Michele Kelemen

A former NPR Moscow bureau chief, Michele Kelemen now covers the State Department and Washington's diplomatic corps. Her reports can be heard on all NPR News programs, including Morning Edition and All Things Considered.

In her latest beat, Kelemen has been traveling with Secretary of State John Kerry and Hillary Clinton before him, tracking the Obama administration's broad foreign policy agenda from Asia to the Middle East. She also followed President Bush's Secretaries of State Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell and was part of the NPR team that won the 2007 Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia University Award for coverage of the war in Iraq.

As NPR's Moscow bureau chief, Kelemen chronicled the end of the Yeltsin era and Vladimir Putin's consolidation of power. She recounted the terrible toll of the latest war in Chechnya, while also reporting on a lighter side of Russia, with stories about modern day Russian literature and sports.

Kelemen came to NPR in September 1998, after eight years working for the Voice of America. There, she learned the ropes as a news writer, newscaster and show host.

Michele earned her Bachelor's degree from the University of Pennsylvania and a Master's degree from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies in Russian and East European Affairs and International Economics.

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Parallels
1:43 pm
Thu May 8, 2014

The Nation That Elects The Most Women Is ...

Rwandan President Paul Kagame takes part in a conference on the role of women at the nation's Parliament in the capital, Kigali, in 2010. Women in Rwanda account for 64 percent of the lower house of Parliament — a higher percentage than in any other country.
Jason Straziuso AP

Originally published on Thu May 8, 2014 7:49 pm

As Rwanda began to rebuild itself from the ashes of the 1994 genocide, something unexpected happened: Women began playing a much more influential role on many fronts, including politics.

Traditions that had limited women previously were cast aside, and President Paul Kagame also actively pushed for women to be in more prominent positions.

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Africa
5:11 pm
Wed May 7, 2014

U.S. Offers Aid In Search For Nigerian Girls, But Is It Too Late?

Protesters march in front of the Nigerian Embassy in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday in support of the girls kidnapped by members of the Islamist group Boko Haram.
Gary Cameron Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Tue June 10, 2014 9:59 am

Nigeria is offering a $300,000 reward for anyone who can find the more than 200 schoolgirls abducted by Islamist group Boko Haram. The U.S. is also pitching in with hostage negotiators and intelligence experts. President Obama says the U.S. will do everything it can to provide assistance to Nigeria.

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World
5:34 pm
Tue May 6, 2014

In Ukraine, West's New Diplomatic Options May Be Few

Originally published on Tue May 6, 2014 9:04 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel. Secretary of State John Kerry says the U.S. won't sit idly by while Russia fans the flames of instability in Ukraine. But so far, U.S. and European sanctions haven't changed Russia's calculations. Kerry blames Russia for failing to calm the crisis. Russia says Ukraine should stop its offensive against separatists in the east. NPR's Michele Kelemen reports that the diplomatic options during these tense days look limited.

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Middle East
5:00 am
Mon May 5, 2014

West Urged To Pressure Iran On Its Human Rights Record

Originally published on Mon May 5, 2014 7:40 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And a new round of nuclear talks get underway with Iran today in New York. Hopes are high for a deal that would prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons. For one thing, just yesterday, Iran announced that international inspectors would be allowed to visit two key Iranian production sites there. Still, human rights groups are concerned that Iran's poor record on human rights are being ignored in a rush to reach a nuclear deal, as NPR's Michele Kelemen reports.

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Middle East
5:02 pm
Thu May 1, 2014

In Rubble Of Middle East Peace Talks, Kerry Seeks Way Forward

Originally published on Thu May 1, 2014 8:32 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

This is a challenging time for Secretary of State John Kerry. His Middle East peace process has collapsed. He's also taking a lot of heat for suggesting that Israel could become an apartheid state if it doesn't negotiate with the Palestinians on two states for two peoples. NPR's Michele Kelemen reports on how Kerry is trying to dig out.

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Middle East
7:51 am
Sat April 26, 2014

Obama: May Be Time For A Pause In Mideast Peace Talks

Originally published on Sat April 26, 2014 11:30 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. The Obama administration's recent efforts to try to steer Israel and Palestine into - and the Palestinians into a lasting peace accord have failed. President Obama isn't giving up, but as he acknowledges, it may be time for a pause. He says Israelis and Palestinians have both taken unhelpful steps in recent weeks and neither side looks ready to compromise. This is a major setback for Secretary of State John Kerry, as NPR's Michele Kelemen reports.

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Middle East
5:03 am
Fri April 25, 2014

Syria Is On Track To Meet Chemical Weapons Deadline

Originally published on Fri April 25, 2014 8:09 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

This is about as close as we're going to get to good news out of Syria. The country is on track, we're told, to meet a deadline to give up its chemical weapons arsenal. The most dangerous chemicals in Syria's declared stockpile are supposed to be removed by Sunday, yet Syria now faces suspicion that it's using less toxic chemicals, possibly chlorine. NPR's Michele Kelemen reports.

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World
5:45 am
Sat April 5, 2014

Taunt Or Miscalculation? Iran's Provocative Pick For U.N. Envoy

Iranian students climb over the wall of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran during the Iranian Revolution, Nov. 4, 1979. The students went on to seize the embassy staff, and hold 52 of them as hostages for 444 days.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat April 5, 2014 11:18 am

Iran's reported decision to name Hamid Aboutalebi as its ambassador to the United Nations has ignited anger in the U.S. That's because the diplomat was part of the student group that held Americans hostage in 1979. Now, dozens of lawmakers are urging the Obama administration to deny him a visa.

It's the latest sign of just how difficult it will be for Washington and Tehran to overcome decades of mistrust.

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Europe
6:38 am
Wed April 2, 2014

Russia Cautions Against A Return Of Cold War Rhetoric

Originally published on Wed April 2, 2014 1:04 pm

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Ever since Russia annexed Crimea, NATO has been watching and waiting for Russia's next moves. This morning, NATO's military commander, U.S. Air Force General Philip Breedlove, said Russia has the forces it needs along Ukraine's border to carryout a full scale invasion of the eastern part of that country within a matter of days. Hoping to exert some pressure, NATO announced its suspending what it calls practical civilian and military cooperation with Russia.

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Middle East
4:30 pm
Tue April 1, 2014

Kerry Weighs Wildcard In Mideast Talks: Freedom For Israeli Spy

Originally published on Tue April 1, 2014 7:58 pm

The U.S. might release a notorious Israeli spy in order to keep peace talks with the Palestinians going — but the idea faces backlash both in the U.S. and abroad.

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