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Laura Ling Speaker Biography

Award-Winning Journalist and Author

Award-winning journalist and author Laura Ling has traveled the world reporting on critical issues ranging from slave labor in the Amazon, to energy poverty in sub-Saharan Africa, to the challenges faced by military families in the U.S.

Discovery Communicatons

As a correspondent and director of development for Discovery Communication’s Seeker Network, Ling has focused on creating inspiring programming for a millennial audience. Her web-series Rituals highlights the practices of extraordinary individuals to see how they strive, thrive and gain focus. Ling was recently honored with a national Gracie Award, which recognizes exemplary programming created by women, for women.

Documentary Series Host

Ling has hosted two documentary series airing on the E! Network: E! Investigates and Society X with Laura Ling which investigated topics including bullying and the rise of synthetic drugs.


Prior to joining E! Ling served as a correspondent and Vice President of Current TV’s journalism department. She created Vanguard, the network’s weekly critically acclaimed investigative documentary series. Under her leadership, Vanguard received numerous prestigious awards including the Alfred I. DuPont Award and several Emmy nominations.


In March 2009, while reporting on the trafficking of North Korean women, Ling and her colleague Euna Lee were detained by North Korean soldiers along the Chinese-North Korean border. The two journalists were arrested and held captive in North Korea for 140 days before being granted a special pardon and returning to the United States. She documented her experience in the 2010 memoir, Somewhere Inside: One Sister’s Captivity in North Korea and the Other’s Fight to Bring Her Home, that she penned with her sister, Lisa.


As a correspondent for SoCal Connected, the hard-hitting news magazine series airing on KCET, Ling’s work was recognized with both an Emmy and a national Edward R. Murrow award. Ling has served as a producer for Channel One News and co-created Breaking it Down, a documentary series that aired on MTV. Her work has appeared on ABC’s Nightline, NBC, and PBS. She has also written editorials for the Los Angeles Times and

Honors and Accolades

Journalist keynote speaker Laura Ling was named one of Glamour Magazine’s Women of the Year in 2009. She is a Service Ambassador for Points of Light, the nonpartisan organization dedicated to solving social problems through voluntary service.

Laura Ling Speaking Topics

Journey of Hope

Laura Ling captivates audiences with a raw and candid look inside the life of an international journalist, including the importance of exposing critical global issues, the challenges faced in various parts of the world, and what she learned in one of the world's most reclusive countries. Her story provides a rare and unique window into the so-called "Hermit Nation", and what happens when people from "enemy" nations get a chance to interact and communicate face-to-face. She recounts her time in captivity, from her violent capture, to fears that she might never see her family again, to the glimmers of compassion directed towards her by her captors. Laura talks about what sustained her throughout that terrifying period of isolation and the ways in which she fought to win back her freedom. Ling inspires others not only to find hope and strength within ourselves, but to work towards a common humanity in an increasingly divisive world.

Freedom as a Responsibility

Ling sheds light on critical human rights issues and the struggle for freedom taking place around the world and in the U.S. Her story also provides a rare and unique window into the so-called "Hermit Nation," and what happens when people from "enemy" nations get a chance to interact and communicate face-to-face. She inspires audiences to view freedom, not just as a right, but as a responsibility.

Rituals That Heal the Human Spirit

Ling talks about the power of rituals to overcome our biggest obstacles and how these practices can help us reach our greatest successes. She recounts her time in captivity in North Korea and the lessons she learned about adversity. While Ling shares her ritual of gratitude that that helped sustain her throughout that terrifying period of isolation, she inspires audiences to discover their own daily practices that can lead to new perspectives on life.

A Joint Presentation with Lisa Ling!

Laura Ling Books

Somewhere Inside: One Sister’s Captivity in North Korea and the Other’s Fight to Bring Her Home
Purchase Book

Laura Ling Videos

Laura Ling Speaker Testimonials

"Laura was an incredible delight. We had a standing room only crowd; students and community members said it was the best lecture event they've ever attended at MCLA. One class was even inspired to write music based on her book. Her lecture was endearing and touching, and she was so gracious!"

- | Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts

"Laura Ling is an outstanding advocate for service and change. We were honored to have her share her energy and optimism at our National Conference on Volunteering and Service. Laura's compelling story of losing her freedom while she was imprisoned in North Korea captured the imagination of the 5,000 civic leaders in audience. She offered a great reminder to us all of the importance of feeling grateful for the freedom we experience every day."

- Points of Light | Michelle Nunn, CEO

"EXCELLENT!!! She was amazing!! It was so interesting listening to her story after hearing about it in the news. She was great afterwards...many of our members wanted to take pictures with her and she was very gracious and took pictures until there was no one left. Again, she was absolutely wonderful!!!"

- | Women's Transportation Seminar

What a compelling speaker! Laura Ling is articulate, warm, connected with the audience and shared her story in a way that showed her strength and tenacity. I highly recommend Laura Ling.

- | Voices, Inc.

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Recent Books

Somewhere Inside: One Sister’s Captivity in North Korea and the Other’s Fight to Bring Her Home
Purchase Book

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