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Holly Williams

Holly Williams
Holly Williams CBS News/Michele Crowe

Holly Williams is a CBS News senior foreign correspondent based in the network's CBS London bureau. She previously spent eight years in Istanbul, Turkey. Williams joined CBS News in July 2012, and has more than 25 years of experience covering major news events and international conflicts across Asia, Europe and the Middle East.

Williams has covered extensively for CBS News the present-day conflicts in Israel and Ukraine. Following the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas militants, she reported from the site where thousands of Israeli music festival attendees ran for safety during the surprise assault, around three miles from Gaza. Williams interviewed Moussa Abu Marzouk, a founding member of Hamas and a senior figure in its political wing, in Doha, Qatar, on hostage negotiations and a cease-fire deal between Hamas and Israel. 

Williams has reported on-the-ground in Ukraine since the days of the 2014 Maidan revolution and first interviewed President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in June 2021 from the trenches of Russia's undeclared war on Ukraine and over breakfast in his parent's kitchen. Since Russia's ground invasion of Ukraine in early 2022, Williams has reported significantly on-the-ground and contributed investigative dispatches from the war to the CBS newsmagazine "60 Minutes," including a report on what U.S. taxpayers are getting for their money in Ukraine and an inside look at the formerly occupied city of Kherson, under constant fire by Russia, as Ukraine marked one year of war. Williams has additionally reported from within the Arctic Circle on rapid climate change facing the region that's in turn transforming the Arctic into a potential military flashpoint as Russia ramps up its military presence and readiness to reach the U.S. in an event of war. 

In 2017, Williams received an Emmy for her report from Erbil, Iraq on Iraqi forces fighting off ISIS on the road to Mosul for the CBS Evening News. In 2015, Williams received the Edward R. Murrow award for her continuing coverage of ISIS, and the Jack R. Howard Award from the Scripps Howard Foundation for her early reporting on ISIS in Syria and northern Iraq.

Williams, who is fluent in Mandarin, received the George Polk Award in 2012 for her reporting on Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng, after he escaped house arrest and fled to the U.S. Embassy in Beijing. She was the first reporter to reach his village — evading government security guards — where other members of his family were being harassed by the Chinese authorities.

Williams was one of the first journalists in Iraq to report on the emergence of ISIS in the country's north in the summer of 2014. She has continued to cover ISIS across the region, including the battle for Tikrit, the discovery of mass graves in western Iraq, and the militants' advance in Libya.

Williams has also covered Syria's civil war from inside the country, where she and her team gained access to a prison where alleged ISIS terrorists were being held, and interviewed female Kurdish fighters on the frontline.

Williams' international reporting includes the downfall of the Russian-backed government in Kyiv; the search for missing Malaysian Airlines Flight 370; the Israel-Gaza conflicts in 2014 and 2018; the uprisings in Egypt after the military removed former President Mohammed Morsi from office; and the Nepal earthquake. She also provided rare reporting from Saudi Arabia, and interviewed women who have been punished for demanding the right to drive.

Williams has distinguished herself as an international investigative reporter. In 2013, she went undercover inside a Bangladesh factory that exports clothing and other garments to U.S. and European retailers where she discovered safety and labor violations. She posed as an ivory buyer to report on the global trafficking of illegal ivory from Africa to China, and investigated the use of the U.S. Government-funded "dark net" by pedophiles.

Before joining CBS News, Williams was a Beijing-based Asia Correspondent for Sky News, covering the Japanese tsunami and nuclear disaster and the release of Burmese Peace Prize Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi from house arrest.

Prior to that, she was a producer for both BBC News and Sky News. She produced stories that won the Royal Television Society Award, the Foreign Press Association Award and the Golden Nymph.

Williams was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University in 2007-2008. She has a Master of Arts in International Relations from Deakin University and a Bachelor's degree in Asian Studies from the Australian National University.

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