About Us

The Daniel Pearl Foundation was formed in 2002 in memory of journalist Daniel Pearl, to promote the ideals that inspired his life and work.

Black and white cropped image of young Daniel Pearl holding a bow and a string instrument.


The world has come to know Daniel Pearl as the Wall Street Journal reporter who was kidnapped and murdered by terrorists in Pakistan in early 2002, just four months after 9/11. People around the world, along with his pregnant wife and family, prayed for his release. Since then, he has been remembered as a symbol of hope: a man who built bridges between diverse cultures — as a writer and a gifted musician.

Danny was born on October 10, 1963, in Princeton, New Jersey, and grew up in Los Angeles, where he displayed an insatiable curiosity for music, learning, and people.

Music turned out to be an essential form of expression for Danny and led him to become a fixture in several bands throughout the world, where he improvised on the electric violin, fiddle, or mandolin. Today, friends and colleagues still recall how quickly he would pick up an instrument when he sensed an occasion, such as writing a song for a pregnant friend past her due date, or the Christmas night when he entertained downhearted co-workers at his office.

Danny exuded compassion and joy wherever he went. As his best friend said, “Danny was the only one who didn’t know he was charismatic.” He endeared himself to others with an easy humor and appreciation for the absurd, always keeping an open mind to other perspectives, cultures, and backgrounds. He was humble, generous and loved life and people. World leaders and peasants, Rabbis and Mullahs, all considered him a friend.

A gifted writer from a very young age, Danny’s aptitude for journalism became apparent as a student at Stanford University where he co-founded the student newspaper Stanford Commentary. He graduated in 1985 with Phi Beta Kappa honors and then spent a summer as a Pulliam Fellow intern at the Indianapolis Star before joining the North Adams Transcript and the Berkshire Eagle. After a few years, he moved on to the San Francisco Business Times and within few weeks he joined the Wall Street Journal in 1990. Danny started in the Journal’s Atlanta bureau and moved successively to the Washington and London bureaus, serving as a Middle East correspondent. After he met Mariane in 1998, he moved to Paris where they were married a year later.

In October of 2000, they moved to Bombay, where Danny became the South Asia Bureau Chief for the Wall Street Journal. Danny’s skill as a foreign correspondent was apparent not only in his entertaining Page One “A-hed” pieces which shed light on other cultures, but also in investigative stories that uncovered the truth from the rubble of war and devastation. It was Danny who uncovered that the U.S. had mistakenly bombed a Sudanese pharmaceutical plant, believing it to be a weapons factory. Later, he broke the story of Al Qaeda’s money laundering through the Tanzanite gem market.

It was from Bombay that Danny covered the “war on terrorism,” occasionally venturing into Pakistan. He was retracing the steps of “shoe bomber” Richard Reid and hoped to meet with Sheik Gilani, a spiritual leader, when he was abducted in Karachi on January 23, 2002. For weeks, millions around the world — from heads of state, to religious leaders and ordinary people — rallied for Danny’s release. In Danny, the terrorists believed they abducted a media figure, an American, and a Jew. But they had much more — a true citizen of the world and an embodiment of civilized values, whose death, like his life, would inspire millions of people in the cause of decency and cultural understanding. Several weeks elapsed without word of his fate; his murder was confirmed on February 21, 2002. Four of the kidnappers were convicted on July 15, 2002, including mastermind Omar Saeed Sheik, although others believed to be involved are still at large.

Two days before his abduction, Danny learned that his wife Mariane was expecting a baby boy; he chose the name Adam for their son. In May, just three months after his murder, Mariane Pearl gave birth to Adam.

Following his murder, Danny’s family and friends established the Daniel Pearl Foundation to carry on his legacy, using music and words to address the root causes of the hatred that took his life. The book “At Home in the World” published in June 2002, features 50 of Danny’s best articles, illustrating his curiosity, humor, fairness and his love of humanity.

