Zain Verjee Named CNN’s State Department Correspondent

Zain Verjee.JPG CNN’s Zain Verjee, who’s both hot and funny, is apparently also very good at reporting: She’s been named CNN’s new State Department correspondent effective immediately. New York Correspondent Carol Costello becomes a contributor to The Situation Room.

Full release after the jump…

New York Correspondent Carol Costello Becomes Contributor to The Situation Room

CNN’s Zain Verjee becomes the network’s new State Department correspondent effective immediately, it was announced today by CNN/U.S. President Jon Klein. Verjee, who covered Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s trip through Russia and Asia last month and secured an extensive sit-down interview with her, will provide regular updates on the State Department as well as broader reporting on global affairs that touch the United States.

Verjee, who was born and raised in Kenya and educated in Canada, has reported on international affairs for CNN/U.S., most recently as a contributor to The Situation Room and previously as co-anchor for CNN’s Your World Today, the networks international newscast simulcast globally at noon (ET).

Carol Costello, most recently a New York-based correspondent, will become a new contributor to The Situation Room, providing updates from CNN’s New York headquarters.

“Zain has always impressed everyone with whom she’s worked as a quick study and a natural at the art of getting to know the people at the heart of any assignment,” Klein said. “Assigning her this role reflects the continuing priority that CNN places upon ensuring that international affairs make sense to U.S. citizens, who since 9/11 and the Iraq War have had a deeper appreciation for the way events around the world impact us here at home.”

Over the past year, Verjee interviewed Laura Bush at the White House on the eve of the first lady’s visit to Liberia for the inauguration of Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, the country’s new president and the first woman to be elected in Africa democratically. She traveled to South Korea and the Demilitarization Zone after the North Korea missile incident. In September, she interviewed Mohammad Khatami, a former president of Iran.

While at CNN International, Verjee covered numerous breaking news and world events, such as the India-Pakistan Agra Summit, the conflict in the Middle East, the trial of former Yugoslav leader Slobodan Milosevic, the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the Hajj, the London bombing incidents and the war in Iraq.

Previously, Verjee anchored the prime-time news bulletin and compiled, produced and presented documentaries for the Kenyan Television Network. She also hosted The Third Opinion, a political talk show, and freelanced for the BBC, producing several programs including African Perspectives, a documentary on the de-registration of non-governmental organizations after the U.S. Embassy bombings in East Africa in 1998.

Verjee’s journalistic efforts extend beyond the broadcast realm. She recently published Live and On the Air, a children’s book exploring the experiences of a young girl who moves from rural Kenya to Nairobi to work as a broadcaster. Verjee also has produced successful radio campaigns spreading awareness of HIV/AIDS, road safety and violence against women. Her community efforts include work with Street Children and with Operation Smile.

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