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Alumni News

 

Mary Boone

 

When Craig Kuehl '66 made the leap from off-Broadway theater to foreign affairs in 1983, he didn’t fully appreciate the interesting turns his career would take.

During the past two decades, Kuehl’s Foreign Service postings have taken him to Mexico, Tunisia, Switzerland, New York, and now Africa. He’s currently U.S. Consul General in Durban, South Africa, and runs a 25-person mission that represents the United States in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), that nation’s largest province.

While no two weeks are the same, Kuehl often finds himself making presentations on the African Growth and Opportunity Act, attending Zulu cultural festivals or hosting VIP visits by members of Congress or
the executive branch.

“I’m never bored,” Kuehl says. “My visibility as a representative of the USA gives me access to people and events I would never enjoy back in the United States.”

He feels privileged to participate in historic events and work with or meet influential figures including Nelson Mandela, Colin Powell, and Madeleine Albright.

Kuehl wishes he could do more to ease KZN’s HIV/AIDS epidemic–the province has the highest infection rate in the world. Additionally, he struggles to help his staff feel safe following the World Trade
Center attacks.

“Still, my professional life is more fun and satisfying than anyone deserves," he says. “Having assignments and traveling in various parts of the world are a real highlight. I left Cornell with passable
Spanish and no French and I’m now fluent in both languages. I’ve also become an insufferable Francophile: in my experience, French cheese is the greatest non-musical achievement of humankind.”

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