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.

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. Gabriel argues that exporting billions of dollars in arms annually, much of it to countries with questionable human rights records, such as Saudi Arabia, is at odds with the pacifist identity Germany established after World War II. In late July, he told German public television broadcaster ZDF, "There are basic rules in...

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. Merkel is usually reserved in her reproaches...

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript STEVE INSKEEP, HOST: NPR's Business News starts with new sanctions against Russia. The European Union imposed more sanctions today on Russia's financial, energy and high-tech sectors. They're also targeting individuals suspected of meddling in Ukraine. The United States has pledged to follow suit. NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson reports. SORAYA SARHADDI NELSON, BYLINE: The newest EU sanctions were originally drawn up last...

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

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript MELISSA BLOCK, HOST: I'm Melissa Block. And as we've been reporting, NATO and world leaders are sharpening their criticism of Russia over its actions in Eastern Ukraine. And in Ukraine, residents of a strategic port city are working alongside government soldiers. They're building up the city's defenses against a widely anticipated assault. NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson is Mariupol and sent this report. SORAYA SARHADDI...

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

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: And I'm Robert Siegel. There's been strong international reaction to Russia's latest action in Ukraine. This morning a convoy of Russian trucks crossed the Ukrainian border. Moscow says the trucks are carrying aid for civilians. But Ukraine says the convoy crossed the border without permission and without Red Cross...

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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...

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript AUDIE CORNISH, HOST: There's been more heavy fighting in Eastern Ukraine today. Ukrainian government troops are said to be battling block-by-block inside the separatist-held city of Luhansk. In addition, they claim to be closer to retaking the major city in the region, Donetsk. ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST: Also today, the Ukrainian military said, it has begun collecting the bodies of refugees killed in an alleged missile attack on...

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript MELISSA BLOCK, HOST: Ukraine says its artillery has destroyed a number of Russian military vehicles. Ukraine says those vehicles crossed into its territory overnight. NATO says the same. But Russia denies any of its forces crossed into Ukraine. Meanwhile, a controversial convoy that the Russians say is carrying humanitarian aid has been halted on the Russian side of the same border. And there have been other attempts to...

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

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: And I'm Robert Siegel. There's been more heavy fighting in eastern Ukraine. This is happening as Ukrainian and Russian aid convoys are heading towards the area, although still isn't clear how the Russian trucks plan to cross the border. Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson is outside Luhansk in eastern Ukraine, and Soraya, where...

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. And that's in...

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. He was briefly...

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. A caregiver comes to his home four times a day to help him with meals,...

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...

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. Three more soldiers died Wednesday when explosives detonated as they uncovered one of those tunnels. That came hours after Hamas released a graphic video claiming to show another deadly tunnel-generated attack inside Israel earlier in the week. Such incidents have many Israelis asking why...

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST: The U.N. Security Council overnight called for an immediate, unconditional, humanitarian cease-fire in Gaza. Israel says it's begun what it calls a limitless halt to its strikes in Gaza, but will respond if attacked and will continue to destroy the tunnels Hamas built from Gaza into Israel. This morning, Palestinian militants fired a rocket into Israel, and Israel answered with an artillery barrage....

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

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: And I'm Renee Montagne. The holy month of Ramadan comes to an end early next week with the celebratory feast, Eid. And Secretary of State, John Kerry, is hoping for a holiday cease-fire in Gaza. He's proposed a seven-day truce and is waiting for a response from Israel and Hamas. NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson is in Jerusalem and...

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. He is a Western-educated budget expert who is working with the Palestinian Authority on finance reform, a post that makes it easier for him to obtain an Israeli permit to come and go from Gaza. But even for...

Transcript ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST: Here's a headline we've heard more than once in the last year. U.S.-German relations hit a new low. And they have again today. Germany's top prosecutor is investigating a German Defense Ministry employee who's accused of spying for the United States. And to complicate matters, this is the second espionage case in Germany in the last week. The first resulted in the arrest of an alleged German double agent. Relations between Berlin and Washington were already...

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." This fall, Germans will celebrate the 25th...

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. "I have a whole bunch of baked goods I just picked up from the baker," Buschmann tells her 29-year-old guest. "You can take as much as...

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...

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. The plan centerpieces a 25-foot statue of the German Imperial...

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.

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...

Transcript ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST: This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Robert Siegel. MELISSA BLOCK, HOST: And I'm Melissa Block. In eastern Ukraine, pro-Russian separatists have decided to go ahead with Sunday's referendum on independence. That's despite Russian President Vladimir Putin urging them yesterday to postpone that vote. Here's the self-declared governor in the eastern region of Donetsk earlier today. VALERY BOLOTOV: (Foreign language spoken) BLOCK: He says 100 percent of...

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