Gregory Warner

Gregory Warner is NPR's East Africa Correspondent. His reports cover the diverse issues and voices of a region that is experiencing unparalleled economic growth as well as a rising threat of global terrorism. His coverage can be heard across NPR and NPR.org.

Before joining NPR, Warner was a senior reporter for American Public Media's Marketplace, where he endeavored to make the economics of American health care vivid and engaging. He's used puppets to illustrate the effects of Internet diagnoses on the doctor-patient relationship. He composed a Suessian cartoon to explain why health care job growth policies can increase the national debt. His musical journey into the shadow world of medical coding won the 2012 Best News Feature award from the Third Coast International Audio Festival.

Prior to Marketplace, Warner was a freelance radio producer reporting from conflict zones around the world. He climbed mountains with smugglers in Pakistan for This American Life, descended into illegal mineshafts in the Democratic Republic of Congo for Marketplace's "Working" series, and lugged his accordion across Afghanistan on the trail of the "Afghan Elvis" for NPR's Radiolab.

Warner's radio and multimedia work has won awards from Edward R Murrow, New York Festivals, AP, PRNDI, and a Sigma Delta Chi award from the Society of Professional Journalists. He has twice won Best News Feature from the Third Coast International Audio Festival in 2009 and 2012.

Warner earned his degree in English at Yale University. He is conversant in Arabic.

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Parallels
2:02 pm
Thu April 10, 2014

How Rwanda's Only Ice Cream Shop Challenges Cultural Taboos

Alphansine Uwimana writes an order at Inzozi Nziza, or Sweet Dreams, Rwanda's first and only ice cream shop. There are logistical challenges, like power cuts, as well as cultural ones in a country where ice cream is not traditionally popular and women don't often run businesses.
Gregory Warner NPR

Originally published on Fri April 11, 2014 6:44 am

Rwanda has a warm climate, and the people love milk. You'd think ice cream would be an easy sell.

But mention ice cream to Chantal Kabatesi, and she rubs her jaw like she's at the dentist with a toothache. When she first tasted ice cream at the age of 35 "it was like eating hailstones," the kind that fall on her childhood village once or twice a year.

"I thought, 'Oh no, what are we serving to our customers? Is it dangerous?' " she said.

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Africa
3:40 am
Wed April 9, 2014

Theater Group Gets Generations Talking About Rwandan Genocide

Originally published on Thu April 10, 2014 8:07 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm David Greene.

Twenty years ago, a genocide was carried out in Rwanda. Almost a million people were murdered, mostly members of the minority Tutsi population. We've been looking, this week, at how that country has changed since then. Today, more than half of Rwanda's population is under the age of 20. They have no memory of that searing event. So this period of remembrance is offering a chance for a generation that endured the trauma to speak to a generation that has only heard about.

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Parallels
2:28 pm
Tue April 8, 2014

Remembering Rwandans Who Followed Their Conscience

Godleaves Mukamunana, left, hid Domitil Mukakumuranga, in her house for weeks so that Hutu militias wouldn't kill her. "Seeing her alive is the best thing," Mukamunana says. "That kind of relationship we have is priceless. The fact that I don't have more like her --€” those who were killed — that's what's hurting."
Gregory Warner NPR

Originally published on Wed April 9, 2014 3:24 am

Olive Mukankusi lives in a two-room house with mud walls and a dirt floor in a village called Igati, in eastern Rwanda's Rwamagana province. To get there, you have to drive about 30 minutes down a dirt road.

It's there, in her home, on a warm and sunny afternoon, that she tells a story that she's only told three times in 20 years: first to a local judge, then to an American genocide researcher — and now.

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Africa
3:46 pm
Mon April 7, 2014

Rwanda Honors Dead, Celebrates Progress, 20 Years After Genocide

Rwandan women hold candles during a night vigil and prayer for genocide victims at Amahoro stadium.
Simon Maina AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue April 8, 2014 6:46 am

After a minute of silence at noon, Monday's remembrance of the 20th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide began with testimony from a survivor.

The screaming started soon after.

In the crowd of 30,000 gathered in Amahoro stadium in Kigali, the Rwandan capital, first this person then that began to wail and thrash. Men in yellow vests took them to a special room of mattresses in the stadium basement.

In general, Rwandan culture discourages such outward displays of grief. But not during this time of year, when traumatic flashbacks are common.

