Steve Coll

Steve Coll (born October 8, 1958) is an American journalist, academic and executive. He is currently the dean of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, where he is also the Henry R. Luce Professor of Journalism. A staff writer for The New Yorker, he served as the president and CEO of the New America think tank from 2007 to 2012.

He is the recipient of two Pulitzer Prize awards, two Overseas Press Club Awards, a PEN American Center John Kenneth Galbraith Award, an Arthur Ross Book Award, a Livingston Award, a Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award, a Financial Times and Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year Award, and the Lionel Gelber Prize. From 2012 to 2013, he was a voting member of the Pulitzer Prize Board before continuing to serve in an ex officio capacity as the dean of the Columbia Journalism School.

Steve Coll
Steve Coll, 2012
Steve Coll, 2012
BornOctober 8, 1958 (age 60)
Washington, D.C.
OccupationJournalist, author, business executive
Alma materOccidental College
Notable worksGhost Wars; The Bin Ladens: An Arabian Family in the American Century
Notable awardsPulitzer Prize for Explanatory Reporting (1990); Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction (2005)
SpouseEliza Griswold

Books-aj.svg aj ashton 01.svg Literature portal

Early life and family

Steve Coll was born on October 8, 1958, in Washington, D.C. He attended Thomas S. Wootton High School in Rockville, Maryland, graduating in 1976. He moved to Los Angeles, California, and enrolled in Occidental College, where he was a member of Phi Beta Kappa. In 1980, he graduated cum laude with majors in English and history. Coll also attended the University of Sussex during his studies.

Coll is married to his second wife, journalist and poet Eliza Griswold.[1]



Coll (right) with Richard N. Haass, President of the Council on Foreign Relations

In 1980, Coll joined the writing staff of California magazine, eventually working on staff as a contributing editor.[2]

In 1985, he started working for the Washington Post as a general assignment feature writer for the paper's Style section. Two years later, he was promoted to serve as the financial correspondent for the newspaper, based in New York City. He and David A. Vise collaborated on a series of reports scrutinizing the Securities and Exchange Commission for which they received the 1990 Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Reporting and the Gerald Loeb Award for Large Newspapers.[3][4] In 1989, he moved to New Delhi, when he was appointed as the Post's South Asia bureau chief. He served as a foreign correspondent through 1995.[5]

Coll began working for the newspaper's Sunday magazine insert in 1995, serving as publisher of the magazine from 1996 to 1998. He was promoted to managing editor of the newspaper in 1998 and served in that capacity through 2004. He has also served as an associate editor for the newspaper from late 2004 to August 2005.

In September 2005, Coll joined the writing staff of The New Yorker. Based in Washington, D.C., he reported on foreign intelligence and national security.[6]

New America Foundation

On July 23, 2007, Coll was named as the next director of the New America Foundation, a non-profit, non-partisan think tank headquartered in Washington, D.C.[7][8] He has also contributed to the New York Review of Books, particularly about the war in Afghanistan. On June 25, 2012, Coll announced his resignation as President of the New America Foundation to pen a follow up to Ghost Wars.[9]

On October 23, 2012, Coll was elected to the Pulitzer Prize Board, administered by Columbia University.[10]

Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism

On March 18, 2013, Coll was announced to succeed Nick Lemann as the Dean of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, effective July 1, 2013.[11][12][13][14]

Honors and awards



  • Coll, Steve (1986). The deal of the century : the breakup of AT&T. Atheneum.
  • — (1987). The taking of Getty Oil : the full story of the most spectacular & catastrophic takeover of all time. Scribner.
  • Vise, David A.; Coll, Steve (1991). Eagle on the Street : based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning account of the SEC's battle with Wall Street. New York: Scribner's.
  • Coll, Steve (1993). On the Grand Trunk Road : a journey into South Asia. Crown Press.
  • — (2004). Ghost wars : the secret history of the CIA, Afghanistan and Bin Laden, from the Soviet invasion to September 10, 2001. Penguin.
  • — (2008). The Bin Ladens : an Arabian family in the American Century. Penguin.
  • — (2012). Private empire : ExxonMobil and American power. Penguin.
  • — (2018). Directorate S : the C.I.A. and America's secret wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan, 2001–2016. Penguin.

