Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson

Foreign correspondent Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson is based in Cairo and covers the Arab world for NPR from the Middle East to North Africa. Her reports can be heard on NPR's award-winning programs including Morning Edition and All Things Considered.

In 2006, Nelson opened the NPR Kabul Bureau. During the following three and a half years, she gave listeners an in-depth sense of life inside Afghanistan, from the increase in suicides among women in a tribal society that sees them as second class citizens, to the growing interference of Iran and Pakistan in Afghan affairs and the impact of Western policies in the region. For her coverage of Afghanistan, she won a Peabody award, Overseas Press Club award and Gracie in 2010.

Nelson came to NPR in 2006, after spending more than two decades as a newspaper reporter. She served as Knight Ridder's Middle East Bureau Chief from 2002 to 2005 where she specialized in covering Iran. As a reporter for the Los Angeles Times, Nelson was sent on extended assignment to Iran and Afghanistan following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Nelson spent three years as 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. She also spent time at the the Orange County Register covering Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

A graduate of the University of Maryland, Nelson speaks Farsi, Dari, and German. She is married to long-time reporter Erik Nelson and they have a son.




Thu August 25, 2011

Libyan Rebels Ask Oil Workers To Return To Brega

Now that the regime of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi is crumbling, residents of some cities outside the capital are returning to their homes. Brega, site of an important oil installation, is one such city. It changed hands several times during the conflict but it is firmly in rebel hands, and its residents are trying to re-establish their lives.


Tue August 23, 2011
NPR Story

Gadhafi's Son Reappears In Tripoli

The dramatic reappearance of Seif al-Islam Gadhafi in Tripoli has cast a pall of gloom over the rebel headquarters in Benghazi. The rebels had announced Gadhafi's capture just 24 hours earlier, promising to hand him over to the International Criminal Court. But the mood in Benghazi changed dramatically later in the day when rebel forces stormed and seized Gadhafi's compound in Tripoli.


Mon August 22, 2011
NPR Story

Libyan Rebels Say Gadhafi's Reign Is Over

The head of Libya's rebel provisional government declared Moammar Gadhafi's reign is over — though battles continue in the country's capital of Tripoli, and Gadhafi's whereabouts remain a mystery.


Mon August 22, 2011
Middle East

Egyptians Fear Military Stymies Democracy Push

The Egyptian military is cracking down on pro-democracy activists, particularly those using the Internet to convey their message. The military rulers are also putting out statements to try to turn public sentiment against the activists, who were pivotal in starting the uprising that ousted former leader Hosni Mubarak.


Fri July 29, 2011
Culture And Traditions

At 7 Days, Egyptian Babies Mark First Rite Of Passage

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 9:36 am

Israa Saad Diab lifts the cover from her son Hamza's face, while her husband, Ibrahim Muhammad, watches, after the traditional Sebou ceremony in Mansoura, Egypt, on May 27.
Holly Pickett for NPR

In Egypt, survival and the number 7 are inextricably linked. It's on the seventh day that a child's existence is first formally acknowledged to the world in a ritual that dates back to Pharaonic times.

But the ancient tradition — called the Sebou — has taken on new and not always happy turns since a revolution earlier this year ousted longtime President Hosni Mubarak.

Building An Infant's Character

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