World renowned journalist Christiane Amanpour, CNN’s chief international correspondent and anchor of the network’s flagship global affairs program Amanpour, will deliver Northeastern University’s Commencement address to this year’s graduating seniors on May 5, 2017, at TD Garden in Boston. She will also receive an honorary degree.
The ceremony will take place before a global audience of 20,000 graduates, their families, and members of the Northeastern community as part of the university’s 115th Commencement exercises. Amanpour—who was born in London, spent part of her childhood in Iran, and has reported throughout the world—will address a graduating class that collectively hails from nearly 90 countries.
Northeastern President Joseph E. Aoun announced the news Sunday night on Twitter, pointing to Amanpour’s global worldview as CNN’s chief international correspondent.
“I’m delighted to share world views with Northeastern graduates, especially this year, when politics in America and around the globe have been upended and when the very notion of truth itself—the basic principle of participatory democracy—is under withering fire,” Amanpour said.
Over the past three decades, Amanpour has reported on countless world events and from conflict hotspots including Iraq and the Balkans. In 2004, she reported exclusively from the courtroom of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein’s trial.
Amanpour has secured countless exclusive interviews with global leaders and influencers. In the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks, she was the first international correspondent to interview British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf, and Afghan President Hamid Karzai. And during the height of the Arab Spring she was the last journalist to conduct interviews with Libya’s former leader Moammar Gadhafi before his death as well as Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak before he was deposed.
She has earned every major television journalism award, including 11 News and Documentary Emmy Awards, four Peabody Awards, two George Polk Awards, three duPont-Columbia Awards, and the Courage in Journalism Award. She is also a Commander in the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, an honor bestowed by Queen Elizabeth II.
Throughout her career, Amanpour has also championed journalists’ rights and raised awareness of key global issues. She is an honorary citizen of Sarajevo, a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for Freedom of the Press and the Safety of Journalists, and a board member of the Committee to Protect Journalists, the Centre for Public Integrity, and the International Women’s Media Foundation.
For CNN she has interviewed educational rights activist Malala Yousafzai, and in May 2014 she used a BBC television appearance to raise awareness of the plight of the Nigerian schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram and urge Prime Minister David Cameron to join the #BringBackOurGirls campaign.
After graduating summa cum laude from the University of Rhode Island with a Bachelor of Arts in journalism, Amanpour was hired by CNN in 1983 as an entry-level assistant on the international assignment desk at the network’s headquarters in Atlanta. Over the next several years, she ascended through the organization, becoming a reporter at CNN’s New York bureau, and her primetime news program Amanpour launched in 2009. In 2010 she moved to ABC News to anchor This Week, and returned to CNN in 2012 while remaining a global affairs anchor for ABC News. She is currently based in CNN’s London bureau.
Northeastern’s past Commencement speakers include an wide-ranging group of leaders and public figures, including U.S. Sen. John F. Kennedy (1956); President Bill Clinton (1993); former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev (1998); poet and civil rights activist Maya Angelou (1992), Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, and secretaries of state John Kerry (2016) and Madeleine Albright (2000); and former Secretary of State Colin Powell (2012).