Thursday, September 21

Cooper honors Daniel Pearl

Anderson Cooper spoke in Ackerman Grand Ballroom on Sunday as part of an event recognizing the life and mission of deceased journalist Daniel Pearl.

Anderson Cooper spoke in Ackerman Grand Ballroom on Sunday as part of an event recognizing the life and mission of deceased journalist Daniel Pearl. Elaine Hu

Attendees gathered in Ackerman Grand Ballroom Sunday to celebrate the life and mission of journalist Daniel Pearl, and listen to keynote speaker Anderson Cooper in the Seventh Annual Daniel Pearl Memorial Lecture.

Home videos and pictures of Pearl played on screens near the stage, commemorating the life of the Wall Street Journal reporter who was killed in Pakistan in 2002.

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa introduced Cooper, saying that both Cooper and Pearl had an “insatiable hunger for truth” that drove them to the corners of the Earth to which others wouldn’t dream of travelling.

Cooper, a journalist and news anchor for CNN and “60 Minutes,” commemorated the life of Daniel Pearl in his speech. Though he never met Pearl, Cooper said he keeps a picture of him and another fallen journalist on his bulletin board at work as a source of inspiration.

Cooper described his own development as a journalist, starting from being a confused Yale graduate with a political science degree to becoming a renowned reporter who has visited more than 50 countries.

Armed with a home video camera and a fake press pass ““ which a friend made for him ““ Cooper went to places such as Somalia and Burma. He said the tragedies he saw there were his true education.

“I realized that even if I couldn’t actually stop wars, I could give testimony to their lives,” Cooper said.

He described living on the edge of life, running toward the same things that everyone else ran away from.

“Things look different when you’re looking through bulletproof glass,” he said.

After his speech, Cooper answered questions from the audience. He exited to a standing ovation.

“He has been around the world, and not everyone can have that opportunity. However, everyone can make their own mark on the world,” said Erica Vega, a fourth-year psychology student who attended the event.

Judea Pearl, Daniel Pearl’s father and a computer science professor at UCLA, said his son roamed the world with a laptop and a violin.

“He was murdered for what he represented: freedom of the press, a love of America and an unwavering belief in the power of community and information to transform human minds,” he said.

Actor Jon Voight attended the event and said he has been inspired by Pearl’s parents’ ability to cope with their son’s death.

“I believe that death is not the end; it is life after life. I believe Daniel is watching over us and I hope that is of comfort to the Pearls.”

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