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Isha Sesay      

British Journalist; Former Anchor for CNN International & HLN; Founder of Women Everywhere Can Lead

Isha Sesay is a former anchor and correspondent for CNN, having appeared on programs across CNN International and CNN/U.S. She also founded W.E. (Women Everywhere) Can Lead, a non-profit working to nurture and encourage teenage girls to become the next generation of leaders.

On CNN International Sesay anchored "CNN NewsCenter," a half-hour weekday news program that takes viewers through the day’s big stories of global importance. She also hosted "BackStory," the weekly program that goes behind the scenes of CNN’s global newsgathering operation and often files reports for "African Voices."

She also provided news updates for the 2000ET edition of "Anderson Cooper 360°," which is broadcast around the world on CNNI.

A seasoned journalist, Sesay has covered numerous breaking news and world news events. Having covered the 2008 Democratic National Convention (DNC) in Denver, Colorado, she traveled to Charlotte, North Carolina, to report from the 2012 DNC as part of CNNI’s coverage of the U.S. presidential race. In 2012 she also led CNNI’s coverage of the United Nations General Assembly from New York, securing interviews with NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen and Organization of Islamic Cooperation Secretary-General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu.

Sesay is currently putting the finishing touches on her first book, which details the mass abduction of the 276 Nigerian schoolgirls by the Boko Haram terror group in 2014. Their plight generated countless headlines around the world and the hashtag, #BringBackOurgirls. Harper Collins will publish the as-yet unnamed title, next year.

In 2011, she played an integral role in CNN/U.S. and CNNI’s joint coverage of major global news events including the protests in Egypt, Japan’s nuclear reactor crisis, the fall of Tripoli, the trial of Amanda Knox and the royal wedding live from London.

In 2010, Sesay covered the World Cup from Johannesburg, South Africa, capturing the global impact of the month-long event. Later in the year Sesay headed to Nigeria for CNN’s iList series. She reported from the country’s capital, Abuja, for a special week of coverage and landed an exclusive interview with Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan.

Other major stories include Zimbabwe’s disputed 2008 election; the Russia-Georgia conflict; the assassination of Benazir Bhutto; the kidnapping of British toddler Margaret Hill in the Niger Delta; the death of Slobodan Milosevic; Liberia’s historic election of Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf; the hospitalization of Ariel Sharon; the foiled transatlantic plane bomb plot; the Israeli-Hezbollah war; the arrest of John Mark Karr in connection with the death of Jon Benet Ramsey, and the Live Earth concert in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Complementing her role as anchor and correspondent, Sesay reprised her role as co-host of the 2012 CNN MultiChoice African Journalist Awards, the premier accolade for excellent journalism across the continent. She first co-hosted the annual event in 2009 from Durban, South Africa - a year that attracted entries from 836 journalists from 38 African countries - and has since traveled to Uganda and Zambia to host the ceremony.

As part of her anchoring and reporting duties, Sesay has interviewed a number of world leaders including Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga; President Abdoulaye Wade of Senegal; President Lech Kaczynski of Poland; Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf; and President Ernest Bai Koroma of Sierra Leone.

She has also interviewed a host of newsmakers including David Beckham, Bill Gates, Bono, Richard Branson, supermodel Alek Wek, Editor-in-Chief of Newsweek and the Daily Beast Tina Brown, former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, recording artist Akon, and actors Matt Damon, Hugh Jackman and Djimon Hounsou.

While on assignment in South Africa in 2007, she covered the launch of "The Elders"- an initiative founded by Nelson Mandela to tackle the world’s intractable problems. Sesay also travelled to Nigeria to cover the country’s historic presidential elections in April 2007. While there, she conducted one-on-one interviews with both the outgoing president Olusegun Obasanjo, and incoming president, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua.

Sesay joined CNN in November 2005 from the UK broadcaster ITN, where she anchored ITV’s Early Morning News program, as well news bulletins for the UK’s most watched breakfast program GMTV.

Prior to this, she spent more than three years presenting Good Morning Sports Fans for Sky Sports. From 1998-2001, Sesay presented a wide range of programs across the BBC networks.

A Briton of Sierra Leonean parentage, she holds a BA honors English degree from Trinity College, Cambridge University.


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