Richard Blanco serves as Education Ambassador for the Academy of American Poets. Blanco was the fifth presidential inaugural poet in U.S. history and was recently honored at the opening of the U.S. embassy in Havana where he recited an original poem he wrote for the occasion. He is the author of the poetry collections Looking for the Gulf Motel (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2012); Directions to the Beach of the Dead (University of Arizona Press, 2005), winner of the 2006 PEN/American Center Beyond Margins Award; and City of a Hundred Fires (University of Pittsburgh Press, 1998), winner of the 1997 Agnes Lynch Starrett National Poetry Prize. He is also the author of the memoirs The Prince of Los Cocuyos: A Miami Childhood and For All of Us, One Today: An Inaugural Poet’s Journey. A children’s book version of his inaugural poem, One Today, illustrated by Dav Pilkey, will be released this fall. Blanco holds a BS in civil engineering and an MFA in creative writing. He has taught at Central Connecticut State University, Georgetown University, and American University.