Thalif Deen, UN Bureau Chief for Inter Press Service (IPS) news agency and Regional Director North America, won one of the highest honours for excellence in UN reporting at the annual awards ceremony hosted by the UN Correspondents’ Association (UNCA) in New York.
Deen shared the top prize, a gold medal, with Reuters UN Bureau Chief Louis Charbonneau, for coverage of the humanitarian and development work of the United Nations. The prize was sponsored by the United Nations Foundation, a non-governmental organisation which is a strong advocate of the world body and its development agenda.
The winners were picked from over 120 entries from journalists worldwide. Last year, Deen was part of an IPS team that won the gold for reporting on the global environment. The annual UNCA awards go back to 1992. Deen won a bronze medal in 1997, sharing the award with the Washington Post, and received a honourable mention for his UN coverage in 1996.
A former senior editorial writer on the Hongkong Standard and Military Editor
Middle East/Africa at Jane’s Information Group, Deen was a one-time UN correspondent for Asiaweek, Hongkong and Jane’s Defence Weekly London. A former staffer of the UN Secretariat and twice a member of the Sri Lanka delegation to the General Assembly sessions, he is a Fulbright scholar with a Master’s Degree in Journalism from Columbia University, New York.
The award ceremony, which took place December 18, was followed by a black-tie dinner at the Cipriani Restaurant and attended by over 600 guests, including UN ambassadors, senior UN officials, journalists, New York city’s glitterati and A-list celebrities in show business.
The Correspondents’ Association also gave two special awards: one to Hollywood movie icon Michael Douglas — the Global Citizen of the Year award — for his commitment to nuclear disarmament, and to singer, musician and song writer Stevie Wonder — the Global Advocate of the Year Award — for his commitment to humanitarian causes.More about: Global, North America and the Caribbean, United Nations