NEW YORK (PRWEB) November 13, 2019
On Monday, November 4th, 2019, the Association of Foreign Correspondents in the United States (AFC-USA | ForeignPressCorrespondents.org) held its inaugural Annual Awards and Scholarships Ceremony at the Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute in New York City, where the organization honored Jeh Johnson, former Secretary of Homeland Security, in recognition of his contributions to public service; Valeria Robecco, President of the United Nations Correspondents Association, in recognition of her contributions to the excellence of foreign press reporting; and to Suzanne Adams, the Honorary Executive Advisor of AFC-USA and wife of Maurice Adams, former President of the Foreign Press Association, in recognition of her lifetime services in support of the foreign correspondent community.
The honorary award to Secretary Johnson was presented by Daniel Klaidman, Editor in Chief of Yahoo News and Thanos Dimadis, President of the Association of Foreign Correspondents in the USA (AFC-USA). The honorary award to President of the United Nations Correspondents Association Valeria Robecco was presented by Penny Manis, Senior Director of Business Programming for CNN. The honorary award to the AFC Honorary Executive Advisor Suzanne Adams was presented by Susan Modaress, Vice President of the AFC-USA.
Additional distinguished speakers at the AFC Annual Awards and Scholarships Ceremony included Nancy-Prager Kamel, Chairwoman of the AFC-USA; Sissel McCarthy, Director of the Journalism Program at Hunter College; Raymond Kerins, Senior Vice President and Head of Communications for BAYER; and Cameron Bays on behalf of Microsoft.
The board of the Association of Foreign Correspondents in the USA proudly presented five exceptional foreign journalists, who were distinguished among several competitive applicants, as recipients of the Annual Scholarships Awards: Priyanka Vora (India) from NYU Journalism School, Natalia Kniazhevick (Russia) from NYU Journalism School, Larry Madowo (Kenya) from Columbia Journalism School, Kimon de Greef (South Africa) from NYU Journalism School, and Peter Georgiev (Bulgaria) from the University of Missouri.
The Association of Foreign Correspondents expressed its recognition to BAYER, Microsoft, and Procter & Gamble for their valuable contributions to the Association of Foreign Correspondents and its scholarship program, as well as its gratitude to CBS News, Nasdaq, CNN, and Yahoo News for supporting the AFC mission.
On behalf of the Association of Foreign Correspondents, Chairwoman Nancy Prager-Kamel stated that "through education, experience and mentoring we are dedicated to facilitate and accelerate support for a free and informed press with the goal of putting education in the epicenter of journalism. Our first year has been an auspicious one as we link with other respected and notable organizations each individually and collectively representing the voice and needs of working correspondents in the US."
Secretary Johnson thanked the Association of Foreign Correspondents for his award and congratulated the AFC-USA scholarship recipients, wishing them "good luck and success in their careers." Addressing the Foreign Correspondents, Secretary Johnson stressed his optimism about the future: "I am an optimist. We may have temporarily lost our way but that great equilibrium is not lost in the country. I tell audiences it's OK to be America first. It's OK to be Turkey first if you are Turkish. It's OK if you are Greek to be Greece first. But it's not America only. It's not one country only. We are all, in addition, to be proud citizens of our own country, of our own land, inhabitants of an increasingly smaller but interconnected planet that we must all live up to. And the landlord is watching."
In her remarks, Valeria Robecco highlighted her substantial efforts in her capacity as President of UNCA to push the United Nations "to take a step forward in addressing the protection of journalism and journalists all over the world by appointing a Special Representative for the Protection of Journalists, a key figure that can no longer be ignored within the debate on freedom and accuracy of information."
Daniel Klaidman, during his speech, congratulated "the very impressive board of the Association of Foreign Correspondents and thank them for all the important work they do." He also "recognized the foreign correspondents in this room and everywhere who every day fulfill the crucial mission of informing the public and helping us understand the world a little bit better."
Bayer’s Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs Raymond F. Kerins, Jr. said that Bayer is a proud supporter of the Association of Foreign Correspondents in the United States of America, and we fully embrace this organization’s mission to provide opportunity here in the States for journalists who are from outside this great country. We at Bayer believe in a free and independent press. Freedom of the press is one of the hallmarks of our democracy – a concept rooted in the very first amendment of our Constitution. Any threat to the freedom of the press is a threat to our existence as a democracy."
Cameron Bays on behalf of Microsoft said that "we are proudly support the work of the Association of Foreign Correspondents in the United States and thank you the Association, Chairwoman Nancy Prager- Kamel, President Thanos Dimadis and all board members for supporting international journalists. We believe in the importance of a free, trustworthy and empowered press. This is more important now than ever."
Penny Manis said that "as a manager of CNN's international desk and a senior producer on AC360, I've been at the forefront of deploying teams to difficult situations; from covering protests to running to an island devastated by a hurricane, to reporting live out of combat zones, careful measures are always taken into consideration. CNN has truly been an industry leader in creating safety measures for journalists."
Sissel McCarthy highlighted the "important work foreign journalists and indeed all journalists are doing around the world. Foreign correspondents are on the frontlines in the battle of information to hold those in power accountable. We salute you and thank you. And to all the companies who support this work through scholarships and to the board members who give their time so generously, and to anyone in the audience who buys a subscription to a news outlet to help pay for original reporting, we salute you too."
Susan Modaress said that "it is a great honor for the boards of the AFC-USA to have Suzanne Adams as our Honorary Executive Advisor. We founded the AFC-USA with the mandate of supporting foreign correspondents during their time here with us, and hopefully maintaining longterm relationships and friendships when they leave."
Thanos Dimadis, who a foreign journalist and a well-know TV news personality from Greece, in his remarks expressed the view that "the fate of our profession as journalists as well as the responsibility to protect the dignity, independence, and integrity of our profession is on our shoulders. We cannot win this fight unless all journalists from different levels––local, national, and international––work together and get organized through unions and organizations that can ensure their fair and bold representation; that’s the only way to make our voices heard, and that is why the existence of organizations like our organization, the Association of Foreign Correspondents and others like the United Nations Correspondents Association, the Overseas Press Club, and the Committee to Protect Journalists, is so important."
During his speech at the Roosevelt House, Mr. Dimadis spoke also in favor of journalists and press and about their victimization by governments. Referring to the situation in his country, Greece during the past Syriza government, Mr. Dimadis spoke against "the political vengeance that government was following through fake media stories and fake cases, which eventually distorts democracy" and stressed "the lack of press freedom and the independence of journalists in Greece." Dimadis stated that "targeting journalists in a particular political regime, by the government, is a general trend now, which is actually targeting and hurting the democracy." Dimadis’ remarks at the Roosevelt House are coming in addition to the remarks in his speech as President of the Association of Foreign Correspondents in the United States, during the closing bell ceremony at Nasdaq in August 2019 where Dimadis had urged foreign journalists "not to be afraid to speak out, show resistance, and denounce publicly any attempts to shut them down." In an interview at Nasdaq also in April 2018, Dimadis had stressed out the lack of press freedom and the independence of journalists in Greece. In an interview at Global Connections Television (GCTV) in September 2019 Dimadis had stated that "targeting journalists in a particular political regime, by government is a general trend now, which is actually targeting and hurting the democracy."