Nelson is now based in Cairo and covers the Arab world for NPR's award-winning news programs including Morning Edition and All Things Considered. For more than three years in Afghanistan for NPR, she gave listeners details about life in that country during wartime in stories that ranged from influences from Iran, Pakistan, and the United States on Afghan affairs to an increasing number of suicides among women in a tribal society where they are seen as second-class citizens.
NPR hired Nelson in 2006 after she spent more than two decades as a newspaper reporter. She was Knight Ridder's Middle East bureau chief, with a special focus on Iran, from 2002 to 2005. Following the 9/11 attacks the Los Angeles Times sent her on assignment to Iran and Afghanistan. She 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. A graduate of the University of Maryland, Nelson speaks Farsi, Dari, and German, as well as English.
The Lovejoy Award has been given annually since 1952 to recognize courage in journalism. It honors the memory of Elijah Parish Lovejoy, Colby's valedictorian in 1826 and an abolitionist publisher who was killed in Alton, Illinois in 1837 for condemning slavery. He is considered America's first martyr to freedom of the press.
This talk was recorded October 16, 2011 at Colby College in Waterville.
Visit the Colby College's Elijah Parish Lovejoy Convocation web page
Read Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson's bio on NPR's website