New Yorker Reporter Evan Osnos Coming to Syracuse Monday for Gifford Lecture Series

Apr 12, 2018

Osnos specializes in foreign affairs and politics. After living in Beijing for eight years, Osnos published his book "Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth, and Faith in the New China," which won the National Book Award in 2014.
Credit Wikipedia Commons

A reporter with the New Yorker Magazine will bring a behind the scenes look at North Korea’s government to Syracuse on Monday as part of the Rosamond Gifford Lecture Series.  Evan Osnos traveled to Pyongyang in August of 2017 to interview government officials about their perceptions of the US. He describes the city as a staged set that has been prepared for foreign consumption.

“When you get out of the city as I did, then you’re able to begin to see some of the ways in which North Korea is trying to present a face to us. But the illusion itself is telling because you begin to understand what they want us to think. What they want us to think is that they are more prosperous and more stable than they may actually be.”

Osnos says the illusion North Korea puts on does not reflect a country that is desperately poor. He says the most revealing moments weren’t the things they were telling him in preprogrammed statements, but rather in the questions he asked.

Osnos has also spent time studying US presidential politics. He says there is an understanding that presidents do a lot more of the things that they campaign on than we can imagine.

“The cliché is that presidents don’t fulfill their promises, but when you actually look at the data, what you discover is that once in office, there are pressures on them—political pressures, the momentum of their own campaign and their own brand—to actually do those things. And so like it or not, and many people, of course, are not happy about it, Donald Trump is in fact doing many of the things that he said he was going to do.”

Osnos believes President Trump remains divisive not because he isn’t getting things done, but because he is in fact pursuing his campaign promises avidly. Along with his experience in North Korea, Osnos plans to discuss his writing process as a reporter and how he educates himself on topics.

“When you’re a reporter, you have this tremendous luxury, which is that you can call up some of the most knowledgeable people in the world, and very often, they will be happy to talk to you.”

Osnos’ appearance with the Rosamond Gifford lecture series will be held at The Oncenter Crouse Hinds Theater on Monday at 7:30 p.m. Tickets can be purchased online at Ticketmaster or at the box office.