Half the Sky (Kristof, WuDunn)

Author Bios
Nicholas Kristof
Birth—April 27, 1959
Raised—Yamhill, Oregon, USA
Education—B.A., Harvard; J.D., Oxford University
Awards—(see below)
Currently—lives in suburban New York City

Nicholas Donabet Kristof is an American journalist, author, op-ed columnist, and a winner of two Pulitzer Prizes. He has written an op-ed column for the New York Times since 2001.

Life and career
Kristof was born in Chicago, Illinois, and grew up on a sheep and cherry farm in Yamhill, Oregon. He is the son of Jane Kristof (nee McWilliams) and Ladis "Kris" Kristof (born Wladyslaw Krzysztofowicz), both long-time professors at Portland State University in Portland, Oregon.

Nicholas Kristof graduated from Yamhill Carlton High School, where he was student body president and school newspaper editor, and later became a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Harvard College. At Harvard, he studied government and worked on The Harvard Crimson newspaper; "Alums recall Kristof as one of the brightest undergraduates on campus," according to a profile in the Crimson.

After Harvard, he studied law at Magdalen College, Oxford, as a Rhodes Scholar. He earned his law degree with first-class honors and won an academic prize. Afterward, he studied Arabic in Egypt for the 1983–84 academic year. He has a number of honorary degrees.

New York Times
Kristof joined the New York Times in 1984, initially covering economics and later serving as a Times correspondent in Los Angeles, Hong Kong, Beijing, and Tokyo. He also covered presidential politics and is the author of the chapter on President George W. Bush in the reference book The Presidents. He rose to be the associate managing editor, responsible for Sunday editions.

In 2001 Kristof became a Times op-ed writer. His twice-weekly columns often focus on global health, poverty, and gender issues in the developing world. In particular, since 2004 he has written dozens of columns about Darfur and visited the area 11 times.

According to his New York Times bio, Kristoff has traveled to more than 150 countries—and not without incident. During his travels, he contracted malaria, was threatened by mobs, and survived an airplane crash. Jeffrey Toobin of CNN and The New Yorker, a Harvard classmate, once said...

I’m not surprised to see him emerge as the moral conscience of our generation of journalists. I am surprised to see him as the Indiana Jones of our generation of journalists.

Kristoff also pioneered the use of multimedia for the Times: he was both the first blogger on the paper's website and the first to make a video for the website. He also tweets, has Facebook and Google Plus pages and a YouTube channel. According to Twitter lists, he has more followers (almost 1.5 million) than any other print journalist in the world.

Kristof resides outside New York City with his wife, Sheryl WuDunn, and their three children. He enjoys running, backpacking, and having his Chinese and Japanese corrected by his children.

Because of his emphasis on human rights abuses and social injustices—namely, human trafficking and the Darfur conflict—the Washington Post said that Kristoff has "shaped the field of opinion journalism."

Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa has called Kristof an "honorary African" for shining a spotlight on neglected conflicts.

Bill Clinton said of Kristof in 2009:

There is no one in journalism, anywhere in the United States at least, who has done anything like the work he has done to figure out how poor people are actually living around the world, and what their potential is.... So every American citizen who cares about this should be profoundly grateful that someone in our press establishment cares enough about this to haul himself all around the world to figure out what's going on....I am personally in his debt, as are we all.

In 2013 Joyce Barnathan, president of the International Center for Journalists, called Kristof "the conscience of international journalism."

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation names Kristof as one of its inspirations. A January 1997 page-one article by Kristof, about child mortality in the developing world, helped forcus the couple's philanthropy on global health. A framed copy of that article hangs in the gallery of the Gates Foundation.

Kristof has co-authored four books with his wife, Sheryl WuDunn:

  • China Wakes: The Struggle for the Soul of a Rising Power (1994) and Thunder from the East: Portrait of a Rising Asia (2000). The two books examine the cultural, social, and political situation of East Asia largely through interviews and personal experiences.
  • Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide (2009), a best-seller, the book was the basis of an award-winning PBS documentary, which featured WuDunn. The book was also made into a Facebook game with more than 1.1 million players.
  • A Path Appears: Transforming Lives, Creating Opportunity (2014) explores how altruism affects all of us and presents various ways that we can make a difference. It, too, became a widely watched PBS documentary in 2015, and featured Jennifer Garner, Eva Longoria, Alfre Woodard, Blake Lively, in early 2015.
Half the Sky
Perhaps the best known of Kristof and WuDunn's books is their 2009 Half the Sky, which hit the top of the bestseller charts. The idea for the book was sparked by the Tiananmen Square protests. After reporting on the 500 deaths from that event, the authors learned that some 39,000 girls died every year—far more than had died at Tiananmen—from being denied access to the same food and medical treatment offered to boys. Yet there was no mention or coverage of this stastic anywhere.

Stunned, Kristof and WuDunn decided to dig deeper into overall issues of gender, everywhere—sex trafficking, modern slavery, domestic violence, and rape as both weapon of war and form of "legal justice." The resulting book, Half the Sky, shines in a light onto the dark recesses of female oppression and abuse around the world. The book has since been called a classic, a call to arms, and even comparable in significance to Rachel Carson's Silent Spring. Carolyn Seen of the Washington Post called it one of the most important books she had ever reviewed, as did Counter Punch's Charles Larson.

Awards and recognition
1989 - George Polk Award for Foreign Reporting (on human rights and environmental issues).
1990 - Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting (with Sheryl WuDunn)
2006 - Media Web's Journalist of the Year
2007 - Fred Cuny Award for Prevention of Deaadly Conflict
2007 - U.S. News & World Report: one of "America's Best Leaders."
2008 - Anne Frank Award
2009 - Dayton Literary Peace Prize Lifetime Award (with WuDunn)
2009 - World of Children Lifetime Achievement Award (with WuDunn)
2011 - Harvard Kennedy School / Washington Post: one of seven "Top American Leaders."
2013 - Advancing Global Health Award from Seattle Biomed
2013 - Goldsmith Award for Career Excellence in Journalism by Harvard University
2013 - International Freedom Conductor by the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. (The prevous "Conductor" was the Dalai Lama.)
(Author bio adapted from Wikipedia. Retrieved 1/17/2016.)

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