Christiane Maria Heideh Amanpour CBE
Early life and education
Amanpour was born in the west London suburb of Ealing
, the daughter of Mohammad Taghi and Patricia Anne Amanpour (née
Her father was Persian, from Tehran
. Amanpour was raised in Tehran until age eleven.
Her father was Muslim and her mother was Catholic.
She is natively fluent in English and Persian
After completing the larger part of her primary school education in Iran, she was sent by her parents to boarding school in England when she was 11. She attended Holy Cross Convent, an all-girls school in Chalfont St Peter
, Buckinghamshire, and then, at age 16, New Hall School
, a Roman Catholic school in Chelmsford
, Essex. Christiane and her family returned to England not long after the Islamic Revolution
began. She has stressed that they were not forced to leave the country, but were actually returning to England due to the Iran–Iraq War
. The family ultimately remained in England, finding it difficult to return to Iran.
In 1983, she was hired by CNN on the foreign desk in Atlanta, Georgia
, as an entry-level desk assistant. During her early years as a correspondent, Amanpour was given her first major assignment covering the Iran–Iraq War
, which led to her being transferred in 1986 to Eastern Europe to report on the fall of European communism
In 1989, she was assigned to work in Frankfurt
am Main, West Germany
, where she reported on the democratic revolutions sweeping Eastern Europe at the time. Through this position, she was able to move up in the company and by 1990 served as a correspondent for CNN's New York bureau.
Following Iraq's occupation of Kuwait
in 1990, Amanpour's reports of the Persian Gulf War
brought her wide notice while also taking CNN to a new level of news coverage. Thereafter, she reported from the Bosnian war
and other conflict zones. Because of her emotional delivery from Sarajevo
during the Siege of Sarajevo
, viewers and critics questioned her professional objectivity, claiming that many of her reports were unjustified and favoured the Bosnian Muslims, to which she replied, "There are some situations one simply cannot be neutral about, because when you are neutral you are an accomplice. Objectivity doesn't mean treating all sides equally. It means giving each side a hearing."
Amanpour gained a reputation for being fearless during the Gulf and Bosnian wars and for reporting from conflict areas.
From 1992 to 2010, Amanpour was CNN's chief international correspondent as well as the anchor of Amanpour
, a daily CNN interview program that aired 2009–2010. Amanpour has reported on major crises from many of the world's hotspots, including Iraq
, and the Balkans
and from the United States during Hurricane Katrina
. She has secured exclusive interviews with world leaders from the Middle East to Europe, Africa and beyond, including Iranian presidents Mohammad Khatami
and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
, as well as the presidents of Afghanistan
, and Syria
, among others.
, she was the first international correspondent to interview British Prime Minister Tony Blair
, French President Jacques Chirac
, and Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf
. Other interviewees have included Hillary Clinton
, Nicolás Maduro
, Hassan Rouhani
, Emmanuel Macron
, Angela Merkel
, John Kerry
, the Dalai Lama
and Moammar Gadhafi
From 1996 to 2005, she was contracted by 60 Minutes
creator Don Hewitt
to file four to five in-depth international news reports a year as a special contributor. These reports garnered her a Peabody Award
(she had earlier been awarded one in 1993
). Hewitt's successor Jeff Fager
was not a fan of her work and terminated her contract.
She has had many memorable moments in her television career, one of them in a live telephone interview with Yasser Arafat
during the siege on his compound in March 2002, in which Arafat gave tough responses: "Are you asking me why am I under complete siege? You're a wonderful journalist. You have to respect your profession."
and "You have to be accurately [sic] when you are speaking with General Yasser Arafat. Be quiet!",
and finished by hanging up on her.
Bosnian War reporting
On 22 December 1992, during the Bosnian War
, Amanpour was reporting from Kiseljak, not far from Sarajevo
. Kiseljak was in Croat hands, undamaged, and ostensibly well supplied with necessities. Amanpour reported that, "While people in Sarajevo are dying from starvation, the Serbs are living [in Kiseljak] in plenty", a report that was subsequently criticised by some analysts as spreading "misinformation" and "beautiful lies".