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Africa
3:15 am
Mon April 7, 2014

Ceremonies Commemorate 20 Years Since Rwanda Genocide

Originally published on Mon April 7, 2014 6:17 am

The ethnic slaughter killed nearly a million people. The massacre was born of years of tension between the majority Hutu and minority Tutsi.

Africa
9:22 am
Sun April 6, 2014

20 Years Later, Rwanda Hopes To Be A 'Light For The World'

Originally published on Sun April 6, 2014 11:49 am

Rwandan President Paul Kagame is working to transform the legacy of hatred, 20 years after the genocide. The new generation is being taught to find a common purpose in reconstructing Rwanda.

Parallels
1:46 am
Tue April 1, 2014

What 'The Simpsons' Says About Ukraine's Language Divide

The Simpsons, which has been on-air longer than Ukraine has been an independent country, is popular there. Some Russian-speakers even say they find the show funnier when it is dubbed in Ukrainian rather than their native Russian.
Fox via Getty Images

Originally published on Tue April 1, 2014 9:06 am

Misha Kostin, a 21-year-old construction engineer in eastern Ukraine, loves The Simpsons. He's loved it for 10 years. He says the animated series "illustrates everyday life problems in humorous ways, and offers a useful moral at the end of each episode."

And though Kostin and most of the people in eastern Ukraine are native Russian speakers, he prefers to download episodes dubbed not in Russian but in his second language, Ukrainian. All his friends in the city of Donetsk prefer the version dubbed in Ukrainian.

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World
3:10 pm
Fri March 28, 2014

In Ukraine's Industrial Heart, An Economic Affinity With Russia

Originally published on Fri March 28, 2014 4:34 pm

In Eastern Ukraine, the country's industrial heartland, many workers fear for their jobs if Ukraine joins the European Union.

Parallels
2:16 pm
Tue March 25, 2014

In A Divided Donetsk, Russians And Ukrainians Vie For Support

Activists rally for a united Ukraine in Donetsk on March 5. They were attacked by pro-Russia supporters, but Russian media reported that pro-Russian demonstrators were attacked by soccer hooligans.
AFP AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue March 25, 2014 6:51 pm

Two rallies took place recently on Lenin Square in Donetsk, in eastern Ukraine.

At the first, a pro-Ukranian rally on March 5, thousands marched with Ukranian flags, shouting, "Down With Putin! Donetsk is Ukraine!" They were attacked by pro-Russia supporters.

A football fan club called the Ultras defended the demonstrators, but the next day, Russian media reported that a pro-Russian demonstration was attacked by soccer hooligans.

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News
2:24 pm
Fri March 21, 2014

Without Orders, Ukrainian Troops Are Anchorless In Crimea

Originally published on Fri March 21, 2014 4:22 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

I'm Robert Siegel.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SIEGEL: Music and fireworks in Moscow today, as Russia formalized its annexation of Crimea. There was a more muted celebration in Brussels, where Ukraine signed a political association agreement with the European Union. Coming up, we'll talk about what Russia's new stance means for the U.S.

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Europe
2:28 pm
Thu March 20, 2014

Crimean Tatars Fear History May Repeat Itself

Originally published on Fri March 21, 2014 4:20 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

In Crimea itself, the Russian takeover is working its way into many aspects of life. The new pro-Russian authorities have canceled the Ukrainian Civil Code, including all property documents. And there are rumors that anyone who refuses to accept a new Russian passport might have their property confiscated. That echoes the deepest fears of Crimea's Muslim minority, the Tatars.

NPR's Gregory Warner reports they have experienced that trauma before.

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News
2:27 pm
Wed March 19, 2014

Russian Flags Fly Over Ukrainian Base — But Who Stormed It?

Originally published on Wed March 19, 2014 5:59 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Robert Siegel.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish.

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News
2:03 pm
Tue March 18, 2014

Deadly Violence Breaks Out At Crimean Military Base

Originally published on Wed March 19, 2014 2:50 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

I'm Robert Siegel.

On Sunday, Crimea was part of Ukraine. Yesterday, according to Russian President Vladimir Putin, Crimea was an independent country. And today Putin and Crimean officials signed a treaty to make the peninsula part of Russia. We're going to hear a Russian view of these events coming up.

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World
3:24 am
Tue March 18, 2014

Putin Moves Foward With Plans To Annex Crimea

Host David Greene speaks with NPR's Gregory Warner about Russian President Vladimir Putin's approval of a draft treaty to annex Crimea.

