Sebastian Junger is the internationally acclaimed, best-selling author of “WAR,” “The Perfect Storm,” “A Death in Belmont” and “Fire.” He is also the director of the Academy Award-nominated documentary “Restrepo.” As a contributing editor to “Vanity Fair” and as a contributor to “ABC News,” he has covered international news stories and been awarded the National Magazine Award and an SAIS Novartis Prize for Journalism.
“We are incredibly honored to have Sebastian Junger join us for the War Stories Peace Stories Symposium,” said Jamil Simon, the project’s Executive Producer. “Sebastian has the gift of describing the complex and often conflicted thoughts and feelings of soldiers and heroes in extreme situations where they are surrounded by violence. At the same time, his work dramatically changes how the public perceives war. He makes a powerful case for peace and approaches to resolving conflict without violence. We’re excited to have the opportunity to hear from him at the WSPS Symposium.”
As an award-winning journalist reporting on the war from the soldiers’ perspective, Junger and photojournalist Tim Hetherington spent weeks at a time at a remote outpost that saw more combat than almost anywhere else in Afghanistan. This resulted in his best-seller “WAR,” “Restrepo” and a follow-up film, “Korengal.” “Restrepo,” which Junger co-directed with photojournalist Tim Hetherington, was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary and received the 2010 Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival. Hetherington was later killed while covering the war in Libya.
Following Hetherington’s untimely death, Junger returned to Park City, Utah to debut the film, “Which Way is the Front Line From Here? The Life and Time of Tim Hetherington,” with high commendations at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival. Junger created this film in honor of Hetherington’s original vision to capture stories that would broaden viewers’ perceptions of war and serve as a testament to his humanity and courage. Recognizing the dangerous risks frequently taken by freelance photographers and reporters, Junger was motivated to create Reporters Instructed in Saving Colleagues (RISC), an organization that provides medical training for journalists in war zones and serves as a powerful memorial Hetherington.
Junger’s 2017 documentary feature “Hell on Earth: The Fall of Syria and the Rise of ISIS,” premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival. Culled from nearly 1,000 hours of stunningly visceral footage, the film explores the horrific conditions refugees face and reveals their humanity and courage in the face of physical threats and hostile politics. Junger captures the Syrian war’s harrowing carnage and socio-political consequences while painting an alarming picture of the West’s role in the creation of ISIS.
Junger’s latest book, “Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging,” investigates the experiences of veterans and proposes that a major cause of pain is not being at war, but coming home. We all have a strong instinct to belong to small groups defined by clear purpose and understanding. In “Tribe,” Junger demonstrates how this tribal connection has been largely lost in modern society.
War Stories Peace Stories, a new initiative dedicated to exploring the potential of journalism to change the world, launches on April 11 with a daylong symposium for members of the media and peacebuilding communities. The event will feature internationally known editors and reporters and includes opportunities for journalists to apply for grants for projects that tell stories of peace in conflict areas of the world.
Additional speakers and panelists will be announced in the coming weeks.