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Amanpour named 2011 Cronkite Award Winner

Christiane Amanpour
June 20, 2011

Christiane Amanpour, the award-winning foreign correspondent and anchor of ABC’s “This Week with Christiane Amanpour,” will be the 2011 recipient of the Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Journalism, Arizona State University announced today.

Amanpour will accept the 28th annual award, given by the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, at a luncheon ceremony Nov. 17 at the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown Hotel.

“This is an extraordinary honor,” Amanpour said from her New York office. “I met the great man and benefitted enormously from his wisdom. He was known as Uncle Walter to generations of Americans because he won their trust with his unwavering integrity and by remaining rooted in real reporting. I also admire his phenomenal career as a war correspondent. His legacy is one that we should all strive to uphold and protect, and I am grateful to the Cronkite School for training future generations of journalists, the kind that would pass muster with Uncle Walter!”

Before joining ABC News last year, Amanpour was an international correspondent for CNN for 27 years. She specialized in reports from some of the globe’s most dangerous regions, including war-torn areas such as Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, Somalia, the Palestinian territories, Rwanda and the Balkans.

She also has interviewed dozens of world leaders, including the presidents of Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Sudan, Syria, Rwanda, Uganda, South Africa, Nigeria and France as well as Palestinian leaders Yasser Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas, former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and, most recently, had exclusives with Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak and Libya’s Moammar Gadhafi.

In 1995, she was named CNN’s chief international correspondent. She also anchored the daily interview program “Amanpour” for the cable news network.

Amanpour has been recognized with broadcast journalism’s top honors, including nine Emmy Awards, four George Foster Peabody Awards, three duPont-Columbia Awards, two George Polk Awards, the Courage in Journalism Award and an Edward R. Murrow Award.

“Christiane Amanpour is a terrific role model for journalists around the globe as well as our young journalists here at the Cronkite School,” said Cronkite Dean Christopher Callahan. “She has a remarkable combination of tremendous courage in the face of grave danger, the intelligence to unravel complex geo-political stories, and an unswerving passion for the truth. We’re thrilled that Ms. Amanpour will be our next Cronkite Award recipient.”

Born in London and raised for part of her childhood in Iran, Amanpour graduated from the University of Rhode Island summa cum laude in 1983.

In Providence, R.I., she worked at WJAR-TV as an electronic graphics designer and as a reporter, anchor and producer for WBRU radio. She started her career at CNN in 1983 as an assistant on the international assignment desk in Atlanta. She worked her way up to correspondent in the network’s New York bureau before becoming an international correspondent.

Amanpour follows her ABC News colleague, Diane Sawyer, who won the Cronkite Award last year and broadcast “World News with Diane Sawyer” for two consecutive nights atop the Cronkite building in downtown Phoenix. Other Cronkite Award recipients include TV anchors Brian Williams, Jane Pauley and Tom Brokaw, newspaper journalists Ben Bradlee, Helen Thomas and Bob Woodward and media executives Katharine Graham, Al Neuharth and Bill Paley.

Cronkite personally presented the award during its first quarter-century. The CBS News anchor died in July 2009.

The Walter Cronkite School of Journalism, named in Cronkite’s honor in 1984, prepares the next generation of journalists in both the time-honored fundamentals embraced by Cronkite and the multimedia skills necessary to thrive as journalists in the digital age.

Housed in a $71 million state-of-the-art media complex in downtown Phoenix, the school has been featured in both The New York Times and The Times of London as a leader in 21st century journalism education. It is the home of the Carnegie-Knight News 21 initiative, the Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism, Cronkite News Service, Cronkite NewsWatch, the New Media Innovation Lab and the Knight Center for Digital Media Entrepreneurship.