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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Africa
4:53 pm
Thu July 11, 2013

U.S. Wants Egypt To Have An Inclusive Political Transition

Originally published on Thu July 11, 2013 7:21 pm

As the Obama administration slow-walks a decision on whether to call the ousting of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi a coup, which would lead to an aid cut off, U.S. officials are also in the awkward position of trying to encourage the Muslim Brotherhood to accept Morsi's ouster and return to the political process. President Obama has spoken by phone to the leader of Qatar, which had bankrolled the Morsi government. He's also been talking to Gulf leaders who were quick to step in to help Egypt after the Islamist government was toppled.

Afghanistan
4:32 am
Wed July 10, 2013

U.S. Troop Issue Complicates Diplomacy With Afghanistan

Originally published on Wed July 10, 2013 8:03 am

President Obama is considering pulling all U.S. troops out of Afghanistan by the end of next year, but the White House says no decision is imminent. Administration officials say the U.S. and Afghanistan are still talking about whether the U.S. will keep some residual force in Afghanistan after 2014.

Political Crisis In Egypt
8:21 am
Sat July 6, 2013

The U.S. Holds The Aid Card, Yet Egypt Still Trumps

Egyptian protesters celebrate in Tahrir Square on Wednesday. The United States has managed to alienate just about every political actor in Egypt.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

Originally published on Sat July 6, 2013 9:04 pm

The ouster of Mohammed Morsi puts the U.S. in an awkward position: By law, the administration is supposed to cut off aid to a country after a military coup, but Egypt's military has been a key to regional stability. As the administration considers its next steps, it's come under criticism from all sides in Egypt over how it's handling the situation.

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National Security
6:05 pm
Tue June 25, 2013

Russia, U.S. At Odds Over Fate Of Edward Snowden

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish.

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World
5:48 pm
Wed June 19, 2013

Russia And China Dinged In U.S. Human Trafficking Report

Originally published on Wed June 19, 2013 10:18 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

You're listening to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News.

Russia, China and Uzbekistan are among the countries that the U.S. says are not doing enough to combat modern-day slavery. That was one of the many findings in the State Department's annual human trafficking report released this afternoon.

NPR's Michele Kelemen tells us more.

MICHELE KELEMEN, BYLINE: Luis CdeBaca runs the State Department's Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons.

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Middle East
5:14 am
Wed June 19, 2013

U.S. To Test The Waters With Iran's New President Rohani

Originally published on Wed June 19, 2013 9:40 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

When Barack Obama became president and offered his hand to Iran, that country's elites reacted skeptically. Many said he was a new face, but still represented Iran's great enemy. Now, Iran will have a new face, winner of last week's presidential election, Hassan Rohani. He says he wants better relations with the outside world, so it's America's turn to wonder just how much Rohani could really change in Iran's confrontation with the U.S. NPR's Michele Kelemen reports on the evidence so far.

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Middle East
5:14 pm
Fri June 14, 2013

U.S. Supplies For Syrian Rebels May Be Too Little, Too Late

Originally published on Fri June 14, 2013 6:12 pm

After determining that the Syrian government has crossed a red line by using chemical weapons, the White House has agreed to start sending military aid to the rebels. Some analysts think it may be too late to tip the balance in Syria, where Assad's forces backed by Hezbollah, Iran and Russia have been gaining ground.

Middle East
5:22 am
Fri June 14, 2013

U.S. To Provide Military Support To Opposition In Syria

Originally published on Fri June 14, 2013 6:52 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

And I'm Linda Wertheimer. The Obama administration has shifted policy on Syria with an announcement, last night, that it will step up support for rebels who've been losing ground in recent weeks. The White House says it will start providing direct military support to rebel commanders.

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World
6:04 pm
Fri June 7, 2013

Russian Rockers Visit Washington To Lobby For Band Mates

Originally published on Fri June 7, 2013 8:29 pm

Two members of the Russian punk band Pussy Riot came to Washington to meet members of the Obama administration and Congress. The feminist activist band is hoping to persuade U.S. officials to visit two of their members in Russian penal colonies to highlight their plight.

Politics
5:23 am
Fri June 7, 2013

Sen. McCain Urges U.S. To Do More For Syrian Rebels

Originally published on Fri June 7, 2013 2:32 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

And I'm Linda Wertheimer. Sen. John McCain is pushing the Obama administration to do more for rebels fighting the Syrian government. This follows his trip last week to opposition-held territory in Syria. McCain warns that a failure to act could send the Middle East deep into sectarian conflict.

