Stephen Sackur

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Stephen Sackur
Stephen Sackur, Journalist & Presenter (17167554681) (cropped 2).jpg
Sackur at the World Travel and Tourism Council summit, 2015
Stephen John Sackur

(1964-01-09) 9 January 1964 (age 58)
Alma materEmmanuel College, Cambridge
Harvard University
OccupationJournalist, News anchor
Notable credit(s)
BBC, foreign affairs correspondent
HARDtalk, host
GMT, presenter (2010–2019)

Stephen John Sackur (born 9 January 1964) is an English journalist who presents HARDtalk, a current affairs interview programme on BBC World News and the BBC News Channel. He was also the main Friday presenter of GMT on BBC World News. For fifteen years, he was a BBC foreign correspondent and he is a regular contributor to BBC Radio 4 and a number of newspapers and magazines.

Early life and education[edit]

Sackur was born in Spilsby, Lincolnshire, England, the son of Robert Sackur, a farmer, and his wife Sallie Caley. He was educated at King Edward VI Grammar School, Spilsby, and Emmanuel College, Cambridge, where he gained a BA honours degree in history, and then joined Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government as a Henry Fellow.[1][2][3][4]


Sackur began working at the BBC as a trainee in 1986, and in 1990 he was appointed as one of its foreign affairs correspondents.[3][4] As a BBC Radio correspondent, Sackur reported on the Velvet Revolution of Czechoslovakia in 1989 and the reunification of Germany in 1990.[3] During the Gulf War, he was part of a BBC team covering the conflict and spent eight weeks as an embedded journalist with the British Army.[5] At the end of the war, he was the first correspondent to report the massacre of the retreating Iraqi army on the road leading out of Kuwait.[3]

Sackur was based in Cairo, Egypt, between 1992 and 1995 as the BBC's correspondent in the Middle East and he later moved to Jerusalem in 1995 until 1997.[4] He covered both the death of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and the growth of the Palestinian Authority under Yasser Arafat.[3]

Between 1997 and 2002, he was appointed the BBC's correspondent in Washington and covered the Lewinsky scandal. He later covered the U.S. presidential election in 2000 and interviewed President George W. Bush.[3] Sackur went back to Iraq in 2003 after the fall of Saddam Hussein and was the first to report Iraq's mass graves of victims of the regime.[3] He was also the moderator of BBC's worldwide broadcast of a debate on climate change with a panel of five world leaders from South Africa, the Maldives, Sweden, Australia and Mexico.

In 1991, he wrote On the Basra Road: Scenes from the Gulf War (London Review of Books).


In 2005, Sackur replaced veteran journalist Tim Sebastian as the regular host of the BBC's news programme HARDtalk. He has since interviewed prominent international personalities including President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela, President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva of Brazil, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina of Bangladesh, President Felipe Calderón of Mexico, President Shimon Peres of Israel, President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian National Authority, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim, President Jalal Talabani of Iraq, Prime Mininister of Moldova Iurie Leanca, US vice-president Al Gore, former US Secretary of Defence Robert Gates. He has also interviewed leading cultural figures including Gore Vidal, Slavoj Žižek, Richard Dawkins, Noam Chomsky, Jordan Peterson and Vladimir Ashkenazy, as well as Annie Lennox.[6]

Sackur was named "International TV Personality of the Year" by the Association for International Broadcasting (AIB) in November 2010.[7]

He was nominated as "Speech Broadcaster of the Year" at the Sony Radio Awards 2013.[8]

In June 2017, Sackur was conferred with an Honorary Doctorate of International Relations (DIR) by the Geneva School of Diplomacy and International Relations, and in July 2018, he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Letters by the University of Warwick.[9]


  1. ^ "Stephen Sackur". World Bank Live. Retrieved 18 January 2021.
  2. ^ "Stephen John SACKUR". Debrett's People of Today. Archived from the original on 16 April 2016. Retrieved 2 April 2016.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g "NewsWatch: Stephen Sackur – HARDtalk". BBC News. 27 June 2006.
  4. ^ a b c "BBC – Press Office – Stephen Sackur". August 2008. Archived from the original on 11 February 2009.
  5. ^ "HARDtalk – About Stephen Sackur". BBC News. 30 September 2009.
  6. ^ "Stephen Sackur" (interview), HARDtalk, BBC News.
  7. ^ "Stephen Sackur". Performing Artistes. Retrieved 15 November 2012.
  8. ^ "Sony Radio Academy Awards 2013: full list of nominations", The Guardian, 10 April 2013.
  9. ^ "Stephen Sackur, present[sic] of the BBC's HARDtalk, receives Honorary Doctorate", News & Events, Warwick, 1 August 2018.

External links[edit]