Ari Shapiro

Ari Shapiro is an NPR international correspondent based in London. An award-winning journalist, his reporting covers a wide range of topics and can be heard on all of NPR's national news programs, including Morning Edition and All Things Considered.

Prior to his current post, Shapiro reported from the NPR Washington Desk as White House Correspondent during President Barack Obama's first and second terms, as Justice Correspondent during the George W. Bush administration and as a regular guest host on NPR's newsmagazines. He is also a frequent analyst on CNN, PBS, NBC and other television news outlets.

Shapiro's reporting has consistently won national accolades. The Columbia Journalism Review recognized him with a laurel for his investigation into disability benefits for injured American veterans. The American Bar Association awarded him the Silver Gavel for exposing the failures of Louisiana's detention system after Hurricane Katrina. He was the first recipient of the American Judges' Association American gavel Award, recognizing a body of work on U.S. courts and the American justice system. And at age 25, Shapiro won the Daniel Schorr Journalism Prize for an investigation of methamphetamine use and HIV transmission.

An occasional singer, Shapiro makes guest appearances with the "little orchestra" Pink Martini, whose recent albums feature several of his contributions. Since his debut at the Hollywood Bowl in 2009, Shapiro has performed live at many of the world's most storied venues, including Carnegie Hall in New York, L'Olympia in Paris, and Mount Lycabettus in Athens.

Shapiro graduated from Yale University magna cum laude and began his journalism career in the office of NPR Legal Affairs Correspondent Nina Totenberg.

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5:00pm

Thu March 19, 2015
Parallels

Why Russia's Economic Slump Has Been Good For London

Originally published on Fri March 20, 2015 3:29 am

The view west from London's newest skyscraper looks over the River Thames and St. Paul's Cathedral. Russians have flocked to the English property and banking sectors as the economy crumbles back home.
Peter Macdiarmid Getty Images

One year ago, the U.S. and Europe started imposing sanctions against Russia to punish it for seizing part of Ukraine. At the time, many British analysts feared the sanctions would hurt London, because of England's close economic ties to Russia.

A year later, with Russia's economy in recession, London is thriving. And this may not be despite the crisis in Russia; London may be doing well partly because of Moscow's economic turmoil.

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5:24am

Sun March 15, 2015
The Salt

The Fate Of The World's Chocolate Depends On This Spot In Rural England

Originally published on Tue March 17, 2015 1:49 pm

Rows of potted cocoa plants from around the world. Before a cocoa variety from one country can be planted in another, it first makes a pit stop here, at a quarantine center in rural England.
Courtesy of Dr. Andrew J. Daymond

Walk into a row of greenhouses in rural Britain, and a late English-winter day transforms to a swampy, humid tropical afternoon. You could be in Latin America or sub-Saharan Africa, which is exactly how cocoa plants like it.

"It's all right this time of year. It gets a bit hot later on in the summer," says greenhouse technician Heather Lake as she fiddles with a tray of seedlings — a platter of delicate, spindly, baby cocoa plants.

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4:03pm

Tue March 10, 2015
It's All Politics

No Big Money Or TV Ads — What's With The U.K.'s Low-Key Election?

Originally published on Tue March 10, 2015 5:07 pm

Conservative party Chairman Grant Shapps speaks to party supporters after canvassing in London on Saturday.
Dan Kitwood Getty Images

In the U.K., national elections are less than two months away. In the U.S., the presidential election is more than a year away. But you could be forgiven for thinking it's the other way around.

America experiences a long, drawn-out election fever, while the U.K. hardly shows any symptoms at all. That is to say, almost none of the events most strongly associated with an American presidential campaign are part of a typical British national election.

Take political rallies, where the bleachers fill with thousands of flag-waving, screaming supporters.

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12:55pm

Wed March 4, 2015
Parallels

The British Group With A Very Different Take On 'Jihadi John'

Originally published on Wed March 4, 2015 8:29 pm

Mohammed Emwazi is a Kuwaiti-born Londoner believed to be "Jihadi John," the central figure in the beheading videos released by the self-declared Islamic State. A British group, Cage, was in contact with Emwazi several years ago and claims that his treatment by British security officials contributed to his radicalization.
Kyodo/Landov

Every day new details emerge about Mohammed Emwazi, believed to be the masked man with a British accent known as "Jihadi John" who appears in execution videos by the self-declared Islamic State. At the center of Emwazi's story is a divisive London-based organization called Cage.

