Isha Sesay (1994) is an anchor and correspondent for CNN International. She is based at the network’s global headquarters in Atlanta. A Briton of Sierra Leonean parentage, she read English at Trinity.
Sesay anchors ‘CNN NewsCenter’ at 1430ET/2030CET weekdays on CNNI, taking viewers through the day’s big stories of global importance. She also hosts ‘BackStory’, the weekly program that goes behind the scenes of CNN’s global newsgathering operation, and often files reports for ‘African Voices.’
A seasoned and award-winning journalist, Sesay has covered numerous breaking news stories and events of global interest. In 2014 she covered the deadly Ebola outbreak in West Africa, interviewing a number of key officials about the crisis including Liberia’s Vice President Joseph Boakai and President Alpha Conde of Guinea. She also reported from Nigeria on the kidnapping of more than 200 Nigerian girls from a school in Chibok, and the subsequent social media campaign — #BringBackOurGirls — to find them. In 2015 CNN’s coverage of this story was recognized with a Peabody Award, and Sesay received a Gracie Award for Outstanding Anchor – News or News Magazine for her coverage of these missing girls.
In 2010, Sesay covered the World Cup from Johannesburg, South Africa, capturing the global impact of the month-long event. Later in the year Sesay headed to Nigeria for CNN’s iList series. She reported from the country’s capital, Abuja, for a special week of coverage and landed an exclusive interview with Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan.
Other major stories include Zimbabwe’s disputed 2008 election; the Russia-Georgia conflict; the assassination of Benazir Bhutto; the kidnapping of British toddler Margaret Hill in the Niger Delta; the death of Slobodan Milosevic; Liberia’s historic election of Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf; the hospitalization of Ariel Sharon; the foiled transatlantic plane bomb plot; the Israeli-Hezbollah war; the arrest of John Mark Karr in connection with the death of Jon Benet Ramsey, and the Live Earth concert in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Complementing her role as anchor and correspondent, Sesay has co-hosted the CNN MultiChoice African Journalist Awards, the premier accolade for excellent journalism across the continent, for the last five years.
As part of her anchoring and reporting duties, Sesay has interviewed a number of world leaders including Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga; President Abdoulaye Wade of Senegal; President Lech Kaczynski of Poland; Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf; and President Ernest Bai Koroma of Sierra Leone.
She has also interviewed a host of newsmakers including David Beckham, Bill Gates, Bono, Richard Branson, supermodel Alek Wek, Editor-in-Chief of Newsweek and the Daily Beast Tina Brown, former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, recording artist Akon, and actors Matt Damon, Hugh Jackman and Djimon Hounsou.
Sesay joined CNN in November 2005 from the UK broadcaster ITN, where she anchored ITV’s Early Morning News program, as well news bulletins for the UK’s most watched breakfast program ‘GMTV.’