WASHINGTON, D.C. - The James W. Foley Legacy Foundation announced today that it has named Margaux Ewen as its new executive director based in Washington with the goal of encouraging attention to its key issues of advocating for the safe return of Americans held hostage abroad and promoting safety for freelance journalists.
Ewen has been with Reporters Without Borders (RSF) for nearly four years, most recently as its North America director. A lawyer with degrees from the Sorbonne in Paris and the George Washington University Law School, Ewen also has worked at the American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative and interned at the Court of Justice for the European Union.
Since its founding in 2014, the James W. Foley Legacy Foundation has been based in New Hampshire, home of the Foley family. It was created after James Foley, the family's oldest son, was held hostage and later beheaded by ISIS while working as a freelance conflict journalist in Syria.
"Our goal is to make the safe return of all Americans kidnapped or unjustly detained abroad a national priority." said Diane Foley, mother of James and founder and president of the foundation. "Having a presence in Washington will enable us to better advocate for hostage families with our government and other experts.
"Margaux's experience with RSF gives her an excellent press freedom background that will aid our mission to protect freelance conflict journalists. We are very pleased to have her on board," Diane Foley said.
"I am truly honored to join the foundation and help carry out its crucial mission of bringing home all Americans unjustly detained or held hostage abroad," said Ewen. "American families, as well as freelance journalists who face growing risks in the field, need our advocacy now more than ever."
By opening a permanent Washington office, the foundation hopes to grow its advocacy activities with both the executive branch and Congress as it continues to promote efforts to bring hostages home safely. It also is working with academic institutions to encourage the use of a safety curriculum it has developed to encourage safe practices among journalists who work in dangerous areas.
The James W. Foley Legacy Foundation has annually held the James W. Foley Freedom Awards fundraiser in Washington, DC to bring government officials, journalists, and hostage families together and to recognize those extraordinary individuals who demonstrate moral courage in government hostage affairs, journalism and humanity. The 2019 awardees are American diplomat Brett McGurk, who will receive the Hostage Advocacy award, Washington Post journalist Jason Rezaian, the Press Freedom award and Dr. Terrence Rynne, founder of the Marquette University Center for Peacemaking, the Humanitarian award.
The 2019 Foley Freedom Awards dinner will be held on April 2 at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. Christiane Amanpour of CNN and PBS will be the keynote speaker. Tickets may be purchased here.
About James W. Foley Legacy Foundation
James W Foley was an independent American conflict journalist who worked extensively across the middle east. He was taken hostage by ISIS in Syria in 2012, and was killed in 2014. His impact on colleagues and friends has been highlighted in the documentary film "Jim: The James Foley Story".
The James W. Foley Legacy Foundation is a registered nonprofit foundation, that supports work in three key areas that were important to Jim's life: American hostage freedom, protection of independent conflict journalists, and education of the public and university students regarding these silent crises.