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Karen Parfitt Hughes (born December 27, 1956) is a Republican U.S. bureaucrat from the state of Texas. She currently serves as the Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs in the U.S. Department of State with the rank of ambassador.

Born in 1956 in Paris, France, she is the daughter of Harold Parfitt, the last U.S. Governor of the Panama Canal Zone. Hughes received her bachelor's degree from Southern Methodist University in 1977 where she was a member of Alpha Delta Pi sorority. She 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, while he was president of the United States. She left the Bush administration in July 2002 to return to Texas, but remained in daily contact with the Bush reelection campaign by telephone and e-mail, and spoke personally with Bush several times a week. 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 2004 election. She has been described by The Dallas Morning News as "the most powerful woman ever to serve in the White House", and by ABC News as Bush's "most essential advisor," and remains one of the major voices of the Bush campaign.

In March 2004, Hughes published Ten Minutes from Normal, an upbeat account of her work in the Bush administration. While promoting her book, she appeared on CNN on April 25, 2004 - the same day as the March for Women's Lives - and said "I think after September 11, the American people are valuing life more … and I think those are the kind of policies the American people can support, particularly at a time when we're facing an enemy, and really, the fundamental difference between us and the terror network we fight is that we value every life."

On March 14, 2005, the president 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". During a town hall meeting on September 8, 2005, a State Department employee complained that "recently, we've had tremendous amount of difficulty in some cases getting clearance for our ambassadors to speak." Hughes replied, "If they make statements based on something I sent them, they're not going to be called on the carpet."[1]

Starting with a September 26, 2005 stop in Egypt, Hughes went on a tour of the Middle East to speak with leaders and people from the region.

On her September 27 stop in Jidda, Saudi Arabia during a talk with female students, she expressed her wish that women could "fully participate in society" as they do in the United States. In response one of the women said "The general image of the Arab woman is that she isn't happy [...] Well, we're all pretty happy."2. Her talk underlined the differences between the view the U.S. has for Arab women and the views of women in traditional societies about their position.

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NOPACTalent acts as a Celebrity Speakers Bureau and Athlete Booking agency for corporate functions, appearances, private events and speaking engagements. NOPACTalent does not claim or represent itself as Finola Hughes’s speakers bureau, agent, manager or management company for Finola Hughes or any celebrity on this website. NOPACTalent represents organizations seeking to hire motivational speakers, athletes, celebrities and entertainers for private corporate events, celebrity endorsements, personal appearances, and speaking engagements.

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