BookTalkUNA presents

Dispatches from Syria

Join us for an evening of discussion with special guest
Author and Foreign Correspondent


Preceded by

UNA-NY Annual Meeting 2016

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

5:15 - 6:00 p.m. | Registration & Reception
6:00 - 6:15 p.m. | UNA-NY Annual Meeting
6:15 - 7:30 p.m. | Presentation and Book Signing

Institute of International Education
809 United Nations Plaza, Kaufman Center
New York, NY



UNA Members: FREE
UNA Student Members: FREE
Guests and Non-Members: $15

Once in a decade comes an account of war that promises to be a classic.

Doing for Syria what Imperial Life in the Emerald City did for the war in Iraq, The Morning They Came for Us: Dispatches from Syria bears witness to one of the most brutal, internecine conflicts in recent history. Drawing from years of experience covering Syria for Vanity Fair, Newsweek, and the front pages of the New York Times, award-winning journalist Janine di Giovanni gives us a tour de force of war reportage, all told through the perspective of ordinary people—among them a doctor, a nun, a musician, and a student. What emerges is an extraordinary picture of the devastating human consequences of armed conflict, one that charts an apocalyptic but at times tender story of life in a jihadist war zone.

Recalling celebrated works by Ryszard Kapuscinski, Philip Gourevitch, and Anne Applebaum, The Morning They Came for Us, through its unflinching account of a nation on the brink of disintegration, becomes an unforgettable testament to resilience in the face of nihilistic human debasement.

Please join us for an evening with Janine di Giovanni and hear a great writer who has been called "one of the finest foreign correspondents of our generation" share her experience about what it takes to cover a war — and why she has to do it.

Janine di Giovanni, Middle East Editor of Newsweek and contributing editor of Vanity Fair, is one of Europe's most respected and experienced reporters. Her reporting has been called "established, accomplished brilliance" and she has been cited as "one of the finest foreign correspondents of our generation."

She became an Ochberg Fellow at Columbia University in recognition of her work on violence and war and the trauma it brings to society, and has been named as one of the 100 most influential people reducing armed conflict by Action on Armed Violence (AOAV). She is also a Pakis Scholar at the Fletcher School for Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University, as well as an Associate Fellow at the Geneva Center for Policy Studies, and a non-resident fellow in International Security at the New America Foundation. Her themes are conflict, crimes against humanity, refugee issues, transitional justice and security.

Her work is widely anthologized and in 2014 her article from Harper's Magazine, "Life during Wartime," was chosen by the writer Paul Theroux as one of the essays included in The Best American Travel Writing.

Since the beginning of the Arab Spring, Di Giovanni has mainly been focused in the Middle East, a region she has been working in for two decades. She travels extensively to Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, and Syria to do field work and research. Her concentration has been on the war in Syria, highlighted in her new book, The Morning They Came For Us: Dispatches From Syria. A documentary will also be released about her investigative work inside Syria, called 7 Days in Syria

She recently published a groundbreaking investigation into the funding of the Islamic State, which was a cover story for Newsweek.

Di Giovanni has consulted with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) on the Syrian refugee crisis, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) and Internews. In 2013, she was a Senior Policy Fellow at The Center for Conflict, Negotiation and Recovery at Central European University, focusing on giving Syrian refugees a political voice post-war in Aleppo, Syria. 

She has done three long investigations into Syrian human rights violations, including rape and torture. She has received grants from The Nation Institute for this work, and her long format pieces were published in Granta, The New York Times, Vanity Fair and Newsweek.

In October 2014, Di Giovanni became an Associate Fellow at the Geneva Center for Security Policy in Geneva, Switzerland.


Read the New York Times Review HERE

Praise from the Reviews

"Janine di Giovanni has described war in a way that almost makes me think it never needs to be described again" Sebastian Junger

"One of our generation's finest foreign correspondents" Daily Telegraph

"Di Giovanni is a war reporter whose courage is matched only by her compassion for her subjects" Evening Standard

"Di Giovanni's work, informed by her extensive experience as a journalist, shows a keen ability to capture violent conflicts from multiple sides…This book, haunted by the international failure to intervene effectively, gives readers an on-the-ground experience of the devastating seasons that followed the promise of the Arab Spring… [Di Giovanni] makes its reality fully tangible and tragic." Publishers Weekly

"With a potent mix of sensitivity and outrage, Di Giovanni relates firsthand accounts of deprivation and suffering from the people caught up in the conflict… [T]heir stories reveal in harrowing detail the horrific nature of the war. The expert perspective of this seasoned war correspondent proves invaluable to understanding Syria today." Booklist

"Di Giovanni is a master of war reporting, especially its civilian side. Thanks to her bitter sacrifice, Western readers may begin to appreciate the chaos that Syrian refugees continue to flee. This brilliant, necessary book will hopefully do for Syria what Herr's Dispatches (1977) did for Vietnam." Kirkus Reviews

"Janine di Giovanni has been an unflinching reporter in many battle zones, most notably in Bosnia. She understands the cues, the moments when a multicultural society, imagining itself to be tolerant, starts to crack… Her book is full of passion and self-questioning, posing the age-old question of war correspondents: why do I keep doing this, why does it consume me so?" The Times

"Syria is just the latest of a string of conflicts around the world Di Giovanni has reported from, and it's clear from the start that this is her cri de coeur about the inhuman impact of warfare in general… Despite the vivid characters who inhabit her stories, what makes this work so powerful is her under-stated eloquence about its impact on her own psyche… her own deep need to bear witness and, if possible, prevent the recurrence of such tragedies." The Independent

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