Karen Donfried


What has been different over the past four years. Is that Europeans worry? This is not a policy difference with the US. But that it is much more fundamental, it has to do with how we see the world and our commitment to liberal democracy. So, there's been a much deeper questioning of weather. In fact, we are bound by shared interests and common values, and when we think about alliance alliance press on those shared interests, common values, but it also rests on trust Karen. Don Freed is president of the German Marshall Fund of the United, States a nonprofit organization that was founded nearly five decades ago its role was to help keep transatlantic ties alive and well something that has become increasingly difficult in the years since the arrival of the trump administration, not to mention a revival of nationalist sentiment in parts of Europe. Karen herself also served for a time as former President Barack Obama's chief advisor on Europe. She has over two decades of experience advising on European policy for the US State Department and for the US intelligence community. A fluent German speaker she has received the Cross of the Order of Merit, from the German government for her role in public service and similar honors from Belgium and Italy. For the past year, she has co chaired a bipartisan panel of more than a dozen top experts and thinkers on both sides of the Atlantic. The group this week issued a series of recommendations for how the US and Europe can get their alliance back on track in the coming year. Regardless of who takes the White House in November. I'm Chris Chairman Monaco's news editor and I spoke with Karen freed for the big interview. Carrot you've been involved in European politics and policy in various forms for a long time. Now, you're also a fluent German speaker. Tell us what excites you about Europe what has made Europe and European relations such a passionate priority of yours over the years. Well I. You very diplomatically suggested that I'm old but talking about my long career in this area, but you are absolutely right. I've had a lifelong interest in the relationship to Europe and it goes back to my family roots, which is my grandparents on my father's side left Germany in the nineteen thirties to seek economic opportunity in New York City, and my mom's background is Swedish. And when I was a little kid, we moved to Germany for four years but because my father is a theologian and did his doctoral work in Heidelberg. So from just shortly after I was born until I was four years old, we lived in Heidelberg and My dad his dissertation and my mom worked for the US Army nurse and I went to German kindergarten, and when we come back to the US I had this, some would say adorable accent in English but my classmates taunted me for the way I would say ring, which was thing and so I went to speech therapy and vow never to speak German again, which very successfully did until I was in highschool. And then when I went to college and was interested in political science and international relations, my interest in Germany was renewed because I was going to college during the Cold War and the border through Germany was the front line of the Cold War. And from that point on I had an academic and then a professional interest in all things Europe it's interesting that you put it in that combination I have to say it's almost like you you showed your childhood south. Actually you could have a positive relationship with Germany and its accident. Well. It turns out that speaking German is a very useful skill to have and I've been so grateful for that early exposure and during college I had the opportunity to go back to Heidelberg and study there for a semester and then after college I had a fellowship from the German Academic Exchange Service into a masters in Munich. And when I finished my education I went I work on Capitol Hill as a European analyst for the Congressional Research Service. Then I came to the German Marshall Fund. The first time left here to go into government in the administration of George Bush at the State Department. CAME BACK TO GM F for a second run and then left again to go into government in the Obama Administration and now I met my third stint here at g. m. f.

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