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
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
2:31 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 Tue August 19, 2014 5:38 pm

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

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
9:58 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
Parallels
3:14 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
The Salt
3:39 pm
Fri June 27, 2014

Got Leftovers To Share? In Germany, There's A Website For That

Europeans throw away 90 million tons of food each year, including these vegetables pulled from waste bins of an organic supermarket in Berlin. A new German website aims to connect surplus food with people who want it.
Fabrizio Bensch Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Wed September 3, 2014 2:26 pm

Child psychiatrist Vero Buschmann says she was looking for a way to get rid of leftovers without having to throw them away. At the same time, the Berlin resident wanted to meet new people.

She found a nonprofit website in Germany that allows her to do both. On a recent evening, her doorbell rings and she buzzes Franzi Zimmerman in to her fifth-floor apartment.

Read more
Sports
2:44 pm
Thu June 26, 2014

For German Fans In Berlin Beer Garden, National Pride Is No Problem

Originally published on Thu June 26, 2014 5:10 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Of course, today's match drew big crowds in both the United States and Germany. We first go to NPR Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson in Berlin, who joined scores of Germans at a beer garden to watch the game on three screens outside.

SORAYA SARHADDI NELSON, BYLINE: Most Germans are uncomfortable displaying national pride because they are sensitive about their country's notorious history. But they make an exception during World Cup season, and today, thousands of Berliners carried German flags.

(SOUNDBITE OF CROWD AT BEER GARDEN)

Read more
Europe
5:47 am
Sat May 24, 2014

Ultra-Nationalist Party Surges In Hungary

Originally published on Sat May 24, 2014 12:09 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

And the far right is poised to do well in Hungary's EU election tomorrow. Candidates blame the EU for many of that country's problems. NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson reports from Budapest.

SORAYA SARHADDI NELSON, BYLINE: To many Hungarians, a half-finished World War II monument next to a popular fountain in downtown Budapest highlights the extremist tenor of politics in this former East Bloc country.

Read more
Europe
3:05 pm
Sun May 11, 2014

Eastern Ukraine Muddles Through Voting On Referendums

Separatists in the eastern Ukraine regions of Donetsk and Luhansk asked voters to take part in an unauthorized referendum Sunday on whether to make their region independent.

Europe
2:11 pm
Fri May 9, 2014

On Victory Day, Fanfare In Crimea And Turmoil In Eastern Ukraine

Originally published on Fri May 9, 2014 6:45 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel. President Vladimir Putin travelled to Crimea today to mark the anniversary of Russia's victory in the Second World War. It was his first time there since the peninsula was annexed by Russia. His visit was criticized by the Ukrainian government and Washington, but Putin told Crimeans that by being together with Russia, they're stronger.

PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN: (Speaking foreign language)

Read more

Pages