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One of the BBC’s most widely respected journalists, Lyse has covered some of the most tumultuous events around the world, from the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan to the Arab Spring uprisings. Despite the conflict and terror, she’s an unshakeable optimist, seeing the humanity and unity of people in the toughest of circumstances. She analyses the political and social uncertainty the world faces, and considers the nature of risk. She also reveals the lighter side to reporting from some of the world’s most dangerous places.
Lyse Doucet is the BBC’s Chief International Correspondent, covering events world-wide, but particularly those in and affecting the Middle East and Asia. She is also a senior presenter, anchoring programmes from the field and the studio for BBC World and the World Service.
After studying international relations in her native Canada, Lyse travelled to Africa with an NGO. Her first role with the BBC was to report from west Africa before being posted to Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan, the latter to cover the Soviet withdrawal from the country. She was then stationed in Jordan, where she set up the BBC’s Amman office, and Jerusalem; from thereon in she specialised in the Middle East. Lyse has covered every major conflict in the region since the mid-1990s including the Arab Spring and the civil war in Syria. She has also returned to Asia, covering major political events and natural disasters.
One of broadcasting’s most informed and respected commentators, Lyse has an in depth knowledge of the politics, commerce and culture of the whole Middle East. She also offers an insight into the wider geopolitical climate as well as the disruptive and unpredictable elements in the world.
Lyse looks at what all the uncertainty might mean, and relates the risk organisations face with the sort of risks she takes to cover a story. A board member of Inter Mediate, an NGO dedicated to dialogue and negotiation amongst some of the world’s most intractable conflicts, Lyse also considers how opposing sides can find common ground. With honesty, energy, and even humour, she focuses on the human stories behind the headlines. She explains how people demonstrate reasons for hope, displaying warmth and resilience in the toughest of circumstances. After dinner she talks about taking selfies with Iraqi tribal sheikhs (as ISIS approach just a few miles away) and why, despite her work, she’s an unshakeable optimist. An accomplished host and moderator, she brings her journalistic skills to the conference stage, keen to get to the heart of the matter whilst ensuring those attending leave with new knowledge and understanding.
As well as covering stories and events on the ground Lyse has produced documentaries on Syria, Gaza and Afgahnistan, the latter a major focus of her more recent reporting, and fronted the Radio 4 series Her Story Made History, in which she interviews some of the most influential but overlooked women in modern politics, journalism and campaigning. She has received many international awards for her journalism and reporting, including Emmy, Peabody, and Sony Gold awards, as well as being appointed a member of the Order of Canada and an OBE, and has served as a Council Member of the Chatham House foreign affairs institution.
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