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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4:21pm

Tue July 21, 2015
Parallels

U.S.-Cuba Ties Are Restored, But Most American Tourists Will Have To Wait

Originally published on Wed July 22, 2015 5:36 pm

American tourists, like these visitors taking a guided tour in May, still have to provide one of 12 authorized reasons — such as visiting family or engaging in humanitarian work — for travel to Cuba.
Desmond Boylan AP

The U.S. and Cuba have restored diplomatic relations and reopened their embassies — but it's not yet open season for American tourists hoping to visit the island. The U.S. embargo on travel and business means you still have to have a valid reason to go — and that doesn't include sitting on the beach and drinking mojitos.

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4:33pm

Mon July 20, 2015
U.S.

Cuban Embassy Reopens In Washington, D.C., After More Than 50 Years

Originally published on Mon July 20, 2015 10:17 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

After more than half a century, the U.S. and Cuba have resumed diplomatic ties.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

JOHN KERRY: So it's an historic day, a day for removing barriers.

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7:44am

Sat July 18, 2015
Parallels

Nuke Inspectors Gear Up For Iran, But Americans Unlikely To Be Included

Originally published on Sun July 19, 2015 11:48 pm

An International Atomic Energy Agency inspector cuts a uranium enrichment connection at Iran's Natanz facility, 200 miles south of Tehran, in 2014. This week's nuclear deal gives the IAEA up to 150 inspectors to monitor Iran for compliance.
Kazem Ghane AP

The International Atomic Energy Agency has the big job of making sure Iran complies with the landmark nuclear deal reached this week in Vienna.

So how will the IAEA go about this? How many inspectors will they have? How many will be Americans?

Thomas Shea, who spent more than two decades as an IAEA inspector, says Iran does not accept any American inspectors today. He recently told the Atlantic Council that he hopes that will change.

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5:02am

Thu July 16, 2015
Middle East

For Families Of Americans Held Or Missing In Iran, Nuclear Deal Is A Loss

Originally published on Thu July 16, 2015 11:03 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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4:42am

Wed July 8, 2015
Parallels

The Spotlight On Darfur Is Gone, But Not The Abuses

Originally published on Wed July 8, 2015 9:34 am

A woman and her daughter walk at the Zam Zam camp for internally displaced people in North Darfur, Sudan, in June 2014. The U.S. and other countries have said that Sudan is committing genocide in Darfur, and the United Nations has an ongoing peacekeeping program. But many in the region still live in fear and misery.
Albert Gonzalez Farran AP

When U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell in 2004 labeled Darfur, Sudan, as this century's first genocide, it was seen as a key test for how well the world could come together to stop mass atrocities.

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9:07am

Sat July 4, 2015
Parallels

A Reopened Embassy In Havana Could Be A Boon For U.S. Businesses

Originally published on Mon July 6, 2015 6:42 pm

A fisherman cycles past the U.S. Interests Section building, behind right, in Havana in May.
Desmond Boylan AP

When Secretary of State John Kerry goes to Havana to raise a flag over the soon to be reopened embassy this summer, it won't be just an important symbolic moment.

The administration says the U.S. will be able to station more American personnel in Cuba, and that should be a big help in practical terms as more Americans travel to and trade with the Cold War-era foe.

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4:12pm

Tue June 16, 2015
Parallels

Of 4 Million Syrian Refugees, The U.S. Has Taken Fewer Than 1,000

Originally published on Tue June 16, 2015 8:06 pm

Mohammad and Linda Jomaa al-Halabi, along with their five daughters, are among the fewer than 1,000 Syrian refugees who have been resettled in the U.S. They left Syria in August 2012 and arrived last year in Baltimore, where they live now.
Michele Kelemen NPR

Syria's civil war has uprooted millions of people, including 4 million who have fled their homeland. The U.S., a country that has always been a leader in refugee resettlement, has taken in fewer than 1,000 of them.

