Mother of James Wright Foley, and Founder of the James W. Foley Legacy Foundation
Diane Foley is the mother of American conflict journalist James Wright Foley who was beheaded by ISIS in Syria in 2014.
In 2008, Jim Foley began reporting in Iraq, then Afghanistan, Libya and finally Syria. In 2011 Jim was detained by Col. Muammar Gaddafi's Libyan regime and released after 44 days. While reporting in northern Syria, he was kidnapped by troops of ISIS in November 2012. On Aug. 19, 2014, the terrorist group released a video of his murder near Raqqa.
Throughout Jim’s kidnapping he was starved and tortured. The Foleys pleaded with U.S. government officials to help ensure their son’s release and safe return. They also worked with foreign governments and citizens to try and locate and rescue Jim. Despite assurances that Jim was a priority, the Foleys increasingly grew frustrated with the government’s lack of knowledge and attention to Jim’s whereabouts.
Following Jim’s death, Diane Foley established the James W. Foley Legacy Foundation to bring greater government attention and engagement to the plight of hostages and their families. In 2015, Diane participated in the White House review of U.S. hostage policy; that effort culminated in the creation of the Hostage Fusion Cell, an interagency body that prioritizes U.S. hostage recovery.
Seeking to continue the legacy and work of James Foley, she also led the creation of the foundation’s three-fold mission: 1) Advocating to bring home U.S. citizens taken hostage abroad; 2) Creating a culture of safety for independent conflict journalists; and 3) Educating the public on the crises of hostage-taking and the threats to freedom of speech.
Diane Foley has spoken to audiences around the world about the foundation’s issues, including at a UNESCO conference in Paris in 2016 and in The Haque in 2017 for Free Press Ulimited, among others.
She is a native of New Hampshire, a nurse and mother of five children.