Arwa Damon

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Arwa Damon
Peabody Award for CNN's Reporting on the Arab Spring. From left to right Nic Robertson, Tony Maddox, Arwa Damon, Ivan Watson, and Anderson Cooper, May 2012
Peabody Award for CNN's Reporting on the Arab Spring. From left to right Nic Robertson, Tony Maddox, Arwa Damon, Ivan Watson, and Anderson Cooper, May 2012
Born (1977-09-19) September 19, 1977 (age 41)
EducationDouble major in French and biology
Alma materSkidmore College
Notable credit(s)
CameraPlanet, CNN, CNN International, INARA
WebsiteArwa Damon on Twitter

Arwa Damon (born September 19, 1977) is an American journalist who is a senior international correspondent for CNN, based in Istanbul. From 2003, she covered the Middle East as a freelance journalist, before joining CNN in 2006. She is also president and founder of INARA,[1] a humanitarian organization that provides medical treatment to refugee children from Syria.

Early life and education[edit]

Born in Boston to an American father and Syrian mother, Damon spent her early childhood years in Wayland, Massachusetts. [2] Damon is the granddaughter of Muhsin al-Barazi, the former Syrian Kurd prime minister of Syria, who was executed in the August 1949 Syrian coup d'état.[3]

At age 6, Damon and her family moved to Morocco, followed by Istanbul, Turkey three years later, where her father was a teacher and middle school director at Robert College. He went from there to Isıkkent School in Izmir, and was then headmaster of the American Community School at Beirut from 2003 until his retirement in 2013.[4]

Damon skipped sixth grade and graduated with honors from Robert College at the age of 16. She then spent a gap year with her aunt and uncle in Morocco, learning show jumping, before moving to the U.S. to attend Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York.[3][5] She graduated with honors in 1999 with a double major in French and biology and a minor in international affairs. She is fluent in Arabic, French, Turkish, and English, having grown up speaking all four languages.

Before becoming a reporter, Damon worked for a New York–based Turkish textile company.



Damon decided to become a journalist after 9/11, and moved to Baghdad prior to the beginning of the Iraq War.[3][6] She began her career at CameraPlanet, a supplier of media content for television newscasts, working to get correspondent Peter Arnett's team into pre-war Iraq. For three years, she covered the Middle East as a freelance producer working with CNN, CNN International, PBS, Fox News and others, before joining CNN in February 2006.

CNN/CNN International[edit]

Damon covered the invasion and occupation of Iraq, including the Battle of Najaf and the battle to retake Samarra in 2004, the United States Marine Corps' offensive against insurgents in Fallujah and Operation Steel Curtain in Husaybah near the Syrian border.

Damon also covered include the Iraqi elections of January 2005, the constitutional referendum vote in October 2005, and the Iraqi election of December 2005. She also reported on the trials and executions of Saddam Hussein, Barzan Ibrahim Hassan al-Tikriti and Awad Hamed al-Bandar in January 2007.

Starting in December 2010, Damon covered the Arab Spring from Libya and Egypt.

During the Syrian civil war, Damon travelled multiple times to Syria and to refugee camps for Syrians.[7] After the 2012 Benghazi attack, she was one of the first journalists to arrive at the scene; she recovered slain Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens' personal diary.[3]

In 2013, Damon followed an anti-poaching park ranger unit through Odzala National Park in the Republic of the Congo. The feature was called Arwa Damon Investigates: Ivory War.[8][7]

In April 2014, after the Chibok schoolgirls kidnapping, she travelled to West Africa and the islands of Lake Chad to follow the hunt for the terrorists.[7]

Damon covered the International military intervention against ISIL on numerous occasions, dating to the beginning of the conflict.[7]

Damon returned to Iraq in the second half of 2016 and covered the Battle of Mosul. Riding with a convoy consisting of press and Iraqi soldiers, she came under heavy fire by IS troops and was trapped. After 28 hours of entrenched fighting, reinforcements from the Iraqi military rescued them.[7]

Damon travelled to Thailand to cover the Tham Luang cave rescue.[7]

Damon often shows interest in reporting on nature, environmental protection and similar themes. In 2018 she accompanied a Greenpeace group to Antarctica and made a feature of it.[9]


INARA (the International Network for Aid, Relief and Assistance) is a humanitarian aid, 501(c)3, non-profit organization was that co-founded by Arwa Damon in 2015 in Beirut, Lebanon. INARA provides medical services for children who have been wounded in war zones. It also provides rehabilitation treatment for its beneficiaries.[10]

The organization focuses on refugee children from Syria. As of August 2018, INARA has managed to provide treatment to over 150 refugee children.[11][12][13]

Personal life[edit]

In 2014, Damon was sued after being accused of biting two EMTs while intoxicated at the U.S. embassy in Baghdad. She later apologized for the incident.[14]


Damon won an Investigative Reporters and Editors' IRE Award for her reporting of the Consulate attack in Benghazi, along with fellow photojournalist Sarmad Qaseera.[15][16]

Damon was part of the CNN team who won the 2012 Emmy Award for Outstanding Live Coverage of a Current News Story – Long Form (Revolution in Egypt: President Mubarak Steps Down).[17][18] In 2014, she was awarded the Courage in Journalism Award given by the International Women's Media Foundation (IWMF).[19]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ "Our Board". INARA. Retrieved 2016-11-03.
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b c d Heidi Mitchell (November 19, 2012). "Facing the Truth: CNN's Arwa Damon". Vogue. pp. 1–3. Retrieved 2014-06-30.
  4. ^ "Special dinner held recognizing Dr. George H. Damon, Jr., retiring head of the American Community School at Beirut". American Community School, Beirut; News Post. 2013-07-15. Retrieved 2014-07-01.
  5. ^ CNN Programs – Anchors/Reporters – Arwa Damon CNN.
  6. ^ Gold, Hadas. "Getting There: CNN's Arwa Damon". Politico. Retrieved 2014-06-30.
  7. ^ a b c d e f "Official biography at CNN". CNN. Retrieved 2018-08-14.
  8. ^ Arwa Damon (January 1, 2014). "Arwa Damon Investigates: Ivory War". CNN. Retrieved 2018-08-13.
  9. ^ Arwa Damon (2018-08-14). "How the Antarctic is helping combat climate change". Retrieved 2018-08-23.
  10. ^ "INARA – Who we are". Retrieved 2018-08-17.
  11. ^ Kathryn McQuade (July 26, 2018). "Grant awarded to The International Network for Aid, Relief and Assistance (INARA)". Retrieved 2018-09-17.
  12. ^ "Inara Awarded Over $500,000 By Unicef". March 29, 2017. Retrieved 2018-09-17.
  13. ^ TK Maloy (20 June 2017). "INARA: Helping to bridge the gap in medical services for refugee children". Annahar. AN-NAHAR. Retrieved 2018-09-17.
  14. ^
  15. ^ "2012 IRE Award winners". Investigative Reporters and Editors. Retrieved 2014-06-30.
  16. ^ "CNN's Arwa Damon wins 2014 Courage in Journalism Award". CNN. May 16, 2014. Retrieved 2014-06-30.
  17. ^ "Winners of The 33rd Annual News & Documentary Emmy Awards". The Emmy Awards. Retrieved 2014-06-30.
  18. ^ Arwa Damon on IMDb
  19. ^ "Arwa Damon: 2014 Courage in Journalism Award". IWMF. Retrieved 2014-06-30.