Nishant Dahiya is NPR’s Asia Editor. He earned his M.A in International Affairs. He interned with CSIS’ South Asia program and started working with NPR while at The Elliott School. He helped cover the 2008 U.S. elections, worked in NPR’s Baghdad bureau from 2008-2010, covered the conflicts in Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, earthquakes in Haiti, and elections in Iran, among other assignments. Since 2014, he’s been editing NPR’s coverage out of Asia.
Describe your current position and what are your primary responsibilities?
I am NPR’s Asia Editor. I run the network’s coverage from Afghanistan to Japan and everything in between. I help our correspondents in six bureaus across Asia handle breaking news and plan and produce feature stories and investigations that can help our listeners understand and appreciate the region’s complex and diverse history, politics and society.
How does your current position compare to what you thought you would be doing when you first started your degree at the Elliott School?
In a sense, I am doing exactly what I hoped to be doing. When I joined the Elliott School, I very much wanted to continue being a journalist but add an international dimension to it. Since then, I have worked in several roles at NPR conceptualizing, planning, producing, reporting and editing coverage from Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, Iran, India, Libya, Haiti and many other countries around the world.
What part of your career do you find most rewarding and why?
I feel lucky and privileged that I get to plan and edit stories from Asia, today unarguably the most dynamic region of the world, with more than half of our planet’s landmass and population. There’s incredible diversity of people, ideas, stories and even types of governments – from democracies to autocracies to everything in between. And with competition heating up between the U.S. and China, Asia is also becoming the center of Washington’s focus – all of which makes conceptualizing and editing coverage from there deeply rewarding as we try to explain the forces and ideas shaping that part of the world to our audience.
In your experience, how has a graduate degree related to international affairs been valuable?
It’s allowed me to think in a more structural way about the world. I bring to my job, I think, a deeper understanding of the underlying forces that shape the world and the international system, and of the different perspectives, hopes and needs that different countries and their people bring to the table.
Share a fun/funny work from home/quarantine story!
My two-year-old son recently sat on my home office chair and “stood in” for me at our Zoom morning meeting. I think he got a better reception I ever have.
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The #ElliottProud profile series is managed by the Elliott School Office of Graduate Admissions and highlights graduate program alumni to answer common questions posed by prospective, incoming, and current students. For more information on this series or to submit questions, e-mail the Office of Graduate Admissions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The views expressed by students profiled do not necessarily represent those of organizations they work for, are affiliated with, or the Elliott School of International Affairs.