James Wright Foley was born on October 18, 1973 in Evanston, Illinois. He was the first born son of Diane and John Foley of Rochester, New Hampshire. Jim grew up in the beautiful town of Wolfeboro, New Hampshire. He was the oldest of five children.
After graduating from Kingswood High School in 1992, he chose to further his education at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. At Marquette, he made life-long friends and was challenged to serve the voiceless. After graduating university, from 1996 to 2000, Jim served four years educating youth with Teach for America in inner city Phoenix, Arizona.
Jim was drawn to writing and completed an Master of Fine Arts program in writing with the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in 2002. While in Massachusetts, Jim helped educate unwed mothers so they could get their GED. Later, in Chicago, he taught English to inmates of the Cook County jail.
By becoming a conflict journalist, Jim was able to merge his interest in writing with his compassion for the poor, disadvantaged, and suffering amid conflict. Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University in Illinois granted him this opportunity.
Jim began reporting in Iraq, then Afghanistan, Libya and finally Syria. In 2011, Jim was detained by Colonel Gadaffi’s Libyan regime for 44 days, and finally released.
In January of 2012, Jim began what would be many trips in and out of northern Syria as a freelance photojournalist. He began cautiously, but gained confidence as he met kind and hospitable Syrians who offered him their generous hospitality.
In October 2012, Jim was back in New Hampshire to visit family and friends who gathered to celebrate his birthday. Unfortunately, this was Jim’s last trip home.
The Foley Family’s final communication with Jim was one week before he was kidnapped on November 22, 2012 in northern Syria. The family never heard his voice again. Jim was murdered on August 19, 2014 in the Raqqa region of Syria.