TV viewers have seen her reporting live from war trenches and hiding in caves. But on June 18, Northwestern graduates will witness a live performance of Christiane Amanpour, CNN’s chief international correspondent, as Northwestern University’s 152nd Commencement speaker. During the Commencement ceremony, she will also receive an honorary doctor of humane letters degree from the university.
Amanpour has been CNN’s international correspondent for 20 years. She has reported on a sweeping range of stories from the fall of the Berlin Wall, to the Bosnian War, to the first Gulf war, and her work has won her nine News & Documentary Emmy Awards. She has also reported in war zones and the remote territories of Iraq, Afghanistan, the Palestinian territories, Iran, Israel, Pakistan, Somalia, Rwanda, the Balkans and New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina. A 1994 New York Times biography of the correspondent was titled, “Where There’s War, There’s Amanpour.”
Often able to obtain access to sources that other reporters are denied, Time Magazine has called Amanpour as the most influential foreign correspondent since Edward R. Murrow.
In an interview with Oprah Winfrey, Amanpour spoke to the problem of striking a balance between objectivity and morality in her work. “When I report, I have to do it in context, to be aware of the moral conundrum,” she said. “It would be irresponsible to give the victim and the aggressor each equal time and moral equivalence. I can’t do that because it means being neutral in the face of unspeakable horror. When you’re neutral, you’re an accessory.”
Northwestern’s Commencement for the class of 2010 will be held at 6 p.m. on June 18 at Ryan Field.