Washington, DC Exhibit of Austin’s Syrian Photographs

Austin Tice: Children of Syria

ICC Galleria, April 23-30, 2018

An introduction to the exhibition with the Tice family and SFS Dean Joel Hellman will be held on Monday, April 23rd at 1:00pm in the ICC Galleria.

In 2012, Austin Tice (SFS ’02) –– a Georgetown alumnus, freelance journalist, and veteran captain in the U.S. Marine Corps from Houston, Texas –– traveled to Syria to report on the unfolding crisis for McClatchy News, CBS, The Washington Post, and other publications. He traveled extensively across the country to cover various aspects of the Syrian revolution for these media outlets, earning a George Polk Award for War Reporting and McClatchy President’s Award for Journalism Excellence. Tice was scheduled to begin his final year at the Georgetown University Law Center that autumn, but he was taken captive by unknown persons near Damascus in August 2012. He remains missing more than five and a half years later.

An exhibition of Austin’s photographs from Syria will be on display in the ICC Galleria from April 23rd to 30th.

Thank you to the Tice family, the Georgetown University Office of Federal Relations, and the Georgetown University Journalism Program for support in setting up this exhibition.
August 14, 2017
August 11, 2017

CBS This Morning

August 10, 2017

August 01, 2017

‘There’s no doubt in my mind that he’s coming home’: Mother of US journalist Austin Tice – kidnapped in Syria in 2012 – shares the family’s heartbreak, optimism and perseverance on the fifth anniversary of his abduction

  • Texas native and Georgetown Law student Austin Tice disappeared in Syria in August 2012, three days after his 31st birthday
  • A former Marine, he wanted to spend his final ‘free summer’ before finishing law school telling the stories of the Syrian people caught up in warfare
  • Tice was in contact with family and friends daily before vanishing and enjoyed hearing the mundane facts of life from home
  • It is unclear who abducted Tice, where he is being held and by whom
  • A video surfaced weeks after his abduction showing Tice blindfolded and held captive – but nothing has been heard from the journalist or his captors since
  • His parents, Debra and Marc, have been lobbying with his six siblings to bring Tice home – and will celebrate his 36th birthday as if he were present
  • The family have kept diaries and correspondence to share with Tice when he returns – and are asking for birthday cards to be sent to their abducted son

By Sheila Flynn For Dailymail.com

PUBLISHED: 08:51 EDT, 2 August 2017 | UPDATED: 09:10 EDT, 2 August 2017

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4750948/Mother-Austin-Tice-kidnapped-Syria-anniversary-abduction.html#ixzz4odnazEYO 
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July 21, 2017
Ghinwa Obeid| The Daily Star
BEIRUT: The family of kidnapped American journalist Austin Tice Thursday issued indicated their willingness to do anything to secure his release in a direct appeal to his captors just weeks before he enters his sixth year of captivity in Syria. Debra and Marc Tice also called on the governments of the United States and Syria to work to locate their son, who has been missing since being kidnapped on August 14, 2012, while reporting in Syria.
“We are willing to engage with any government, any group, any individual who can help us in this effort to secure Austin’s safe release,” Marc Tice said during a news conference held at the Press Club in Beirut’s Furn al-Shubbak.
The family pleaded with those holding Austin for another chance to communicate.
Tice, a Texan, headed to Syria as a freelance journalist to report on the conflict that began there in 2011.
His family said that he headed south of Damascus in August 2012 to work on stories and was planning to return to Lebanon on Augl. 14, before he went missing.
A 43-second video, titled “Austin Tice is Alive,” emerged six weeks after his disappearance, showing him held by a group of gunmen.
His parents have traveled to Washington on several occasions to press the U.S. government on the matter, and they have also visited Damascus in search of their son.
“I have spent extended time in Damascus as part of our effort to make contact with people who can help us and with anyone who might have information about Austin,” Debra said Thursday.
She added that her last trip to Damascus was in 2015. She has not managed to return to Syria since then due to visa issues.
The family said that both the U.S. and Syrian governments have assured them that they are doing everything they can to secure Tice’s safe release.
“But of course, the only proof of this commitment would be Austin’s safe return to his family,” Marc Tice said. “Even so, we don’t dare to rely solely on government efforts. We are open to pursuing any channel and any opportunity that will bring out son safely home and we continue to seek the help of any group or any person who has the ability to help Austin.”
Alexandra al-Khazen, head of the Middle East desk at Reporters Without Borders, said that Tice is the only American journalist still held captive in Syria.
“Due to the courage and the boldness of local and foreign journalists, it can be considered that the events in Syria [constitute] one of the most documented conflicts,” Khazen said during Thursday’s news conference.
“We consider Syria to be the most dangerous [place for] journalists’ safety,” Khazen said, noting that journalists in Syria are targeted by various sides in the complicated conflict.
The civil war has claimed the lives of many reporters, while others have gone missing. Lebanese cameraman Samir Kassab was kidnapped near Aleppo in 2013 and his whereabouts are still unknown.
Ayman Mhanna, the executive director of the Samir Kassir Foundation, issued a call for anyone who has any information about Tice to share it with the organization.
“We have hope that Tice will return,” Mhanna said.
“His safe return and his release [would] constitute a message of hope for everyone. It [would] constitute a message of hope for every journalist in the [region].”
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on July 21, 2017, on page 3.

