Profile of Christiane Amanpour, ABC "This Week" Moderator

Profile of Christiane Amanpour, ABC "This Week" Moderator

Christiane Amanpour, CNN Chief Int'l Correspondent for 20 Years:

Christiane Amanpour, one of the world's most honored broadcast journalists, was CNN Chief International Correspondent for 20 years. She's also said to be the world's highest-paid correspondent.

On March 18, 2010, ABC News named Amanpour as moderator for its Sunday morning "The Week" interview program, starting on August 1, 2010. She left CNN after 27 years.

An Amanpour report validates a story's importance. She's often given insider access where other reporters are neither welcomed nor allowed. She's an authority on Islam with extensive Middle East and worldwide connections.

Recently Notable:

Commented Amanpour on March 18, 2010, "I'm thrilled to be joining the incredible team at ABC News. Being asked to anchor 'This Week' and 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."

Amanpour was in the Baghdad courtroom on October 19, 2005 when Saddam Hussein made his first trial appearance, and at Hussein's initial hearing in 2004. Time magazine has called her the most influential foreign correspondent since Edward R. Murrow.

Personal Data:

  • Birth - January 12, 1958 in London
  • Education - From age 11, attended two Roman Catholic all-girls' schools in Great Britain. Graduated Summa Cum Laude from University of Rhode Island in 1983 with a BA in Journalism.
  • Family - Married since 1998 to James (Jamie) Rubin, US State Department spokesman under President Clinton; one son, Darius, born in 2000.

Growing Up Christiane Amanpour:

Born to Iranian airline executive Mohammed Amanpour and his British wife, Patricia, her family moved to Tehran soon after her birth. Christiane led a privileged life in Iran, and then at British boarding schools. She studied journalism in London only because her sister backed out of attending and couldn't obtain a tuition refund. Her family fled Iran, and became refugees, in 1979 during the Islamic Revolution. Shortly thereafter, Amanpour moved to Rhode Island to attend college.

Christiane Amanpour's Early Career Years:

While a student, Amanpour interned at the Rhode Island NBC affiliate WJAR. After graduation, she endured numerous network rejections because she lacked "the right look." She eventually landed an assistant's job on CNN's international desk in Atlanta. "I arrived at CNN with a suitcase, with my bicycle and with about 100 dollars." She was transferred to Eastern Europe in 1986, during the fall of Communism. It was there that her reporting caught the attention of CNN brass.

Christiane Amanpour as CNN Foreign Correspondent:

Amanpour was elevated to CNN foreign correspondent in 1989, where she reported on democratic revolutions in Eastern Europe. She first attained widespread acclaim for her riveting coverage of the Persian Gulf War in 1990, followed by award-winning reporting of the conflicts in Bosnia and Rwanda.

Based in London, she's reported from war zones in Iraq, Israel, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Rwanda and beyond. She's also secured innumerable exclusive interviews with world leaders.

Amanpour Exclusive Interviews, Partial List:

  • 2003 British Prime Minister Tony Blair, French President Jacques Chirac just prior to the War in Iraq
  • 2003 Mahmoud Abbas, first Palestinian Prime Minister
  • 2002 Palestinian President Yasser Arafat, in isolation in his Ramallah headquarters. (Arafat hung up on her after a shouting match.)
  • 2001 Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf during the war against Afghanistan
  • 1999 Mikhail Gorbachev on the 10th anniversary of Communism's fall
  • 1997 Mohammad Khatami, new President of Iran

Awards and Accolades, Partial List:

On June 17, 2007, Amanpour was named by Queen Elizabeth as a Commander of the Order of the British Empire, which is only one step shy of knighthood.

  • Professional awards include:
  • 2000 Edward R. Murrow Award for Distinguished Achievement in Broadcast Journalism
  • 2002 Harvard's Goldsmith Career Award for Journalism
  • Two Emmy news/documentary awards
  • Two George Foster Peabody Awards for Broadcasting
  • Two George Polk Awards for Journalism
  • Courage in Journalism Award, International Women's Media Foundation
  • Major role in two duPont awards and a Golden Cable Ace award given to CNN

Interesting Personal Notes:

While attending University of Rhode Island, she became friends and shared an off-campus house with Brown University student John F. Kennedy, Jr. They remained close friends until his 1999 death.

Christiane Amanpour is described as modest, private and quite magnetic. Her reporting is unfailingly hard-hitting, accurate and insightful. She's often pictured on-camera sans make-up and in an ever-present, unglamorous flak jacket. She was named 1997 Iranian Woman of the Year.

Memorable Quotes:

"Remember the movie 'Field of Dreams' when the voice said, 'Build it and they will come'? Well somehow that dumb statement has always stuck in my mind, and I always say, 'If you tell a compelling story, they will watch.'"

"I think that as a country that is so powerful, so good in its values, so determined to spread values such as democracy, morality around the world… it's absolutely vital… that the people of the United States get a look at what's going on outside. It's our role and it's our job to be able to go to these places and bring back stories, just as a window on the world."

"I remember once doing a live shot from a so-called famine camp in Ethiopia---and actually in Somalia as well. I was showing a man and telling his story and explaining how ill he was, and it was a live camera. All of a sudden, I realized that he was dying. And I didn't know what to do, I didn't know how to break that moment, how to get the camera away, what to do that would not sully what was happening in real life. And then there's always the crying and the weeping that we hear… children, women, even men. And these images and these sounds are always with me… "
"… a strange thing has happened, something I never expected. Sadly, (my) marriage and motherhood have coincided with the demise of journalism as I knew it and I dreamt that it would always be. I am no longer sure that when I go out there and do my job, it'll even see the light of air, if the experience of my colleagues is anything to go by.

More times than I care to remember, I have sympathized with too many of them assigned like myself, to some of the world's royal bad places. They would go through hell to do their pieces, only to frequently find them killed back in New York, because of some fascinating new twist on 'killer Twinkies' or Fergie getting fatter or something. I have always thought it morally unacceptable to kill stories… that people have risked their lives to get."