Sylvia Poggioli

Sylvia Poggioli is senior European correspondent for NPR's foreign desk and reports from Rome, Italy; the Balkans; other parts of Europe; and the Middle East. Poggioli can be heard on NPR's award-winning newsmagazines Morning Edition, All Things Considered, and Weekend Edition.

Since joining NPR's foreign desk in 1982, Poggioli's on-air analysis has encompassed the fall of communism in Eastern Europe, the turbulent civil war in the former Yugoslavia, and noteworthy coverage from Prague. In early 1991, she supplemented NPR's Gulf War coverage, reporting from London on European reactions to events surrounding the war.

In 2004, Poggioli was the inaugural recipient of the WBUR Foreign Correspondent Award, presented to an outstanding public radio foreign correspondent. In 2002, Poggioli received the Welles Hangen Award for Distinquished Journalism from Brown University. In 2000, Poggioli received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from Brandeis University. In 1994, Poggioli was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences "for her distinctive, cultivated and authoritative reports on 'ethnic cleansing' in Bosnia." In 1990, Poggioli spent an academic year at Harvard University as a research fellow at Harvard University's Center for Press, Politics, and Public Policy at the Kennedy School of Government.

From 1971 to 1986, Poggioli served as an editor on the English-language desk for the Ansa News Agency in Italy. Prior to her duties as editor, she worked at the Festival of Two Worlds in Spoleto, Italy. She was actively involved with women's film and theater groups.

Poggioli's reports on the Bosnian conflict earned two awards in 1993: the George Foster Peabody Award and the Edward Weintal Journalism Prize. She also won two awards in 1994, the National Women's Political Caucus/Radcliffe College Exceptional Merit Media Award and the Silver Angel Excellence in the Media Award. Poggioli was part of the NPR team that won the 2000 Overseas Press Club award for coverage of NATO's 1999 air war against Yugoslavia.

The daughter of Italian anti-fascists who were forced to flee Italy under Mussolini, Poggioli was born in Providence, Rhode Island, and grew up in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She graduated from Harvard College in 1968 with a bachelor's degree in romance languages and literature. She later studied in Italy under a Fulbright Scholarship.



Tue September 13, 2011

Sex-Abuse Victims Want Hague Tribunal To Investigate Vatican

Originally published on Tue September 13, 2011 12:44 pm

Members of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests pose in front of the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands, Tuesday. A group representing the victims is asking the world court to investigate top Vatican officials over the clerical sex abuse scandal.
Rob Keeris AP

The international tribunals at The Hague have dealt with horrific war crimes and brought Balkan war criminals and African warlords to trial.

Now, the tribunal is being asked to investigate top Vatican officials over the global clerical sex abuse scandal, and victims say these offenses meet the legal definition of crimes against humanity.

Pope Benedict XVI has repeatedly apologized for crimes committed by priests.

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Thu September 1, 2011
Crime In The City

Athens Cop On The Trail Of Modern Greece

Athens' Monastiraki neighborhood is a meeting place for Greek and Ottoman culture. Case in point: the 18-century Tzistarakis Mosque (left) sits below the Acropolis (center) and serves as a focal point for Monastiraki Square.
Julian Finney Getty Images

For millions of tourists who flock to Athens every year, the city at the foot of the Acropolis represents the cradle of democracy and the sublime art of antiquity.

But to crime writer Petros Markaris, the Athens of today is both a peaceful Balkan haven and a symbol of the ugliness of modern, corrupt societies. In his detective novels, he takes on the financial and social crises sweeping Greece.

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Fri August 12, 2011

European Central Bank Orders Italy To Reduce Debt

Originally published on Mon August 22, 2011 12:29 pm

With Italy in the crosshairs of the eurozone debt crisis, the European Central Bank is dictating to Rome the measures it should take to reduce its massive debt mountain.

But the government is divided over draconian measures that go against the grain of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's populist policies.

MP's of the Budget and Constitutional Affairs Committees were summoned back to Rome from their vacations for an emergency session — many of them tanned and fitter than usual.

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Tue August 9, 2011

Italians Bristle At The Price Of Financial Help

Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi, right, and Finance minister Giulio Tremonti at a new conference in Rome on Aug. 5. The European Central Bank has agreed to help Italy with its debt crisis, but is demanding tough austerity measures.
Andrew Medichini AP

This week, Italy became the front-line in the battle to save the euro.

But it isn't the Italians taking the lead. With indecision in Rome, the European Central Bank took the unprecedented move of dictating budget-cutting policies to the third largest economy in the euro-zone.

Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi will now have to accelerate tough austerity measures in exchange for help to solve the country's debt crisis.

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Thu August 4, 2011

Berlusconi Speech Falls Flat As Crisis Looms In Italy

Originally published on Thu August 4, 2011 12:35 pm

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi attends a debate on the Italian economic situation Wednesday at the Parliament in Rome. In a speech aimed at soothing concerns over a possible debt crisis, he said, "We have solid economic fundamentals. Our banks have liquidity and are solvent."
Tiziana Fabi AFP/Getty Images

Alarm is spreading through international markets as Italy, the eurozone's third largest economy, risks being sucked into the debt crisis. After a long silence, Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi addressed Parliament — and insisted that the country's economy is strong, while rebuffing opposition calls for his resignation.

