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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Europe
4:31 pm
Wed April 22, 2015

Migrants Fleeing Violence Dock At Sicilian Port Of Augusta

Originally published on Wed April 22, 2015 7:59 pm

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Europe
5:37 pm
Tue April 21, 2015

More Than 800 Dead In Mediterranean Migrant Tragedy

Originally published on Tue April 21, 2015 6:25 pm

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Europe
7:43 am
Sat April 18, 2015

Latest Mediterranean Incident Highlights Italy's Migrant Crisis

Originally published on Sat April 18, 2015 10:59 am

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Religion
5:15 am
Fri April 17, 2015

Vatican Ends Battle With U.S. Nuns

Pope Francis talks with a delegation of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious during an audience in the pontiff's studio at the Vatican on Thursday. The Vatican announced the unexpected conclusion of a controversial overhaul of the main umbrella group of U.S. nuns.
L'Osservatore Romano AP

Originally published on Fri April 17, 2015 2:06 pm

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Religion
5:09 am
Mon April 13, 2015

Armenian 'Genocide' Remarks By Pope Francis Spark Row With Turkey

Pope Francis (left) is greeted by the head of Armenia's Orthodox Church, Karekin II, in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican. The two met during an Armenian-Rite Mass.
Gregorio Borgia AP

Originally published on Mon April 13, 2015 10:37 am

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Parallels
3:29 am
Thu April 9, 2015

Rome's Plan For Prostitutes Upsets Sex Workers And The Catholic Church

The Sts. Peter and Paul Basilica is in Rome's EUR district. The area has seen a rise in prostitution, and authorities have approved plans for a red light zone where prostitution will be officially tolerated in certain areas. While much of the community appears to support the move, Catholic groups are among those opposed, saying it legitimizes the exploitation of women.
Filippo Monteforte AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu April 9, 2015 9:40 am

On Rome's southern outskirts, EUR is a middle- and upper-middle class neighborhood full of parks and office buildings. With tens of thousands of people coming and going every day, the neighborhood has also become a magnet for prostitutes.

This has upset many residents. Now, neighborhood officials are preparing to create a "zone of tolerance," which is welcomed by the local community, but not the Catholic Church or the prostitutes.

Resident Armando Grassi supports the plan to corral streetwalkers somewhere far from his home.

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Parallels
5:08 am
Tue March 10, 2015

Architect Renzo Piano: The Future Of Europe's Cities Is In The Suburbs

Italian architect Renzo Piano talks to journalists in Paris in 2014.
Eric Feferberg AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue March 10, 2015 12:16 pm

Architect Renzo Piano spends one week a month in his hometown of Genoa, Italy. His house-workshop is perched 300 feet above the Mediterranean Sea and can only be reached by a glass-enclosed funicular that crawls slowly up a steep incline dotted with cypress and olive trees. The airy, multi-story greenhouse workshop buzzes with young architects working on the many Piano projects under way across the world.

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World
8:23 am
Sun March 8, 2015

For Women's Day, Group Takes A Messge To The Vatican

Originally published on Sun March 8, 2015 1:08 pm

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The Two-Way
12:06 pm
Thu February 26, 2015

James Bond Meets His Match — The Roman Cobblestone

Pedestrians cross the cobblestone Via dei Fori Imperiali in front of Rome's Colosseum.
Gregorio Borgia AP

Originally published on Thu February 26, 2015 5:54 pm

The headline in today's La Repubblica was, "The streets of Rome bring Bond to a standstill — car hits pothole, Craig suffers head injury."

The newspaper reported that the accident occurred while actor Daniel Craig, reprising the role of the suave British spy in the 24th James Bond thriller, Spectre, was driving one of the movie's four custom-made Aston Martins on a narrow cobblestone street near the Vatican.

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The Two-Way
11:51 am
Fri February 20, 2015

Dutch Soccer Fans Vandalize Rome's La Barcaccia Fountain

A worker shows a destroyed fragment of the fountain called "Barcaccia," at the foot of the Spanish Steps in Rome. The fountain was damaged in clashes as Dutch soccer fans rampaged through the city.
Claudio Peri AP

Originally published on Fri February 20, 2015 12:58 pm

Some 7000 fans of the Rotterdam soccer team Feyenoord are believed to have traveled to Rome for yesterday's Europa League game against AS Roma.

The game ended in a draw, 1-1, a needed anticlimax after two days of street battles.

On Wednesday, tourists fled and shops hurriedly closed their shutters as Dutch soccer fans took over the central marketplace known as Campo de' Fiori — Field of Flowers — and left it a field of trash.

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Europe
5:05 am
Thu February 19, 2015

Italian Island Bears The Brunt Of Migrant Surge From Libya

Originally published on Thu February 19, 2015 7:56 am

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Religion
7:12 am
Sat February 14, 2015

With New Cardinals, Pope Aims To Widen Horizons Of Church Leadership

Pope Francis leads the consistory at St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City. In addition to 15 new electors, Pope Francis named five new cardinals who are over the age of 80 and, therefore, ineligible to vote in a conclave.
Franco Origlia Getty Images

Originally published on Sat February 14, 2015 10:54 am

The Vatican was a sea of red vestments Saturday, as Pope Francis formally elevated 20 new cardinals. In a solemn ceremony known as a consistory, the second in Francis' two-year-old papacy, he presided over nearly the entire College of Cardinals at St. Peter's Basilica.

