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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World
7:07 pm
Thu February 13, 2014

More Ambassador Posts Are Going To Political Appointees

TV producer Colleen Bell, shown here in a 2013 photo, was a big donor for President Obama before she was nominated to become ambassador to Hungary. Obama has chosen more political appointees than his predecessors.
Handout Getty Images

Originally published on Fri February 14, 2014 6:05 pm

The nominee to be U.S. ambassador to, say, Hungary should be able to explain what the U.S. strategic interests are in that country — right?

But Colleen Bell, a soap opera producer and President Obama's appointee to be U.S. envoy to that European country, struggled to answer that simple question during her recent confirmation hearing.

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Middle East
11:30 am
Sat February 8, 2014

Obama Administration Sharpens Its Language Toward Syria

Originally published on Sat February 8, 2014 12:05 pm

Secretary of State John Kerry has accused Bashar Assad's regime of using starvation as a weapon of war. Critics say the U.S. has not done enough to stop the violence, but Washington doesn't have many options.

Europe
4:51 pm
Thu February 6, 2014

Leaked Ukraine Phone Call Puts U.S. Credibility On The Line

Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 7:55 pm

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Middle East
5:54 pm
Tue February 4, 2014

U.S. And Iran Tread Potholed Path From Rivalry To Negotiation

Originally published on Tue February 4, 2014 8:00 pm

Transcript

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The U.S. and other major powers will hold talks with Iran later this month. The goal is turn an interim deal, limiting that nation's nuclear program, into a more lasting agreement. President Obama has asked that Congress give diplomats some room to maneuver and not pass any new sanctions bill. That he says could derail the entire process.

As NPR's Michele Kelemen reports, this threat of sanctions is just one symptom of a deeper problem that makes these negotiations hard for both sides.

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Middle East
5:17 am
Wed January 15, 2014

Syrian Civil War Overwhelms Aid Groups

Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 7:30 am

Secretary of State John Kerry is attending a donors conference in Kuwait to try to raise money for the humanitarian catastrophe in Syria. Millions of people have been forced from their homes and the U.N. has struggled to gain access to many parts of the country.

World
5:31 pm
Mon January 13, 2014

An American Diplomat In Paris — And A Russian One, Too

Originally published on Mon January 13, 2014 8:53 pm

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In just a week, the U.N. plans to hold Syrian peace talks in Switzerland. In the meantime, the U.S. is leaning hard on opposition leaders to attend and talk face-to-face with a government they've been fighting hard to topple. Secretary of State John Kerry has been in meetings for the past two days in Paris, laying the groundwork for the conference.

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Middle East
4:57 pm
Sun January 12, 2014

Kerry: 'No Other Alternative' To Ending Violence In Syria

Originally published on Sun January 12, 2014 6:50 pm

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The U.S. and other world powers have agreed on a plan with Iran to start rolling back parts of the Iranian nuclear program in exchange for some sanctions relief. Secretary of State John Kerry says the deal goes into effect later this month.

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Africa
5:17 am
Wed January 8, 2014

Despite Warning Signs, South Sudan's Violence Escalated Fast

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 7:12 am

The United States played a key role in helping South Sudan gain independence. But, U.S. diplomats are having a hard time helping the country emerge from internal political and ethnic violence.

Africa
3:33 am
Fri December 20, 2013

U.N. Ambassador Laments Misery In Central African Republic

U.S. Ambassador to the Unitied Nations Samantha Power (right) listens to Lucy Mandazuto at a community hospital in Bangui, Central African Republic, on Thursday. Mandazuto was wounded in sectarian violence.
Jerome Delay AP

Originally published on Fri December 20, 2013 11:13 am

You don't have to venture far to see the misery caused by the latest crisis in the Central African Republic.

On the edge of the airport in the capital Bangui, tens of thousands of people are sleeping out in the open with no basic services. It's here that Samantha Power, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, meets Martine Kutungai with her husband, a pastor, and their eight children.

Kutungai says she's terrified to go home because of the Seleka — Muslim rebels who toppled the government in March.

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Africa
4:45 pm
Thu December 19, 2013

U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power Goes To CAR To Appeal For Peace

Originally published on Thu December 19, 2013 5:42 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish.

The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, made a rare visit to the Central African Republic today. Its government was toppled earlier this year, and Muslim and Christian militias are now locked in a brutal fight. Samantha Power met with the country's new president and appealed for reconciliation to prevent further atrocities.

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