Michelle Kwan Goes to Washington

Last year, I had blogged about former Olympic skater Michelle Kwan giving a graduation speech while she herself earning her master’s degree at Tufts’ Fletcher School of Diplomacy. A few weeks ago, Kwan graduated and is now moving to Washington, D.C..

Kwan could not be specific about her immediate work plans, but don’t be surprised to hear she has landed a job with one government agency or another not long after driving her Prius and some of her belongings from Boston to Washington in the middle of June. She already is active in two State Department initiatives under two different administrations. Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice made Kwan the first American Public Diplomacy Envoy in 2007.  Current Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Chinese State Councilor Liu Yandong named Kwan an ambassador to a new U.S.-China women’s leadership exchange, Women-LEAD, this April.

While at Tufts, Kwan studied East Asia and Foreign Policy Analysis while also studying Mandarin (she grew up learning Cantonese). She even contemplated about pursuing a Ph.D., but figured that at age 30, she better get some work experience. What I found really interesting is that Kwan has not ruled out running for public office in the near future. If Kwan ever runs for public office in, sign me up as a volunteer! (I just hope she is a Democrat or an independent.)

The more I read about Kwan, the more I am impressed. She has completely transformed herself from one career where she excelled in, as athletes often have to do to another field. As I have often complained about the lack of Asian Americans involved in civic involvement and politics, Kwan is a terrific example and role model of an Asian American getting involved and hope that she continues to inspire others as she has in the past when she was an Olympic skater.

Photo credit: Associated Press

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About John

I'm a Taiwanese-American and was born & raised in Western Massachusetts, went to college in upstate New York, worked in Connecticut, went to grad school in North Carolina and then moved out to the Bay Area in 1999 and have been living here ever since - love the weather and almost everything about the area (except the high cost of housing...)
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