News
2:09 pm
Mon March 17, 2014

Celebrations In Crimea — And Worries Among Troops Left Behind

Originally published on Mon March 17, 2014 4:33 pm

Now that Crimea has voted to separate from Ukraine and join Russia, Ukrainian troops still stationed on the peninsula have become even less secure.

Parallels
1:08 pm
Sun March 16, 2014

In Crimea, Those Who Refuse To Vote Are Making Dumplings

Ilona Simonenko, 36, posted this picture of cherry and potato dumplings to her Facebook page. Some Crimeans are expressing their dissent against Sunday's vote by making the Ukrainian treat.
Ilona Simonenko Facebook

Varenyky are Ukrainian dumplings stuffed with fruit or potatoes and topped with sour cream. Today, they became a symbol of political protest.

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Europe
3:12 am
Fri March 14, 2014

Crimeans Ready For Vote On Joining Russia

Originally published on Fri March 14, 2014 9:27 am

Residents of the Crimea region vote Sunday on whether to join Russia. The region is controlled by pro-Russian forces, and the Ukrainian government in Kiev has declared the referendum illegal.

Africa
3:24 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

Jewels Lie Beneath The Violence In The Central African Republic

A villager holds diamonds dug out from a mine outside the village of Sam Ouandja in northeast Central African Republic in 2007.
David Lewis Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 6:08 pm

Morning Mass began with a hymn on a recent Sunday at the Infant Jesus Catholic Church in the Central African Republic town of Bouar. The Rev. Dominic Mbarta fretted about his sermon. The previous Sunday, when a Polish priest at the church simply asked the congregation to refrain from killing their Muslim neighbors or looting abandoned Muslim houses, the priest was threatened.

"They were so angry," Mbarta says. "They went back grumbling that the priest is not impartial. He is for the Muslims. He's not for the Christians."

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Africa
4:04 am
Mon February 17, 2014

South African Miners Blocked From Leaving Illegal Mine

Originally published on Mon February 17, 2014 5:57 am

Rescue efforts have been underway at an illegal gold mine near Johannesburg, where a group of miners were trapped by boulders they say were placed there by a gang of rivals. Some of the men refused rescue because those let out were being arrested by local police for their unauthorized excavations. Renee Montagne talks to David Smith, a reporter for Britain's Guardian newspaper in Johannesburg.

Africa
3:17 am
Mon February 17, 2014

Troops Escort Muslims Out Of Central African Republic

Originally published on Mon February 17, 2014 9:24 am

Tens of thousands of Muslims are fleeing what the U.N. calls a campaign of "ethno-religious cleansing" in the Central African Republic. On Sunday, African forces provided a military escort to hundreds of people on a slow convoy toward the Western border with Cameroon.

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Parallels
4:12 pm
Fri February 14, 2014

Will Helping Muslims Flee Central African Republic Aid 'Cleansing'?

Muslim women line up at a Red Cross distribution outside the mosque in Bouar. United Nations peacekeepers guard the mosque, where thousands of Muslim residents gather each evening for safety.
Gregory Warner NPR

Originally published on Fri February 14, 2014 5:58 pm

It is almost impossible to buy soap anymore in most small towns in the Central African Republic. Same with sugar, powdered milk, batteries, baby formula. Up until January, these kinds of imported goods — in the stratified society of this country — almost always would have been sold to you by a Muslim.

But for the past few weeks, bands of Christian militia groups called anti-Balaka have waged war on Muslims and their property.

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Africa
3:55 pm
Thu February 6, 2014

In Eastern Congo, Complex Conflicts And High-Stakes Diplomacy

Congolese M23 rebel fighters detain a man they suspect to be an FDLR rebel returning from an incursion into Rwanda, north of Goma in the Democratic Republic of Congo, on Nov. 27, 2012. The 20-year conflict in Eastern Congo can feel like an alphabet soup of armed groups. An international team of diplomats is trying to stop the violence, one militia at a time.
Jerome Delay AP

Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 5:55 pm

In June last year, soon after Secretary of State John Kerry named his old Senate colleague Russ Feingold as the first American special envoy to the Great Lakes, one of Feingold's former constituents approached him with a welcome smile, and a puzzled look. Feingold had, after all, spent 19 years as a senator in the American Great Lakes.

"The is terrific," the man said to Feingold, the former senator recently recalled. "What are you going to be doing, checking water levels?"

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Africa
3:40 pm
Tue January 21, 2014

In Kenya, A Fraught Return To The Site Of A Massacre

Originally published on Tue January 21, 2014 5:55 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel.

