Diversity in the U.S. Foreign Service

Join me as I talk to Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif) about her efforts to make America's diplomatic corps look more like America.

No long political thesis for today (I’ll save it for another day)! Instead, I hope you can watch me talk about politics and U.S. foreign policy on a webcast/podcast I host called Global 360.

I prefer being behind a computer, but sometimes you can’t avoid a (Zoom) camera — and this discussion is well worth it.

This Thursday, March 11, at 2 p.m., I’ll be talking to Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.) — chair of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, and Global Human Rights — about the Represent America Abroad Act of 2021, which she recently re-introduced to establish a program that would identify and attract diverse mid-career professionals to the U.S. Foreign Service.

For decades, America’s diplomatic corps has not looked like the rest of America. Last year, for example, out of 189 U.S. ambassadors serving overseas, only three were African American career diplomats, and just four were Hispanic, according to the American Academy of Diplomacy.

A first-of-its-kind GAO report found that between the fiscal years of 2002 and 2018, the proportion of racial or ethnic minorities working full time at the State Department only rose by only by 4% from an already low 28% — below the overall average of the federal workforce.

Rep. Bass, a recent chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, has long been at the forefront of racial justice issues. A member of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism, she introduced the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act — the most transformative piece of policing legislation to ever pass in a chamber of Congress.

The George Floyd protests that forced a racial reckoning at home last year also revealed the disparities in the face that America presents to the world.

Rep. Bass has already reached out to the Biden administration to ensure that it puts racial equity and diversity at the center of its foreign policy.

“To have a successful foreign policy, our foreign service must look like America,” she says. “The Foreign Service Officer workforce must mirror our commitment to diversity and inclusion in order to effectively advance American values on the world stage.”

I hope you can join me as I talk to Rep. Bass about how she hopes to work with the White House, Congress and the State Department to advance those values.

To register, just click on the link below:

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87212665455?pwd=Z1ZVTnJOV2xTK0lEOFUrR0ZVeWNtZz09

The discussion begins at 2 p.m. on Thursday, March 11.

If you’re not able to tune in, you can catch the podcast version afterward. Just search “Global 360” on Apple, Android, Spotify or wherever you get your favorite podcasts.

And to learn about Global 360, click here:

https://washdiplomat.com/webcasts-main-page/

Secretary of State Antony Blinken introduces President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris to State Department employees on Feb. 4, 2021. (State Department photo by Freddie Everett)