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3:47am

Tue March 3, 2015
Religion

In English Town, Muslims Lead Effort To Create Interfaith Haven

Originally published on Wed March 4, 2015 5:49 pm

A Lego model of All Souls Church rests on the altar, which was retained when the Bolton, England, church was renovated into an interfaith community center. The model was built by children taking part in an after-school program there.
Ari Shapiro NPR

Inayat Omarji vividly remembers the worried reaction when he first looked into renovating the abandoned church in his neighborhood: "There's a bearded young Muslim chap involved in a church! Whoops! He's gonna turn it into a mosque!"

At the time, Omarji was head of the local council of mosques, but there already were three or four in his neighborhood in Bolton, England.

"What it needed is a place where people could meet, people can come to, people can socialize," he says.

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10:19am

Fri February 27, 2015
Parallels

After 6,000 Years, Time For A Renovation At Iraq's Citadel

Originally published on Sat February 28, 2015 10:40 am

Construction workers at the Erbil Citadel, which was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site last year.
Ari Shapiro NPR

A map of the northern Iraqi city of Erbil looks like a dart board: circles, radiating outward from a central core. The bull's-eye sits high on a hill, crowned by ancient walls.

The Erbil Citadel has stood here for at least 6,000 years. It's one of the oldest — and possibly the oldest — continuously inhabited sites on Earth.

The stories coming from this region these days are primarily ones of destruction and war. But here, in the Citadel, there's a different narrative, that of a plan to rebuild, restore and revitalize this ancient site.

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4:23am

Mon February 23, 2015
Parallels

Brutal ISIS Tactics Create New Levels Of Trauma Among Iraqis

Originally published on Mon February 23, 2015 3:47 pm

An Iraqi child who fled fighting between the so-called Islamic State and Kurdish peshmerga is among the some 3,000 people living at the Baharka camp, near Irbil, the capital of the Kurdish autonomous region in northern Iraq, on Jan. 16.
Safin Hamed AFP/Getty Images

At a camp for displaced people in northern Iraq, you pass rows of tents to reach the clinic run by the International Medical Corps. They have medicines to treat all kinds of problems: diabetes shots, vaccines, heart pills.

But it's harder to cure what's afflicting one woman in particular.

"The pain inside of me is so deep," she says. "I just cry every day."

Militants from the group that calls itself the Islamic State kidnapped the woman's adult son in June, and she doesn't know his fate.

Her husband expresses the loss in more destructive ways.

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4:27pm

Sun February 22, 2015
The Salt

Lamb Dumplings, Lentils And A Bittersweet Taste Of Home

Originally published on Sun February 22, 2015 7:22 pm

Traditional desserts, like these served in 2010 at the original Naranj restaurant in Damascus, offer sweet, familiar flavors at the restaurant's various locations in the Middle East. A platter like this shows up at the end of every meal at Naranj, and all the pastries are made in-house.
Jan Smith Flickr

For people living in a new country, a taste of home can be a powerful emotional experience.

All the more so when you've left your country because of war.

Iraq has taken in about a quarter-million people fleeing Syria's civil war. In the northern Iraqi city of Irbil, one of Syria's most famous restaurants is re-creating the tastes of Damascus.

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8:01am

Sun February 22, 2015
Parallels

Iraqi Kurds: We're Ready To Fight For Mosul

Originally published on Mon February 23, 2015 3:44 pm

Kurdish Peshmerga fighters take positions on the outskirts of Mosul on Jan. 26. The U.S. military says an offensive to drive the Islamic State out of Mosul is expected around April or May.
Azad Lashkari Reuters /Landov

American military officials announced that they are planning an operation in April or May to free Iraq's second-largest city, Mosul, from the group that calls itself the Islamic State, or ISIS. The extremist group has controlled the city since June, and the Pentagon says up to 25,000 Iraqi troops will take part in an offensive to reclaim the city.

