Gregory Warner

Gregory Warner is NPR's East Africa Correspondent. His reports cover the diverse issues and voices of a region that is experiencing unparalleled economic growth as well as a rising threat of global terrorism. His coverage can be heard across NPR and NPR.org.

Before joining NPR, Warner was a senior reporter for American Public Media's Marketplace, where he endeavored to make the economics of American health care vivid and engaging. He's used puppets to illustrate the effects of Internet diagnoses on the doctor-patient relationship. He composed a Suessian cartoon to explain why health care job growth policies can increase the national debt. His musical journey into the shadow world of medical coding won the 2012 Best News Feature award from the Third Coast International Audio Festival.

Prior to Marketplace, Warner was a freelance radio producer reporting from conflict zones around the world. He climbed mountains with smugglers in Pakistan for This American Life, descended into illegal mineshafts in the Democratic Republic of Congo for Marketplace's "Working" series, and lugged his accordion across Afghanistan on the trail of the "Afghan Elvis" for NPR's Radiolab.

Warner's radio and multimedia work has won awards from Edward R Murrow, New York Festivals, AP, PRNDI, and a Sigma Delta Chi award from the Society of Professional Journalists. He has twice won Best News Feature from the Third Coast International Audio Festival in 2009 and 2012.

Warner earned his degree in English at Yale University. He is conversant in Arabic.

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4:09pm

Wed August 27, 2014
Africa

When Do Food Shortages Become A Famine? There's A Formula For That

Originally published on Wed August 27, 2014 7:29 pm

A child with suspected malnutrition is examined at a medical clinic in Malakal, South Sudan, in July.
Matthew Abbott AP

Chris Hillbruner has a little-known job with an extraordinary responsibility: to determine how close a given country has come to famine.

In his six years at the U.S. government's Famine Early Warning Systems Network, or FEWS NET, he's only officially declared famine once before, in Somalia in 2011.

Hillbruner explains that the bar for declaring famine was deliberately set high to avoid the confusion of the 1980s and 1990s, when well-meaning aid agencies acted like the boy who cried wolf.

"Famine," Hillbruner says, "is a word that gets thrown around a lot."

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4:00am

Fri August 15, 2014
Planet Money

Fleeing War And Finding Work

Originally published on Fri August 15, 2014 8:20 am

Ali Daud Omar will repair your cell phone for $6. He's one of the refugees benefiting from the Ugandan government's right-to-work policy.
Gregory Warner/NPR

In most parts of the world, refugees are not allowed to work.

But in Uganda, refugee life is different. One of the oldest refugee camps in Africa is remarkable not just for its stone houses instead of plastic tarps. The camp is also full of markets and traders, selling everything from imported fabric to smartphones.

Mohammed Osman Ali, a Somali refugee, runs an arcade at the camp. He rents out time on a PlayStation to other refugees from Eritrea, Ethiopia, or fellow Somalis.

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4:16pm

Thu August 14, 2014
Africa

Kenyan Health Workers Fear Ebola May Take Flight

Originally published on Thu August 14, 2014 6:35 pm

Kenya's international airport is on high alert, since the Kenya Medical Association has called on the national airline to suspend flights due to concerns over the Ebola outbreak. The airline has responded by pledging faith in its new screening procedures. The World Health Organization has labeled Kenya a "high risk" country for the spread of Ebola.

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4:17pm

Tue August 5, 2014
Africa

Shadow Events Hope To Skim Some Attention From U.S.-Africa Summit

Originally published on Wed August 6, 2014 9:47 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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6:46pm

Sun August 3, 2014
Parallels

Africa's Leaders Aim To Change Perception Of The Continent

Originally published on Mon August 25, 2014 12:11 pm

Scores of African leaders gather in Washington this week at an unprecedented summit organized by President Obama.
Paul J. Richards AFP/Getty Images

Africa rarely gets a break — in the news headlines, anyway. But as the spread of the deadly Ebola virus continues to dominate the news cycle, there's a very different story about Africa that threatens to be forgotten.

One way to start that story is with the nearly $1 billion worth of deals to be announced this week between the United States and Africa, at a historic U.S. summit that will bring President Obama together with the leaders of more than 40 African nations.

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11:11am

Tue June 10, 2014
Parallels

Western Countries Issue Warnings; Kenyan Tourism Gets Pummeled

Originally published on Thu June 12, 2014 7:43 pm

Two customers sit having a drink in the Diani Sea resort in Diani, Kenya, outside Mombasa, on May 16. Travel advisories issued by Western countries are hitting Mombasa hard, forcing hotel closures and thousands of workers to lose their jobs.
Ivan Lieman AFP/Getty Images

The Baobab Resort sits on the south coast of Kenya's Mombasa Island, but it has some of the homey feel of an old Catskills resort.

