BINGHAMTON, N.Y .– Binghamton University’s Institute for Genocide and Mass Atrocity Prevention (I-GMAP) will award the inaugural Nadia Rubaii Memorial Prize to Filipino-American journalist and 2021 Nobel Peace Prize-winner Maria Ressa at 5 p.m. Friday, April 14, in the Anderson Center’s Chamber Hall, on campus. The event is free and open to the public.The prize honors Ressa’s work in promoting atrocity prevention through defending free media in the Philippines and around the world. As part of the award ceremony, she will deliver a keynote address for I-GMAP’s 2023 Frontiers of Prevention meeting, an international gathering of atrocity prevention scholars, practitioners and policymakers.
The prize is named in honor of I-GMAP’s co-founder and former co-director Nadia Rubaii. Before her untimely death in 2022, Rubaii was a professor and practitioner of public administration at Binghamton University. For decades, her work focused on helping universities and public service organizations better serve diverse publics, be interculturally effective and promote social equity. In 2016, she was handpicked to co-found I-GMAP, alongside her friend and colleague, Max Pensky. The two served as co-directors of I-GMAP and together built the first university-based institute of its kind with an exclusive focus on the prevention of genocide and other mass atrocities.
“I am so delighted that Maria Ressa will come to Binghamton University to receive the first Nadia Rubaii Memorial Prize,” said Pensky. “Maria’s courage in standing up for truth and democracy is an inspiration for people around the world. I can’t imagine a better way to honor the values and spirit that Nadia brought to our work here at I-GMAP.”
The Nadia Rubaii Memorial Prize will be awarded annually to an individual who best represents Rubaii’s commitment to the promotion of human rights and the prevention of genocide, mass atrocities and all forms of identity-based violence. The award will be presented each year during the annual Frontiers in Prevention meeting, during which leaders from around the world gather at Binghamton University to discuss contemporary challenges and lessons learned in the field of atrocity prevention.
Ressa is the co-recipient of the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize for her work defending freedom of expression and democracy. She is CEO, co-founder and president of Rappler, the Philippines’ top digital news site, and has been a journalist in Asia for over 36 years. She was TIME magazine’s Person of the Year in 2018 and won the UNESCO World Press Freedom Prize in 2021. She began her career as a field reporter, working for top news agencies like CNN. In 2012, she co-founded Rappler in an effort to promote independent journalism that used all the tools of digital media technology.
When nationalist demagogue Rodrigo Duterte was elected president of the Philippines in 2016, Ressa and Rappler reported consistently on his administration’s human rights abuses and extrajudicial killings. As a result, the news organization and Ressa herself were directly targeted by Duterte, and Ressa has been imprisoned multiple times. Even so, Ressa has, in her words, “held the line” and refused to be intimidated by this regime. Despite constant legal challenges and a 2022 shutdown order by the Philippines’ Securities and Exchange Commission, Rappler continues its mission to promote and defend independent journalism as a key pillar of democracy.
Binghamton University established the Institute for Genocide and Mass Atrocity Prevention (I-GMAP) with external donor and institutional support in late 2016. I-GMAP is committed to making Binghamton University a leading actor in the international community of atrocity prevention scholars and practitioners.The three-fold mission of I-GMAP is to increase understanding, develop commitment, and build capacity for effective prevention of genocide and other mass atrocities; to bring all the forces of the University to bear on atrocity prevention, including research, teaching, convening and outreach; and to break down barriers and build bridges between academics and practitioners, across multiple disciplines, and among scholars, policy makers and civil society actors.