Eric Westervelt

After nearly a decade as an award-winning Foreign Correspondent with NPR's international desk, Eric Westervelt returned in September 2013 to domestic news with a new national beat covering American education as an Education Correspondent.

In this role, he covers the news, issues, and trends in classrooms across the country, from pre-K to higher education. He has a strong interest in the multiple ways in which technology is disrupting traditional pedagogy.

Westervelt recently returned from a 2013 John S Knight Journalism Fellowship at Stanford University. The fellowship focused on journalistic innovation, leadership, entrepreneurship and the future of news.

Previously, he was a foreign correspondent based in the Middle East and then Europe. From 2009 to 2012 Westervelt was Berlin Bureau Chief and Correspondent coverage a broad range of news across Europe from the debt crisis to political challenges in Eastern Europe. In 2011 and 2012 his work included coverage of the revolutions in North Africa from the popular uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt to the civil war and NATO intervention in Libya.

As a foreign correspondent, Westervelt has covered numerous wars and their repercussions across the Middle East for NPR as Jerusalem Bureau Chief and as Pentagon Correspondent. Prior to his current assignment, he spent several years living in the Middle East reporting on the war in Iraq, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Afghanistan and elsewhere. As Jerusalem Bureau Chief he covered the turmoil in the Gaza Strip, and the 2006 Second Lebanon war between the Israeli military and Hezbollah. He also reported in-depth on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict across Israel and the occupied West Bank.

During the US-led invasion of Iraq, Westervelt traveled with the lead element of the U.S. Third Infantry Division, which was the first army unit to reach Baghdad. He later helped cover the Iraqi insurgency, sectarian violence and the on-going struggle to rebuild the country in the post-Saddam Hussein era. Westervelt was one of the few western reporters on the ground in Gaza during the Fatah-Hamas civil war and he reported on multiple Israeli offensives in the coastal territory. Additionally, he has reported from the Horn of Africa, Yemen and the Persian Gulf countries.

Prior to his Middle East assignments, Westervelt covered military affairs and the Pentagon reporting on a wide range of defense, national security as well as foreign policy issues.

Before joining NPR's Foreign Desk nearly a decade ago, Westervelt covered some of the biggest domestic stories as a reporter on NPR's National Desk. His assignments spanned from the explosion of TWA flight 800 to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. He also covered the mass shooting at Columbine High School, the presidential vote recount following the 2000 Presidential Election, among other major stories. He also covered national trends in law enforcement and crime fighting, including police tactics, use of force, the drug war, racial profiling and the legal and political battles over firearms in America.

The breadth and depth of his work has been honored with the highest awards in broadcast journalism. He contributed to NPR's 2002 George Foster Peabody Award for coverage of the 9/11 attacks and the aftermath; the 2003 Alfred I. duPont - Columbia University award also for 9/11 coverage and the war in Afghanistan; and a 2004 and a 2007 duPont-Columbia University Award for NPR's coverage of the war in Iraq and its effect on Iraqi society.

Westervelt's 2009 multi-media series with NPR photojournalist David Gilkey won the Overseas Press Club of America's Lowell Thomas Award Citation for Excellence.

In lighter news, Westervelt occasionally does features for NPR's Arts Desk. His profile of roots rock pioneer Roy Orbison was part of NPR's 50 Great Voices series. His feature on the making of John Coltrane's classic "A Love Supreme," was part of the NPR series on the most influential American musical works of the 20th century, which was recognized with a Peabody Award.

Before joining NPR, Westervelt worked as a freelance reporter in Oregon, a news director and reporter in New Hampshire and reported for Monitor Radio, the broadcast edition of the Christian Science Monitor.

Westervelt is a graduate of the Putney School and received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Reed College.

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Conflict In Libya
12:01 am
Mon September 12, 2011

NATO's Intervention In Libya: A New Model?

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen speaks in Brussels on Sept. 5. Rasmussen calls NATO's operation in Libya a success that could serve as a model in the future.
Virginia Mayo AP

NATO planes are still in the air and bombing targets over Libya and Moammar Gadhafi is still on the loose. Nonetheless, NATO is taking something of a victory lap in the wake of an operation that broke new ground for the military alliance.

But the Libyan operation also raised questions about its mission, its future role in such conflicts, and how it determines when to intervene.

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen told NPR he sees the Libya operation as a template for future NATO missions and proof the United Nations can outsource its muscle to the alliance.

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Europe
4:46 pm
Wed August 10, 2011

Britain Ramps Up Security Efforts To Stop Rioting

Police forensic officers work at the scene where three people were killed after being struck by a vehicle Wednesday in the Winson Green area of Birmingham, England.
Jeff J Mitchell Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 11:34 am

After more rioting overnight, British Prime Minister David Cameron said Wednesday that it was time to fight back, vowing that he wouldn't allow "a culture of fear" take over the country's streets.

"Whatever resources the police need, they will get; whatever tactics police feel they need to employ, they will have legal backing to do so. We will do whatever is necessary to restore law and order on to our streets," he said in a statement outside his Downing Street office Wednesday.

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Europe
4:00 am
Tue July 5, 2011

German Smokers Want 'Health Mafia' To Butt Out

Australia has proposed some of the world's toughest restrictions on cigarette marketing and advertising. And American health officials recently unveiled graphic new warning labels scheduled to appear next year.

It's all part of a growing international effort to get tough on smoking. But in Germany, anti-smoking activists are facing a tough battle even getting basic restrictions enforced.

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Middle East
1:58 pm
Sun July 3, 2011

Graffiti Reclaims Egypt's Revolution From Marketers

A piece of street art known as "Tantawi's underwear" mocks Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, who heads the ruling transitional military council.
 

The revolution will be marketed!

Egyptian companies and multi-nationals are now using images of and references to the youth-led uprising that toppled autocrat Hosni Mubarak in advertisements to sell internet service, mobile phones, soft drinks, tourism and more.

The marketing has sparked something of a backlash among young Egyptians and has contributed to a rise in politicized street art and graffiti. Some street artists hope to reclaim the message in the streets by breaking the taboo of criticizing Egypt's military rulers.

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Conflict In Libya
5:37 pm
Wed June 22, 2011

Egyptian Workers Who Fled Libya Struggle At Home

Egyptians who fled fighting in Libya carry their belongings at the Egyptian-Libyan border in Salloum, Egypt. The International Organization for Migration estimates that more than 105,000 Egyptians have returned from Libya.
Hussein Malla AP

Originally published on Wed June 22, 2011 9:40 pm

For the Egyptian youth who spearheaded the protests that led to the ouster of autocrat Hosni Mubarak in February, the revolution was an exhilarating, crowning moment.

But for young Egyptian laborers caught in the violent backwash of the region's revolts, the Arab spring has proved financially and psychologically crippling.

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