Christiane Amanpour

Amanpour smiling
Amanpour at the 2008 Peabody Awards
Born
Christiane Maria Heideh Amanpour

(1958-01-12) 12 January 1958 (age 66)
London, England
EducationUniversity of Rhode Island (BA)
Occupations
  • Journalist
  • television host
Employer(s)CNN, PBS
Notable credits
Spouse
(m. 1998; div. 2018)
Children1

Christiane Maria Heideh Amanpour[1] CBE (/ˌkrɪsiˈɑːn ˌɑːmənˈpʊər/ ; Persian: کریستیان امان‌پور, romanizedKristiane Amānpur; born 12 January 1958[2]) is a British-Iranian journalist and television host. Amanpour is the Chief International Anchor for CNN and host of CNN International's nightly interview program Amanpour and CNN's The Amanpour Hour on Saturdays. She is also the host of Amanpour & Company on PBS.[3]

Early life and education

Amanpour was born in the West London suburb of Ealing, the daughter of Mohammad Taghi Amanpour (Iranian) and Anne Patricia Hill (British).[1][4] She was baptized at the Church of Saint Benedict in Ealing and was raised in Tehran until the age of eleven.[5][6] Her father was Shia Muslim and her mother was Roman Catholic.[1]

Her father worked as an airline executive for Iran Air and later lost his job and fortune after the Iran Revolution in 1979. After completing the more significant part of her primary school education in Iran, her parents sent her to a boarding school in England when she was 11. She attended the Convent of the Holy Cross, an all-girls preparatory school in Chalfont Saint Peter, Buckinghamshire, and then, at the age of 16, she attended New Hall School, a Roman Catholic school in Chelmsford, Essex. Christiane and her family returned to England shortly after the Islamic Revolution began. She maintains that they were not forced to leave the country but were returning to England due to the Iran–Iraq War. The family ultimately remained in England, finding it difficult to return to Iran.[7]

After leaving New Hall, Amanpour moved to the United States to study journalism at the University of Rhode Island. During her time there, she worked in the news department at WBRU-FM in Providence, Rhode Island. She also worked for NBC affiliate WJAR in Providence as an electronic graphics designer.[8]

In 1983, Amanpour graduated from the university summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa[9] with a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism.[10] On 23 October 2007, she received the Commander badge (No. 3) of the Order of the British Empire for her journalism work.[11][12]

Career

1983–2010: CNN

In 1983, Amanpour was hired by CNN on the foreign desk in Atlanta, Georgia, as an entry-level desk assistant. During her early years as a correspondent, she was given her first major assignment covering the Iran–Iraq War, followed by a transfer in 1986 to Eastern Europe to report on the fall of European communism.[13] 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. By 1990, she served as a correspondent for CNN's New York bureau.[14]

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.[buzzword] Thereafter, she reported from the Bosnian war and other conflict zones. While in Bosnia, she interviewed Serb general Ratko Mladic, who would later be convicted of genocide. 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 favored 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."[15]

Amanpour gained a reputation for being fearless during the Gulf and Bosnian wars for reporting from conflict areas.[16]

From 1992 to 2010, Amanpour was CNN's chief international correspondent. From 2009 to 2010, she was the anchor of Amanpour, a daily CNN interview program. Amanpour has reported on major crises from many of the world's hotspots, including Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine, Iran, Israel, Pakistan, Somalia, Rwanda, 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, Sudan, and Syria, among others.[citation needed] After 9/11, 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, Robert Mugabe and Moammar Gadhafi.[17]

She has also conducted interviews with Constantine II of Greece, Reza Pahlavi, Ameera al-Taweel and actors Angelina Jolie, Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep.[18]

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 in 1998[19] (she had earlier been awarded one in 1993[20]). Hewitt's successor Jeff Fager terminated her contract.

Bosnian War reporting

On 9 October 1994, Stephen Kinzer of The New York Times criticized Amanpour's general coverage 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 air to say that the Serbs had probably done it. There was no way she could have known that. She assumed an omniscience that no journalist has.[21]

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 argued with his wife." No, there is no equality, and we had to tell the truth.[22]

In 2019, retired commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Saeed Qassemi spoke of his and his comrades' participation as combatants in the Bosnian War, with him having been disguised as staff of the Iranian Red Crescent Society. Shortly after, in April 2019, Qassemi claimed that Amanpour had uncovered their deception.[23]

2010–2012: ABC News

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."[24] She hosted her first broadcast on 1 August 2010.

