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As violent protests erupted in Egypt over the weekend, NPR’s Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson reported from the ground. Weeks before, she brought the historic event of Saudi Arabian elections into American homes. This weekend, she will be honored at Colby College with the Lovejoy Award for courageous journalism and deliver a speech, which is open to the public.
A foreign correspondent for NPR, Nelson opened the organization’s Kabul bureau in Afghanistan five years ago. She covered the Arab Spring from Cairo, and she recently reported from Benghazi, in eastern Libya, as rebel forces surged into Tripoli and toppled Muammar Qaddafi.
The formal convocation takes place Sunday, Oct. 16, at 5:30 p.m. in Colby’s Lorimer Chapel. An associated panel discussion, Reflections on the Arab Spring, will take place at 4 p.m. in Ostrove Auditorium, Diamond Building, featuring professors from Colby, Bates, and Bowdoin.
The Lovejoy Award has been given annually since 1952 to recognize courage in journalism. It honors the memory of Colby graduate Elijah Parish Lovejoy, a native of Albion, Maine, and an abolitionist publisher who was killed in Alton, Ill., in 1837 for condemning slavery. He is considered America’s first martyr to freedom of the press.
Nelson is now based in Cairo and covers the Arab world for NPR’s award-winning news programs including Morning Edition and All Things Considered. For more than three years in Afghanistan for NPR, she gave listeners details about life in that country during wartime in stories that ranged from influences from Iran, Pakistan, and the United States on Afghan affairs to an increasing number of suicides among women in a tribal society where they are seen as second-class citizens.