Sylvia Poggioli

Sylvia Poggioli is senior European correspondent for NPR's international desk covering political, economic, and cultural news in Italy, the Vatican, Western Europe and the Balkans. Poggioli's on-air reporting and analysis have encompassed the fall of communism in Eastern Europe, the turbulent civil war in the former Yugoslavia and how immigration has transformed European societies.

Since joining NPR's foreign desk in 1982, Poggioli has traveled extensively for reporting assignments. Most recently, she travelled to Norway to cover the aftermath of the brutal attacks by an ultra-rightwing extremist; to Greece, Spain, and Portugal for the latest on the euro-zone crisis; and the Balkans where the last wanted war criminals have been arrested.

In addition, Poggioli has traveled to France, Germany, United Kingdom, The Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, Sweden, and Denmark to produce in-depth reports on immigration, racism, Islam, and the rise of the right in Europe.

Throughout her career Poggioli has been recognized for her work with distinctions including: the WBUR Foreign Correspondent Award, the Welles Hangen Award for Distinguished Journalism, a George Foster Peabody and National Women's Political Caucus/Radcliffe College Exceptional Merit Media Awards, the Edward Weintal Journalism Prize, 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 the war in Kosovo. In 2009, she received the Maria Grazia Cutulli Award for foreign reporting.

In 2000, Poggioli received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Brandeis University. In 2006, she received an honorary degree from the University of Massachusetts at Boston together with Barack Obama.

Prior to this honor, 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. She worked at the Festival of Two Worlds in Spoleto, Italy. She was actively involved with women's film and theater groups.

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 with a Bachelor's degree in Romance languages and literature. She later studied in Italy under a Fulbright Scholarship.

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5:08am

Tue March 10, 2015
Parallels

Architect Renzo Piano: The Future Of Europe's Cities Is In The Suburbs

Originally published on Tue March 10, 2015 12:16 pm

Italian architect Renzo Piano talks to journalists in Paris in 2014.
Eric Feferberg AFP/Getty Images

Architect Renzo Piano spends one week a month in his hometown of Genoa, Italy. His house-workshop is perched 300 feet above the Mediterranean Sea and can only be reached by a glass-enclosed funicular that crawls slowly up a steep incline dotted with cypress and olive trees. The airy, multi-story greenhouse workshop buzzes with young architects working on the many Piano projects under way across the world.

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8:23am

Sun March 8, 2015
World

For Women's Day, Group Takes A Messge To The Vatican

Originally published on Sun March 8, 2015 1:08 pm

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

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12:06pm

Thu February 26, 2015
The Two-Way

James Bond Meets His Match — The Roman Cobblestone

Originally published on Thu February 26, 2015 5:54 pm

Pedestrians cross the cobblestone Via dei Fori Imperiali in front of Rome's Colosseum.
Gregorio Borgia AP

The headline in today's La Repubblica was, "The streets of Rome bring Bond to a standstill — car hits pothole, Craig suffers head injury."

The newspaper reported that the accident occurred while actor Daniel Craig, reprising the role of the suave British spy in the 24th James Bond thriller, Spectre, was driving one of the movie's four custom-made Aston Martins on a narrow cobblestone street near the Vatican.

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11:51am

Fri February 20, 2015
The Two-Way

Dutch Soccer Fans Vandalize Rome's La Barcaccia Fountain

Originally published on Fri February 20, 2015 12:58 pm

A worker shows a destroyed fragment of the fountain called "Barcaccia," at the foot of the Spanish Steps in Rome. The fountain was damaged in clashes as Dutch soccer fans rampaged through the city.
Claudio Peri AP

Some 7000 fans of the Rotterdam soccer team Feyenoord are believed to have traveled to Rome for yesterday's Europa League game against AS Roma.

The game ended in a draw, 1-1, a needed anticlimax after two days of street battles.

On Wednesday, tourists fled and shops hurriedly closed their shutters as Dutch soccer fans took over the central marketplace known as Campo de' Fiori — Field of Flowers — and left it a field of trash.

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8:43am

Sat February 14, 2015
Religion

With New Cardinals, Pope Aims To Widen Horizons Of Church Leadership

Originally published on Sat February 14, 2015 10:54 am

Pope Francis leads the consistory at St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City. In addition to 15 new electors, Pope Francis named five new cardinals who are over the age of 80 and, therefore, ineligible to vote in a conclave.
Franco Origlia Getty Images

The Vatican was a sea of red vestments Saturday, as Pope Francis formally elevated 20 new cardinals. In a solemn ceremony known as a consistory, the second in Francis' two-year-old papacy, he presided over nearly the entire College of Cardinals at St. Peter's Basilica.

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4:24pm

Fri February 13, 2015
Religion

Pope Encounters Resistance On Some Reforms

Originally published on Fri February 13, 2015 6:29 pm

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

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5:25pm

Thu February 5, 2015
Parallels

Decades After His Murder, An Archbishop Is Put On Path To Sainthood

Originally published on Fri February 6, 2015 8:28 am

Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador (shown in 1977) was gunned down in a church in San Salvador in 1980 after criticizing a government crackdown. He had been celebrating Mass at the time.
AP

Archbishop Oscar Romero was one of the most prominent and controversial religious figures in Latin America when he was gunned down in 1980 during the early stages of El Salvador's civil war. His legacy has been debated ever since.

But just this week, Pope Francis ruled that Romero was killed "out of hatred for the faith," making him a martyr and setting the stage for his beatification.

