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
6:06 am
Tue July 28, 2015

Same-Sex Couples Strive For Marriage Rights In Every EU Country

Originally published on Tue July 28, 2015 2:34 pm

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Europe
5:36 am
Fri July 17, 2015

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

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

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Europe
4:43 pm
Mon July 13, 2015

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

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

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Europe
5:04 am
Mon July 13, 2015

Eurogroup, Greeks Reach Agreement On A Bailout Plan

Originally published on Mon July 13, 2015 12:48 pm

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All-night negotiations between European leaders and Greece ended this Monday morning with this announcement by European Council President Donald Tusk.

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Economy
5:04 am
Thu July 9, 2015

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

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

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Europe
4:35 pm
Tue July 7, 2015

Greece Stalls On New Bailout Proposal As European Leaders Meet

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

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Economy
4:30 pm
Mon July 6, 2015

Germany, France Keep Door Open To Greek Requests For Economic Help

Originally published on Mon July 6, 2015 9:02 pm

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NPR Ed
6:03 am
Mon July 6, 2015

For Americans Seeking Affordable Degrees, German Schools Beckon

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

Originally published on Tue July 7, 2015 4:08 pm

Editor's Note: We've reported on the crushing burden of student debt in the U.S., and the challenges of finding financial aid, but one area we haven't followed much is the growing number of students seeking alternatives outside the U.S.

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Parallels
5:21 pm
Sun June 28, 2015

For Americans Seeking Affordable Degrees, German Schools Beckon

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

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

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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Parallels
5:37 pm
Thu June 25, 2015

For Poland's Gay Community, A Shift In Public Attitudes, If Not Laws

Marchers carried a multicolor flag during Warsaw's annual gay pride parade earlier this month. Poland prohibits gay marriage but activists say attitudes toward gays have improved in recent years.
Alik Keplicz AP

Originally published on Thu June 25, 2015 7:17 pm

Around the world, gay marriage is allowed in more than 20 countries. Many European Union nations are enhancing rights for their gay, bisexual and transgender citizens. But Catholic Poland isn't one of them.

This former Soviet satellite constitutionally restricts marriage to a man and a woman. Recent efforts to pass laws to protect the LGBT community in Poland from discrimination and violence have gone nowhere.

But there is one notable change these days β€” in Polish attitudes.

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Europe
5:30 pm
Sun June 14, 2015

With Tensions Rising, Poland Erects Observation Towers On Russian Border

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

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

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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Afghanistan
5:18 pm
Mon June 8, 2015

Afghan Women Climbers Face Challenges Beyond Scaling Summit

Originally published on Mon June 8, 2015 9:59 pm

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Parallels
3:02 pm
Mon June 8, 2015

For Afghan Women Mountaineers, Uphill Battles Begin Before The Climb

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

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

A team of 13 Afghan women is training to climb the country's highest mountain. Only two Afghans β€” both men β€” 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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Afghanistan
4:19 pm
Wed May 6, 2015

Judge Sentences 4 Afghan Men To Death For Mob Killing Of Woman

Originally published on Wed May 6, 2015 7:55 pm

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Europe
4:23 pm
Wed April 29, 2015

U.S. Army Veterans, Survivors To Mark 70th Anniversary Of Dachau Liberation

Originally published on Wed April 29, 2015 7:05 pm

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Europe
6:48 am
Fri April 24, 2015

European Leaders Vow To Do More To Help Arriving Migrants

Originally published on Fri April 24, 2015 12:27 pm

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Europe
5:06 pm
Thu April 23, 2015

European Leaders Hold Summit To Address Migrant Crisis

Originally published on Thu April 23, 2015 7:13 pm

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Law
4:39 pm
Mon April 20, 2015

Trial Of Former Auschwitz Guard To Begin In Germany

Originally published on Mon April 20, 2015 6:23 pm

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Parallels
4:50 am
Sat April 11, 2015

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

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

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

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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Afghanistan
5:46 pm
Tue March 31, 2015

Non-Profit Helps Young Afghan Women Reach Country's Tallest Peak

Originally published on Wed April 8, 2015 3:36 pm

An American NGO called "Ascend" is training Afghan girls to scale their country's highest peak this year. The young women are a mix of haves and have-nots and their circumstances shed light on which of them might succeed.

