Rob Schmitz Rob Schmitz is NPR's international correspondent based in Berlin.
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Rob Schmitz

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Rob Schmitz 2016
Julian de Hauteclocque Howe/NPR

Rob Schmitz

International Correspondent, Berlin

Rob Schmitz is NPR's international correspondent based in Berlin, where he covers the human stories of a vast region reckoning with its past while it tries to guide the world toward a brighter future. From his base in the heart of Europe, Schmitz has covered Germany's levelheaded management of the COVID-19 pandemic, the rise of right-wing nationalist politics in Poland and creeping Chinese government influence inside the Czech Republic.

Prior to covering Europe, Schmitz provided award-winning coverage of China for a decade, reporting on the country's economic rise and increasing global influence. His reporting on China's impact beyond its borders took him to countries such as Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Vietnam, Thailand, Australia, and New Zealand. Inside China, he's interviewed elderly revolutionaries, young rappers, and live-streaming celebrity farmers who make up the diverse tapestry of one of the most fascinating countries on the planet. He is the author of the critically acclaimed book Street of Eternal Happiness: Big City Dreams Along a Shanghai Road (Crown/Random House 2016), a profile of individuals who live, work, and dream along a single street that runs through the heart of China's largest city. The book won several awards and has been translated into half a dozen languages. In 2018, China's government banned the Chinese version of the book after its fifth printing. The following year it was selected as a finalist for the Ryszard Kapuściński Award, Poland's most prestigious literary prize.

Schmitz has won numerous awards for his reporting on China, including two national Edward R. Murrow Awards and an Education Writers Association Award. His work was also a finalist for the Investigative Reporters and Editors Award. His reporting in Japan — from the hardest-hit areas near the failing Fukushima nuclear power plant following the earthquake and tsunami — was included in the publication 100 Great Stories, celebrating the centennial of Columbia University's Journalism School. In 2012, Schmitz exposed the fabrications in Mike Daisey's account of Apple's supply chain on This American Life. His report was featured in the show's "Retraction" episode. In 2011, New York's Rubin Museum of Art screened a documentary Schmitz shot in Tibetan regions of China about one of the last living Tibetans who had memorized "Gesar of Ling," an epic poem that tells of Tibet's ancient past.

From 2010 to 2016, Schmitz was the China correspondent for American Public Media's Marketplace. He's also worked as a reporter for NPR Member stations KQED, KPCC and MPR. Prior to his radio career, Schmitz lived and worked in China — first as a teacher for the Peace Corps in the 1990s, and later as a freelance print and video journalist. He also lived in Spain for two years. He speaks Mandarin and Spanish. He has a bachelor's degree in Spanish literature from the University of Minnesota, Duluth, and a master's degree from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism.

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German Health Officials Warn About 2nd Coronavirus Wave

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Klaus Teuber, creator of the popular board game Catan, with his son Benjamin Teuber, a managing director at Catan Inc. Celebrating the 25th anniversary of the game's launch, the elder Teuber has released an autobiography, My Way to Catan. Patrick Liste hide caption

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Patrick Liste

Families Stuck At Home Turn To Board Game Catan, Sending Sales Skyrocketing

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Sales Of 'Settlers Of Catan' Skyrocket During Coronavirus Crisis

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U.S. Officials Keep Pressure On China Over Multiple Issues

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Stimulus Deal Reached For Pandemic-Stricken EU Economies

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A Look At How Europe Is Getting Back To 'Normal' After Coronavirus Lockdowns

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Poland To Hold Presidential Election On June 28

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French Health and Solidarity Minister Olivier Veran (center), flanked by German Health Minister Jens Spahn (left) and World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (right), speaks during a news conference at the WHO headquarters in Geneva, on Thursday. Fabrice Coffrini/AFP via Getty Images hide caption

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People leave a train at the central station in Frankfurt, Germany, on Thursday. Michael Probst/AP hide caption

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Michael Probst/AP

How Germany Staffed Up Contact Tracing Teams To Contain Its Coronavirus Outbreak

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Germany's Contact Tracers Have Been Vital To The Country's COVID-19 Fight

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Trump Confirms He Plans To Move Some Troops Out Of Germany

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U.S. soldiers walk alongside tanks from the U.S. 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, parked at Germany's Bremerhaven port on Feb. 21. The U.S. could be considering drawing down a portion of its armed forces based in Germany. David Hecker/Getty Images hide caption

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A Possible Plan To Pull U.S. Troops From Germany Causes A Stir In Both Countries

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Afro-Caribbean Artist Paints George Floyd's Portrait On The Berlin Wall

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Graffiti artist Eme Freethinker kneels in front of his portrait of George Floyd, which he painted on one of the last remaining sections of the Berlin Wall. "I remember when I came in [to paint it], some guy told me, 'You have to do it with the police over his neck,'" Freethinker says, "and I was like: 'No, man. Not like that. No.'" Rob Schmitz/NPR hide caption

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