Sylvia Poggioli

Sylvia Poggioli is senior European correspondent for NPR's International Desk covering political, economic, and cultural news in Italy, the Vatican, Western Europe, and the Balkans. Poggioli's on-air reporting and analysis have encompassed the fall of communism in Eastern Europe, the turbulent civil war in the former Yugoslavia, and how immigration has transformed European societies.

Since joining NPR's foreign desk in 1982, Poggioli has traveled extensively for reporting assignments. These include going to Norway to cover the aftermath of the brutal attacks by a right-wing extremist; to Greece, Spain, and Portugal reporting on the eurozone crisis; and the Balkans where the last wanted war criminals have been arrested.

In addition, Poggioli has traveled to France, Germany, United Kingdom, The Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, Sweden, and Denmark to produce in-depth reports on immigration, racism, Islam, and the rise of the right in Europe.

She has also travelled with Pope Francis on several of his foreign trips, including visits to Cuba, the United States, Congo, Uganda, Central African Republic, Myanmar, and Bangladesh.

Throughout her career Poggioli has been recognized for her work with distinctions including the WBUR Foreign Correspondent Award, the Welles Hangen Award for Distinguished Journalism, a George Foster Peabody, National Women's Political Caucus/Radcliffe College Exceptional Merit Media Awards, the Edward Weintal Journalism Prize, and the Silver Angel Excellence in the Media Award. Poggioli was part of the NPR team that won the 2000 Overseas Press Club Award for coverage of the war in Kosovo. In 2009, she received the Maria Grazia Cutulli Award for foreign reporting.

In 2000, Poggioli received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Brandeis University. In 2006, she received an honorary degree from the University of Massachusetts Boston together with Barack Obama.

Prior to this honor, Poggioli was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences "for her distinctive, cultivated and authoritative reports on 'ethnic cleansing' in Bosnia." In 1990, Poggioli spent an academic year at Harvard University as a research fellow at Harvard University's Center for Press, Politics, and Public Policy at the Kennedy School of Government.

From 1971 to 1986, Poggioli served as an editor on the English-language desk for the Ansa News Agency in Italy. She worked at the Festival of Two Worlds in Spoleto, Italy. She was actively involved with women's film and theater groups.

The daughter of Italian anti-fascists who were forced to flee Italy under Mussolini, Poggioli was born in Providence, Rhode Island, and grew up in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She graduated from Harvard College with a bachelor's degree in romance languages and literature. She later studied in Italy under a Fulbright Scholarship.

When St. John Paul II died in 2005 after nearly 27 years on the papal throne, his funeral drew millions to St. Peter's Square. The crowd soon broke out into spontaneous chants of "Santo subito" — "make him a saint immediately."

Days later, John Paul was put on the fast track, becoming a saint a record nine years after his death.

Editor's note: This story includes details some readers may find disturbing.

An unprecedented trial is underway this month at the Vatican, the result of a whistleblower going public.

A young priest is charged with sexually abusing an altar boy over a five-year period inside Vatican City walls. An older priest is charged with covering up the abuse.

It's the first criminal trial for sexual abuse to take place in the Vatican court.

Updated at 2:42 p.m. ET

Pope Francis has called for legislation to protect same-sex couples, according to comments he made in a new documentary that mark a break from Catholic doctrine.

"Homosexuals have a right to be a part of the family. They are children of God and have a right to a family," the pope said in an interview in the documentary Francesco, which premiered Wednesday at the Rome Film Festival. "What we have to create is a civil union law. That way they are legally covered."

A financial scandal swirling around the Vatican has taken a new twist with the arrest of a woman linked to a cardinal fired by Pope Francis.

Italian police arrested Cecilia Marogna in Milan late Tuesday on a warrant from the Vatican City State. A Vatican official told Reuters that Holy See magistrates suspect her of embezzlement and misappropriation of funds, in complicity with others.

Pope Francis has presented his blueprint for a post-COVID-19 world, covering a vast number of issues from fraternity and income inequality to immigration and social injustice.

The document, released Sunday, is his third encyclical — the most authoritative form of papal teaching.

Over the centuries, Europe has suffered through plagues, pestilence and the Black Death.

When Italy became the first Western country to be hit by the coronavirus pandemic, the city of Florence discovered that one of its unique architectural quirks was perfect for coronavirus-era social distancing.

Vatican officials have always insisted Pope Pius XII did everything possible to save Jewish lives during World War II. But many scholars accuse him of complicit silence while some 6 million Jews were killed in the Holocaust.

The coronavirus pandemic has laid bare many of the problems of societies around the world. In Italy, the first Western country hit by COVID-19, it revealed how much the country relies on its migrant work force. Many undocumented migrants work on farms, as field hands and harvesting crops — jobs that Italians don't want. With the pandemic, they were suddenly recognized as essential.

One African-Italian became the spokesman for hundreds of thousands of migrants — those who couldn't stay home, who were risking their health to go out to work.

Italy's prime minister, health and interior ministers faced hours of questioning in Rome Friday as prosecutors opened an investigation into possible government mismanagement of the COVID-19 crisis.

Investigators want to know why the towns of Alzano Lombardo and Nembro in the northern industrial region of Lombardy were not isolated and declared "red zones" as soon as the first cases were identified. As of now, no one has been charged.

The novel coronavirus is reviving one of Italy's fiercest debate topics — immigration.

The Italian government is considering giving work permits to thousands of undocumented immigrants in the country, as the COVID-19 pandemic threatens crop harvests.

Seasonal farmworkers usually go to Italy each year from countries such as Romania and Bulgaria, but recent lockdowns have kept them home. That's creating a critical shortage of labor for picking fruits and vegetables needed for food and exports.

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