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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6:23pm

Thu February 13, 2014
World

More Ambassador Posts Are Going To Political Appointees

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

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

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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5:18pm

Thu February 6, 2014
Europe

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

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

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block.

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3:33am

Fri December 20, 2013
Africa

U.N. Ambassador Laments Misery In Central African Republic

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

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

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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5:16pm

Wed December 18, 2013
Africa

U.S. Envoy: Time For Intervention In Central African Republic

Originally published on Wed December 18, 2013 7:57 pm

Soldiers from Burundi arrive at the airport in Bangui, capital of the Central African Republic, on Dec. 15 to join the African Union and French efforts to restore security in the troubled nation.
Sia Kambou AFP/Getty Images

The Obama administration's ambassador to the U.N. says this is a pivotal moment for the Central African Republic and time for the international community to take steps to prevent further atrocities there.

Samantha Power, a former journalist and Pulitzer Prize-winning author, is well-known as an advocate for humanitarian intervention. How she and the Obama administration handle the conflict in the CAR is a major test of that.

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6:56am

Wed December 11, 2013
Politics

Kerry Urges Lawmakers To Hold Off On Iran Sanctions

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 10:10 am

Secretary of State John Kerry is calling on lawmakers not to impose further sanctions in Iran as negotiations on reining in Tehran's nuclear program continue. Iranian officials have said new sanctions would kill off any hope of a final deal between Iran and world powers.

4:32pm

Mon November 25, 2013
Politics

John Kerry: Risk Ready And Looking For A Legacy

Originally published on Sun December 1, 2013 8:50 am

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Secretary of State John Kerry will have to work hard to allay concerns about the Iran deal, concerns from U.S. allies, including Saudi Arabia and Israel. And as Melissa just mentioned, the White House faces criticism from some in Congress. Kerry will need to convince senators not to impose additional sanctions on Iran so that negotiators can come up with a comprehensive deal over the next six months. As NPR's Michele Kelemen reports, Kerry seems to be well positioned to take on the challenges.

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5:05pm

Mon November 18, 2013
Middle East

Selling Iran Deal To Congress, Kerry Downplays Israeli Criticism

Originally published on Sun November 24, 2013 9:02 am

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel. This could be a big week for diplomacy with Iran. The U.S. and other world powers are sending diplomats back to Geneva. They're hoping to persuade Iran to roll back some of its nuclear program, in exchange for limited sanctions relief. One key U.S. ally is not happy about that. Israel calls it a bad deal, and is urging the U.S. to stand tough.

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5:12pm

Tue November 12, 2013
Middle East

Kerry's New Mission: Convince Congress To Take Iran Deal

Originally published on Tue November 12, 2013 5:56 pm

Secretary of State John Kerry is back in Washington to defend the proposed nuclear deal with Iran to skeptical members of Congress. He and his colleagues from other major powers failed to reach a deal with Iran during talks over the weekend in Geneva. Iran blames France's hard line for blowing up the deal, though Kerry has tried to downplay that.

3:17am

Mon November 4, 2013
Parallels

Syria's Moderate Rebels Fight A Battle On Two Fronts

Originally published on Mon November 4, 2013 5:28 pm

A Syrian fighter from the Islamist rebel group Jabhat al-Nusra inspects a resident's identification papers at a checkpoint in Aleppo on Oct. 26. Syria's Islamist fighters are generally better funded than their more moderate counterparts.
Reuters /Landov

Like many Syrian exiles, Murhaf Jouejati, a professor at National Defense University, is frustrated by U.S. policy toward Syria. He says there's been only a trickle of U.S. aid to the secular, nationalist opposition in Syria, while the Islamists have no trouble raising money through their networks in the Arab world.

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6:12am

Sun October 20, 2013
World

Saudi Act Of Protest Stuns U.N., And Some Observers

Originally published on Sun October 20, 2013 8:58 am

The U.N. Security Council votes on a resolution requiring Syria to give up its chemical weapons last month in New York. Last week, Saudi Arabia turned down a chance to take a seat on the Council.
Craig Ruttle AP

Known for quiet diplomacy, Saudi Arabia is taking an unusual and very public step to protest the international community's failure to resolve the crisis in Syria and other issues that interest Riyadh.

On Thursday, Saudi Arabia was elected to become a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, which the Saudi ambassador to the U.N. initially called a defining moment in his nation's history.

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