Isha Sesay

Closing Session
Date: Monday, January 28, 2019 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM
Isha Sesay Image

Isha Sesay

Beneath the Tamarind Tree Book Cover ImageIsha Sesay was born in England and at the age of seven moved with her family to her parents' homeland of Sierra Leone. At age sixteen she moved back to London to pursue her studies and ultimately matriculated to Trinity College, Cambridge.  After graduating, she joined the BBC Networks as a researcher, then moved to Sky Sports News where she hosted Good Morning Sports Fans.

In 2005, she joined CNN International as an anchor and correspondent covering major breaking news stories and global events.  Her impressive roster of interviews includes numerous global leaders, such as the prime ministers of Kenya and Australia, as well as the presidents of Nigeria, Guinea, Liberia, Rwanda, and Sierra Leone; and a host of newsmakers including Nancy Pelosi, David Beckham, Bill Gates, Bono, Richard Branson, Matt Damon, Michelle Obama; and Nobel Peace Prize Laureates Wangari Maathai, Malala Yousafzai, Leymeh
Gbowee, and Denis Mukwege.

Sesay played an integral role in CNN U.S. and CNN International's joint coverage of major events including the protests in Egypt, Japan’s nuclear reactor crisis, the Amanda Knox trial, the fall of Tripoli, and the royal wedding in London.  She also reported on the deadly Ebola outbreak in West Africa and the death of Nelson Mandela. In 2014, Sesay broke the story of the kidnapping of 276 Nigerian schoolgirls by Boko Haram.  Her team at CNN was recognized with a Peabody Award for coverage of the story, and Sesay received a Gracie Award for Outstanding Anchor.

In August of 2018, Sesay left CNN to pursue other projects, including her book Beneath the Tamarind Tree, available July 2019.  The book is the first definitive account of Boko Haram’s abduction of the Chibok schoolgirls. Having developed unprecedented access to the Chibok girls, Sesay shares an intimate account of the night Boko Haram attacked, exclusive details about their years in captivity, and their daring tales of escape.

Sesay is the founder of W.E. Can Lead (Women Everywhere Can Lead), an organization that supports education and empowers girls in Africa, and ROUSE, a multi-city summit event dedicated to sharing the stories of inspirational African women. She holds a BA honors English degree from Trinity College, Cambridge University, and she currently lives in Los Angeles. Get details and add to your schedule.