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Nobel Peace Laureate Maria Ressa

The McFarland Center for Religion, Ethics and Culture and the Office of the President welcome journalist, author and freedom advocate Maria Ressa to campus. Her courage and work to fight disinformation and "fake news" culminated in being awarded the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of her "efforts to safeguard freedom of expression, which is a precondition for democracy and lasting peace."

Banner image features a head and shoulders portrait of Ressa on the right in a purple and gold duotone with event information to the left.

What are you willing to sacrifice for the Truth?

Note: Due to circumstances beyond our control, this event has been canceled.

Co-founder and CEO of, a leading independent digital news organization in the Philippines, Maria Ressa illuminates the dangers of corruption, disinformation and social media's capacity to deceive. She challenges each of us to consider our personal responsibility to uphold the Truth.

Ambassador Harry K. Thomas, Jr. '78, a member of the Holy Cross Board of Trustees who served as ambassador to the Philippines from 2010-2013, will introduce Ressa. 

Directly following her address, Ressa sits down with Holy Cross President Vincent Rougeau to talk about what she sees as the biggest threats to democracy and what actions could save it.

There will also be a book signing with her new book, "How to Stand Up to a Dictator," with copies available for sale from Bedlam Book Cafe.

Originally scheduled to visit Holy Cross in Spring 2022, Ressa had to cancel after the courts denied her request to travel outside the Philippines. Previously, she had been arrested on 10 charges related to exposing then-president Rodrigo Duterte government’s corrupt practices and was convicted of cyber libel in 2020. She is appealing her case to the Philippine Supreme Court. Earlier this year, she was acquitted of four counts of tax evasion.

About Maria Ressa

Maria Ressa

Maria Ressa is the co-founder, CEO and executive editor of, an online news organization in the Philippines. A journalist for over 35 years, she previously served as CNN’s bureau chief in Manila and worked as CNN’s lead investigative reporter focusing on terrorism in Jakarta.

Ressa also is part of the founding group of The Real Facebook Oversight Board – composed of 25 academics, journalists, and activists that will rival the social media platform’s board.

In addition to the Nobel Peace Prize, her numerous awards include being named Time’s Person of the Year and winning the prestigious Golden Pen of Freedom Award from the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers in 2018. In 2021, UNESCO awarded her the Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize.

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