During her first two months as host, the ratings for This Week reached their lowest point since 2003.[25] On 28 February 2011, she interviewed Muammar Gaddafi and his sons Saif al-Islam and Al-Saadi Gaddafi.[26][27]

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 maintained a reporting role at ABC News.[28]

2012–present: Return to CNN

With U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Vienna, Austria, on 14 July 2015

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.[29]

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.[30] 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).[31]

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".[32]

On 28 January 2019, Christiane Amanpour and Mary Ellen Schmider and Manfred Philipp gave the Fulbright Prize for International Understanding to the German Chancellor Angela Merkel.[33]

Amanpour interviewing Secretary of Defense Mark Esper in 2019, in front of a wing-mount ram air turbine

On 12 November 2020, Amanpour compared the Trump administration to the Nazis and Kristallnacht, 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 Diaspora Affairs Minister Omer Yankelevich urged an "immediate and public apology" for "belittling of the immense tragedy of the Holocaust."[34][35][36]

Refusal to wear a headcovering

In September 2022, Amanpour terminated a scheduled TV interview with President of Iran Ebrahim Raisi in New York City during the seventy-seventh session of the United Nations General Assembly, following a last–minute demand that she wear a Chador headscarf while filming.[37] Amanpour vehemently responded that she could not agree to the "unprecedented and unexpected condition" and later reflected on the controversial situation, declaring that:

Here in New York City, or anywhere else outside of Iran, I have never been asked by any Iranian president ― and I have interviewed every single one of them since 1995 ― either inside or outside of Iran, never been asked to wear a head scarf.[38][39][40]

On Syria

In late 2013, Amanpour raised the argument for intervention in Syria against the Assad government, which has been fighting against Syrian opposition forces. She has appeared on several news programs in the UK in which she criticized the Obama administration for its non-interventionist approach to Syria.

Public Broadcasting Service

In May 2018, it was announced that Amanpour would permanently replace Charlie Rose on PBS after he was fired due to allegations of sexual misconduct.[41] Her new program, Amanpour & Company, premiered on PBS on 10 September 2018.[42] 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 was 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 US, including at least four TV stations in the greater Los Angeles region of southern California.

Controversies

In April 2023, Amanpour misspoke and said that Lucy, Maia and Rina Dee had been killed in a "shootout" instead of a "shooting," while the family was travelling in a car in the West Bank. Amanpour contacted the father of the family to personally apologise for misspeaking and subsequently did the same on her show.[43][44]

Affiliations

Amanpour is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a member of the board of directors of the Committee to Protect Journalists,[45] the Center for Public Integrity,[46] the International Women's Media Foundation,[47] and the Institute for War and Peace Reporting.[48] Since April 2015 she has served as a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for Freedom of Expression and journalist safety.[49]

Personal life

The Church of Saint Stephen the Martyr (1427), where Amanpour and James Rubin had their Catholic wedding in 1998. Bracciano, Italy.

On 9 August 1998, Amanpour was married at the Roman Catholic parish of Saint Stephen in Bracciano, Italy. The wedding was officiated by the Catholic priest, Father Ambrose O’Farrell of the Dominican Order. From 1998 to 2018, Amanpour was married to American national 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.

She became pregnant at the age of forty–one, and their only son, John Darius Rubin, was born in Columbia Hospital for Women on 27 March 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.[50] In May 2013, Rubin announced that the family would return to London to work on several projects,[51] and in October of the same year, Amanpour stated that she and her husband would be relocating to London permanently:

"Right now I would have to say that London is my home... My family are in England, and my husband and I are loving re–acquainting ourselves with all the friends we left behind".[52]

In July 2018, Amanpour and Rubin announced they were divorcing.[53]

Amanpour is a relative by marriage of Commander–General Nader Jahanbani of the Imperial Iranian Air Force of nearly twenty years until he was executed by the Islamic Revolutionaries in 1979, and of his younger brother Khosrow Jahanbani who was married to Princess Shahnaz Pahlavi. Amanpour's uncle, Captain Nasrallah Amanpour, was married to the younger sister of Khosrow and Nader.[54]

In June 2021, Amanpour announced that she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, had "major successful surgery to remove it", and would undergo several months of chemotherapy.[55]

Media appearances

Amanpour appeared in the television series Gilmore Girls as herself in the finale, "Bon Voyage" (2007). Throughout the series, Amanpour was an inspiration to one of the main characters, an aspiring journalist Rory Gilmore. In July 2009 she appeared in a Harper's Bazaar magazine article entitled "Christiane Amanpour Gets a High-Fashion Makeover".[56]

Amanpour played herself in newscasts in the films Iron Man 2 and Pink Panther 2. In Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, she voiced Enheduanna in the episode "The Immortals".

In 2014, Amanpour narrated "Women in War", an episode of season 2 of Makers: Women Who Make America.[57]

In 2016 Amanpour was a castaway on the BBC radio program Desert Island Discs. As her luxury item, she chose a guitar previously owned by Bruce Springsteen.[58]

List of Recognitions

This list or list section may be better with years. Please help improve this list or discuss it on the talk page. (September 2020)

References

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