Adriane Ohanesian winner of the 2016 Anja Niedringhaus Award


Adriane Ohanesian is the winner of the 2016 Anja Niedringhaus Courage in Photojournalism Award.

This award recognizes the exemplary work of women photojournalists who overcome extraordinary challenges to bring us images of pressing global issues. It was created through a generous grant from the Howard G. Buffett Foundation to pay tribute to the strength and dedication of Pulitzer Prize-winning Associated Press photographer Anja Niedringhaus, who was tragically killed while reporting in Afghanistan in 2014.

“We are proud to recognize this year’s Award honorees, who are a credit to their profession and to Anja’s legacy,” said IWMF Executive Director Elisa Lees Muñoz. “These remarkable and brave women are revealing difficult truths around the world through their pictures, and the Niedringhaus Award celebrates that service.”

“At the end of the day it’s not about me; it’s about the lives of the people in the pictures,” Ohanesian said. “My photographs document what I’ve seen in isolated areas of the world. I hope the people I photograph feel that these photos communicate their circumstances to the outside world. It takes a massive amount of trust on the part of my subjects to know that I’m accurately representing them and their story.”

The Award jury, comprised of leading photo editors from The Associated Press, The New York Times, and VII Photo, gave Ohanesian the top prize for her “evocative images and tenacious dedication to documenting the effects of conflict on citizens in perilous regions.” They continued, “her perceptive, compassionate eye offers an extraordinarily personal glimpse into places the global community may not otherwise see.”

Honorable mention London-based Lynsey Addario, who won a Pulitzer Prize in 2009 as part of a team at the New York Times and has covered the Syrian crisis for the past four years, was recognized by the jury for her portfolio of powerful images documenting humanitarian crises in Afghanistan, Iraq, Italy, the Philippines, South Sudan, Uganda, and Ukraine. Bangkok-based veteran Paula Bronstein, whose accolades include a World Press Photo award and Pulitzer nomination, was acknowledged with an honorable mention for her coverage of refugees, natural disasters, and political protests in Thailand, Afghanistan, Greece, Hong Kong, and Nepal.

Cover : © Adriane Ohanesian – Abyei, between Sudan and South Sudan – October 2013: Adriane photographing during the referendum celebrations in the disputed territory of Abyei.

About Adriane Ohanesian

Adriane Ohanesian is an American photojournalist based in Nairobi, Kenya. In 2012, she began covering the news in South Sudan for Reuters. She has photographed the Sudanese refugees living in South Sudan, the fighting in the Nuba Mountains of South Kordofan, and the border demarcation and fight over oil between Sudan and South Sudan.

She has continued to document the civil war in South Sudan, fighting in Somalia, clashes in Burundi, and, most recently, the conflict in Darfur, Sudan. Adriane’s ongoing focus has been on the impact that conflict has on isolated civilian populations. She strives to cover all aspects of conflict, often exploring the isolation and desperation of people who have no other choice but to endure the reality of life within a war zone.

Adriane Ohanesian attended the Eddie Adams workshop in 2014, where she received an award from National Geographic. She has also been recognized as one of Magnum Photo’s top ’30 under 30′ and received LensCulture’s Emerging Talent award for her photographs of women soldiers in rebel-controlled Kachin, Myanmar.

In 2015, she was selected as one of Getty Images Emerging Photographers, and in 2016, she won a World Press Photo award for her work in Darfur. Ohanesian’s photographs have been published by Al Jazeera, The Wall Street Journal, National Geographic, the New Yorker, and TIME.

Adriane received her B.A. in Cultural Anthropology and conflict resolution from Colorado College in 2008 and graduated from the International Center of Photography’s photojournalism and documentary photography program in 2010. Upon the completion of her degree, she moved to Sudan and has been photographing mainly in Africa ever since.

About the IWMF

The International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF) is dedicated to strengthening the role of women journalists worldwide. Since 1990, the foundation has celebrated the courage of women journalists who overcome threats and oppression to report and bear witness to global issues.

Learn more at

Adriane Ohanesian© Adriane Ohanesian
South Kordofan, Sudan, April 25, 2012: Adriane photographs a house in the Nuba Mountains which is still burning after it was bombed by a Sudanese government’s fighter jet.

Adriane Ohanesian© Adriane Ohanesian
South Kordofan, Sudan — April 24, 2012: Adriane photographs inside of a cave where civilians are living in order to seek shelter from the government’s continued bombing campaigns in the Nuba Mountains.

Adriane Ohanesian© Adriane Ohanesian
Darfur, Sudan — March 5, 2015: Adriane rides a donkey that carried her through the Marra Mountains of rebel-controlled Darfur.

Adriane Ohanesian© Adriane Ohanesian
Marra Mountains of Darfur, Sudan – March 5, 2015: Adriane photographs the Sudan Liberation Army, the rebel group led by Abdul Wahid (SLA-AW).

Adriane Ohanesian© Adriane Ohanesian
Headshot, Adriane Ohanesian

Adriane Ohanesian© Adriane Ohanesian
Obock, Djibouti – January 12, 2016: A young Ethiopian girl walks towards a meeting with other migrants and their smugglers in the hope of making it onto one of the illegal boats that will bring her to Yemen and then on to Saudi Arabia.

Adriane Ohanesian© Adriane Ohanesian
Obock, Djibouti – January 12, 2016: Ethiopian migrants waiting to be smuggled by boat to Yemen, and eventually find their way to Saudi Arabia in search of work, live under a tree outside of the town of Obock.

Adriane Ohanesian© Adriane Ohanesian
Obock, Djibouti – January 13, 2016: A mother who fled the war in Yemen with her three children, comforts her baby who is sick and can not access medicine in the refugee camp.

Adriane Ohanesian© Adriane Ohanesian
Mogadishu, Somalia – May 4, 2014: Men believed to be members of al Shabaab’s assassination and security group, Amniyat, sit in the street after being arrested by Somali National Intelligence during a cordon and search operation.

Adriane Ohanesian© Adriane Ohanesian
Munuki West, South Sudan – January 19, 2014: SPLA government soldiers looted and burned civilian houses of people from the Nuer tribe, setting the stage for the current civil war in the Juba neighborhood.

Adriane Ohanesian© Adriane Ohanesian
Central Darfur, Sudan – February 27, 2015: Adam Abdel, age 7, was badly burned when a bomb dropped on February 12, 2015 by a Sudanese government’s Antonov plane, landed next to his family’s home in Burgu, Central Darfur.

Adriane Ohanesian© Adriane Ohanesian
Central Darfur, Sudan – March 4, 2015: Members of the rebel group, the Sudan Liberation Army, led by Abdul Wahid (SLA-AW), defend a mountain from the Sudanese government forces in Central Darfur.

Adriane Ohanesian© Adriane Ohanesian
Central Darfur, Sudan – March 2, 2015: Hundreds of women and children who have fled the fighting or are seeking shelter from the continued bombing by the Sudanese government’s forces, live in a cave.

Adriane Ohanesian© Adriane Ohanesian
Central Darfur – March 2, 2015: Women and children sit outside of a cave where they have fled to escape bombing by the Sudanese government’s forces inside rebel-held territory in Central Darfur.

Adriane Ohanesian© Adriane Ohanesian
Central Darfur – March 4, 2015: The Sudan Liberation Army led by Abdul Wahid (SLA-AW) climb towards the front lines in the last rebel-held territory in Central Darfur.


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