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Maria Ressa, Fulbright 1986, named Nobel Peace Prize Laureate


The 2021 Nobel Peace Prize went to noted journalist and author, Maria Ressa, for her “efforts to safeguard freedom of expression,” which, according to the Nobel Prize committee, “is a precondition for democracy and lasting peace.” Maria shares this award with Dmitry Muratov, a citizen of the Russian Federation.

Maria was one of the Philippine-American Educational Foundations’ (PAEF) scholars as a Fulbright graduate student fellow at the University of the Philippines in 1986, where she took up studies in political theater. She later became CNN’s bureau chief in Manila until 1995. In 2012, Maria established Rappler along with a dedicated team of individuals, making the news organization among the first multimedia websites in the Philippines. Maria currently also serves as a member of the “Real Facebook Oversight Board," which monitors Facebook independently through experts who scrutinize Facebook's decisions in a public forum.

President Joe Biden congratulated Maria and Dmitry on their Nobel award, stating that both “have worked to check the abuse of power, expose corruption, and demand transparency.” Secretary Antony Blinken of the U.S. Department of State tweeted his congratulations and commended Maria for her efforts against attempts to stifle freedom of expression. Blinken further said that he had “the pleasure of sitting down with Maria in 2015 while serving as Deputy Secretary of State.”

U.S. Embassy Chargé d’Affaires, a.i. Heather Variava, who also serves as PAEF’s acting honorary chairperson, also congratulated Maria through a tweet and expressed her gratitude for the latter’s “commitment to the basic principles of the free press, which are indispensable to a healthy democracy.”

On behalf of PAEF’s board of directors, the secretariat, and the Fulbright Philippines community, Executive Director July Amador stated his best wishes to Maria Ressa, whose dedication to freedom of expression and freedom of the press exemplifies the Fulbright spirit.