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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NPR Story
4:50 am
Fri August 9, 2013

Top Egyptian General Reaches Rock Star Status

Originally published on Fri August 9, 2013 12:06 pm

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
4:08 pm
Tue August 6, 2013

Republican Senators Urge Egypt To Start A National Dialogue

Originally published on Tue August 6, 2013 7:25 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
4:28 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 7:05 pm

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News
7:07 am
Sun July 28, 2013

Egypt Clashes Among Country's Worst Bloodshed

Originally published on Sun July 28, 2013 12:31 pm

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
6:22 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 12:56 pm

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
3:14 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 10:54 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
4:52 pm
Wed July 10, 2013

Egypt's Religious Minorities Want Role In New Constitution

Originally published on Wed July 10, 2013 5:29 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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NPR Story
5:01 am
Tue July 9, 2013

Monday's Bloodshed Hardens Political Divisions

Originally published on Tue July 9, 2013 5:50 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
6:41 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 4:31 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
12:37 pm
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
5:03 am
Thu July 4, 2013

Interim President To Guide Egypt After Morsi Is Overthrown

Originally published on Thu July 4, 2013 9:48 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
5:48 pm
Wed July 3, 2013

Egyptian Military Suspends Country's Constitution

Originally published on Wed July 3, 2013 7:25 pm

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

Middle East
4:52 am
Wed July 3, 2013

Egypt's Military Threatens To Oust President Morsi

Originally published on Wed July 3, 2013 9:52 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
5:09 pm
Tue July 2, 2013

Anticipation Builds In Egypt Ahead Of Military's Deadline

Originally published on Tue July 2, 2013 8:12 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
4:44 am
Mon July 1, 2013

Egyptian Protesters Vow To Keep Going Until Morsi Resigns

Originally published on Mon July 1, 2013 7:19 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
1:04 pm
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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The Two-Way
7:02 am
Tue June 25, 2013

Suspect Arrested In More Than 700 European Highway Shootings

German police say they have arrested a 57-year-old trucker whom they accuse of carrying out 762 shootings on European highways over the past five years.

"We found the famous needle in a hay stack," said Joerg Ziercke, chief commissioner of the German Federal Criminal Police. "A dangerous criminal who on several thousands of kilometers of highway in Germany, France, Belgium and Austria would reach for a gun whenever, wherever to shoot at other vehicles and endanger people's lives. It's unprecedented in Germany criminal history."

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Parallels
5:14 am
Sat June 22, 2013

Amid Ire At U.S., Germany Does Its Own Domestic Spying

Protesters display a cutout figure of President Obama in Berlin on Wednesday. Germans were protesting the National Security Agency's eavesdropping on foreign communication.
Gero Breloer AP

Originally published on Sat June 22, 2013 4:26 pm

Revelations of widespread U.S. spying on foreign Internet communications put a damper on President Obama's first state visit to Berlin. The German chancellor and other officials there say they want to know more about what the National Security Agency is looking at.

Yet the backlash has been more muted than expected. One reason is that the German government is doing similar surveillance.

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Parallels
10:31 am
Wed June 12, 2013

Tallinn: The Former Soviet City That Gave Birth To Skype

Residents of the Estonian capital of Tallinn can use public transportation for free after purchasing a special card for 2 euros.
Raigo Pajula AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed June 12, 2013 6:20 pm

The Baltic city of Tallinn hardly looks modern with its blend of medieval towers and Soviet-era architecture. Smoke-spewing buses and noisy streetcars look as if they have been plucked from the past.

Even so, the Estonian capital is one of the world's most technologically advanced cities. The birthplace of Skype has repeatedly been cited for its digital accomplishments. Last week, Tallinn once again made the short list of the world's most intelligent cities as selected by the Intelligent Community Forum.

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Europe
3:42 am
Mon May 6, 2013

German Terrorism Trial Puts Racism Fears In The Spotlight

Ismail Yozgat (right) and Ayse Yozgat pray at a memorial event on the seventh anniversary of the murder of their son Halit in Kassel, Germany.
Uwe Zucchi AP

Originally published on Mon May 6, 2013 8:24 pm

Emotions ran high as Germany's biggest terrorism trial in decades got underway Monday in Munich. The hearing is on the murders of 10 people who were the victims of a nearly decadelong neo-Nazi terror campaign against the Turkish community there.

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