Donfried Returns to Lead GMF
April 15, 2014
Dr. Karen Donfried takes over the leadership of the German Marshall Fund as its next president, succeeding Craig Kennedy who led GMF for over 19 years.
Donfried most recently was the special assistant to the president and senior director for European affairs on the National Security Council at the White House. In this capacity, she was the president’s principal advisor on Europe and led the interagency process on the development and implementation of the president’s European policies.
Prior to the White House, Donfried served as the national intelligence officer (NIO) for Europe on the National Intelligence Council, the intelligence community’s center for strategic thinking. As NIO, she directed and drafted strategic analysis to advance senior policymakers’ understanding of Europe. From 2003 to 2005, Donfried worked for the U.S. Department of State’s Policy Planning staff, handling the Europe portfolio.
“I look forward to leading GMF at this consequential time in transatlantic relations. The crisis in Ukraine poses a new strategic reality and transatlantic cooperation is the key to meeting this challenge,” said Donfried. “With its headquarters in D.C., offices across Europe, stellar Board of Trustees, talented staff, and committed supporters, GMF will continue to play a unique and vital role in strengthening ties across the Atlantic through long-standing, as well as new, initiatives.”
Donfried first joined GMF in 2001 after having served for ten years as a European specialist at the Congressional Research Service. Her second term of service at GMF was 2005 to 2010, first as senior director of policy programs and then as executive vice president.
She has written extensively on German foreign and defense policy, European integration, and transatlantic relations. She has a Ph.D and MALD from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and a Magister from the University of Munich, Germany. She holds a bachelor’s in government and German from Wesleyan University. Donfried is fluent in German.
She received the Cross of the Order of Merit from the German Government in 2011, became an officer of the Order of the Crown of Belgium in 2010, and received a Superior Honor Award from the U.S. Department of State in 2005 for her contribution to revitalizing the transatlantic partnership. She is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the American Council on Germany.