Arwa Damon is a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East and president and founder of the International Network for Aid, Relief, and Assistance (INARA), a nonprofit organization that focuses on building a network of logistical support and medical care to help children who need lifesaving or life-altering medical treatment in war-torn nations.
Until June 2022, Damon, an award-winning journalist covering the Middle East, was a senior international correspondent based in CNN’s Istanbul bureau. During her sixteen years at CNN, she reported from across the region, including extensive coverage of Iraq and Syria. In 2018, she was awarded the George Foster Peabody Award for her reporting on the fall of ISIS in Iraq and Syria, in addition to winning three Emmys for that coverage, including an Emmy for Outstanding News Special for Return to Mosul. At the height of Europe’s refugee crisis in 2015, Damon followed and reported on refugees from Syria and Iraq as they traveled across the continent by foot, boat, and train, resulting in coverage that earned her both an Emmy Award and Gracie Award in 2016.
Before joining CNN, Damon spent three years covering Iraq and the Middle East as a freelance producer for various news organizations including Feature Story News, PBS, and CNN.
Inspired by her experience reporting from war zones and war-torn nations, Damon launched INARA in 2015. INARA’s impact has been recognized by several awards, including the 2017 James W. Foley Humanitarian Award; the World of Children’s 2017 Crisis Award; the Syrian-American Medical Society’s Humanitarian Award; and Time Warner’s 2016 Richard Parsons Community Impact Award and Excellence in Service Award.
Damon graduated with honors from Skidmore College in New York with a double major in French and biology and a minor in international affairs. She was born in Boston, Massachusetts but spent most of her childhood in Morocco and Turkey. She is fluent in Arabic, French, and Turkish.