Kelly McEvers

After many years in the Middle East, Kelly McEvers is back home and working as a national correspondent based at NPR West. She previously ran NPR's Beirut bureau, where she earned a George Foster Peabody award, an Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia award, a Gracie award, and an Overseas Press Club mention for her 2012 coverage of the Syrian conflict. She recently made a radio documentary about being a war correspondent with renowned radio producer Jay Allison of

In 2011, she traveled undercover to follow Arab uprisings in places where brutal crackdowns followed the early euphoria of protests. She has been tear-gassed in Bahrain; she has spent a night in a tent city with a Yemeni woman who would later share the Nobel Peace Prize; and she spent weeks inside Syria with anti-government rebels known as the Free Syrian Army.

In Iraq, she covered the final withdrawal of U.S. troops and the political chaos that gripped the country afterward. Before arriving in Iraq in 2010, McEvers was one of the first Western correspondents to be based, full-time, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

In 2008 and 2009, McEvers was part of a team that produced the award-winning "Working" series for American Public Media's business and finance show, Marketplace. She profiled a war fixer in Beirut, a smuggler in Dubai, a sex-worker in Baku, a pirate in the Strait of Malacca and a marriage broker in Vietnam.

She previously covered the former Soviet Union and Southeast Asia as a freelancer for NPR and other outlets. She started her journalism career in 1997 at the Chicago Tribune, where she worked as a metro reporter and documented the lives of female gang members for the Sunday magazine.

Her writing also has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Esquire, Foreign Policy, The New Republic, The New York Review of Books, The Washington Monthly, Slate and the San Francisco Chronicle. Her work has aired on This American Life, The World, and the BBC. She's taught radio and journalism in the U.S. and abroad.

She lives with her family in California, where she's still very bad at surfing.



Tue July 19, 2011

Fiery Iraqi Cleric's Political Party Puts On New Face

At a recent press conference, Iraq's minister of planning, Ali Youssef al-Shukri, stepped to the podium, gave a brief and somber blessing, and announced the issue of the day: a new mechanism for quality control of imports to Iraq.

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Mon July 11, 2011

Dispute Over Key Jobs Stalls Iraq's Government

Iraqi demonstrators shout slogans during a weekly protest against corruption, unemployment and poor public services in the war-torn country at Baghdad's Tahrir Square on July 8. Mahmoud Othman, a Kurdish member of Parliament, says it's the Iraqi people who are losing out as a political stalemate continues.
Ali al-Saadi AFP/Getty Images

Even though it's been nearly eight months since political rivals in Iraq came together to form a coalition government, key positions in that government have yet to be filled, and political infighting continues.

At issue is the fact that Iraq's prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, who's backed by the country's Shiites, and his main rival, Ayad Allawi, who's backed by the Sunnis, simply cannot agree on who should run the ministries of defense and interior.

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Fri June 3, 2011
Middle East

Bahrain Accuses Doctors Of Exaggerating Protesters Injuries

Bahrain officially ended a period of martial law this week after mass uprisings nearly shut down the country in February and March. But armored vehicles still patrol the streets, military courts are still in place, and hundreds of people remain in detention. Among the detainees are elected officials, opposition members and even doctors who are accused of treating protesters. NPR's Kelly McEvers reports on how the detention of the upper-middle class is broadening the opposition, not suppressing it.


Thu June 2, 2011
Middle East

Bahrain's Crackdown Creates Sectarian Fallout

The Mo'men mosque in Nwaidrat stood in the same location for generations until it was bulldozed last month. The Sunni-run government in Bahrain has destroyed at least 47 Shiite mosques in recent weeks.
Roy Gutman MCT/Getty Images

The mass protest movement that swept Bahrain in February and March has since turned into a bitter sectarian confrontation. The tiny island nation — a key U.S. ally in the Persian Gulf — is mostly populated by Shiites, but it's ruled by a Sunni royal family.

Analysts say the family is now pushing a sectarian agenda that might eventually be its undoing.

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Wed June 1, 2011
Middle East

Bahrain Prepares To Lift State Of Emergency

The government of Bahrain today is expected to lift a state of emergency that was declared at the height of the anti-government protests in March. Mary Louise Kelly talks to NPR's Kelly McEvers about the situation in Bahrain.