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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.

In 2009, Amos won the Edward Weintal Prize for Diplomatic Reporting from Georgetown University and in 2010 was awarded the Edward R. Murrow Lifetime Achievement Award by Washington State University. Amos was part of a team of reporters who won a 2004 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award for coverage of Iraq. A Nieman Fellow at Harvard University in 1991-1992, Amos 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 a duPont-Columbia Award and a Breakthru 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 is a Ferris Professor at Princeton, where she teaches journalism during the fall term.

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

In June 1989, days after Chinese authorities cracked down on protesters in Tiananmen Square, NPR international correspondent Deborah Amos landed in Beijing to cover the aftermath. Fresh off a reporting stint covering Poland's first democratic election — which took place on June 4, the same day as the Tiananmen crackdown — Amos spent the next six weeks reporting in and outside of Beijing, sometimes in secret. It was her first time covering China.

Saudi siblings Lina and Walid Alhathloul check their phones constantly for any mention of their sister on social media. They have already done four interviews on the day of the PEN awards and sit down for a fifth, because, they say, this is the only way to help their sister, 29-year-old jailed Saudi activist Loujain Alhathloul.

"We want to raise awareness," says Lina Alhathloul, a lawyer living in exile in Belgium.

After an 18-year-old Saudi woman, who said she feared death if deported to Saudi Arabia, arrived in Canada, she directed some of her first public comments back home. Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun encouraged other women to flee family abuse and the oppressive controls imposed on them by the conservative kingdom.

She has just showed them how to do it.

The family of an American citizen believed to have been jailed in Syria two years ago is making his story public for the first time, spurred by President Trump's announcement last month that he will withdraw U.S. troops from the country.

Majd Kamalmaz, a 61-year-old psychotherapist from Arlington, Va., arrived in Damascus on Feb. 15, 2017. He traveled to the Syrian capital for a condolence visit following the death of his father-in-law and to check on elderly relatives, according to his family. They say he was arrested at a checkpoint a day after he arrived.

It's well known that President Trump wants a wall on the southern U.S. border. He insists it's urgent to curb illegal immigration. But more than any wall, new barriers to legal immigration are likely to have more bearing on people trying to enter the United States. The United States is rejecting more legal immigrants than ever before.

The first casualty in 2018 was the U.S. refugee resettlement program, says Larry Yungk, a former official at the U.N. refugee agency and now co-chair of the advisory committee of Church World Service's refugee program.

Around the globe, more scholars are now threatened and displaced than since World War II began. In response, U.S. universities have sponsored endangered scholars and recently created a consortium that offers a broader academic community to refugee scholars threatened by war and authoritarian governments.

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The Syrian war is winding down after seven brutal years, with hundreds of thousands killed, millions displaced and neighborhoods in smoking ruins. President Bashar Assad is on course to win, with help from powerful allies Russia and Iran.

Now, activists who lost the challenge to Assad's rule on the streets of Syria are waging a new fight — in European courts.

"We will catch them no matter how much they hide. There is no safe place to run," says Anwar al-Bunni, a prominent Syrian human rights lawyer who fled to Germany in 2014.

A snapshot of the Trump administration's unraveling of the U.S. refugee resettlement program can be found in these numbers:

  • The U.S. has admitted 49 Syrian refugees so far in fiscal year 2018. More than 12,000 Syrian refugees were admitted in fiscal 2016, the final year of the Obama administration. In fiscal 2017, which includes the first year of the Trump administration, the number of Syrian arrivals was 6,557.

When Saudi Arabia started allowing women to drive last month — a historic shift in the last country in the world to ban women from getting behind the wheel — Samah Damanhoori was watching closely from California. The 29-year-old Saudi woman has a lot at stake.

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A federal judge in California has ordered the Trump administration to reconsider the asylum requests of nearly 90 Iranian refugees — overruling the blanket denial the government had issued to all of them. Instead, the Department of Homeland Security must disclose individual reasons for the denials, which allows the claimants to file an appeal.

