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About Frederick Kempe

Fred Kempe is the president and chief executive officer of the Atlantic Council. Under his leadership since 2007, the Council has achieved historic, industry-leading growth in size and influence, expanding its work through regional centers spanning the globe and through centers focused on topics ranging from international security and energy to global trade and next generation mentorship. Before joining the Council, Kempe was a prize-winning editor and reporter at the Wall Street Journal for more than twenty-five years. In New York, he served as assistant managing editor, International, and columnist. Prior to that, he was the longest-serving editor and associate publisher ever of the Wall Street Journal Europe, running the global Wall Street Journal’s editorial operations in Europe and the Middle East.

In 2002, The European Voice, a leading publication following EU affairs, selected Kempe as one of the fifty most influential Europeans, and as one of the four leading journalists in Europe. At the Wall Street Journal, he served as a roving correspondent based out of London; as a Vienna Bureau chief covering Eastern Europe and East-West Affairs; as chief diplomatic correspondent in Washington, DC; and as the paper’s first Berlin Bureau chief following the unification of Germany and collapse of the Soviet Union.

As a reporter, he covered events including the rise of Solidarity in Poland and the growing Eastern European resistance to Soviet rule; the coming to power of Mikhail Gorbachev in Russia and his summit meetings with President Ronald Reagan; the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Lebanon in the 1980s; and the American invasion of Panama. He also covered the unification of Germany and the collapse of Soviet Communism.

He is the author of four books. The most recent, Berlin 1961: Kennedy, Khrushchev, and the Most Dangerous Place on Earth, was a New York Times Best Seller and a National Best Seller. Published in 2011, it has subsequently been translated into thirteen different languages.

Kempe is a graduate of the University of Utah and has a master’s degree from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, where he was a member of the International Fellows program in the School of International Affairs. He won the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism’s top alumni achievement award and the University of Utah’s Distinguished Alumnus Award.

For his commitment to strengthening the transatlantic alliance, Kempe has been decorated by the Presidents of Poland and Germany and by King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden.


Inflection Points Today

May 16, 2024

‘Auf Wiedersehen’ to hard-working Germany?

By Frederick Kempe

The average number of hours worked by Germans has fallen by 30 percent in the last half century.

Economy & Business Future of Work

Inflection Points Today

May 15, 2024

Biden’s China tariffs are big and preemptive

By Frederick Kempe

The US president just announced sweeping tariff increases across a range of strategic industries, including a 100 percent tariff on electric vehicles.

China Economy & Business

Inflection Points Today

May 14, 2024

Why strategy is central to the Biden-Netanyahu dispute

By Frederick Kempe

The Biden administration’s criticism is that Netanyahu, at the expense of strategy, is focusing entirely on tactics.

Conflict Israel

Inflection Points Today

May 3, 2024

China and Europe confront a ‘moment of truth’

By Frederick Kempe

As Chinese leader Xi Jinping travels to France, Serbia, and Hungary, both China and Europe have some soul-searching to do, writes Frederick Kempe.

China Economy & Business

Inflection Points Today

May 2, 2024

Tracking Global India’s growing influence

By Frederick Kempe

Being everyone’s friend is going to be more difficult as India’s global influence grows.

Economy & Business Elections

Inflection Points Today

Apr 23, 2024

The US at its best brings new hope to Europe, Middle East

By Frederick Kempe

The last few days have brought new hope to Europe and the Middle East, not least because of US leadership on both fronts.

Israel Middle East

Inflection Points

Apr 19, 2024

Failure to support Ukraine now would be ‘geopolitical malpractice’

By Frederick Kempe

The US House should approve additional aid to Ukraine this coming weekend, and President Joe Biden should send Kyiv the weapons it needs.

Politics & Diplomacy Russia

Inflection Points Today

Apr 18, 2024

China and ‘the decade of living dangerously’

By Frederick Kempe

Despite recent US-China meetings, nothing has changed in terms of Chinese strategic intentions toward Taiwan, Ambassador Kevin Rudd recently argued.

China Politics & Diplomacy

Inflection Points Today

Apr 15, 2024

Iran and the de-escalation myth

By Frederick Kempe

It won’t be de-escalation that will save lives after Iran’s unprecedented weekend attack, but a more determined and unmistakable deterrence.

Conflict Iran

Inflection Points Today

Apr 12, 2024

IMF managing director: ‘Think of the unthinkable’

By Frederick Kempe

Speaking at the Atlantic Council, IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva shared why there are plenty of things to worry about in the global economy.

Economy & Business International Financial Institutions