Ami Vitale: Stories That Drive Change Speaker Highlight

A Baby giant panda cub is weighed at the Bifengxia Giant panda base in Sichuan province, China October 24, 2015. Photo by Ami Vitale

A Baby giant panda cub is weighed at the Bifengxia Giant panda base in Sichuan province, China October 24, 2015. Photo by Ami Vitale

The Alexia Foundation visual storytelling seminar Latin America: Stories That Drive Change takes place in exactly one month, on April 8 and 9 at The University of Miami. To celebrate that event, we are going to feature each of our speakers with a special post on our blog.

To begin, we’d like to highlight the phenomenal Ami Vitale. Ami is a National Geographic photographer, a Nikon Ambassador, and a two time recipient of The Alexia grant. In 2000, Vitale received The Alexia professional grant for Tradition, Women’s Rights and Circumcision in Guinea Bissau which looked at how modern life was changing one small village in the African nation. She was awarded a special Alexia grant in 2011 to revisit the story and learn the many ways in which that village had changed in the course of ten years.

For her work, Ami has traveled to more than 90 countries, bearing witness not only to violence and conflict, but also to surreal beauty and the enduring power of the human spirit. Throughout the years, Ami has lived in mud huts and war zones, contracted malaria, and donned a panda suit— keeping true to her belief in the importance of “living the story.”

Eighteen Giant baby panda cubs are brought for a portrait with Director Zhang Hemin, also known as "Papa Panda" at  the Bifengxia Giant panda base in Sichuan province, China October 24, 2015. Photo by Ami Vitale

Eighteen Giant baby panda cubs are brought for a portrait with Director Zhang Hemin, also known as “Papa Panda” at the Bifengxia Giant panda base in Sichuan province, China October 24, 2015. Photo by Ami Vitale

Ami’s photographs have been commissioned by nearly every international publication, and been exhibited around the world. She is a member of Ripple Effect Images and on the Photojournalism Advisory Council for the Alexia Foundation.

She has been the recipient of numerous awards. She has won multiple World Press Photo Awards, most recently in the 2017 contest for Pandas Gone Wild, a story produced for National Geographic about how researchers in China are working to reintroduce captive bred pandas into the wild. She has been named International Photographer of the Year and Magazine Photographer of the Year by the National Press Photographer’s Association and been awarded the Lowell Thomas Award for Travel Journalism and the Daniel Pearl Award for Outstanding Journalism.

Ami has been a keynote speaker for the Adobe Max conference and is a regular presenter for the National Geographic Live series of talks where she speaks about the personal odyssey she has taken to become the photojournalist she is today, and how she strives to tell stories that unite us as a people. Ami is an inspiring individual, a phenomenal photographer and a fantastic speaker. We are beyond excited that she is able to join us for Latin America: Stories That Drive Change.

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