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.

Pages

The Two-Way
8:36 am
Mon September 29, 2014

Germany Red-Faced Over Military Equipment Failures

A Sea Lynx helicopter is pictured on a frigate in Eckernfoerde, Germany, in 2010.
Andreas Rentz Getty Images

Germany's defense minister warns that her country currently can't meet its long-term NATO commitments because of a widespread grounding of German military planes and helicopters.

"At the moment, we are below the target numbers announced a year ago on airborne systems we would want to make available to NATO within 180 days in cases of emergency," Ursula von der Leyen told the German newspaper Bild am Sonntag over the weekend. "The reason is the delays in getting replacement parts" for planes and a recent grounding of German navy helicopters.

Read more
Parallels
1:29 am
Tue September 23, 2014

Germany's New Economy Minister Takes Aim At Arms Exports

Germany is the world's third-largest exporter of arms, like this bazooka destined for northern Iraq, being packed up at a German military base on Thursday. The country's economy minister has held up hundreds of weapons exports since he took office in December, angering many in the defense industry.
Carsten Koall Getty Images

Originally published on Tue September 23, 2014 11:20 am

Germany is the world's third-largest arms exporter and Sigmar Gabriel, the country's minister for economic affairs, is determined to move his country farther down that list.

Read more
Europe
3:10 pm
Sun September 14, 2014

Thousands Gather In Germany To Rally Against Anti-Semitism

People with Israeli flags and banners attend a rally against anti-Semitism near the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin on Sunday.
Markus Schreiber AP

Originally published on Mon September 15, 2014 12:53 pm

In Berlin, thousands of people gathered at the Brandenburg Gate on Sunday to demonstrate against a wave of harassment and attacks against Jews in Germany. Many blame the rising anti-Semitism there and across Europe on tensions over the Gaza conflict.

Chancellor Angela Merkel, who attended the Berlin rally, said there is no place for anti-Semitism in Germany, particularly because of its Nazi past, and that fighting it is every German citizen's duty.

Read more
Economy
4:40 am
Fri September 12, 2014

Additional EU Sanctions Target Russia's Actions In Ukraine

Originally published on Fri September 12, 2014 11:03 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Read more
Europe
4:53 am
Wed September 3, 2014

Ukraine Announces Cease-Fire With Russia

Originally published on Wed September 3, 2014 6:22 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Europe
3:07 am
Tue September 2, 2014

Despite Shelling, Ukrainian Workers Keep On Watering The Flowers

A man walks past burnt vehicles near a railway station after recent shelling in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, Aug. 29.
Maxim Shemetov Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Tue September 2, 2014 12:55 pm

Shelling has gone on almost nonstop for months in and around Donetsk, which is the largest city in eastern Ukraine. A third of the 1 million residents have fled this regional capital.

Yet other than emptier than usual streets, life appears oddly normal here. Municipal workers who have remained are ensuring electric power and running water reach as many homes and businesses as possible. Public buses are running. Trash is picked up, and bushes in the many parks and boulevards are manicured. The flowers get watered.

Read more
Parallels
6:05 am
Sun August 31, 2014

Ukrainian City Braces For Increasingly Lopsided Fight

Originally published on Sun August 31, 2014 11:31 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Europe
3:29 pm
Sat August 30, 2014

Despite Quiet, Ukraine's Novoazovsk Still Feels Like A War Zone

Originally published on Sat August 30, 2014 4:37 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

ARUN RATH, HOST:

It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR West. I'm Arun Rath. In Brussels today, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko warned that the months-long conflict with Russia could broaden.

(SOUNDBITE OF PRESS CONFERENCE)

Read more
Europe
2:07 pm
Fri August 29, 2014

Residents Join Soldiers In Shoring Up Defenses Of Key Ukrainian Port

Originally published on Fri August 29, 2014 6:40 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Read more
Europe
3:37 pm
Tue August 26, 2014

Kiev Claims Russia Has Sights Set On New Eastern Ukrainian City

Originally published on Tue August 26, 2014 6:07 pm

Ukraine has accused Russia of trying to open a new front in the war between the government and pro-Moscow separatists in eastern Ukraine. Ukraine says its troops are involved in heavy fighting with an armored force that it says entered Ukrainian territory. Kiev has also released video of what it says is a group of captured Russian soldiers. Russia says the soldiers might have crossed the border inadvertently.

