Richard Engel, an American journalist, and novelist born on September 16, 1973, serves as NBC News’ top foreign correspondent. After working as the network’s Middle East correspondent and Beirut bureau head, he was promoted to his current role on April 18, 2008. Freelance journalist Engel covered the beginning of the 2003 Iraq War for ABC News from Baghdad before joining NBC in May of that year.
Engel is well-known for his reporting on wars in Iraq and Syria, as well as the Arab Spring and the Syrian civil war. He is also fluent in Italian and Spanish in addition to reading and writing Arabic. Engel’s “War Zone Diary” earned him the Medill Medal for Courage in Journalism.
Richard Engel’s Early Life
Engel spent his formative years on Manhattan’s affluent Upper East Side. David, his elder brother, is a cardiologist at New York-Presbyterian. Peter, a former Goldman Sachs financier, and Nina, who owned an antique shop, worried about their son’s future possibilities because of his dyslexia. Both his father and Swedish mother are ethnic Jews.
Engel studied at the Riverdale Country School in New York City, a very selective college preparatory institution where he initially struggled academically and socially. He attended a wilderness survival camp when he was 13 and gained valuable insights into leadership and self-reliance. His grades began to rise, and he became more well-liked by his classmates. Next, he went to Italy for his junior year of high school, where he studied the language and culture and eventually became fluent.
When a citation is required, Engel’s newfound appreciation for cultural diversity informed his decision to move abroad for graduate school. After that, he enrolled at Stanford University and contributed to the school newspaper on occasion. During one New York City summer, Engel worked as an unpaid intern for CNN Business News. In 1996, he earned a bachelor’s degree in international relations from Stanford.
Richard Engel’s Career
After finishing college at Stanford, Engel moved to Cairo because he believed that was where the next big story would break. What drew him to journalism was “the potential of learning about new things and having the opportunity of riding the train of history rather than watching it pass,” he said. As a young man, he spent four years in Cairo, Egypt, where he stayed in a rundown seven-story walkup, studied Egyptian Arabic and worked as a freelance reporter.
From 2001 to 2003, Engel served as the Middle East correspondent for The World, a collaboration between BBC World Service, PRI, and WGBH. Along with USA Today, he has written for Reuters, AFP, and Jane’s Defence Weekly. During the first U.S. invasion of Iraq, Engel was a freelance journalist for ABC News. For NBC, Engel remained in Baghdad to cover the battle there. He was promoted to senior Middle East journalist and Beirut bureau chief in May 2006.
In this period, he reported on the conflict in Lebanon between Israel and Hezbollah. During the 2006 Lebanon War, he produced multiple reports from the country. Engel was promoted to a chief foreign correspondent for NBC News in April of 2008. In a May 2008 interview, he probed then-U.S. President George W. Bush mostly over his address to the Israeli Knesset. The interviewees also discussed how to offset Iran’s influence in the region, which has grown stronger as a result of the Iraq war.
Engel was based in Kabul, Afghanistan in 2009 and covered the presidential election there in August. Engel covered the Egyptian revolution in 2011, sometimes while dodging tear gas. He was also a war correspondent, covering the Libyan conflict from Benghazi when he was almost shot. The same year he was nominated for a News and Documentary Emmy, he traveled to Mogadishu, Somalia, and reported on the city for a feature titled “The World’s Most Dangerous City.”
After President Mohamed Morsi of Egypt was elected in June 2012, Engel reported on the country’s political transition and the ongoing turmoil in Syria and the Gaza Strip. On Assignment with Richard Engel, which Engel hosts for MSNBC, was just honored with a 2019 Peabody Award. Ukraine: Freedom or Death was Engel’s latest documentary, airing on April 22, 2022, and covering the first two months of the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Richard Engel says his 6-year-old son, Henry, has died
Our beloved son Henry passed away. He had the softest blue eyes, an easy smile and a contagious giggle. We always surrounded him with love and he returned it, and so much more. Mary and Richard. https://t.co/M8LV8SHv6r pic.twitter.com/21Ja6TOtjH
— Richard Engel (@RichardEngel) August 18, 2022
On Thursday, Richard Engel, a foreign correspondent, shared the news about his son Henry, age 6. Henry, our cherished son, has passed away. He smiled easily and laughed in a way that made you smile, too. His eyes were the softest blue. We showered him with love constantly, and he showed it right back, plus more. Both Mary and Richard,” tweeted Engel. For additional information about Henry and his diagnosis of Rett syndrome, a genetic brain condition with no therapy or cure, Engel provided a link to a memorial page on the Texas Children’s Hospital website.
Loss of hand function, trouble walking, seizures, delayed brain, and head growth, and intellectual incapacity are all symptoms associated with Rett syndrome, as reported by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Henry, born on September 29, 2015, struggled to meet a few developmental benchmarks. He was subjected to a battery of diagnostic tests, including a genetic analysis, which revealed a mutation in the MECP2 gene.
Rett syndrome is “an illness that primarily affects girls after their first birthday,” according to the Texas Children’s Hospital page. “MECP2 mutations cause Rett syndrome,” the page continues. In 2018, Henry’s parents took him to the hospital’s Duncan Neurological Research Institute (or Duncan NRI) for more testing. Dr. Huda Zoghbi, the institute’s first director, conducted extensive research on Henry’s mutation. Henry was unique in numerous respects.
His warm and kind grin and the way he looked into my eyes immediately won my heart. He bravely battled this awful illness in silence, and it was inspiring to read about,” she said in her tribute. According to Zoghbi, Henry had an indelible impact on the Rett research being conducted at the Duncan NRI. We will keep doing our hardest to find a solution. She continued, “This is how we shall remember him.
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