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Speaker: Roxana Saberi

Roxana Saberi

2011

Roxana Saberi moved to Iran in 2003 to work as the Iran correspondent for the U.S.-based Feature Story News.  She filed reports for organizations such as NPR, BBC, ABC Radio and Fox News and was working on a book about Iranian society when she was arrested on January 31, 2009.   Saberi was later sentenced to eight years in prison on a trumped-up charge of espionage.   In May 2009, an Iranian court overturned the sentence, and she was released.

Since her release, Saberi has joined others in bringing attention to the situation of human rights in Iran.   Saberi has spoken at several human rights events; written articles published in The Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, and Chicago Tribune; and been interviewed on news programs of organizations such as FOX News, ABC, NBC, CBS, BBC, CNN, PRI, NPR, and C-SPAN, as well as shows such as The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.  Saberi has received the Medill Medal of Courage, the Ilaria Alpi Freedom of the Press Award, the NCAA Award of Valor, a POMED (Project for Middle East Democracy) Award, and an East-West Freedom Award from the Levantine Cultural Center.  She has been named Jaycees’ 2010 Outstanding Young North Dakotan and honored by the Japanese American Citizens League as an “Outstanding Woman.”

Saberi’s book, Between Two Worlds: My Life and Captivity in Iran, was published by HarperCollins in March 2010.  Saberi was also a co-writer, along with Hossein Abkenar and Bahman Ghobadi, of No One Knows About Persian Cats, a film-documentary about underground music in Iran.

Saberi grew up in Fargo, North Dakota, the daughter of Reza Saberi, who was born in Iran, and Akiko Saberi, who is from Japan.  She was chosen Miss North Dakota in 1997 and was among the top ten finalists in Miss America 1998.  She graduated from Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota, with degrees in communications and French.

Saberi holds her first master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and her second master’s degree in international relations from the University of Cambridge.

The Committee to Protect Journalists reports that in 2008, Iran was the sixth-leading jailer of journalists and Reporters Without Borders has ranked it 172 out of 175 countries in the world in terms of press freedom.

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