By Veena Krishnan
On December 11, Christiane Amanpour took over the 11:00pm time slot on PBS with Amanpour on PBS. The program will air on PBS stations after it appears on CNN International.
Amanpour, a British-Iranian journalist, graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Rhode Island in 1982. She completed her elementary education in Iran before emigrating to the U.S. to continue her high school and college education. Once she graduated from college, Amanpour went to work for CNN, where she began as an entry-level assistant to the international affairs desk. She eventually rose through the ranks to become CNN’s chief International Affairs Correspondent. Amanpour has covered a multitude of history-altering international events in Iraq such as the Gulf War, the 2003 invasion of Iran, and the trial of Saddam Hussein.
In addition to narrating the story of American involvement in the Middle East, Amanpour is noted for her candid and insightful analyses of the Bosnian War, in which she focused on the effect the war had on civilians. In 2009, her show on CNN International, Amanpour, was launched. The network’s flagship global affairs interview program, Amanpour’s focus includes some of the world’s most important personalities and political figures, such as hosting the first post 9-11 talks with then British Prime Minister (PM) Tony Blair and Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf. She has also interviewed girls’ education advocate Malala Yousafzai to highlight the plight of girls in underprivileged countries. For her incisive reporting style, Amanpour has garnered much praise, winning four Peabody awards, eleven News and Documentary Emmy awards and a Courage in Journalism Award. These awards demonstrate that Amanpour has established herself as a key voice in the conversation on international affairs.
In addition to her career in journalism, Amanpour is a noted human rights activist and serves as a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador. She works with numerous organizations that support the freedom of the press such as the Committee to Protect Journalists, where she is a board member, and the International Women’s Media Foundation. In 2014, she used the power of her platform to encourage British Prime Minister David Cameron to support the #BringBackOurGirls campaign concerning the 200 schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram in Nigeria. For her work on the Bosnian War, she was named an honorary citizen of Sarajevo. Amanpour’s passion for her reporting is inextricably linked to her human rights’ advocacy work, and the link between the two has allowed her to use her fame to promote worthy causes.
As for her personal life, Amanpour has been married to James Rubin, the former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs under the Clinton Administration, since 1998. The couple have one son, Darius Rubin. Amanpour has spoken out on maintaining a work-life balance for women, noting in an interview with MAKERS, that she chose to delay having a family to ensure that her career would not suffer, stating that she could not have shared herself completely in her reporting had she been married at the time. Amanpour recognized that waiting to have a family has not stopped her journalistic work but has changed the timbre of her reporting. In the MAKERS interview, she also addressed the notion of “Superwomen,” women who are able to completely balance the pressures of a work and home life, stating “that something [professional life or home life] has to give.” Again, her assessment of a situation that plagues many women demonstrates her ability to deliver a frank, astute analysis, a defining characteristic of her journalism. Amanpour’s journalism portfolio and her human rights commitments demonstrates her enduring commitment to make sure that the entire story, from the civilians to the politicians, is accurately told.
Veena Krishnan is a junior at Birmingham-Southern College majoring in chemistry and minoring in biology. Birmingham-Southern College is home to the Beta of Alabama Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa.