Our honorees have dedicated their lives to producing excellent work which changes global perspectives and broadens human understanding. We thank them for their labors and laud their success.
Born in Hungary, Kati Marton has combined a career as a reporter and writer with human rights advocacy. From 2003 to 2008 Marton chaired the International Women’s Health Coalition, a global leader in promoting and protecting the health and human rights of women and girls. From 2001 to July 2002 Marton was Chief Advocate for the Office of the Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict at the United Nations. Marton is currently a director and formerly chair of the Committee to Protect Journalists. She served on the Human Rights Watch Board for ten years. She is currently on the board of directors of the International Rescue Committee, the New America Foundation, and Central European University. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, P.E.N. International and the Author’s Guild.
Since 1980, Marton has published eight books and contributed as a reporter to ABC News, Public Broadcasting Services, National Public Radio, The New Yorker, Atlantic Monthly, The Times of London, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, Vanity Fair, and The New Republic. Marton’s 2009 book, a Cold War memoir entitled Enemies of the People - My Family’s Journey to America, published by Simon & Schuster, was a National Book Critics Circle finalist, and is soon to be the subject of a major motion picture. Her latest book, Paris – A Love Story, published in August 2012 by Simon & Schuster, is a memoir with Paris at its heart and love as its theme. Her books have been translated into five languages.
Marton attended Wells College in Aurora, New York, the Sorbonne, and the Institute des Etudes de Science Politiques in Paris. She earned a B.A. in Romance Languages and a M.A. in International Relations from the George Washington University. She won a George Foster Peabody award for a documentary on China. She has received honorary doctorates from Roger Williams University in Rhode Island in 2000 and from Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York in 2009. In 2011 she was awarded the Leo Nevas Human Rights Award from the United Nations Association.
Christo (né Javashev Christo in Bulgaria) has worked since the late 1950’s producing works that consider material, temporality and scale to a degree that it can be said he and his late wife Jeanne-Claude redefined sculpture entirely. After studying in Bulgariaand Vienna, Christo collaborated with Jeanne-Claude to produce temporary works like Stacked Oil Barrels Cologne Harbor (1961) and Wall of Oil Barrels – The Iron Curtain, Rue Visconti, Paris, 1961-62 (1962).
Residing in New York since 1964 Christo and Jeanne-Claude continued to create both large and small works of enormous resonance that often require years to execute. Wrapped Coast, One Million Square Feet, Little Bay, Sydney, Australia, 1968-1969 transformed a seaside cliff into an entire new sculptural form. The ephemeral nature of this massive work lasting only two months, reflects the artists’ wish to add “love and tenderness” to the materials with which they work, noting that human beings love what they know will not last.
Their amazing and very popular The Gates, Central Park, New York City, 1979-2005 existed for 16 exceptional winter days. Christo currently works diligently to accomplish The Mastaba, Project for United Arab Emeriates, and Over the River, Project for the Arkansas River, State of Colorado.