Karen Donfried

Karen Erika Donfried[1] is the current President of the German Marshall Fund.[2][3]

Karen Donfried
Karen Donfried.jpg
Alma materWesleyan University
Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy
University of Munich
OccupationCivil servant
Alan Untereiner (m. 1988)
AwardsOrder of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany
Order of the Crown of Belgium
Superior Honor Award

Early life and educationEdit

Donfried was born to Karl P. Donfried and Katherine E. Donfried.[1] Her father was a professor of religion at Smith College, and her mother was the owner of an automobile parts company.[1]

Donfried obtained her bachelor's degree in government from Wesleyan University.[2] At Wesleyan, she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa.[1] She later obtained her master's degree and PhD from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, and as well as a magister from the University of Munich.[2] Donfried is fluent in German.[2]


Donfried served for ten years as a European specialist at the Congressional Research Service.[2] She joined the German Marshall Fund in 2001.

From 2003 to 2005, Donfried worked for the U.S. State Department's Policy Planning Staff. In 2005, she returned to the German Marshall Fund to serve as senior director of policy programs and later as executive vice president until 2010.[2]

Afterwards, Donfried worked as the national intelligence officer for Europe on the National Intelligence Council. At NIO, she directed and drafted strategic analysis for senior policymakers.[2]

After NIO, Donfried worked at the National Security Council as a Special Assistant to the President, and as the director of European affairs.[4][2][5]

In April 2014, Donfried became the first female president of the German Marshall Fund.[6][7]

Other activitiesEdit


Donfried 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.

Personal lifeEdit

Donfried married in June 1988 to Alan Untereiner, a graduate of Harvard College and Yale Law School.[13][1]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Karen Donfried Weds Alan Untereiner". New York Times. June 5, 1988. Retrieved April 1, 2016.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h "Dr. Karen Donfried". U.S. Department of State. Retrieved March 29, 2016.
  3. ^ "Past Speaker Biographies". Humanity in Action. Retrieved April 1, 2016.
  4. ^ "Expected Attendees at Tonight's State Dinner". White House. February 11, 2014. Retrieved April 1, 2016.
  5. ^ "Former GMF Executive Vice President Appointed to Key Roles in White House and NSC". German Marshall Fund. May 22, 2013. Retrieved April 1, 2016.
  6. ^ "Former White House adviser Karen Donfried on US ties with Europe". Financial Times. February 27, 2015. Retrieved March 29, 2016.
  7. ^ "Dr. Karen Donfried (F88, F91) Appointed President of the German Marshall Fund". Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. February 14, 2014. Retrieved March 29, 2016.
  8. ^ "Current Board Members". U.S. Department of State. Retrieved March 29, 2016.
  9. ^ "Donfried Participates in Secretary Kerry's Foreign Affairs Policy Board". German Marshall Fund. April 30, 2015. Retrieved March 29, 2016.
  10. ^ Strategic Committee Paris School of International Affairs (PSIA).
  11. ^ Europe Policy Group World Economic Forum.
  12. ^ Global Future Council: The Future of Regional Governance World Economic Forum.
  13. ^ "Karen Donfried to Wed Alan Untereiner". New York Times. November 8, 1987. Retrieved March 29, 2016.