Ward Chamberlin to be honored with a 2008 Hubert H. Humphrey Public Leadership Award

Ward Chamberlin, Public Broadcasting pioneer and co-founder of AFS Intercultural programs, to be honored with a 2008 Hubert H. Humphrey Public Leadership Award

PBS News [Press Releases]


ARLINGTON, VA / NEW YORK, NY, March 18, 2008 – Today, PBS (the Public Broadcasting Service) congratulated Ward B. Chamberlin, Jr., public broadcasting pioneer and co-founder of AFS Intercultural Programs, on being named as the recipient of the dean’s award at the 2008 Hubert H. Humphrey Public Leadership Awards. The honor will be conferred during the annual ceremony on June 3, 2008. The public leadership awards honor individuals, organizations, or projects that have made contributions to the common good through public leadership and service. Previous dean’s award winners include Madeleine Albright, Lee Hamilton and Jim Thompson of the 9/11 Commission, and Senator George Mitchell. Mr. Chamberlin will be honored alongside local leaders to be selected this spring through a nomination process.

Mr. Chamberlin was one of the founders of public broadcasting in the United States. From its inception in 1967, he served as the operating officer of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), and in that capacity he played a major role in the creation of PBS and of National Public Radio (NPR). In the past thirty years, he has held posts of major responsibility in public service media, including executive roles at WNET/Thirteen, American Playhouse, American Documentary/P.O.V., PBS, WETA/Washington, DC and served on the Board of Directors of NPR.

He is also a founding member of the AFS Scholarship Programs which is now known as AFS Intercultural Programs, one of the world’s largest not-for-profit, community-based volunteer organizations providing intercultural learning opportunities to help people develop the knowledge, skills, and understanding needed to create a more just and peaceful world.

“I am delighted that Ward Chamberlin has agreed to receive the Dean’s Award,” said Humphrey Institute Dean J. Brian Atwood, Chairperson of the AFS International Board of Trustees. “This is a great opportunity to honor his very distinguished career as a WWII veteran, a founder of AFS, the best and largest youth exchange program in the world, and public broadcasting leader. Ward is a great citizen of the world.”

“I am thrilled at this award,” said Mr. Chamberlin. “Hubert Humphrey has long since been a hero of mine and the Humphrey Institute carries forward his concept of liberal democracy. Minnesota and Minneapolis were early and enthusiastic supporters of the AFS student program and of public television and radio.”

“Ward’s contributions to public broadcasting are legion – from helping bring Ken Burns’s ‘The Civil War’ to the airwaves to ensuring independent film remains an integral part of public television,” said Paula Kerger, President and CEO of PBS. “On a personal note, he has served as a mentor to me and countless other public broadcasting colleagues. PBS is proud to be part of Ward’s legacy. We congratulate him on this honor.”

Mr. Chamberlin served as the operating officer for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting since its inception in 1967, and in that capacity he played a major role in the creation of PBS and NPR. In the past thirty years he has held key positions in this industry as vice president and managing director of Thirteen/WNET in New York, a member of NPR’s board of directors, and president and CEO of WETA in Washington D.C.

His volunteer service during World War II led inspired the creation of AFS Intercultural Programs. Chamberlin was among the members of the American Field Service who reconvened in 1946 to transform an organization of volunteer ambulance drivers—who transported the wounded to safety during the two World Wars—into an organization that seeks to promote peace and understanding through intercultural youth education exchanges. For more than sixty years, Chamberlin has remained involved in this effort, as former chairperson and as a life trustee of the board.

Tickets for the Hubert H. Humphrey Public Leadership Awards dinner and program will soon go on sale. Visit www.hhh.umn.edu/news/leadership_awards/ for more information.

About PBS

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– PBS –

Remembering Ward Chamberlin