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Ivan Watson

Ivan Watson is CNN's senior international correspondent based in Istanbul, Turkey. He rejoined CNN in 2009 from NPR where he reported extensively on major stories from around the Middle East and Central Asia. Watson most recently reported from Cairo covering the protests and unrest in Egypt.

CNN first hired Watson in the late 1990s as a Moscow-based producer. He covered the Russian war in Chechnya and the sinking of the Kursk submarine in the Arctic, among other stories.

Watson joined NPR in 2000 as their West Africa correspondent. Based in Lagos, Watson reported on Africa's most populous nation, Nigeria. He also traveled to countries such as Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea and Mauritania reporting on the region's different cultures and conflicts.

Following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Watson traveled to Northern Afghanistan where he witnessed the defeat of the Taliban and the fall of Kabul. He then spent nearly a year reporting on developments in the post-Taliban country.

During the US invasion of Iraq, Watson covered the conflict's northern front. He traveled south towards Baghdad with Kurdish militias following the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. Later, he documented the first years of the troubled US occupation from Baghdad.

He also covered the surprise victory of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Iran's 2005 presidential election. Watson reported extensively from South Lebanon during the 2006 conflict between Israel and Hezbollah.

Throughout his career, Watson has sought to share his affection for countries in the region with audiences, by reporting on the quirks and cultural treasures of societies that rarely grab headlines. Topics range from profiling a millionaire doctor who used hypnosis and shamanistic traditions to treat heroin addicts in the mountains of Kyrgyzstan to frolicking with Turkey’s enormous and treasured Kangal sheepdogs in the highlands of Anatolia. In August 2010, CNN’s World’s Untold Stories aired a documentary reported by Watson and Istanbul camera-man Joe Duran which documented the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Constantinople’s efforts to protect Istanbul’s dwindling Greek community from disappearing all-together.

Watson attended Brown University, where he earned a BA in International Relations and speaks fluent Russian and French.

Follow Ivan on Twitter @IvanCNN

 

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