His comments come as both the rebels, and the likelihood of planned peace talks, appear to be losing ground.NPR's Michele Kelemen reports.

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Politics
5:19 am
Thu June 6, 2013

Samantha Power Picked To Take Over For Rice At U.N.

Originally published on Thu June 6, 2013 6:53 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

Now let's take a look at the woman nominated to be the next U.S. ambassador to the United Nations when Susan Rice steps down. Samantha Power has been working behind the scenes in the Obama administration on U.N.-related issues. Before that she was an activist and author of an influential book about preventing genocide.

As NPR's Michele Kelemen reports, Power's supporters see her as the conscience in the White House.

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NPR Story
4:33 pm
Wed June 5, 2013

Can U.S. And China Carve Out Peaceful Future In Asia?

Originally published on Wed June 5, 2013 6:19 pm

As President Obama meets his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, many experts hope this will be the start of something new: regular high-level contacts. History shows it is always dangerous when established powers face rising powers.

Middle East
5:33 am
Wed June 5, 2013

Egyptian Court Verdict Complicates Relations With Washington

Originally published on Wed June 5, 2013 9:20 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

The Obama administration is expressing deep concern about guilty verdicts in Egypt against 43 people who were working on democracy programs in the country. Sixteen of them are Americans, though most left Egypt when the charges were brought against them. NPR's Michele Kelemen reports that issue is one of many complicating Washington's relations with Cairo.

MICHELE KELEMEN, BYLINE: Charles Dunne wasn't even in Egypt when he first heard about the charges against him and he never received anything official from the court.

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NPR Story
4:13 pm
Fri May 31, 2013

Missile Shipment To Syria Complicates Kerry's Push For Peace

Originally published on Fri May 31, 2013 9:23 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block. With the civil war raging in Syria, the U.S. and Russia are making another attempt to get on the same page about how to stop it. Diplomats meet in Geneva next week to try to salvage plans for a June peace conference. Secretary of State John Kerry and his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, have run into problems ever since they announced that conference.

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Asia
5:28 pm
Mon May 20, 2013

Myanmar Leader's Visit To Washington A Historic Occasion

Originally published on Mon May 20, 2013 9:00 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

For the first time in nearly five decades, the president of Myanmar paid a visit to the White House. Thein Sein has overseen some dramatic changes in his country, long a pariah on the world stage. And the Obama administration has been trying to encourage those reforms by easing sanctions. President Obama himself went to Myanmar, also known as Burma, last year. But as NPR's Michele Kelemen reports, there is still a lot of work to do.

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Middle East
5:41 am
Sun May 19, 2013

Revisiting U.S. Commitment To The Middle East

Originally published on Sun May 19, 2013 2:11 pm

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Just two years ago today, the effort to change regimes in many parts of the Islamic world was just beginning. And President Obama was at the U.S. State Department talking about a new chapter in American diplomacy.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: It will be the policy of the United States to promote reform across the region and to support the transitions to democracy. That effort begins in Egypt and Tunisia where the stakes are high.

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Middle East
4:24 am
Thu May 16, 2013

Obama, Erdogan To Discuss Syria's Conflict Spilling Into Turkey

Originally published on Thu May 16, 2013 12:57 pm

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan meets President Obama at the White House on Thursday. Their talks will focus on the Syrian conflict. Erdogan has been pushing the U.S. to do more to resolve a conflict.

Middle East
4:49 am
Tue May 14, 2013

Plans Proceed For Another International Meeting On Syria

Originally published on Tue May 14, 2013 1:19 pm

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning. I'm David Greene.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep.

President Obama got a warning this week about Syria. It's a warning that the country's civil war seems unlikely to end very soon on its own.

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NPR Story
5:30 am
Sat May 11, 2013

Kerry's Agenda: Priorities Emerge With Travel

Originally published on Sun May 12, 2013 8:29 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

The U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry, has been in the Middle East, Rome and Russia this week trying to find some kind of diplomatic end to Syria's civil war. He's also been trying to revive Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. Mr. Kerry has been the U.S. secretary of state for just over 100 days, spending more than a third of that time overseas.

NPR's Michele Kelemen reports on how his tenure at the State Department seems to be shaping up.

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World
5:26 pm
Tue May 7, 2013

Kerry Appeals To Russia To Help End Syrian Civil War

Originally published on Tue May 7, 2013 10:56 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish.

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