Chief International Correspondent
Clarissa Ward is CNN's multi-award winning chief international correspondent.
Clarissa Ward is CNN's chief international correspondent based in London.
For more than 15 years Ward has reported from front lines across the world from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and Yemen to Ukraine to Georgia -- during the Russian incursion in 2008 -- and Iran.
She is the author of the upcoming book, 'On All Fronts: The Education of a Journalist' (Penguin Press), that details her singular career as a conflict reporter and how she has documented the violent remaking of the world from close range.
Most recently Ward contributed to CNN's breaking news coverage of the crisis between the US and Iran, tracking the story from the US, Iraq -- including the site of an Iranian missile attack -- and Ukraine with every major development.
Ward recently investigated Russia's use of mercenaries in a two-part series for CNN, 'Putin's Private Army.' For this months-long investigation, Ward secured the first on-camera interview with a former fighter for Wagner -- Russia's most notorious private military contractor. She traveled to the Central African Republic, to look at growing Russian mercenary activity on the continent. After visiting a diamond mine with ties to a Russian oligarch, Ward and her team were followed and intimidated by a car full of Russians. After their reports came out, they were targeted by a Russian media propaganda campaign trying to discredit their reporting.
Last year Ward also had unprecedented access to Taliban-controlled territory in Afghanistan for an exclusive report, '36 Hours with the Taliban.' Ward and CNN field producer Salma Abdelaziz spent time at a local madrasa, where dozens of children -- boys and girls -- pored over their Qurans, and a Taliban-run clinic in the village of Pashma Qala.
In 2018 she reported extensively on the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, even obtaining exclusive footage that showed a Saudi operative posing as Khashoggi in an attempt to cover up the killing. That report on Khashoggi's body double was recognized with a Golden Nymph from the Monte Carlo Television Festival in 2019 and CNN's overall coverage of Khashoggi's murder was recognized with a prestigious 2020 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Award.
Ward also fronted 'Shadow Over Europe,' a CNN investigation into the rise of anti-Semitism in Europe in 2018, traveling to Poland, Germany and France to see how these countries were tackling this rise of anti-Semitic incidents and stereotypes. 'Shadow Over Europe' was recognized with a 2019 Edward R. Murrow Award in the News Series category for Television Networks.
She has won multiple awards for her reporting: Two George Foster Peabody Awards; two Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Awards; five Emmy Awards; two Edward R. Murrow Awards for distinguished journalism; honors from the Radio and Television Correspondents' Association; and the 2017 David Kaplan Award from the Overseas Press Club.
In 2016 she received the prestigious Excellence in International Reporting Award from the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ) for her outstanding war reporting in hotspots like Iraq and Syria.
In early 2016 Ward traveled undercover to rebel-held areas in Syria -- where almost no Western journalists had visited in over a year -- to report on what life was like there under the Russian and regime bombardment. Less than 24 hours after arriving, Ward witnessed an airstrike on a fruit market that left 11 dead. The entire 'Undercover in Syria' series of exclusive, award-winning reports from behind rebel lines can be found here. To date, 'Undercover in Syria' has been recognized with a Peabody Award, an Edward R. Murrow Award for 'News Series' and the Overseas Press Club's David Kaplan Award.
As one of the last Western reporters to visit rebel-held Aleppo, Ward was asked to address a UN Security Council meeting on the embattled Syrian city in August 2016, stating "there are no winners in Aleppo."
Ward joined CNN in 2015 from CBS News, where she served as a foreign correspondent for four years and contributed regularly to '60 Minutes.'
On an undercover assignment to Syria in 2014, she interviewed two Western fighters about why they joined the jihad there. One of the jihadists was a young Somali-American from the Midwest, making Ward the only Western journalist to have interviewed an American jihadist fighter inside Syria since the start of the civil war.
While at CBS Ward interviewed world leaders like U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2012 and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in 2013, challenging them both on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's brutal crackdown inside Syria.
Before joining CBS Ward spent two years in Moscow and two years in Beijing for ABC News. She covered the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan and the 2008 global food crisis, where her coverage received an Emmy Award for Business and Financial Reporting.
Prior to ABC News, Ward was based in the Middle East for Fox News Channel, covering the execution of Saddam Hussein and other key stories in the regions in addition to interviewing notable figures like General David Petraeus and Lebanese President Emile Lahoud.
Ward's career in journalism started in 2002 as an intern at CNN's Moscow bureau. She has since been based in Baghdad, Beijing, Beirut, Moscow, New York and London.
Ward speaks fluent French and Italian, conversational Russian, Arabic and Spanish and basic Mandarin. She graduated with distinction from Yale University, and in 2013 received an Honorary Doctor of Letters degree from Middlebury College in Vermont.