July 20, 2017

Marc and Debra Tice, parents of U.S. journalist Austin Tice, who was kidnapped in Syria nearly five years prior, hold a press conference in the Lebanese capital, Beirut, on July 20.JOSEPH EID/AFP/GETTY


BY  ON 7/20/17 AT 8:27 AM

The parents of American journalist Austin Tice made a fresh call for his release on Thursday, years after he went missing in Syria while covering uprisings against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

“We are willing to engage with any government, any group, any individual who can help us in this effort to secure Austin’s safe release,” his father, Marc, told reporters at a Beirut press conference.

“When any journalist is silenced, we’re all blindfolded.”

A Houston native, Tice was a freelance journalist operating in Syria when he was kidnapped in Damascus in August 2012 at the age of 31. His status and the identity of those who kidnapped him both remain unknown. The former marine’s only appearance after his abduction was in a brief 2012 video, when he appeared with armed men.

But his family has not given up hope and believe he is still alive in Syria, despite no proof that he is.

“Five years is a very long time for any parent to be missing their child…. We desperately want him to come home,” his mother, Debra, told the news conference.

The Syrian conflict, which began with protests opposing Assad in March 2011, has left more than 400,000 people dead and millions displaced.

It quickly became one of the most dangerous arenas for journalists. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, 109 journalists have been killed in the country since the start of the war.

The rise of the Islamic State militant group (ISIS) in 2014 saw several Western journalists, including James Foley and Steven Sotloff, kidnapped and beheaded in gruesome propaganda videos that captured the attention of the world.

But it is not thought that Tice is in the hands of the jihadi group because he was captured before its rise, and it has typically presented its hostages in propaganda. Tice has not appeared in any of its releases in the three years since its rise.

The Trump administration has started attempts to secure his release from Syrian captivity, opening a dialogue with Damascus about his whereabouts. But the Assad regime says that it has no information about him.

July 20, 2017

Parents of US reporter missing in Syria urge captors to reach out


PUBLISHED: 07:21 EDT, 20 July 2017 | UPDATED: 07:21 EDT, 20 July 2017

Debra Tice (R), mother of US journalist Austin Tice who was kidnapped in Syria five years prior, speaks during a press conference with her husband Marc in the Lebanese capital Beirut on July 20, 2017

The parents of Austin Tice, a freelance reporter who went missing in Syria nearly five years ago, urged their son’s captors on Thursday for “another chance” to negotiate his release.

Speaking in Beirut, Marc and Debra Tice said they were encouraged by the US administration’s efforts to get their son home, but that it was not enough.

“We now plead with those holding Austin to reach out to us again and give us another chance to communicate,” Debra Tice said.

“Whoever, wherever, whatever. We will do it to bring our son home.”

Tice, a freelance reporter who contributed to outlets including AFP, McClatchy and The Washington Post, went missing on August 14, 2012 near Damascus.

He is believed to the only American journalist currently held in Syria, which Reporters Without Borders has identified as the most dangerous country for news media in recent years.

His parents say they have not received claims of responsibility for his disappearance nor any demands.

Syria’s government has denied it is holding him.

Last month, the New York Times reported that a CIA back channel with Syrian intelligence had rekindled hopes for Tice’s release.

Citing former US officials, the Times said the talks were scrapped after a suspected chemical weapons attack on a rebel-held town in April.

Washington blamed the attack on the Syrian regime and US President Donald Trump ordered a major air strike on the base from which it was allegedly launched.

Tice’s father declined to comment on reports of the back channel, but said he was “very encouraged by the speed and engagement of the new administration.”

While both the US and Syrian governments have assured the Tices they are doing their utmost to bring Austin home, his parents said they “don’t dare rely solely on government efforts.”

