Tuesday, January 23, 2007

US Diplomacy Expert To Visit Jolo Island

JOLO ISLAND (Mindanao Examiner / 23 Jan) – A top U.S. government official is expected to visit the southern Philippine island of Jolo, where American troops are currently undertaking humanitarian missions with Filipino soldiers.
A former television news reporter, Karen Parfitt Hughes is currently the Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs in the U.S. Department of State. She is expected to arrive on Thursday, along with senior officials from the American Embassy in Manila and top military commanders.
Security would be tight during her brief visit to Jolo, where thousands of Filipino soldiers are battling Abu Sayyaf militants tied to al-Qaeda and Jemaah Islamiya terror network.
Philippine government sources earlier said that Condoleezza Rice is coming to Jolo. It would be the first time that Hughes is visiting the island.
Hughes was born in Paris, France. She is the daughter Harold Parfitt, the last U.S. governor of the Panama Canal Zone.
She received her bachelor's degree from Southern Methodist University in 1977 where was a member of the Alpha Delta Pi sorority. Hughes worked as a television news reporter from 1977 to 1984.
As a reporter, Hughes followed the presidential campaign in 1980. In 1984, she switched from covering politics to practicing politics, going to work as the Texas press coordinator for the Reagan-Bush campaign.
Since the 1990s, Hughes has worked with George W. Bush: first as director of communications while he was governor of Texas, from 1995 to 2000, and then as counselor to the president from 2001 to 2002.
In 2002, Hughes was a member of the White House Iraq Group. In August 2004, Hughes returned to full-time service with the Bush campaign, setting up office on Air Force One, from where she planned the 2004 Republican National Convention and the late stages of the 2002 election.
She has been described by The Dallas Morning News as "the most powerful woman ever to serve in the “White House", and by ABD NEWS as Bush's "most essential advisor," and remains one of the major voices of the Bush campaign.
On March 14, 2005, Bush announced his intention to nominate Hughes for the undersecretary of state for public diplomacy with the rank of ambassador — a job focused on changing foreigners' perceptions about America. The Senate confirmed her nomination in July of 2005. She was officially sworn in on September 9, 2005.
In her new capacity, Hughes has spoken of improving the world's perception of the United States via creation of a "rapid-response unit" and a plan to "forward-deploy regional SWAT teams". (Other information from Wikipedia)

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