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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.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript AUDIE CORNISH, HOST: President Obama is planning to boost aid to Colombia, a country that is emerging now from a decades-old civil war. Colombia's president visits the White House tomorrow, and it's a crucial time as he attempts to solidify a peace deal with rebels. NPR's Michele Kelemen saw him speak today and has this report. KELEMEN: Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos says his country was on the verge of becoming a...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST: Washington Post correspondent Jason Rezaian thanked his colleagues today for helping free him from jail in Iran. He said they kept his story alive. Rezaian spoke at a celebration at the Post's new headquarters. NPR's Michele Kelemen reports. MICHELE KELEMEN, BYLINE: It was an emotional homecoming for Jason Rezaian, who seemed a bit nervous saying he hasn't been around crowds for a while. (SOUNDBITE OF...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript ARI SHAPIRO, HOST: Europeans and other people from countries that have good relations with the U.S. are used to coming here pretty easily. You buy an airplane ticket. You fill out an online travel authorization, and that's it. But after terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, Congress demanded tighter rules for those who have some connection to Iraq, Syria, Sudan or Iran. Now the State Department and Homeland...

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Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. SCOTT SIMON, HOST: We begin this hour with breaking news. Iran has announced that it has freed several U.S. prisoners from Iranian jails. In exchange, the Iranians say the U.S. released some Iranians who'd been in jail here for sanctions violations. All of this occurs just as sanctions against Iran might be about to be released. NPR's diplomatic correspondent Michele Kelemen joins us in our studios. Michele, thanks very much for...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. SCOTT SIMON, HOST: The United Nations says siege and starvation are tactics that have become routine in the conflict of Syria. This past week, aid groups finally reached one town where 40,000 people were at risk of starvation. And when they got there, they saw one boy die and found many others severely malnourished, as NPR's Michele Kelemen reports. MICHELE KELEMEN, BYLINE: As diplomats gathered for an emergency meeting in New York,...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript KELLY MCEVERS, HOST: The U.S. and Iran have avoided what could have been a major international incident. Today, Iran released 10 U.S. sailors along with a video appearing to show one of them apologizing for straying into Iranian waters. The State Department says it's unclear if that statement was coerced and that it doesn't count as a U.S. apology. But Secretary of State John Kerry says the fact that this was all resolved...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript KELLY MCEVERS, HOST: There are a handful of Americans that have been held by Iran for years. And that's an issue that some people hope will be discussed by the president in his State of the Union address tonight. The family members of one of the jailed Americans will be in the audience. NPR's Michele Kelemen reports. MICHELE KELEMEN, BYLINE: President Obama is likely to talk about the nuclear deal with Iran as one of his...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript AUDIE CORNISH, HOST: North Korea says it's tested its first hydrogen bomb. World leaders are skeptical but worried. As NPR's Michele Kelemen reports, U.S. diplomats are struggling to figure out a way to pressure North Korea to change course. MICHELE KELEMEN, BYLINE: The condemnation was swift across the globe. At U.N. headquarters in New York, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon demanded that the North Koreans stop violating...

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When the U.S. and Cuba reopened their embassies this year, American businesses started to look for opportunities on the island. They are quickly learning, though, that it will be a tough slog. John Kavulich, president of the U.S.-Cuba Trade and Economic Council , took a deep dive into the numbers and found that if you "make two columns and you have what the U.S. has gained and what Cuba has gained, Cuba has gained far more during the last year than has the U.S." U.S. agricultural sales have...

Iran has been dismantling parts of its nuclear program faster than many anticipated and could meet its obligations for the lifting of some sanctions as soon as January, according to some officials monitoring the agreement. Iran's nuclear deal with world powers includes a key target known as "implementation day." No specific date was set when the agreement was reached last July to great fanfare. Implementation day will arrive when international inspectors determine that Iran has taken initial...

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST: As we come to the end of this year, one man is about to break a record. John Kerry is on the path to log more miles than any secretary of state in history. Kerry's reason for all that travel is his firm belief in face-to-face diplomacy. Just listen to how he describes what drove him in the long negotiations with Iran over a nuclear deal reached in July. (SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING) SEC OF STATE...

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript ARI SHAPIRO, HOST: Secretary of State John Kerry is trying to build up the diplomatic momentum to end the brutal war in Syria and focus the world on countering ISIS. Today, he met many of the stakeholders in this complex war. He sat down with the foreign ministers of 18 countries in New York, including Russia, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Jordan. As NPR's Michele Kelemen reports, everyone is aiming to get Syria's warring...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST: Now let's hear about a scathing critique of the way the United Nations handled allegations of sexual abuse by peacekeepers in the Central African Republic. An independent panel says there were, quote, "gross institutional failures," and that has led to more abuse. NPR's Michele Kelemen reports. MICHELE KELEMEN, BYLINE: Almost two years ago, U.N. staffers heard some startling allegations from young...