Essays and reporting

Contributions on



  1. ^ "Steve Coll". Columbia Journalism School. Retrieved 5 January 2018.
  2. ^ "Conversations with History" (Interview). Interviewed by Harry Kreisler. University of California, Berkeley. 15 March 2005. Retrieved 5 January 2018.
  3. ^ "Historical Winners List". UCLA Anderson School of Management. Retrieved January 31, 2019.
  4. ^ "Government Investment Series Wins Loeb Award". Los Angeles Times. May 2, 1995. Retrieved February 1, 2019.
  5. ^ a b "The Pulitzer Prizes | Awards". Retrieved 2013-03-17.
  6. ^ "Contributors: Steve Coll". Archived from the original on 2013-03-12. Retrieved 2013-03-17.
  7. ^ Cohen, Patricia (July 23, 2007). "Journalist Chosen to Lead a Public Policy Institute". The New York Times.
  8. ^ "Steve Coll". Archived from the original on 2013-01-31. Retrieved 2013-03-17.
  9. ^ "Abiz Top 50 Business Luncheon - August 23, 2012".
  10. ^ "The Pulitzer Prizes | Journalist, playwright and regional newspaper editor named to Pulitzer Prize Board". Retrieved 2013-03-17.
  11. ^ "Steve Coll named Dean of J-School". Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. Archived from the original on 2013-03-19. Retrieved 2013-03-18.
  12. ^ Kaminer, Ariel (2013-03-18). "Columbia Names New Dean for Journalism School". Retrieved 2013-03-18.
  13. ^ Pompeo, Joe (March 19, 2013). "Steve Coll Named Dean Columbia Journalism School". Capital New York. Retrieved March 22, 2013.
  14. ^ Carr, David (April 1, 2013). "Columbia Looks Ahead in an Age of Disruption". New York Times.
  15. ^ "Past Winners | Livingston Awards". Archived from the original on 2013-03-22. Retrieved 2013-03-17.
  16. ^ Award Name:  10 The Ed Cunningham Award. "The Ed Cunningham Award 2000 | Overseas Press Club of America". Retrieved 2013-03-17.
  17. ^ Award Name:  14 The Cornelius Ryan Award. "The Cornelius Ryan Award 2004 | Overseas Press Club of America". Retrieved 2013-03-17.
  18. ^ "The Pulitzer Prizes | Citation". 2013-03-11. Retrieved 2013-03-17.
  19. ^ "National Book Critics Circle: 2008 NBCC Finalists Announced".
  20. ^ Laurie Muchnick (November 3, 2012). "Steve Coll Wins FT/Goldman Prize for Exxon Mobil Study". Business Week. Retrieved 2012-11-04.
  21. ^ John Williams (January 14, 2012). "National Book Critics Circle Names 2012 Award Finalists". New York Times. Retrieved 2013-01-15.
  22. ^ Hillel Italie (March 14, 2018). "Zadie Smith, Anna Burns among winners of critics prizes". The Washington Post. The Associated Press. Retrieved March 15, 2019.
  23. ^ Online version is titled "The D.N.C. and the summer of discontent".

External links


1990 Pulitzer Prize

The following are the Pulitzer Prizes for 1990.

Two awards for Public Service were given in 1990. 1990 was also the last year that awards were given for General News Reporting and Specialized Reporting - these categories were changed to Spot News Reporting and Beat Reporting the following year.

2005 Pulitzer Prize

The Pulitzer Prizes for 2005 were announced on 2005-04-04.

