Gregory Warner

Gregory Warner is the host of NPR's Rough Translation, a podcast about how things we're talking about in the United States are being talked about in some other part of the world. Whether interviewing a Ukrainian debunker of Russian fake news, a Japanese apology broker navigating different cultural meanings of the word "sorry," or a German dating coach helping a Syrian refugee find love, Warner's storytelling approach takes us out of our echo chambers and leads us to question the way we talk about the world. Rough Translation has received the Lowell Thomas Award from the Overseas Press Club and a Scripps Howard Award.

In his role as host, Warner draws on his own overseas experience. As NPR's East Africa correspondent, he covered the diverse issues and voices of a region that experienced unparalleled economic growth as well as a rising threat of global terrorism. Before joining NPR, he reported from conflict zones around the world as a freelancer. He climbed mountains with smugglers in Pakistan for This American Life, descended into illegal mineshafts in the Democratic Republic of Congo for Marketplace's "Working" series, and lugged his accordion across Afghanistan on the trail of the "Afghan Elvis" for Radiolab.

Warner has also worked as senior reporter for American Public Media's Marketplace, endeavoring to explain the economics of American health care. He's used puppets to illustrate the effects of Internet diagnostics on the doctor-patient relationship, and composed a Suessian poem to explain the correlation between health care job growth and national debt. His musical journey into the shadow world of medical coding won a Best News Feature award from the Third Coast International Audio Festival.

Warner has won a Peabody Award and awards from Edward R. Murrow, New York Festivals, AP, and PRNDI. He earned his degree in English from Yale University.

The last time Naji Aldabaan remembers feeling like a kid — mainly concerned with whether his mom would make him do homework or let him outside to play soccer — he was 10 years old.

The year was 2011, and Syria was collapsing into civil war as nationwide protests against the government were followed by crackdowns and arrests. One day, soldiers knocked on his door. They had taken away Naji's uncles. Now they'd come for his father. No one knew why. Such was the random nature of the terror.

A demonstrator holds a sign reading "Black Pete Is Racism" during a 2013 demonstration in Amsterdam.

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The coronavirus has drawn a dividing line between young and old. And in Ireland, that line had a number - age 70. In mid-March, the government of Ireland advised people who were immunocompromised or aged 70 or over to cocoon in their homes, not to leave for any reason, not even to shop or take a walk. As Gregory Warner of our Rough Translation podcast reports, cocooning the elderly became a communitywide project.

Although New Zealand is about as far — in miles, at least — as you can get from Minneapolis, protests have erupted there over the killing of George Floyd. The Indigenous Maori people in particular have pushed back against police use of force, which disproportionately affects them.

Baruch Shpitzer, the reception manager at the Dan Jerusalem Hotel, prides himself on making tourists feel at home in his sprawling 9-story hotel and spa, built into a cliffside and featuring panoramic Old City views.

In March, though, his hospitality skills were put to the test. His reception desk was encased in plexiglass. His new arrivals were sometimes delivered by ambulance. None of them was staying at his hotel by choice.

"We speak to them to get them out from the shock that they're in when they're coming into the hotel," Shpitzer says.

The new coronavirus pandemic felt thousands of miles away, until it didn't. As cases in the U.S. skyrocketed, many noticed a shift — from watching the headlines, to watching what we touch. Listeners wrote in to our podcast, Rough Translation, describing feeling out of sync with their government, their friends, their neighbors.

But what about the disconnect inside one's own home?

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Mohamed Barud was a 31-year-old newlywed when he was sentenced to life in prison in Somalia.

This was 1981. Somalia was ruled by a military dictator, Siad Barre. And Mohamed's crime, if you can call it that, was writing a letter complaining about conditions at the local hospital, a complaint the government saw as treasonous. Mohamed was put in solitary confinement.

"It was strictly forbidden to talk to your neighbors. So you walk forward and backward." Just three short steps.

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Mohamed Barud was a 31-year-old newlywed when he was sentenced to life in prison in Somalia.

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Editor's note: This post is an update of an earlier story, from the Invisibilia podcast and program, which is broadcast on participating public radio stations.

In what countries are women and men on the most equal footing?

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This story comes from NPR's Rough Translation podcast, which explores how ideas we wrestle with in the U.S. are being discussed in the rest of the world.

Sophia Lierenfeld didn't set out to give dating advice to Syrian refugees.

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Two days before my first trip to Afghanistan, in 2007, I was terrified, speaking no Dari and having never interviewed anyone in a war zone. On impulse, I grabbed my little red travel accordion, mumbling something about using the "universal language of music" to connect with people whose world seemed wholly different from my own.

Michael Sharp believed in the power of persuasion. The 34-year-old Kansan with the round face and a penchant for plaid shirts would walk, unarmed, deep into rebel-held territory in the Democratic Republic of Congo, sit in the shade of banana trees with rebels and exchange stories.

Inevitably, those stories would turn to the past. "Rebels love talking about the past," Michael once told me.

As part of the project A Nation Engaged, NPR and member stations are exploring America's role in the world heading into the presidential election.

Everyone knew President Obama would say something about gay rights when he visited Kenya last summer. Many American activists were pressing him to publicly condemn Kenya's colonial-era law making homosexuality a crime.

At 16, Roda Hassan was the top scoring girl student in her high school exams in all of Somaliland.

The videos trickled out slowly on social media — slowly, because those posting them had to use special software to get around what seemed to be a government-imposed internet block.

This video showed thousands of people in the streets of the northern Ethiopian town of Gondar. The size of the crowd was significant in a country where civil protests are usually banned.

Even more significant? The location o f this anti-government protest.

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Editor's note: This post is an adaptation of the latest episode of the Invisibilia podcast and program, which is broadcast on participating public radio stations.

In high school, Mireille Umutoni aspired to be a club president rather than just secretary. And why not? She lives in a country where women seem to face no barriers, no discrimination.

In the parliament, for example, women hold more than half the seats. No country has a better record than that.

What's red and gold and hailed by most economists?

The new African Union passport, unveiled this week at the African Union Summit in Kigali, Rwanda, promises a solution to a major drag on African trade: the red tape that makes it harder for African businesspeople, tourists and workers to travel around their own continent.

More than half of the 54 African countries require entry visas for other Africans, according to the Africa Visa Openness Report.

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In 2010, 12-year-old Nathan Eyasu became one of the first skateboarders in Ethiopia.

He bought an old board off a guy on the street for a dollar, learned some tricks off YouTube, and proceeded to shock his neighbors like Marty McFly in Back to The Future.

"They'd be like, 'Is there a magnet in there?' " Eyasu says, laughing. "Nobody knew what skateboarding is."

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