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Topic / International Relations and Security

Interview with Karen Donfried: Russia-Ukraine War

On April 12, 2024, HKS Student Policy Review Senior Editor John McQuillan spoke with Karen Donfried. The conversation focused on a range of topics related to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Dr. Karen Donfried recently stepped down as Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs. In that role, she served as Secretary of State Blinken’s top adviser on Europe and Eurasia, crafted U.S. policy on the region, negotiated with key foreign officials, testified before Congress, engaged with media, represented the State Department in interagency meetings and at public events, and led the largest regional bureau at State with 12,000 employees covering 50 countries during Russia’s war against Ukraine.

Prior to this role, she served as president of the German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF), a non-profit organization dedicated to strengthening transatlantic cooperation through policy analysis, fellowships for next generation leaders, and support for civil society. GMF is headquartered in Washington, DC, and has seven offices in Europe. Before leading GMF in April 2014, Donfried was the special assistant to the president and senior director for European affairs on the National Security Council at the White House. In that capacity, she was the president’s principal adviser on Europe and led the interagency process on the development and implementation of the president’s European policies.