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
2:52 pm
Tue December 31, 2013

Berlin's Frenzied Fireworks Have Locals Leaving, Hiding On New Year's

Originally published on Tue December 31, 2013 4:56 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

New Year's Eve in Berlin is a big draw for tourists from around the world. Revelers pack the streets around the Brandenburg Gate and greet the stroke of midnight with music, champagne and mulled wine. But for many residents of the German capital, the holiday can be a frightening and often dangerous experience. As NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson reports, thousands of people armed with fireworks transform the city's streets into what feels like a war zone.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

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Sports
3:22 am
Tue December 24, 2013

Berlin Cheers On Former East German Soccer Team

Originally published on Wed December 25, 2013 5:24 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

For people in Germany, Christmas means evergreens, "Silent Night" and mulled wine. In the city of Berlin, Christmas also means celebrating a scrappy group of athletes. The FC Union soccer team was formed by iron workers more than a century ago. During the Cold War, it became a symbol of resistance against the East German government. These days, despite mixed results on the field, FC Union remains a fan favorite.

NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson sent this postcard from a game over the weekend.

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Parallels
12:57 pm
Sun December 22, 2013

'Jihad Tourism': From Germany To The Syrian Battlefield

Burak Karan was a rising German-Turkish soccer player before leaving Germany to fight in the Syrian civil war. He was killed in northern Syria in October at age 26. Karan is shown here in Aachen, Germany, in 2008.
Marcel Decoux EPA/Landov

More than 240 people have left Germany to join the civil war in Syria — the largest reported number from a European country.

One was Burak Karan, a rising German-Turkish soccer player who died in northern Syria in October at age 26. Bild newspaper quoted his brother saying Karan had gone to the border region between Turkey and Syria to help distribute aid.

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The Salt
1:05 am
Wed December 18, 2013

Is A 500-Year-Old German Beer Law Heritage Worth Honoring?

Originally published on Wed December 18, 2013 6:56 am

Germans are serious about their beer. Serious enough for the European country's main brewers association to urge the United Nations to recognize that fact.

The brewers association wants a five-century-old law governing how German beer is made to become part of the UNESCO World Heritage list. It would join the Argentinian tango, Iranian carpet weaving and French gastronomy, among other famous traditions, that are considered unique and worth protecting.

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NPR Story
2:35 am
Mon December 16, 2013

Germany's Merkel To Be Sworn In Again As Chancellor

Originally published on Mon December 16, 2013 4:46 am

Weeks of post-election political limbo have ended in Germany. The country's main center-left party has voted to join the coalition government of Angela Merkel. The move clears the way for her to start her third term as chancellor.

Europe
2:42 am
Wed November 6, 2013

Neo-Nazis In Germany Use Music To Attract Followers

Originally published on Wed November 6, 2013 2:28 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Given its dark history, Germany prohibits, in its constitution, Nazi glorification, and forbidden speech includes neo-Nazi songs. The government is tracking more than 180 right-wing bands, an underground scene they say helps recruit young people to extremist groups. But officials say censoring neo-Nazi music to protect young Germans is not as easy as it once was.

NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson has the story from Berlin.

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Europe
2:23 pm
Thu October 24, 2013

U.S. Spying Takes Center Stage At EU Summit

Originally published on Thu October 24, 2013 4:25 pm

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is furious about the U.S. eavesdropping on her calls. She is the latest to protest loudly to the U.S. as the EU gathers for a regular summit. The meeting should have focused on immigration and the economy, but will be sidetracked by the continued NSA spying anger.

Europe
3:26 am
Mon September 23, 2013

Germany's Chancellor Leads Conservative Party To Victory

Originally published on Mon September 23, 2013 8:35 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

In Germany, low unemployment and a strong economy translated into a big election victory for Chancellor Angela Merkel and her Conservative political party. This means a third term for the 59-year-old physicist. The win for Merkel was even bigger than predicted by her political party. Merkel's win is all the more impressive as other European leaders have fallen, with voters venting frustration over the continent's financial crisis.

NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson reports.

(APPLAUSE)

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Europe
5:46 am
Sat September 21, 2013

Germany, Lauded For Welcoming Gays, Lags In Granting Rights

Originally published on Sat September 21, 2013 9:34 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Most of the countries where same-sex couples enjoy the same rights as heterosexual ones are in Western Europe. Their governments have legalized marriage and adoption rights for gays and lesbians. Now, Germany has been acclaimed for being especially welcoming to gays and lesbians but its government is lagging behind in giving them equal rights.

