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Biography

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Carolyn Curiel
Ambassador to Belize
curiel photoCarolyn Curiel was the Senior Presidential Speechwriter and Special Assistant to President William J. Clinton. She came to the White House one month into the Clinton Administration after making a career as a reporter, an editor, a manager and a writer in both print and broadcast media.

She began her career at a wire service, United Press International, with assignments in Chicago, Washington and San Juan, Puerto Rico, where she was chief of the Caribbean division. She subsequently worked at the Washington Post, The New York Times and ABC News.

At The New York Times, she managed the late editions for the foreign desk in a period that coincided with the busiest rush of news since World War II, from the crushing of demonstrators at Tiananmen Square to the collapse of the Berlin Wall to the bombing of Baghdad.

Ms. Curiel moved to "Nightline" at the request of Ted Koppel, to work as his writer and producer. She had held that job for less than one year when she was called by the Clinton Administration. Her fate was sealed on the day of the interview when she ran into Mr. Koppel at the White House gate. He provided her with a reference on the spot, and she was hired as a Presidential Speechwriter.

After President Clinton gave his speech on affirmative action at the National Archives on July 19, 1995, he said of Ms. Curiel: "[She] made history this afternoon. Carolyn Curiel personally helped me craft my affirmative action speech. She had more to do with drafting it than anybody else. And she is the first person of color, and more importantly, the first Latina, in the history of our country to write speeches for the President. And it may be that the one she wrote today will go down as one of the two or three most important I have ever delivered."

Ms. Curiel was promoted to serve as Senior Presidential Speechwriter and Special Assistant to the President in December 1995.

In several speeches she herself has delivered, Ms. Curiel has told young people that they must create opportunity for themselves and others. She tells them that while they must never forget from where they came, they must always remember where they are going. She strongly believes in mentoring and has helped several young people launch their careers in public service by hiring them to work with her at the White House.

Ms. Curiel was educated at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana.

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