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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.

When President Obama began opening up to Cuba two years ago, reversing U.S. policy that dated back more than a half-century, he relied on executive orders that did not require the blessing of Congress. That means President-elect Donald Trump could easily undo Obama's actions. And on the campaign trail, Trump said he would "terminate" Obama's orders that opened the way for travel and trade with Cuba, unless the U.S. could negotiate better terms. Trump's election victory, Fidel Castro's death...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST: Fidel Castro's death comes at a time of a changing relationship between the U.S. and Cuba and a changing administration here at home. Nearly two years ago, the Obama administration and Castro's brother, Raul, announced a prisoner exchange and agreed to restore diplomatic relations after decades of hostility. How much of a role did Fidel Castro play? That's a question NPR's Michele Kelemen put to Cuba-watchers....

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST: President-elect Donald Trump's victory is causing concern at the U.N. Outgoing Secretary General Ban Ki-moon steps down at the end of the year. And Trump has promised to drop out of the Paris climate change agreement, which is Ban Ki-moon's biggest legacy. That's not all U.N. diplomats are worried about these days as NPR's Michele Kelemen reports. MICHELE KELEMEN, BYLINE: Technically, the U.N. says the U.S....

Updated at 7:33 p.m. ET Since this story was written, the State Department said it was contacted by the president-elect's transition representatives. The phone call was apparently limited to a discussion about logistics. The State Department's transition office has been quiet, as Trump and his top advisers remain in New York. State Department spokesman John Kirby says officials stand ready and willing to offer any briefing materials to the Trump team, but so far, there just haven't been any...

The State Department has opened up a transition office, but that ground-floor corner office in Washington's Foggy Bottom neighborhood is quiet for now as diplomats await news of their new boss. Donald Trump's pick for secretary of state could tell a lot about the direction he will take U.S. foreign policy. At the moment, all eyes are on former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, a longtime friend of Trump and strong backer throughout the campaign. He's an unlikely candidate with little foreign...

One of the promises Donald Trump made on the campaign trail was to dismantle or renegotiate the U.S. deal with Iran that limits its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief. If he makes good on that promise, it won't be the first time a Republican administration has walked away from an arms deal negotiated by Democrats. In 1994 the Clinton administration struck a deal with North Korea that essentially would freeze Pyongyang's nuclear program in exchange for aid. The so-called Agreed...

On this Election Day, Secretary of State John Kerry is traveling just about as far from Washington, D.C., as he can go. He's on his way to Antarctica, becoming the first secretary of state to visit all seven continents after logging well over a million miles while in office. Kerry is visiting McMurdo Station , a U.S. research center in the Ross Sea — and, yes, the South Pole, too. His spokesman, John Kirby, says the purpose is to talk to researchers and scientists before he joins climate...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit NPR .

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST: In just the past week, Iranian courts have sentenced three Americans to lengthy prison terms. All are dual nationals, Iranian-Americans. And the latest, a man from San Diego, is facing the toughest punishment yet on what appears to be a case based on his Facebook posts. NPR's Michele Kelemen reports. MICHELE KELEMEN, BYLINE: San Diego resident Robin Shahini was back in Iran to visit his mother when he was...

Russia and Syria have temporarily halted airstrikes on the beleaguered eastern part of Aleppo, the part of the city controlled by the rebels. Instead, Aleppo has been showered with leaflets that urge rebel fighters and civilians to flee. Russia's Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Thursday his country's air force was extending for another day a "humanitarian pause" so civilians in need of medical care can get out of the city. "We are appealing [to] countries that have influence on armed...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. DAVID GREENE, HOST: Now, whoever is the next president will probably be spending a good bit of time in September thinking about a big annual speech at the United Nations General Assembly in New York City. President Obama has just given that speech this morning probably for the last time as president of the United States, unless something happens and he has to go to the U.N. and give another big speech. Among other things, the...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit NPR . RACHEL MARTIN, HOST: I'm Rachel Martin, and this is For the Record. Let's go back to 1945 - August 14, New York, Times Square. World War II was over, and Americans took to the streets to celebrate. A photograph captured a kiss. The woman in the picture was widely considered to be Greta Zimmer Friedman. She died this month at the age of 92. The photo became one of the most iconic images in American history, in part because it symbolized the joy and...

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

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

At the start of the school year, Stephen Brooks likes to ask students at Dartmouth College to look around the globe and choose a region where they think the U.S. could pull back. Would they shrink the U.S. footprint in Western Europe, East Asia or the Middle East? Most students used to say Western Europe. That was before Vladimir Putin's Russia annexed Crimea and became involved in Eastern Ukraine. Now, most students say if they had to, they'd scale back in the Middle East, a region so...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. KELLY MCEVERS, HOST: Secretary of State John Kerry was in Saudi Arabia today trying to end a conflict that Saudi Arabia is fighting but the U.S. is getting blamed for, too. That is the war in Yemen. A Saudi-led coalition has been bombarding Yemen for 18 months now to try to restore a government that was ousted by a rebel group called the Houthis. The Saudis have been getting technical help. And as the civilian death toll mounts,...

In a report on Monday, Human Rights Watch described a harrowing series of events that took place less than a mile from a U.N. base in South Sudan's capital, Juba. On July 11, the report said, dozens of men in government uniforms "ransacked and looted" a hotel compound, first killing a South Sudanese journalist and then assaulting and raping aid workers staying there. Among them was Jesse Bunch, a private contractor, who was hiding in a room with several other Westerners and was shot through a...

When Turkish officials visited Washington this week, one of their first stops was the Justice Department. They are trying to make the case that the U.S. should extradite a key suspect in last month's failed coup attempt. Following those talks with the Justice Department, three Turkish lawmakers had tough words about Fethullah Gulen , the aging cleric who lives in rural eastern Pennsylvania and whose followers have been rounded up in Turkey in the wake of the coup. "For us, [Osama] bin Laden...

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

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

The nuclear deal with Iran has been in place for a year now. The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action was the result of complex negotiations between Iran and six world powers — the United States, France, Germany, the U.K., China and Russia. It lengthened the time that Iran would need for "nuclear breakout," ensuring that it could not rush to build a nuclear bomb undetected. Secretary of State John Kerry, one of the key authors, believes the deal has " made the world safer ." However, the deal...

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

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

President Obama has set a goal this year of taking in 10,000 Syrian refugees who have fled the devastating civil war in that country. This would be a large increase from previous years. The latest State Department reports say just over 2,800 have come so far this year. Some activists describe it as a relatively slow start, but they say the Obama administration could reach its goal by year's end. The presumptive Republican presidential nominee, Donald Trump, has criticized Obama's plan and...

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon made a startling admission Thursday, saying he bowed to pressure over a report that blasted Saudi Arabia for child casualties that have resulted from its bombing campaign in Yemen. Ban called it one of the most difficult choices he had to face. The U.N. report on children in armed conflict worldwide describes, in Ban's words, "the horrors no child should have to face." The report held Saudi Arabia and its coalition partners responsible for about...

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