Diane Foley shares a mother's mission to honor a different kind of war hero.
Diane Foley says that she created the James W. Foley Legacy Foundation to preserve her son’s legacy as “a conflict journalist, educator, and humanitarian.” James Foley is shown here in the Sayf al-Dawla neighborhood of Aleppo, Syria, in 2012.
After nearly two years of captivity in Syria, the American war journalist James Foley was executed at the hands of ISIS in 2014. His mother, Diane Foley, tells us why it was so important for her to form the James W. Foley Legacy Foundation, which advocates for the safety of freelance conflict journalists and for policies that support the release of American hostages.
Your advocacy through the foundation has had real results. It led to the establishment of the Hostage Recovery Fusion Cell last June. Several Americans, including four from Iran and three from Iraq, have returned home unharmed. However, the silent crisis continues: An unknown number of American hostages are held captive around the world.
Tell us about Hostage US. Along with the Ford Foundation, we funded Hostage US, whose only mission is to support American hostage families. During Jim’s captivity we had nowhere to turn for assistance in understanding how to work with the government agencies involved or even the media.
What message do you hope to send through the foundation? Jim was a vibrant, positive person. He was a passionate American who believed in hope, freedom, and dignity for all. Forming the foundation has been a way to allow his compassion, commitment, and courage to live on. For World Press Freedom Day on May 3, the foundation will screen Jim: The James Foley Story at the Newseum, followed by the inaugural James W. Foley Freedom Awards.