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Christian Caryl

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Name  Christian Caryl

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Books  Strange Rebels: 1979 and the Birth of the 21st Century

World affairs today season 6 episode 8 christian caryl strange rebels

Christian Caryl is an American journalist who is widely published in international politics and foreign affairs. Currently, he is a senior fellow at the Legatum Institute in London and a Contributing Editor at Foreign Policy magazine. He edits Foreign Policy’s Democracy Lab, an online project developed in conjunction with Legatum to provide coverage of countries that are trying to make the transition to democracy.


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Early life

A native of Midland, Texas, Caryl currently resides in Bethesda, Maryland. From 1978 to 1980, he attended Deerfield Academy in Deerfield, Massachusetts.

Caryl received a Bachelor of Arts in Literature, cum laude, from Yale College in 1984. Caryl has also studied foreign languages extensively: French language study at L’Institut Catholique, Paris, France; Russian language study, Pushkin Russian Language Institute, Moscow, Russia; and Japanese language study, Middlebury College, Middlebury, Vermont.


After his graduation from Yale College in 1984, Caryl traveled to Germany for a year of study at the University of Constance on a scholarship from the West German government. After finishing his studies, he moved to Berlin, where he began working as a freelance translator and copywriter. He got his start as a journalist in 1989, when he began assisting foreign correspondents covering the collapse of East Germany and the fall of the Berlin Wall. He then went on to do his own writing for publications including The Wall Street Journal, The New Republic, The Spectator and Der Spiegel.

In 1991, Caryl traveled to the Soviet republic of Kazakhstan, where he became the deputy director of a new state-sponsored institution of higher education, the Kazakhstan Institute of Management, Economics, and Strategic Research. Kazakhstan achieved its independence from the USSR shortly after his arrival. By the time of his departure at the end of 1992, he had experienced Kazakhstan’s first full year as a sovereign state.

From 1997 to 2000, Caryl served as Moscow bureau chief for U.S. News & World Report. From 2000 to 2004, Caryl served as Newsweek’s Moscow Bureau Chief.

After the September 11 attacks, as part of Newsweek's reporting on the War on Terror, he carried out assignments in Iraq and Afghanistan.

From 2004 to March 2009, he led the Tokyo Bureau of Newsweek. In that capacity he was in charge of the magazine’s reporting on North Korea, which he visited on several occasions.

From 2009 to 2010, he served as the Washington, D.C. Chief Editor for Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty. In addition to his current posts, he is also a Senior Fellow at the Center for International Studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a regular contributor to The New York Review of Books.

Caryl speaks English, Russian, and German. During his journalistic career, he has reported from some 50 countries.

Following the Boston Marathon bombing, Caryl was the first to interview "Misha", who had been accused of radicalizing Tamerlan Tsarnaev.

Caryl’s first book, Strange Rebels, was published on April 30, 2013 by Basic Books. This non-fiction book looks closely at the year 1979 and the lasting impact it has had on foreign affairs and economics. Strange Rebels received a positive review from The Economist.


  • 2010 Overseas Press Club award for “Best Online Commentary.”
  • 2004 Member of reporting team that won National Magazine Awards prize to Newsweek for “The $87 Billion Money Pit,” a Nov. 3, 2003 cover story on the misuse of government funds in the Iraq War.
  • 1999 Finalist in the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists Award for Outstanding International Investigative Reporting (with co-author David Kaplan) for “Dirty Diamonds,” an expose of Russian diamond smuggling in the August 3, 1998 issue of U.S. News & World Report.
  • TV/radio appearances

    Caryl has provided commentary and analysis for National Public Radio, Public Radio International, CNN, and the Young Turks.

    Following his scoop on "Misha," he appeared on On the Record w/ Greta Van Susteren and Erin Burnett OutFront.

    Published works

  • 'Misha' Speaks: An Interview with the Alleged Boston Bomber's 'Svengali' (New York Review of Books; April 28, 2013)
  • Burmese Days (New York Review of Books; July 12, 2012)
  • What About the Iraqis? (New York Review of Books; Jan. 11, 2007)
  • References

    Christian Caryl Wikipedia