AC FRONT PAGE: BLACK TRAILBLAZERS IN FOREIGN POLICY - Since its founding sixty-two years ago, the Atlantic Council’s mission has been inclusion in a fundamental sense: helping Americans understand that they are part of a broader international community. This year during Black History Month, the Atlantic Council Black Employee Network proudly presented a conversation with Black leaders who are making the changes they want to see in the global community.
The days of the United States foreign service being staffed by people who mostly are “male, pale, and Yale” are history, two top US diplomats said Wednesday. As the State Department seeks to re-engage with the world, recruiting from diverse communities and retaining that talent for the long term are at the top of the agenda.
“Diversity includes everything, and the purpose is not simply to put another group at the top of the pyramid,” said Gina Abercrombie-Winstanley, the State Department’s first ever chief diversity and inclusion officer, at an Atlantic Council Front Page event honoring Black trailblazers in foreign policy. “Visible diversity is necessary but insufficient,” she added, stressing the need to consider neurodiversity, background, and lived experience in recruitment.
Abercrombie-Winstanley was joined at the Atlantic Council by another trailblazing Black ambassador, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the US representative to the United Nations (UN). A day after attending what she called an “electrifying” State of the Union address by US President Joe Biden, Thomas-Greenfield laid out her vision for how the foreign service can reach out to minority communities by fostering greater awareness of the possibility of a career in the State Department.
“You try to be what you see,” Thomas-Greenfield said. For students at historically Black colleges and universities and at the high school level, she hopes that seeing alumni in the foreign service will inspire them to become diplomats.
ORIGINAL AIRDATE: 02/08/23