Christiane Amanpour to receive Ivan Allen Jr. Prize for Social Courage
Updated: Feb 17
Absolutely thrilled be part of the selection committee for this outstanding choice for the Ivan Allen Jr. Prize for Social Courage. Even happier to be involved in organizing the actual visit and offer an occasion for some of our students to meet with Christiane Amanpour. Eminent past awardees include Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter, John Lewis, and Andrew Young.
By Steven Norris
The Georgia Institute of Technology will award its 2023 Ivan Allen Jr. Prize for Social Courage to trailblazing journalist Christiane Amanpour. As CNN’s chief international anchor, Amanpour is known worldwide for her unflinching interviewing style and for putting her life on the line to give a voice to the voiceless victims of war. A campus event to recognize the recipient is planned for April 24. The Ivan Allen Jr. Prize for Social Courage honors individuals who bravely act to improve the human condition, often in the face of seemingly insurmountable challenges. The award celebrates the alumnus and civic leader former Atlanta Mayor Ivan Allen Jr., who was instrumental in integrating Atlanta and was a key figure in establishing civil rights legislation across the United States. “This is an extraordinary honor for me — especially receiving an award named for the mayor of the city where I began my career,” Amanpour said. “The words of Robert F. Kennedy first defined the concept of social courage for me, speaking to anti-apartheid activists in South Africa on June 6, 1966: ‘Moral courage is a rarer commodity than bravery in battle or great intelligence. Yet it is the one essential, vital quality for those who seek to change the world — which yields most painfully to change.’” Amanpour’s fearless and uncompromising approach made her popular with audiences, and a force to be reckoned with by global influencers. In 1996, Newsweek said her reporting from conflict hot spots in the Gulf and the Balkans had helped make CNN “must-see TV for world leaders.” “Christiane Amanpour has risked her life in the relentless pursuit of the truth. She is renowned for her tenacity in holding the powerful accountable, and for her bravery in exposing the human toll of international conflicts and crises. Amanpour is not only one of the most respected women in the news business, but she is also one of the most respected journalists in the world,” said President Ángel Cabrera. “Amanpour exemplifies the spirit of the Ivan Allen Jr. Prize and Georgia Tech's mission to improve the human condition by living our motto of Progress and Service.” Beginning in 1983 as an entry-level assistant on the international assignment desk at CNN’s headquarters in Atlanta, Amanpour rose through the organization becoming a reporter and, later, the network’s leading international correspondent and anchor of the award-winning program that bears her name, Amanpour. From the 1991 Gulf War to the 2003 American-led invasion, Amanpour has documented the violence that has marked Iraq’s recent history. In 2004, she also reported exclusively from the courtroom at the trial of Saddam Hussein, where the former dictator was eventually sentenced to death for crimes against humanity. During the siege of Sarajevo, Amanpour exposed the brutality of the Bosnian war, reporting on the daily tragedy of life for civilians in the city. She was outspoken, calling out the human rights abuses, massacres, and genocide committed against the Bosnian Muslims, later saying, “There are some situations one simply cannot be neutral about, because when you are neutral you are an accomplice.” She has reported from the aftermath of many humanitarian crises including the devastating 2010 earthquake in Haiti, the 1992 famine in Somalia, the 2004 tsunami in Southeast Asia, the 2011 Japanese tsunami, Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and the current war in Ukraine. In addition to her work as an anchor and reporter, Amanpour is an active rights campaigner. A board member of the Committee to Protect Journalists, the Center for Public Integrity, and the International Women’s Media Foundation, she has used her profile to raise awareness of key global issues and journalists’ rights. She has interviewed educational rights activist Malala Yousafzai for CNN on several occasions, bringing focus to her courage and international advocacy work. In May 2014, she used an appearance on BBC television to raise awareness of the plight of the 200 Nigerian schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram, asking British Prime Minister David Cameron to join the #BringBackOurGirls campaign. Amanpour has earned every major television journalism award including 14 News and Documentary Emmy Awards, four Peabody Awards, two George Polk Awards, three duPont-Columbia Awards, and the Courage in Journalism Award. She has received 10 honorary degrees, has been named a Commander of the Order of the British Empire, and was inducted into the Cable Hall of Fame, Broadcast + Cable Hall of Fame, and The Atlanta Press Club’s Hall of Fame. She is an honorary citizen of Sarajevo and a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for Freedom of Expression and Journalist Safety.