QCOSTARICA – Today, U.S. President Joe Biden announced his nomination of Dr. Cynthia Ann Telles as United States ambassador to Costa Rica.
According to the White House statement, Telles is a Clinical Professor in the UCLA Department of Psychiatry at the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine and serves on the Executive Committee of the UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior.
For over three decades, Telles has also been the Director of the UCLA Spanish-Speaking Psychosocial Clinic and is the founding and current Director of the UCLA Hispanic Neuropsychiatric Center of Excellence. She has served on the Board of the Pacific Council on International Policy, was the Chair of the Los Angeles/U.S. Section of the Mexico-Los Angeles Commission and has also engaged on numerous City of Los Angeles Commissions including on the Board of Airport Commissioners.
On the national level Telles has been a member of the White House Commission on Presidential Scholars and the National Advisory Council of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services.
Currently, she serves on the Board of the Kaiser Foundation Health Plan and Hospitals. She was a founding Board member of Americas United Bank, the first Hispanic commercial bank to be chartered in California in over 30 years.
Her numerous philanthropic partnerships included service as the Chair of the California Community Foundation and as a member, Vice-Chair, and Chair of the Board of The California Endowment, the largest health foundation in California.
Telles received a B.A. from Smith College and a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Boston University. She speaks and reads Spanish fluently.
According to Politico, during the US elections in November 2020, Telles helped raise funds for President Biden’s campaign.
In the United States, the incumbent president selects the people he wishes to appoint to ambassadorial positions. However, to be made official, the appointments must be ratified by the Senate.
During the administration of former US President Donald Trump, the ambassador to Costa Rica was Sharon Day, a resident of Florida, who was co-chair of the Republican National Committee (RNC) from 2011 to 2017.