Recently released Iranian-American journalist and Medill alumna Roxana Saberi was awarded the Medill Medal for Courage in Journalism at the June 20 convocation of Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism.
Saberi, who until May 11 was in an Iranian prison, delivered brief remarks at the convocation ceremony. Katharine Weymouth, CEO and publisher of the Washington Post, was the event's featured speaker.
Saberi -- who earned a master's degree in journalism from Medill in 1999 -- worked as a journalist for National Public Radio, British Broadcasting Corp. and other news outlets until her arrest by the Iranian government in February.
On April 18, she was convicted of espionage, and sentenced to eight years in prison. Saberi was released when an appeals court suspended her sentence to two years.
"We are honored to welcome Roxana Saberi home to Medill and recognize her courage both as an alumna and as a dedicated journalist," said Medill Dean John Lavine.
Throughout Saberi's ordeal, Northwestern and Medill faculty, staff and students spoke out against her imprisonment and, on April 23, held a rally in support of her release.
Medill annually awards its Medal for Courage for outstanding moral, ethical or physical courage in pursuit of a story to an individual or team of journalists working for a U.S.-based news outlet. The decision to award a special, out-of-cycle medal is a testament to Saberi's personal and journalistic resilience.
The 2008 medal winner was Cleveland Plain Dealer journalist Joanna Connors for "Beyond Rape: A Survivor's Journey." That series explored not only trauma Connors experienced but also issues of race and privilege raised by the crime against her.