Riz Khan: international journalist, television personality, creative writer, avid drummer, and more. It would be impossible to sum up everything that comprises the rich and dense life of Riz Khan in just a short biography, but below is one attempt to capture the long, vibrant journey Riz Khan has been on until now.
Riz Khan is a recognized face worldwide, following extensive careers with the BBC, CNN, and Al Jazeera English. In 2005, he was head-hunted by the Al Jazeera network to set-up its English-language channel and to host its flagship program, Riz Khan — a daily, live, interactive, topical show featuring the world’s top newsmakers and covering global issues. He also gained recognition for his flagship, weekly profile show, Riz Khan’s One on One, featuring a remarkably diverse range of top celebrities and guests from around the world.
In 2005, Riz authored his first book, Alwaleed: Businessman, Billionaire, Prince, published by Harper Collins, which became a long-running bestseller in the Middle East and was translated into half-a-dozen languages. In 2012, Khan self-published his first fiction novel as an e-book on Amazon, We Interrupt Our Programming… — a comical take on the international television news industry. Proceeds from the sale of his novel support the organization, The World Is Just a Book Away, to build children’s libraries in underprivileged communities around the world.
Riz Khan’s career as a journalist took off when he was accepted to the prestigious two-year BBC News Trainee program in 1987, putting him on a fast track to work as a Presenter/Anchor & Reporter at the BBC. He was the network’s first South Asian mainstream news presenter and launched BBC World Service Television News (later renamed BBC World) in November 1991—co-hosting its very first show.
Riz was then head-hunted by CNN in 1993 as it planned to launch its own, fully-fledged international channel. There, he became a Senior Anchor for the network’s global news shows, handling some of the top breaking news and special events – including the historic, award-winning, and unprecedented international live coverage of the Hajj – the annual pilgrimage of 3 million-plus Muslims to Mecca, Saudi Arabia. In 1996, Riz launched his ground-breaking live, interactive talk and interview show on CNN, Q&A with Riz Khan, giving the networks viewers around the world the chance to connect directly with celebrities and newsmakers. His 1,500-plus interviews at CNN included more world leaders than any other global news show at the time, including the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, former US Presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, the Dalai Lama and Nelson Mandela, to name just a few.
Born in 1962 in the British colony of Aden, Riz Khan and his family moved to London when he was four, to escape the civil war that created South Yemen as the country split. Riz attended the University of Wales in Cardiff, where he earned an honors degree in medical physiology and switched to journalism for his post-graduate studies. Currently, Riz resides in Washington, DC and travels extensively worldwide.