The 2021 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded today to journalist and Princeton graduate Maria Ressa for her efforts to “safeguard freedom of expression, which is a precondition for democracy and lasting peace.” She received half of the award, while the other half was awarded to Dmitry Muratov, founder and editor-in-chief of the Russian independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta.
Ressa graduated from Princeton in 1986 with a bachelor of arts in English. She taught as a Ferris Professor in Humanities Council’s Program in Journalism in 2000-01, while she was an investigative reporter at CNN.
In receiving the call this morning to notify her of the award, Ressa exclaimed, “I’m speechless.”
“This is a tremendous day for Maria, journalism and democracy around the globe,” said Joe Stephens, founding director of the Program in Journalism, Ferris Professor of Journalism and lecturer in the Humanities Council. “Maria is the bravest human I know. She risked her life repeatedly to bring to light corruption and injustice, with huge impact. Just as important, she continues to inspire and embolden other courageous journalists everywhere. At the Program in Journalism, we’re honored to call her one of our own. She’s the very embodiment of the University’s informal motto: ‘Princeton in the nation’s service and the service of humanity.’”
Stephens continued: “Maria was an inspiration when she visited us on campus in 2019 — smiling and cheery at a time when her very life and liberty hung in the balance. You would never guess that she had just been arrested twice and faced arrest again on her impending return to the Philippines. ‘Heroic’ doesn’t even begin to describe her.”
Read the full story on the University homepage.