Abdallah bin Laden

Abdallah bin Osama bin Mohammed bin Awad bin Laden (Arabic: عبدالله بن أسامة بن محمد بن عوض بن لادن‎; born c. 1976) is the son of Osama bin Laden and Osama's first wife Najwa Ghanhem. He is not to be confused with Osama bin Laden's half-brother Abdullah bin Laden (born in 1966) or the older Sheikh Abdullah bin Laden, who died in 2002 at age 75.

Al-Thager Model School

A secondary school in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, the Al-Thager Model School (Arabic: مدارس الثغر النموذجية‎, the name roughly is "The Haven") is a two-story building that used to house both primary and secondary grades, as well as residential dormitories on the second level.

American Zeitgeist

American Zeitgeist is a 2006 documentary film by Rob McGann. It discusses the war on terror and religion. It was the winner of the best feature-length documentary award at the Houston International Film Festival.

Arbusto Energy

Arbusto Energy was an oil and gas exploration firm started in 1977 by former US President George W. Bush. In 1984, the company merged with Spectrum 7 Energy Corp.

Ghost Wars

Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001, abbreviated as Ghost Wars, is a book written by Steve Coll, published in 2004 by Penguin Press, won the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction.

Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan

Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan (2000, ISBN 978-0-06-019314-0) is a book by Herbert P. Bix covering the reign of Emperor Hirohito of Japan from 1926 until his death in 1989. It won the 2001 Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction.

Jalaluddin Haqqani

Mawlawi Jalaluddin Haqqani (1939 – 3 September 2018) was an Afghan leader of the Haqqani network, an insurgent group fighting in guerilla warfare initially against US-led NATO forces, and the present government of Afghanistan they support. He distinguished himself as an internationally sponsored insurgent fighter in the 1980s during the Soviet–Afghan War, including Operation Magistral. By 2004, he was directing pro-Taliban militants to launch a holy war in Afghanistan. Jalaluddin retained considerable local popularity on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, and he was the most experienced Islamist leader in the region. Steve Coll, author of Ghost Wars, claims that Haqqani introduced suicide bombing in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region.Media reports emerged in late July 2015 that Haqqani had died the previous year. These reports were denied by the Taliban and some members of the Haqqani family.On 3 September 2018, the Taliban released a statement announcing that Haqqani had died after a long illness.


Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT, Urdu: لشکر طیبہ‎ [ˈləʃkər eː ˈt̪ɛːjbaː]; literally Army of the Good, translated as Army of the Righteous, or Army of the Pure and alternatively spelled as Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, Lashkar-e-Taiba; Lashkar-e-Taiba; Lashkar-i-Tayyeba) is one of the largest and most active Islamist militant organisations in South Asia, operating mainly from Pakistan. It was founded in 1987 by Hafiz Saeed, Abdullah Azzam and Zafar Iqbal in Afghanistan, with funding from Osama bin Laden. Its headquarters are in Muridke, near Lahore in Punjab province of Pakistan, and the group operates several training camps in Pakistan-administered Kashmir.Lashkar-e-Taiba has been accused by India of attacking military and civilian targets in India, most notably the 2001 Indian Parliament attack, the 2008 Mumbai attacks and the 2019 Pulwama attack on Armed Forces. Its stated objective is to introduce an Islamic state in South Asia and to "liberate" Muslims residing in Indian Kashmir. The organization is banned as a terrorist organization by India, the United States, the United Kingdom the European Union, Russia, Australia, and the United Nations (under the UNSC Resolution 1267 Al-Qaeda Sanctions List). Though formally banned by Pakistan, the general view of India and the Western countries, including of experts such as former French investigating magistrate Jean-Louis Bruguière and New America Foundation president Steve Coll is that Pakistan's main intelligence agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), continues to give LeT help and protection.Whilst LeT remains banned in Pakistan, the political arm of the group, Jamat ud Dawah (JuD) has remained un-banned for spans of time. As of February 2019, it is deemed as a proscribed organisation per an order of the Interior Ministry.

