NPR Correspondent Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson Visits Bloomington, Awarded Hamilton Fellowship

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

NPR international correspondent Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson visited Bloomington in early December to meet with students and faculty, speak at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater, and receive the Lee H. Hamilton Public Service Fellowship.

Nelson, who has been in Paris covering the terrorist attacks, gave a public lecture Dec. 3 at Buskirk-Chumley on “War, Migration and Terror: The Globalization of Regional Conflict.” For a report on Nelson’s lecture, see the Indiana Daily Student article by Julie Masterson at

As an international correspondent for NPR, Nelson has reported on the Arab world, Egypt’s transition to democracy and the inner workings of the everyday lives of Afghanis. She is based in Berlin covering Central Europe and can be heard on the programs Morning Edition and All Things Considered. Previously, she worked for NPR in Cairo and Kabul, winning a Peabody Award, Overseas Press Club Award, and Gracie in 2010 for her coverage of Afghanistan.

Before her career in radio, Nelson was a reporter and editor for Newsday, the Los Angeles Times, and Knight Ridder, for whom she was Middle East bureau chief. At Newsday, she was part of the team that won the 1997 Pulitzer Prize for spot news for stories about the 1996 crash of TWA Flight 800. 

Nelson’s visit to campus was co-sponsored by the IU Center on Representative Government, the IU Media School, and the Institute for Advanced Study.

The Hamilton Public Service Fellowship honors the ideal of public service and the career of Lee Hamilton, who served 34 years in the U.S. House of Representatives, retired from office in 1999, and founded the IU Center on Congress, now the Center on Representative Government. He is a Distinguished Scholar at the IU School of Global and International Studies and a Professor of Practice at the IU School of Public and Environmental Affairs. The purpose of the fellowship is to bring to Bloomington a person of civic prominence to present a public lecture, talk to classes, and meet informally with students, faculty, and the broader community.

 Nelson is the fifth recipient of the Hamilton Fellowship. The others were: Jim Lehrer, longtime anchor of PBS NewsHour, who visited Bloomington in April 2012; David Sanger, chief Washington correspondent of The New York Times (March 2013); David Ignatius, a columnist for The Washington Post (November 2013); and Margaret Warner, chief foreign correspondent for PBS NewsHour (February 2015).