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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U.S.
10:51 am
Wed December 17, 2014

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

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 11:29 am

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Africa
4:16 pm
Wed December 10, 2014

Restrictive Government Makes Fighting Sexual Assault Hard In Egypt

Originally published on Thu December 11, 2014 9:38 am

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The Two-Way
2:26 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 8:24 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
7:46 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 12:05 pm

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
3:47 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 9:58 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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Parallels
5:13 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 6:32 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
1:59 pm
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 9:55 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
5:27 pm
Tue October 21, 2014

North Korea Allows Detained American To Leave

Originally published on Wed October 22, 2014 7:01 am

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Europe
5:01 am
Wed October 15, 2014

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

Originally published on Wed October 15, 2014 2:18 pm

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Middle East
5:11 am
Mon October 13, 2014

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

Originally published on Mon October 13, 2014 9:42 am

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World
6:39 am
Tue September 23, 2014

As U.N. Leaders Prepare To Meet, Many Issues Vie For Attention

Originally published on Tue September 23, 2014 1:20 pm

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The United States says its airstrikes overnight were conducted against ISIS, which is not a recognized state.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

But the strikes against the ISIS capital Raqqa were within a recognized state - Syria.

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Africa
4:36 pm
Thu September 4, 2014

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

Originally published on Thu September 4, 2014 6:51 pm

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Europe
4:20 pm
Mon September 1, 2014

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

Originally published on Mon September 1, 2014 4:36 pm

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Europe
7:50 am
Sun August 31, 2014

Ukraine Crisis Casts Long Shadow Over NATO Summit

Originally published on Sun August 31, 2014 1:31 pm

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Europe
4:27 pm
Thu August 28, 2014

Momentum Gathers For The West's Response To Russia

Originally published on Thu August 28, 2014 7:28 pm

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Parallels
4:17 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 8:35 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
4:09 pm
Fri August 15, 2014

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

Originally published on Mon August 18, 2014 4:24 pm

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Africa
4:05 pm
Tue August 12, 2014

South Sudan's Leaders Jostle For Power As Prospect Of Famine Looms

Originally published on Tue August 12, 2014 9:45 pm

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

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Africa
4:51 pm
Thu August 7, 2014

At Africa Summit, South Sudanese President Resents Pressure From U.S.

Originally published on Thu August 28, 2014 6:43 pm

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Africa
5:13 am
Wed August 6, 2014

Summit Focuses Investors On Africa's Energy Opportunities

Originally published on Wed August 6, 2014 7:45 am

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

More than 50 African heads of state are here in Washington D.C. for a summit this week.

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Africa
4:18 pm
Mon August 4, 2014

Africa Summit To Tackle Food Stability And Climate Change

Originally published on Mon August 4, 2014 7:09 pm

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Europe
8:50 am
Sun August 3, 2014

U.S.-Russia Relations: More Carrot Or More Stick?

A pro-Russian fighter guards the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 near the village of Hrabove, eastern Ukraine on July 19, 2014. Ukraine said the passenger plane was shot down as it flew over the country, killing all 298 people on board.
Evgeniy Maloletka AP

Originally published on Fri August 29, 2014 1:02 pm

The U.S. and Russia seem to have fallen into a pattern over the crisis in Ukraine. When Washington ratchets up the pressure on Moscow, Russia doubles down on its support for separatists in eastern Ukraine.

That has been the case even after a Malaysian airliner was shot down over a separatist held region, and many wonder if it's time for a new approach to Vladimir Putin's Russia.

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World
4:59 am
Wed July 30, 2014

U.S., EU Try To Turn Up The Heat On Russia

Originally published on Wed July 30, 2014 8:07 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Middle East
4:08 pm
Wed July 23, 2014

Kerry Claims Progress In Gaza Cease-Fire Talks

Originally published on Wed July 23, 2014 10:36 pm

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Middle East
4:14 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

In Cairo, First Steps Taken On Gnarled Path To Gaza Cease-Fire

Originally published on Tue July 22, 2014 8:17 pm

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AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Now to Cairo, where Secretary of State John Kerry and other diplomats are trying to bring an end to the fighting between Israel and Hamas. Kerry made a brief public statement today. He said the talks have been constructive but there's more work to do.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

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Middle East
5:25 am
Tue July 22, 2014

Kerry's Aim In Egypt: First, Get Israel And Hamas To Cease Fire

Originally published on Tue July 22, 2014 1:13 pm

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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

The death toll continues to climb as Israel presses on with its ground operation in Gaza.

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World
4:20 pm
Fri June 20, 2014

In Trafficking Report, A Stark Warning About Thai Fishing Industry

Originally published on Fri June 20, 2014 7:08 pm

The U.S. state department has issued its annual report on human trafficking. According to the report, Thailand, Malaysia and Venezuela have not been doing enough to combat modern slavery. And the report includes a warning to American importers of seafood: Clean up supply chains that include Thailand, where fish may be caught or processed using slave labor.

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Environment
4:06 pm
Tue June 17, 2014

White House Plans To Mark Off World's Largest Ocean Sanctuary

Originally published on Tue June 17, 2014 8:33 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, BYLINE: This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel. President Obama is once again exercising his executive authority for an environmental cause. Today he announced plans to create the world's largest marine preserve. His proposal came in a video shown at the State Department's "Our Ocean" conference. The White House says it will seek input from fisherman, scientists, and other experts before setting boundaries for the preserve. NPR's Michele Kelemen has our story.

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Environment
5:26 am
Mon June 16, 2014

Kerry Gathers World Players To Focus On Protecting Oceans

Originally published on Mon June 16, 2014 9:45 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Government officials, scientists and business leaders from more than 80 countries are gathering at the State Department today and tomorrow. They're there to figure out ways to protect the world's oceans and commercial fisheries. Secretary of State John Kerry says this is an issue he's been working on for a long time, as NPR's Michele Kelemen reports.

MICHELE KELEMEN, BYLINE: When Secretary Kerry talks about his hopes for this conference he reaches back deep into his childhood in Massachusetts.

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Iraq
4:01 pm
Thu June 12, 2014

As Iraq Comes Apart At The Seams, Washington Weighs What To Do

Originally published on Thu June 12, 2014 7:43 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

We now return to NPR's Michele Kelemen on how the White House is weighing its options in aiding Iraq and its Confrontation with ISIS extremist and finding limited options.

MICHELE KELEMEN, BYLINE: For those experts who argued that the U.S. should have tried harder to reach an agreement with Iraq to leave some troops there rather than pull out completely in 2011 this is their nightmare scenario. Retired Army officer Rick Brennan did a study for the RAND Corporation that showed that Iraqi security forces just weren't ready.

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