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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5:14am

Sat June 22, 2013
Parallels

Amid Ire At U.S., Germany Does Its Own Domestic Spying

Originally published on Sat June 22, 2013 4:26 pm

Protesters display a cutout figure of President Obama in Berlin on Wednesday. Germans were protesting the National Security Agency's eavesdropping on foreign communication.
Gero Breloer AP

Revelations of widespread U.S. spying on foreign Internet communications put a damper on President Obama's first state visit to Berlin. The German chancellor and other officials there say they want to know more about what the National Security Agency is looking at.

Yet the backlash has been more muted than expected. One reason is that the German government is doing similar surveillance.

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10:31am

Wed June 12, 2013
Parallels

Tallinn: The Former Soviet City That Gave Birth To Skype

Originally published on Wed June 12, 2013 6:20 pm

Residents of the Estonian capital of Tallinn can use public transportation for free after purchasing a special card for 2 euros.
Raigo Pajula AFP/Getty Images

The Baltic city of Tallinn hardly looks modern with its blend of medieval towers and Soviet-era architecture. Smoke-spewing buses and noisy streetcars look as if they have been plucked from the past.

Even so, the Estonian capital is one of the world's most technologically advanced cities. The birthplace of Skype has repeatedly been cited for its digital accomplishments. Last week, Tallinn once again made the short list of the world's most intelligent cities as selected by the Intelligent Community Forum.

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3:42am

Mon May 6, 2013
Europe

German Terrorism Trial Puts Racism Fears In The Spotlight

Originally published on Mon May 6, 2013 8:24 pm

Ismail Yozgat (right) and Ayse Yozgat pray at a memorial event on the seventh anniversary of the murder of their son Halit in Kassel, Germany.
Uwe Zucchi AP

Emotions ran high as Germany's biggest terrorism trial in decades got underway Monday in Munich. The hearing is on the murders of 10 people who were the victims of a nearly decadelong neo-Nazi terror campaign against the Turkish community there.

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3:28pm

Mon April 15, 2013
The Two-Way

Germany Braces For Trial Blamed On Right-Wing Extremists

Originally published on Tue April 16, 2013 8:20 am

Police in Munich, Germany, stand watch last week as activists protest against right-wing violence. A trial is set to begin next month for men charged in the killings of nine immigrants and a German policewoman.
Johannes Simon Getty Images

Germany is preparing for its most important terrorism trial in decades.

Ten people — eight of them of Turkish descent, one of Greek extraction and one a German policewoman, were gunned down between 2000 and 2007. For years, German authorities failed to see a link between the crimes, even though the same gun was used in all of the shootings. They also rejected any link to right-wing extremism.

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1:01pm

Mon April 8, 2013
The Two-Way

'I Liked It,' Putin Says Of Protest By Topless Women

Originally published on Mon April 8, 2013 1:09 pm

Russian President Vladimir Putin (far left) looks on Monday in Hanover, Germany, as one of three women who stripped off their tops protests his appearance at a trade fair. German Chancellor Angela Merkel is in the green jacket.
Jochen Luebke EPA /LANDOV
  • From the NPR Newscast: Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson on the protest in Hanover

At a trade fair in Hanover, Germany, on Monday, three women protesters got quite close to Russian President Vladimir Putin before stripping off their blouses and shouting expletives at the Russian leader.

Putin, who was joined at the fair by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, later sarcastically thanked the women for calling the news media's attention to the gathering.

"As to this action, I liked it," Putin said, according to a German translator. The Russian leader added that the protesters were "pretty girls" and said he couldn't hear what they were screaming.

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3:19am

Fri April 5, 2013
Arts & Life

Jewishness On Display: 'Truth' By Way Of Discomfort

Originally published on Fri April 5, 2013 9:16 pm

Bill Glucroft, an American Jew living in Berlin, chats with visitors from his box in the most controversial portion of the Berlin Jewish Museum's exhibition "The Whole Truth."
Sean Gallup Getty Images

In Berlin's Jewish Museum, a new exhibit called "The Whole Truth" asks visitors uncomfortable and even absurd questions about Jews. One of the curators, Michal Friedlander, says it is intentionally provocative.

"The point is to get people talking about how they perceive Jews, particularly in Germany today," she says.

But some German Jews accuse the museum of going too far.

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4:30pm

Wed March 27, 2013
Europe

Long After Its Fall, Berlin Wall Is Focus Of New Protests

Originally published on Wed March 27, 2013 9:55 pm

American actor David Hasselhoff speaks to protesters next to a remnant of the Berlin Wall last week. Thousands of people turned out to oppose a plan to knock down one of the few remaining sections of the wall. A small part was removed Wednesday.
Odd Andersen AFP/Getty Images

Protected by scores of German police officers, workers removed sections of a key remnant of the Berlin Wall before dawn Wednesday despite earlier protests demanding the concrete artifact of the Cold War be preserved.

The removal came as a shock to residents, just as it did on Aug. 13, 1961, when communists first built the barrier that divided Berlin during the Cold War.

Tour guide Rolf Strobel, 52, was among the scores of people who came to gape at the holes in what had been the longest remaining stretch of the wall — about eight-tenths of a mile.

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4:56am

Mon March 25, 2013
Europe

European Parliaments Next To Approve Cyprus Deal

Originally published on Mon March 25, 2013 8:34 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And I'm David Greene.

The tiny Mediterranean island of Cyprus was on the brink of bankruptcy. But at the last minute, European finance ministers approved a multibillion-dollar bailout for the country. The deal will keep the island's banking system from collapsing, but the country is far from out of the woods.

NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson begins our coverage from Berlin.

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4:58pm

Tue March 19, 2013
Guns In America: A Loaded Relationship

What's Worked, And What Hasn't, In Gun-Loving Switzerland

Originally published on Tue March 19, 2013 8:34 pm

Gun enthusiasts take part in a shooting competition at a club outside Zurich. The gun culture is deeply entrenched in Switzerland, where citizens as young as 10 learn to shoot.
Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson NPR

Switzerland has an entrenched gun culture that is embraced by most of its 8 million citizens, some of them as young as 10 years old.

Every Swiss community has a shooting range, and depending on who is counting, the alpine country ranks third or fourth in the number of guns per capita.

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1:59pm

Wed March 13, 2013
Europe

German Prince Plans To Put Bison Back In The Wild

Originally published on Mon April 1, 2013 5:17 pm

European bison, or wisents, keep a safe distance from human visitors to their enclosure on the property of Prince Richard of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg in Germany's densely populated state of North Rhine-Westphalia.
Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson NPR

A small herd of European bison will soon be released in Germany's most densely populated state, the first time in nearly three centuries that these bison — known as wisents — will roam freely in Western Europe.

The project is the brainchild of Prince Richard of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg. He owns more than 30,000 acres, much of it covered in Norwegian spruce and beech trees in North Rhine-Westphalia.

For the 78-year-old logging magnate, the planned April release of the bull, five cows and two calves will fulfill a decade-old dream.

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