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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Asia
2:28 pm
Wed June 24, 2015

U.S. Calls On Myanmar To Grant Rohingya Citizenship

Originally published on Wed June 24, 2015 6:01 pm

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Parallels
2:48 pm
Tue June 16, 2015

Of 4 Million Syrian Refugees, The U.S. Has Taken Fewer Than 1,000

Mohammad and Linda Jomaa al-Halabi, along with their five daughters, are among the fewer than 1,000 Syrian refugees who have been resettled in the U.S. They left Syria in August 2012 and arrived last year in Baltimore, where they live now.
Michele Kelemen NPR

Originally published on Tue June 16, 2015 6:06 pm

Syria's civil war has uprooted millions of people, including 4 million who have fled their homeland. The U.S., a country that has always been a leader in refugee resettlement, has taken in fewer than 1,000 of them.

Now, the United Nations refugee agency is asking the U.S. and other wealthy countries to open their doors to the most vulnerable victims of the conflict that began in 2011.

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Middle East
5:37 am
Sat June 6, 2015

U.N.-Led Yemen Peace Talks Are Set For June 14

Originally published on Sat June 6, 2015 10:44 am

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Parallels
12:59 pm
Tue June 2, 2015

Families Appeal To Congress, Call For Release Of Americans Held In Iran

Family members of Americans held or missing in Iran attend a hearing of the Foreign Affairs Committee on Capitol Hill on Tuesday. From left: Ali Rezaian, brother of Washington Post journalist Jason Rezaian; Nagameh Abedini, wife of Saeed Abedini; Sarah Hekmati, sister of Amir Hekmati; and Daniel Levinson, son of Robert Levinson.
Brendan Smialowski AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue June 2, 2015 4:35 pm

After hearing testimony from four families, U.S. lawmakers passed a resolution calling on Iran to release three jailed Americans and provide information about a former FBI agent who disappeared in Iran in 2007.

As the June 30 deadline for a nuclear deal with Iran approaches, the families say it's time for the U.S. to push hard on this issue.

Among those who spoke Tuesday before a hearing of the House Foreign Affairs Committee was Daniel Levinson, son of former FBI agent Robert Levinson.

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Latin America
3:17 am
Thu May 21, 2015

U.S.-Cuba Talks To Resume On Re-Establishing Diplomatic Relations

Originally published on Thu May 21, 2015 12:57 pm

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National Security
2:53 pm
Fri April 3, 2015

Negotiators Work To Sell Skeptics On Iran Nuclear Deal

Originally published on Fri April 3, 2015 4:42 pm

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World
2:39 pm
Wed March 25, 2015

Yemen's President Flees As Rebels Move South, Reports Say

Originally published on Wed March 25, 2015 8:30 pm

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Afghanistan
3:04 am
Tue March 24, 2015

Afghanistan Still Relies On U.S., President Ghani Reiterates

Originally published on Tue March 24, 2015 8:10 am

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Middle East
3:04 am
Thu March 12, 2015

Drawn-Out Syrian Civil War Spawns A Literal Dark Age

Girls carrying school bags provided by UNICEF walk past destroyed buildings on their way home from school on March 7 in the rebel-held al-Shaar neighborhood of Aleppo, Syria. So many people have fled the city and so much of its infrastructure has been destroyed that nighttime satellite images show 97 percent less light there compared with four years ago.
Zein al-Rifai AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu March 12, 2015 9:26 am

The conflict in Syria is entering its fifth year, and two new reports suggest it just keeps getting worse for civilians there.

One United Nations agency says life expectancy has plummeted by 20 years in the once-developed nation, while another new study based on nighttime satellite imagery finds that, in the past four years, 83 percent of the country's lights have gone off.

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News
8:58 am
Tue March 3, 2015

After Weeks Of Controversy, Netanyahu Takes The Podium Before Congress

Originally published on Tue March 3, 2015 10:19 am

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This morning, members of Congress gathered on Capitol Hill for a major speech.

(SOUNDBITE OF SPEECH)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister of Israel...

(APPLAUSE)

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Latin America
6:04 am
Sat February 28, 2015

More U.S.-Cuba Talks Ahead, Including Human Rights Dialogue

Originally published on Sat February 28, 2015 8:40 am

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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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