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Maureen Orth        

Award-Winning Journalist and Special Correspondent for Vanity Fair Magazine

Maureen Orth is an award winning journalist, a Special Correspondent for Vanity Fair Magazine, and the founder of the Marina Orth Foundation which promotes advanced learning in technology and English for over 1200 students.

Orth began her journalism career as the third woman writer at Newsweek in 1972, where she was the pop music writer, the entertainment and lifestyle editor and wrote seven cover stories on such music icons as Bob Dylan, Stevie Wonder and Bruce Springsteen. In the last two decades she has traveled the world for Vanity Fair, reporting on a wide range of both heroes and rogues. Among the heads of state she has interviewed are Vladimir Putin and Margaret Thatcher, Argentine President Carlos Menem, Irish President Mary Robinson and the First Lady of France, Carla Bruni. Over a twelve year period (1994-2006) she made headlines writing five investigative pieces on Michael Jackson. She received a 2011 Front Page Award for her article on the fight over designer Oleg Cassinis will and a national magazine award nomination for her chronicle of the zigzagging career of Arianna Huffington.

Orths investigative story highlighting the role of Afghanistans illegal opium trade in funding terrorism written shortly after 9/11, has been lauded by the Office of Drug Control Policy. In 2008, she interviewed five hostages of FARC guerrillas who were held in the Colombian jungle and rescued by the Colombian military. Orth has been a contributing editor at Vogue, a network correspondent for NBC News, a senior editor for New York and New West magazines and a columnist for New York Woman. She has also contributed to The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Los Angeles Times. She has published two books, the best selling Vulgar Favors about the murder of Gianni Versace, and The Importance of Being Famous, Behind the Scenes of the Celebrity Industrial Complex.

After first building her namesake public school Escuela Marina Orth in the 60s as a Peace Corps volunteer, in 2005,she founded two non-profit Foundations Marina Orth Foundation a 501c3 in the U.S. and the non-profit Fundacion Marina Orth in Colombia. Today the Foundation serves three One Laptop Per Child schools in which every primary student has his or her own laptop computer and receives intensive instruction in English ans leadership. The schools have been lauded internationally as model examples of public private partnership and as proof of how far poor communities can advance with targeted assistance.

Orth, who is fluent in Spanish, travels frequently to Colombia and is planning to duplicate her model in other regions of Colombia. Orth has also pioneered programs for former Peace Corps volunteers to serve once again in Colombia for short periods of time and in 2009 received an award for her work with the Latino community from the Spanish Catholic Center in Washington DC.

In other community work, Orth helped begin an intergenerational residence for homeless mothers in New York City and has served on the Executive Committee of the College of Arts and Sciences, University of California, Berkeley, 2000-2006, and is currently a Trustee of the University of California, Berkeley Foundation. In 2006, she received the Alumnae Achievement Award of the Kappa Kappa Gamma Fraternity. She also serves on the board of Internews and is the producer of www.peacecorpspostcards.com, an interactive website created for the 50th anniversary of the Peace Corps, that highlights Peace Corps volunteers in action today and former volunteers for whom the Peace Corps has profoundly influenced their lives.

Orth received a BA in Political Science at UC Berkeley, and a Masters in Journalism and documentary film at UCLA. Maureen Orth lives in Washington, D.C. Her late husband was Tim Russert, the Washington bureau chief of NBC News and moderator of Meet the Press. Their son, Luke Russert, is a correspondent for NBC News. Their pug is named Chamberlain.

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