Dorothy Parvaz is a Middle East analyst and journalist working for Al Jazeera in Qatar. In 2011, while sent to cover the uprising in Syria, she was captured and held in one of Syria’s secret prisons for three days before being renditioned to Iran where she was interrogated on spying charges for more than two weeks. Her disappearance gained worldwide attention and concern. She has been at Al Jezeera since 2010 and in addition to the Syrian conflict has covered the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, the Arab spring revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt, and last year’s elections in Iran. She was named special projects editor in 2013.
Dorothy was recently awarded the McGill Media for Journalistic Courage from the Grady College of Journalism at the University of Georgia. She has also won the John Aubuchon Foreign Correspondent Award from the National Press Club and the Susan Hutchinson Bosch Award for Perseverance and Quiet Courage from the Society of Professional Journalists.
An arts editor at the Daily Wildcat while pursuing her master’s degree in journalism, Dorothy later worked for the Arizona Republic as a music writer and critic before joining the Seattle Post Intelligencer as a reporter focusing on pop culture, subculture and style, a beat she held for nearly eight years. From 2006-2009 she was an editorial writer for the PI until it folded. She was actually a Nieman Fellow at Harvard at the time of the paper’s demise, studying constitutional law and the role of digital media in democracy.
Without a job and nothing to lose, Dorothy moved to England and freelanced for McClatchy, Frontline and the Cleveland Plain Dealer, among others. She earned a spot as a Wolfson Press Fellow at the University of Cambridge in 2010 where she conducted research on Iranian media and censorship.
This past spring Dorothy took a Rockefeller Foundation residency in Italy for three months to research a project called “Why Some But Not Others.” This study looked at why some diplomatic mechanisms work and some don’t in freeing hostages with multiple citizenships from Iranian prisons. Dorothy, who was born in Teheran, holds dual Iranian-Canadian citizenship.