Crystal Nix-Hines

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Crystal Nix-Hines
Crystal Nix-Hines.jpg
Former United States Ambassador to UNESCO
In office
July 16, 2014 – January 20, 2017
President Barack Obama
Preceded by David Killion
Personal details
Born 1963 (age 53–54)
Alma mater Princeton University
Harvard University

Crystal Nix-Hines (born 1963) served as the United States Permanent Representative to the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) between July 2014 and January 2017.

Early life and education[edit]

Crystal Nix grew up in Wilmington, Delaware, where her father, Theophilus R. Nix Sr., was the second African-American attorney admitted to the Delaware bar, and her mother, Dr. Lulu Mae Nix, founded social service organizations.[1] She attended the Wilmington Friends School, along with her sister and two brothers, one of whom is corporate counsel at DuPont Corporation.[2]

In 1985, Nix-Hines was graduated from Princeton University, where she was a classmate of Michelle Robinson Obama and the editor-in-chief of The Daily Princetonian.[3] From 2006 she served for nine years on Princeton's Board of Trustees.[4] In 1990, she graduated Harvard Law School, where she served as an editor of the Harvard Law Review with Barack Obama (HLS 1991).[5]

Legal and writing career[edit]

Following law school, she clerked for Judge William A. Norris of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals from 1990 to 1991. From 1991 to 1992, she clerked for justices Thurgood Marshall and Sandra Day O’Connor of the U.S. Supreme Court.[2]

During her legal career, Nix-Hines practiced law at Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan in Los Angeles, was Of Counsel at Fairbank & Vincent from 2006 to 2007, Special Counsel in the Litigation Department of O’Melveny & Myers, LLP from 1997 to 2000, and Assistant to the General Counsel/Senior Vice President of Capital Cities/ABC, Inc. from 1992 to 1993. From 1993 to 1997, she held several positions at the State Department, including Counselor to the Assistant Secretary for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, member of the Department's Policy Planning Staff, and Special Assistant to the Legal Adviser.

Nix-Hines has also worked as a writer and producer on several network television shows such as Commander-in-Chief, Alias, and The Practice.[6] She began her career as a reporter for the New York Times (in his memoir The Times of My Life and My Life at the Times, former Times executive editor Max Frankel wrote that in leaving journalism for law, Ms. Nix had “left a promising reporting career.”)[7]

UNESCO Ambassador[edit]

On July 9, 2013, Nix-Hines was nominated by President Obama to the position of United States Permanent Representative to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) with the rank of ambassador.[8] Nix-Hines was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on June 12, 2014, and sworn into office on July 16, 2014.[9] During her tenure, she and her husband, David Hines, resided in Paris, France.[10] In January 2017, at the end of Obama's term, she stepped down from the post.


  1. ^ "Theophilus R. Nix Sr., 83, Was Civil Rights Pioneer", Vineyard Gazette (Martha's Vineyard, MA), September 9, 2008. Retrieved 2017-01-20.
  2. ^ a b Bickley, Bill (Fall 2014). "Crystal Nix-Hines '81 New UNESCO Ambassador". Quaker Matters, a magazine of the Wilmington Friends School. Retrieved June 26, 2017. 
  3. ^ Smith, Ben (May 29, 2009). "Princeton key to knowing Sotomayor". Politico. Retrieved June 25, 2017. 
  4. ^ "Six named to Board of Trustees", Princeton University, June 9, 2009. Retrieved 2017-01-20.
  5. ^ "Obama Posse List (Hill Harper & Crystal Nix Hines)", On Being a Black Lawyer blog, December 3, 2008 (Nix-Hines: "'But over time, as we spent hours together editing articles at the Harvard Law Review, I came to see and understand the depth of Barack's commitment to social change'."). Retrieved 2017-01-20.
  6. ^ Moore, Frazier (October 11, 2005). "Is Geena Davis a Hillary Clinton stand-in?". Today Show. Associated Press. Retrieved June 26, 2017. 
  7. ^ News articles by Crystal Nix-Hines, New York Times. Retrieved 2017-01-20.
  8. ^ "President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts". The White House, Office of the Press Secretary. July 9, 2013. Retrieved June 26, 2017. 
  9. ^ "Crystal Nix-Hines is Sworn in as U.S. Ambassador to UNESCO". U.S. Mission to UNESCO. July 16, 2014. Retrieved June 26, 2017. 
  10. ^ "20th Anniversary Celebration of UNESCO Slave Route Project", Entree to Black Paris blog, September 18, 2014. Retrieved 2017-01-20.

External links[edit]

Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
David Killion
Former United States Ambassador to UNESCO