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Karen Hughes Confirmed as US Public Diplomacy Chief

The U.S. Senate has confirmed a long-time political adviser to President Bush, Karen Hughes, as the State Department's chief of public diplomacy.

Ms. Hughes won unanimous approval by the Senate late Friday as undersecretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs, charged with explaining the American government's policies to the world.

Recent opinion surveys have shown that Ms. Hughes faces a daunting task in some regions, particularly in the Middle East, where many Arabs and Muslims have a negative view of the United States. The public-diplomacy chief says she recognizes how difficult it can be to change people's perceptions.

In Karen Hughes' words, the United States is "involved in a generational and global struggle of ideas, a struggle that pits the power of hate against the power of hope." She plans "an aggressive effort to share and communicate America's fundamental values while respecting the cultures and traditions of other nations."

President Bush says Ms. Hughes is one of his most trusted and closest advisers, and her appointment is intended to show his personal commitment to the importance of international diplomacy.

Some information for this report provided by AP and AFP.