GMF President Appointed to U.S. Secretary of State's Advisory Board

October 17, 2014
3 min read
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry appointed Dr. Karen Donfried, president of the German Marshall Fund of the U.S. (GMF), to his Foreign Affairs Policy Board on October 16, 2014.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry appointed Dr. Karen Donfried, president of the German Marshall Fund of the U.S. (GMF), to his Foreign Affairs Policy Board on October 16, 2014.
“I am honored to join such an impressive group of experts to help think through and address the many foreign policy challenges we face,” said Donfried.
Twenty-five distinguished professionals with a diverse range of expertise comprise the group. The Board will convene at the Department of State periodically to discuss strategic questions and to provide the Secretary and other senior Department officials with independent informed perspectives and ideas, according to a statement by the State Department.
Donfried joins the following new and returning members on the Board: Ambassador R. Nicholas Burns; Ambassador Johnnie Carson; Mr. Nelson Cunningham; Retired Brigadier General Stephen A. Cheney; the Honorable David Dreier; Ms. Anne M. Finucane; Ambassador William Kennard; Ambassador Daniel C. Kurtzer; Dr. Joseph S. Nye; Ambassador Louis B. Susman; Mr. Thomas J. Vallely; the Honorable Christine Todd Whitman; Mr. Stephen J. Hadley; the Honorable Jane Harman; Ambassador Carla A. Hills; Dr. Robert Kagan; Retired Admiral Michael Mullen; Dr. Vali Nasr; Ambassador John Negroponte; Ambassador Thomas R. Pickering; and Dr. Anne-Marie Slaughter. Former Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott serves as the Board’s Chair.
Donfried returned to GMF as president in April. Prior to that, she served as 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.
Before joining the NSC, 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.
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 FROM 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.