Washington – U.S. President Joe Biden nominated Michelle Kwan to be U.S. ambassador to Belize on Wednesday, the biggest diplomatic role yet for the figure skating legend.
The five-time world champion, who previously has served primarily in public diplomacy rather than policy roles, needs Senate confirmation.
“I am honored to be nominated by President Biden to serve as ambassador to Belize, and if confirmed, I will be very proud to serve my country,” Kwan wrote on Twitter after the White House announced her nomination.
Kwann competed from 1995 to 2005 and won an unprecedented 43 titles, including world championships in 1996, 1998, 2000, 2001 and 2003.
Kwan took the silver medal at the 1998 Nagano Olympics and bronze at the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics.
The 41-year-old began to take on public diplomacy roles under former secretary of state Condoleezza Rice, serving in an unpaid role promoting the United States overseas.
Born in California to parents from Hong Kong, Kwan focused efforts on building people-to-people relations between the United States and China.
She later worked on the presidential campaigns both of Hillary Clinton and Biden.
The AAPI Victory Alliance, which promotes Asian American and Pacific Islander political efforts, hailed Kwan as an “exemplary leader.”
“Since the beginning of her Olympic career, Michelle has demonstrated a profound commitment to the United States of America, the AAPI community and furthering peaceful international relations,” executive director, Varun Nikore said.
The United States has friendly relations with Belize, an English-speaking country and popular tourist destination that is among the least populous nations in the Western Hemisphere.
United States, however, has voiced alarm over the use of Belize by drug traffickers and money launderers and has worked with the country in its strategy to cut back on migration from nearby Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.
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