalism Without Walls” program, which has already sent student journalists on foreign reporting trips to China, Russia, Cuba and most recently Kenya.
A journalist-in-residence fellowship at the Center will reward outstanding overseas reporting by inviting foreign correspondents to Stony Brook for a semester of scholarship, writing and teaching. The Marie Colvin Distinguished Lecture Series, kicked off by Christiane Amanpour, will continue to bring inspiring journalists to give public lectures about their international experiences.
About Marie Colvin
Colvin’s illustrious career spanned 30 years and took her to conflict zones around the globe, including Iraq, Libya, Zimbabwe, Chechnya and Kosovo. In later years, she was recognizable by a trademark black eye patch, which she wore after losing her left eye to shrapnel from an attack by a Sri Lankan soldier. Her experiences were characterized by many dramatic tales – from an eight-day mountain trek with Chechnyan rebels to her aid in the rescue of 1,500 women and children from a besieged United Nations compound in East Timor – adding up to a remarkable body of work and a singular legacy.