Deborah Amos

Deborah Amos covers the Middle East for NPR News. Her reports can be heard on NPR's award-winning Morning Edition, All Things Considered and Weekend Edition.

Amos travels extensively across the Middle East covering a range of stories including the rise of well-educated Syria youth who are unqualified for jobs in a market-drive economy, a series focusing on the emerging power of Turkey and the plight of Iraqi refugees.

In 2009, Amos won the Edward Weintal Prize for Diplomatic Reporting from Georgetown University and in 2010 was awarded the Edward R. Murrow Life Time Achievement Award by Washington State University. Amos was part of a team of reporters who won a 2004 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Award for coverage of Iraq. A Nieman Fellow at Harvard University in 1991-1992, Amos was returned to Harvard in 2010 as a Shorenstein Fellow at the Kennedy School.

In 2003, Amos returned to NPR after a decade in television news, including ABC's Nightline and World News Tonight and the PBS programs NOW with Bill Moyers and Frontline.

When Amos first came to NPR in 1977, she worked first as a director and then a producer for Weekend All Things Considered until 1979. For the next six years, she worked on radio documentaries, which won her several significant honors. In 1982, Amos received the Prix Italia, the Ohio State Award, and a DuPont-Columbia Award for "Father Cares: The Last of Jonestown" and in 1984 she received a Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award for "Refugees."

From 1985 until 1993, Amos spend most of her time at NPR reporting overseas, including as the London Bureau Chief and as an NPR foreign correspondent based in Amman, Jordan. During that time, Amos won several awards, including an Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Award and a Break thru Award, and widespread recognition for her coverage of the Gulf War in 1991.

A member of the Council on Foreign Relations, Amos is also the author of Eclipse of the Sunnis: Power, Exile, and Upheaval in the Middle East (Public Affairs, 2010) and Lines in the Sand: Desert Storm and the Remaking of the Arab World (Simon and Schuster, 1992).

Amos began her career after receiving a degree in broadcasting from the University of Florida at Gainesville.

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6:22pm

Thu June 7, 2012
The Two-Way

In Syria, Some Places 'Are Already Living The Civil War'

A Syrian boy sits in the rubble of house which was destroyed during a military operation by the Syrian pro-Assad army in April in the town of Taftanaz, Syria.
AP

NPR's Deborah Amos has been covering the uprising in Syria since it began more than a year ago. Like other foreign reporters, she has had to cover much of the conflict from afar because the Syrian government has only rarely granted visas. She has just returned to Syria for the first time since last fall and sent this dispatch:

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10:37am

Thu May 31, 2012
Middle East

Preaching Nonviolence, Syrian Activist Heads Home

Sheik Jawdat Said, 81, has been urging nonviolent protest in Syria for decades, and has been arrested many times. A scholar and an activist, shown here speaking at American University in Washington in March, he is heading back to Syria this week and plans to resume his call for peaceful opposition to the government.
Jeff Watts American University

Syria's foremost proponent of nonviolent protest says he's returning to Damascus this week and will keep delivering his long-standing message despite the country's worsening bloodshed.

Sheik Jawdat Said is an 81-year-old Islamic scholar whose books and teachings helped inspire young Syrian activists to challenge the regime in peaceful protests last year.

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6:33am

Sun May 13, 2012
Middle East

Largely Unseen, Syria Carries Out Arrest Campaign

Syrian President Bashar Assad's government has waged a two-pronged campaign against the opposition, critics say. His military continues to fight, while nonviolent activists are being detained in increasing numbers, according to monitoring groups.
AFP/Getty Images

President Bashar Assad's regime has launched a new and sweeping arrest campaign of opposition activists and intellectuals in the past few weeks, according to Western analysts and diplomats.

The growing tally of arrests has gone largely unnoticed, overshadowed by the daily violence that threatens to jeopardize the U.N. peace plan. But in combination, both are undermining the already faint hopes of peace.

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10:22am

Thu April 19, 2012
Middle East

For Syria, A 'Lawrence Of Arabia' Moment

Syrians walk through a badly damaged neighborhood in the central city of Homs on Sunday. Despite a declared cease-fire, fighting has continued in a number of Syrian cities, and peace efforts are at risk of collapsing.
AP

In the final scenes of the classic film Lawrence of Arabia, the Arab rebel fighters are wrapped up with internal, petty squabbles in Damascus as the great powers maneuver for the future of Syria.

Now, nearly a century after the events depicted in that movie, there's a similar Lawrence of Arabia moment playing out in Syria.

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10:39am

Wed April 11, 2012
Middle East

At The Met: A Middle East Transition, Centuries Ago

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 10:53 am

The Met's exhibit examines Christian Byzantium and Islam as they first came into contact in the Middle East in the seventh to ninth centuries. This ivory carving is from what is known as the Grado Chair, a Christian artifact from the Eastern Mediterranean or Egypt in the seventh to eighth century.
Reunion des Musees Nationaux/Art Resource, NY The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The yearlong tumult of the Arab Spring has reached all the way to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

A stunning and timely new show, "Byzantium and Islam: Age of Transition," covers exactly the places caught up in modern day revolts, and many of the developments from more than a millennium ago are closely linked to the events of today.

