christiane amanpour
Peter Kramer/AP

Happy Birthday, Christiane Amanpour, International Journalist

January 12, 2009
by findingDulcinea Staff
Christiane Amanpour is one of the most recognizable faces in the media coverage of the war on terror and the war in Iraq. Her courage to report directly from within the zones of conflict has made her one of the highest paid and most widely recognized television journalists in the world.

Christiane Amanpour’s Early Life

Christiane Amanpour was born Jan. 12, 1958, in London to a wealthy Iranian family. She was raised primarily in Tehran and educated in British preparatory schools. When she was 21, her family lost much of its wealth and prestige when the Shah of Iran was toppled in the Iranian Revolution. “Amanpour later credited her desire to be a journalist to this firsthand experience,” according to Encyclopedia Britannica.

She received a journalism degree at the University of Rhode Island and in 1983 secured a job with CNN, beginning a 27-year relationship with the cable news network. In the early 1990s, she reported from the front lines of the Gulf War and the Balkan wars, where her coverage gained her acclaim as a journalist.

Amanpour’s Career in Journalism

Named the chief international correspondent for CNN in 1992, Amanpour was at the forefront of many major conflicts. She become so synonymous with breaking news that it has been jokingly said that “where there’s war there’s Amanpour.”

Amanpour has remarked that her interview with the late Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat, during the siege of his compound in 2002 was one of her most difficult moments. Her questions were so persistent and incisive that Arafat hung up on her during the interview and she continued with Ra'anan Gissin, the spokesman for the Israeli government. Throughout her career, Amanpour has captured exclusive interviews with some of the world’s most prominent leaders at watershed moments.

Amanpour has been criticized for publicly sharing her opinions about the war in Iraq and the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. She in turn has complained that American journalists are not incisive enough and shy away from exposing hard truths.

“Objectivity is not treating each side equally, not drawing a false moral equivalence,” she told The Guardian in 2008 interview. “It’s covering all sides, giving all sides a hearing but not necessarily drawing false conclusions because if you do that in these kinds of situations, in my view, you’re an accomplice.”

Amanpour has hosted an annual documentary about the duPont Journalism award winners and discussed her views on the importance of intergrity in modern media. 

Amanpour Today

Amanpour left CNN in March 2010 to become host of ABC’s “This Week.” In her prestigious career, she has won “every major broadcast award,” according to ABC, including four Peabody awards, nine Emmys and the Edward R. Murrow Award. She has also received a Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire.

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