CNN’s Chief International Anchor Christiane Amanpour will deliver the keynote address at Barnard’s 2021 Commencement, according to an update posted by Barnard. 

Award-winning reporter and journalist Christiane Amanpour will serve as the keynote speaker for this year’s Commencement, according to an announcement on Barnard’s website. Amanpour is currently CNN’s Chief International Anchor and host of the network’s global affairs program “Amanpour,” which also airs on PBS. Amanpour is the recipient of numerous television journalism awards, having interviewed many world leaders and decision makers throughout her career. She is also a passionate active rights campaigner, using her stature to raise awareness of worldwide issues, women’s rights, and journalists’ rights. 

Amanpour is set to address the Class of 2021 at Barnard’s Commencement. Amanpour was also set to speak at last year’s Commencement address. Bwog has reached out to Barnard’s Communications department for more information surrounding the decision to repeat Commencement speakers over two consecutive years. 

During Barnard’s Commencement for the Class of 2020, Christiane Amanpour gave a brief message directed toward the graduating class. In her remarks, she expressed her commitment to “one day delivering [her] Commencement address in person.” 

Update April 10, 2021: A Barnard College spokesperson gave us the following statement.

Since the pandemic prevented a traditional graduation ceremony last year, Christiane Amanpour, our distinguished speaker, and the medalists did not have the opportunity to celebrate with Barnard College. It was very fortunate that they were able to make time in their busy schedules to join us this year, and the decision to take advantage of their limited availability that happened to be in alignment with this year’s event is in no way meant to take away from our 2020 graduates. We’re excited that Amanpour and the medalists have agreed to join us in celebrating the Class of 2021, and we are committed to honoring the graduates of the Class of 2020 and their many accomplishments at a later date.

Read the full announcement below. 

Barnard College Speaker and Medalists Page: 

Christiane Amanpour


Christiane Amanpour is CNN’s chief international anchor of the network’s award-winning, flagship global affairs program “Amanpour,” which launched in 2009 and also airs on PBS in the United States. She is based in the network’s London bureau.

Beginning in 1983 as an entry-level assistant on the international assignment desk at CNN’s headquarters in Atlanta, Amanpour rose through the organization becoming a reporter at the New York bureau, and later, the network’s leading international correspondent. Amanpour’s fearless and uncompromising approach made her popular with audiences, and a force to be reckoned with by global influencers — in 1996, Newsweek said that her reporting from conflict hotspots in the Gulf and the Balkans had helped make CNN “must-see TV for world leaders.” She has also reported from the aftermath of many humanitarian crises, including the devastating 2010 earthquake in Haiti, the 2011 Japanese tsunami, and Hurricane Katrina, where she visited a community center which had been converted to a makeshift morgue for victims of the storm. 

From the 1991 Gulf War to the 2003 American-led invasion, Amanpour has documented the bloody violence which has marked Iraq’s recent history. In 2004, she also reported exclusively from the courtroom at the trial of Saddam Hussein, where the former dictator, disheveled and in chains, was eventually sentenced to death for crimes against humanity. On the ground during the siege of Sarajevo, Amanpour exposed the brutality of the Bosnian War, reporting on the daily tragedy of life for civilians in the city. She was outspoken, calling out the human rights abuses, massacres and genocide committed against the Bosnian Muslims, later saying, “There are some situations one simply cannot be neutral about, because when you are neutral you are an accomplice.”

Throughout her time at CNN, Amanpour has secured exclusive interviews with world leaders and decision makers on the issues affecting the world today. In the wake of the September 11 attacks she was the first international correspondent to interview British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf and Afghan president Hamid Karzai. During the height of the Arab Spring she conducted an Emmy-winning interview with Libya’s former leader Moammar Gadhafi; she was also the last journalist to interview Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak just before he was deposed. She has also spoken with Iranian president Hassan Rouhani after his landslide election victory, Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff following her country’s defeat in the 2014 World Cup semi-final, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro regarding the violent demonstrations in his country, and Russian prime minister Dmitry Medvedev as he attempted to justify his government’s support for the Assad regime in Syria.

In addition to her work as an anchor and reporter, Amanpour is an active rights campaigner. A board member of the Committee to Protect Journalists and the International Women’s Media Foundation, she has used her profile to raise awareness of key global issues and journalists’ rights. She has interviewed educational rights activist Malala Yousafzai for CNN on several occasions, bringing focus to her courage and international advocacy work. In May 2014 she used an appearance on BBC television to raise awareness of the plight of the 200 Nigerian schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram — asking British Prime Minister David Cameron to join the #BringBackOurGirls campaign.

Amanpour has earned every major television journalism award including fourteen News and Documentary Emmy Awards, four Peabody Awards, two George Polk Awards, three duPont-Columbia Awards and the Courage in Journalism Award. She has received ten honorary degrees. 

She was inducted into the Cable Hall of Fame, Broadcast & Cable Hall of Fame and The Atlanta Press Club’s Hall of Fame and has been named a Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, an honorary citizen of Sarajevo and a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for Freedom of the Press and the Safety of Journalists. 

Amanpour graduated summa cum laude from the University of Rhode Island with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism.

Christiane Amanpour via Barnard Speaker and Medalists Page