The Shorenstein Award, which carries a cash prize of $10,000, honors a journalist not only for a distinguished body of work, but also for the particular way that work has helped American readers to understand the complexities of Asia. It is awarded jointly by the Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center in the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford University, and the Shorenstein Center on Press, Politics, and Public Policy in the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
This year’s recipient is Seth Mydans. Seth Mydans covers Southeast Asia for The New York Times and the International Herald Tribune from his base in Bangkok, Thailand. Since taking up the post in 1996 he has covered the fall of Suharto and rise of democracy in Indonesia; the death of Pol Pot, the demise of the Khmer Rouge and the trauma and slow rebirth of Cambodia; repeated attempts at People Power in the Philippines; the idiosyncracies of Singapore and Malaysia; the long-running political crisis in Thailand and the seemingly endless troubles of Myanmar.
In the 1980s he covered the fall of Marcos and struggles of Corazon Aquino in the Philippines and was in Burma for the massacres that led to the emergence of Aung San Suu Kyi and the current junta.
He worked for a construction company in Vietnam during the war after graduating from Harvard, and has followed the Vietnam story since then, through the exodus of refugees, to their resettlement in the United States, to the shaping of a new post-war Vietnam.