Manage episode 377241520 series 2809589
Growing up in The Troubles in Northern Ireland, Jane Ferguson spent most of her life reporting on the global troubles in Yemen, Somalia, Sudan, Iraq, Gaza, Syria, and Afghanistan, reporting for CNN International, Al Jazeera, PBS Newshour, The New Yorker and other outlets, always finding the human stories in inhuman wars and all revealed in her unflinching new memoir No Ordinary Assignment.
The least surprising part of her memoir is when she wins the George Polk Award, an Emmy Award, and an Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia Award for her stellar reporting.
Jane takes us back to her young “hillbilly” childhood in County Armagh, growing up in a rural Protestant farming family, where security checkpoints along the roads and military helicopters in the skies was for her, normalcy.
She escaped this normalcy through the pages of National Geographic, running her fingers over its maps, and the inspiration on women war correspondents she saw reporting from the front lines.
Jane’s is a life lived through culture shocks, from a rustic Irish farm to a bucolic New Jersey prep school, from the ancient civilization of Yemen to the futuristic world of Dubai, from finding her tribe among the war correspondents at Kabul’s colorful Gandamack Lodge, to staying with her tribe to the bitter end in the fall of that city years later.
With fear as her ally, she wills herself into some of the most dangerous places on earth, balancing her sense of service with her ambition, looking at each conflict through non-sectarian eyes, feeling privileged to tell the human stories amid geopolitical turmoil.
She is largely off the road now, teaching at Princeton University while continuing as a PBS NewsHour - Special Correspondent and contributor for The New Yorker.
On Thursday, Sept. 21, 2023 at 7:00 pm, The National Humanities Center will host “An Evening with Jane Ferguson,” at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
So much of Jane’s “beat” spun out of the tragedy of 9/11, so it was particularly meaningful that we recorded our episode with her on the anniversary of that somber day.
- National Humanities Center: An Evening with Jane Ferguson