A well-deserved honor for Robert Ariail

CONGRATULATIONS to our former editorial cartoonist Robert Ariail, on his latest in a long string of prestigious and well-deserved awards. The United Nations Correspondents Association and the U.N. Society of Writers & Artists announced Monday that Mr. Ariail was the first American in its 10-year history to win the $10,000 Ranan Lurie U.N. Political Cartoon Award, which is named for internationally syndicated political cartoonist Ranan Lurie. He bested a field of more than 1,500 cartoonists from around the world. Mr. Ariail will be presented his award in the presence of U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. The judges included Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel, Serbian Crown Prince Alexander, Egyptian Foreign Minister H.E. Ahmed Aboul Gheit, and Foreign Affairs magazine editor James F. Hoge Jr.

The award, according to Mr. Ariail's syndicate, promotes "the highest standard of excellence in political cartoons depicting the spirit and principles of the U.N." The winning entry included a cartoon from this summer on illegal viruses entering the United States and the cartoon that ran in The State in the summer of 2008, reprinted here, on how the rising cost of gasoline was driving people away from cars.

Mr. Ariail, who lives in Camden with his wife and daughter, said on his blog that he picked those two cartoons from his impressive portfolio because "they are universally understandable and are in what I call the international style: that is, little or no dialogue and words."

His previous honors include the Overseas Press Club of America's 1997 Thomas Nast Award for cartoons on foreign affairs, the Society of Professional Journalists' Green Eyeshade Award in 2002, 1997 and 1991, the 1992 National Society of Professional Journalists Award and the 1990 National Headliner Award. He also was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 1995 and 2000.

Mr. Ariail left The State in March after 25 years as our cartoonist, in the wake of a slumping newspaper industry and cost-cutting measures taken by The McClatchy Co. His work can be found at robertariail.com and through United Media syndicate, which serves more than 600 newspapers and magazines. These are difficult times for editorial cartoonists, with many idled by cuts at newspapers across the nation. We continue to respect Robert Ariail for his outstanding work, and we are delighted by his success.