Sylvia Poggioli

Sylvia Poggioli is senior European correspondent for NPR's international desk covering political, economic, and cultural news in Italy, the Vatican, Western Europe and the Balkans. Poggioli's on-air reporting and analysis have encompassed the fall of communism in Eastern Europe, the turbulent civil war in the former Yugoslavia and how immigration has transformed European societies.

Since joining NPR's foreign desk in 1982, Poggioli has traveled extensively for reporting assignments. Most recently, she travelled to Norway to cover the aftermath of the brutal attacks by an ultra-rightwing extremist; to Greece, Spain, and Portugal for the latest on the euro-zone crisis; and the Balkans where the last wanted war criminals have been arrested.

In addition, Poggioli has traveled to France, Germany, United Kingdom, The Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, Sweden, and Denmark to produce in-depth reports on immigration, racism, Islam, and the rise of the right in Europe.

Throughout her career Poggioli has been recognized for her work with distinctions including: the WBUR Foreign Correspondent Award, the Welles Hangen Award for Distinguished Journalism, a George Foster Peabody and National Women's Political Caucus/Radcliffe College Exceptional Merit Media Awards, the Edward Weintal Journalism Prize, and the Silver Angel Excellence in the Media Award. Poggioli was part of the NPR team that won the 2000 Overseas Press Club Award for coverage of the war in Kosovo. In 2009, she received the Maria Grazia Cutulli Award for foreign reporting.

In 2000, Poggioli received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Brandeis University. In 2006, she received an honorary degree from the University of Massachusetts at Boston together with Barack Obama.

Prior to this honor, Poggioli was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences "for her distinctive, cultivated and authoritative reports on 'ethnic cleansing' in Bosnia." In 1990, Poggioli spent an academic year at Harvard University as a research fellow at Harvard University's Center for Press, Politics, and Public Policy at the Kennedy School of Government.

From 1971 to 1986, Poggioli served as an editor on the English-language desk for the Ansa News Agency in Italy. She worked at the Festival of Two Worlds in Spoleto, Italy. She was actively involved with women's film and theater groups.

The daughter of Italian anti-fascists who were forced to flee Italy under Mussolini, Poggioli was born in Providence, Rhode Island, and grew up in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She graduated from Harvard College with a Bachelor's degree in Romance languages and literature. She later studied in Italy under a Fulbright Scholarship.

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Parallels
3:44 am
Wed July 16, 2014

The Grandes Dames Of The Sea Ply The Tuscan Waters

The vintage boats of Argentario Sailing Week, some more than a century old, plied the waters off Italy's Tuscan coast, known for its ideal sailing conditions.
Sylvia Poggioli NPR

Originally published on Wed July 16, 2014 10:48 am

A most unusual regatta recently took place off Tuscany's southern coast: Vintage sailboats known as the Grandes Dames of the Sea — some more than 100 years old — plied the waters of Porto Santo Stefano, a fishing village known for ideal sailing conditions

Among the more than 40 yachts was one, Manitou, that was known as "the floating White House" when her owner was President John F. Kennedy.

The boat is made of mahogany — a 62-foot boat that weighs 30 tons, skipper Alex Tillery says proudly. In contrast, he says, a modern 62-footer would probably weigh 8 tons.

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Europe
4:15 pm
Mon July 14, 2014

Over 2 Years Since Its Wreck, The Costa Concordia Floats Again

Originally published on Mon July 14, 2014 6:24 pm

The Costa Concordia cruise crashed into a reef and capsized in waters off the island of Giglio in Italy over two years ago. On Monday, the most complicated part of the operation to refloat the ship was completed successfully.

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

The Salt
6:28 pm
Thu July 10, 2014

This Fine Wine Made At An Italian Penal Colony Is No 2-Buck Chuck

Marquise Lamberto Frescobaldi (right), of the winemaking dynasty, talks with prisoners Brian Baldissin (left) and Francesco Papa at his vineyard on Gorgona island in June 2013.
Alessandro Bianchi Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Thu July 10, 2014 7:58 pm

Eighteen miles off Tuscany's coast, Gorgona is Italy's last island prison. Its steep cliffs rise up from azure Mediterranean waters. Here, a select group of convicts serves the end of long sentences by farming. And now, a legendary winemaker is training them to make high-end wine.

Mentioned by Dante in The Divine Comedy, Gorgona was for thousands of years a refuge for hermits and monks. Since 1869, it's been a penal colony.

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Religion
4:07 pm
Mon July 7, 2014

Pope Meets Sex Abuse Victims, Bearing A Plea For Forgiveness

Originally published on Mon July 7, 2014 7:56 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

At the Vatican today Pope Francis had his first meeting with victims of clergy. He vowed to hold bishops accountable for the protection of children. The meeting came nearly 16 months after Francis was elected. Victim support groups said it was long overdue. For more on this NPR's Sylvia Poggioli joins us from Rome. Hello Sylvia.

