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Pulitzer Center Update March 25, 2009

Acceptance Speech for the Goldman Sachs Prize for Excellence in International Education


Asia Society, New York

This is an incredible honor for the Pulitzer Center. And it is an especially great honor to receive such an award during such difficult economic times when now, more than ever, every penny counts.

So you have our word that we will use very penny responsibly and in pursuit of our mission to raise awareness of global issues amongst today's youth and tomorrow's leaders.

As our name indicates, our original mandate was to increase the quantity and quality of international reporting in the US media. The underlying goal was to help Americans understand what was happening beyond our borders because we believe we have the responsibility to act with knowledge of other cultures and societies.

But we quickly realized it was not enough to just supply international reporting. We also needed to reach out to future generations to engage them on these global issues and inspire them to see their connections to the rest of the world. Ideally, creating a thirst for global understanding in the long term.

Our Global Gateway program has evolved from simply bringing reporters into classrooms into a comprehensive educational outreach model where students anywhere in the US can now participate in our online Gateways, connecting students to global issues, and connecting them with journalists and each other to debate and discuss the issues.

Our Executive Director, Jon Sawyer, could not be here today because he is actually in Ethiopia building on our first Gateway portal, which explored the water crisis in East Africa, and beyond.

Next week, we will be launching our Women and Children in Crisis portal. And by the end of the month we will be using this platform to connect US students with young Nepalese women freed from a life as indentured servants, Congolese youth who have suffered through terrible violence, and young Iraqi refugees now living in Syria.

And while we could not do the educational work we do without our reporting, it is safe to say that one of the most rewarding aspects of what we do is the educational outreach in schools. The excitement, reflection, and curiosity we've witnessed from students provides a powerful motivation to continue doing the work we do. And this award will go a long way towards helping us sustain and expand these initiatives.

So thank you to the Goldman Sachs foundation, and the Asia Society for this honor. And thank you to the incredible journalists we've worked with, without whom our educational work would not be possible, and our partners Civitas Associates and the Choices program at Brown, who have contributed greatly to its realization, and to Dan McCarey, the Gateway portal developer.

I've been deeply moved by the messages you all have shared today and inspired by the work you are doing, so thanks also to all of you for your own efforts to keep America globally engaged and informed.

Learn more about the award