Biden’s pick for post has proud local ties

Published: 4/30/2021 12:29:04 PM President Biden has nominated Dr. Karen Donfried, who has strong local ties, to be assistant secre...

Published: 4/30/2021 12:29:04 PM

President Biden has nominated Dr. Karen Donfried, who has strong local ties, to be assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian Affairs. Having known Karen since she started her remarkable career with us as colleagues at the Congressional Research Service (CRS), we are thrilled by her nomination and what it means for the kind of people Biden is appointing to high office.

Karen currently serves as president of the German Marshall Fund in Washington, D.C. After leaving CRS, where she worked for 10 years as a specialist on European affairs, she has gone from one prominent position to another, serving most notably as the senior director for European Affairs on the National Security Council and as the national intelligence officer for Europe on the National Intelligence Council, both under President Obama.

As for her local ties, she moved to Northampton in 1968 as a toddler when her father, Karl Paul Donfried, assumed a position in the Department of Religion at Smith College. In addition to teaching at Smith for decades, he also was an ordained Lutheran minister and a frequent guest preacher at Lutheran churches throughout western Massachusetts. The family’s home church was Immanuel Lutheran Church in Amherst.

Karen’s mom, Katherine, worked as a pediatric nurse at Cooley Dickinson Hospital for over a decade. Subsequent to her nursing career, she ran a Mercedes parts store. Her parents now live just 10 minutes from Karen in a retirement community in D.C.

Karen attended kindergarten in Heidelberg, Germany, where she was first exposed to the German language. After moving to the area, she was able to continue her German language studies at Amherst Regional High School, where she was a proud graduate in 1980. The fact that she speaks German like a native no doubt has contributed immeasurably to the many strong relationships she has forged across the Atlantic.

While those who know Karen or her family can bask in the light of her success, we all can celebrate what her nomination means for the country. Once again, we have a president who values senior officials who have expertise, experience, judgment, grace, integrity and track record of success.

Ray Ahearn
Kerry Dumbaugh


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Newsrust - US Top News: Biden’s pick for post has proud local ties
Biden’s pick for post has proud local ties
Newsrust - US Top News
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