RSF USA Director Delphine Halgand to receive the James W. Foley American Hostage Freedom Award

The James W. Foley Legacy Foundation (JWFLF) announced today that RSF USA Director Delphine Halgand will receive the James W. Foley American Hostage Freedom Award for her work on behalf of American journalists taken hostage.

On May 1st, 2017 at the second annual JWFLF Awards dinner at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., Emma Beals will also be presented with the 2017 James W. Foley World Press Freedom Award and Arwa Damon will be presented with the 2017 James W. Foley Humanitarian Award.

"The Foundation Board unanimously chose to award Delphine, as she reflects Jim's courage, commitment and compassion in her tireless work for Reporters Without Borders. She has been truly extraordinary in her efforts to help the families of kidnapped and imprisoned American journalists such as Austin Tice and Jason Rezaian, often taking her personal time to meet with and advocate for them. We are so pleased to honor both Delphine and Reporters without Borders (RSF) for their work for journalists worldwide,” wrote Diane Foley, founder and director of the foundation.

I am truly humbled by this recognition,” said Halgand. “Jim’s commitment and compassion continue to drive us everyday at RSF. We will never stop advocating for the release of journalists imprisoned or held hostage, especially Austin Tice, the last American journalist detained in Syria. Jim was one of the first to try to gather more information about Austin’s wherabouts, when Austin disappeared in August 2012 in the suburbs of Damascus. We owe it to Jim’s legacy to do everything we can to bring Austin safely home."

Delphine met James Foley when he returned home from his Libyan captivity. They worked together to raise funds for the children of Anton Hammerl, a photojournalist killed in Libya, as RSF was the fiscal sponsor of this initiative in 2012.

Since September 2012, RSF has been assisting and advising the family of Austin Tice, putting together the #FreeAustinTice campaign in February 2015 and mobilizing more than 260 U.S. news websites to raise awareness about the missing American journalist. She will continue to fight tirelessly until he is brought home.

RSF has been working for decades all over the world with the families, employers, and governments of journalists missing, imprisoned or held hostage to provide on-the-ground information and contacts, media strategy advice, platforms for the support committees and any logistic assistance needed according to each specific case.

RSF has become the largest press freedom organization around the world with more than 30 years of accomplishments. Thanks to its unique global network of 150 local correspondents investigating in 130 countries, 12 national offices, and a consultative status at the UN and UNESCO, RSF is able to have a global impact, gather on-the-ground information, conduct major advocacy campaigns, and assist and defend news providers all across the world.

From the James W. Foley Legacy Foundation:

Second annual James W. Foley Freedom Awards to recognize Delphine Halgand, Emma Beals and Arwa Damon

DOVER, N.H. -- The James W. Foley Legacy Foundation announced Tuesday its 2017 honorees, three extraordinary journalists: Delphine Halgand, the U.S. Director of Reporters without Borders; Emma Beals, co-founder of the Frontline Freelance Register; and CNN Senior International Correspondent Arwa Damon.

At its second annual James W. Foley Freedom Awards dinner at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., on May 1st, 2017, the Foley Foundation will honor Halgand, Beals, and Damon for walking in the footsteps of the courageous conflict journalists and advocating for press freedom and journalists around the world.

Diane Foley launched the James W. Foley Legacy Foundation in 2014 following the murder of her son, American conflict reporter James W. Foley, in Syria the same year. Foley said of this year’s honorees: “These three young women continue Jim's legacy of courageous commitment to bearing witness, reporting the truth on the ground around the world, and compassionate advocacy for those suffering amid conflict worldwide.”

Halgand, U.S. Director of Reporters without Borders, will receive the James W. Foley American Hostage Freedom award.

“When our U.S. government did not know how to help Americans held hostage abroad, or their families, Delphine and the distinguished David Bradley (2016 American Hostage Freedom award winner) went above and beyond to help us. They both continue to help the frantic American families who currently have loved ones held abroad, like the parents of Austin Tice and returning American hostages like The Washington Post’s Jason Rezaian. Though a French citizen, Delphine has cared to reach out to American families and advocate for their loved ones' return, on top of her demanding job with Reporters without Borders, where she works tirelessly to promote press freedom every day.”

