Jackie Northam is NPR's International Affairs Correspondent. She is a veteran journalist who has spent three decades reporting on conflict, geopolitics, and life across the globe - from the mountains of Afghanistan and the desert sands of Saudi Arabia, to the gritty prison camp at Guantanamo Bay and the pristine beauty of the Arctic.
Northam spent more than a dozen years as an international correspondent living in London, Budapest, Bangkok, Phnom Penh, and Nairobi. She charted the fall of communism in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union, reported from Iraq after the fall of Saddam Hussein, and the rise of Saudi Arabia's powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. She was in Islamabad to cover the Taliban recapturing Afghanistan
Her work has taken her to conflict zones around the world. Northam covered the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, arriving in the country just four days after Hutu extremists began slaughtering ethnic Tutsis. In Afghanistan, she accompanied Green Berets on a precarious mission to take a Taliban base. In Cambodia, she reported from Khmer Rouge strongholds.
Throughout her career, Northam has revealed the human experience behind the headlines, from the courage of Afghan villagers defying militant death threats to cast their vote in a national election, or exhausted rescue workers desperately searching for survivors following a massive earthquake in Haiti.
Northam joined NPR in 2000 as National Security Correspondent, covering defense and intelligence policies at the height of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. She led the network's coverage of the Abu Ghraib abuse scandal and the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Her present beat focuses on the complex relationship between geopolitics and the global economy, including efforts to counter China's rising power.
Northam has received multiple journalism awards, including Associated Press and Edward R. Murrow awards, and was part of the NPR team that won an Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award for "The DNA Files," a series about the science of genetics.
Originally from Canada, Northam spends her time off crewing in the summer, on the ski hills in the winter, and on long walks year-round with her beloved beagle, Tara.
Activities once forbidden — cinema, music, women driving — are now OK. It makes some Saudis nervous. "I talk to younger people, they are happy with it," says a Saudi woman. "But older people are not."
The Pentagon and U.N. human rights investigators are in a standoff over access to the more than 500 people being held at the Guantanamo Bay military detention center. Last week, the Defense Department invited the United Nations to visit the base, but under conditions that the investigators say they cannot accept.