About 

  • 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 Georgia -- during the Russian incursion in 2008 -- and Ukraine.

    In February 2019 Ward got 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, reciting verses as they rocked back and forth, and a Taliban-run clinic in the village of Pashma Qala, where a contraception poster hung on the wall.

    Last fall Ward fronted a CNN investigation into the rise of anti-Semitism in Europe, traveling to Poland, Germany and France to see how these countries are tackling this rise of anti-Semitic incidents and stereotypes. She also visited Auschwitz and interviewed Edith Eger, a survivor of the death camp who has dedicated her life to educating others about the atrocities of the Holocaust.

    In 2017 she gained rare access to war-stricken Yemen, where she witnessed an unprecedented -- and man-made -- humanitarian crisis with a healthcare system on the brink of collapse. She reported from Bangladesh on the distressing humanitarian situation with the Rohingya Muslims, including systematic rape of Rohingya women by the Myanmar military.

    Ward also traveled to Greenland -- including Helheim Glacier and Summit Station -- as well as key coastal cities in the U.S. to see firsthand the changes taking place in the Arctic, and how those changes are impacting U.S. coastlines for a CNN special 'Global Warning: Arctic Melt.'

    She has won multiple awards for her reporting: Two George Foster Peabody Awards, one of which she received for her 2016 series, 'Undercover in Syria'; an Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Award; five Emmy Awards, including one this year for her 2017 special report, 'Syria: Gasping for Life in Khan Sheikhoun'; 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 for 'Undercover in Syria.'

    In November 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.

    She traveled undercover to rebel-held areas in Syria -- where almost no Western journalists had visited in over a year -- in late February 2016 to report on what life is like there under the bombs. Less than 24 hours after arriving, Ward witnessed an airstrike 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.

    Given her extensive reporting in Syria and the ongoing crisis there, Ward was asked to address a UN Security Council meeting on the embattled Syrian city of Aleppo in August 2016, stating "there are no winners in Aleppo."

    Additionally, Ward reported extensively on the November 2015 terror attacks in Paris -- contributing to CNN's award for Best Breaking News Coverage from the Royal Television Society (RTS) -- and subsequent terrorist attacks in Brussels and Nice in 2016, and Manchester in 2017.

    Following the Brussels attack, Ward began an almost year-long investigation of a Belgian altar boy who joined ISIS in Syria and then returned home to Belgium. 'ISIS: Behind the Mask' -- Ward's first primetime special for CNN -- gives a rare, unfiltered look at the life and mind of a foreign fighter after leaving Syria.

    In September 2015 Ward joined CNN 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.

    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.

    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.