Stephen Sackur, the presenter of HARDtalk, BBC World News’ flagship current affairs interview programme, has been a journalist with BBC News since 1986. Broadcasting across BBC World News, BBC News Channel and BBC World Service, Stephen has interviewed many high-profile guests.
In November 2010, Stephen was awarded the ‘International TV Personality of the Year Award’ by the Association of International Broadcasters.
Before taking over HARDtalk, Stephen was based in Brussels for three years as the BBC’s Europe Correspondent. He travelled across Europe to cover major stories around the continent, including Europe’s worst terror attack of recent times in Madrid in 2004, and the expansion of the European Union from 15 countries to 25.
Prior to this, Stephen was the BBC’s Washington Correspondent from July 1997. With a keen interest in politics, he has interviewed President George W. Bush, covered the 2000 US Presidential Elections, the Clinton scandal and impeachment trial, and the ways and means of lawmaking, including campaign finance reform. He also made a documentary for the BBC’s current affairs programme Panorama on the topic of guns and weapon manufacturer lawsuits in the US.
Stephen has also been the BBC Middle East Correspondent in both Cairo (from 1992 to 1995) and Jerusalem (from 1995 to 1997), covering the peace process, the assassination of the Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and the emergence of the Palestinian Authority under the late Yasser Arafat. To prepare a documentary on Islamic fundamentalism, he lived with Hezbollah guerrillas in south Lebanon for two weeks.
In 1990, Stephen was appointed as a BBC Foreign Correspondent. He was part of the BBC’s team of correspondents covering the Gulf War, spending eight weeks with the British Army when the conflict began. He was the first correspondent to break the story of the mass killing on the Basra road out of Kuwait City, marking the end of the war. He travelled back to Iraq just after the downfall of Saddam Hussein and filed the first television reports on Iraq’s mass graves which contained the bodies of thousands of victims of Saddam’s regime.
In Eastern Europe, as witness to Communism’s last days, Stephen offered a unique perspective on the rocky road to democracy and stability for this area. Serving as correspondent for BBC national radio, he reported on Czechoslovakia’s Velvet Revolution and Germany’s reunification. He has contributed countless articles to The Observer, The London Review of Books, New Statesman, The Guardian and The Daily Telegraph.
Born in Lincolnshire, England, Stephen was educated at both Cambridge and Harvard University.
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