You've see her on your TV during the CBS Evening News. Foreign correspondent Clarissa Ward has spent the past decade traveling the world reporting on conflicts and triumphs. And Friday, she received an honorary degree from Middlebury College's School of Languages.
"It just is such a tremendous honor and also very humbling to be given this degree," Ward said. "So, it's just thrilling."
Ward will address 120 students who spent seven weeks living and learning together, vowing not to speak any English.
"It's been an incredible experience. Very intense, very fun at the same time, but it's been challenging and very rewarding," said David Arcangeli, a graduate of the French language school.
"She is an outstanding journalist, and there are not that many left," said Michael Geisler, the vice president of the Middlebury School of Languages.
Ward herself speaks six languages, and her talents caught the eye of Geisler, so he asked her to speak at the summer commencement, as well.
"Once you speak the local language, you can spend time getting to know sources, their context, where they're coming from. And that builds up to a real piece of journalism and you don't get that a lot," Geisler said.
Ward has spent the summer tirelessly covering the crisis in Egypt, where just this week three journalists were killed in the crossfire.
"It's a difficult and challenging place to operate. There's a lot of anti-Americanism and a lot of aggression toward journalists and international media. So, it's certainly difficult and of course as a woman one has to be on hyperalert because there have been so many mass sexual assaults, particularly in these really crowded areas that you get during these big protests," Ward said.
Weighing the risks, Ward says she felt a calling to use her language skills after the Sept. 11 terror attacks.
"I think for the first time I understood how important it is to have people who are acting as translators and in terms of culturally," she said.
Translating what's happening in the world back to us each night.
"We also bring important things that are happening in the world to American viewers who are perhaps detached from those realities," Ward said. "And that, to me, seems like-- well, to me, it feels like a calling. If you know that you can do it, why would you not do it?"
A calling that takes her all over the world, even Vermont.
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