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Europe
2:47 am
Fri September 20, 2013

German Voters Expected To Elect Merkel To Third Term

Originally published on Fri September 20, 2013 4:10 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

German voters are expected to elect Chancellor Angela Merkel to a third term on Sunday. Now, if she wins, Merkel, who is a former physicist, will be on the path to becoming Europe's longest-serving female head of government. The prospect of another four years of Merkel unsettles many Europeans outside Germany. But she is respected at home. NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson sent us this profile from Berlin of the woman the German media call Mutti, or mommy of the nation.

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Europe
2:12 am
Mon September 16, 2013

Germany's Refugee Policy Tested By New Arrivals

NPD Party activists hold up German flags in the Hellersdorf-Marzahn district of Berlin last month, as they protest a new home for asylum seekers.
Odd Andersen AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon September 16, 2013 10:43 am

As many as 5,000 Syrian refugees are moving to Germany this month after Chancellor Angela Merkel's government agreed to a U.N. request to host them. But they aren't receiving the warmest welcome in a country where a growing number of Germans are unhappy about the steady stream of asylum seekers. Fanning the flames are right wing extremists, who want Germany to close its doors to refugees.

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Parallels
10:20 am
Fri September 13, 2013

Like Anthony Weiner, German Politician Gives One-Finger Salute

Originally published on Fri September 13, 2013 3:15 pm

If two politicians on different continents both give an upthrust middle finger to the camera in the same week, is that enough to call it a global trend?

Perhaps we need one more, but here's what we have so far.

First there was failed New York mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner, who, in a rare display of impulsive behavior, expressed his feelings toward a reporter as he left his election night party Tuesday.

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Africa
3:06 pm
Mon August 12, 2013

Egypt's Security Agencies Back, Now With A New Mandate

Originally published on Mon August 12, 2013 4:03 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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Middle East
3:39 am
Fri August 9, 2013

Top Egyptian General Reaches Rock Star Status

Originally published on Fri August 9, 2013 10:06 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

And I'm Linda Wertheimer. We begin this hour with neighboring countries struggling with the confounding realities of the Arab Spring.

GREENE: In Libya an elected government remains in place, but it may be too weak to bring in the militia leader accused of killing a U.S. ambassador. In Egypt, the general who led a coup against the country's first democratically elected president is now celebrated like a movie star.

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Africa
2:08 pm
Tue August 6, 2013

Republican Senators Urge Egypt To Start A National Dialogue

Originally published on Tue August 6, 2013 5:25 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block.

Republican Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham are in Egypt today. They're trying to resolve a growing political crisis sparked by the military's ouster of President Mohammed Morsi. The senators urged all sides to start a national dialogue.

But as NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson reports from Cairo, their choice of words quickly angered the interim government.

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Political Crisis In Egypt
2:28 pm
Fri August 2, 2013

In Egypt, 'Third Square' Protesters Seek Middle Road

Activists from a group called "Third Square," which promotes a middle way in the rift between the Muslim Brotherhood and supporters of the army's overthrow of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, shout slogans as they gather to oppose both parties at Sphinx Square in Giza on July 30.
Asmaa Waguih Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Fri August 2, 2013 5:05 pm

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News
5:07 am
Sun July 28, 2013

Egypt Clashes Among Country's Worst Bloodshed

Originally published on Sun July 28, 2013 10:31 am

Transcript

SUSAN STAMBERG, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Susan Stamberg.

Egypt's Health Ministry reports more than 70 people have died in clashes between security forces and protesters that took place on a major road in Cairo. Most of them were supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood from which he hails.

Reaction to the fighting in Egypt is rather muted at the moment. But as NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson reports, a growing number of Egyptians are concerned over what the government is planning next.

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Political Crisis In Egypt
4:22 pm
Sat July 27, 2013

Crackdown In Egypt Shows Shift In Military's Approach

An Egyptian man mourns the death of a relative, shot dead after violence erupted Friday night, inside the Muslim Brotherhood field hospital in Cairo.
Florian Plaucheur AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu August 8, 2013 10:56 am

In Egypt, protests against the ouster of President Mohammed Morsi turned deadly Saturday, after Egyptian security forces launched the most violent crackdown yet on those demonstrators.

The Egyptian Health Ministry says around 80 people were killed — most of them in Cairo. The Muslim Brotherhood, from which the deposed president hails, put the death toll at nearly twice that number. Hundreds more were injured.

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Parallels
1:14 am
Thu July 18, 2013

At Estonia's Bank Of Happiness, Kindness Is The Currency

Juan Pablo Gonzalez, a science and math teacher in San Diego, posted an offer to teach urban planting, including hydroponic techniques. He and his wife were inspired by the site and offered to help by translating it into Spanish.
Courtesy of Juan Pablo Gonzalez

Originally published on Thu July 18, 2013 8:54 am

Estonia's capital, Tallinn, is considered one of the world's leading "smart" cities, where the government and businesses alike rely heavily on computer technology.

