Commonwealth National Podcast

Rajiv Chandrasekaran, Former Baghdad Bureau Chief, The Washington Post; Author, Imperial Life in the Emerald City (11/9/2009)


Assistant managing editor of The Washington Post and Bay Area-native Rajiv Chandrasekaran will describe the surreal state of affairs in Baghdad's American-occupied Green Zone. He will draw on hundreds of interviews and internal documents to paint a picture of life in what he dubs the "Emerald City." He will also elaborate on how the headquarters for the American occupation of Iraq, the Green Zone, is a ritzy enclave of palm trees, pools, and nightclubs that sorely clashes with the war and violence around it.

Chandrasekaran currently heads the Post's Continuous News department, which reports and edits breaking news stories for He also helps to shape the newspaper's overall multimedia strategy. He previously served the Post as bureau chief in Baghdad, Cairo, and Southeast Asia, and worked as a correspondent covering the war in Afghanistan.

Chandrasekaran took a sabbatical from the Post in 2005 to serve as the Journalist in Residence at the International Reporting Project at the Johns Hopkins School for Advanced International Studies in Washington and as a Public Policy Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center in Washington. He holds a degree in Political Science from Stanford University, where he was Editor-in-Chief of The Stanford Daily.

This program was recorded live on November 9, 2006