Lionel Gelber Prize

The Lionel Gelber Prize was founded in 1989 by Canadian diplomat Lionel Gelber. The prize is a literary award for the world’s best non-fiction book in English on foreign affairs that seeks to deepen public debate on significant international issues. A prize of $15,000 is awarded to the winner. The award is presented annually by the Lionel Gelber Foundation, in partnership with Foreign Policy Magazine and the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy at the University of Toronto.

Recipients are judged by a jury panel of experts from Canada, Britain, and the United States. The award has been described by The Economist as "the world's most important award for non-fiction". Past winners have included Lawrence Wright, Jonathan Spence, David McCullough, Kanan Makiya, Michael Ignatieff, Eric Hobsbawm, Robert Kinloch Massie, Adam Hochschild (two time winner), Robert Skidelsky, Baron Skidelsky, Walter Russell Mead, and Steve Coll.

National Book Critics Circle Award

The National Book Critics Circle Awards are a set of annual American literary awards by the National Book Critics Circle to promote "the finest books and reviews published in English".

The first NBCC awards were announced and presented January 16, 1976.There are six awards to books published in the U.S. during the preceding calendar year, in six categories: Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, Memoir/Autobiography, Biography, and Criticism. Four of them span the entire NBCC award history; Memoir/Autobiography and Biography were recognized by one "Autobiography/Biography" award for publication years 1983 to 2004, then replaced by two awards. Beginning in 2014, the NBCC also presents a special "first book" award across all 6 categories, named the John Leonard Award in honor of literary critic and NBCC founding member John Leonard, who died in 2008.Books previously published in English are not eligible, such as re-issues and paperback editions. Nor does the NBC Circle consider "cookbooks, self help books (including inspirational literature), reference books, picture books or children's books". They do consider "translations, short story and essay collections, self published books, and any titles that fall under the general categories".The judges are the volunteer directors of the NBCC who are 24 members serving rotating three-year terms, with eight elected annually by the voting members,

namely "professional book review editors and book reviewers".Winners of the awards are announced each year at the NBCC awards ceremony in conjunction with the yearly membership meeting, which takes place in March.

New America (organization)

New America, formerly the New America Foundation, is a non-partisan think tank in the United States. It focuses on a range of public policy issues, including national security studies, technology, asset building, health, gender, energy, education, and the economy. The organization is based in Washington, D.C., with additional offices in New York City and Oakland.

Ted Halstead served as New America's founding President and CEO from 1999 to 2007. Steve Coll served as New America's second President. In 2013, Anne-Marie Slaughter became President of New America, replacing Steve Coll. Google's Executive Chairman, Eric Schmidt, is the chairman of the foundation's board of directors.Although the organization describes itself as "non-partisan", its policy views have been characterized as liberal or left-leaning. The New America Foundation has been criticized for its perceived close ties with Google, including its decision to fire an employee who criticized Google as a monopoly. The organization, however, has denied improper influence.

Operation Cyclone

Operation Cyclone was the code name for the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) program to arm and finance the mujahideen, in Afghanistan from 1979 to 1989, prior to and during the military intervention by the USSR in support of its client, the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan. The program leaned heavily towards supporting militant Islamic groups that were favored by the regime of Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq in neighboring Pakistan, rather than other, less ideological Afghan resistance groups that had also been fighting the Marxist-oriented Democratic Republic of Afghanistan regime since before the Soviet intervention. Operation Cyclone was one of the longest and most expensive covert CIA operations ever undertaken; funding began with just over $500,000 in 1979, was increased dramatically to $20–$30 million per year in 1980 and rose to $630 million per year in 1987. Funding continued after 1989 as the mujahideen battled the forces of Mohammad Najibullah's PDPA during the civil war in Afghanistan (1989–1992).