On 9 October 1994, Stephen Kinzer
of The New York Times
criticised Amanpour's coverage, in general, of the Bosnian War. Kinzer quoted a colleague's description of Amanpour as she reported on a terrorist bombing
in the Markale
marketplace of the Bosnian city of Sarajevo
[Christiane Amanpour] was sitting in Belgrade
when that marketplace massacre happened, and she went on the air to say that the Serbs
had probably done it. There was no way she could have known that. She was assuming an omniscience which no journalist has.
Amanpour has responded to the criticism leveled on her reporting from the war in the former Yugoslavia for "lack of neutrality", stating:
Some people accused me of being pro-Muslim in Bosnia, but I realized that our job is to give all sides an equal hearing, but in cases of genocide you can't just be neutral. You can't just say, "Well, this little boy was shot in the head and killed in besieged Sarajevo and that guy over there did it, but maybe he was upset because he had an argument with his wife." No, there is no equality there, and we had to tell the truth.
On 18 March 2010, Amanpour announced she would leave CNN for ABC News, where she would anchor This Week
. She said, "I'm thrilled to be joining the incredible team at ABC News. Being asked to anchor This Week
in the superb tradition started by David Brinkley
is a tremendous and rare honor, and I look forward to discussing the great domestic and international issues of the day. I leave CNN with the utmost respect, love, and admiration for the company and everyone who works here. This has been my family and shared endeavor for the past 27 years, and I am forever grateful and proud of all that we have accomplished."
She hosted her first broadcast on 1 August 2010.
On 13 December 2011, ABC announced Amanpour would be leaving her post as anchor of ABC News' This Week
on 8 January 2012, and returning to CNN International, where she had previously worked for 27 years, and maintaining a reporting role at ABC News.
2012–present: Return to CNN
A day later on 14 December 2011, in statements by ABC and CNN, it was announced that, in a "unique arrangement", Amanpour would begin hosting a program on CNN International in 2012, while continuing at ABC News as a global affairs anchor.
It was later revealed that in the spring of 2012, CNN International would refresh its line-up, putting the interview show Amanpour
back on air.
On-air promotions said she would return to CNN International on 16 April. Her 30-minute New York-recorded show – to be screened twice an evening – would mean that the US parent network's Piers Morgan Tonight
interview show would be "bumped" out of its 9:00 p.m. (Central European Time) slot to midnight (CET).
On 9 September 2013, the show and staff were moved to the CNN International office and the show is currently being produced and broadcast from London.
On 7 January 2015, Amanpour made headlines during a "Breaking News" segment on CNN by referring to the Islamic extremists who murdered the 12 journalists at Charlie Hebdo
as "activists": "On this day, these activists found their targets, and their targets were journalists. This was a clear attack on the freedom of expression, on the press, and on satire".
On 12 November 2020, Amanpour compared the Trump administration
to the Nazis
, saying "It was the Nazis' warning shot across the bow of our human civilization that led to genocide against a whole identity, and in that tower of burning books, it led to an attack on fact, knowledge, history and truth. After four years of a modern-day assault on those same values by Donald Trump, the Biden-Harris
team pledges a return to norms, including the truth." The Israeli government, along with some Jewish groups, called for Amanpour to apologize for this comparison. Israeli Disapora Affairs Minister Omer Yankelevich
urged an "immediate and public apology" for "belittling of the immense tragedy of the Holocaust."
Stance on Syria
In late 2013, Amanpour raised the argument for intervention in Syria against the Assad government, which has been fighting Syrian opposition
forces. She has appeared on several news programmes in the UK and criticized the Obama administration
for its non-interventionist approach to Syria. Her advocacy for intervention was criticized by Michael S. Lofgren in The Huffington Post
In May 2018, it was announced that Amanpour would permanently replace Charlie Rose
after he left due to allegations of sexual misconduct.
