Steven Spielberg receives Hugh Downs Award for Communication


Mumbai: Steven Spielberg is the 2008 recipient of Arizona State University’s Hugh Downs Award for Communication Excellence. His latest film, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, starring Harrison Ford, opened in theatres worldwide last month.

"This year’s award honours a master storyteller," noted ASU director H.L. Goodall Jr. The award winner was announced on 19 June.

In crafting the award narrative for the ASU honour, respected broadcast journalist Hugh Downs noted that Spielberg is "a man who has demonstrated the power of narratives to inform, persuade and entertain, all the while reminding us of how important it is to be able to respect the past in order to imagine a better future."

"The stories that are the soul of Steven’s films, and the technological advancements that have been created to touch the heart and appeal to our capacity for wonder, deserve to be recognized not only as achievements in the filmic arts, but as superlative achievements of human storytelling and inspiration," said Downs.

In accepting the award, Spielberg said, "It is a great honour for me to receive this award, for many reasons. First, it comes from Hugh Downs whose work as a communicator I have long admired and respected. Second, because the award recognized the significance of human communication and third, because the root of this award springs from Arizona, which has meant so much in my own early life. So thanks Hugh, and thanks Arizona State University."

As a teenager, Spielberg lived in Scottsdale, Arizona. He attended Arcadia High School in Phoenix for several years, before moving to California. While at Arcadia, Spielberg wrote and directed a science fiction movie, Firelight.