On a recent day, sounds from outside trickled into the resort's largest conference hall: children enjoying their last hour of daylight on the beach, staff members singing tunes from The Lion King, warming up for their evening show.

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8:50am

Mon June 9, 2014
Parallels

Escaping South Sudan's Violence Often Means Going Hungry

Originally published on Mon June 9, 2014 10:00 am

Women carry sticks in Ganyliel, South Sudan, an area protected from the violence in the country due to its isolation. But food there is scarce.
Gregory Warner NPR

Even in an undeveloped country like South Sudan, Ganyliel can feel like the middle of nowhere: a bunch of tiny islands surrounded by a gigantic swampy floodplain fed by the River Nile during rainy season. To get here, I took a helicopter from the capital, then ditched my sneakers for gumboots. I've waded out into water that's too deep for an SUV and too shallow for a speedboat.

I board a canoe made from a hollowed-out palm tree.

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12:29pm

Thu May 29, 2014
Parallels

With Swift, Quiet Moves, Nigerian Group Limits Religious Violence

Originally published on Fri May 30, 2014 10:20 am

A man cleans up the site of Tuesday's car bomb explosion in Jos, Nigeria, on Thursday. The city was spared deadly reprisals, in part because a peace group intervened.
Sunday Alamba AP

The city of Jos sits on an invisible fault line between Nigeria's mostly Christian south and its largely Muslim north. Its population is almost 50-50 Muslim-Christian.

So it's not surprising that twin car bombs in a crowded downtown vegetable market on May 20 killed both Christians and Muslims. Most of the 133 victims were women, and 25 were children.

But that could have been only the beginning of the killing, as was the case in the past.

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3:16am

Wed May 21, 2014
Africa

Relatives Of Kidnapped Girls: Bring Them Back — But Alive

Originally published on Wed May 21, 2014 9:30 am

People attend a rally in Abuja, Nigeria, calling on the government to rescue kidnapped school girls.
Sunday Alamba AP

Nigerians are asking themselves how far their government should go to bring almost 300 abducted schoolgirls back to their families.

The militants of Boko Haram, the Islamist extremist group that claimed responsibility for the kidnapping last month, have offered to swap the girls for some prisoners held by the government.

That offer was immediately rejected by the Nigerian government, but relatives of the girls say that firepower alone wont save them. They want the government to reconsider.

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4:16pm

Mon May 19, 2014
Africa

The Mood In Abuja, Where Missing Schoolgirls Cast Long Shadow

Originally published on Mon May 19, 2014 8:54 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel.

The president of Nigeria told a security conference in Paris this weekend that he is fighting out Al-Qaida in West Africa. Goodluck Jonathan was referring to Boko Haram, the group that abducted nearly 300 schoolgirls in Northern Nigeria a bit over a month ago.

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5:08pm

Sun May 18, 2014
Africa

Nairobi Bombings Are A Sign Of Spreading Militant Influence

Originally published on Sun May 18, 2014 6:28 pm

A pair of bombs killed at least 10 people in Kenya's capital on Friday. What do these and a slew of other attacks in Kenya say about the security situation in the country and the region?

5:33am

Sat May 17, 2014
Parallels

Nigerian Abductions Part Of A Terrible Pattern In African Conflicts

Originally published on Sat May 17, 2014 2:40 pm

A still image taken from a video that the extremist group Boko Haram says is of more than 100 girls who were abducted from a Nigerian school last month. Rebel kidnappings of girls has become increasingly common in African conflicts.
AFP/YouTube

The girls at St. Mary's slept uneasily that night. Rebels were rumored to be nearby and planning an attack. Calls for protection by school administrators to a nearby army outpost went unanswered.

By nightfall, all the girls "prayed to God and asked Him to take control of our lives," a 16-year-old would later tell a reporter. During the night, the girls heard boots. Then gunfire. Rough men's voices threatened to toss grenades through the dormitory windows if they didn't unlock the doors.

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5:30pm

Tue May 6, 2014
The Two-Way

Can Africans Do A Better Job Of Peacekeeping In South Sudan?

Originally published on Tue May 6, 2014 7:25 pm

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon holds a child at a refugee camp in Juba, South Sudan, on Tuesday. There have been increased calls for a contingent of African troops to be involved in peacekeeping operations.
AP

The commander of the rebel movement in South Sudan has agreed to talk peace — if he can make it out of his secret war bunker.

Riek Machar told U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon by phone on Tuesday that he would "try his best" to make it to Friday's scheduled sit-down in Ethiopia, but that he was "now in a very remote area."

There might be some truth to it: South Sudan is one of the least developed countries in the world, with almost no paved roads outside of the capital. The current rainy season can make travel virtually impossible.

