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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8:35am

Sat August 1, 2015
Parallels

In Germany, Asylum-Seekers Could Fill A Chronic Workforce Need

Originally published on Sat August 1, 2015 4:18 pm

Refugees line up to apply for asylum at a reception center in Berlin, Germany. Figures released last week showed that about 180,000 asylum applications were filed in the first six months of 2015, more than twice as many as in the same period last year.
Markus Schreiber AP

For pharmacists in ever-diverse Berlin, communicating with customers requires a variety of languages.

Just ask German pharmacist Julia al-Erian, who tries in English to engage a young Arab man who is trying to buy acne cream. He gives her a blank stare, so she tries explaining in German how the medicated lotion works.

He looks perplexed, says "hold on" in German, then turns to a friend and speaks Arabic.

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5:36am

Fri July 17, 2015
Europe

Bailout Makes Germans Just As Squeamish As Greeks, For Different Reasons

Originally published on Sat July 18, 2015 12:46 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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4:43pm

Mon July 13, 2015
Europe

Greece's Financial Rescue: A Blow To European Unity?

Originally published on Mon July 13, 2015 8:30 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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5:04am

Thu July 9, 2015
Economy

Could Greece's Debt Crisis Become Merkel's Worst Political Failure?

Originally published on Fri July 10, 2015 6:07 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

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4:35pm

Tue July 7, 2015
Europe

Greece Stalls On New Bailout Proposal As European Leaders Meet

Originally published on Tue July 7, 2015 6:32 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

5:21pm

Sun June 28, 2015
Parallels

For Americans Seeking Affordable Degrees, German Schools Beckon

Originally published on Mon June 29, 2015 2:34 pm

Berlin's Humboldt University — named for its founder, the 19th century philosopher and linguist Wilhelm von Humboldt, and his brother, naturalist Alexander von Humboldt, pictured here — is one of several German universities attracting U.S. students. More than 4,000 Americans are studying in German universities.
Markus Schreiber AP

Looking to escape the staggering costs of a university education in the United States? You are not alone. And German education officials say a growing number of Americans are heading to the land of beer and bratwurst to get one.

At last count, there were 4,300 Americans studying at German universities, with more than half pursuing degrees, says Ulrich Grothus, deputy secretary general of the German Academic Exchange Service.

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5:30pm

Sun June 14, 2015
Europe

With Tensions Rising, Poland Erects Observation Towers On Russian Border

Originally published on Mon June 15, 2015 10:57 am

Unmanned observation towers, funded by the European Union, have sprouted recently along Poland's border with Russia. This one is located outside the sleepy Polish border village of Parkoszewo.
Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson NPR

Like most former Soviet satellites, Poland has grown very suspicious of Russian intentions since the Kremlin annexed Crimea last year. Poles living near the 180-mile border their country shares with Russia became especially wary after their government, among others, accused Moscow of deploying nuclear-capable Iskander missiles in Kaliningrad.

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2:58pm

Mon June 8, 2015
Parallels

For Afghan Women Mountaineers, Uphill Battles Begin Before The Climb

Originally published on Tue June 9, 2015 11:52 am

A group of Afghan women are attempting to reach the 24,580-foot summit this summer. In mid-May, two of the climbers, along with two American chaperones, visited Afghanistan's highest mountain to see the terrain firsthand in preparation for the historic climb.
Soraya Sarhaddi-Nelson NPR

A team of 13 Afghan women is training to climb the country's highest mountain. Only two Afghans — both men — have ever made it to the 24,580-foot-high summit. NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson has been following the female mountaineers' progress. You can read and listen to the previous report here.

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4:50am

Sat April 11, 2015
Parallels

Plagued By Smog, Krakow Struggles To Break Its Coal-Burning Habit

Originally published on Sun April 12, 2015 11:54 am

Poland's second-largest city is also a major tourist destination. Krakow (seen here at night from the Krakus Mound) is suffering some of the worst air pollution in Europe.
Arek Olek Flickr

Krakow is one of Europe's top tourist destinations and attracts millions of visitors each year to soak up its history, culture and architecture. But its appeal wanes during colder months when another prominent feature of the Polish city is on display: air pollution.

Environmental officials say Krakow's air is among the most polluted in Poland, which in turn, has the most polluted air in the European Union.

And what's the source of the smog hanging over the city during colder months? It's not Polish industry, but rather residents who burn coal to keep warm.

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5:00am

Tue March 31, 2015
Afghanistan

The Ascent Of Afghan Women

Originally published on Tue March 31, 2015 4:47 pm

Sandra Calligaro for NPR

Zahra Karimi Nooristani, 18, cautiously works her way down a rock face high above Kabul as her coach, Farhad Jamshid, guides her.

It is hazardous for his top female student to be rappelling here, not only because of the steep drop, but because she is using a frayed, 9-year-old rope handed down from the men's mountaineering team.

Another danger she faces is the prospect of her neighbors finding out she's climbing at all.

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