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Religion
4:24 pm
Fri February 13, 2015

Pope Encounters Resistance On Some Reforms

Originally published on Fri February 13, 2015 6:29 pm

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Religion
5:21 am
Mon February 9, 2015

Papal Group Considers Sanctions On Bishops Who Cover Up Abuse

Cardinal Sean Patrick O'Malley of Boston arrives for a meeting of a Vatican commission on sex abuse at the Vatican on Saturday. O'Malley heads the group.
Gregorio Borgia AP

Originally published on Mon February 9, 2015 9:07 am

A commission advising Pope Francis on how to tackle clerical sex abuse of minors has completed its first full meeting at the Vatican. The commission, which has been criticized for its slow start, says it's now drawing up recommended sanctions against bishops who have covered up cases of abuse.

Cardinal Sean O'Malley of Boston, head of the commission, told reporters it's drafting practical recommendations on making bishops accountable for cover-ups and failure to prevent abuse.

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Parallels
4:35 pm
Thu February 5, 2015

Decades After His Murder, An Archbishop Is Put On Path To Sainthood

Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador (shown in 1977) was gunned down in a church in San Salvador in 1980 after criticizing a government crackdown. He had been celebrating Mass at the time.
AP

Originally published on Fri February 6, 2015 8:28 am

Archbishop Oscar Romero was one of the most prominent and controversial religious figures in Latin America when he was gunned down in 1980 during the early stages of El Salvador's civil war. His legacy has been debated ever since.

But just this week, Pope Francis ruled that Romero was killed "out of hatred for the faith," making him a martyr and setting the stage for his beatification.

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Parallels
3:26 am
Thu December 25, 2014

Pope Francis And His Gift For Blending The Spiritual And The Political

Pope Francis waves to the faithful as he arrives in St. Peter's Square for his weekly audience, on Dec. 17, in Vatican City. Even among non-Catholics, the pope's popularity is high.
Franco Origlia Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 25, 2014 7:00 am

In the 21 months since his election, the first pope to take the name of Saint Francis has emerged as a moral leader on the global stage, addressing both Catholics and the world beyond.

A recent Pew worldwide survey showed an overwhelmingly favorable view of the pope. And that was before his crucial role in the U.S.-Cuba thaw was revealed.

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Religion
4:48 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

Vatican Tries To Mend Fences With American Nuns

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 2:46 pm

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Parallels
4:23 pm
Thu November 27, 2014

In A Land Of Few Christians, Pope Will Reach Out To Muslims In Turkey

Pope Francis waves in Saint Peter's square at the Vatican. The pope heads to Turkey on Friday, a country with few Catholics, but he plans to reach out to Muslims and to the Orthodox Church.
Tony Gentile Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Thu November 27, 2014 7:12 pm

Pope Francis is heading to Turkey for what could be one of the most challenging trips of his young papacy.

The three-day visit, which begins Friday, will be a mix of the religious and political, with the pope addressing topics ranging from Christian unity to the worsening plight of Christians in the Muslim-dominated Middle East.

While the Catholic and Orthodox churches have been divided since the "Great Schism" nearly a millennium ago, Francis will attend Sunday's celebration of St. Andrew, patron saint of the Greek Orthodox Church.

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Religion
4:23 am
Mon October 20, 2014

Catholic Synod Highlights Divisions, Sets Stage For Future Battles

Pope Francis attends a session of the two-week synod at the Vatican that wrapped up over the weekend. The usually predictable event produced a robust debate among the bishops on how the Catholic Church should deal with gays as well as Catholics who are divorced or remarried.
Gregorio Borgia AP

Originally published on Tue October 21, 2014 2:29 pm

Over the past few decades, assemblies of Roman Catholic bishops meeting in Rome, known as synods, have been predictable events that have always upheld the viewpoints of the reigning pope.

But with the widely popular Pope Francis, nothing is predictable.

A two-week-long synod on family issues that wound up this weekend was tumultuous, and the results showed a church deeply divided over how to deal with gays and with divorced and remarried Catholics.

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Parallels
4:31 pm
Mon October 13, 2014

For Italy's Gay Rights Advocates, It's 1 Step Forward, 2 Steps Back

Counterdemonstrators in favor of LGBT rights wear pink triangles, reminiscent of those homosexuals were forced to wear in Nazi concentration camps.
Sylvia Poggioli NPR

Originally published on Mon October 13, 2014 8:19 pm

Ancient Rome may have been open to all sorts of sexual mores, but modern Italy is less so. The country lags far behind its European Union partners in guaranteeing equal rights for homosexuals.

Gay couples have no legal recognition or adoption rights in Italy, and a bill presented last year outlawing discrimination on the grounds of homophobia has been bogged down in parliament by right-wing opposition.

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