Dr. Karen Donfried
Senior Fellow at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at the Harvard Kennedy School
Prior to her current role as Senior Fellow at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at the Harvard Kennedy School, Dr. Karen Donfried served as Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs. In that role, she was 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. From 2014 to 2021, 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. In the Obama Administration, Donfried served as the special assistant to the president and senior director for European affairs on the National Security Council at the White House, and as the national intelligence officer for Europe on the National Intelligence Council. Donfried first joined GMF in 2001 after having served for ten years as a European specialist at the Congressional Research Service. From 2003-2005, she was responsible for the Europe portfolio on the U.S. Department of State’s Policy Planning Staff. She returned to GMF from 2005 to 2010, first as senior director of policy programs and then as executive vice president.