The Center for the Living City Presents: Ray Suarez
Ray Suarez, a longtime broadcast journalist and author of three books including The Old Neighborhood: What We Lost in the Great Suburban Migration, will speak on the legacy of writer and preservationist Jane Jacobs (1916-2006), whose work changed the way the world views and understands cities. Award-winning author and preservationist Roberta Brandes Gratz will introduce Suarez.
Ray Saurez most recently was the host of Al Jazeera America’s Inside Story and is the first speaker in the Jane Jacobs 100th Lecture Series, brought to you by the Center for the Living City.
*Note: Michael Kimmelman, who was originally scheduled for this date, will speak later in the series.
About the Series: A year-long series of commemorative lectures as a birthday present to Jane. Lectures will take place in cities around the world and we invite you to check this site often for lectures near you.
All New York lectures will be held at the landmark Eldridge Street Synagogue, known as the Museum at Eldridge Street, 12 Eldridge Street between Canal and Division.
Ray Suarez Bio: Veteran journalist Ray Suarez was most recently the host of Al Jazeera America’s daily news program, Inside Story. The program covered a wide array of national and international news stories, from the rise of Donald Trump to long-term unemployment to the Russian seizure of the Crimean peninsula to the arrival of the zika virus on US soil.
Before coming to AJAM, Suarez spent 14 years as a correspondent and anchor at public television’s nightly newscast, The PBS NewsHour where he rose to become chief national correspondent. During his years at The NewsHour, Suarez covered the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington, four presidential elections, broadcast from seven party political conventions, moderated two presidential primary candidates’ debates, reported from the devastating Haitian earthquake, the 2006 Mexico elections, the H1N1 virus pandemic in Mexico, and on the explosion of tuberculosis/HIV co-infection in South Africa among hundreds of other stories.
Suarez had a long history in public broadcasting before arriving at The NewsHour. He was the Washington-based host of NPR’s Talk of the Nation for six-and-a-half years. During Suarez’ time as host, the program’s carriage more than doubled to more than 150 radio stations, and the audience more than tripled in size to two-and-a-half million. The New York Times called Suarez the “thinking man’s talk show host,” “a national resource,” and the Utne Reader called him a “visionary.” Talk of the Nation made history, broadcasting live coast to coast across South Africa and across the United States, connecting these two audiences to talk about the post-apartheid future during the first elections after liberation. During Northern Ireland’s first Christmas in peace after decades of The Troubles, Talk of the Nation became the first radio program ever broadcast live over Ireland’s RTE, Britain’s BBC, and NPR in the United States.
Along with years of daily deadline journalism, Suarez has done extensive work in long-form broadcast storytelling. He was the on camera narrator and co-writer of Jerusalem: The Center of the World (PBS, 2008). He hosted and reported the documentary on the rise of worldwide viral illness, Anatomy of a Pandemic (PBS, 2009), a series of programs on end of life decision-making With Eyes Open (KQED, 2000), and a multi-year series on American democracy, By The People (MacNeil/Lehrer Productions 2002-04). Suarez hosted the long-running foreign policy series America Abroad on public radio, and the radio documentary series American Radio Works, syndicated nationwide by American Public Media.
Earlier in his career, Suarez was a general assignment reporter for the NBC owned and operated WMAQ-TV in Chicago, a Los Angeles Correspondent for CNN, a producer for the ABC Radio Network in New York, and a reporter for various British and US outlets in London and Rome. During his years in Europe he covered the attempted assassination of Pope John Paul II and the trial of his assailant Mehmet Ali Agca, the release of 52 American hostages from Iran, the rise of the Solidarity trade union movement in Poland, and the wedding of Britain’s Prince Charles to Lady Diana Spencer.
During these decades as a broadcaster, Suarez also did extensive work as a writer. He wrote the 2013 companion volume to the PBS documentary series, Latino Americans. In 2005 he published an examination of the tightening relationship between religion and electoral politics, The Holy Vote: The Politics of Faith in America. His first book looked at the decades of transition in urban America, The Old Neighborhood: What We Lost in the Great Suburban Migration (Free Press, 1999).
His writing has also been included in many essay collections, including What We See: Advancing the Observations of Jane Jacobs (New Village Press, 2010), How I Learned English: 55 Accomplished Latinos Recall Lessons in Language and Life (Natl Geographic, 2007), Brooklyn: A State of Mind (Workman, 2000) Saving America’s Treasures (Natl Geographic, 2000), and Las Christmas: Favorite Latino Authors Share Their Holiday Memories (Vintage, 1998).
Over the years many organizations and institutions have recognized and honored Suarez and his work. He was a co-recipient of two DuPont-Columbia Silver Baton awards, for coverage of the 1994 South African elections, and the Gingrich Revolution and the 1995 Republican takeover in the House of Representatives. UCLA’s School of Public Policy gave Suarez its Public Policy Leadership Award for his coverage of urban America, and his coverage of global public health has won national and international citations, including four CINE Golden Eagle Awards. The National Council of La Raza gave Suarez its Ruben Salazar Award, and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists inducted him into the organization’s Hall of Fame in 2010.
As a Media Fellow, he has been a frequent presenter, speaker, and moderator at the World Economic Forum, held annually in Davos, Switzerland.
Suarez holds a BA in African History, from New York University, where he won the Parke Honor in History and the KY Daaku Prize in African Studies. He began his studies at the University of Chicago after winning a Benton Fellowship there in 1991, and later completed an MA in the Social Sciences. In 2005 NYU named Suarez a Distinguished Alumnus of the College of Arts and Sciences. He holds 14 honorary doctorates from colleges and universities across America.
An active layman in the Episcopal Church, Suarez has also been asked to write and speak on religious topics. He most recently published a series of devotional texts for the Christian season of Advent in Soul Proclamations: Praying the Magnificat With Mary (Forward, 2015). His essays on the Passion narrative were included in A Journey With Matthew: The 50-Day Bible Challenge. He has lectured at national and diocesan meetings of the Episcopal Church.
A native of Brooklyn, New York, Suarez lives in Washington, DC. He and his wife Carole are parents to two adult children, and a high school junior.