Europe
3:15 am
Tue August 26, 2014

Russian Separatists Open New Front In Eastern Ukraine

Originally published on Tue August 26, 2014 9:47 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Read more
Europe
2:06 pm
Fri August 22, 2014

Russian Convoy Crosses Ukrainian Border, Prompting Outcry From West

Originally published on Fri August 22, 2014 6:09 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Read more
Europe
2:10 pm
Thu August 21, 2014

The Siege Deepens In Eastern Ukraine's Donetsk

Originally published on Thu August 21, 2014 4:24 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Europe
3:07 am
Thu August 21, 2014

As Ukraine Presses Military Offensive, The Facts Are Fuzzy

Ukrainian soldiers muster at a point close to Luhansk in eastern Ukraine on Wednesday, as Ukrainian troops make a push into rebel-held territory.
Petro Zadorozhnyy AP

Originally published on Thu August 21, 2014 1:17 pm

The Ukrainian government claims its armed forces have recaptured a large part of the eastern city of Luhansk following fierce battles Wednesday with pro-Russian separatist fighters.

This is part of a broader campaign by the Ukrainians that has been marked by a number of successes recently. But as is often the case here, it's impossible to independently verify what either side says. Both the military and the rebels prevent reporters from getting near embattled areas, and in many places like Luhansk, phones and Internet are not working.

Read more
Europe
2:19 pm
Tue August 19, 2014

Civilian Convoy Comes Under Attack In Ukraine

Originally published on Wed August 20, 2014 7:58 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

There's been more heavy fighting in Eastern Ukraine today. Ukrainian government troops are said to be battling block-by-block inside the separatist-held city of Luhansk. In addition, they claim to be closer to retaking the major city in the region, Donetsk.

Read more
Europe
2:09 pm
Fri August 15, 2014

Russian Military Vehicles Reportedly Move Into Ukraine

Originally published on Fri August 15, 2014 6:02 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Read more
Europe
3:00 am
Fri August 15, 2014

Russian Aid Convoy Parked Near Ukraine Border

Originally published on Fri August 15, 2014 5:36 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Europe
2:09 pm
Thu August 14, 2014

As Kiev Cites Progress, Opposing Convoys Head To Ukraine's East

Originally published on Fri August 15, 2014 4:38 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Read more
Europe
3:18 am
Wed August 13, 2014

Older German Workers Jump At Chance To Retire At 63

An employee works at the axle gear production line at a BMW plant in Dingolfing, southern Germany, on March 23, 2012. This BMW plant installed special ergonomic workspaces to help its rapidly aging workforce — a trend that's reflected in Germany's economy as a whole. That's one reason why critics oppose a new move to lower the country's early retirement age.
Christof Stache AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu August 14, 2014 6:02 am

Germany recently lowered its retirement age from 65 to 63 for longtime workers, a move Chancellor Angela Merkel's government says is aimed at easing the burden on older Germans in the workforce.

But the decision is not popular with German businesses or with governments in struggling eurozone countries, which accuse German officials of hypocrisy. They say it's wrong for Germany to demand sweeping cuts in their countries while Merkel's government beefs up benefits at home.

Read more
The Two-Way
7:36 am
Mon August 11, 2014

Trial Of Alleged German Autobahn Shooter Begins

Truck driver Michael Harry K. is brought into a courtroom in the regional court in Wuerzburg, Germany, on Monday. His face is blurred in accordance with German laws.
Karl-Josef Hildenbrand DPA /LANDOV

The trial of a 58-year-old truck driver who is accused of firing more than 700 shots at other vehicles on German highways over five years began today in the northern Bavarian city of Wuerzburg.

The man, who German media say was born in the former East Germany, was arrested at home in the small town of Kall in western Germany in June 2013. He is being identified by the German media only by his first names and last initial – Michael Harry K. — in accordance with German laws.

Read more
Parallels
1:22 am
Thu August 7, 2014

When And How To Die: Germany Debates Whose Choice It Is

Originally published on Thu August 7, 2014 6:49 am

Stefan Daniel says he has no control over the multiple sclerosis that is short-circuiting his body.

The disease, which attacks the nervous system, has forced the 51-year-old German psychologist to give up his career and most hobbies, including running and photography.

He spends his days in an electric wheelchair and rarely ventures out of his Berlin apartment.

"It's so difficult for me to open the door," he laments.

