CBC foreign correspondent Patrick Brown wins CJF Lifetime Achievement Award

Patrick Brown, longtime CBC foreign correspondent whose work has earned him three Gemini awards, will be awarded the Canadian Journalism Foundation’s Lifetime Achievement Award at their annual awards gala on June 7, 2011, in Toronto.

The eight jurors on the Lifetime Achievement Award selection jury reviewed more than 50 nominations before selecting Brown.

“In the midst of the turmoil going on in the world — in Haiti, Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Libya — I’m proud that we’re honouring an outstanding foreign correspondent who’s shown courage throughout his career,” says jury member Bernard Derome. “Patrick possesses a sharp mind, originality and remarkable sensitivity in spite of his renowned stubbornness.”  

Former editor-in-chief and executive director of CBC News, Tony Burman, now managing director of Al Jazeera English, recalls working with “one of the best journalists Canada has ever produced.”

“I have always been in awe of Patrick for his brilliance and professionalism as a journalist. I had the good fortune of working with him in the war zones of Lebanon and in the middle of the cold war intrigues of Europe,” he says. “As a colleague, I learned so much from him in the field. And I know that many Canadians learned about the world from him through his work.”

Born in the United Kingdom, and educated at King Edward’s School, Birmingham, and Downing College, Cambridge, Patrick Brown settled in Montreal in 1971. He joined Radio Canada International as an editor in 1974 and became a national reporter for CBC Radio News in Montreal in 1976. In 1980, Brown moved to London as a foreign correspondent. He served as CBC Bureau Chief in Beijing, China, from 1990 to 1996, and again from 2003 to 2006. In the interim he was based in New Delhi and Bangkok. From 2006 to 2008, Brown was CBC’s Senior Asia Correspondent based in Beijing. He travelled the region producing documentaries and series for CBC Television’s flagship news program The National, and for other CBC News and current affairs programs.

Reporting for CBC and its French-language network SRC in both of Canada’s official languages, Brown has covered major events in dozens of countries in Europe, the Middle East and Asia, including the rise of the Solidarity movement in Poland in 1980, the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982, the collapse of the Marcos dictatorship in The Philippines in 1986, Tiananmen Square and the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the Gulf Wars in 1980, 1990 and 2003, and Afghanistan before during and after the Taliban regime. He is the recipient of three Gemini awards, and the author of the autobiographical Butterfly Mind. Currently, Brown is an independent documentary producer based in Beijing, China.

Brown joins a distinguished group of CJF Lifetime Achievement Award winners. Past recipients include: Lise Bissonnette, Joe Schlesinger, Sally Armstrong, Norman Webster, Knowlton Nash, Pierre Berton (posthumous), June Callwood, Doris Anderson, Trina McQueen, Doug Creighton, Mark Starowicz, Bernard Derome, Peter C. Newman, Peter Gzowski and Robert Fulford.

The Lifetime Achievement Award jury members are: Geoffrey Stevens, chair (Cambridge, Ontario); Miller Ayre (St. John’s); Catherine Bergman (Vancouver and Montreal); Pat Carney (Vancouver); Bernard Derome (Montreal); Dale Eisler (Denver, Colorado); Mary Lou Finlay (Toronto), and Norman Webster (Montreal)

The Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented to Brown at the CJF’s annual awards gala on June 7, 2011 at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel in Toronto. As previously announced, the event will also feature an honorary tribute to Robert MacNeil, famed political correspondent and co-host of the MacNeil/Lehrer Report. Other awards to be presented include the Excellence in Journalism Award, the Greg Clark Award, the Tom Hanson Photojournalism Award, the Canadian Journalism Fellowships, the Atkinson Fellowship in Public Policy and the Martin Wise Goodman Nieman Fellowship.