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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World
4:24 pm
Tue May 6, 2014

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

Originally published on Tue May 6, 2014 8:04 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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Middle East
4:00 am
Mon May 5, 2014

West Urged To Pressure Iran On Its Human Rights Record

Originally published on Mon May 5, 2014 6:40 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And a new round of nuclear talks get underway with Iran today in New York. Hopes are high for a deal that would prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons. For one thing, just yesterday, Iran announced that international inspectors would be allowed to visit two key Iranian production sites there. Still, human rights groups are concerned that Iran's poor record on human rights are being ignored in a rush to reach a nuclear deal, as NPR's Michele Kelemen reports.

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Middle East
3:13 pm
Thu May 1, 2014

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

Originally published on Thu May 1, 2014 7:32 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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Asia
3:00 pm
Mon April 28, 2014

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

Originally published on Wed April 30, 2014 9:02 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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Middle East
6:51 am
Sat April 26, 2014

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

Originally published on Sat April 26, 2014 10:30 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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Middle East
4:03 am
Fri April 25, 2014

Syria Is On Track To Meet Chemical Weapons Deadline

Originally published on Fri April 25, 2014 7:09 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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World
4:45 am
Sat April 5, 2014

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

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

Originally published on Sat April 5, 2014 10:18 am

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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Europe
5:38 am
Wed April 2, 2014

Russia Cautions Against A Return Of Cold War Rhetoric

Originally published on Wed April 2, 2014 12:04 pm

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Ever since Russia annexed Crimea, NATO has been watching and waiting for Russia's next moves. This morning, NATO's military commander, U.S. Air Force General Philip Breedlove, said Russia has the forces it needs along Ukraine's border to carryout a full scale invasion of the eastern part of that country within a matter of days. Hoping to exert some pressure, NATO announced its suspending what it calls practical civilian and military cooperation with Russia.

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Europe
4:06 am
Fri March 28, 2014

Ukraine Must Make Hard Choices To Fix Its Economy

Originally published on Mon March 31, 2014 11:12 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

Western countries are taking a two-fold approach to the Ukraine crisis: isolate Russia and help Ukraine overcome massive economic challenges. The International Monetary Fund has a bailout package in the works. It requires Ukraine to carry out difficult reforms. Ukraine has fallen short on such conditions in the past but the stakes are higher now.

NPR's Michele Kelemen reports.

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Middle East
4:05 am
Thu March 27, 2014

U.S.-Saudi Relations Strain Over Syria And Iran

Originally published on Mon March 31, 2014 11:18 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

President Obama leaves Rome tomorrow for Riyadh in Saudi Arabia, where he'll be reassuring Saudi officials that the U.S. is committed to security in the Persian Gulf region.

NPR's Michele Kelemen reports U.S.-Saudi relations have been strained over many regional issues, from Syria and Egypt to diplomacy on Iran.

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