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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5:01am

Wed October 15, 2014
Europe

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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5:11am

Mon October 13, 2014
Middle East

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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6:39am

Tue September 23, 2014
World

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.

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

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4:36pm

Thu September 4, 2014
Africa

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

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

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4:20pm

Mon September 1, 2014
Europe

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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7:50am

Sun August 31, 2014
Europe

Ukraine Crisis Casts Long Shadow Over NATO Summit

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

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4:27pm

Thu August 28, 2014
Europe

Momentum Gathers For The West's Response To Russia

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

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4:17pm

Wed August 20, 2014
Parallels

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

Originally published on Wed August 20, 2014 8:35 pm

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

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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4:09pm

Fri August 15, 2014
Middle East

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

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

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4:05pm

Tue August 12, 2014
Africa

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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4:51pm

Thu August 7, 2014
Africa

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

Originally published on Thu August 7, 2014 7:43 pm

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4:18pm

Mon August 4, 2014
Africa

Africa Summit To Tackle Food Stability And Climate Change

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

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8:50am

Sun August 3, 2014
Europe

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

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

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

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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4:59am

Wed July 30, 2014
World

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

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

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4:08pm

Wed July 23, 2014
Middle East

Kerry Claims Progress In Gaza Cease-Fire Talks

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

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4:14pm

Tue July 22, 2014
Middle East

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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5:25am

Tue July 22, 2014
Middle East

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

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4:20pm

Fri June 20, 2014
World

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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4:06pm

Tue June 17, 2014
Environment

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

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

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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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4:02pm

Thu June 12, 2014
Iraq

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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4:08pm

Tue June 3, 2014
World

Russia Takes Helm Of UN Security Council, Turns Focus On Ukraine

Originally published on Tue June 3, 2014 8:03 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Russia holds the presidency at the United Nations Security Council at the moment. That role rotates monthly. And this is shaping up to be a month of high diplomatic drama. Russia's ambassador is trying to keep the council focused on Ukraine. He's calling for humanitarian corridors to provide aid the east of the country. The U.S. and other council members accused Russia of hypocrisy. And they plan to focus on other humanitarian concerns like Syria. Here is NPR's Michele Kelemen.

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4:05pm

Tue May 13, 2014
Middle East

Frustrations Defeat Another Diplomat, As U.N. Syria Envoy Quits

Originally published on Tue May 13, 2014 7:26 pm

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MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish. The conflict in Syria now in its 4th year, and a diplomatic solution seems as far off as ever. The international diplomat who's been trying to lead negotiations announced he's stepping down. It's a new sign of just how bad things are Syria. And as NPR's Michele Kelemen reports, there doesn't seem to be a plan B.

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1:43pm

Thu May 8, 2014
Parallels

The Nation That Elects The Most Women Is ...

Originally published on Thu May 8, 2014 7:49 pm

Rwandan President Paul Kagame takes part in a conference on the role of women at the nation's Parliament in the capital, Kigali, in 2010. Women in Rwanda account for 64 percent of the lower house of Parliament — a higher percentage than in any other country.
Jason Straziuso AP

As Rwanda began to rebuild itself from the ashes of the 1994 genocide, something unexpected happened: Women began playing a much more influential role on many fronts, including politics.

Traditions that had limited women previously were cast aside, and President Paul Kagame also actively pushed for women to be in more prominent positions.

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5:11pm

Wed May 7, 2014
Africa

U.S. Offers Aid In Search For Nigerian Girls, But Is It Too Late?

Originally published on Tue June 10, 2014 9:59 am

Protesters march in front of the Nigerian Embassy in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday in support of the girls kidnapped by members of the Islamist group Boko Haram.
Gary Cameron Reuters/Landov

Nigeria is offering a $300,000 reward for anyone who can find the more than 200 schoolgirls abducted by Islamist group Boko Haram. The U.S. is also pitching in with hostage negotiators and intelligence experts. President Obama says the U.S. will do everything it can to provide assistance to Nigeria.

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5:34pm

Tue May 6, 2014
World

In Ukraine, West's New Diplomatic Options May Be Few

Originally published on Tue May 6, 2014 9:04 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel. Secretary of State John Kerry says the U.S. won't sit idly by while Russia fans the flames of instability in Ukraine. But so far, U.S. and European sanctions haven't changed Russia's calculations. Kerry blames Russia for failing to calm the crisis. Russia says Ukraine should stop its offensive against separatists in the east. NPR's Michele Kelemen reports that the diplomatic options during these tense days look limited.

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4:04pm

Thu May 1, 2014
Middle East

In Rubble Of Middle East Peace Talks, Kerry Seeks Way Forward

Originally published on Thu May 1, 2014 8:32 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

This is a challenging time for Secretary of State John Kerry. His Middle East peace process has collapsed. He's also taking a lot of heat for suggesting that Israel could become an apartheid state if it doesn't negotiate with the Palestinians on two states for two peoples. NPR's Michele Kelemen reports on how Kerry is trying to dig out.

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4:17pm

Mon April 28, 2014
Asia

Out Of North Korea, A Sexist Rant Against South's President

Originally published on Wed April 30, 2014 10:02 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

North Korea is offering its view of President Obama's trip to Asia and it isn't pretty. The official North Korean news agency used especially harsh language about South Korea's president who hosted Obama last week. By the way, we're about to hear more about that harsh language, so consider this a head's up if any children are listening. Here's NPR's Michele Kelemen.

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7:51am

Sat April 26, 2014
Middle East

Obama: May Be Time For A Pause In Mideast Peace Talks

Originally published on Sat April 26, 2014 11:30 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. The Obama administration's recent efforts to try to steer Israel and Palestine into - and the Palestinians into a lasting peace accord have failed. President Obama isn't giving up, but as he acknowledges, it may be time for a pause. He says Israelis and Palestinians have both taken unhelpful steps in recent weeks and neither side looks ready to compromise. This is a major setback for Secretary of State John Kerry, as NPR's Michele Kelemen reports.

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5:03am

Fri April 25, 2014
Middle East

Syria Is On Track To Meet Chemical Weapons Deadline

Originally published on Fri April 25, 2014 8:09 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

This is about as close as we're going to get to good news out of Syria. The country is on track, we're told, to meet a deadline to give up its chemical weapons arsenal. The most dangerous chemicals in Syria's declared stockpile are supposed to be removed by Sunday, yet Syria now faces suspicion that it's using less toxic chemicals, possibly chlorine. NPR's Michele Kelemen reports.

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5:45am

Sat April 5, 2014
World

Taunt Or Miscalculation? Iran's Provocative Pick For U.N. Envoy

Originally published on Sat April 5, 2014 11:18 am

Iranian students climb over the wall of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran during the Iranian Revolution, Nov. 4, 1979. The students went on to seize the embassy staff, and hold 52 of them as hostages for 444 days.
AFP/Getty Images

Iran's reported decision to name Hamid Aboutalebi as its ambassador to the United Nations has ignited anger in the U.S. That's because the diplomat was part of the student group that held Americans hostage in 1979. Now, dozens of lawmakers are urging the Obama administration to deny him a visa.

It's the latest sign of just how difficult it will be for Washington and Tehran to overcome decades of mistrust.

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