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Fri July 29, 2011

Immigration, Integration Draw Attention In Norway

Originally published on Fri July 29, 2011 1:50 pm

People gather outside Oslo City Hall on Monday to participate in a "rose march" in memory of the victims of Friday's twin attacks in Norway. Anders Behring Breivik, who admitted to the attacks but entered a plea of not guilty, said he wanted to save Europe from Muslim immigration.
Emilio Morenatti AP

The brutal twin attacks in Norway last week by self-proclaimed Christian crusader Anders Behring Breivik have reignited an immigration debate in what had appeared to be the most serene multicultural society in Europe.‪ Norway's long-standing reputation as a welcoming haven for immigrants is being tested as its Muslim population grows.

Many immigrants live in the Oslo neighborhood of Greenland. There are a few indigenous Norwegians, but they rush by.‪ Many women shopping at grocery stores wear the hijab.‪

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Wed July 27, 2011

Crime Writers Expose Scandinavia's Dark Side

Anders Behring Breivik (shown in an undated video) is accused of killing at least 76 people in Norway. Scandinavian crime writers have focused on many of the social issues at play in Breivik's case.
AFP/Getty Images

Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg expressed confidence Wednesday that his country's open, democratic society will not be intimidated by a right-wing extremist's brutal twin attacks that killed at least 76 people.

But questions are being raised about authorities' failure to recognize the potential threat from the ultra-right — a threat that has been clearly described by some of the country's leading crime writers.

Five days after the bombing at the government district and the killing spree at a youth camp, a mood of collective sorrow still grips Norway.

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Tue July 26, 2011

Norway Questions Its Tolerance Of Extremism

Norway is starting a process of self-examination in the wake of last Friday's killings. In building an open and free society, there are those who believe Norwegians were too tolerant — even of those who threatened their society from within.


Fri July 15, 2011

Italy's Lawmakers Pass Austerity Measure

After days of market turmoil, the Italian parliament is rushing approval of an emergency budget to try to reassure international investors that Italy -– the world's 7th largest economy — will not be overwhelmed by the sovereign debt crisis.


Wed June 29, 2011

Greek Parliament Approves Austerity Package

Protesters clash with riot police during a 48-hour general strike in Athens on Wednesday.
Aris Messinis AFP/Getty Images

European leaders and international financial markets breathed a sigh of relief Wednesday when the Greek Parliament voted in favor of a highly unpopular package of austerity measures.

Passage of the measures had been a condition set by the European Union and IMF for release of the next installment of the $155 billion bailout agreed to last year.

But outside Parliament, the streets of Athens were turned into a war zone as protesters and anti-riot police engaged in running battles.

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Tue June 28, 2011
Middle East

Flotilla To Challenge Israel's Economic Blockade Of Gaza

Hundreds of pro-Palestinian activists from the U.S., Europe and Canada are organizing a 10-ship flotilla to challenge Israel's economic blockade of the Gaza Strip.

Israel says the blockade is necessary to prevent smuggling of arms into Gaza. Hanging over the mission is the dark shadow of last year's flotilla that ended with an Israeli commando raid on a Turkish vessel and left nine activists dead.

The hub of this year's operation is Athens, Greece, where organizers accuse Israel of using diplomatic pressure to sabotage their effort.

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Sat June 25, 2011

Has Greece Been Prescribed Bad Medicine For Crisis?

Greek police unions, coast guards and firemen protest outside the finance ministry in Athens against the new austerity package.
Loisa Gouliamaki AFP/Getty Images

Next week, the Greek government will reveal a five-year austerity plan drafted by the European Union, International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank.

Parliament's approval is required if Greece is to receive an installment of $17 billion as part of last year's international bailout. But the new measures include even deeper spending cuts and tax hikes than those that have triggered weeks of massive street demonstrations.

Many economists believe Greece's international lenders are prescribing a harmful and inefficient medicine.

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Wed June 22, 2011

Greece's Economic Crisis Upended Middle Class

A demonstrator plays drum in front of riot police outside the Greek Parliament in Athens. The protesters aren't the usual leftists and trade unionists with red banners. They're mostly middle-class Greeks waving the white and blue national flag.
Aris Messinis AFP/Getty Images

Greece's embattled prime minister survived a vote of confidence in Parliament early Wednesday. Next week, he faces an even tougher vote for further painful austerity measures to secure a fresh bailout from international lenders.

But the government has lost the people's confidence as tens of thousands of Greeks continue daily protests against devastating measures that have led to growing joblessness, homelessness and anxiety.

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Fri June 17, 2011

Greeks, Government Divided On Spending Cuts

Greece seems to be heading for early elections as the country digests the results of the political turmoil of the last three days. Prime Minister George Papandreou looks to be staying in power at least for now. But there is growing opposition to his policy of bowing to pressure from international lenders for more spending and benefit cuts.


