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Karen Attiah

speaker location icon USA

Global Opinions editor at The Washington Post

Author of "Say Your Word, Then Leave'

Award Winning Journalist, Editor and Writer.

Karen has courageously used her commitment to her craft to provide thought-provoking commentary and insights that have led to positive dialogue and the visibility of issues that have not only impacted people of color and minority communities, but also journalists around the globe,” NABJ President Sarah Glover.

Karen is the Global Opinions editor at The Washington Post, writing on international affairs and social issues.    She commissions and edits commentary on global issues from a variety of international writers.  She is also the host/commentator of award-winning TL; DR series, which focuses on complex identity issues and international stories that can be overlooked or under-covered.     She joined The Post in 2014 as a digital producer in the Opinions section.  Attiah often writes and speaks on issues relating to race, gender and international politics, with a special interest in Africa.   Previously, she reported as a freelancer for the Associated Press while based in the Caribbean.

Karen is the winner of the 2019 George Polk Award and was the 2019 Journalist of the Year from the National Association of Black Journalists.

Other notable awards include

-2019 Harriet Beecher Stowe Freedom Writer Award
-The Root 100, 2019
-Essence Magazine, “Woke 100”, 2019
-Salute to Excellence Award for Digital Commentary, National Association of Black Journalists 2018

Her work has appeared in Voice of America, Al Jazeera, Associated Press, Haitian Times, and other international publications. She has made television and broadcast appearances on CNN, MSNBC, BBC, NPR, and the CBC.

Dey Street Books will publish her book ‘ Say Your Word, Then Leave – The Assassination of Jamal Khashoggi and the Power of the Truth‘  in Spring 2021.    This is the definitive account of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi’s brutal murder and American complicity in Saudi Arabian impunity.

A Fulbright Scholar to Ghana, she holds a master’s degree in International Affairs from Columbia University and a bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University.


Interview with Ian Bremmer



Karen Attiah on Jamal Khashoggi


[youtube https://www.washingtonpost.com/video/c/embed/df7b6692-dbcc-11e8-8bac-bfe01fcdc3a6]

Knight Foundation - Racism in Immigrant Communities - role of journalism


[youtube https://knightfoundation.org/episode-3-tanzina-vega-karen-attiah-and-karen-k-ho/]



Say Your Word, Then Leave

In September 2017, self-exiled journalist Jamal Khashoggi filed his first piece for The Washington Post with his editor Karen Attiah. The article, about his decision to go into self-exile and speak out against Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, instantly went viral and Jamal went on to become a regular columnist for the Post. Working closely with Attiah to publish the newspaper’s first syndicated column in Arabic, Khashoggi, who dreamt of an Arab world free from tyranny and oppression, made it his mission to demystify Saudi Arabia for a global audience. A year later, he was dead.

Say Your Word, Then Leave is the riveting account of Khashoggi’s final year at the Post, unraveling the story behind his disappearance and murder, and bringing into sharp focus Saudi Arabia’s hold over U.S. power centers in Washington, D.C., on Wall Street, and in Silicon Valley—in particular, the Saudi grip over the Trump administration. Over the course of their working relationship, neither Attiah nor Khashoggi could have guessed—though there were signs– that he would end up kidnapped and killed by a Saudi hit squad, or that she would be thrust into the global spotlight of an international political assassination that would grip the world.

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