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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Merkel's Political Party Picks Armin Laschet As New Leader

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A Look At Global COVID-19 Vaccination Efforts

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U.S. Allies React To Breach Of U.S. Capitol By Pro-Trump Extremists

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Europeans Criticize The Slow Start To COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout In EU

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Front pages of main polish newspapers are pictured one day after the first round of the presidential election in Poland on June 29. European poll observers say "media bias" influenced recent Polish elections. Janek Skarzynski/AFP via Getty Images hide caption

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Poland's Government Tightens Its Control Over Media

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A screen displays Chinese President Xi Jinping (top left), European Council President Charles Michel (top right), European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen (bottom right), French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel during an EU-China Leaders' meeting video conference Wednesday. Johanna Geron/Pool via AP hide caption

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Johanna Geron/Pool via AP

Europe And China Approve Landmark Investment Treaty, Snubbing U.S.

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Charles Michel, president of the European Council (left); Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission (center); and Angela Merkel, Germany's chancellor, wear protective face masks as they walk to a news conference at a European Union leaders summit Friday in Brussels. Geert Vanden Wijngaert/Bloomberg via Getty Images hide caption

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Geert Vanden Wijngaert/Bloomberg via Getty Images

At the Berlin Police Academy, Ewald Igelmund teaches cadets courses on Germany's rule of law. Cadets must take 2 1/2 years of courses before they're allowed to become police officers. Rob Schmitz/NPR hide caption

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Rob Schmitz/NPR

With Far-Right Extremism On The Rise, Germany Investigates Its Police

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President Trump welcomes Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban to the White House in May 2019. Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP hide caption

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Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP

After Trump, Europe's Populist Leaders Will Have 'Lost One Of Their Cheerleaders'

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Europe's Populist Leaders Have A Hard Time Accepting Trump Loss

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Chancellor Angela Merkel, seen here on Oct. 29, told Germans this week, "We're in for a tough winter." New cases of the coronavirus have been hovering at about 20,000 per day recently. Michael Kappeler/Picture Alliance via Getty Images hide caption

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Facing Trump Pressure, EU Invested More In Own Defense. Will It Continue With Biden?

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