By Kemi Obando

The Shireen Abu Akleh Emerging Reporter Award in Social Justice Journalism was successfully launched by Carleton University’s School of Journalism and Communication at a tribute concert held on Sept 22, 2023 in the Carleton Dominion-Chalmers Centre. Shireen Abu Akleh was a Palestinian-American journalist who was fatally shot by Israeli military forces while reporting for Al Jazeera at the Jenin Refugee Camp, in the West Bank on the morning of May 11, 2022. Her death sent shockwaves through the journalistic community.

Among those in attendance at the launch event for the new award was Shireen’s brother, Tony Abu Akleh, endowment donors Shawky Fahel and Maher Arar, Mona Abuamara Chief Representative of the Palestinian General Delegation as well as numerous members of the community.

The award launch also featured live music and a tribute song composed by Oud musician, Abdul-Wahab Kayyali.

“The endowment will create a new opportunity for journalism students at the senior undergraduate and graduate level to receive funding to explore issues related to social justice”, said Allan Thompson, Director of Carleton School of Journalism and Communication.

The endowment will generate a reporting award of at least $5,000 each year, in perpetuity to support a social justice journalism project.

In more than 25 years as a correspondent for Al Jazeera, Shireen was a trail blazer, one of the first Arab women to be seen on television covering the conflict in a flak jacket and helmet, clearly marked PRESS.

“We owe so much to Shireen for her contribution over the decades to our collective understanding of what it means to live under occupation”  Thompson said.

Representing the Abu Akleh family, Tony Abu Akleh shared the impact of this award for the next generation of Journalists. He called the award an honor to his sister’s  legacy and thanked Carleton University for its support in endowing this award.

“With a persistent generation like what we have here in Carleton university and all over the world, Shireen’s voice will still be there I will be hearing her voice, every time I watch one of you. One of these journalism students reporting from the field”.

Click here to contribute to the Shireen Abu Akleh Award in Social Justice

Tony Abu Akleh at a reception hosted by Carleton School of Journalism and Communication. Carleton University is the first institution outside of the Middle East to acknowledge and honor Shireen’s legacy through an endowed fund.

The Shireen Abu Akleh tribute concert was held in the august surroundings of the Carleton Dominion-Chalmers Center. Close to 300 Carleton students, faculty and members of the local Ottawa community were in attendance.