In Nairobi, four men are on trial for helping the terrorists who stormed Westgate Mall in September. More than 70 people were killed in that attack. Today, the judge and lawyers on both sides left the confines of their courtroom and took a field trip to the mall.

As NPR's Gregory Warner reports, they went looking for the truth of what happened that day. But they also went looking for closure.

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Africa
2:27 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

How I Almost Got Arrested With A South Sudanese Ex-Minister

South Sudan's then-Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology Peter Adwok Nyaba (center) celebrates the first anniversary of the country's independence in Nairobi, capital of Kenya, on July 9, 2012. Since then, all of South Sudan's Cabinet ministers have been sacked — including Adwok — for allegedly conspiring to overthrow President Salva Kiir.
Ding Haitao Xinhua /Landov

Originally published on Mon January 13, 2014 12:28 pm

The unmarked, unpaved streets of Juba, the capital of South Sudan, can be tough for an outsider to navigate.

By the time I found the house of Peter Adwok Nyaba, the country's former minister of higher education, science and technology, it was already 5 p.m. The sun was dangerously low on the horizon. I had less than an hour to interview Adwok and get back to my hotel before the citywide curfew — imposed when the violence began three weeks before — took effect. After 6, there would be no one on the streets except myself and soldiers.

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Africa
4:16 am
Fri January 3, 2014

Rebels In South Sudan Secure Control Over Bor

Originally published on Fri January 3, 2014 5:51 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And I'm David Greene. Good morning.

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Global Health
4:18 pm
Thu January 2, 2014

Moved By Emotion: This Story Changed A Photographer's Lens

When Ajayibe was 22, she tried to kill herself after being shunned by her family. Surgery could not repair the hole in her birth canal, but her story helped inspire an American photographer to start a project to benefit women with fistula. Proceeds from the project have enabled Ajayibe to have livestock of her own.
Kristie McLean

In 2010, well-traveled freelance photographer Kristie McLean arrived in Ethiopia, her first trip to the country. She was there to photograph women with an injury that can happen when a baby gets stuck during childbirth: obstetric fistula. It's a condition common in rural Africa and Asia, where women give birth far from hospitals and C-sections aren't readily available.

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Africa
3:22 am
Thu January 2, 2014

South Sudan Peace Talks Begin, Fighting Persists

Originally published on Thu January 2, 2014 5:52 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Our colleague Gregory Warner was reporting in South Sudan recently and he described something ominous. As he put it, people are starting to ask who their neighbors are. It suggested that a violent political struggle in Africa's youngest country could erupt into a civil war fueled by tribal differences. Today, South Sudan's warring factions will meet for the first time in neighboring Ethiopia. This comes as fighting still rages. Here again, NPR's Gregory Warner.

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Africa
3:13 am
Mon December 30, 2013

South Sudanese Look For Refuge From Fighting

Originally published on Mon December 30, 2013 5:42 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And I'm David Greene.

We have been following the harrowing news coming out of South Sudan in recent days.

MONTAGNE: It is the world's newest country and it came into being with high hopes after a two-decade-long civil war with Sudan. Now South Sudan has plunged into what's beginning to look its own civil war.

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The Two-Way
1:14 pm
Sat December 28, 2013

Rebel Leader Skeptical Of South Sudan Cease-Fire Offer

Tens of thousands of refugees are flocking to United Nations compounds like this one in Juba, while fears fester that fighting in the capital will resume.
Tony Karumba AFP/Getty Images

A senior official in South Sudan said Saturday that government troops will attack the main rebel stronghold if rebels turn down a proposed cease-fire.

The government had offered the truce on Friday to end two weeks of ethnic violence that has killed more than a thousand people.

Those rebel forces are loyal to former Vice President Riek Machar, accused by supporters of President Salva Kiir of leading a coup attempt two weekends ago that sparked violence across the country.

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Parallels
4:51 pm
Fri December 27, 2013

U.N. Refuge Prepares For Possible Attack In South Sudan

South Sudanese seek refuge at the United Nations compound in the capital, Juba, on Sunday. Though Juba is mostly peaceful now, growing numbers are seeking shelter at the compound in fear the ethnic killings will resume.
Tony Karumba AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 27, 2013 5:15 pm

The president of South Sudan spent Friday in a peace summit with regional heads of state, discussing the crisis that erupted last weekend after an alleged coup attempt. At the same time, the government warned of a shadowy rebel army, covered with white ash, marching through the jungle to re-attack the northern city of Bor.

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