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Aikman, David (1944-) | Archival Collections at Wheaton College

Name: Aikman, David (1944-)


Historical Note:

David Barrington Thomson Aikman was born to Barry and Joy Aikman on June 6, 1944, the same night as the Normandy invasion, in Cobham, Surrey, England.

Dr. Aikman received his early education at Stowe School in Bucks, England and was graduated with honors in Russian and French from Worcester College, Oxford in 1965. He received his M.A. in Far Eastern Languages and Literature (Mongolian and Turkish) from the Far Eastern and Russian Institute of the University of Washington, Seattle, in 1968. He also received his Ph.D. in Russian and Chinese history from Washington in 1979. His dissertation was titled "The Role of Atheism in the Marxist Tradition."

He began his reporting career with TIME magazine in 1971 and had a twenty-three year career reporting from five continents and more than 55 countries, and wrote three consecutive Man of the Year cover stories. As foreign and Senior Correspondent he interviewed major world figures like Mother Teresa, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Boris Yeltsin and Billy Graham. He was bureau chief in Berlin, Jerusalem and Beijing aided by his skill in speaking Russian, Chinese, French, and German. He is an expert on China, Eastern Asia, and the former Soviet Union. His September 1997 cover story "The Laogai Archipelago" in The Weekly Standard provided the most detailed journalistic account of China's prison and labor camp system.

David Aikman has been an eyewitness to the rise and fall of nations and regimes. Based in Hong Kong in the early 1970s, he saw first-hand the fall of Indo-china to Communist rule. He was the last correspondent to leave Phnom Penh before the Khmer Rouge invaded in 1975. While Eastern European Bureau Chief, Aikman also covered the emergence of dissident groups in Poland. Aikman was familiar with many of the people who became advisers to Polish President Lech Walesa. Dr. Aikman has also been Bureau Chief in Jerusalem, during the invasion of Lebanon by Israel; Beijing, during the reforms of Deng Xiaoping and the last days of the pro-democracy movement in Tiananmen Square; and in Moscow, during the Chernobyl disaster and the beginning of Yeltsin's loyal opposition movement in 1989.

From 1998 to 2002 Aikman was a Senior Fellow at the Washington-based Ethics and Public Policy Center. Additionally, he served as editor-at-large of Newsroom, an Internet-based news organization reporting on the religious aspect of news events around the world.

Dr. Aikman is the author of eight books on a wide range of topics, and the editor or co-author of four others. In 2006, he completed an analytical biography of the life evangelist Billy Graham, publication pending. Some of his recent books include A Man Of Faith: The Spiritual Journey Of George W. Bush (2004) and Jesus In Beijing: How Christianity Is Transforming China And Changing The World Balance Of Power (2003). He also co-authored Gorbachev: An Intimate Biography (1988) and Massacre in Beijing: China's Struggle For Democracy (1989).

Dr. Aikman also is an accomplished public speaker, appearing regularly on major C-Span, CNN, NBC and others. His speaking has focused on the Middle East, China and on religious persecution around the world.

Note Author: Keith Call and staff of the Wheaton College Archives & Special Collections






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