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.


3:31 pm
Mon October 13, 2014

Unusual Candidate Could Be The First Immigrant Mayor Of Berlin

Originally published on Mon October 13, 2014 3:58 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit

Cities Project
2:04 am
Thu October 9, 2014

In Berlin, Remaking The City Can Rekindle Old Frictions

The broadcast tower at Alexanderplatz looms over the city center. A crossing point of tourists, commuters, shoppers, lovers, artists and bums, Alexanderplatz was rebuilt by the communist authorities of former East Germany in the 1960s. Today, it's a popular gathering place in the reunified city.
Sean Gallup Getty Images

Originally published on Fri October 10, 2014 9:54 pm

Berlin is an on-again, off-again capital with a darker history than most cities in Europe.

It served as the epicenter of Hitler's Third Reich and was nearly wiped off the map at the end of the last World War. Berlin was also the flashpoint of the Cold War between the United States and Russia. Their conflict split the city into two, leaving residents on either side cut off from each other in every way imaginable for a generation.

Read more
The Two-Way
9:36 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
3:52 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 1:53 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
5:40 am
Fri September 12, 2014

Additional EU Sanctions Target Russia's Actions In Ukraine

Originally published on Fri September 12, 2014 12:03 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit



Read more
5:53 am
Wed September 3, 2014

Ukraine Announces Cease-Fire With Russia

Originally published on Wed September 3, 2014 7:22 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit

4:07 am
Tue September 2, 2014

Despite Shelling, Ukrainian Workers Keep On Watering The Flowers

A man walks past burnt vehicles near a railway station after recent shelling in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, Aug. 29.
Maxim Shemetov Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Tue September 2, 2014 1:55 pm

Shelling has gone on almost nonstop for months in and around Donetsk, which is the largest city in eastern Ukraine. A third of the 1 million residents have fled this regional capital.

Yet other than emptier than usual streets, life appears oddly normal here. Municipal workers who have remained are ensuring electric power and running water reach as many homes and businesses as possible. Public buses are running. Trash is picked up, and bushes in the many parks and boulevards are manicured. The flowers get watered.

Read more
6:55 am
Sun August 31, 2014

Ukrainian City Braces For Increasingly Lopsided Fight

Originally published on Sun August 31, 2014 12:31 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit

5:07 pm
Sat August 30, 2014

Despite Quiet, Ukraine's Novoazovsk Still Feels Like A War Zone

Originally published on Sat August 30, 2014 5:37 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit



It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR West. I'm Arun Rath. In Brussels today, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko warned that the months-long conflict with Russia could broaden.


Read more
3:07 pm
Fri August 29, 2014

Residents Join Soldiers In Shoring Up Defenses Of Key Ukrainian Port

Originally published on Fri August 29, 2014 7:40 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit



Read more