“The key thing is that his captors reach out to us so we can begin to communicate… No one is doing all they can do because Austin is still being held captive,” Marc Tice said.

Tice will turn 36 on August 11, and his parents invited the public to send them birthday cards and messages.”We love you unconditionally, the same as the day that we knew you existed before you were ever even born,” his mother said, addressing her son.

“We’re ready. We’re waiting. We’ll get you home. You hang in there.”

June 28, 2017
December 9, 2016

Senator John Cornyn

United States Senator – Texas
For Immediate Release
CONTACT: Drew Brandewie, (202) 224-0704
Ben Voelkel, (202) 224-0704
Friday, December 9, 2016
Cornyn: Time to Bring Austin Tice Home
‘Mr. O’Brien and his team informed me that they have high confidence that Austin is alive in Syria along with other Americans who are being held captive.’
‘Today’s news should remind us that we cannot give up until we bring Austin Tice home. I renew once again my call for his immediate release by his captors, and I strongly urge the current and future Administration to continue to utilize all possible means to secure his safe return.’
WASHINGTON – Today on the Senate floor U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) announced that Obama Administration officials believe captured journalist Austin Tice is alive in Syria, and called for his safe return home. Excerpts of Sen. Cornyn’s remarks are below, and video of his speech can be found here.

“Mr. President, recently I met with the parents of Austin Tice, a constituent of mine in Texas who has unfortunately been abducted in Syria a few years ago. And of course his parents have been keeping a flame alive, hoping that Austin has survived the circumstances of his capture.” 

“They traveled over from Houston to visit with me about a briefing that they had received recently from James C. O’Brien, the Presidential Envoy for hostage affairs. Just earlier today I had a chance to be briefed by Mr. O’Brien, and he delivered positive yet cautious news about Austin.”

“Mr. O’Brien and his team informed me that they have high confidence that Austin is alive in Syria along with other Americans who are being held captive. While this is certainly positive news, I can’t help but think of his parents and what they have had to go through these last four years. They’re not just counting the months, they’re not just counting the days, but they’re literally counting the minutes and the seconds since he’s been gone and then counting those milestones that we typically observe in our families, birthdays and holidays that they will never recover. 

“So today’s news should remind us that we cannot give up until we bring Austin Tice home. I renew once again my call for his immediate release by his captors, and I strongly urge the current and future Administration to continue to utilize all possible means to secure his safe return.” 

Senator John Cornyn, a Republican from Texas, is a member of the Senate Judiciary and Finance Committees.
November 2, 2016


Debra Tice, Austin Tice's mother, delivers remarks at the banner's unveiling on Nov. 2.Debra Tice, Austin Tice’s mother, delivers remarks at the banner’s unveiling on Nov. 2.

On Nov. 2, the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists, the Newseum and Reporters Without Borders (RSF) unveiled a banner on the Newseum’s facade asking for the safe return of journalist Austin Tice. The banner, which faces Pennsylvania Avenue, features a photo of Tice and the message, “Held captive for being a journalist since August 2012.” Tice is the only American journalist held captive in Syria, according to RSF and other sources.“Austin has been held captive in Syria for 1,542 days,” said Debra Tice, his mother, during a press conference held outside the Newseum to unveil the banner. “His captivity is indicative of the very real dangers journalists face as they exercise the fundamental human right to information, opinion and expression.”

“This banner will stay in front of the Newseum until Austin Tice is released. It will be here if he is not released before Jan. 20, when the next president walks by,” said Jeffrey Herbst, president and CEO of the Newseum.

Delphine Halgand, U.S. director of RSF, and Douglas Jehl, Washington Post foreign editor, also delivered remarks on behalf of their organizations emphasizing their commitment to Tice’s safe return.

After the press conference, Debra Tice said, “This morning, this banner has already done its work. There was a congressman jogging on his lunch hour, he saw the banner, and he stopped… and he offered to get involved in the effort to bring him home.”

Austin Tice went to Syria in 2012 as a freelance journalist to report on the conflict there. His work has been published by McClatchy Co., The Washington Post, The Associated Press, AFP, CBS, NPR and BBC. His reporting earned the 2012 George Polk Award for War Reporting, the 2012 McClatchy President’s Award and the 2015 National Press Club John Aubuchon Press Freedom Award. On Aug. 14, 2012, three days after his 31st birthday, Austin Tice was taken captive as he was preparing to travel from Daraya, near Damascus, Syria, to Beirut, Lebanon. He is alive and he is not being held by ISIS, according to diverse credible sources.