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3:26am

Thu December 25, 2014
Parallels

Pope Francis And His Gift For Blending The Spiritual And The Political

Originally published on Thu December 25, 2014 7:00 am

Pope Francis waves to the faithful as he arrives in St. Peter's Square for his weekly audience, on Dec. 17, in Vatican City. Even among non-Catholics, the pope's popularity is high.
Franco Origlia Getty Images

In the 21 months since his election, the first pope to take the name of Saint Francis has emerged as a moral leader on the global stage, addressing both Catholics and the world beyond.

A recent Pew worldwide survey showed an overwhelmingly favorable view of the pope. And that was before his crucial role in the U.S.-Cuba thaw was revealed.

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4:23pm

Thu November 27, 2014
Parallels

In A Land Of Few Christians, Pope Will Reach Out To Muslims In Turkey

Originally published on Thu November 27, 2014 7:12 pm

Pope Francis waves in Saint Peter's square at the Vatican. The pope heads to Turkey on Friday, a country with few Catholics, but he plans to reach out to Muslims and to the Orthodox Church.
Tony Gentile Reuters/Landov

Pope Francis is heading to Turkey for what could be one of the most challenging trips of his young papacy.

The three-day visit, which begins Friday, will be a mix of the religious and political, with the pope addressing topics ranging from Christian unity to the worsening plight of Christians in the Muslim-dominated Middle East.

While the Catholic and Orthodox churches have been divided since the "Great Schism" nearly a millennium ago, Francis will attend Sunday's celebration of St. Andrew, patron saint of the Greek Orthodox Church.

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4:23am

Mon October 20, 2014
Religion

Catholic Synod Highlights Divisions, Sets Stage For Future Battles

Originally published on Tue October 21, 2014 2:29 pm

Pope Francis attends a session of the two-week synod at the Vatican that wrapped up over the weekend. The usually predictable event produced a robust debate among the bishops on how the Catholic Church should deal with gays as well as Catholics who are divorced or remarried.
Gregorio Borgia AP

Over the past few decades, assemblies of Roman Catholic bishops meeting in Rome, known as synods, have been predictable events that have always upheld the viewpoints of the reigning pope.

But with the widely popular Pope Francis, nothing is predictable.

A two-week-long synod on family issues that wound up this weekend was tumultuous, and the results showed a church deeply divided over how to deal with gays and with divorced and remarried Catholics.

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4:39pm

Mon October 13, 2014
Parallels

For Italy's Gay Rights Advocates, It's 1 Step Forward, 2 Steps Back

Originally published on Mon October 13, 2014 8:19 pm

Counterdemonstrators in favor of LGBT rights wear pink triangles, reminiscent of those homosexuals were forced to wear in Nazi concentration camps.
Sylvia Poggioli NPR

Ancient Rome may have been open to all sorts of sexual mores, but modern Italy is less so. The country lags far behind its European Union partners in guaranteeing equal rights for homosexuals.

Gay couples have no legal recognition or adoption rights in Italy, and a bill presented last year outlawing discrimination on the grounds of homophobia has been bogged down in parliament by right-wing opposition.

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6:13pm

Wed October 8, 2014
Parallels

In 'Season Of Mercy,' Will Vatican Rethink Communion For Divorcees?

Originally published on Thu October 9, 2014 9:58 am

Faithful hold candles during a vigil prayer in preparation for the synod on the family on Oct. 4, at St. Peter's Square at the Vatican.
Gabriel Bouys AFP/Getty Images

Some 200 bishops from around the world are gathered at the Vatican for a two-week assembly to discuss issues related to the family, including artificial contraception, premarital sex and ministering gay unions.

But one of the most controversial is a proposal to allow divorced and remarried Catholics to receive Holy Communion — taboo in church doctrine for 2,000 years.

In February, Pope Francis tapped one of his favorite theologians, German Cardinal Walter Kasper, to address a meeting of all the cardinals.

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10:36am

Sun October 5, 2014
Religion

Vatican Synod Tests The Pope's Vision Of A More Merciful Church

Originally published on Sun October 5, 2014 1:51 pm

Archbisop of New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan (left) attends the Opening Mass of the Synod of Bishops celebrated by Pope Francis in St. Peter's Basilica on Sunday in Vatican City. The two-week conference will discuss family issues, including controversial topics like divorce and contraception.
Franco Origlia Getty Images

Pope Francis has summoned bishops from all over the world to Rome to discuss issues concerning families – including hot-button issues like artificial contraception and gay civil unions.

The meeting, called a synod, opened on Sunday and is seen as a test of Francis' vision of a more merciful Church.

Not since the landmark Second Vatican Council half a century ago has a church meeting raised so much hope among progressive Catholics — and so much apprehension among conservatives.

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4:56am

Sun August 24, 2014
Parallels

Italy Undertakes Lonely, Expensive Mission To Aid Migrants At Sea

Originally published on Sun August 24, 2014 12:13 pm

A slide of migratory flows in the Mediterranean Sea from the Mare Nostrum operation is displayed in the control room of the Italian operation, which tracks and intercepts migrant ships en route to Europe.
Sylvia Poggioli NPR

On the outskirts of Rome, far from the coast, there's a top-security compound where Italy is trying to tackle one of Europe's major crises: the rising flows of unauthorized migrants making perilous journeys from North Africa across the Mediterranean.

In all of 2011, the year of the Arab uprisings, slightly more than 60,000 migrants arrived by sea in Italy.

By mid-August this year, the number surpassed 100,000.

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4:15pm

Mon July 14, 2014
Europe

Over 2 Years Since Its Wreck, The Costa Concordia Floats Again

Originally published on Mon July 14, 2014 6:24 pm

The Costa Concordia cruise crashed into a reef and capsized in waters off the island of Giglio in Italy over two years ago. On Monday, the most complicated part of the operation to refloat the ship was completed successfully.

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

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