Osama bin Laden bodyguards

American officials have reported that the late al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden had numerous bodyguards. They reported that the detainees held in the Guantanamo Bay detention camp included at least 30 of Bin Laden's bodyguards.How long Osama bin Laden had known an individual before he would trust him to be a bodyguard has been a topic of debate. According to Steve Coll, in his book Ghost Wars,

"Bin Laden practiced intensive operational security. He was wary of telephones. He allowed no Afghans into his personal bodyguard, only Arabs he had known and trusted for many years."

Historian Andy Worthington, author of The Guantanamo Files, has pointed out that many of those Guantanamo analysts characterized as Osama bin Laden bodyguards had only been in Afghanistan for weeks.

According to Graeme Steven and Rohan Gunaratna, in Counterterrorism: A Reference Handbook, Ali Mohammad, formerly a captain in the Egyptian army, who became an American citizen and a sergeant in the US Special Forces, provided the initial training to the early cohort of Osama bin Laden's bodyguards.One source of the allegations was Guantanamo captive Mohammed al Qahtani.

Al Qahtani was believed to be one of the 20 hijackers. The DoD acknowledges he was subjected to "extended interrogation techniques, including two months of sleep-deprivation". Other sources described his treatment as torture. After this, he is reported to have denounced 30 other Guantanamo captives as being bodyguards of Osama Bin Laden.On April 23, 2010, Benjamin Weiser, writing in The New York Times, reported that a newly released 52-page interrogation summary, published during Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani's civilian trial, revealed new details about the life of an Osama Bin Laden bodyguard.

According to Weiser, the interrogation summary asserted that Ghailani said he was told Bin Laden had personally requested he agree to serve as one of his bodyguards; that he was asked twice to be a bodyguard; and that he did not believe bin Laden had actually personally requested him.

According to Weiser the interrogation summary asserted Ghailani had served as a bodyguard for approximately one year, and he was one of approximately fifteen bodyguards.

According to Weiser the interrogation summary asserted that Ghailani was armed with an AK-47, and that during that year he spoke with Bin Laden numerous times.

According to Weiser the interrogation summary asserted that Ghailani and several other individuals who served with him as bodyguards were among those who later became hijackers in the September 11 attacks.

Russians in Afghanistan

There are estimated to be 1,500 Russians living in Afghanistan. In the 1960s and 1970s, due to cooperation between the Soviet Union and Afghanistan, there were roughly 10,000 Russian expatriate engineers, interpreters, construction workers, and other similar professionals living in the country, a figure which had grown to 15,000 by the eve of the Soviet–Afghan War. However, they mostly left the country during or after the war. There was some Russian-language media, but it closed down during the period of Taliban government.In Balkh Province, near the border with Uzbekistan, there are also reported to be numerous businessmen with dual citizenship of Israel and Russia, who have established ventures in the food, transport, and tourism industries. As their Israeli passports are not valid in Afghanistan, they generally enter the country on their Russian passports instead. They are also occasionally harassed by the local security forces, who are generally aware that they are Israeli citizens but turn a blind eye in exchange for bribes.

Unocal Corporation

Union Oil Company of California, dba Unocal is a company that was a major petroleum explorer and marketer in the late 19th century, through the 20th century, and into the early 21st century. It was headquartered in El Segundo, California, United States.Unocal was involved in domestic and global energy projects. Unocal was one of the key players in the CentGas consortium, which attempted to build the Trans-Afghanistan Pipeline to run from the Caspian area, through Afghanistan, to the Indian Ocean, at a time after the recent Taliban siege of Kabul in 1996.

On August 10, 2005, Unocal merged its entire upstream petroleum business with Chevron Corporation and became a wholly owned subsidiary. Unocal has now ceased operations as an independent company, but continues to conduct many operations as Union Oil Company of California, a Chevron company.

Since 1990, Unocal continues to have strong presence in the downstream petroleum business with their technical collaborators M/s Raaj Unocal Lubricants Ltd for manufacture and marketing of their lubricating products in Asia. Raaj Unocal Lubricants Ltd continues the legacy of Unocal 76 in the downstream petroleum business and has intellectual property rights of the brand since 1994.


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