Karen Olsen Beck

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Minister and first lady of Costa Rica

Why Is Karen Olsen Beck Influential?

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Rita Karen Olsen Beck is known for her work in diplomacy, politics, and social work. She has held posts as the First Lady of Costa Rica, Costa Rican Ambassador to Israel, and Legislative Assemblywoman.

Beck was born in Copenhagen, Denmark, before moving to New York with her parents as a child. She graduated from Mary Washington College (now named the University of Mary Washington) before studying social sciences at the University of Copenhagen and earning a Master of Arts in sociology from .

As a student, Beck was involved in several groups and movements to promote aid for needy people, foreshadowing her later activist work and involvement in politics. Over the course of her life she was an active part of the NAACP, the National Mental Hygiene Movement, the Fellowship of Reconciliation, Interracial Fellowship, the Pan-American Women’s Association, the ACLU, and the Women’s International League for Peace, as well as her official duties as an ambassador and first lady.

She married José Figueres Ferrer in 1954, and became the first lady of Costa Rica. Ferrer had divorced his first wife only a month before his wedding to Beck. Ferres was more than 20 years older than Beck at the time of their marriage. The couple has four children.

According to Wikipedia, Rita Karen Olsen Beck is a Danish American-Costa Rican diplomat, politician and social worker. She has served as the First Lady of Costa Rica during the governments of her husband José Figueres Ferrer 1954-1958 and 1970–1974, a Legislative Assemblywoman and the Ambassador of Costa Rica to Israel.

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