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

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Afghanistan
5:00 am
Tue March 31, 2015

The Ascent Of Afghan Women

Sandra Calligaro for NPR

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

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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Europe
5:08 pm
Wed March 25, 2015

German Town Grieves For Residents Lost In French Alps Crash

Originally published on Wed March 25, 2015 8:00 pm

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Europe
12:40 pm
Wed March 25, 2015

Germanwings Disaster Marks First Crash For The Budget Airliner

The airline operating the plane that crashed in the French Alps says the plane had been inspected and found safe Monday. Officials in the German town that lost 16 schoolchildren in the disaster say there will be no classes tomorrow, but children will be welcomed for counseling.

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Europe
6:24 am
Wed March 25, 2015

Investigators Lack Answers In French Alps Plane Crash

Originally published on Wed March 25, 2015 8:18 am

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Muslim Identity In Europe
12:09 pm
Fri March 6, 2015

Germans Open Their Homes To Refugee Roommates

Berlin residents Mareike Geiling (left) and her boyfriend, Jonas Kakoschke, speak with their roommate, a Muslim refugee from Mali. Geiling and Kokoschke helped launch a website that matches Germans willing to share their homes with new arrivals.
Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson NPR

Originally published on Sat March 7, 2015 9:47 pm

Asylum-seekers are flooding into Germany in record numbers, with more than 200,000 applying for that status last year, many from Muslim countries, according to the government.

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Muslim Identity In Europe
5:22 pm
Thu March 5, 2015

Highest-Ranking Muslim German Official Says Terrorist Attacks Bolster Discrimination

Originally published on Thu March 5, 2015 6:55 pm

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Europe
4:57 am
Wed March 4, 2015

Without Apprenticeships, Migrant Germans Lack Career Opportunties

Originally published on Wed March 4, 2015 7:52 am

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Parallels
4:35 am
Sat February 28, 2015

A German Muslim Asks His Compatriots: 'What Do You Want To Know?'

Earlier this month, Dr. Sadiqu al-Mousllie, accompanied by his family and a few members of their mosque, stood in downtown Braunschweig, Germany, and held up signs that read: "I am a Moslem. What would you like to know?" in an effort to promote dialogue between Muslims and non-Muslims.
Courtesy of Sarah Mousllie

Originally published on Sat February 28, 2015 10:27 pm

Sadiqu al-Mousllie sees humor as a good way to fight growing anti-Islam sentiment in Germany.

He lives in Braunschweig, in western Germany. Earlier this month, he decided to go downtown and hold up a sign that read, "I am a Moslem. What would you like to know?"

"This is a bridge of communication," the Syrian-born German says. "Some people dared to ask, some others not, so we went to them and give them some chocolate and a say of our prophet to know what Muslims are thinking about."

Mousllie, 44, says he hopes to do it every other week.

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Europe
8:01 am
Sun February 8, 2015

Merkel's U.S. Visit Could Turn Testy

Originally published on Sun February 8, 2015 11:41 am

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Parallels
3:58 pm
Tue January 27, 2015

A Holocaust Survivor, Spared From Gas Chamber By Twist Of Fate

Jack Mandelbaum, a Holocaust survivor from the Polish city of Gdynia, poses in front of a photograph showing him as a youth.
Tobias Schwarz AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed January 28, 2015 4:20 pm

Seventy years ago, Soviet soldiers liberated Auschwitz, the most notorious of Nazi concentration camps.

Some 300 Holocaust survivors were at Auschwitz on Tuesday, along with several European presidents and other government officials, to honor at least 1.1 million people who were murdered, 1 million of whom were Jewish.

Among those killed there were Jack Mandelbaum's mother and brother. The Polish-born Mandelbaum survived, spared at the last minute by an officer of the dreaded SS who yanked the teen away from his family and sent him instead to a forced labor camp.

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