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript AUDIE CORNISH, HOST: There's now an increase in international efforts to cut the Islamic State's many sources of income. Today, the U.N. Security Council held an unusual meeting on the matter. Instead of diplomats around the council table there were finance ministers, including U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew. (SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING) JACK LEW: This unprecedented session underscores the importance of combating...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript AUDIE CORNISH, HOST: A year ago, President Obama made this stunning announcement. (SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING) BARACK OBAMA: The United States of America is changing its relationship with the people of Cuba. CORNISH: He said the United States' decades-old approach to the communist island was not working. The new approach was to start talks with the goal of normalizing relations. NPR's Michele Kelemen reports that the...

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Secretary of State John Kerry is trying to get all sides in Syria's civil war to work out a cease-fire by the end of December. Opponents to the Syrian regime are trying to come up with a negotiating team. There is movement, but reaching a truce is still considered a longshot in a war that's been raging for more than four years and shows no sign of cooling down. One Syrian opposition figure, Aram al-Doumani, who has good reason to be skeptical of the talks, is making the rounds in Washington...

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript STEVE INSKEEP, HOST: Secretary of State John Kerry has taken up yet another conflict. Kerry has addressed Middle East peace talks, tried to end Syria's war, and made a nuclear deal that has shaped a long-running tension with Iran. Now he's adding something else. He wants to unfreeze a longtime conflict over the divided island of Cyprus, which he is visiting. NPR's Michele Kelemen reports. MICHELE KELEMEN, BYLINE: So many...

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript ARI SHAPIRO, HOST: More than 20 people were killed, including one American and two of the attackers. The State Department and the Pentagon announced that all U.S. government personnel in Bamako were accounted for. NPR's Michele Kelemen reports. MICHELE KELEMEN, BYLINE: The Radisson Blu is a popular hotel for Westerners working with international organizations. Some of the Americans who were there were on temporary...

Friday's attacks in Paris have cast a shadow over the Group of 20 summit, which opened Sunday in Antalya, in southern Turkey. Leaders of 20 major economies agreed to step up the battle against ISIS and to ease the wider conflict in Syria. After a moment of silence for the victims in Paris, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told everyone gathered that terrorism threatens everyone. He raised concerns about the refugee crisis flowing from the Syrian civil war and said the world has not...

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript KELLY MCEVERS, HOST: A hostage siege at a concert hall in Paris appears to be over. It's just one deadly scene in the city. Dozens of people are dead. There have been shootings and explosions in multiple locations in and around Paris. Secretary of State John Kerry has just recently spoke about this in Vienna. He's there for a round of diplomacy on Syria, and NPR's Michele Kelemen is travelling with him. And, Michele, what...

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Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript KELLY MCEVERS, HOST: As international diplomats get ready for a new round of talks on Syria, they're struggling with some pretty fundamental questions. Which of the rebels who are fighting in Syria are actually terrorists? Which Syrians could be part of a future government? And how can all the countries that are supporting proxies in the Syrian war work together to calm a situation and stay focused on the threat of ISIS?...

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript MICHEL MARTIN, HOST: It's time once again for our regular segment Words You'll Hear. That's where we try to understand stories we'll be hearing more about in the coming days by parsing some of the words associated with those stories. Today, our word is bedrock. We expect that word to come up tomorrow when President Obama meets at the White House with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Joining us here to tell us...

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript KELLY MCEVERS, HOST: Iran appears to be stepping up its cyberattacks here in the U.S. Journalists, academics, and Obama administration officials have all been targets. The U.S. had hoped that the nuclear deal with Iran would encourage better relations between the two countries, but Iranian hard-liners seem to be flexing their muscles, and cyberattacks are just one example of that. NPR's Michele Kelemen reports. MICHELE...

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST: On Capitol Hill today, two U.S. diplomats were on the defensive over U.S. policy in Syria and how Washington is handling Russian's intervention. One Republican says it seems the U.S. is ceding the skies over Syria to Russian war planes. Russia has continued its airstrikes sometimes hitting areas controlled by rebels who get U.S. backing. Today, Secretary of State John Kerry called his Russian...

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript MICHEL MARTIN, HOST: U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has negotiated a deal that he hopes will quell some of the violence that erupted between Israelis and Palestinians in recent weeks. Tensions have been mounting over access to a sensitive religious site in Jerusalem. NPR's Michele Kelemen is travelling with Kerry, who was in Jordan and Saudia Arabia today. MICHELE KELEMEN, BYLINE: It took several days of talks in...

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