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Baker Prize for Excellence in Leadership: Austin Bennett Tice

Baker Prize for Excellence in Leadership: Austin Bennett Tice

In May 2012, while a student at Georgetown Law School, Austin Tice traveled to Syria as a freelance journalist to report on the country’s ongoing conflict and its impact on the Syrian people. Three months later, he was abducted at a roadside checkpoint while traveling near the Syrian capital, Damascus. After six weeks, a video emerged showing a blindfolded Tice detained by unidentified armed men. In the nearly 10 years since, no one has claimed responsibility for his captivity.

The Tice family, the United States government, and others have reason to believe that Tice is alive and that the Syrian government is best able to assist with his secure release and safe return. 

When Americans are taken hostage abroad, the U.S. government is duty bound to secure their release. However, three different presidential administrations over the last decade have so far been unsuccessful at securing Tice’s freedom.

At this event, Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy honored Austin Tice for his courage and service in reporting on Syria’s violent and tragic civil war. His outstanding work exemplifies the values of the James A. Baker III Prize for Excellence in Leadership. The event marked the eighth time the award had been conferred in the Baker Institute’s 28-year history.

Baker Institute Director Ambassador Edward P. Djerejian provided welcome remarks, followed by the presentation of the prize by former Secretary of State and Baker Institute Honorary Chair James A. Baker, III. Marc and Debra Tice accepted the award on behalf of Tice, their son, before delivering remarks.

Follow @BakerInstitute on Twitter and join the conversation online with #BakerPrize.




6:00 p.m. — Reception
7:00 p.m. — Welcome Remarks
7:05 p.m. — Presentation of Prize
7:15 p.m. — Remarks by Tice Family


Registration for this event has closed.

The James A. Baker III Prize for Excellence in Leadership

The James A. Baker III Prize for Excellence in Leadership recognizes nationally and internationally renowned individuals for outstanding achievements in government, business, science, education or philanthropy. It is awarded to those who exemplify the vision of building “a bridge between the world of ideas and the world of action,” conceived by the Honorable James A. Baker, III, when he established the Baker Institute. Recipients embody the institute’s mission to nurture the ties between academia, government and the private sector. 

2022 Recipient

Austin Bennett Tice is an award-winning journalist and the recipient of the 2012 George Polk Award for War Reporting, the 2012 McClatchy Newspapers President’s Award, and the 2015 National Press Club John Aubuchon Freedom of the Press Award. He is a veteran captain in the United States Marine Corps and a graduate of Georgetown University.





Wed, April 13, 2022
6 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.
(GMT-0500) US/Central


James A. Baker III Hall, Rice University
6100 Main St.
Houston, Texas 77005

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