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
9:12 am
Thu February 12, 2015

John Kerry Takes A Side Trip Into A Snowstorm

Secretary of State John Kerry arrives at the airport in Munich, Germany, on Feb. 5. On the way back to the U.S., Kerry's plane stopped in Boston during a snowstorm so he could see his new grandchild. Such personal stops are permitted, though they sometimes raise eyebrows.
Sven Hoppe DPA/Landov

On his way home from Europe last Sunday, Secretary of State John Kerry didn't go directly to Washington. He routed his government plane to Boston's Logan Airport, which was battling a major snowstorm.

The plane circled for a half-hour before landing, and was then on the tarmac for about an hour-and-a-half. Kerry's staff and journalists traveling with him remained on board, while the secretary got off to meet his newborn granddaughter. When Kerry got back on board, the plane then proceeded to Washington.

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Europe
3:04 pm
Sat February 7, 2015

How Should U.S., Europe Respond To Russian Aggression?

Originally published on Sat February 7, 2015 7:29 pm

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Europe
5:56 am
Sat February 7, 2015

Ukraine Crisis Tops Agenda At Munich Conference

Originally published on Sat February 7, 2015 9:19 am

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Europe
2:35 pm
Thu February 5, 2015

Kerry Visits Kiev To Show Support For Beleaguered Ukrainian Government

Originally published on Thu February 5, 2015 4:23 pm

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Latin America
2:37 pm
Tue February 3, 2015

Marco Rubio Challenges Obama Administration's New Approach To Cuba

Originally published on Tue February 3, 2015 5:22 pm

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Politics
2:24 pm
Thu January 22, 2015

Netanyahu Accepts Republican Invitation To Address Congress

Originally published on Mon January 26, 2015 6:20 pm

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Latin America
2:26 pm
Tue January 20, 2015

Thaw Begins On U.S.-Cuba Relationship Frozen In Time

Originally published on Wed January 21, 2015 9:25 am

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Middle East
3:31 pm
Sat January 17, 2015

Syrian Opposition Groups Wary Of Russia's Invitation To Moscow

A rebel fighter takes aim during a training session in Eastern al-Ghouta, a rebel-held region outside the capital Damascus, earlier this month. Russia is inviting Syrian opposition groups to peace talks in Moscow, but few of them want to go to a country that supports Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Abd Doumany AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat January 17, 2015 4:59 pm

The war in Syria has been raging for nearly four years and it's been challenging for diplomats to get warring sides to agree on even temporary truces.

The U.N. envoy is pressing ahead on that front, while Russia tries to play peacemaker. Russia is inviting the parties to Moscow this month, but some opposition groups won't go to a country that has been backing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

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Latin America
3:14 pm
Thu January 15, 2015

White House Starts Chipping Away At U.S. Embargo On Cuba

Originally published on Thu January 15, 2015 4:33 pm

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World
8:17 am
Fri January 9, 2015

Mideast Conflict Could Bog Down International Criminal Court

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has accused Israel of committing war crimes against the Palestinians. The Palestinians have joined the International Criminal Court, a move that has angered Israel and is unlikely to lead to any prosecutions in the near term.
Abbas Momani AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun January 11, 2015 9:26 am

The Palestinian decision to join the International Criminal Court this month comes at a challenging time for the world's only permanent war crimes tribunal.

The ICC is just over a decade old and has had to back off from some controversial cases, including one in Kenya, where an investigation collapsed into the country's president for election violence. The Hague-based court may have to walk an especially fine line in the Middle East.

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Parallels
12:41 pm
Tue January 6, 2015

With The Saudi King Ailing, Succession Speculation Begins

King Abdullah (right) and Crown Prince Salman (left) are shown in this 2012 poster. The king, who is at least 90, was hospitalized last week and Salman on Tuesday stepped in for the monarch and delivered an annual televised speech to the nation.
FAYEZ NURELDINE AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue January 6, 2015 6:47 pm

Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah is ill, the kingdom is facing the lowest oil prices in years (partly by choice) and it remains locked in a regional rivalry with Iran.

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Africa
2:20 pm
Tue December 30, 2014

U.N. Whistleblower: International Community Has Failed Darfur

Originally published on Tue December 30, 2014 4:30 pm

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U.S.
8:51 am
Wed December 17, 2014

Cuba, U.S. Agree To Prisoner Release Including American Alan Gross

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 9:29 am

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Africa
2:16 pm
Wed December 10, 2014

Restrictive Government Makes Fighting Sexual Assault Hard In Egypt

Originally published on Thu December 11, 2014 7:38 am

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The Two-Way
12:21 pm
Mon December 8, 2014

2014 A Year Of 'Unspeakable Brutality' For Children In Conflict Zones

A Syrian Kurdish child looks through the fence of a refugee camp in the town of Suruc, Turkey, last month. The advance of Islamic State jihadists on Kobane has forced some 200,000 refugees to flee across the border to Turkey.
Aris Messinis AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon December 8, 2014 6:24 pm

The United Nations Children's Fund calls 2014 a devastating year for children, reporting that as many as 15 million young people are caught in conflicts in the Central African Republic, Iraq, South Sudan, the Palestinian territories, Syria and Ukraine.

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Parallels
5:46 am
Sat November 29, 2014

For Former U.S. Hostages, A Deal With Iran Also Remains Elusive

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani, shown in Tehran in March, supports the nuclear negotiations with the U.S. and other world powers. Iran is now receiving some $700 million a month in sanctions relief. Those watching the negotiations include former U.S. hostages in Iran, who have sought compensation for years.
STR AP

Originally published on Sat November 29, 2014 10:05 am

Retired U.S. Air Force Col. David Roeder spent more than a year as one of 52 American hostages held by Iranian revolutionaries who took over the U.S. Embassy in Tehran in 1979.

