George Alagiah joined the BBC in 1989 after seven years in print journalism with South Magazine. He currently presents the Six O'clock News, Britain's most watched news programme, and World News Today for the BBC's global channel. Before going behind the studio desk, Alagiah was one of the BBC's leading foreign correspondents, recognised throughout the industry for his reporting on some of the most significant events of the last decade and a half.
George Alagiah has reported on: trade in human organs in India; the murder of street children in Brazil; the civil war and famine in Somalia; the genocide in Rwanda and its aftermath; the plight of the marsh Arabs in southern Iraq; the civil wars in Afghanistan, Liberia and Sierra Leone; the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa; the fall of Mobutu Sese Seko in Zaire; the effects of Hurricane Mitch on Honduras; the Kosovan refugee crisis; the NATO liberation of Pristina; the international intervention in East Timor; the farm invasions in Zimbabwe; the intifada in the West Bank; the aftermath of the terror attacks on New York; from Sri Lanka on the Asian tsunami; from New Orleans on Hurricane Katrina; and from Washington on the Democrats' taking control of Congress in 2006.
Documentaries and features include reports on: why affirmative action in America is a "Lost Cause" for the Assignment programme; Saddam Hussein's genocidal campaign against the Kurds of northern Iraq for Newsnight; the last reunion of the veterans of Dunkirk; and a BBC1 Special on the trial and conviction of Jill Dando's murderer.
George Alagiah has won several awards including: the Critics Award and the Golden Nymph Award at the Monte Carlo Television Festival (1992); award for Best International Report at the Royal Television Society (1993); commendation from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (1993); Amnesty International's Best TV Journalist award (1994); the One World Broadcasting Trust award (1994); the James Cameron Memorial Trust award (1995); and the Bayeux Award for War Reporting (1996). In 1998 he was voted Media Personality of the Year at the Ethnic Minority Media Awards. In 2000 he was part of the BBC team which collected a BAFTA award for its coverage of the Kosovo conflict.
George Alagiah has chaired several live events for corporate and statutory bodies. In November 2002 he chaired the Urban Summit where keynote speakers included the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Gordon Brown MP, the renowned architect Richard Rogers and the Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott MP. He has spoken at a conference of Citigroup's Asset Management team. George Alagiah has narrated and presented several videos for clients such as the NHS and the Royal Navy.
He has spoken at the Royal Geographical Society, the Royal Society for Arts, the Royal Overseas League and to corporate audiences in investment banking, energy and insurance. His appearances at literary festivals include Cheltenham, Dartington, Haye-on-Wye and London. Topics include: why business and economics are more important than politics in international relations; Africa's future; why multiculturalism has led to segregation in parts of Britain.
George Alagiah is a patron of the following organisations: the Fairtrade Foundation; the NAZ Project; the Parenting, Education and Support Forum. He is a trustee of Article 19.
His first book, A Passage to Africa, was published by Little, Brown & Company in September 2001. It won the Madoc Award at the 2002 Hay Literary Festival. Alagiah's essay Shaking the Foundations has been published by the BBC in its book on the aftermath of September 11. A book on multiculturalism in Britain, A Home from Home, was published in September 2006.
George Alagiah was born in Sri Lanka. His primary education was in Ghana where his parents moved to in 1961. He attended secondary school at St John's College in Portsmouth, England and is a graduate of Durham University. He is married, has two sons and lives in north London.