James W. Foley Legacy Foundation to Mark 6th Annual Freedom Awards with Welcome from President Obama

Join Us For A Livestreamed Virtual Event, With Keynote By David Bradley, On August 19th To Honor Our 2020 Awardees

WASHINGTON, DC – The James W. Foley Legacy Foundation will hold its annual Freedom Awards gala on Aug. 19 to honor individuals who have worked to free Americans held hostage abroad and on behalf of press freedom and human rights.

The fundraising awards event will be livestreamed from the National Press Club in Washington, DC and will celebrate the foundation’s 2020 awardees, since the 2020 James W. Foley Freedom Awards could not take place during the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to COVID-19 safety measures currently in place, capacity limitations and social distancing guidelines will limit live attendance. The foundation looks forward to reinstating a larger guest capacity in 2022. 

President Barack Obama will deliver opening remarks. David Bradley, chairman of Atlantic Media and a previous winner of the Foley Hostage Freedom Award, will deliver the keynote address.

“The James W. Foley Legacy Foundation is honored to have President Obama open our 2021 Foley Freedom awards,” said Diane Foley, president and founder of the foundation. “I am deeply grateful to him for his Presidential Policy Directive 30 in June of 2015. This was a major step in making the return of all innocent American hostages and wrongful detainees a national priority.”

Winners of the 2020 awards are:

  • Attorney Jason Poblete who will receive the Hostage Freedom Award for his work to help free several Americans unlawfully detained in Iran and Venezuela, including U.S. permanent resident Nizar Zakka and U.S. citizen Xiyue Wang. They were held for four years and three years respectively by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard.
  • Reporter, filmmaker and researcher Anna Therese Day, who will receive the World Press Freedom Award for her reporting on the ground in the Middle East and the Americas, and for her support of independent journalists as the founder of The Frontline Freelance Register, a representative body for freelance journalists.
  • The Free Burma Rangers, a multi-ethnic humanitarian service movement working to provide critical emergency medical care, shelter, food, clothing and human rights documentation in the conflict zones of Burma, Iraq, Syria and Sudan. The group will receive the Humanitarian Award, which will be accepted by the group’s founder and director Dave Eubank.
  • To mark the fifth anniversary of the awards, a James W. Foley Legacy Achievement Award, A Profile In Moral Courage, will be awarded to Ali Soufan, former FBI agent and founder of The Soufan Center. The foundation will honor Soufan’s critical pro bono work in helping to secure the release of Theo Padnos, who was held by al-Qaeda in Syria, and helping families of the 2014 American hostages achieve accountability for their losses.

“It is our honor to recognize the moral courage and individual contributions of Jason Poblete, Anna Therese Day, the Free Burma Rangers and Ali Soufan,” said Diane Foley. “We salute them for prioritizing the return of every American wrongfully detained or kidnapped abroad, supporting press freedom in the U.S. and around the world, as well as the humanitarian assistance they provide in some of the world’s most dangerous places.”

The foundation, named for freelance journalist James W. Foley who was murdered by ISIS in 2014, advocates for the freedom of all Americans held hostage abroad and develops preventive safety education for journalists working in dangerous areas.

To learn more about the 2021 James W. Foley Freedom Awards, to become a sponsor or register to view the livestream, please visit https://secure.qgiv.com/event/2021foleyfreedomawards/. You may also contact Amy Coyne, director of corporate and community relations, at amy.coyne@jamesfoleyfoundation.org.