Of Beals and Damon, Foley said: “Emma Beals, an independent conflict journalist, and Arwa Damon, a seasoned staff conflict journalist at CNN, are truth seekers like Jim. They both risk their lives to bring us authentic images and stories from conflict zones. They have witnessed much of the suffering imposed on civilians amid the world’s conflicts, and the toll on fellow journalists and humanitarian workers who have dared to care.”

Beals will receive the 2017 James W. Foley World Press Freedom award for her work to launch the Frontline Freelance Register and, most recently, the international Alliance for a Culture of Safety to protect fellow independent conflict journalists. Last year’s winner was David Rohde of Thomson Reuters.

Arwa Damon, CNN senior international correspondent for the past 10 years, was so deeply moved by the many children suffering in conflict zones, unable to access the health care they needed, that in 2015, she founded a nonprofit called INARA. Its mission is to help children with serious injuries sustained in conflict access the complex medical care they need. For her compassionate advocacy on behalf of these children, Damon will receive the 2017 James W. Foley Humanitarian Award. Her heroic work reflects that of the 2016 James W. Foley Humanitarian awardee, Nadia Alawa.

The James W. Foley Legacy Foundation continues Jim’s legacy by supporting work in three key areas: American hostage advocacy and hostage policy research, the protection of independent conflict journalists and the education of the public and university students on these silent crises.

“In America, we are so blessed by the freedoms we enjoy,” Diane Foley said. “The best journalists are the truth seekers who show us what is really happening in our own country, and around the world. They protect our American freedom by shining a light on issues critical to maintaining our democracy.

“I welcome our new president and urge him to make the return of brave Americans like Austin Tice, Caitlan Coleman, Paul Overby, Robert Levinson, and our many unknown citizens a true national priority for our government. I also implore you, President Trump, to recognize the powerful contribution that our best American journalists make to our wonderful democracy.”


James Foley and the Legacy Foundation

James W. Foley was an independent American conflict journalist who worked extensively across the Middle East. He was taken hostage by ISIS in Syria in 2012, and was killed in 2014. His impact on colleagues and friends has been highlighted in the film “Jim: The James Foley Story” (

The James W. Foley Legacy Foundation is a registered nonprofit foundation, that supports work in three key areas that were important to Jim’s life: American hostage freedom, protection of independent conflict journalists, and education of the public and university students regarding these silent crises.

For more information about the foundation, or to learn how you can make an impact, please visit or contact Amy Coyne at

Delphine Halgand and RSF

Delphine Halgand has been working as the director of the U.S. office for Reporters Without Borders since December 2011. She runs the American-based activities for the organization and advocates for journalists, bloggers and media rights worldwide. Acting as RSF’s spokesperson in the U.S., Halgand regularly appears on American media (CNN, Fox News, PBS, Democracy Now), foreign media (BBC, Al Jazeera, France 24) and lectures at U.S. universities (Harvard University, UCLA, Yale) and conferences on press freedom violation issues.

She previously served as press attaché in charge of outreach at the French Embassy to the U.S. Since graduating from Sciences Po Paris with an M.A. in Journalism, she has worked as an economics correspondent for various French media (Le Monde, Les Echos, L’Express), focusing mainly on international politics and macroeconomic issues.

Emma Beals and FFR / ACOS

Emma Beals exemplifies the courage of young freelance journalists who dare to cover conflict these days. A New Zealander, she was the major force in the creation of the Frontline Freelance Register, a representative body for freelance conflict reporters. FFR has pressed employers to adopt standards that would increase security for their freelance reporters. “Thanks largely to Emma, the standards have become ‘A Culture of Safety Alliance’—a movement of 80 organizations in 20 countries to increase safety,” writes David Rohde, who worked with her on this project, which he co-chairs with Beals. She is also a trustee of the Frontline Club in London.

Emma's journalistic work covers Syria and the broader conflict. Her news and feature articles, and documentary work, about the Syrian civil war, have appeared in outlets around the world. Emma is currently working on a research project on Aleppo and a book about her time covering Syria.

Arwa Damon and INARA

Arwa Damon is CNN's Senior International Correspondent based in Istanbul, Turkey. She has over a decade of experience in war zones across the MENA region and has often focused her work on humanitarian stories. Damon has received extensive recognition for her work including TV and News Emmys, Peabodys, the Investigative Reporters and Editors award, and most recently was the recipient of the International Women's Media Foundation "Courage in Journalism" award. She is the president and co-founder of INARA, a byproduct of her firsthand experience on the ground.

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Updated on 07.02.2017