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Verjee in 2010
(1974-02-11) February 11, 1974
|CNN International's World One, Zain Verjee Group|
Zain Verjee (born February 11, 1974) is journalist who was born and raised in Kenya. Zain is one of the world’s most respected and recognized journalists, with an action-packed background and experience as a storyteller, entrepreneur, communicator, and interviewer. She is well known as a former CNN anchor and correspondent, and has made a successful transition into the world of communications and creative entrepreneurship.
Her communications firm, Zain Verjee Group, has worked with a deep lineup of organizations and entities such as Bloomberg Media, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Equity Group Foundation of Kenya, World Health Organization, The MiSK Foundation, and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa on their communications and public relations delivery and strategies via advisory, consulting, and content production. She is a highly sought after facilitator and interviewer, and has spoken on platforms such as TED and Africa House.
She is also a startup founder and content creator, co-founding aKoma Media, a continental network of workspaces for Africa’s creative and cultural economy, in 2015. Her other ventures in the creative space include Amplify, a content creator fellowship with participants from East/West Africa and the US, in partnership with MasterCard Foundation. In addition, with her former colleague and CNN anchor Isha Sesay, Zain will be launching Rouse, an immersive three day gathering event for an elite community of women in Africa and the diaspora in 2019.
Zain resides in the Los Angeles area and Nairobi, Kenya, and her versatility and charisma have been a great asset for her in her post anchor life and entrepreneurial ventures.
She spent 14 years at CNN as an anchor and correspondent, living in Atlanta, Washington DC and London. Prior to leaving CNN in April 2014, Verjee was the anchor of CNN International's European daytime program "World One". She worked as a newsreader for The Situation Room, as a State Department correspondent, and as a co-anchor of CNN International's Your World Today with Jim Clancy.
She went to Hillcrest Prep School and Hillcrest Secondary School in Nairobi, following the British private school education system. She did three A level subjects, English, History and Economics. Verjee received her undergraduate degree in English from McGill University in Montreal. She graduated from Oxford University in England with a Masters of Studies degree in Creative Writing. She has written a book of poetry, a detective novel set in Kenya, a newsroom sitcom, and a non fiction essay about her life at CNN. All are works in progress and unpublished.
Verjee joined CNN in 2000, prior to which she was a news reader on Kenya Television Network, Nairobi and as a radio DJ for 98.4 Capital FM. She has covered major world events such as the September 11 attacks, the War in Iraq, the War in Afghanistan, the conflict in the Middle East, the trial of former Yugoslav leader Slobodan Milošević, the post-election violence in Kenya in 2008, the Westgate Mall terror Attack in Kenya in 2013. As the State Department Correspondent covering Condoleezza Rice, Verjee travelled the world covering US foreign policy. Among her many trips she covered the historic trip Rice took to Libya, and eventually was a lead reporter covering the fall of Muammar Gaddafi.
She also reported on African feature stories for the weekly program "Inside Africa", which offers an in-depth look into lifestyle on the continent.
Some key people Zain has interviewed includes, Condoleeza Rice, Robin Wright, Laura Bush, Uhuru Kenyatta, President John Dramani Mahama, Kofi Annan, Mahathir Mohamad, Graça Machel, Tony Blair, Cherie Blair, Angelina Jolie, and Lenny Kravitz.
In July 2006, she reported from the Korean DMZ, winning an award for the coverage. In September 2006, she conducted an exclusive interview with former Iranian president Mohammad Khatami on his first visit to Chicago.
In November 2014, Zain announced she was leaving CNN after 14 years to create her own media production company. Zain Verjee Group is based in New York and Nairobi with a focus on African businesses and lifestyle stories.
Zain is an Ismaili Muslim, a minority group in the Shia Sect of Islam.
When she was 23, Zain published a children's book, "Live & On the Air". It explores experiences of a young girl who moves from rural Kenya to Nairobi to work as a broadcaster. She hopes to pursue her writing career and has written a sitcom, a book of poetry, and is working on a detective novel set in Kenya.
In January 2014, Verjee reported that she had struggled with psoriasis since her childhood and though it affected the way she related with others, she won the battle against the disease through eating well and maintaining a good mental attitude.
- CNN, Zain Verjee,. "CNN anchor battles her skin and wins". CNN. Retrieved 2018-04-27.
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