Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson

International correspondent Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson is based in Berlin and covers Central Europe for NPR. Her reports can be heard on NPR's award-winning programs including Morning Edition and All Things Considered.

She was previously based in Cairo and covered the Arab World for NPR from the Middle East to North Africa. Nelson returns to Egypt on occasion to cover the tumultuous transition to democracy there.

In 2006, Nelson opened the NPR Kabul Bureau. During the following three and a half years, she gave listeners in an in-depth sense of life inside Afghanistan, from the increase in suicide among women in a country that treats them as second class citizens to the growing interference of Iran and Pakistan in Afghan affairs. For her coverage of Afghanistan, she won a Peabody Award, Overseas Press Club Award and the Gracie in 2010. She received the Elijah Parish Lovejoy Award from Colby College in 2011 for her coverage in the Middle East and Afghanistan.

Nelson spent 20 years as newspaper reporter, including as Knight Ridder's Middle East Bureau Chief. While at the Los Angeles Times, she was sent on extended assignment to Iran and Afghanistan following the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. She spent three years an editor and reporter for Newsday and was part of the team that won the 1997 Pulitzer Prize for covering the crash of TWA Flight 800.

A graduate of the University of Maryland, Nelson speaks Farsi, Dari and German.

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Europe
6:22 am
Thu February 20, 2014

Truce Brokered In Ukraine Appears To Be Breaking Down

Originally published on Thu February 20, 2014 7:38 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steven Inskeep.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne.

A truce announced late last night between protestors and the government in Kiev, Ukraine broke down this morning.

(SOUNDBITE OF PROTEST)

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Europe
4:41 pm
Wed February 19, 2014

From The Streets Of Kiev, A Firsthand Look At the Protests

Originally published on Wed February 19, 2014 8:02 pm

Police in Kiev continue to try to clear protesters from the streets of the Ukrainian capital, where violence has left both police and demonstrators dead.

Europe
5:18 am
Mon February 10, 2014

EU Mute On U.S. Diplomat's Criticism Involving Ukraine

Originally published on Mon February 10, 2014 7:45 am

There was a U.S. diplomatic gaff last week. It involved an expletive used by an assistant secretary of State to express a rather rude form of anger at the European Union during a private phone conversation. The phone call was intercepted by someone — presumably another government — and leaked.

Parallels
4:18 pm
Tue February 4, 2014

Iran's Nuclear Talks: What To Expect Next

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (right) speaks during a joint press conference with his Swedish counterpart Carl Bildt in Tehran on Tuesday. Bildt is visiting to try to bolster the temporary nuclear deal on Iran's nuclear program.
Behrouz Mehri AFP/Getty Images

The next round of Iranian nuclear talks with world powers is fast approaching, and there's still a lot of skepticism in the air over the prospects for a comprehensive deal.

Iran will sit down with the U.S. and five other major powers in Vienna on Feb. 18 as they try to hammer out a long-term agreement on the Islamic Republic's nuclear program. By most every estimate, it won't be easy to build on the success of a temporary deal drawn up last November given the lingering, visceral mistrust between the United States and Iran.

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Europe
5:01 am
Mon February 3, 2014

World's Top Diplomats Examine Security Concerns

Originally published on Mon February 3, 2014 7:43 am

Many of the world's top diplomats met over the weekend along with defense officials for an annual security conference in Munich, Germany. Top of the agenda were two countries in particular: Ukraine and Iran.

Parallels
4:55 am
Sat February 1, 2014

Germany's New Defense Minister: More Peacekeeping Missions Welcome

Germany's new defense minister, Ursula von der Leyen, right, chats with German soldiers who have served in Afghanistan, at a training center in Letzlingen on Jan. 28. Von der Leyen has said she would like to see German forces participate more with other European troops in foreign peacekeeping missions.
Thomas Trutschel Photothek via Getty Images

Originally published on Sun February 2, 2014 12:00 am

Many Germans were surprised in December when Ursula von der Leyen was named the country's first female defense minister.

Some people questioned whether a medical doctor with seven children, who championed Germany's generous parental leave policy, was the right choice to shepherd the country's military through the challenges of being a newly minted volunteer force.

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Europe
5:08 pm
Tue January 28, 2014

German Economic Fears May Have Roots In Age-Old Prejudice

Originally published on Tue January 28, 2014 6:55 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Now to a debate in Europe over something called poverty migration. Recently, some countries in the European Union lifted work restrictions on Romanians and Bulgarians. As a result, factions in Britain and Germany worry that poor and unskilled immigrants will flood in and collect welfare payments.

But Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson reports, this debate isn't being driven by new arrivals from Romania and Bulgaria. Instead, she says, it may involve prejudice against one particular group, the long-oppressed Roma.

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The Two-Way
4:39 pm
Sun January 26, 2014

Heinrich Himmler's Private Letters Published In German Newspaper

Heinrich Himmler (left) and Adolf Hitler (third from left) observe Stormtroop maneuvers in January 1941.
Keystone Getty Images

Originally published on Sun January 26, 2014 6:00 pm

"The Handwriting of a Mass Murderer" is how Germany's Die Welt newspaper bills its eight-part series featuring excerpts of Heinrich Himmler's personal letters accompanied by family photos, which are reportedly being published for the first time.

(An English-language version is here.)

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Middle East
7:38 am
Tue January 21, 2014

Egyptian Military Clamps Down On Freedom Of Speech

Originally published on Wed January 22, 2014 1:57 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

In Egypt, the military-led government took charge last year with a violent clampdown on Islamists. Since then, it's been targeting many others who criticize its leadership. A high-profile liberal is being charged with a crime over a tweet. And there are at least five journalists behind bars in Egypt, including a team of Al Jazeera English journalists who are being accused of terrorism and other crimes. Egypt is now one of the most dangerous places for reporters to report.

NPR's Leila Fadel has the story of one of them.

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World
11:19 am
Sun January 19, 2014

Germans Cautious About Obama's NSA Proposals

Originally published on Sun January 19, 2014 11:59 am

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Last year, revelations that the U.S. had tapped German Chancellor Angela Merkel's cell phone soured relations between the two allies. In Europe, President Obama's recommendations to reign in the NSA when it comes to listening to foreign leaders was met with a lukewarm reaction. NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson reports that Germans are especially skeptical that the changes will mean an end to American eavesdropping.

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