But one group in the Estonian capital is using the Internet for something completely different: an online forum that markets good deeds.

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Political Crisis In Egypt
2:52 pm
Wed July 10, 2013

Egypt's Religious Minorities Want Role In New Constitution

Originally published on Wed July 10, 2013 3:29 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel. There is growing discord in Egypt among those who backed the militaries removal of the country's elected Islamist president. At the heart of the divide is Egypt's controversial constitution. The document, which is heavily influenced by Islamic law, was written by allies of former President Mohammed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood from which he hails.

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Middle East
3:01 am
Tue July 9, 2013

Monday's Bloodshed Hardens Political Divisions

Originally published on Tue July 9, 2013 3:50 am

Egypt's interim president, who was installed by a military coup last week, issued a plan calling for parliamentary elections next year and giving himself sweeping powers in the meantime. His move came hours after the deadliest clash yet between security forces and supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi.

Middle East
4:41 am
Sun July 7, 2013

Sexual Assaults Reportedly Rampant During Egypt Protests

The bridge leading to Tahrir Square in Cairo was quiet Saturday morning, but activists say more than 100 women were sexually assaulted during protests there last week.
Hiro Komae AP

Originally published on Tue March 18, 2014 2:31 pm

From afar, Tahrir Square appears almost festive as protesters chant against the Islamist president who was overthrown by the Egyptian military last week. But inside the crushing crowds, the scene can be a lot more sinister.

In a video posted by the Muslim Brotherhood, an unidentified woman cries out as men attack her. The group, from which former President Mohammed Morsi hails, claims the attack occurred in Tahrir Square in late June.

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Middle East
10:37 am
Fri July 5, 2013

Shootings Reported At Demonstrations In Egypt

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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

This is a week when Egypt is divided on what democracy means. In what amounted to a second uprising, millions of Egyptians poured into the streets to demand that their democratically elected president step down. When he balked, the army ousted Mohamed Morsi, which led his supporters to say it is a dark day for democracy there. Today, thousands of Morsi supporters are out protesting that military coup, in demonstrations that have reportedly turned violent.

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Middle East
3:03 am
Thu July 4, 2013

Interim President To Guide Egypt After Morsi Is Overthrown

Originally published on Thu July 4, 2013 7:48 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. Good morning. I'm David Greene.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And on this Independence Day, I'm Renee Montagne.

Egypt has a new president, a longtime judge who took the oath of office this morning. That official change in power came after several days of protests saw millions of Egyptians pour into the streets, demanding Mohamed Morsi step down. His refusal led to his ouster yesterday by Egypt's military. It was a stunning turnaround for the country's first democratically elected president.

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Africa
2:47 pm
Wed July 3, 2013

Egyptian Military Suspends Country's Constitution

Originally published on Wed July 3, 2013 5:25 pm

We have the latest from Egypt, where the military ousted President Mohamed Morsi and suspended the country's constitution.

Middle East
3:26 am
Wed July 3, 2013

Egypt's Military Threatens To Oust President Morsi

Originally published on Wed July 3, 2013 7:52 am

President Mohammed Morsi must compromise with his opponents Wednesday or face the generals laying out their plan for governance. Egyptians are so angered by their poor economy and what they fear is Morsi's drive for unchecked power that many are receptive to the prospect of a military coup.

Africa
2:06 pm
Tue July 2, 2013

Anticipation Builds In Egypt Ahead Of Military's Deadline

Originally published on Tue July 2, 2013 6:12 pm

Protestors in Egypt postponed their deadline by which they wanted Islamist President Mohamed Morsi to resign in favor of the Egyptian army's ultimatum. The Egyptian president's supporters, meanwhile, took to the streets in bigger numbers while more members of his staff quit.

Middle East
3:22 am
Tue July 2, 2013

Egypt's Army Gives Morsi Deadline To Allay Opposition

Originally published on Tue July 2, 2013 6:36 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne.

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Middle East
2:44 am
Mon July 1, 2013

Egyptian Protesters Vow To Keep Going Until Morsi Resigns

Originally published on Mon July 1, 2013 5:19 am

Egyptians turned out in record numbers on Sunday to demand the resignation of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi. The protests marked Morsi's first year in office and appeared to be the largest demonstrations since an uprising forced Hosni Mubarak from power in 2011.

The Two-Way
11:04 am
Tue June 25, 2013

Germany Says It's Uncovered Terrorist Plot Using Model Planes

German officials say they've uncovered a radical Islamist plot to use remote-controlled model airplanes packed with explosives to carry out terrorist attacks in Germany.

Police carried out nine predawn raids in southern and eastern Germany as well as Belgium in search of evidence of what prosecutors allege was a plan for a "serious, state-threatening act of violence." There were no arrests.

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