Danny’s spirit lives on in the hearts of those who knew him, and in the lives of the thousands of people who have been inspired and touched by him.

Read some of Danny’s stories

Danny’s Wall Street Journal stories

Read tributes to Danny

South Asian Journalists Association

The Foundation

The world has been shocked by the senseless loss of Daniel Pearl, a journalist who dedicated his life to bringing joy and understanding to the world.

The Daniel Pearl Foundation has been formed by Danny’s family and friends to continue Danny’s mission and to address the root causes of this tragedy, in the spirit, style, and principles that shaped Danny’s work and character.

These principles include uncompromised objectivity and integrity; insightful and unconventional perspective; tolerance and respect for people of all cultures; unshaken belief in the effectiveness of education and communication; and the love of music, humor, and friendship.

The Daniel Pearl Foundation is a tax-exempt 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization. Tax-ID 03-0393564, approved April 22, 2002.

For more information, open PDF of the IRS letter of determination.

Read the foundations brochure

Judea Pearl

Judea Pearl is Chancellor’s professor of computer science at UCLA, and Director of the UCLA Cognitive System Laboratory.  He is known internationally for his contributions  to artificial intelligence, human reasoning and philosophy of science. and is a recipient of numerous scientific awards, including the 2012 ACM A.M. Turing Award (known as the “Nobel Prize of computing”).

Judea Pearl is the president of the Daniel Pearl Foundation, which he co-founded in April 2002, “to continue Daniel’s life-work of East-West understanding and to address the root causes of his tragedy.” He is a co-recipient of the 2006 Purpose Prize for launching the Daniel Pearl Dialogue for Muslim-Jewish understanding.

Judea Pearl and his late wife, Ruth Pearl, were co-editors of the book “I am Jewish: Personal Reflections Inspired by the Last Words of Daniel Pearl,” winner of the 2004 National Jewish Book Award for Anthologies, which provides a panoramic and faithful view of how Jews define themselves in the 21st Century.

Dr. Pearl lectures and writes frequently on East-West understanding, Jewish identity, the Arab-Israeli Conflict and academic freedom.

Follow Judea on Twitter

Ruth Pearl

Ruth Pearl worked tirelessly to run the Daniel Pearl Foundation from 2002 until her death in July 2021 at age 85. Ruth was born in Baghdad, Iraq in the Jewish community that had existed there for centuries. In 1941, at age 5, she survived the Farhud, a deadly attack on the Jews of Baghdad. She linked the ideologies behind the Farhud to the religious extremism that led to her son’s kidnapping and murder.

“Dehumanizing people is the first step to inviting violence, like Nazism and fascism,” she said in an oral history for the Shoah Foundation at the University of Southern California. “I’m sure the killers of Danny didn’t have any sense of identifying with the humanity that connects us. For them, Danny was an object … We have to figure out ways to educate the next generation differently.”

Escaping the anti-semitic hostilities in Iraq, she emigrated to Israel in 1951. She later served in the Israeli navy as a mathematics instructor and in 1960 graduated with a degree in electrical engineering from the Technion, Israeli Institute of Technology as one of four females in a class of 120.

She received a master’s degree in electrical engineering from New Jersey Institute of Technology and worked in microwave transmission design. She then became a software systems analyst and earned a national reputation as a wizard software debugger and an avid feminist.

In her role as a co-founder and Vice President of the Daniel Pearl Foundation, she oversaw day-to-day operations and was a critical force behind some of its most creative projects, such as the Daniel Pearl Journalism Fellowship program. She received several awards for her Foundation activities and contributions to east-west understanding.

Ruth Pearl will be remembered as fearless, feisty, determined, generous, and kind by all who had the honor to meet her.


Interviews with Ruth

Ruth Pearl (Daniel’s Mother) Recalls Jewish Baghdad

Your Financial Support

of our programs is greatly appreciated. The Daniel Pearl Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable organization; Tax-ID 03-0393564.