Ward was one of 16 people appointed to President Barack Obama's Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. He was sworn in at a ceremony Tuesday night at the U.S. Capitol.
"Imagine the President picking me to be a face of Asian Americans all over the world. Me? Me?" Ward told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "I thought it was a huge honor when they told me I was going to be one of the candidates. But I never thought I'd actually be picked."
Using his celebrity as a professional athlete to help others is nothing new for Ward, who owns nearly every Steelers receiving record. He started the Hines Ward Helping Hands Foundation, which assists mixed-race children who face discrimination, with a $1 million donation.
"I lived through what those kids are living through," said Ward, who was born to a Korean mother and an African-American father in 1976 in Seoul, South Korea. "It's amazing that they're still facing discrimination. It's almost like the stuff that was happening in the '70s and the '60s. Maybe it isn't that bad, but it's still there."
Ward has returned to Korea each offseason since 2006 to mentor biracial children. He also brings Korean kids to stay with American families for a week each football season.