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Nicholas  Kristof

Nicholas Kristof

Two-Time Pulitzer Prize-Winning Journalist & Author


How good do you really have to be, to be christened the reporter’s reporter…by other reporters? You have to be Nicholas Kristof – good. After working in France, Kristof began backpacking in Africa and Asia, writing articles to cover his expenses. He’s lived on four continents, reported on six, and traveled to more than 150 countries. During his travels, he has caught malaria, experienced wars, confronted warlords, encountered an Indonesian mob carrying heads on pikes, and survived an African airplane crash. Kristof not only managed to survive and press on, he also won two Pulitzers in the process – advocating human rights and giving a voice, to the voiceless. Read More >

In 1990 Kristof and his wife, Sheryl WuDunn, then also a New York Times journalist, became the first husband-wife team to win a Pulitzer Prize for journalism for their coverage of China’s Tiananmen Square democracy movement. Kristof won his second Pulitzer in 2006 for what the judges called “his graphic, deeply reported columns that, at personal risk, focused attention on genocide in Darfur and that gave voice to the voiceless in other parts of the world.” Kristof and WuDunn have written five best-selling books: Tightrope, Half the Sky, A Path Appears, China Wakes, and Thunder from the East. Oprah Winfrey devoted two full programs to their work, and they have been on countless other television programs. Half the Sky and A Path Appears each inspired a prime-time PBS documentary series. In their new book, Tightrope: Americans Reaching for Hope (2020), they issue a plea to address the crisis in working-class America, while also focusing on solutions to mend a half century of governmental failure. Archbishop Desmond Tutu dubbed Kristof as “an honorary African” for his reporting on conflicts there. President Bill Clinton said, “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.”

After joining The New York Times in 1984, Kristof served as a correspondent in Los Angeles, Hong Kong, Beijing, and Tokyo. He has covered presidential politics, interviewed everyone from President Obama to Iranian President Ahmadinejad, and was the first blogger on The New York Times website. A documentary about him, Reporter, executive-produced by Ben Affleck, aired on HBO, and he has millions of followers on Twitter, Facebook and Google+. Kristof has won innumerable awards including the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, the Anne Frank Award and the Fred Cuny Award for Prevention of Armed Conflict. He also serves on the board of Harvard University and the Association of American Rhodes Scholars. He is currently a candidate for Governor of Oregon.

Jeffrey Toobin of CNN, his Harvard classmate, said of Kristof: "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.” George Clooney, said himself, that he became engaged in Sudan after reading Kristof columns, and traveled with Kristof to the fringes of Darfur – rooming with him on the floor of a cheap hotel – motivating Clooney to make this video of Kristof: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=agLP0hTUC9k

As a speaker, Nicholas Kristof always keeps audiences on the edge of their seats with his moving storytelling and incomparable insights into the events that shape our world. Audiences are captivated by his global adventures and leave inspired to drive change, take on challenges and make a difference. As one lecture series attested, “You could hear a pin drop in the auditorium because he was spellbinding.” Read Less ^

Speaker Videos

How To Make a Difference

HBO Documentary: Reporter Clip

Sharing the World How I See It

Books Over Beer

Lewis & Clark Commencement 2016

Messiah College

Lessons from 30 Years of Covering the World

Speech Topics

Solving Today’s Problems

As a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter covering global humanitarian crises and suffering around the world, New York Times columnist and author Nicholas Kristof thought he had seen it all. But what has surprised him the most are the problems and hopelessness happening right here in the United States. An epidemic of despair, he calls it. But it’s not all bad news. In this talk, Nicolas shares how we can solve today’s problems and make a difference in homelessness, addiction, educational failure and poverty, and how young people are needed to play a crucial role.

Why Students Should Care About the World – And Change It

This generation of students is full of passion to change the world, but they need tools to do so more effectively. Nicholas Kristof offers specific advice, drawn on his years as a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and human rights advocate. His talk provides valuable guidance on whether to start a new organization or join an existing one, how to tell stories and build empathy, and whether to focus on needs at home or those abroad. He argues that although students sometimes perceive the problems of the world as too vast to affect, in fact, it's entirely possible for students to have an impact on the world. And as they help others, they'll also enrich themselves.