Banner unveiling event at the Newseum Speakers include Debra Tice, Austin Tice’s mother; Jeffrey Herbst, Newseum President and CEO; Delphine Halgand, RSF US Director; and Douglas Jehl, Washington Post Foreign Editor.


Debra Tice speaks about her son Austin

November 1, 2016

Image result for the washington post
Austin Tice’s mother asks her son’s captors to let her know what they expect

Debra Tice is the mother of Austin Tice, an American journalist held captive in Syria. (Jahi Chikwendiu/The Washington Post)
By Carol Morello November 1 

There are many important and scary details that Debra Tice does not know about her son Austin. She has no idea exactly where he is, or who his captors have been since he vanished while reporting in Syria more than four years ago.
But of this, she is certain: Austin Tice is alive, apparently in decent health, and he is being held against his will somewhere in Syria.
“I’m trying to reach whoever is holding him and compel them to realize, it’s time to release him and let him come home,” Tice said Tuesday in an interview in Washington, where she is set to attend the unveiling Wednesday of a banner in her son’s honor at the Newseum.
The banner displays a photo of a smiling Austin Tice, his sunglasses pushed up jauntily on top of his head, and the succinct description of his situation: “Held captive for being a journalist since August 2012.”
It is to remain on the Newseum’s facade until he is returned safely to his family in Houston. Unless he is released before Inauguration Day, the new president will go directly past the banner on the way to and from the Capitol.

Austin Tice, who has contributed to The Washington Post, is one of at least 430 journalists and citizen journalists being held around the world, according to Reporters Without Borders. (Family photo)

“We’re very conscious of our place on Pennsylvania Avenue,” Newseum President Jeffrey Herbst said. “Our role is to bring his cause to the public. I think we’re fulfilling our mission, making sure people know that someone who wanted to inform the world of what’s happening in Syria is still missing.”

According to Reporters Without Borders, at least 430 journalists and citizen journalists are being detained around the world, either by governments or as hostages. Tice is the only American reporter among them.

A handful of countries account for many of the imprisoned reporters on the list. Turkey alone is responsible for jailing at least 130 reporters since a crackdown on the media in the wake of a failed coup in July. The other countries high on the list are China, Iran, Egypt, Vietnam and Syria.

Tice, a former Marine who is now 35, was a freelance reporter whose stories from Syria appeared in The Washington Post, McClatchy and other news outlets. His family has never received any ransom demands. The only time his captors have reached out to prove they had him was six weeks after he disappeared, when they posted a brief YouTube video showing him being led blindfolded up a rocky hillside surrounded by gunmen. He was reciting a Koranic verse in Arabic when he interjected in English, “Oh, Jesus. Oh, Jesus.”

Early in his captivity, there were reports that he had been taken by the Syrian regime. State Department officials have also said that they believe he is in the custody of the government. But lately they have had nothing new to report, and the Syrian government has denied holding Tice or knowing where he is.

Debra Tice said she cannot reveal all that she has learned about her son’s situation without endangering him, but said she believes that he is not being held by antigovernment rebels or Islamic State militants. That leaves the government, or forces loyal to it.

She admits to being frustrated that her son’s plight has not received more attention from the American public, and she said she hopes the Newseum banner changes that.

“In France, when someone is missing, the family expects to hear from the president immediately, and a banner is put up,” she said. “I’ve wondered, where are the banners for Austin?”

She said the Obama administration has been helpful and collaborative since adopting a new hostage policy in 2015 and naming a special hostage envoy. Debra and Marc Tice met with President Obama in July, and he assured the parents that he is committed to their son’s safe return. She holds out hope that it will happen before Obama leaves office in January.

“Austin’s captors have to reach out and let us know what they expect,” she said. “They need to be aware, this is an opportunity. It could be quite a long period of time before they are able to approach a new administration.”

One thing that the past four years have taught her, she said, is that many Americans are apathetic to the danger journalists sometimes face.
“I consider the banner at the Newseum to be a call to Americans to protect and respect journalists,” she said. “Austin’s captivity and the lack of passion about getting him home represents a complacency about journalists. Where do we hear the relentless voice calling for the release of this journalist? Where do we see the counter on TV that’s a piece of our daily bread? This journalist has spent 1,451 days in captivity. It’s appalling.”
Read more:
Austin Tice: ‘It’s nice and all, but please quit telling me to be safe’
Obama administration to stop threatening prosecution of hostage families for paying ransom

July 19, 2016