Christiane Amanpour is CNN’s chief international correspondent based in New York. Amanpour has reported on most crises from the world’s many news hotspots, including Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, Israel, Pakistan, Somalia, Rwanda and the Balkans. Her assignments have ranged from exclusive interviews with world leaders to reporting on the human consequences of natural disasters or covering events from the heart of war zones. She has received wide acclaim and numerous awards for her work, particularly for her extensive coverage of conflicts in the Balkans, Africa and the Middle East.
Amanpour’s recent work has focused on the production of a series of highly acclaimed long-form programs that have aired across the CNN networks. In 2007, she presented God’s Warriors, a six-hour series on the world’s three leading monotheistic religions and their defenders, and The War Within, an in-depth examination of the growing Islamic unrest in the United Kingdom. In 2006, Amanpour presented two award-winning documentaries, Where Have All the Parents Gone?, a powerful film examining the plight of the more than one million children orphaned to AIDS in Kenya; and In the Footsteps of bin Laden, a two-hour exploration of the life of the world’s most wanted terrorist.
In addition, Amanpour remains at the center of the news agenda and her reporting continues to be a cornerstone of CNN’s coverage of major international news events. In the last few years, Amanpour has been involved in every major news story that CNN has covered. This has included conflict in the Middle East, the natural disasters of the Southeast Asia tsunami and the devastation wreaked by Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana, as well as growing global terrorism, including the London Tube bombings of July 2005, the Madrid railway bombings of 2004, riots in France and the first democratic elections in Iraq. She has also traveled to Sudan to cover the crisis in Darfur where her coverage included an exclusive interview with Sudanese President al-Bashir.
Throughout her career, Amanpour has succeeded in securing a number of high-profile and exclusive interviews with world leaders for CNN. In the Middle East, these interviews read like a “Who’s Who?” of the region’s leaders. Just as Iran’s nuclear crisis was developing, Amanpour became the first and only journalist to interview Iran’s newly elected president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. She was also granted a world exclusive with Syrian President Bashar el Assad in 2005 on the U.N. investigation into Syria’s involvement in the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri. During a state visit to Washington in 2003, Amanpour interviewed Mahmoud Abbas in his capacity as the first Palestinian prime minister, and she was also granted the first-ever interview with Jordan’s new monarch, King Abdullah, in May 1999, having been the last journalist to interview the king’s father, the long-reigning King Hussein, only days before his death. Other interviews of note include Chairman Yasser Arafat and former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak during the heightened Middle East peace negotiations in 2000 and with the reformist Iranian President Mohammad Khatami in December 1997.
The line-up is equally impressive elsewhere. She interviewed former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, with whom she secured the first interview after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States – when she also exclusively interviewed former French President Jacques Chirac and Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf. She was also granted an exclusive with Chirac on the eve of the 2003 conflict in Iraq after France had refused a U.N. vote and with French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin in the aftermath of the 2005 riots in France. In November 1999, Amanpour marked the 10th anniversary of the fall of communism with an interview with former Russian premier, Mikhail Gorbachev.
Amanpour is widely acclaimed for her coverage of the war in the Balkans where she spent years on this dangerous assignment, bringing the Bosnian tragedy to the world’s attention. No international network correspondent reported as continuously from this ethnically torn region. Amanpour subsequently covered the Slobodan Milosevic war crime trials in The Hague in 2001 and 2002 and returned to the region in 2005 to mark the 10th anniversary of the Srebrenica massacre.
It was in 1989 and 1990 that Amanpour first began to earn her reputation as a world-class correspondent as she reported on the dramatic changes occurring in central Europe. This was followed by reporting assignments to cover the Gulf War, from Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in 1990 to the U.S. bombing of Baghdad and the Kurdish refugee crisis on the Iran/Iraq border that persisted after the ceasefire. She also covered the break-up of the Soviet Union in 1991 and subsequent war in Tbilisi. In December 1992, Amanpour briefly left the former Yugoslavia to report live from the shores of Mogadishu, Somalia, as U.S. troops launched Operation: Restore Hope.
Amanpour has received many prestigious awards in recognition of for her reporting on major world stories. Most recently, she earned her fourth George Foster Peabody award for God’s Warriors. For her reporting from the Balkans, Amanpour received a News and Documentary Emmy, two Peabody awards, two George Polk Awards, a Courage in Journalism Award, a Worldfest-Houston International Film Festival Gold Award and the Livingston Award for Young Journalists. She was also named 1994 Woman of the Year by the New York Chapter of Women in Cable and Telecommunications, and she helped the CNN news network win an Alfred I. duPont Award for its coverage of Bosnia and a Golden CableACE for its Gulf War coverage.
Amanpour’s 1991 Gulf War reporting also received the Breakthrough Award from Women, Men and Media. Her contribution to the 1985 four-week series, Iran: In the Name of God, helped CNN earn its first duPont award. Her international reporting for both CNN and CBS’s 60 Minutes earned her an individual Peabody award in 1998.
Amanpour has won nine Emmy awards, including one for her documentary Struggle for Islam; the 2002 Edward R. Murrow Award for Distinguished Achievement in Broadcast Journalism; the Sigma Delta Chi Award for her reports from Goma, Zaire; a George Polk Award for her work on the CNN International special Battle for Afghanistan in 1997; and the Nymphe d’Honneur at the Monte Carlo Television Festival in 1997, to name but a few.
Her documentary, In the Footsteps of bin Laden, won the Sigma Delta Chi award given by the Society of Professional Journalists while Where Have All the Parents Gone? has been recognized with a POP Award from Cable Positive for HIV/AIDS coverage. Amanpour was also recently named a Fellow of the Society of Professional Journalists, an honor which recognizes significant contributions to journalism. She has also been bestowed with a number of honorary degrees from America’s prestigious universities.
In 2007, she was recognized in the birthday honors list of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II with a highly prestigious Commander of the Order of the British Empire.
Amanpour began her CNN career in 1983 as an assistant on the network’s international assignment desk in Atlanta. She has since worked in CNN’s London, New York, Paris and Frankfurt bureaus.
While at college, Amanpour worked at WJAR-TV, Providence, R.I., as an electronic graphics designer. From 1981 to 1982, she also gained work experience as a reporter, anchor and producer for WBRU-Radio, also in Providence.