Deborah Amos

Deborah Amos covers the Middle East for NPR News. Her reports can be heard on NPR's award-winning Morning Edition, All Things Considered and Weekend Edition.

Amos travels extensively across the Middle East covering a range of stories including the rise of well-educated Syria youth who are unqualified for jobs in a market-drive economy, a series focusing on the emerging power of Turkey and the plight of Iraqi refugees.

In 2009, Amos won the Edward Weintal Prize for Diplomatic Reporting from Georgetown University and in 2010 was awarded the Edward R. Murrow Life Time Achievement Award by Washington State University. Amos was part of a team of reporters who won a 2004 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Award for coverage of Iraq. A Nieman Fellow at Harvard University in 1991-1992, Amos was returned to Harvard in 2010 as a Shorenstein Fellow at the Kennedy School.

In 2003, Amos returned to NPR after a decade in television news, including ABC's Nightline and World News Tonight and the PBS programs NOW with Bill Moyers and Frontline.

When Amos first came to NPR in 1977, she worked first as a director and then a producer for Weekend All Things Considered until 1979. For the next six years, she worked on radio documentaries, which won her several significant honors. In 1982, Amos received the Prix Italia, the Ohio State Award, and a DuPont-Columbia Award for "Father Cares: The Last of Jonestown" and in 1984 she received a Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award for "Refugees."

From 1985 until 1993, Amos spend most of her time at NPR reporting overseas, including as the London Bureau Chief and as an NPR foreign correspondent based in Amman, Jordan. During that time, Amos won several awards, including an Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Award and a Break thru Award, and widespread recognition for her coverage of the Gulf War in 1991.

A member of the Council on Foreign Relations, Amos is also the author of Eclipse of the Sunnis: Power, Exile, and Upheaval in the Middle East (Public Affairs, 2010) and Lines in the Sand: Desert Storm and the Remaking of the Arab World (Simon and Schuster, 1992).

Amos began her career after receiving a degree in broadcasting from the University of Florida at Gainesville.

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4:16am

Tue March 10, 2015
Parallels

Saudi Girls Can Now Take Gym Class, But Not Everyone Is Happy

Originally published on Mon April 6, 2015 5:32 pm

Members of a Saudi women's soccer team, Rana Al Khateeb (left) and captain Rawh Abdullah, practice at a secret location in the capital Riyadh in 2012. Saudi women have had only rare opportunities to play sports. The country sent women to the Olympics for the first time in 2012 and now girls will be allowed to take physical education classes at public schools.
Hassan Ammar AP

When it comes to females and sports, Saudi Arabia is starting to change.

Saudi Arabia sent its first female competitors to the Olympics in 2012, after years of sending only men. The public schools, like many institutions, are segregated by gender, and only boys have been allowed to play sports. But girls will now be allowed to take part in their own sports and exercise programs, a move that is opposed by some hard-liners.

"Yeah, yeah, yeah. It's a new thing — and I really like it. I wish I was in school so I can have that," says Jowhara al-Theyeb.

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4:06pm

Mon March 9, 2015
Parallels

Saudi Arabia Ramps Up Training To Repel Homegrown Terrorists

Originally published on Mon March 9, 2015 8:07 pm

These pop-up targets are part of an advanced drill, named "friend or foe," that tests shooter reaction times. Some targets have a camera, and others, like these pictured, have a gun. The shooter must decide within seconds whether to shoot.
Deborah Amos NPR

Many Americans believe that Saudi Arabia has links to Islamist militants, but the Saudis say they are victims of terrorism, too.

The self-proclaimed Islamic State has recruited more than 2,000 young Saudi men, despite government programs to stop them.

Now, the Saudi government shares the fears of the U.S. and Europe: that these violent young men will come home and carry out attacks. There are signs that's already happening. As a result, the Saudis are ramping up training for counterterrorism missions.

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3:58am

Mon March 9, 2015
Parallels

In Syria, Archaeologists Risk Their Lives To Protect Ancient Heritage

Originally published on Tue March 10, 2015 5:42 pm

Syrian volunteers cover mosaics in the Ma'arra museum with a protective layer of glue, covered by cloth.
Ma'arra Museum Project/Safeguarding the Heritage of Syria and Iraq Project

The race to protect Syria's heritage from the ravages of war and plunder has brought a new kind of warrior to the front lines.

These cultural rebels are armed with cameras and sandbags. They work in secret, sometimes in disguise, to outwit smugglers. They risk their lives to take on enemies that include the Syrian regime, Islamist militants and professional smugglers who loot for pay, sometimes using bulldozers.

