HOUSTON, TX (April 19, 2010) – NBC News Correspondent Janet Shamlian will present Holocaust Museum Houston’s nationally recognized Lyndon Baines Johnson Moral Courage Award this May to author and activist John Prendergast, in recognition of his lifelong mission to end genocide and human rights abuses.
Shamlian will present the award during the Museum’s annual dinner set for Monday, May 3, 2010. Registration begins at 6 p.m., with the dinner at 7 p.m. at the Hilton Americas-Houston, 1600 Lamar St., under the theme “On Our Watch.”
The annual event – one of the city’s largest and most widely recognized philanthropic dinners – supports educational programs of the Museum. Proceeds also enable the Museum to offer free admission to the public almost 365 days a year. Approximately 900 people attended last year’s dinner.
Shamlian’s reports appear on "Today," "NBC Nightly News," and MSNBC. She joined the network in 2005. In her time at NBC, Shamlian has covered a wide range of stories ranging from Hurricane Katrina to the terrorist bombings in London to the Super Bowl.
Prior to joining NBC News, Shamlian worked as an anchor and reporter at WBBM-TV, the CBS affiliate in Chicago. She has also worked as a reporter and anchor for KHOU-TV and KPRC-TV, both in Houston. She started her career at WOOD-TV in Grand Rapids, Mich.
Shamlian is a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism.
Prendergast is co-founder of Enough, a project to end genocide and crimes against humanity at the Center for American Progress, a progressive think tank in Washington, DC. His humanitarian missions have taken him to such war-torn regions as Somalia, Sudan, Uganda, Chad and the Congo in an effort to remind the world of the core lesson of the Holocaust – genocide cannot be allowed to happen on our watch.
During the Clinton administration, Prendergast was involved in a number of peace processes in Africa while he was director of African Affairs at the National Security Council and special advisor at the Department of State. Prendergast has also worked for members of Congress, the United Nations, humanitarian aid agencies, human rights organizations and think tanks.
He has authored eight books on Africa, including "Not on Our Watch," a New York Times bestseller and NAACP non-fiction book of the year that he co-authored with actor Don Cheadle. Prendergast is currently working on two new books for publication by Random House, one that focuses on his 25 years in the Big Brother program, and the other on human rights and peace activism.
Prendergast has helped create several documentaries including: George Clooney's "Sand and Sorrow," Don Cheadle's "Darfur Now," Tracy McGrady's "3 Points" and Emmanuel Jal's "War Child." He also co-produced "Journey into Sunset" about Northern Uganda.
With NBA stars Tracy McGrady, Baron Davis, and Derek Fisher, Prendergast co-founded the Darfur Dream Team Sister Schools Program, which connects schools in the United States with schools in the Darfurian refugee camps. He also helped create the Raise Hope for Congo Campaign aimed at ending violence against women and girls in the Congo, and is currently helping to produce a series of videos highlighting the issue of Congo's conflict minerals.
His op-eds have appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today and the International Herald Tribune, and he has been profiled in Vanity Fair, Men's Vogue, Entertainment Weekly, GQ Magazine, Oprah Magazine, Capitol File, The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times and The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Prendergast travels regularly to Africa's war zones on fact-finding missions, peace-making initiatives, and awareness-raising trips. He is part of a fellowship program at St. Mary's College in Maryland, and a visiting professor at the University of San Diego, Eckerd College and the American University in Cairo.
Holocaust Museum Houston created the Lyndon Baines Johnson Moral Courage Award in 1994 in cooperation with the Johnson family.
In 1938, as a young congressman, Johnson stretched the limits of his authority and risked his personal dreams to provide American sanctuary for threatened European Jews. It is because of these acts of moral courage that the Museum proudly named the award in his honor. The award recognizes either a single righteous act or a lifetime of morally courageous behavior.
Previous recipients have included U.S. Sen. John McCain; television producer Norman Lear; the Houston community of Holocaust survivors; the late Daniel Pearl, the Wall Street Journal reporter who was murdered by terrorists in Pakistan; activist Sir Bob Geldof; former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell; former U.S. Sen. Lloyd Bentsen, Jr.; former U.S. Sen. Robert Dole; filmmaker Steven Spielberg; and former U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower, among others.
Chairing this year’s dinner are two of the city’s most respected community leaders, Heidi and David Gerger.
Tables of 10 are available beginning at $6,000. Individual tickets begin at $600 each. To RSVP or to reserve a table, call 713-942-8000, ext. 129, or e-mail HMHDinner@hmh.org.
Holocaust Museum Houston is dedicated to educating people about the Holocaust, remembering the 6 million Jews and other innocent victims and honoring the survivors' legacy. Using the lessons of the Holocaust and other genocides, the Museum teaches the dangers of hatred, prejudice and apathy.
Holocaust Museum Houston is free and open to the public and is located in Houston’s Museum District at 5401 Caroline St., Houston, TX 77004. For more information about the Museum, call 713-942-8000 or visit www.hmh.org.