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'Morning Edition' welcomes NPR's Leila Fadel as a new host

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

All right, listeners to this program are hearing a new co-host today.

A MARTINEZ, HOST:

You're familiar with Steve Inskeep and Rachel Martin...

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

And, of course, A Martinez. But today, we welcome Leila Fadel to the host chair. No doubt you already know Leila's name because she's been at NPR as a correspondent for a decade.

INSKEEP: Yeah, she and I first met thousands of miles outside the United States, which says something of what Leila Fadel brings to the job. This is from an NPR story in 2012.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED NPR BROADCAST)

INSKEEP: There's an old Arabic saying we've kept in mind - the wind does not blow as the ships desire. It's especially good advice for us now because we're on a sailboat in the middle of the Nile River, with Cairo spreading out on either bank. We see...

On that boat, we talked with Leila Fadel, who was just about to join NPR. She'd been a war correspondent in Iraq and now was covering an uprising in Egypt.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED NPR BROADCAST)

LEILA FADEL, HOST:

I have a friend who often talks about how, before the revolution, it's like they never had a mirror. And so since Tahrir Square happened, for the first time, Egyptians are looking in the mirror and realizing, oh, this is who we are.

MARTIN: Leila went on to cover unrest in Egyptian streets.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED NPR BROADCAST)

FADEL: A smoke billowing everywhere - gunfire - indiscriminate gunfire going everywhere, journalists...

MARTIN: She traveled the Middle East, covering news and culture. In Saudi Arabia, she found a group of men and women who dared to bend the rules in order to sing together.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED NPR BROADCAST)

MOHAMED HASHEM: (Non-English language spoken).

FADEL: "Art," he says, "comes from our history."

Leila Fadel, NPR News, Jeddah.

HASHEM: (Singing in non-English language).

MARTINEZ: In 2016, our colleague relocated to the United States.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED NPR BROADCAST)

DAVID GREENE: Leila, are you packed?

FADEL: As usual, I'm pretty last minute about it...

GREENE: (Laughter).

FADEL: ...But I'm close to packed (laughter) now.

MARTINEZ: And here, she covered major news of a democracy redefining itself. In Minneapolis last year, she interviewed a man who had been present for the murder of George Floyd.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED NPR BROADCAST)

FADEL: Have you been watching the trial, Pastor?

CURTIS FARRAR: Yes.

FADEL: What's that been like?

FARRAR: Teary-eyed for me.

MARTIN: She also watched the effects of the city's struggle over policing.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED NPR BROADCAST)

FADEL: Many of the businesses have shut down. And when Hill called the police after bullets shattered the windows at his property nearby...

PJ HILL: They didn't come. Now, that's scary.

FADEL: The question, Hill says, is how to make his community feel safe from police abuse, while also making it feel protected.

INSKEEP: Our colleague, in other words, has been present for several of the major news stories of our time. Now her job is to help make sense of all stories as one of our co-hosts. Leila, welcome.

FADEL: Thank you so much.

INSKEEP: What is on your mind as you begin this job?

FADEL: You know, listening to all of those places that I covered, I think that mirror - that idea of continuing to hold up a mirror so people can see themselves and see people who they might think are very different than them.

INSKEEP: I love that concept. This is a show that allows us to really try to hear people, seriously hear them, and put them in context.

FADEL: Yeah, I mean, I'm so excited about this job, to be your co-host and the co-host of Rachel and A. because we get to speak to all kinds of different people and allow for listeners to see themselves and see people that are different than them. So it's exciting.

INSKEEP: OK, so let's do this - all four hosts closing out the hour. And Leila gets to start.

FADEL: It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Leila Fadel.

MARTINEZ: I'm A Martinez.

MARTIN: I'm Rachel Martin.

INSKEEP: And I'm Steve Inskeep.

(SOUNDBITE OF WMD'S "PETRICHOR") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.