Eleanor Beardsley

Eleanor Beardsley began reporting from France for NPR in June 2004, following all aspects of French society, politics, economics, culture and gastronomy.

Beardsley has covered both 2007 and 2012 French presidential elections as well as the Arab Spring in Tunisia, where she witnessed the overthrow of the autocratic President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali. She reported on the riots in French suburbs in 2005 and the massive student demonstrations in 2006. Beardsley has followed the Tour de France cycling race and been back to her old stomping ground — Kosovo — to report for NPR on three separate occasions.

Prior to moving to Paris, Beardsley worked for three years with the United Nations Mission in Kosovo. She also worked as a television producer for French broadcaster TF1 in Washington, DC and as a staff assistant to Senator Strom Thurmond.

Reporting from France for Beardsley is the fulfillment of a lifelong passion for the French language and culture. At the age of 10 she began learning French by reading the Asterix The Gaul comic book series with her father.

While she came to the field of radio journalism relatively late in her career, Beardsley says her varied background, studies and travels prepared her for the job as well as any journalism school. "I love reporting on the French because there are so many stereotypes about them that exist in America," she says. "Sometimes it's fun to dispel the false notions and show a different side of the French. And sometimes the old stereotypes do hold up. But whether Americans love or hate France and the French, they're always interested!"

A native of South Carolina, Beardsley has a Bachelor of Arts in European history and French from Furman University in Greenville, S.C., and a Masters Degree in International Business from the University of South Carolina.

Beardsley is interested in politics, travel and observing foreign cultures. Her favorite cities are Paris and Istanbul.

Agriculture is topping the G-20 agenda for the first time as agriculture ministers from the world's largest economies gather in Paris beginning Wednesday.

Ever since a dramatic spike in world food prices in 2008 sparked panic and deadly riots in countries across three continents, agriculture and food security have become issues of global, political importance.

And crop shortages this year have some experts already predicting another rise in grain prices like that of 2008.

Crops Hit By Drought

The North African country of Algeria borders both Tunisia and Libya, but after being scarred by a civil war during the 1990s, Algerians have not rebelled like their neighbors.

But that could change. And observers warn that there could be an explosion if the government's promise of change doesn't come fast enough. Seventy percent of the Algerian population is under the age of 30, and its discontent is growing.

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