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.

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The lush, green canopy that is Bialowieza Forest spans 350,000 acres between Poland and Belarus. It's a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is home to a variety of endangered species like the European bison, which is slightly larger and leaner than its American cousin.

It also has some of the last old-growth forest in Europe, untouched by human hands, and there is a great deal of international interest in preserving the forest's delicate ecology.

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The German government is looking for neo-Nazis inside the ranks of its own military. This follows the recent arrests of two army officers charged in a far-right terror plot against refugees and politicians. NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson reports.

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An American university in Hungary is fighting for survival. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban wants to shut it down, even though European Union officials are warning him not to. NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson reports.

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There's a saying that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Apparently, so is history.

In the case of Poland's new Museum of the Second World War, the beholder is the nationalist government. Run by the populist Law and Justice Party, it has declared the museum an expensive mess that waters down Polish history and should be closed — or at a minimum, revamped. The museum opened March 23 in the northern port city of Gdansk, where World War II began when Germany invaded the city in 1939.

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It's perhaps the unlikeliest symphony orchestra in the world — an all-female ensemble from a strict Muslim society where it's often dangerous for young women to step outside of their homes unescorted. It's called Zohra — the name of a music goddess in Persian literature, according to its founder.

And they were performing at an unlikely venue — a hall attached to Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, a bombed-out ruin in western Berlin commemorating the horrors of World War II. It's just steps from where Berliners experienced their first ISIS-linked terror attack six weeks ago.

Emboldened by Donald Trump's win and inauguration, several of Europe's top populist leaders gathered in Germany this weekend to strategize on how they might help each other in their upcoming national elections.

Marine Le Pen, who heads France's far-right National Front, proved especially popular with the largely German crowd that packed a convention hall yesterday in the historic western city of Koblenz, nestled between the scenic Rhine and Mosel Rivers.

The 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, from Fort Carson, Colo., has begun moving into Poland as part of the biggest U.S. military deployment in Europe since the end of the Cold War.

It's part of an Obama administration effort to deter perceived growing Russian aggression in Eastern Europe. The Kremlin isn't happy.

"These actions threaten our interests, our security," President Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said. "Especially as it concerns a third party building up its military presence near our borders. It's not even a European state."

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And we begin this hour in Berlin. This evening, a truck slammed into a crowded Christmas market there. It happened in the western part of the city in the heart of a shopping district.

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The audience squirms as the actors put on skull caps and fake beards and shout about how great it is to be a German Muslim. They call for jihad, initially as a way to self-reflect and later, as a battle cry.

The actors ask, "How can you sit here in comfort when our brothers and sisters in Syria and Iraq are being slaughtered? What does your conscience say? Do you even have a conscience?"

Inside IS, it's called, is a play for German teens about the so-called Islamic State was featured recently at Grips Theater, the largest youth theater in Berlin.

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