Barry D. Wood, born in West Michigan in 1943, is a journalist, author and educator in Washington, D.C. He is the international economics correspondent for RTHK in Hong Kong, based in Washington. He also writes for theglobalist.com and biznews.com in South Africa. His book, Exploring New Europe, a journey through post-communist Europe, examines how ordinary people are coping with momentous change. A new edition is coming in mid-2020.
Barry obtained BA and MA degrees in economics from Western Michigan University with short-term study at Oxford and in Yugoslavia. He thanks Oxford tutorials for stressing the importance of clear, concise expression.
An activist against the Vietnam war, he taught economics at Northern Michigan University and social science at Western Michigan in the late 60s and early 70s. Seeking a broader palette, he moved to New York and then Connecticut before sailing with his wife in 1974 to South Africa to write about the scourge of apartheid. They hurled their banned books into the sea as the ship approached Cape Town.
His journalism began at the Financial Mail, a respected business weekly in Johannesburg. During three years in South Africa he developed a grudging respect for the complexity of life in southern Africa. He has been returning to South Africa, Zimbabwe and Mozambique regularly since 2010. In the 70s he reported on the end of Portuguese colonialism in Africa, the Soweto uprising, and the guerrilla wars in Zimbabwe and Namibia. His first radio assignment for NBC News was Mozambique independence. In 1977 he joined Voice of America in Washington.
During three-decades at VOA Barry was chief economics correspondent and in the 1990s bureau chief in Prague reporting on the transition to free markets in post-communist Europe. He has interviewed Ronald Reagan, Milton Friedman, Vaclav Havel, and Warren Buffett, and other global leaders. He has reported from 30 G7, G8 and G20 economic summits since 1980 and has been nine times to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
His work has appeared in the Washington Post, New York Times, Financial Times, Barron’s, The International Economy, and other leading publications.
At age 19 in San Francisco Barry joined the Swedish freighter Parrakoola as a deck hand and completed a five month round trip voyage to Australia . Later he was a waiter on Norwegian and Dutch passenger liners. In Stockholm he was a trainee in the foreign exchange department of Svenska Handelsbanken.
Barry has been a part-time teacher in the Washington, DC public schools and in 2011 and 2012 was a resident guest lecturer at Kingswood College, a boarding school in South Africa’s Eastern Cape Province.