Monday, the State Department announced that Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Karen Donfried is leaving her position.
After being nominated in March 2021, Donfried held the position for a year and a half, commencing in late September 2021. Her withdrawal leaves a crucial diplomatic position vacant as the United States tackles a number of crises in Europe and Eurasia, such as the Russian invasion of Ukraine and NATO expansion.
I express my deep gratitude to my friend and colleague Karen Donfried as she departs the @StateDept. She led the EUR Bureau with utmost distinction during a time of crisis, managing our relationships with our European allies with extraordinary skill. She'll be missed by all.
— Secretary Antony Blinken (@SecBlinken) March 20, 2023
“Karen has deftly managed our relationships with many of our most important allies and partners at a time when Kremlin aggression threatened decades of peace and prosperity. Her policy acumen, integrity, and drive defined her leadership as Assistant Secretary and represent the highest values of public service,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement. “An exceptional leader, Karen has nurtured and empowered her team, positioning the Bureau and, in turn, the Department to pursue most effectively the interests and defend the values we share with our European allies.”
Donfried formerly served as president of the German Marshall Fund and as senior director for European affairs on the National Security Council during the Obama administration.
The Biden administration has not disclosed who will be nominated to fill Donfried’s position, and she has not stated where she will go next, other than to spend more time with her family.