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John Simpson CBE

BBC World Affairs Editor, Broadcaster, Author & Columnist

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John Simpson CBE

John Simpson, the BBC’s World Affairs Editor, is a household name and the most distinguished foreign correspondent of the age.  Recognised as the “David Attenborough” of news, John is a multi-award winning, veteran news broadcaster (and accomplished author) who has covered almost every major event of the world from the 1960s to the present day.

His seminal reports on the Big moments of recent history make up an illustrious list to include the Iranian Revolution, the First and Second Gulf Wars, the Fall of the Soviet Union and the Berlin Wall, the end of Apartheid in South Africa,  the Genocide in Rwanda,  the wars in the former Yugoslavia and the Tiananmen Square massacre in Beijing.

John’s stories of war and revolution are many and varied: he walked into Taliban-occupied Kabul at the head of the BBC news team in 2001, having previously infiltrated Afghanistan dressed in a burka. He accompanied the Ayatollah Khomeini on his plane from Paris to Tehran to depose the Shah of Iran, he danced on top of the Berlin Wall in 1989; he watched at close range the missiles raining down on Baghdad in the First Gulf War.

An eye-witness of the many wars in the Middle East and Afghanistan, the Irish troubles and the South African and Rhodesian struggles, as well as the many other major revolutions in the former East Block of Europe and Latin America, it is safe to assume that ‘whatever the Headline of the Daily news might be, John will be there.’

John has reported from 140 countries and interviewed 200 world leaders and dictators ranging from Michael Gorbachev and Vladimir Putin, Nelson Mandela, British Prime Ministers and U.S. Presidents to Fidel Castro, Colonel Gaddafi, Robert Mugabe and Saddam Hussein.

He met successive heads of the IRA, Hezbollah, Hamas, Taliban and of the Medellin and the Cali Drug Cartels at the height of their power.  Osama bin-Laden offered to pay anyone to kill him in 1989.

He also interviewed Yasser Arafat under Israeli bombs in West Beirut and the slain Prime Minister of Israel Yitzhak Rabin in Jerusalem.

It hasn’t just been war and strife:  John has rounded Cape Horn in a small boat and man hauled a sledge in the Arctic.  He lived with a previously uncontacted tribe in the farthest reaches of the Amazon.  He reported on the first sunrise of the new Millennium on a desert island in the South Pacific.

John was made a CBE for his reporting in 1991. He has won numerous awards, such as three Baftas, the International Emmy and Peabody in the U.S., the RTS Journalist of the Year, twice, – to name but a few.

Twelve universities have awarded him honorary doctorates, St. Andrews, Nottingham, Southampton, Exeter and Leeds, to name some.  He was also made a Freeman of the City of London. He is an Honorary Fellow of Magdalene College, Cambridge.

He has written multiple books incl. his memoir “A Mad World, My Masters,” which was in the Sunday Times Best Seller List for 6 months, “Moscow, Midnight” and “Our Friends from Beijing”, which was published in the summer of 2021.

He was amused by being on GQ Best-Dressed Men of the Year list.

In 2022, John’s new current affairs programme ‘Unspun World with John Simpson’ started airing weekly on BBC2.


"It’s a pleasure working with such a lovely, knowledgeable and ultra professional man as John Simpson… We have been delighted by the experience"

Production Manager, Lion Television.

"He [John Simpson] was a pleasure to work with from start to finish. Thoughtful, interesting, charming and with razor sharp humour to light up even the most depressing story, he talks with passion and genuine enthusiasm about the things he has witnessed over the years, resulting in people hanging on to his every word. In terms of what John provided for our event we could not have asked for anything more."

Lee Coleman - Communications Officer, NAAFI

“I am most grateful to you [John Simpson] for visiting the University yesterday and delivering such a wonderful lecture, along with the question and answer session. I have already received many comments from those attending in awe of the breadth of your experience and your ability to communicate clearly the complexities of current world affairs...”

Professor Neil T Gorman Vice-Chancellor - Nottingham Trent University.

“Just a note to thank you [John Simpson] very much for chairing our debate ‘The Road Map for peace is leading nowhere’. Our postbag was full the next day and the feedback has been very positive with the audience finding the debate extremely stimulating. We are very grateful that you were able to chair for us and we very much hope there will be a future occasion in which we can work together again....”

Intelligence Squared

“I found Mr Simpson a humble, warm, engaging and extremely articulate man. He was able to make a marked impression on the conference's program, its delegates and in his particular session. He spoke with a humility, that was in itself, both humbling and powerful...”

HealthTech and Medicines KTN

“A Few days ago I had the honour of presenting John Simpson, the BBC’s world affairs editor, with the Churchillian award. Those who take these risks do so in order to help the rest of us make sense of the crises of our planet. John Simpson was pre- eminent among them. Churchill the war correspondent would have been proud.”

Michael Howard (Lord Howard of Lympne, CH, PC, QC)

Available for:

After Dinner Speaking
Bespoke Events
Conference Speaking
Hosting And Presenting
Inspirational Talks
Keynote Speaking
Motivational Speaking
Public Appearances
Public Speaking
Television And Media
Virtual Events

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