Quil Lawrence is a New York-based correspondent for NPR News, covering veterans' issues nationwide. He won a Robert F. Kennedy Award for his coverage of American veterans and a Gracie Award for coverage of female combat veterans. In 2019 Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America honored Quil with its IAVA Salutes Award for Leadership in Journalism.
Lawrence started his career in radio by interviewing con men in Tangier, Morocco. He then moved to Bogota, Colombia, and covered Latin America for NPR, the BBC, and The LA Times.
In the Spring of 2000, a Pew Fellowship sponsored his first trips to Iraq — that reporting experience eventually built the foundation for his first book, Invisible Nation: How the Kurds' Quest for Statehood is Shaping Iraq and the Middle East (Bloomsbury, 2009).
Lawrence has reported from throughout the Arab world and from Sudan, Cuba, Pakistan, Israel, Gaza, and the West Bank. He covered Iraq and Afghanistan for twelve years, serving as NPR's Bureau Chief in Baghdad and Kabul. He covered the fall of the Taliban in 2001, the invasion of Iraq in 2003, the second battle of Fallujah in 2004, as well as politics, culture, and war in both countries.
In 2012, Lawrence returned to the U.S. to cover the millions of men and women who have served at war, both recently and in past generations. NPR is possibly unique among major news organizations in dedicating a full-time correspondent to veterans and the Department of Veterans Affairs.
A native of Maine, Lawrence studied history at Brandeis University, with concentrations in the Middle East and Latin America. He is fluent in Spanish and conversant in Arabic.
Thousands of people who were planning to visit war memorials in Washington, D.C., on Memorial Day had to cancel this year. That includes veterans traveling with the nonprofit network Honor Flight.
Congress told the VA to expand its caregiver program to include pre-Sept. 11 vets, but the VA has failed to meet a deadline in the law.
A $10 billion program to eliminate long wait times and other problems for veterans' health care hasn't worked out as planned. More veterans wait even longer for care now than they did a year ago.
Since 2001, more than 100,000 troops have left the military with an other-than-honorable discharge. The "bad paper" puts benefits and medical care out of reach, even for those who served in combat. Which raises a simple question: What does America owe those who serve?