May 3, 2023 – The New Humanitarian, a nonprofit news organization that reports from the heart of conflicts and disasters, has been selected to receive the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative’s 2023 Elisabeth B. Weintz Humanitarian Award.
This is the first time that the award is being given to an institution instead of an individual. Award nominees are selected based on their extraordinary contribution toward alleviating human suffering.
Heba Aly, CEO of The New Humanitarian, will receive the award on behalf of the organization during a May 11 event organized in collaboration with The Studio at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. At the event, Aly will share her personal experience reporting from conflict zones as well as her leadership of The New Humanitarian.
The Weintz Award celebrates the memory of Elisabeth “Betsy” Weintz, a former member of Harvard Chan School’s Leadership Council, whose support led to the founding of HHI. Commenting on the award, Aly said, “We are proud and honored that our journalism is so valued. This kind of recognition is a reminder of the importance of telling the stories of the communities affected by crises around the world, and critically examining the way the humanitarian aid sector works.”
Previous recipients of the Weintz Award have been individuals; most recently, Bryan Stevenson, executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative, received the award in 2019. This year, The New Humanitarian was chosen for its “remarkable contribution as a leading trusted news source for policymakers and practitioners in humanitarian response,” according to an HHI announcement. “By challenging dominant narratives and exposing inconsistencies, corruption, and system failures, The New Humanitarian’s journalism has led to concrete changes and kept neglected crises in the media spotlight and on the policy agenda.”
The New Humanitarian has reported on a wide variety of key issues, including migration, climate change, the invasion of Ukraine, COVID-19, sexual exploitation, governments’ reluctance to admit to humanitarian crises, and corruption among aid agencies.
Aly, a multimedia journalist by training, spent a decade reporting from conflict zones in the Middle East, Africa, and Central Asia. She joined The New Humanitarian, then IRIN News, in 2011, and played a key role in shepherding its spinoff from the United Nations to become an independent media organization.
Said Aly, “Amid an unprecedented number of simultaneous crises around the world and a media industry in financial crises, our informed and independent lens is more needed than ever. It has never been more important to understand our ever-complex world because we cannot prevent, respond to, or resolve these crises if we do not properly understand them.”