Now, the United Nations refugee agency is asking the U.S. and other wealthy countries to open their doors to the most vulnerable victims of the conflict that began in 2011.

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7:37am

Sat June 6, 2015
Middle East

U.N.-Led Yemen Peace Talks Are Set For June 14

Originally published on Sat June 6, 2015 12:44 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

2:59pm

Tue June 2, 2015
Parallels

Families Appeal To Congress, Call For Release Of Americans Held In Iran

Originally published on Tue June 2, 2015 6:35 pm

Family members of Americans held or missing in Iran attend a hearing of the Foreign Affairs Committee on Capitol Hill on Tuesday. From left: Ali Rezaian, brother of Washington Post journalist Jason Rezaian; Nagameh Abedini, wife of Saeed Abedini; Sarah Hekmati, sister of Amir Hekmati; and Daniel Levinson, son of Robert Levinson.
Brendan Smialowski AFP/Getty Images

After hearing testimony from four families, U.S. lawmakers passed a resolution calling on Iran to release three jailed Americans and provide information about a former FBI agent who disappeared in Iran in 2007.

As the June 30 deadline for a nuclear deal with Iran approaches, the families say it's time for the U.S. to push hard on this issue.

Among those who spoke Tuesday before a hearing of the House Foreign Affairs Committee was Daniel Levinson, son of former FBI agent Robert Levinson.

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4:29pm

Fri April 3, 2015
National Security

Negotiators Work To Sell Skeptics On Iran Nuclear Deal

Originally published on Fri April 3, 2015 6:42 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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5:04am

Tue March 24, 2015
Afghanistan

Afghanistan Still Relies On U.S., President Ghani Reiterates

Originally published on Tue March 24, 2015 10:10 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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4:38am

Thu March 12, 2015
Middle East

Drawn-Out Syrian Civil War Spawns A Literal Dark Age

Originally published on Thu March 12, 2015 11:26 am

Girls carrying school bags provided by UNICEF walk past destroyed buildings on their way home from school on March 7 in the rebel-held al-Shaar neighborhood of Aleppo, Syria. So many people have fled the city and so much of its infrastructure has been destroyed that nighttime satellite images show 97 percent less light there compared with four years ago.
Zein al-Rifai AFP/Getty Images

The conflict in Syria is entering its fifth year, and two new reports suggest it just keeps getting worse for civilians there.

One United Nations agency says life expectancy has plummeted by 20 years in the once-developed nation, while another new study based on nighttime satellite imagery finds that, in the past four years, 83 percent of the country's lights have gone off.

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10:58am

Tue March 3, 2015
News

After Weeks Of Controversy, Netanyahu Takes The Podium Before Congress

Originally published on Tue March 3, 2015 12:19 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

This morning, members of Congress gathered on Capitol Hill for a major speech.

(SOUNDBITE OF SPEECH)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister of Israel...

(APPLAUSE)

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8:04am

Sat February 28, 2015
Latin America

More U.S.-Cuba Talks Ahead, Including Human Rights Dialogue

Originally published on Sat February 28, 2015 10:40 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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11:12am

Thu February 12, 2015
Parallels

John Kerry Takes A Side Trip Into A Snowstorm

Secretary of State John Kerry arrives at the airport in Munich, Germany, on Feb. 5. On the way back to the U.S., Kerry's plane stopped in Boston during a snowstorm so he could see his new grandchild. Such personal stops are permitted, though they sometimes raise eyebrows.
Sven Hoppe DPA/Landov

On his way home from Europe last Sunday, Secretary of State John Kerry didn't go directly to Washington. He routed his government plane to Boston's Logan Airport, which was battling a major snowstorm.

The plane circled for a half-hour before landing, and was then on the tarmac for about an hour-and-a-half. Kerry's staff and journalists traveling with him remained on board, while the secretary got off to meet his newborn granddaughter. When Kerry got back on board, the plane then proceeded to Washington.

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