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
1:43 pm
Mon July 13, 2015

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

Originally published on Mon July 13, 2015 5:30 pm

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Parallels
2:21 pm
Sun June 28, 2015

For Americans Seeking Affordable Degrees, German Schools Beckon

Berlin's Humboldt University — named for its founder, the 19th century philosopher and linguist Wilhelm von Humboldt, and his brother, naturalist Alexander von Humboldt, pictured here — 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 11:34 am

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
2:18 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 4:17 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 — in Polish attitudes.

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Europe
2:30 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 7:57 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
2:18 pm
Mon June 8, 2015

Afghan Women Climbers Face Challenges Beyond Scaling Summit

Originally published on Mon June 8, 2015 6:59 pm

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Parallels
12:02 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 8:52 am

A team of 13 Afghan women is training to climb the country's highest mountain. Only two Afghans — both men — 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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Parallels
1:50 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 8:54 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
2:00 am
Tue March 31, 2015

The Ascent Of Afghan Women

Sandra Calligaro for NPR

Originally published on Tue March 31, 2015 1:47 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
9:40 am
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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Muslim Identity In Europe
10:09 am
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 7:47 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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