Read more
Middle East
1:27 am
Mon August 4, 2014

Is There Any Empathy Left In The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict?

Members of the Israeli security forces stand guard as Palestinian Muslims perform Friday prayers on a street outside the Old City of Jerusalem on Friday.
Ahmad Gharabli AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon August 4, 2014 1:29 pm

In the waiting room at Jerusalem's Hadassah Hospital, an Israeli woman was shouting at a Palestinian mother whose son was being treated for a beating he received from a Jewish mob.

"Go away you trash," the Israeli woman yelled at the Palestinian. "I would bury you in Gaza."

A second Israeli woman joined in the verbal barrage, complaining that her taxes shouldn't be paying for Palestinian treatment.

Two other Israeli women came over to comfort the Palestinian mother. But she is in no mood for reconciliation and retorted: "What good will your apologies do?"

Read more
Middle East
2:15 pm
Thu July 31, 2014

In Gaza, A Day That Begins In Fear Ends In Cease-Fire Agreement

Originally published on Thu July 31, 2014 6:07 pm

The day began with Israel's military calling up 16,000 more reservists, stoking fears of a widening offensive in Gaza; it ended with a 72-hour cease-fire agreement between Israel and Hamas. The cease-fire is to begin Friday.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Parallels
3:24 pm
Wed July 30, 2014

Gaza's Network Of Tunnels Is A Major Hole In Israel's Defenses

An Israeli army officer walks near the entrance of a tunnel allegedly used by Palestinian militants for cross-border attacks, at the Israel-Gaza border. A network of tunnels Palestinian militants have dug from Gaza to Israel is taking center stage in the latest war between Hamas and Israel.
Jack Guez AP

Originally published on Thu July 31, 2014 7:24 am

Israeli officials say the country's deadly ground offensive won't end until its soldiers destroy a vast network of Hamas tunnels the militants use to try to attack Jewish communities outside the Gaza Strip.

Read more
Middle East
4:09 am
Mon July 28, 2014

Israelis Broadly Support Military's Operation In Gaza

Originally published on Mon July 28, 2014 11:52 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Read more
Middle East
2:45 pm
Fri July 25, 2014

In A Complex Web Of Tunnels, Israel Draws Its Red Line

Originally published on Fri July 25, 2014 5:40 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Middle East
5:09 am
Fri July 25, 2014

Kerry Awaits Response From Israel, Hamas On Proposed Cease-Fire

Originally published on Fri July 25, 2014 6:14 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Read more
Middle East
3:30 am
Wed July 23, 2014

As Gaza Fighting Rages, West Bank Palestinians Can Only Watch

Palestinian Imad Abudayyah and his son, Ghassan, speak to relatives in the Gaza Strip via Skype from Ramallah in the West Bank. Israeli restrictions make it extremely difficult to travel between the two territories. West Bank Palestinians have largely been bystanders in the current round of fighting.
Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson NPR

Originally published on Wed July 23, 2014 12:31 pm

At least three times a day, Imad Abudayyah, 49, fires up his laptop at the West Bank hotel where he's currently living with his 11-year-old son, Ghassan, to reach out to relatives in the Gaza Strip. Abudayyah says Skype is the only way they can see the family members they have left behind.

Read more
Europe
2:11 pm
Wed July 9, 2014

In Germany, A Case Against Another Alleged American Spy

Originally published on Wed July 9, 2014 8:39 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Read more
Parallels
3:14 am
Sun July 6, 2014

Germany's Battle Over What May Be Its Last Lenin Statue

A statue of Soviet founder Vladimir Lenin outside an apartment complex in Schwerin, Germany. Erected in 1985, four years before communism collapsed in East Germany, it's believed to be the last Lenin statue in Germany and the town is divided over whether it should stay. The inscription reads, "Decree on land," referring to a Lenin manifesto that said workers were the real owners of the land.
Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson NPR

Originally published on Sun July 6, 2014 12:48 pm

It's easy to miss the controversial bronze statue. It stands in front of a Soviet-style, high-rise apartment in the East German city of Schwerin.

Far removed from the ornate city center, this 13-foot-tall depiction of Vladimir Lenin has him looking relaxed. His hands are tucked in his coat pockets and he's gazing off into the distance.

But an angry message is scrawled in red paint across the sidewalk at his feet. In German, it reads: "LENIN STAYS."

Read more

Pages