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12:56pm

Fri February 20, 2015
Parallels

From A Mountain, Kurds Keep Watch On ISIS In Mosul

Originally published on Fri February 20, 2015 10:43 pm

Training at a new camp near the front line, a mix of Arabs and Kurds prepare for an assault on Mosul in upcoming months. The men will wear balaclavas to conceal their identities while they fight, because they have family in Mosul and don't want to put their relatives at risk.
Ari Shapiro NPR

Imagine standing on top of a mountain, looking down at your home in the valley below, and being unable to go there — even for a visit.

That's the situation for some Iraqi Kurds from the city of Mosul, Iraq's second-largest city. The group that calls itself the Islamic State, or ISIS, controls Mosul, flying its flags over the outskirts of the strategic northern Iraqi town.

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4:00pm

Mon February 16, 2015
Iraq

Just 55 Miles From ISIS Control, American Expats Carry On Life As Usual

Originally published on Mon February 23, 2015 1:15 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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4:17am

Mon February 16, 2015
Parallels

Not A Group House, Not A Commune: Europe Experiments With Co-Housing

Originally published on Tue February 17, 2015 5:03 pm

Alfafar, a suburb of Valencia, Spain, is suffering from a poor economy and high unemployment. A quarter of homes are abandoned. Here, a cafe is still open on the ground floor of an abandoned municipal building in Alfafar's Orba neighborhood, but upper floors used to house shops. A pair of Spanish architects hopes to revitalize the high-density housing in this working-class area.
Lauren Frayer NPR

This is the latest story from the NPR Cities Project.

In an abandoned building near Spain's Mediterranean coast, someone softly strums a guitar. Chord progressions echo through empty halls.

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7:27am

Sun February 15, 2015
Parallels

ISIS May Be Gone, But Life Has Yet To Return To Normal In Northern Iraq

Originally published on Sun February 15, 2015 12:49 pm

Before ISIS attacked it, the northern Iraqi town of Snuny had a population of nearly 150,000 — a mix of Kurdish Muslims and Yazidis, who belong to a religious ethnic minority in this region. Only about 10,000 have returned after Kurdish fighters reclaimed the city.
Ari Shapiro NPR

The graffiti in Snuny — an Iraqi city at the base of Mount Sinjar that Kurdish peshmerga fighters recently regained control of — provides a kind of shorthand for its recent history.

There's black graffiti on some buildings, proclaiming "This is the Islamic State." It's been scribbled out.

Over it, there's green or red graffiti, which proclaims "This is now the property of the Kurdish peshmerga."

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3:43am

Fri February 13, 2015
Parallels

Outmanned And Outgunned, Fighters Defend Yazidi Shrine Against ISIS

Originally published on Fri February 13, 2015 9:08 pm

The temple of Sharfadin in Northern Iraq is 800 years old, and followers of the Yazidi religion consider it one of the most sacred sites in the world. Though ISIS tried to destroy it, a small group of Yazidi fighters kept the shrine standing.
Ari Shapiro NPR

In Kurdistan today, every fighter knows the name Qasim Shesho. He's been fighting with the Kurdish peshmerga forces in northern Iraq since the 1970s.

Shesho is a Yazidi — an ethnic and religious minority in Iraq — and the protagonist in a tale that could have come from literature, or Hollywood, or the Bible. It is a universal story, about a vastly outnumbered group of men defending sacred ground against an onslaught.

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5:47am

Sun February 8, 2015
Parallels

Not Too Much, Not Too Little: Sweden, In A Font

Originally published on Thu February 12, 2015 6:57 pm

Courtesy of Soderhavet

Nearly every country has a national flag, a national anthem, a national bird. Not many countries have a national typeface.

Sweden recently commissioned a team of designers to come up with a font to represent the country on its websites, press releases, tourism brochures and more.

The offices of Soderhavet look exactly the way you would expect a Scandinavian design firm to look: clean, sleek and warm, with tasteful bursts of color sprinkled among the minimalistic furniture.

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