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.

Composer and classical pianist Malek Jandali was raised in Homs, Syria, where he was visiting his family in 2011. During that trip, Jandali was first electrified by street protests challenging the brutal dictator Bashar al-Assad, both in his hometown and across the country. He composed a simple song in reaction to it, called "I Am My Homeland."

A German court has rendered its first verdict in a historic trial of two former Syrian military officials implicated in crimes against humanity after almost a decade of war in Syria.

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Sam Goodwin's first day in captivity was one of his worst. "This was the point where I was incredibly terrified," he recalls about his ordeal. "I felt like I had committed suicide but I was still alive."

A few hours earlier, on May 25, 2019, Goodwin was detained at a Syrian army checkpoint in the northeast part of the country. "A truck pulled up and two armed men jumped out and told me to get inside. I did not have a choice," Goodwin says.

The loneliest part of coming to America is the first few months, says Mustafa Nuur, who came as a refugee from Somalia in 2014.

Now, the coronavirus makes it so much harder for newcomers, he says. Despite the pandemic, the U.S. admitted 21,533 refugees in 2020, some arriving as late as September, according to refugee resettlement agencies citing official numbers.

President-elect Joe Biden has pledged to reassert America's commitment to refugees after the Trump White House's slashing of the resettlement program, part of the current president's anti-immigration drive.

In 2016, President Barack Obama aimed to admit 110,000 refugees. President Trump lowered the cap on refugee admissions every year of his presidency. For fiscal year 2021, he set the cap at 15,000, the lowest on record.

After a five-week hunger strike, Nasrin Sotoudeh, Iran's best-known human rights lawyer, faces a grave health crisis in Qarchak prison, a notoriously harsh facility south of Tehran.

For more than two decades, Sotoudeh, 57, fought for some of Iran's most sensitive causes — the rights of women, children on death row, endangered minorities. She has won international acclaim, but her defiance has come at a heavy personal price: She is serving a 38-year prison sentence for "national security" crimes, after defending women who protested Iran's compulsory head-covering law.

For the Aldabaans, a Syrian refugee family, the path to the American Dream has begun with mortgage on a house in suburban Connecticut — one with a grassy backyard and room for bikes and birds.

Adeebah and Ibrahim, parents of five school-aged children, work while their kids — who now speak English — attend school. The oldest two, Naji, 19, and Ammal, 18, are seniors in high school and making plans for college.

Their travels to this reality, though, have not been easy ones.

It is remembered as one of the great atrocities of El Salvador's 12-year civil war. In 1989, a Salvadoran military battalion raided a private Jesuit university before dawn and executed six priests, their cook and her teenage daughter.

One of those killed, university rector Ignacio Ellacuría, had promoted dialogue between the U.S.-backed right-wing government and leftist guerrillas in the country's civil war. He and four of the other slain priests were Spanish citizens.

Editor's note: This story contains a graphic description of an alleged sexual assault.

It was a chilling description of torture in an infamous Syrian prison: "There were screams, they weren't normal," Syrian witness Feras Fayyad said in court. "I was very afraid."

Fayyad, 35, an Oscar-nominated filmmaker, was the first witness to testify in a trial in Germany against a Syrian intelligence officer whom he alleges nearly killed him in a Damascus detention center in 2011.

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