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3:40am

Mon May 5, 2014
Parallels

South Sudan's Unrest Turns Politicians To Rebels, Tents To Homes

Originally published on Mon May 5, 2014 9:37 am

In the Tomping United Nations base in Juba, South Sudan, roughly 20,000 people live under tents and plastic tarps.
Gregory Warner NPR

It seems hard to believe now, but the tit-for-tat ethnic killing that threatens to tear apart the country of South Sudan began with little more than a political tug of war. I was almost pulled into it myself on a trip there in December. One early evening, I was in the middle of interviewing the former Minister of Education Peter Adwok when police came to arrest him.

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4:21pm

Fri May 2, 2014
Africa

In South Sudan, Peace Sought In Bringing Two Leaders Together

Originally published on Sat May 3, 2014 11:17 am

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Thousands have been killed in South Sudan since a political dispute devolved into targeted ethnic massacres. Secretary of State John Kerry visited South Sudan today. His trip is aimed at bringing the warring parties face to face to end the conflict. As NPR's Gregory Warner reports, the U.S. has special interest in the country because the United States is behind its political existence.

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4:54pm

Thu May 1, 2014
Africa

Kerry Announces Progress Toward Peacekeeping Force In South Sudan

Originally published on Thu May 1, 2014 8:32 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel.

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5:42pm

Fri April 18, 2014
Africa

Somalis In Kenya Are Used To Raids, But They Say This Was Different

Originally published on Fri April 18, 2014 8:12 pm

Kenyan security officers rounded up people Friday as part of a crackdown that has swept up thousands of undocumented refugees, immigrants and Kenyan citizens of Somali descent in recent weeks.
Tony Karumba AFP/Getty Images

Mohammed Ali Isaac's hands shook as he showed his Kenyan ID to the police officers. They let him pass, but his cousins weren't so lucky. The two women had forgotten their IDs at home, and the police were threatening to load them into one of three large trucks they'd brought for the purpose.

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4:08pm

Thu April 10, 2014
Parallels

How Rwanda's Only Ice Cream Shop Challenges Cultural Taboos

Originally published on Fri April 11, 2014 8:44 am

Alphansine Uwimana writes an order at Inzozi Nziza, or Sweet Dreams, Rwanda's first and only ice cream shop. There are logistical challenges, like power cuts, as well as cultural ones in a country where ice cream is not traditionally popular and women don't often run businesses.
Gregory Warner NPR

Rwanda has a warm climate, and the people love milk. You'd think ice cream would be an easy sell.

But mention ice cream to Chantal Kabatesi, and she rubs her jaw like she's at the dentist with a toothache. When she first tasted ice cream at the age of 35 "it was like eating hailstones," the kind that fall on her childhood village once or twice a year.

"I thought, 'Oh no, what are we serving to our customers? Is it dangerous?' " she said.

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4:33pm

Tue April 8, 2014
Parallels

Remembering Rwandans Who Followed Their Conscience

Originally published on Mon May 5, 2014 5:10 pm

Godleaves Mukamunana, left, hid Domitil Mukakumuranga, in her house for weeks so that Hutu militias wouldn't kill her. "Seeing her alive is the best thing," Mukamunana says. "That kind of relationship we have is priceless. The fact that I don't have more like her --€” those who were killed — that's what's hurting."
Gregory Warner NPR

Olive Mukankusi lives in a two-room house with mud walls and a dirt floor in a village called Igati, in eastern Rwanda's Rwamagana province. To get there, you have to drive about 30 minutes down a dirt road.

It's there, in her home, on a warm and sunny afternoon, that she tells a story that she's only told three times in 20 years: first to a local judge, then to an American genocide researcher — and now.

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5:54pm

Mon April 7, 2014
Africa

Rwanda Honors Dead, Celebrates Progress, 20 Years After Genocide

Originally published on Tue April 8, 2014 8:46 am

Rwandan women hold candles during a night vigil and prayer for genocide victims at Amahoro stadium.
Simon Maina AFP/Getty Images

After a minute of silence at noon, Monday's remembrance of the 20th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide began with testimony from a survivor.

The screaming started soon after.

In the crowd of 30,000 gathered in Amahoro stadium in Kigali, the Rwandan capital, first this person then that began to wail and thrash. Men in yellow vests took them to a special room of mattresses in the stadium basement.

In general, Rwandan culture discourages such outward displays of grief. But not during this time of year, when traumatic flashbacks are common.

