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Mariane Pearl

Fern Holland Award, 2008


Many of us became acquainted with Mariane Pearl because of a tragedy that few of us can bear to even think about, much less have endured: the murder of her husband, Danny Pearl, by terrorists in Pakistan, where he was the South Asia Bureau Chief of the Wall Street Journal.

Mariane’s refusal to be terrorized by Danny’s killers sent a powerful message to the world about the importance of resisting fear and despair, even in the face of terrible violence and division. Her strength and compassion moved us; her grace and courage gave us hope. Today, she is one of our most powerful voices for peace and reconciliation.

Mariane is a journalist. Her writing focuses on people who are often overlooked, particularly the women and children who live in communities plagued by poverty and conflict. She tells their stories in a way that pierces the heart of her readers. Her memoir of her life with Danny, “A Mighty Heart,” was both a celebration of his life and their love, and an urgent call for peace. Today, she is a member of the honorary board of the Daniel Pearl Foundation, which promotes cross-cultural understanding through journalism, music, and dialogue.

Mariane’ s book, “In Search of Hope: The Global Diaries of Mariane Pearl,” a collection of her monthly columns for Glamour magazine, celebrates women who work for change in daunting circumstances, such as an activist fighting sex slavery in Cambodia, an AIDS activist in Uganda, and the president of Liberia, among others. Her book is about other women, but it tells us a great deal about Mariane as well. Angelina Jolie, who portrayed Mariane in the film version of “A Mighty Heart,” wrote in the foreword, “Mariane has taught me not to dwell on problems of focus on the past but to look forward to what can be done. She has been as inspiring to me as these women are to her. Her message seems to be that heroes are everywhere, and we should look to them and listen.”