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11:36am

Wed March 14, 2012
Middle East

Aid Group's Role In Syria Pushes Limits

Originally published on Wed March 14, 2012 1:07 pm

Campaigners from the international advocacy group Avaaz protest Russian arms sales to the Syrian government during a demonstration in front of the Russian Embassy in Berlin on Nov. 2.
Michael Sohn AP

A year into the Syrian uprising, with the world community reluctant to intervene, one international group has taken a direct and risky role in Syria — even taking part in the high-profile rescue of Western journalists from the besieged city of Homs.

Avaaz, a global online pressure group based in New York, has given crucial support to the uprising and the Syrian activist networks that aim to topple the regime of President Bashar Assad.

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2:35pm

Fri February 17, 2012
The Two-Way

A Passion To Bear Witness: Why War Correspondents Take The Risk

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 11:01 am

Shadid won two Pulitzer prizes for international reporting, in 2004 and 2010. Here, he poses on the campus of Brown University in the year of his second win.
Steven Senne AP

Journalists don't talk about the danger. They don't usually recount the moments of agonizing terror that come after a bad decision to continue on down the road as the faint sound of mortar shells grows louder.

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4:27pm

Tue February 7, 2012
Africa

In Morocco, The Arab Spring's Mixed Bounty

Originally published on Tue February 7, 2012 6:26 pm

Relatives of Abdelwahab Zaydoun, a 27-year-old Moroccan who set himself on fire to protest his unemployment and died from his burns, react to his death in Casablanca last month. A year after street protests in Morocco prompted some reforms, Moroccans remain discontent with the gap between rich and poor, and the slow strides toward democracy.
Abdeljalil Bounhar AP

12:41pm

Thu February 2, 2012
Middle East

30 Years Later, Photos Emerge From Killings In Syria

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 11:03 am

This week marks the 30th anniversary of the Hama massacre of 1982 in central Syria. According to Abu Aljude, who was 16 at the time, these images are documentation of the destruction by President Hafez Assad's regime. In this image, Aljude identifies a bombed Christian church.
Courtesy of Abu Jade

Syria's protest generation is obsessed with images.

Thousands of videos have been posted on YouTube during the 10-month revolt against President Bashar Assad's regime, even as regime snipers take deadly aim at the photographers.

The smugglers who carry critical medical supplies to underground clinics in protest cities also smuggle in cameras hidden in baseball caps and pocket pens. The obsession comes from the conviction that documenting the brutality will stop it — this time.

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12:01am

Fri January 27, 2012
Africa

In Morocco, Unemployment Can Be A Full-Time Job

Originally published on Fri January 27, 2012 10:04 am

Demonstrators carry posters of Abdelwahab Zaydoun, who set himself on fire and died from his burns Tuesday. Zaydoun was part of a movement protesting unemployment in Morocco.
Abdeljalil Bounhar AP

It is rush hour in Rabat, the Moroccan capital, and time for the march of unemployed college graduates.

They are part of a movement that has become a rite of passage. It's a path to a government career for a lucky few, even though it can take years.

"I have a degree, a master's degree in English, and I'm here ... idle without a job, without dignity, without anything," protester Abdul Rahim Momneh says.

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6:31am

Sun January 22, 2012
Africa

In Morocco, Islamists Learn To Work With A King

Morocco's Islamist Justice and Development Party heads the country's new government, the result of snap elections called by the king. Here, Abdelilah Benkirane, the party's secretary general and now prime minister, arrives for an election rally in Sale on Nov. 1. The party now faces political as well as economic challenges.
Paul Schemm AP

An Islamist party heads Morocco's newly elected government, part of a wave of Islamist election victories following uprisings across North Africa.

But Morocco's case is a bit different. King Mohammed VI responded quickly to a pro-democracy movement last year with a new constitution and snap elections. The Justice and Development Party, known as the PJD, won the most votes in November. Now, Moroccans ask: How will this popular Islamist party govern?

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12:01am

Fri January 20, 2012
Africa

For Moroccan Activists, The King's Reforms Fall Short

Originally published on Fri January 20, 2012 8:42 am

Morocco's King Mohammed VI introduced reforms after protests began last February. But activists say the measures didn't go far enough and they are still taking to the streets. Here, the king is shown in his palace in Rabat on June 17.
Azzouz Boukallouch AP

When a pro-democracy movement took to the streets of Morocco last February, King Mohammed VI, who has been on the throne for more than decade, responded swiftly.

Within weeks, the king had proposed a new constitution and snap elections. The Moroccan example of reforms without violence was hailed by some as a model.

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