Michelle Kwan’s transition from sports to diplomacy

Sports is a “useful tool” in diplomacy that helps to “engage foreign publics and connect people all over the world,” Michelle Kwan, a five-time world figure-skating champion and the first public diplomacy envoy for the State Department, says on this week’s episode of “Conversations with Nicholas Kralev.”

Kwan talks about her trips as an envoy and meeting with athletes and youth in foreign countries, sharing her experience training for and participating in Olympic Games and World Championships — and the impact that has on mutual understanding. “When I made that transition, I looked back at my figure-skating career and realized that I was engaged in citizen diplomacy for many years,” she says.

She also remembers being brought up in two cultures by her parents, who moved from Hong Kong to the United States before Michelle was born, and speaking English and Chinese equally well as a child.

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One thought on “Michelle Kwan’s transition from sports to diplomacy

  • Who better than Michelle Kwan to be a diplomat for the US? She has worked extremely hard for many years — since childhood. She is disciplined, educated and well-liked around the world. She seems to be the first athlete to choose a diplomatic career. There have been some efforts to form a special team of basketball players in North Korea by Dennis Rodman. I do not know if it is at the level of Michelle who wants to be legitimate. What a career she has in front of her! It reminds me of Shirley Temple, who also became a diplomat. These athletes have already roamed the world and we all know that Olympics winners represent the glory of their countries.

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