As the West Africa bureau chief for The Associated Press, Rukmini Callimachi consistently displayed a passion for the truth, reportorial ingenuity, and a commitment to the highest standards of journalism. At great risk to her own safety, Callimachi discovered a large trove of internal documents from al-Qaida that illuminated the internal workings of the terrorist organization and its strategy for the region. Reporting from Mali—again at great personal risk–she tracked down the bodies of six victims shot by the military, forcing the Malian government to initiate an investigation. “Because of your courage, what you were willing to do, we finally know the truth,” wrote Mohamed Ould Ali, the son of one of the men killed. “And there is no one that denies it anymore.”
Rukmini Callimachi was the West Africa bureau chief for The Associated Press until early 2014, when she was hired by The New York Times as a foreign correspondent. Callimachi began her journalism career in 2001 as a freelance reporter in India. She joined the AP in 2003 and worked in Oregon and Louisiana before spending seven years in West Africa for AP. Callimachi was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize in International Reporting in 2009 for a series on trafficked children. She has been a finalist twice before for the Michael Kelly Award. Her series – “The Al-Qaida Papers” – won two Overseas Press Club prizes this year and a National Headliners Award. She received an undergraduate degree from Dartmouth College and a master’s from Oxford. A native of Bucharest, Callimachi grew up in Ojai, Calif.