Ideas

CBC News foreign correspondent Nahlah Ayed to host CBC Radio's Ideas

Veteran foreign correspondent Nahlah Ayed will be the new host of Ideas, the nightly CBC Radio program devoted to exploring contemporary ideas on everything from culture and the arts to science and technology and social issues.

The veteran journalist will take over from Paul Kennedy in September

Nahlah Ayed has covered major world events for nearly two decades in Europe, Asia and Africa. (CBC)

Veteran foreign correspondent Nahlah Ayed will be the new host of Ideas, the nightly CBC Radio program devoted to exploring contemporary ideas on everything from culture and the arts to science and technology and social issues.

Ayed will take over in September from Paul Kennedy, who is retiring at the end of the current season.

Ideas has been on the air for more than 50 years and has built a reputation for groundbreaking documentaries.

Kennedy has been the host of the program since 1999, but his association with Ideas dates back to 1977. That year, he made The Fur Trade Revisited, a documentary that took him on a 1,600-kilometre journey paddling the Mackenzie River, from Great Slave Lake to the Arctic Ocean.

Ideas to revisit early Kennedy docs this week

Over the years, Kennedy's work has taken him throughout North America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

He has won national and international recognition for his journalism, including an ACTRA award for best Canadian radio documentary for War on the Home Front, co-authored with the late Canadian author Timothy Findley, and the B'nai Brith Media Human Rights Award for the series Nuremberg on Trial.

Kennedy has been the host of the program since 1999, but his association with Ideas dates back to 1977. (CBC)

In 2005, he was awarded the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution's Special Citation for Excellence in Ocean Science Journalism for his eight-part series Learning from the Oceans.

This week, Ideas will revisit some of the documentaries and projects that have featured Kennedy as a contributor and host, including The Fur Trade Revisited.

"Paul Kennedy and Ideas have always been about … taking listeners on incredible journeys into thought that always promise a surprise or two," said Ayed. "These are the reasons I have been an Ideas listener for years."

'We welcome her home'

Ayed has covered major world events for nearly two decades in Europe, Asia and Africa.

For the last seven years, she was based out of CBC's London bureau. While there, she covered Brexit, the European migrant crisis, the conflict in Ukraine and Russia's annexation of Crimea, and other major news stories of our time.

She also spent nearly a decade in the Middle East, based out of Amman, Baghdad, Beirut and Cairo.

While I've investigated the why, how, what, when and where, I've had a burning ambition to go deeper.- Nahlah Ayed

Earlier in her career, Ayed was a parliamentary reporter for The Canadian Press.

"We welcome her home to Canada and look forward to her unique perspective and to watch her build on the accomplishments of Paul Kennedy," said Cathy Perry, senior director of CBC Radio.

Award-winning work around the world

Ayed's work has been recognized with three honorary degrees and a number of journalism awards, including a Canadian Screen Award for best reportage, Canadian Association of Journalism awards for photojournalism and human rights reporting, and the Radio Television Digital News Association's Ron Laidlaw Award for continuing coverage.

Her book, A Thousand Farewells: A Reporter's Journey from Refugee Camp to the Arab Spring, was a finalist for the 2012 Governor General's Literary Awards.

"I have dedicated my career to discovering the world, covering some of its most intense moments," Ayed said. "I have had the rare privilege of witnessing monumental events up close, learning about the ideas and movements transforming the world first-hand.

"While I've investigated the why, how, what, when and where, I've had a burning ambition to go deeper. I am passionate about the opportunity to finally connect the disparate dots and to marshal all my energy to uncover the critical 'why.'"


Ideas airs weekdays on CBC Radio at 9 p.m. ET (9:30 p.m. NT) and repeats weekdays at 4 a.m. ET (4:30 a.m. NT). For more information about past and upcoming episodes, visit cbc.ca/ideas.

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