Atia Abawi

On Monday 3rd November, Atia Abawi, experienced Foreign Correspondent and recently published novelist, attended TGS to speak to students in years 10-13. Atia explained her ambition and career progression in journalism, as part of which she spent 4 years living and working in Afghanistan for CNN.  Atia shared moving stories of her encounters with US Marines and local people there, and the impact working in a war zone had on her personally.  During this time she met her husband, and they both now live in Jerusalem, where they continue to work as international journalists for US news stations.  Atia signed a copy of her book, Secret Sky, which is a love story set in Afghanistan, which will soon be available in the school library.

Atia gave an inspirational seminar which encouraged students to aim high, never give up in pursuing their dreams and to question everything!  Three students from the Scripted team interviewed Atia, so look out for more information in the school magazine. 

Atia Abawi is an international news correspondent and author. Currently based in the Middle East, Atia was born in Germany, soon after which she moved to U.S. where she was raised in Virginia.

Following work for local television channels Atia moved to CNN in 2004, working on numerous events of international significance including Benazir Bhutto’s assassination in Pakistan and the war in Iraq. In 2006, Atia covered the Israel, Lebanon conflict. During this period she also spent five weeks making an independent documentary in a remote Taliban controlled village in Central Afghanistan. In 2008 Atia was appointed to set up and take charge of the CNN Kabul Bureau.

Whilst in Afghanistan, Atia spent time embedded with U.S., NATO and Afghan forces during major military operations. Throughout this period she interviewed numerous Afghan, International, and American political and military leaders.
Beyond Afghanistan, whilst still at CNN Atia reported on a wide range of international events, including the Aung San Suu Kyi trial – where she gained entry to Myanmar’s secretive military state in order to film covertly. She also reported on the Israeli Security Forces attack on Gaza in 2010.
In 2010, Atia moved to NBC in order to report and manage its operations in Afghanistan.  Whilst at NBC she reported from London on the Royal wedding. In total contrast Atia also provided analysis and commentary for an NBC News special report following the US raid that killed Osama Bin Laden. In 2012 Atia obtained an exclusive interview with the then President of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai.

After 5-years of living and working in Afghanistan, Atia moved to Jerusalem in January 2013.  She has since covered President Barack Obama’s historic trip to Israel and Palestine, the military coup in Egypt, and the Kenyan mall siege by Al-Shabab militants.

Atia’s first book, ‘The Secret Sky: A Novel of Forbidden Love in Afghanistan’, written for young adults was published by Penguin Group, in September 2014.

Atia currently lives in Jerusalem with her husband. They are expecting their first child in January 2015.