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David Culver

International Correspondent, CNN

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Fee Range:
$10,000 - $15,000

David Culver’s acclaimed and awarded reporting has been an essential source of information for the public about life in China during the COVID-19 pandemic. Culver’s first-hand experience is unmatched and his anecdotal speaking style will suit engagements of all kinds.

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David Culver is a foreign correspondent for CNN based at the network's Los Angeles bureau. Since joining the network in 2019, Culver has been primarily based in China as an international correspondent tasked with covering a wide-range of major news stories impacting the world. Culver’s extensive reporting from the Asia-Pacific region has led to him being awarded the Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Journalism, the Overseas Press Club of America’s David Kaplan Award, and the George Polk Award, marking the first time in the 73-year history of the Awards that the top honor for Foreign Reporting went to a television journalist.

Culver has had a front-row seat reporting on the coronavirus outbreak beginning with the unprecedented lockdown from the original epicenter of Wuhan in 2020 and more recently as the only American TV news correspondent living through and documenting the crippling Shanghai lockdown. His work at the start of the outbreak, and subsequent broadcasting from the confines of hotel quarantine in Beijing, led Culver and his team to receive multiple awards and recognitions. Additionally, a report he filed chronicling his dramatic escape from Wuhan at the outset of the pandemic is now the most viewed hard news video on Facebook, with more than 200 million views.

Culver's work in China also includes coverage of heightened U.S-China geopolitical tensions, the NBA controversy, and the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China, chronicling the military and economic superpower's rapid rise. He also reported on China's alleged human rights abuses. In 2021, Culver and his team traveled to China’s far-western Xinjiang region to investigate the forced separation of children from their families. His investigation aired as a 15-minute primetime special report for AC360.

Prior to joining CNN, Culver spent more than six years as an anchor and reporter for NBC Washington, covering a range of topics, including crime, politics, and education. He also reported on multiple national breaking news events, covering the Parkland Florida school shooting, the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting and various hurricanes that ravaged parts of the US.

Of Cuban-American descent, Culver has travelled multiple times to Cuba, reporting on the reopening of the U.S. Embassy, Pope Francis' visit and the death of Fidel Castro. He produced a 30-minute Emmy award-winning documentary, "Rediscovering Cuba: A Journey Home", which chronicles his mother and grandmother's return to their native Cuba more than 50 years after they fled the island-nation. Before NBC Washington, Culver was an anchor and reporter for WAVY-TV in Hampton Roads, Virginia.

Culver graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Hispanic Studies from the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. He minored in Middle Eastern Studies and studied Arabic. He is fluent in Spanish.

Speech Topics

In this presentation, David discusses the increasing tension between the U.S. and China and why Americans must care about worsening ties. David will address:


• China’s control tactics: How the Chinese Communist Party is using Covid-19 fear to further tighten its grip over its 1.4B people


• Xinjiang Allegations: What it’s like to travel to and speak with those living in the most heavily surveilled region of China–a place where the U.S. and other western powers allege China is carrying out widespread violations of human rights abuses


Covering China from 2019-2022, David was among a rapidly dwindling number of foreign correspondents and draws upon his experiences to inform this presentation.

In this discussion, David speaks on the evolution of journalism and the changing tactics of newsgathering in China and the world as a result of the pandemic. This discussion emphasizes the growing importance of international news in the daily lives of Americans and the need for a public focus and interest in current affairs.


David also anecdotally recounts the challenges of reporting abroad while living far from the comforts of home and family. David lived away from his family and loved ones for more than 2.5 years, since China’s Covid controls and limitations on foreign reporters made it nearly impossible to exit and reenter.

David Culver is a rockstar commencement speaker, connecting with and engaging driven groups of college and university. David’s story of success and message of following your dreams resonates with students. He is also available for guest lectureships and tailors these remarks to the needs of the audience.

David has experience hosting numerous charity events and has emceed for various charities that address cancer, hemophilia, epilepsy, heart disease; as well as religious and social organizations like Catholic Charities, Latino-related foundations, LGBT+ communities, and more. As an emcee, David shares personal anecdotes that relate to the charity’s mission.

Of Cuban-American descent, David has made multiple trips to the island-nation as a journalist and produced an NBC piece called “Rediscovering Cuba: A Journey Home.” wherein he brought his mother and grandmother back to their native homeland for the first time in 54 years.