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 Hillary Clinton from Asia to the Middle East and Europe, tracking the Obama administration's broad foreign policy agenda. She also followed the two previous 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 and the tragedy of the sinking of the nuclear submarine Kursk. She also brought to listeners 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 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.


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And I'm Steve Inskeep. Good morning.

The Obama administration is slowly ratcheting up pressure on Syria, slapping more targeted sanctions on some top officials — including the brother of President Bashar al-Assad.

The U.S. and its partners failed to get the UN Security Council to even agree to a press statement on the Syrian government crackdown on protesters, but it fared better in the UN Human Rights Council, which voted Friday to launch an investigation.

The Obama administration is trying to head off a Palestinian effort to seek recognition at the United Nations — the U.S. would rather see a negotiated settlement.

Last year, talks that the Obama administration launched came to a grinding halt over the issue of Israeli settlement-building in the West Bank. The Palestinians' Plan B is to look to the United Nations for help.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had some tough words for China today — amid a crackdown on dissent there.

She unveiled the department's 35th annual human-rights report saying the struggle for human rights begins by telling the truth — and in China that means highlighting the plight of political prisoners, who are growing in number.

As he was putting the final touches on this year's human-rights report, the State Department's point person on the issue, Michael Posner, said that China is the country that keeps him awake at night.

The State Department's point person on human rights says his office is in a "cat and mouse" game with authoritarian governments that are trying to restrict free speech on the Internet.

"We are trying to stay ahead of the curve and to provide technology, training and diplomatic support to allow people to freely express their views," Assistant Secretary of State Michael Posner told a group of reporters at the State Department this week.

Internet freedoms will be one focus on this year's Human Rights report, which the State Department is releasing Friday.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is in Washington on Thursday, making the rounds on Capitol Hill in hopes that the U.N. won't fall victim too much to U.S. budget cuts. His trip comes at a time when the U.N. has become more assertive, both in Libya and in the Ivory Coast.

Fresh from an international conference on Libya, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will be on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, facing a closed-door grilling on U.S. policy in Libya.

She is likely to face some of the same questions that she and her coalition partners grappled with in London Tuesday, such as: What's the end-game with Moammar Gadhafi?

For decades, the U.S. relied on Arab autocrats to provide stability in the Middle East — but all that is changing now as popular uprisings topple dictators.

The U.S. is desperately trying to stay in the game, and officials say they will start shifting assistance to support the democratic aspirations and the economic empowerment of protesters.