Arwa Jabiri Damon is a Syrian-American multiple award-winning journalist based in Istanbul and president and founder of the International Network for Aid, Relief, and Assistance (INARA www.inara.org), a nonprofit organization that focuses on building a network of logistical support and medical care to help children who need lifesaving or life-altering medical treatment in war-torn nations.
Arwa has often focused her reporting on human stories, reflecting the emotional intensity of war through the people that she meets, ensuring that the reporting and the headlines focus on the impact of war. She is known for her humanitarian reporting and ability to keep her on camera presence subtle and not overly dramatic.
Until June 2022, Arwa was a senior international correspondent for CNN. She parted ways with the network to pursue other storytelling avenues and launched Scrappy Goat Media in July 2022 to embark on her first documentary venture as a director and producer, which is currently in post-production.
During her sixteen years at CNN, she reported from across the Middle East, Africa, Europe and Asia. Arwa started her journalism career in Iraq in 2003 just before the US-led invasion began. Before joining CNN as a correspondent, Arwa spent three years covering Iraq and the Middle East as a freelance producer for various news organizations including Feature Story News (PBS) and CNN.
She has extensive expertise covering Iraq and Syria. In 2018, she was awarded the George Foster Peabody Award for her reporting on the fall of ISIS in Iraq and Syria, in addition to winning three Emmys for that coverage, including Outstanding News Special for Return to Mosul. At the height of Europe’s refugee crisis in 2015, Arwa followed and reported on refugees from Syria and Iraq as they traveled across the continent by foot, boat, and train, resulting in coverage that earned her both an Emmy Award and Gracie Award in 2016. Arwa was also recognized by the prestigious Investigate Reporters and Editors Award for her coverage of the US consulate attack in Benghazi. She was also part of the CNN 2014 Peabody winning team for her coverage of the kidnapping of the Chibok schoolgirls in Nigeria and in 2011 was awarded an Emmy for her coverage of the Fall of Mubarak.
Inspired by her experience reporting from war zones and war-torn nations, Arwa launched INARA in 2015. INARA’s incredible impact has been recognized by several awards, including the 2017 James W. Foley Humanitarian Award; the World of Children’s 2017 Crisis Award; the Syrian-American Medical Society’s Humanitarian Award; and Time Warner’s 2016 Richard Parsons Community Impact Award and Excellence in Service Award.
Arwa has also covered multiple humanitarian and women’s issues in Niger, Nigeria, Afghanistan, Pakistan and elsewhere. She has also covered environmental and climate crisis related stories that took her from the Arctic to the Antarctic, Congo to Chad.
Arwa graduated with honors from Skidmore College in New York with a double major in French and Biology and a minor in International Affairs. She was born in Boston, Massachusetts but spent most of her childhood in Morocco and Turkey. She is fluent in Arabic, French, and Turkish.