The mass denial, issued Feb. 18, left the group marooned in Vienna with an uncertain future after they had abandoned homes and jobs to reunite with close relatives in the U.S.

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New evidence presented in a Washington, D.C., federal court claims that American journalist Marie Colvin was killed in a targeted assassination by the Syrian regime in 2012.

Colvin, who was 56 when she died, was reporting on the Syrian war for The Sunday Times of London. Rémi Ochlik, a 28-year-old French freelance photojournalist, died in the same attack in the western Syrian city of Homs.

As Christians all over the world celebrate Easter weekend, dozens of fellow faithful are growing weary — waiting for the virtual gates of America's refugee services to reopen.

With Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman embarking on a nearly three-week road show across the United States, he will have one major hurdle: Americans don't like his country very much.

Despite a 75-year economic and military alliance with Saudi Arabia and regular royal visits, 55 percent of Americans have an unfavorable view of the kingdom, according to a Gallup poll in February.

Even longtime U.S. adversaries like China and Cuba have scored more favorably.

Saudi Arabia replaced a generation of its military leadership, for the first time opened some military jobs to women and promoted a woman to a top post at the Labor Ministry, in a series of rare steps in the ultraconservative kingdom.

Reported by the official Saudi Press Agency late Monday, the royal decrees are the latest move in a dramatic campaign to overhaul the country's institutions led by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the powerful son of Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud.

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Last year began with an angry phone call about refugees, famously leaked later. The newly inaugurated Donald Trump exploded when Australia's prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull, asked him to honor a U.S. pledge to resettle some 1,200 refugees from Australia's offshore detention centers.

"This is a stupid deal," Trump fumed to an astonished Turnbull. "This shows me to be a dope."

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The Saudi prince behind the weekend's unprecedented arrest of high-level Saudi officials and businessmen is known as young and brash, and has even been called reckless. He is also known to be in tune with Saudi Arabia's youth; those under 25 make up a majority of the country's population.

Saudi Arabia, a close ally of the United States, is not known for surprises. But in a sudden shift in power, the 31-year-old son of the 81-year-old Saudi king moved one step closer to the throne on Wednesday.

King Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud promoted Mohammed bin Salman, his youngest son, to crown prince. At the same time, the king ended the career of his nephew, 57-year-old Mohammed bin Nayef, the previous crown prince, who had served as interior minister since 2015.

Groups that resettle refugees in the United States are facing uncertainty, disarray and possible deep budget cuts as a result of President Trump's executive order on immigration, even after a California appeals court has temporarily halted enforcement.

Here's why:

The federal appeals court that blocked the president's travel ban on people from seven majority-Muslim nations did not directly rule out two provisions in the executive order. Refugee resettlement agencies are scrambling to figure out what they will do if those provisions survive.

The Trump administration says it is suspending all refugee admissions to the United States until it can come up with a plan for "extreme vetting."

So what could that mean?

Refugees are already subjected to multiple interviews and a security vetting by nine U.S. law enforcement, intelligence and security agencies that check their backgrounds, social media activity and the reasons they fled their countries. The process usually takes 18 months or more, according to resettlement agencies.

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When Almothana Alhamoud, a 31-year-old Syrian data analyst, arrived in Chicago two years ago after fleeing the Syrian war, he jumped at his first job offer, a nightshift cashier at a convenience store.

"When I came over here I just want to find anything to survive," he says over dinner with his family in Chicago. His parents and two sisters fled Damascus six months after he did. The family has applied for asylum in the U.S.

Osama, a Syrian refugee who resettled five months ago in Princeton, N.J., did not sleep on election night after listening to the results.

"The whole world is affected by American elections," he said during an English lesson with his wife, Ghada, the next morning at their dining room table. The family, which still has relatives in Syria, has asked that it be identified by first names only.

Donald Trump's election has sent tremors through America's refugee advocate community, and caused fear and uncertainty among the most recently resettled refugees, the Syrians. They listened with alarm as candidate Trump called them "terrorists" and blamed them, incorrectly, for violent attacks in America.

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