WAMC Speakers Corner
Wed February 11, 2009
Dowmel Lecture: Nicholas Kristof
Great Barrington, MA – Nicholas Kristof grew up on a sheep and cherry farm near Yamhill, Oregon. He graduated from Harvard and then studied law at Oxford University on a Rhodes Scholarship. He later studied Arabic in Cairo and Chinese in Taipei. After working in France, he caught the travel bug and began backpacking around Africa and Asia, writing articles to cover his expenses. Mr. Kristof has lived on four continents, reported on six, and traveled to 120 countries, plus all 50 states, every Chinese province and every main Japanese island. 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.
In 1990 he and his wife, Sheryl Wu Dunn, 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. He then won a second Pulitzer in 2006, for commentary 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."
In his column, Mr. Kristof was an early opponent of the Iraq war and among the first to warn that we were losing ground to the Taliban in southern Afghanistan. His columns have often focused on global health, poverty and gender issues in the developing world. In particular, since 2004 he has written dozens of columns about Darfur and visited the area eight times.
Mr. Kristof and Ms. WuDunn are authors of "China Wakes: The Struggle for the Soul of a Rising Power" and "Thunder from the East: Portrait of a Rising Asia. " They are the parents of Gregory, Geoffrey and Caroline. Mr. Kristof enjoys running, backpacking, and having his Chinese and Japanese corrected by his children.