Amna Nawaz

June 10, 2023

Topic: On the Frontlines: Reporting Overseas and Here at Home

Amna Nawaz serves as co-anchor of PBS NewsHour. Prior to joining PBS NewsHour in April 2018, Nawaz was an anchor and correspondent at ABC News, anchoring breaking news coverage and leading the network’s livestream coverage of the 2016 presidential election. Before that, she served as foreign correspondent and Islamabad Bureau Chief at NBC News. She is also the founder and former managing editor of NBC’s Asian America platform, built in 2014, to elevate stories from America’s fastest-growing and most diverse population.

At the NewsHour, Nawaz has reported from the White House, across the country, and around the world on a range of topics including politics, immigration, foreign affairs, education, gun violence, criminal justice reform, the climate, culture, and sports. She also serves as an NBC News and MSNBC political contributor.

Throughout her career, she has covered major events such as the January 6th attacks on the U.S. Capitol; the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas; the elections and inaugurations of President Joe Biden, President Donald J. Trump, and President Barack Obama; Hurricane Katrina; the 2010 Haiti earthquake; the U.S. war in Afghanistan; and the September 11th attacks.

Nawaz has interviewed multiple heads of state and international leaders including Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and Belarusian opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya. She has interviewed government officials including Acting DHS Secretary Kevin McAleenan, ICE Director Mark Morgan, Dr. Anthony Fauci, and VA Secretary Denis McDonough. She has interviewed a variety of newsmakers including acclaimed director Ava Duvernay, actor Riz Ahmed, WNBA star Sue Bird, and country singer Reba McEntire.

On January 6, 2021, Nawaz reported live for several hours from outside the U.S. Capitol building as it was under attack, part of a NewsHour team honored with a Peabody Award for its coverage.

Nawaz previously won a Peabody for her documentary work on 2019’s “The Plastic Problem,” examining global plastic pollution and efforts to address it. Her other documentaries include “Raising the Future,” a 2021 documentary on America’s childcare crisis; and 2022’s “Life After Lockup,” which followed the lives of four formerly-incarcerated people to track the challenges of re-entry after prison.

In 2020, Nawaz hosted a criminal justice podcast, “Broken Justice,” which was named a finalist for the Silver Gavel Awards, honoring work that fosters the American public’s understanding of law and the legal system. She also hosted 2021’s “The Longest Year,” a pandemic-focused podcast series on the many ways Covid-19 changed Americans’ lives. Nawaz has hosted three seasons of the primetime PBS series, “Beyond the Canvas,” featuring profiles and interviews of some of the world’s leading artists, musicians, and creators. 

In 2019, Nawaz became the first Asian American and the first Muslim American to moderate a presidential debate. While at ABC News, Nawaz hosted the documentary, “Roberts County: A Year in the Most Pro-Trump Town,” following four families’ lives over President Trump’s first year in office. She also hosted the podcast series, “Uncomfortable” for ABC News Radio, featuring in-depth, one-on-one conversations with thought leaders on the issues dividing America. While at NBC News, she was the first foreign journalist to gain access to North Waziristan – then the global hub of Al Qaida and the Taliban – while pregnant with her first daughter.

Nawaz was a Fall 2021 Fellow at Georgetown University’s Institute of Politics and Public Service. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Asian American Journalists Association, the South Asian Journalists Association, and the Inter-American Dialogue. In 2022, Nawaz was the recipient of the Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies’ Vision Award and the Media Award from the Muslim Affairs Public Council’s Media Award. She has also been honored with the American Muslim Institution’s Excellence in Media Award in 2018 and an Emmy award as part the 2009 NBC News Special “Inside the Obama White House.”

She is the first-generation American daughter of Pakistani parents, born and raised in Virginia. Nawaz earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania, where she captained the varsity field hockey team and studied abroad at the University of Zimbabwe. She later earned her master’s degree from the London School of Economics.

She lives with her husband, Paul, and their two daughters in the Washington, D.C. area.

Upcoming Speakers

  • June 10, 2023
    Amna Nawaz
    Topic: On the Frontlines: Reporting Overseas and Here at Home
  • July 10, 2023
    Thomas Ricks
    Topic: First Principles: What America's Founders Learned from the Greeks and Romans and How That Shaped Our Country
  • August 14, 2023
    Ambassador Charles Ray
    Topic: The Future of Democracy in Africa
  • Monday, October 9, 2023
    Ambassador Ronald Lehman
    Topic: The Importance of STEM to U.S. National Security

Past Speakers