The International Center for Journalists (ICFJ), in partnership with the Aurora Prize, has named Rukmini Callimachi of The New York Times as the inaugural recipient of its Integrity in Journalism Award. She will receive the award for her exceptional contribution to exposing crimes against humanity during the inaugural ceremony of the Aurora Prize for Awakening Humanity on April 24 in Yerevan, Armenia.
The ICFJ Integrity in Journalism Award celebrates the courage, commitment and impact of a reporter on the front lines of the world’s crisis zones. Recipients demonstrate unrivaled courage in covering the plight of imperiled communities and an unwavering commitment to integrity, freedom and justice.
“Callimachi’s reporting is a shining example of the power of journalism to bring to the world’s attention unthinkable abuses,” said ICFJ President Joyce Barnathan. “Her work provides hope that the victims will be heard and protected.”
Callimachi has exposed the horrific institutionalization of sex slavery by ISIS, linked child labor in gold mines in Senegal to banks in Switzerland, and revealed massacres committed by government forces from the Ivory Coast to Mali. At a time when risks to journalists are at an all-time high, Callimachi is driven by a deep-seated motivation to tell these stories.
“As a journalist, I don’t think that you ever make a concerted decision to put yourself at risk; you are doing your job,” Callimachi said. “The reward is that journalism is like a flashlight, which beams a pool of light on an issue, a crime, a government abuse or another atrocity. I am deeply honored, and humbled to receive this award and I hope that in some small way, my work can illuminate the darkest corners of the world.”
The Integrity in Journalism Award arose from a partnership between ICFJ and 100 LIVES, a pioneering global initiative rooted in the Armenian Genocide that seeks to share remarkable stories of survivors and their saviors, as well as celebrate the strength of the human spirit. 100 LIVES and the Aurora Prize were established to express gratitude to those who put themselves at risk to save Armenians from the genocide one hundred years ago.
“Journalism is one of the strongest tools to illuminate and alleviate human suffering,” said Ruben Vardanyan, co-founder of 100 LIVES and the Aurora Prize. “Ms. Callimachi’s commitment to exposing the atrocious crimes against humanity is truly exemplary. We are proud to be able to honor journalists whose sustained commitment and coverage inspire others to act and intervene.”