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5:58pm

Sun April 6, 2014
Africa

How Abandonment In Rwandan Genocide Changed Peacekeepers' Role

Originally published on Sun April 6, 2014 6:50 pm

Family photographs of some of those who died hang in a display in the Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre in Rwanda's capital on Saturday.
Ben Curtis AP

It's been 20 years since the Rwandan genocide, in which political ideology and ethnic hatred gave license to thousands of Hutus to kill Tutsi families. But ethnic ideology may not have unleashed the genocide if the international community had not stepped back and allowed it to happen.

One notorious episode of abandonment changed forever the role of the United Nations peacekeeper. Early in the morning of April 7, 1994, thousands of Tutsis began arriving at a school on the outskirts of the capital, Kigali, seeking the protection of Belgian soldiers stationed there for the U.N.

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3:46am

Tue April 1, 2014
Parallels

What 'The Simpsons' Says About Ukraine's Language Divide

Originally published on Tue April 1, 2014 11:06 am

The Simpsons, which has been on-air longer than Ukraine has been an independent country, is popular there. Some Russian-speakers even say they find the show funnier when it is dubbed in Ukrainian rather than their native Russian.
Fox via Getty Images

Misha Kostin, a 21-year-old construction engineer in eastern Ukraine, loves The Simpsons. He's loved it for 10 years. He says the animated series "illustrates everyday life problems in humorous ways, and offers a useful moral at the end of each episode."

And though Kostin and most of the people in eastern Ukraine are native Russian speakers, he prefers to download episodes dubbed not in Russian but in his second language, Ukrainian. All his friends in the city of Donetsk prefer the version dubbed in Ukrainian.

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5:10pm

Fri March 28, 2014
World

In Ukraine's Industrial Heart, An Economic Affinity With Russia

Originally published on Fri March 28, 2014 6:34 pm

In Eastern Ukraine, the country's industrial heartland, many workers fear for their jobs if Ukraine joins the European Union.

4:24pm

Fri March 21, 2014
News

Without Orders, Ukrainian Troops Are Anchorless In Crimea

Originally published on Fri March 21, 2014 6:22 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

I'm Robert Siegel.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SIEGEL: Music and fireworks in Moscow today, as Russia formalized its annexation of Crimea. There was a more muted celebration in Brussels, where Ukraine signed a political association agreement with the European Union. Coming up, we'll talk about what Russia's new stance means for the U.S.

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4:36pm

Thu March 20, 2014
Europe

Crimean Tatars Fear History May Repeat Itself

Originally published on Fri March 21, 2014 6:20 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

In Crimea itself, the Russian takeover is working its way into many aspects of life. The new pro-Russian authorities have canceled the Ukrainian Civil Code, including all property documents. And there are rumors that anyone who refuses to accept a new Russian passport might have their property confiscated. That echoes the deepest fears of Crimea's Muslim minority, the Tatars.

NPR's Gregory Warner reports they have experienced that trauma before.

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4:31pm

Wed March 19, 2014
News

Russian Flags Fly Over Ukrainian Base — But Who Stormed It?

Originally published on Wed March 19, 2014 7:59 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Robert Siegel.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish.

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4:03pm

Tue March 18, 2014
News

Deadly Violence Breaks Out At Crimean Military Base

Originally published on Wed March 19, 2014 4:50 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

I'm Robert Siegel.

On Sunday, Crimea was part of Ukraine. Yesterday, according to Russian President Vladimir Putin, Crimea was an independent country. And today Putin and Crimean officials signed a treaty to make the peninsula part of Russia. We're going to hear a Russian view of these events coming up.

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4:44am

Tue March 18, 2014
World

Putin Moves Foward With Plans To Annex Crimea

Originally published on Tue March 18, 2014 5:24 am

Host David Greene speaks with NPR's Gregory Warner about Russian President Vladimir Putin's approval of a draft treaty to annex Crimea.

4:20pm

Mon March 17, 2014
News

Celebrations In Crimea — And Worries Among Troops Left Behind

Originally published on Mon March 17, 2014 6:33 pm

Now that Crimea has voted to separate from Ukraine and join Russia, Ukrainian troops still stationed on the peninsula have become even less secure.

5:31pm

Thu February 27, 2014
Africa

Jewels Lie Beneath The Violence In The Central African Republic

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 8:08 pm

A villager holds diamonds dug out from a mine outside the village of Sam Ouandja in northeast Central African Republic in 2007.
David Lewis Reuters/Landov

Morning Mass began with a hymn on a recent Sunday at the Infant Jesus Catholic Church in the Central African Republic town of Bouar. The Rev. Dominic Mbarta fretted about his sermon. The previous Sunday, when a Polish priest at the church simply asked the congregation to refrain from killing their Muslim neighbors or looting abandoned Muslim houses, the priest was threatened.

"They were so angry," Mbarta says. "They went back grumbling that the priest is not impartial. He is for the Muslims. He's not for the Christians."

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