Alumni Profiles

Quest for Freedom
Two alums seek the release of their son from captivity in Syria

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Elise Amendola

James "Jim" Foley, the 39-year-old son of John '70 and Diane '70 Foley, found his true calling a few years ago when he began a second career as a "conflict journalist," bringing to light the conditions on the ground in hot spots around the globe. Last November, he was kidnapped at gunpoint in Syria—which has been named the most dangerous place in the world for foreign journalists—and hasn't been heard from since.

On May 3, World Press Freedom Day, Foley's parents and his employer, GlobalPost, an online international news site, held a high-profile event at Foley's alma mater, Northwestern University, to announce the conclusion of a five-month investigation into his disappearance. Foley, GlobalPost believes, has been captured by a pro-regime militia and detained by the Syrian government. The family has gone public with this information in hopes that anyone with knowledge of Jim's whereabouts will come forward and that the right kind of pressure may bring about his release.

Nicole Tung

"Jim is one of many journalists who are suffering for doing their jobs," says John Foley. "We hope others will join us to help get the word out that many reporters are being unjustly detained." Those interested in supporting the Foley cause can join more than 10,000 others from around the world who have signed an online petition for his release. Visit to find out more.

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