Frank Sesno

Frank Sesno

Frank Sesno

Professor and Director of Strategic Initiatives; Executive Director, GW Alliance for a Sustainable Future


Email: Frank Sesno
Office Phone: (202) 994-9553

Frank Sesno serves as the Director of Strategic Initiatives and Professor at the School of Media and Public Affairs, and as the Executive Director of the George Washington University Alliance for a Sustainable Future. The Alliance is a broad pan-university initiative to amplify the university’s teaching, research, convening and impact relating to global challenges around climate change, environmental justice, and sustainability.

An Emmy-award winning journalist, Sesno’s journalism career spanning four decades has put him at the reporting forefront of major events including presidential campaigns and debates, superpower summits, and conflicts worldwide. He served as director of the School of Media and Public Affairs from 2009-2020 and has extensive experience and an abiding commitment to environmental journalism and stewardship. He teaches environmental reporting and founded Planet Forward, a platform for college students worldwide to research and publish stories about climate change, sustainability, and innovation. Sesno hosts programs on Public Broadcasting focusing on the health of the Chesapeake Bay, sea level rise, and community resilience.

Sesno’s diverse journalistic career includes more than two decades at CNN as a White House correspondent, anchor, Sunday talk show host, Washington Bureau Chief, and Special Correspondent. While serving in those roles, he covered presidential campaigns and political conventions, superpower summits, arms negotiations, conflicts in the Middle East and Latin America, and major historical events such as the impeachment of Bill Clinton, the 9/11 terror attacks and Barack Obama’s historic inauguration as America’s first Black president in 2009. 

Sesno has produced and reported multiple documentaries for CNN, including "We Were Warned," which examined America's energy supplies and vulnerabilities and "Donald Rumsfeld: Man of War," delving into Rumsfeld's controversial term as Secretary of Defense during the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. He reported and hosted "Ronald Reagan: A Legacy Remembered," spotlighting Reagan's presidency for The History Channel, and was co-executive producer of “Avoiding Armageddon: Our Future, Our Choice,” a four-part prime time documentary that aired on PBS.

Author of "Ask More: The Power of Questions to Open Doors, Uncover Solutions, and Spark Change," Sesno shares his expertise and love of interviewing through his course, The Art of the Interview.  He hosts The Sesno Series, generously endowed by GW alumni Ted and Meredith Segal, which brings together political experts and media to foster discussions on American democracy and civil discourse.

Sesno has had the privilege of interviewing five U.S. presidents and prominent global figures, including Bill Gates, Hillary Clinton, Anthony Fauci, Sandra Day O'Connor, Colin Powell, Margaret Thatcher, Walter Cronkite, Nancy Pelosi, Benjamin Netanyahu, and Cory Booker. He has moderated a diverse array of public conversations and collaborated with influential organizations such as the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Kavli Foundation, The White House Historical Association, the Posse Foundation, and the Hospice Foundation of America.

Sesno currently serves as a member of the Poynter Institute’s National Advisory Board. He holds membership in the Council on Foreign Relations and serves as an emeritus trustee of his alma mater, Middlebury College, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in American History. In recognition of his contributions to journalism and civil discourse, he has been awarded three honorary degrees and, in 2023, the President’s Medal at the George Washington University.

Media Innovation, Media and Politics, Political Coverage, the Cable Industry, Media Ethics, Energy and Climate, and Documentary.

SMPA 3195 - Art of the Interview 

SMPA 3193 - Sustainability Reporting


Ask More: The Power of Questions to Open Doors, Uncover Solutions and Spark Change.” (2017). AMACOM, HarperCollins Publishing.

"Finding Our Way" Truth Counts: A Practical Guide For News Consumers. Matt Mansfield and Ellen Shearer (eds.) (2018). CQ-Roll Call Inc. 

B.A., Middlebury College, 1977