Her new program, Amanpour & Company
, premiered on PBS on 10 September 2018.
From the time of Charlie Rose's departure from PBS until the new show premiered, Amanpour
was aired on PBS stations, as Amanpour on PBS
In 2020, Christiane Amanpour has been doing the PBS daily program, Amanpour & Company
, from her home in England, due to the COVID-19 pandemic
. Her program continues to be seen on television on PBS at many stations in various areas of the USA, including at least 4 TV stations in the greater Los Angeles region of southern California.
From 1998 to 2018, Amanpour was married to American James Rubin
, a former US Assistant Secretary of State
and spokesman for the US State Department
during the Clinton administration
and an informal adviser to former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
and to former President Barack Obama
. Their son, Darius John Rubin, was born in 2000. Having lived in London since 2000, they moved to New York City in 2010, where they rented an apartment in Manhattan
's Upper West Side
In May 2013, Rubin announced that the family would return to London to work on several projects,
and in October of the same year, Amanpour stated that she and her husband would be relocating to London permanently: "Right now I'd have to say that London is my home... My family are in England, and my husband and I are loving reacquainting ourselves with all the friends we left behind".
It was announced in July 2018 that Amanpour and Rubin were divorcing.
Amanpour is the niece (by marriage) of General Nader Jahanbani
, who commanded the Imperial Iranian Air Force
for nearly 20 years until he was executed by Islamic Revolutionaries in 1979, and of his younger brother Khosrow
, who was married to Princess Shahnaz Pahlavi
. Amanpour's uncle, Captain Nasrollah Amanpour, was married to the younger sister of Khosrow and Nader.
Screen and media appearances
Amanpour appeared in Gilmore Girls
as herself in the show's series finale, "Bon Voyage". Throughout the series, Amanpour was an inspiration to one of the main characters, aspiring journalist Rory Gilmore
. In July 2009 she appeared in a Harper's Bazaar
magazine article entitled "Christiane Amanpour Gets a High-Fashion Makeover".
Honorary degrees and recognition
- 1993: Livingston Award for Young Journalists
- 1993: George Polk Award for Television Reporting
- 1993: George Foster Peabody Personal Award
- 1994: Woman of the Year, New York Chapter of "Women in Cable"
- 1994: Courage in Journalism Award, International Women's Media Foundation
- 1995: Honorary Doctor of Laws degree, University of Rhode Island
- 1996: George Polk Award for Television Reporting
- 1997: Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree, Emory University
- 1997: Nymphe d'Honneur at the Monte Carlo Television Festival
- 1998: George Foster Peabody Personal Award for International Reporting
- 2000: Golden Plate Award of the American Academy of Achievement
- 2002: Edward R. Murrow Award for Distinguished Achievement in Broadcast Journalism
- 2002: Goldsmith Career Award for Excellence in Journalism, at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government
- 2005: International Emmy, International Academy of Television Arts and Sciences
- 2006: Honorary citizen, city of Sarajevo
- 2006: Honorary doctorate degree from the University of Michigan for her contributions to journalism
- 2007: Paul White Award, Radio Television Digital News Association
- 2007: Appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the 2007 Birthday Honours for services to journalism
- 2007: Persian Woman of the Year
- 2008: The Fourth Estate Award (National Press Club)
- 2008: Celebrating Women Award from The New York Women's Foundation
- 2010: Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences
- 2010: Honorary doctorate of humane letters degree, Northwestern University
- 2010: Honorary doctorate from Georgia State University for her contributions to journalism
- 2010: Honorary member of the graduating class of 2010 of Harvard College
- 2011: Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Journalism from Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication
- 2012: Honorary doctorate of humane letters, Amherst College
- 2012: Honorary doctorate of humane letters, University of Southern California
- 2015: TV Personality of the Year by Association for International Broadcasting
- 2019: Received the John Peter and Anna Catherine Zenger Award for Press Freedom from the University of Arizona School of Journalism.
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Last edited on 8 May 2021, at 09:46
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