Helene Cooper is the Pentagon correspondent for the New York Times. She is also the author of the new book Madame President: The extraordinary journey of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf which is a biography of the Liberian president and Nobel Peace Prize winner who was Africa’s first female head of state.
Helene was born and raised in Liberia. Her family fled to the United States in 1980, when she was 13-years-old, following a coup in which her immediate family was brutally targeted.
She describes the trauma around these events, and the search for her sister with whom she became separated in her critically acclaimed book, The House on Sugar Beach: In search of a Lost African Childhood.
Helene discusses some of these experiences in our conversation and describes how a near-death experience covering the US invasion of Iraq in 2003 motivated her to go back to Liberia.
We kick off with a discussion about the upcoming elections in Liberia before having a longer conversation about her experiences as a refugee in the United States, and finding her long lost sister in Liberia. This is an enlightening conversation with one of the best working journalists in America today
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