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Torrance Native Michelle Kwan Nominated For Ambassadorship

TORRANCE (CBSLA) - President Joe Biden has nominated former figure skater, Olympic Champion and current American diplomat Michelle Kwan for the position of United States Ambassador to Belize.

Kwan is one of eight people that President Biden nominated for a variety of positions on Wednesday.

In a statement released on The White House website, they praised Kwan for her many accomplishments:

"Michelle Kwan has had a distinguished career in public service, diplomacy, and sports. She is the most decorated figure skater in U.S. history, having won 43 championships, including five world championships, nine national titles, and two Olympic medals. She became the first Public Diplomacy Envoy in 2006 and for a decade, traveled extensively on behalf of the U.S. Department of State to engage youth around the world on social and educational issues. Kwan currently serves as the Treasurer and Board Member of Special Olympics International.

After she earned a B.A. from the University of Denver with a focus on international relations and a M.A. from Tufts University's Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, she became a Senior Advisor at the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State. In addition, she served as an Advisor to the Office of Global Women's Issues at the U.S. Department of State, where she assisted with the U.S.-China Women's Leadership Exchange and Dialogue. She was also a member of the President's Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition and Council on Empowering Women and Girls Through Sports initiative at the U.S. Department of State."

According to City News Service, Kwan had been lobbying for an ambassadorship before the announcement was made.

In response to her nomination, Kwan said, "If confirmed, I will be very proud to serve my country. ... Belize is full of incredible history and culture, and has been a tremendous partner to the United States. I look forward to working with the Belizean government on economic issues, to put an end to this pandemic, and to address the root causes of migration."

As her figure skating career started t0 slow down in 2006, Kwan was named as a public diplomacy ambassador by then Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. She continued to work in this position through Barack Obama's presidency, where she worked with both then Vice President Biden and the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

She made numerous trips abroad as a public diplomacy envoy until 2011 when she was named an adviser to the U.S.-China Women's Leadership Exchange and Dialogue.

In 2012 Kwan took over the role of State Department senior adviser for public diplomacy and public affairs.

Former Olympian Michelle Kwan speaks before US Presidential Candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden at a rally at the Rex Theatre in Manchester, New Hampshire on February 8, 2020. (Photo by Joseph Prezioso / AFP) (Photo by JOSEPH PREZIOSO/AFP via Getty Images)

She also worked for both the Clinton and Biden presidential campaigns.

Kwan, the most decorated figure skater in the history of the United States, was a silver medalist in the 1998 Olympics and a bronze medalist in the 2002 Olympics. She also won gold in five World Figure Skating Championships and nine U.S. Figure Skating Championships, amidst countless other awards and accolades. She is in both the United States Figure Skating Hall of Fame and the California Sports Hall of Fame.

She was born in Torrance in 1980, spending most of her childhood in the Los Angeles area. She graduated from Rim of the World High School in Lake Arrowhead in 1998 before attending UCLA for one year. She transferred to University of Denver in 2006, earning her bachelor's degree in 2009. Her majored in international studies with a minor in political science.

Per the White House, the other seven nominees for diplomatic and agency positions are:

  • Caroline Kennedy, Nominee for Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Commonwealth of Australia
  • Robert Wood, Nominee for Alternate Representative of the United States of America for Special Political Affairs in the United Nations, with the rank of Ambassador
  • Frank Calvelli, Nominee for Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Space Acquisition, Department of Defense
  • Franklin Parker, Nominee for Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Manpower and Reserve Affairs, Department of Defense
  • Michael Morgan, Nominee for Assistant Secretary for Environmental Observation and Prediction, Department of Commerce
  • LaWanda Toney, Nominee for Assistant Secretary for the Office of Communications and Outreach, Department of Education
  • Marvin Adams, Nominee for Deputy Director for Defense Programs, Department of Energy

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti also had his nomination for ambassadorship to India considered by the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday.

(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)


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