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1:28pm

Wed February 25, 2015
Middle East

Saudi Women Still Can't Drive, But They Are Making It To Work

Originally published on Wed February 25, 2015 5:40 pm

Saudi women, shown here at a cultural festival near the capital Riyadh on Sunday, still need the permission of male relatives to travel and even receive certain medical procedures, but a growing number are entering the workforce.
Fayez Nureldine AFP/Getty Images

The sign on the door to the office of eTree, an online advertising agency in Saudi Arabia's capital, Riyadh, reads: "Girls Only."

The company's founder, Esra Assery, admits it's a little sexist, and we both laugh at the joke in male-dominated Saudi Arabia — the only country that prohibits women from driving a car.

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3:48pm

Thu February 19, 2015
Parallels

Saudis Grow Increasingly Critical Of The Campaign Against ISIS

Originally published on Fri February 20, 2015 12:13 am

Saudi Arabia's Prince Turki al-Faisal, shown in 2013 in Bahrain, says the 'pinpricks' against the Islamic State have not been effective. The former intelligence chief also says the campaign needs to be better coordinated.
Mohammed Al-Shaikh AFP/Getty

The strategy against the self-declared Islamic State was on display this week: In Saudi Arabia, there were two days of closed-door military meetings, and in Washington, a White House summit on combating extremism.

Meanwhile, the Pentagon announced that training programs for Syrian rebels begins next month. So far, so good, in public.

But privately, the Saudi view is that the air campaign against ISIS, now more than six months old, is not working.

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2:21pm

Fri January 23, 2015
Parallels

For The Saudis, A Smooth Succession At A Difficult Moment

Originally published on Sat January 24, 2015 6:37 pm

Saudi Arabia's King Salman, who assumed the throne on Friday, is shown at the G20 conference in Brisbane, Australia, on Nov. 15, 2014, when he was the crown prince. His succession went smoothly, but the new monarch faces a region in turmoil.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

For the sixth time since Saudi Arabia's founder, Abdulaziz Ibn Saud, died in 1953, one of his sons has ascended to the throne, and it took place Friday without a hitch.

When King Abdullah died early Friday at age 90, his half-brother, Salman, was named the new monarch within an hour. There's also a new crown prince, Muqrin, who is the youngest surviving son of Abdulaziz and a relative youngster at 69.

The new King Salman quickly sent a message of stability and continuity. But the death of a Saudi monarch has brought the problems facing the country into sharper focus.

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2:27pm

Tue January 13, 2015
Parallels

When Islamic Radicals Turn Moderate

Originally published on Wed January 14, 2015 10:53 am

Militants of the Islamic State stand with a captured Iraqi army Humvee outside Baiji oil refinery, north of Baghdad, in June 2014. While there is increased radicalization in many parts of the Arab world, there are also groups and individuals working to deradicalize young Muslim men.
AP

After last week's Paris shootings that targeted an irreverent political magazine and Jews in a kosher grocery store, there's been a flood of stories about the dangers of Muslim radicalization and how it happens.

What about people who go the other way, from extremist to moderate? These people exist; the U-turn happens.

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6:34am

Sat December 27, 2014
Parallels

With Each New Upheaval In Iraq, More Minorities Flee

Originally published on Sat December 27, 2014 11:10 am

An Iraqi Christian prays inside a shrine on the grounds of the Mazar Mar Eillia Catholic Church in Irbil, in northern Iraq. Irbil has become home to hundreds of Iraqi Christians who fled their homes as the Islamic State advanced earlier this year.
Matt Cardy Getty Images

Northern Iraq is a lot more diverse than just Arabs and Kurds or Sunni and Shiite. For centuries, it has been home to multiple religious groups with ancient roots in the region.

But more than a decade of turmoil has driven many religious minorities out, with the most recent example being the onslaught of the self-proclaimed Islamic State militants, or ISIS.

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10:40am

Tue December 23, 2014
Parallels

Kurds Put Their Independence Dreams On Hold

Originally published on Tue December 23, 2014 6:42 pm

Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga fighters arrive Saturday in Sinjar in northern Iraq, where they have made gains against the Islamic State. The Kurds were talking about independence this summer, but now appear focused on fighting the Islamic State.
Safin Hamed AFP/Getty Images

Soon after Kurdish peshmerga fighters broke a siege by Islamic State extremists around Mount Sinjar in northern Iraq, Kurdish television reporters arrived to broadcast the riotous celebrations.

This was the largest gain by the Kurds against Islamist militants since August, when Islamic State fighters, also known as ISIS, threatened Irbil, the capital of the Kurdistan Regional Government.

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7:47am

Sat December 20, 2014
Iraq

Kurdish Troops Free Yazidis, But Major Battles Remain

Originally published on Sat December 20, 2014 11:39 am

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