Barry D. Wood is a writer and broadcaster in Washington, D.C. He is the international economics correspondent for RTHK radio in Hong Kong and contributes to USA Today, The International Economy, and several websites. His first book, Exploring New Europe: A Bicycle Journey, is about people and places in 14 post-communist countries from Estonia to Albania.
A veteran foreign correspondent, in 2017 Barry reported from the Group of 20 leaders meeting in Hamburg that was President Trump’s first foray into global summitry. Recent visits to the Silicon Valley resulted in a photo essay for USA Today on new headquarters buildings of Apple, Google and Facebook, and a presentation on technological innovation at the American Center in Prague He also reported from Detroit, South Africa and Zimbabwe. In 2016 he reported from the Group of 7 summit in Japan and wrote for The International Economy on Japan’s efforts to keep pace with a rising China.
In 2015 Barry rode 250 miles from Long Beach, CA through Riverside, Palm Springs and Bythe to Phoenix, Arizona. Earlier he completed the 65-mile Cape Town Cycle Tour around Table Mountain. He has long pursued adventure, tempered by moderation and common sense.
For two-decades until 2009 Barry was chief economics correspondent at Voice of America, filing radio and television reports from over 60 countries. He participated in a dozen annual meetings of the World Economic Forum in Davos and reported from IMF/World Bank meetings and economic summits since 1980. Barry is a fixture in the Omaha press room of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway annual meetings. He covered the first Asia Pacific economic summit in 1993 that launched the annual gatherings of 21 APEC leaders. He reported from the 2013 summit in Durban of the BRICS countries–Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. His writing has appeared in The Washington Post, New York Times, Financial Times, Barron’s, The International Economy, Europe, South China Morning Post and Los Angeles Times, He has twice been a guest on C-SPAN.
From 1994 to 1997 Barry was the VOA correspondent in Prague with responsibility for covering the transition to market economies in Eastern Europe. He regularly spoke with the architects of transformation– Leszek Balcerowicz, Vaclav Klaus and Jeffrey Sachs. During the wars of Yugoslav succession he spent months in Serbia, Kosovo, Macedonia and Albania. He has written about the euro currency since its inception and is the recipient of VOA’s career achievement award. Twice he was a grantee at the Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars.
Barry’s account of America’s ‘most scenic train ride, Amtrak’s Coast Starlight, appeared in USA Today in February 2016. It followed his photo gallery of traveling on the Southwest Chief. He also wrote about the Oculus, the acclaimed Santiago Calatrava transit center at the World Trade Center in Manhattan.
Barry began journalism in South Africa as a correspondent for the Financial Mail in Johannesburg and later for NBC News. He covered the liberation wars in Zimbabwe, Namibia and Angola and was in Mozambique when it became independent. In June 1976 he reported from Soweto on the first day of the student uprising that is now a South African national holiday.
Notable interviews include Ronald Reagan, Warren Buffett, Milton Friedman, Vaclav Havel, James Baker, Jack Welch, Desmond Tutu, Jerry Garcia, playwright Athol Fugard, and former Federal Reserve vice-chairman Stanley Fischer. Barry co-anchored VOA’s live broadcast of President Reagan’s inauguration in 1981.
Barry’s was instructor of economics at Northern Michigan University and as instructor of social science at Western Michigan University he co-founded the Urban Education Project. He taught in the Kalamazoo public schools and in 2011 and 2012 was guest lecturer at Kingswood College, a leading boarding school in South Africa. He holds bachelors and masters degrees in economics from Western Michigan University. He completed month-long graduate seminars at Oxford University and in Yugoslavia.
At age 19 in San Francisco Barry joined the Swedish freighter Parrakoola as a deck hand and was aboard five months during its voyage to Australia and back. Later he was a steward on transatlantic crossings of Norwegian and Dutch passenger liners. In Stockholm he was a trainee in the foreign exchange department of Svenska Handelsbanken. He grew up in western Michigan and is a product of the Grand Rapids public schools.