Born and raised in Winnipeg, Nahlah Ayed is an award-winning journalist who has covered some of the biggest events and conflicts in the Middle East and around the world in the last decade.
Since joining the CBC in 2002, Ayed has reported from the streets of Baghdad and the earthquake in Haiti. Her coverage of the invasion of Iraq earned her a Gemini Award nomination, which was followed by two more for her television reportage of the 2009 presidential elections in Iran and the uprisings in Egypt in 2011. As CBC correspondent for The National based in London, Ayed has brought Canadians stories of tremendous world change.
At the age of six, Ayed moved with her family from Canada to a Palestinian refugee camp in Amman, Jordan, where she was immersed in the culture of the Arab world for seven years. In 1983, she returned to Winnipeg and pursued a Bachelor of Science in genetics and a master’s in interdisciplinary studies from the University of Manitoba. Her time as a paid writer with the student newspaper led her to Carleton University and its journalism program.
While studying at Carleton, Ayed wrote freelance stories for the Ottawa Citizen. She became a parliamentary correspondent for The Canadian Press and soon travelled to Afghanistan in the lead-up to the war.
Her reporting has been recognized with numerous awards, including The Canadian Press’s President’s Award, the LiveWire Award and the 2012 Canadian Association of Journalists (CAJ) award for human rights reporting for her story on the Roma community in Hungary and Canada. In 2008, Ayed was awarded an honorary degree from the University of Manitoba for her outstanding achievements.
Ayed has chronicled her life across many countries, from an impoverished upbringing in a refugee camp to the protests of the Arab Spring and the predicaments of working as a foreign correspondent. Her memoir, A Thousand Farewells, was a finalist for the 2012 Governor General’s Literary Award. Fluent in Arabic, English and French, Ayed continues to report on one of the most fascinating regions of the world with a commitment to telling stories through the eyes of the people trying to survive.