Wed June 15, 2011
China: Beyond Borders

'Fast Fashion': Italians Wary Of Chinese On Their Turf

A Chinese employee works in a textile firm in the Macrolotto area in Prato, the biggest textile district in Europe, in 2005. The town has become home to the largest concentration of Chinese residents in Europe — many of whom are not legal.
Marco Bulgarelli Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

This month, NPR is examining the many ways China is expanding its reach in the world — through investments, infrastructure, military power and more. In this installment, a tale of two Chinatowns in very different circumstances — one in Italy and another in Lagos, Nigeria.

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Mon June 13, 2011

Berlusconi Waits For Outcome Of Referendums

Italians began voting over the weekend in referendums that could further hurt Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. He is still smarting from last month's big losses in local elections.


Sun June 5, 2011

Amid Unrest Over Austerity, Portugal Votes

Lisbon residents celebrate the St. Anthony, the city's native son. But amid the festivities, the mood in the country is inward looking.
Sylvia Poggioli NPR

Portuguese voters are going to the polls Sunday after months of economic and political disarray. Like Greece, Ireland and Spain, the country is mired in a spiraling debt crisis.

The new government will have to implement a tough austerity plan in exchange for a massive $112 billion international bailout. And the electorate's mood in Western Europe's poorest country is filled with anxiety over difficult times ahead.

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Fri June 3, 2011

New Portugal Government To Deal With Economic Crisis

This weekend, the people of Portugal vote in an election to choose a new government to replace the one that collapsed over its unpopular austerity program. Portugal is deeply in debt, and has promised to make unpopular changes in welfare and labor policies in return for a massive bailout by the IMF and the European Union.


Tue May 31, 2011

Mladic Extradited To The Hague To Stand Trial

Ratko Mladic has been extradited to The Hague to face trial. The Bosnian Serb general is accused of genocide and war crimes carried out by forces under his command during the war in Bosnia in the early 1990s.


Thu May 26, 2011

Bosnia War Crimes Fugitive Ratko Mladic Arrested



This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.


And I'm Mary Louise Kelly.

From Belgrade today comes word that Europe's most-wanted war crimes fugitive has been arrested. Serb General Ratko Mladic faces genocide charges. He's been on the run since the Bosnia war ended in 1995.

NPR's Sylvia Poggioli joins us now with more.

Hey, Sylvia.


KELLY: So, how did they get him, and are they sure it's him?

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Mon May 23, 2011

Spain's 'Indignados' Want Greater Say In Politics

Spain's ruling Socialists suffered massive losses in local elections Sunday. Voters punished the government for the poor economy, tough austerity measures and Europe's highest unemployment rate.

The election came against the backdrop of snowballing sit-ins filling Spanish cities. The protesters want greater citizen participation in the political process.

Madrid's central square, Puerta del Sol, has become an urban encampment — with tents, chairs, couches and mattresses under blue tarpaulins.

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Mon May 16, 2011

IMF Chief's Arrest Renews Euro Debt Crisis Fears

IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn appeared in federal court on Monday in New York City. Greek economists say that under Strauss-Kahn's leadership, the IMF was a counterbalance to the strict austerity policies favored by northern European leaders.
Emmanuel Durand Pool/Getty Images

The arrest of International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn has sent shockwaves through Europe as it continues to deal with the euro debt crisis.

Strauss-Kahn was supposed to be in Brussels on Monday for an important meeting to discuss a possible further 60 billion euro bailout for Greece. He strongly supported policies that would help Greece avoid restructuring its massive public debt.

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Thu May 5, 2011
Conflict In Libya

U.S. Wants Libyan Rebels To Have Frozen Funds

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says the administration is trying to free some of the $30 billion of Libyan state funds frozen in the United States to help the rebels in Libya. Clinton is attending a meeting in Rome of the so-called "Libya Contact Group," where the Italian government said a special fund is being set up to channel money to rebel leaders in Benghazi. Two Arab Gulf states said they would make contributions to the fund: Kuwait promised $180 million, while Qatar said it would contribute between $400 million and $500 million.


Sun May 1, 2011

Pope Beatifies John Paul

St. Peter's Square in Vatican City was packed Sunday for the beatification of Pope John Paul II. The ceremony puts the late pope on the brink of sainthood.


Mon April 18, 2011

Immigration Issues Test Unity Of The European Union

Originally published on Mon April 18, 2011 1:26 pm

The Italian city of Ventimiglia borders France. Differences in immigration policies are emerging among European Union countries, including France, Germany and Italy.
Sylvia Poggioli NPR

In recent months, the European Union has been shaken by internal divisions over management of the single currency, the euro, and over NATO intervention in Libya. Now, even sharper differences have emerged over immigration.

A showdown is under way at the France-Italy border on the Riviera, where thousands of recently arrived Tunisian migrants are testing the notion of a united Europe.

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