At a 2008 roast celebrating journalist Christiane Amanpour, Madeleine Albright deftly noted, “There are important categories of people who do not like Christiane Amanpour. For example: genocidalists find her ill tempered, dictators consider her a nag, terrorists think she’s snippy, and those who take a philosophical approach to the suffering of others find her incredibly annoying.”
But the list of people who love Amanpour—and I mean really, really, love her—is much longer, and definitely more esteemed. In addition to earning a slew of awards including nine News and Documentary Emmys, four George Foster Peabody Awards, the Courage in Journalism Award, six honorary degrees, and being named Commander of the Most Excellent order of the British Empire by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II—she’s been a role model to countless young women wanting to make a difference in this world, myself included.
Over the weekend, I was surprised and excited to hear that Amanpour is leaving her long-time post as CNN’s International Correspondent to take over the popular ABC Sunday pundit show “This Week” in August. I enjoy a little political squabble with my morning tea and toast but, I have to admit, the major network fare can get downright boring. It’s the same men leading the same discussions with the same arguments, week after week. It took guts for ABC to bring an Iranian woman, heavy on foreign experience to the table. The network is getting flack from those who think a career founded in international coverage makes her a weak host for the domestically-focused program.
But the fact is, Amanpour is the ideal choice because—not in spite of—her international expertise. As the world becomes more connected and nations start to understand that one country’s challenges are actually shared by the global community, the division between domestic politics and international affairs begins to blur. The need for in-depth reporting with an astute understanding of world affairs has never been more vital, and I look forward to hearing a new spin on her always thoughtful, razor-sharp analysis when she makes her ABC debut this August. “I am motivated by a sense of public service,” Amanpour told NPR, “We owe our viewers information—correct information and analysis. To go out and be the eyes and ears, that’s what our historical mandate is, and that’s what we need to do. Otherwise, we will be irrelevant.” Here’s to a lack of irrelevancy and a welcome new face on Sunday mornings.