NYT Columnist Nicholas Kristof Will Join International Educators in Kansas City for NAFSA 2010 Conference

October 19, 2009

By Ursula Oaks

New York Times columnist and two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Nicholas Kristof will speak at NAFSA's 2010 Annual Conference & Expo in Kansas City next year. Kristof will address conference attendees on Wednesday, June 2, at the Kansas City Convention Center. This will be a very unique opportunity for international educators to hear from an extraordinary thought leader and human rights activist.

Last month, Kristof and his wife, former New York Times writer Sheryl WuDunn, published a book about what they have called "the cause of our century."Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide has been hailed as a moving and action-inspiring account of the plight of women in many parts of the world. The Washington Post called the book "a call to arms, a call for help, a call for contributions, but also a call for volunteers. It asks us to open our eyes to this enormous humanitarian issue."

Since 2001, Kristof has been a columnist at the New York Times, where his columns appear each Sunday and Thursday, as well as in the International Herald Tribune. He first joined the Times in 1984, and held several positions over the years, including as a correspondent in Los Angeles and as bureau chief in Hong Kong, Beijing, and Tokyo. He later served as associate managing editor, overseeing the Sunday edition. Kristof and WuDunn won a Pulitzer Prize for their coverage of China's Tiananmen Square democracy movement in 1990, becoming the first married couple to win a Pulitzer for journalism. They have also written two other books together. In recent years, Kristof has focused a great deal of attention on the genocide in Darfur, winning a second Pulitzer Prize for commentary in 2006 "for 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." He has earned many other prestigious reporting and writing awards. He is also an avid participant in online journalism and social media; he was the first blogger on The New York Times Web site, and is active on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

In 2006, Kristof created a contest that caught the eye of the international education community. Called "Win a Trip with Nicholas Kristof," it invited American college students to submit essays describing why they should be selected for an opportunity to travel with Kristof on a reporting trip to Africa. He has held the contest three times. Describing in a column the value of such an opportunity, Kristof speaks directly to today's college students, writing: "One of the failures of the American education system is that it rarely exposes students to life around the world….Let's hope that Barack Obama's presidency makes public service more appealing. But if you want to save the world, you first must understand it. So, embed yourself deep within a developing country for a summer or a year. I wish colleges would offer credit for such gritty experiences — and extra credit for getting intestinal worms."

In recent weeks, Kristof has turned his attention to the health care debate, with piercing columns like "18,000 Die a Year for Lack of Insurance. Here's One." that, in classic Kristof style, bring home understanding of an issue with an unflinching look at the experience of one person.

Stay tuned for more about NAFSA's plenary speakers and upcoming conference here on the NAFSA blog.


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