María de la Soledad Teresa O'Brien: Journalist, News Anchor, Irish Latina

María de la Soledad Teresa O'Brien, 40, anchor of CNN's American Morning news program, embodies what is right about America: immigration, education, diversity and achievement.

Soledad is the daughter of immigrants: Edward, an Australian from Toowoomba, Australia, is of Irish descent, and was a university professor; Estrella, an Afro-Cuban, was a French and English teacher.

Soledad is the fifth of six children--who all graduated from Harvard University.

Prior to joining CNN, Soledad had been at NBC News since 1991, where she contributed reports for the Today Show and weekend editions of NBC Nightly News. She was anchor of Weekend Today since July 1999. In 1998, Soledad covered Pope John Paul II’s historic visit to Cuba, and later in 2003, she covered the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster.

Soledad began her career as a news writer in Boston, and then worked as a local reporter in San Francisco.

Soledad's work has been honored several times, including a local Emmy for her work co-hosting the Discovery Channel's The Know Zone. She has been named to People's 50 Most Beautiful in 2001 and to People en Español's 50 Most Beautiful in 2004. She was named to Irish American Magazine's "Top 100 Irish Americans" on two occasions. She is also on Black Enterprise magazine's 2005 Hit List. Also in 2005, she was awarded "Groundbreaking Latina of the Year" award by Catalina magazine. Most recently she was awarded the 2007 NAACP President's Award.

Soledad is a member of the National Association of Black Journalists and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists. She serves on the board of directors of The Harlem School of the Arts.

She's also earned the honor of being Stephen Colbert's favorite "Omniracial Newswoman".

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