Syrian-American journalist receives Courage of the Year Award

Damon dedicated her award to ‘everyone in the industry’

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CNN’s senior foreign correspondent Arwa Damon received the Courage of the Year Award along with two other journalists in an event in New York organized earlier this week by the International Women’s Media Foundation.

Solange Lusiku Nsimire, an editor-in-chief of a newspaper in the Democratic Republic of Congo, also received the award after working through threats to her and her family.


Serbian investigative reporter Brankica Stankovic who has lived under 24-hour police protection since 2009 because of her work was also honored.

Damon, who is based in Beirut and has covered various conflicts throughout the Middle East since 2003, dedicated her award to “everyone in the industry and all those beyond it who have sacrificed their lives in their respective fights for basic freedom.”

Born to a Syrian mother and an American father, Damon spent her childhood travelling through Turkey and Morocco.

When she first arrived in Baghdad in 2003, she had little or no journalism experience but was adamant that she lands a job reporting for CNN, the foundation’s website said.

“Afghanistan had happened, the United States was gearing up for war in Iraq; and being an Arab American, I grew up deeply entrenched in both cultures and felt an inexplicable sense to a certain degree — a desire, a need, to go out there and because of my own personal life experiences, [and] try to build cross-cultural bridges of understanding and compassion,” she explained.

She continues to report on Syria and has extensively covered the Iraq War and other landmark events in the Middle East’s recent history such as the 2011 Egyptian uprising that ousted long-term autocrat Hosni Mubarak.

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