Kelly McEvers

After three years covering the Middle East for NPR, Kelly McEvers is taking on a new country: the U.S. In the fall of 2013, she will become a correspondent for NPR's National Desk.

Previous to this role, she was NPR's international correspondent based in Beirut, Lebanon. Prior to moving into that reporting location in January 2012, McEvers was based at NPR's Baghdad Bureau.

In 2011, she traveled undercover to follow Arab uprisings in places where brutal crackdowns quickly followed the early euphoria of protests. While colleagues were celebrating with protesters in Egypt or rebels in Libya, McEvers was hunkered down with underground activists in Bahrain, Yemen, and Syria. 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 has spent long hours with the shadowy group of 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 has gripped the country since. Before arriving in Iraq in 2010, McEvers was one of the first Western correspondents to be based, full-time, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. She also covered Yemen and other Persian Gulf countries.

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 filed sound-rich profiles of 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.

From 2004-2006, McEvers covered the former Soviet Union for PRI's The World. She investigated the Russian military's role in the violent end to the three-day school siege by Chechen militants in the Russian town of Beslan. She was later accused of spying and detained for three days by Russian security forces near the border with Chechnya.

After 9/11, McEvers covered Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore for NPR and other outlets — including in-depth stories on Jemaah Islamiyah, the region's Al Qaeda-linked terrorist network that planned and executed deadly attacks at two Bali nightclubs in 2002.

McEvers was based in Phnom Penh, Cambodia from 1999-2000 for the BBC World Service. From there, she filed her first NPR story on then-emerging plans to try former members of the Khmer Rouge. She is one of the first reporters to knock on the door of Nuon Chea, the so-called "Brother No. 2" who served under Pol Pot.

Beginning her journalism career in 1997 at the Chicago Tribune, McEvers worked as a metro reporter and spent nearly a year documenting the lives of female gang members for the Sunday magazine.

In addition to NPR, her radio work has appeared on PRI/Chicago Public Radio's This American Life, NPR's Hearing Voices and On the Media, American Public Media's Weekend America, and the CBC. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Esquire, Foreign Policy, The New Republic, The New York Review of Books Online, The Washington Monthly, and the San Francisco Chronicle. She is a founder of Six Billion, an online magazine that was a regular feature at Harvard University's Nieman Conference on Narrative Journalism.

McEvers served as a fellow with the International Reporting Project at the Johns Hopkins University School for Advanced International Studies. She earned a master's degree from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism and has been a professor of journalism at universities in the U.S. and abroad. She has a bachelor's in English literature and political science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

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Middle East
4:27 am
Fri July 29, 2011

Bahrain Sets Up Panel To Investigate Unrest

Tents burn on March 16 as Bahraini security troops raid the site of a pro-democracy sit-in at Pearl Square, in the capital, Manama.
Joseph Eid AFP/Getty Images

The government of Bahrain has invited a renowned international legal scholar to investigate what went on during mass protests in February and March, and the brutal crackdown on the largely Shiite opposition that ensued. More than 30 people died, hundreds were detained and beaten, and thousands were fired from their jobs.

The commission is headed by Cherif Bassiouni, an Egyptian-born legal expert who has investigated war crimes and human rights violations in the Balkans, Rwanda, Afghanistan and, most recently, Libya.

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Iraq
5:23 pm
Thu July 21, 2011

Flow Of Fighters Shifting On Iraq-Syria Border

The crackdown on protesters in Syria is spreading to the far corners of the country — recently, to a remote town on the border with Iraq in Syria's eastern desert.

This tribal region has long been known as a transit point for fighters and weapons coming into Iraq during the war, and for refugees leaving Iraq for Syria. Now, those routes might be reversing.

Trouble began in the Syrian town of Al-Bukamal this past weekend. Like in so many Syrian cities and towns, people took to the streets in protest against the government of President Bashar al-Assad.

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Iraq
12:01 am
Wed July 20, 2011

In Iraq's Tahrir Square, A Plea For Missing Relatives

A woman at the protest holds a photograph of missing male relatives.
Isra al Rubei'i NPR

Nearly every Friday, there's a small Arab uprising in Baghdad. The location is Tahrir Square, a plaza marked by a renowned modernist sculpture that depicts Iraqis in a lifelong struggle for freedom. Alongside young protesters calling for an end to corruption and better services is a distinctive and resolute group: women in black robes holding photographs of their male relatives — the mothers, wives and sisters of the missing.

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Iraq
3:51 pm
Tue July 19, 2011

Fiery Iraqi Cleric's Political Party Puts On New Face

Originally published on Tue July 19, 2011 3:44 pm

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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Iraq
3:37 pm
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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