Tightrope: Americans Reaching for Hope

Based on their new, critically acclaimed book, Tightrope: Americans Reaching for Hope, Kristof and WuDunn share a harrowing account and detailed look into the epidemic of depression, unemployment, poverty and addiction that is plaguing the working class across America – and the government's failure to address it. Available to speak separately or together, Nick and Sheryl are passionate about giving a voice to the voiceless and telling the hard truths that need to be told. Known for their moving storytelling and incomparable insights into the events that shape our world, they leave audiences inspired to drive change, take on challenges and make a difference.

Healthcare on a Tightrope: The Imperative for Equity

Nick Kristof and Sheryl Wu Dunn’s New York Times bestseller, Tightrope: Americans Reaching for Hope has been called an “absolute must-read for anyone working in the field of healthcare, public policy and public health.” Weaving sobering data about America’s explosion of addiction, chronic disease, and suicide with the moving personal stories of Kristof’s own hometown in rural Oregon and their knowledge of healthcare around the world, the Pulitzer Prize winners provide an unflinching look at the root causes of diseases of despair and America’s declining life expectancy. Their multifaceted solutions champion public health approaches that include greater access to healthcare, understanding the social determinants of health, childhood education, addiction treatment vs. incarceration and addressing the connection between adverse childhood episodes and chronic conditions such as heart disease and diabetes. Appearing individually or together, they place human faces on the impact of approaches and policies, providing a hopeful way forward from a crisis of the vulnerable to greater equity, access and health.

A Path Appears: How an Individual Can Change the World

Nicholas Kristof explores a revolution now underway in philanthropy, giving individuals much greater chance to have impact at home and abroad. Drawing from his best-selling book and PBS documentary, he looks at donations, volunteering and advocacy, as well as hybrids between non-profits and for-profits. He cites the revolution in evidence-based interventions, such as early childhood education – and even introduces rats that have been trained to sniff out land mines as an example of innovation.

Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide

Drawing from his best-selling book, Half the Sky, which became an acclaimed PBS series filmed in 10 countries, Nicholas Kristof contends that the greatest moral challenge of the 21st century, akin to fighting slavery in the 19th century or totalitarianism in the 20th century, is gender inequity around the world.  He explores the kinds of repression women face, including sexual violence, early marriage, female genital mutilation, forced prostitution and maternal mortality, which claims one woman every 90 seconds. He also identifies solutions in health care, education and economic empowerment for women and girls. Above all, he notes that there is a huge gain to be had if a society educates girls and ushers those educated women into the labor force. Kristof also explores areas in which the West has more to do at home to create gender equity, including domestic violence and sex trafficking.

Reporting Sex Trafficking, Genocide & Other Truths of the World

Ever year in America, some 100,000 underage girls are trafficked into the sex trade. These are mostly home-grown American girls, and they are victims of a crime – yet too often, they are the ones arrested even as the pimps and johns go free. Nicholas Kristof has spent decades covering sex trafficking at home and abroad and offers some extraordinary stories and lessons from his work.

Lessons from 30 Years of Covering the World

A two-time Pulitzer Prize winner talks about how he journeyed from a sheep farm in Oregon to covering wars and genocide around the world. Nicholas Kristof invites audiences to wrestle with ethical dilemmas that he faced: Do you help a dissident flee a repressive country, do you lie to a warlord, and should you listen to a president's private conversation with his political adviser that you've inadvertently recorded? Kristof relates his frustrations with what he sees as America's overuse of the military toolbox around the world and underuse of education and women's empowerment toolboxes, and his conviction that women's rights are one of the great challenges worldwide in the 21st century. Finally, he explains how it is that someone can spend decades covering genocide, sex trafficking, leprosy, war and starvation and yet emerge feeling pretty cheery about humanity and about our capacity to do the right thing.