"I spent 14 months of my life and getting beaten around and tortured and threats against my family and all those sorts of things," he says.

For many, he adds, the ordeal never ended.

"Quite frankly, I was one of the lucky ones," he says. "I think I'm ok. But there's an awful lot ... who are really hurting. Everything from post traumatic disorder-type depression, to age, of course."

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Parallels
1:47 am
Thu November 13, 2014

Russia And The West: Close Encounters Of The Cold War Kind

NATO has reported a spike in Russian military activity at sea and in NATO and other western European countries' airspace as tensions have mounted over Ukraine. Here, a Russian military long-range bomber aircraft flies in international airspace on Oct. 29.
Royal Air Force AP

Originally published on Thu November 13, 2014 7:58 am

As tensions mounted between Russia and the West over Ukraine back in March, a routine commercial flight had a close encounter with a Russian spy plane. The Scandinavian airliner had just taken off from Copenhagen on a flight to Rome when the pilots saw the Russian military aircraft in their path and had to maneuver around it.

This is one of the most dramatic examples of a growing number of close calls documented in a new report, "Dangerous Brinkmanship: Close Military Encounters Between Russia and the West in 2014."

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World
2:30 pm
Mon November 10, 2014

Fraught U.S.-Russia Relationship Could Undermine Nuclear Security

Originally published on Mon November 10, 2014 5:08 pm

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Parallels
2:35 pm
Tue November 4, 2014

Iraq's Yazidis Appeal For Help In Finding Their Missing Women

Iraqi Yazidi women who fled the violence in the northern Iraq take shelter in the city of Dohuk on Aug. 5. The Yazidis, are a small community that follows an ancient faith and have been repeatedly targeted by jihadists. Yazidi leaders say several thousands members of the community have gone missing in recent months.
Safin Hamed AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue November 4, 2014 4:32 pm

When the Islamic State took over large parts of northern Iraq this summer, including the areas where the minority Yazidi community lives, the U.S. carried out air strikes and halted the advance of the extremists.

Still, thousands of Yazidi women and girls have gone missing over the past few months and there are now reports they are being sold by the Islamic State as sex slaves.

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Parallels
11:59 am
Mon November 3, 2014

In A Remote Corner Of Sudan, An American Takes His Stand

American Ryan Boyette, left, works with Yassin Hassen, right, in an interview with a rebel in Sudan's Nuba Mountains. Boyette started the Nuba Reports website in 2011 and recruited Hassen to join as a citizen journalist.
Alan Boswell MCT via Getty Images

Originally published on Tue November 4, 2014 7:55 am

American Ryan Boyette knows there are many crises that compete for world's attention, but he's determined not to let a conflict in his adopted home of Sudan go unnoticed.

The young Florida man moved to the Nuba Mountains, a remote part of Sudan, in 2003, to join the Evangelical Christian aid group, Samaritan's Purse.

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Asia
3:27 pm
Tue October 21, 2014

North Korea Allows Detained American To Leave

Originally published on Wed October 22, 2014 5:01 am

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Europe
3:01 am
Wed October 15, 2014

Ahead Of Iran Nuclear Talks, Kerry Meets With Russia's Lavrov

Originally published on Wed October 15, 2014 12:18 pm

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Middle East
3:11 am
Mon October 13, 2014

Meeting In Cairo, Nations Pledge $5.4 Billion To Rebuild Gaza

Originally published on Mon October 13, 2014 7:42 am

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Europe
2:58 am
Mon October 6, 2014

From Exile In Switzerland, Ex-Tycoon Relaunches Open Russia

Originally published on Mon October 6, 2014 10:32 am

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Goats and Soda
5:17 am
Fri September 26, 2014

Promised Help To Fight Ebola Arriving At 'Speed Of A Turtle'

Five ambulances, donated by the U.S. to help combat Ebola, are lined up after a ceremony attended by Sierra Leone's president, Ernest Bai Koroma, in Freetown on Sept. 10.
Michael Duff AP

Health officials have warned that if aid doesn't arrive soon to West Africa, more than a million people could be infected with Ebola by late January.

Last week President Obama announced plans for a surge in U.S. aid to the region. The U.K. and the European Union followed suit.

The United Nations is also gearing up to provide aid. Representatives from member states met Thursday at the U.N. General Assembly to tackle the crisis.

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Africa
2:36 pm
Thu September 4, 2014

Report: Violence Against Children Runs Rampant In Nigeria's Northeast

Originally published on Thu September 4, 2014 4:51 pm

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Europe
2:36 pm
Mon September 1, 2014

Analyst: Response To Russian Incursion Will Be 'Defining Moment' For NATO

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Europe
2:45 pm
Thu August 28, 2014

Momentum Gathers For The West's Response To Russia

Originally published on Thu August 28, 2014 5:28 pm

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Parallels
2:17 pm
Wed August 20, 2014

In Syria, The U.S. Weighs A Range Of Unpalatable Options

Forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar Assad walk along a street in Mleiha, near the Damascus airport, during a tour organized by the Syrian government on Aug. 15.
Omar Sanadiki Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Wed August 20, 2014 6:35 pm

President Obama said Wednesday that the Islamic State is a cancer that threatens all governments in the Middle East. But that raises the question of what the U.S. could or should do.

Two former U.S. ambassadors to Syria, Robert Ford and Ryan Crocker, have advocated different approaches to a conflict where there are many different options. But none is appealing and there's no guarantee, or even a likelihood that U.S. action would ultimately determine the outcome.

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Middle East
2:09 pm
Fri August 15, 2014

U.S. Policy On Syria Marked By Caution, Official Says

Originally published on Mon August 18, 2014 2:24 pm

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