Figure skater chosen to represent U.S.

Nov. 10, 2006 at 11:08 AM

WASHINGTON, Nov. 10 (UPI) -- Champion figure skater Michelle Kwan, 26, has been chosen to represent the United States government as the first U.S. public diplomacy envoy.

In her new, non-salaried job as a U.S. diplomat, Kwan will travel the world to engage youth in a dialogue on the importance of education, health and respect for diversity, the U.S. Department of State said.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Thursday that one of Kwan's goals as the first U.S. public diplomacy envoy will be to increase understanding of the American people and culture.

At a State Department news conference Thursday, Kwan, who has won five world figure skating championships, nine national championships and two Olympic medals, said she wants to help young people see how success in athletics can be translated into the development of life skills.

"Many of the lessons that I've learned in order to become a successful athlete are universal concepts that others can benefit from as well," she said.

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