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Friday, April 03, 2015
UID Mourns Dear Friend and Supporter Danny Schechter

It is with great sadness that we share with you the passing of our dear friend and supporter Danny Schechter, who died on Thursday, 19 March 2015, of pancreatic cancer. Danny is survived by his brother Bill and his daughter Sarah. He was 72.

Danny had a fulfilling and inspiring career. He was an author, journalist, film maker and television producer as well as a human rights activist. In his wide-ranging career, Danny worked for numerous media organizations, including the founding team of CNN and ABC News.
He earned the nickname 'the News Dissector' after joining the Boston rock radio station WBCN-FM. Thereafter, Danny went on to co-found Globalvision, a New York production company that produced the "Rights and Wrongs: Human Rights Television" program.

Danny founded Mediachannel, the largest online media network and interactive platform and wrote 17 books, including "The More You Watch the Less You Know: News Wars/(sub)Merged Hopes/Media Adventures" and "Madiba A-Z: The Many Faces of Nelson Mandela". He was, as a matter of fact, instrumental in the campaign that led up to the release of Nelson Mandela and was tasked to do the official documentary on Mr. Mandela. He also did about 30 films including "WMD: Weapons of Mass Deception".

To be sure, some of Danny's works did not please everyone; in fact, some were not aired, or published, because of their controversies. But he couldn't care less; he had to stay true to the investigative journalist that he was.

And his dare-to-be-different attitude was what be brought to the United in Diversity Foundation (UID). Back in 2003 when our founding forum in Bali was about to take place, we faced a tremendous amount of adversary. But what gave us strength and courage to move forward was the support we got from friends from around the world.

Danny Schechter (middle) participated as a panelist in a session during our founding conference in Bali, 2003.

Indeed, Danny was among one of the champions in the history of UID founding; in fact, he coined the term “United in Adversary” to stress the need for unity among Indonesians in times of distrust and adversary.

During our Bali forum, Danny partnered with leading Indonesia film producer Nia di Nata and her team to do a documentary in which he interviewed 50 participants from the private, public and civil society sectors on their views of what challenges Indonesia was facing and how the three sectors could join hands to help our nation in her hours of need.

“Everyone was articulate. Everyone cared deeply. I came away from Bali impressed by the sincerity and the intelligence and the passion that paraded in front of me. So many agreed that Indonesia has so much potential and that people need to talk with each other instead of at each other. There was the conviction that it is possible to find common ground between often warring sectors, i.e., business, civil society and government,” said Danny.

After the Bali forum, Danny continued to support us and contributed a chapter to our first book, The Indonesian Dream: Unity, Diversity and Democracy in Times of Distrust.

“The United in Diversity Forum (UID) conference showed us the possibility of people working together. It was exciting to feel the challenge of communicating a sense of trust and hope that animated those days in Bali when people looked around a big room and realized, yes, there are others who share my values and embrace the possibility that we can work together,” he wrote.

Thank you, Danny, for these beautiful words and everything you had done for and with us.

Danny Schechter with UID trustee Cherie Nursalim

As she remembers Danny, UID trustee Cherie Nursalim writes: "There is only one Danny Schechter. He is larger than life in his humour, wit, energy, and above all in his values and comradery. We all feel so fortunate to have known him. The UID world is sad with the passing of... Danny."

There is, indeed, only one you, Danny, and we will miss you dearly and treasure the times we worked and laughed together.

On a related note, Danny’s daughter has shared with us that the family would like to have some of his remains brought to and scattered in Indonesia because he loved this country so much.

That is a beautiful gesture, and to you, Danny, we say: Welcome back!"

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