SYLVIA POGGIOLI, BYLINE: Hello, Robert.

SIEGEL: And I understand the Pope held a Mass with these victims, including a dramatic homily. What did he say?

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Europe
5:18 am
Fri June 6, 2014

Stopped By 'No One,' A Nun Wins Italy's 'The Voice'

After winning Italy's version of The Voice, Sister Cristina Scuccia thanks God on stage in Milan alongside her coach, Italian rapper J-Ax.
Marco Bertorello Getty Images

Originally published on Fri June 6, 2014 11:49 am

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Parallels
11:52 am
Wed May 21, 2014

The 1,000-Year-Old Schism That Pope Francis Seeks To Heal

Tourists walk past a poster of Pope Francis hanging on the Church of the Nativity in the West Bank town of Bethlehem on Monday. Pope Francis' trip to the Mideast later this week will commemorate the 50th anniversary of a historic rapprochement between Catholics and Orthodox, who split nearly 1,000 years ago.
Mussa Qawasma Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Thu May 22, 2014 1:30 pm

Pope Francis travels this weekend to the Middle East, the cradle of the three monotheistic religions, and will meet with Catholic, Jewish and Muslim leaders.

But the official purpose of the visit is to commemorate the 50th anniversary of a historic rapprochement between Catholics and Orthodox and to try to restore Christian unity after nearly 1,000 years of estrangement.

Meeting in Jerusalem in 1964, Pope Paul VI and Orthodox Patriarch Athenagoras set a milestone: They started the process of healing the schism between Eastern and Western Christianity of the year 1054.

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Middle East
3:33 am
Tue May 20, 2014

Pope To Travel To Holy Land With Rabbi And Muslim Leader

A Palestinian man works on a banner bearing a portrait of Pope Francis at a printing house in the West Bank city of Ramallah in anticipation of this week's papal visit.
Abbas Momani AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue May 20, 2014 4:24 pm

The first non-European pope in modern history will makes a pilgrimage to the Holy Land this week, a region with centuries of religious strife.

Francis — the first pope to take the name of the saint of peace — will carry far less historical baggage than any of his predecessors.

When John Paul II visited Israel in 2000, he prayed at the Western Wall and apologized for the church's sins against Jews. Nine years later, at Yad Vashem, the memorial to the Holocaust, Benedict XVI urged that the names of the victims never perish, be denied or forgotten.

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Religion
7:36 am
Sun May 11, 2014

U.N. Panel Could Find Vatican Guilty Of Torture

Originally published on Sun May 11, 2014 11:47 am

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin. The Vatican got a grilling this past week for its handling of the clerical sex abuse scandal. The setting - a United Nations hearing in Geneva. Meanwhile in Rome, a new advisory board to Pope Francis held its first meeting on the sex abuse crisis.

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World
5:24 pm
Tue May 6, 2014

UN Committee Grills Vatican Officials On Sex Abuse

Originally published on Wed May 7, 2014 11:05 am

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

For the second time this year, Vatican officials were subjected to scathing questions by a U.N. panel. The questions focus on the church's handling of cases of sexual abuse by priests. The grilling came in two days of hearings in Geneva by the U.N. Committee on Torture. NPR's Sylvia Poggioli is following this and joins me now. And, Sylvia, earlier this year, it was a U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child that issued a very harsh report about clerical sex abuse. What is the Committee on Torture saying now, and is it different?

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Parallels
6:06 am
Sat April 26, 2014

Two Very Different Popes Will Be Canonized

Pope John Paul II at Giants Stadium in New Jersey in 1995. John Paul, the pontiff from 1978-2005, was a favorite among traditionalist. He will be canonized on Sunday along with the late Pope John XXIII, he was popular among liberals.
David Ake AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat April 26, 2014 11:30 am

Pope Francis will canonize two 20th-century Catholic giants on Sunday — one a pope beloved by traditionalists the other a pontiff who was the icon of Catholic liberals.

The Polish-born John Paul II was the first non-Italian pope in nearly 500 years. He traveled to every corner of the earth and helped bring down communism.

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Parallels
3:04 pm
Wed April 23, 2014

2,000 Buses Of Visitors: Rome Braces For Canonization Crowds

Tourists walk past a poster of Pope John Paul II on April 13 in Rome.
Gregorio Brogia AP

Originally published on Wed April 23, 2014 11:06 pm

The day after Easter, St. Peter's Square was packed.

Caramba Camarra, a Gambian volunteer with Opera Romana Pelligrinaggi, the Vatican-run pilgrimage agency, said he had never seen so many people lined up to visit the basilica.

"It's amazing! The line curves like a serpent, filling the whole square," he said. "It looks like the crowds at Mecca."

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News
4:12 pm
Thu March 27, 2014

In First Visit To The Vatican, Obama Finds Himself Moved

Originally published on Thu March 27, 2014 7:03 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish.

