President, German Marshall Fund of the United States
Dr. Karen Donfried assumed the leadership of the German Marshall Fund as president in April 2014. 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. Donfried first joined GMF in 2001 after having served for ten years as a European specialist at the Congressional Research Service. From 2003 to 2005, she was responsible for the Europe portfolio on the U.S. Department of State's Policy Planning Staff. 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 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. 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.