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Europe
5:05 am
Thu March 27, 2014

Obama And Pope Meet For First Time At The Vatican

Originally published on Mon March 31, 2014 12:18 pm

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And I'm David Greene. Good morning. President Obama has wrapped up a meeting in Vatican City with Pope Francis, the man who in just one year has become the world's spiritual superstar. Now, the elections of both men made history, Barack Obama as the first African-American president, and the Argentine-born Jorge Bergoglio became the first non-European pope in centuries.

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Parallels
2:35 pm
Wed March 26, 2014

The Sometimes Tricky Relations Between Popes And Presidents

President Obama and Michelle Obama meet Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican in 2009. The president will meet Pope Francis at the Vatican on Thursday.
Getty Images

Originally published on Wed March 26, 2014 8:24 pm

President Obama meets Pope Francis at the Vatican on Thursday, the 30th anniversary of formal relations between Washington and the Holy See, and against a backdrop of a sometimes turbulent history in U.S.-Vatican ties.

The first high-level bilateral contact was in 1788, as the Vatican foreign minister recalled recently. Speaking in a large renaissance hall, Archbishop Dominique Mamberti said President George Washington, through his envoy Benjamin Franklin, informed the Vatican that it did not need to seek authorization from the U.S. for the appointment of bishops.

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Parallels
3:38 am
Thu March 13, 2014

One Year Later, 'A Pope For All' Keeps Catholics Guessing

Pope Francis greets the crowd as he arrives for his general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican last month.
Vincenzo Pinto AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu March 13, 2014 11:21 am

A year ago today, the world's 1.2 billion Catholics got their first Jesuit pope and the first from the global south. Taking the name Francis, he soon became one of the world's most popular newsmakers.

Following two doctrinally conservative leaders, the Argentine-born pope's pastoral approach has given the Catholic Church a new glow — less judgmental, more merciful.

Like many others in the big Sunday crowd in St. Peter's square, Sally Wilson is not Catholic, but she came all the way from Beaumont, Texas, to see the pope.

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Parallels
3:43 am
Wed March 12, 2014

A Magnet For African Migrants, Italy Seeks A New Approach

Migrants sit in a boat during a rescue operation by the Italian navy off the coast of Sicily on Nov. 28. Italy is looking to revamp the way it handles the hundreds of thousands of migrants who arrive annually.
Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Wed March 12, 2014 11:37 am

With mild weather ahead, southern Europe is once again bracing for new boatloads of would-be migrants and asylum seekers from North Africa.

Italy has borne the brunt of this migrant flow for two decades, and it has responded with one of Europe's most repressive laws on illegal immigration.

But now the Italian parliament is trying to scrap a law that has made migrants vulnerable to exploitation and human rights abuses. The existing law has also produced detention camps where undocumented migrants are held in harsh conditions.

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Religion
4:41 pm
Tue March 11, 2014

On Italian Newsstands, Pope Francis Gets His Own Fanzine

Originally published on Tue March 11, 2014 6:51 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

This week, Pope Francis marks the first anniversary of his papacy. In his first 12 months, Francis has achieved the rank of a global pop star. His message of humility and proximity to the poor has won admiration from Catholics and non-Catholics alike. He's attracting bigger crowds than his predecessor and, as NPR's Sylvia Poggioli reports, he is now the focus of a new fan magazine.

(SOUNDBITE OF A CROWD)

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The Salt
2:36 pm
Sun March 9, 2014

A Theme Park For Foodies? Italians Say Bologna

Customers dine at the original Eataly in Turin, Italy, which opened in 2007.
demoshelsinki/Flickr

Originally published on Tue March 11, 2014 1:53 pm

Italy has more UNESCO world heritage sites than any other country in the world, and its art and cultural riches have drawn visitors for centuries.

It also prides itself on being a culinary mecca, where preparing, cooking and serving meals is a fine, even sacred, art. And now that the country is in the deepest and most protracted recession since World War II, why not cash in on its reputation as a paradise for visiting gourmets and gourmands?

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Parallels
8:03 am
Sat February 22, 2014

Pope Welcomes New Cardinals, Many From Developing World

Pope Francis at the Vatican on Friday. The pope created 19 new cardinals in a ceremony Saturday in St Peter's Basilica.
Peter Macdiarmid Getty Images

Originally published on Wed February 26, 2014 3:43 pm

In a solemn ceremony at the Vatican, Pope Francis on Saturday bestowed red hats on his first batch of cardinals.

Ten of the 19 new princes of the church come from outside Europe, including some of the poorest countries in the world.

Their selection is a sign that the reforms Francis is introducing include a restructuring of how the Catholic Church will be governed.

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Religion
5:39 pm
Wed February 5, 2014

UN Report Raises Scathing Criticisms Of Vatican

Originally published on Wed February 5, 2014 10:23 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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