Page 38 - Foreign Service Journal - May 2013

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38
MAY 2013
|
THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL
Fellows who successfully complete the program and USAID
Foreign Service entry requirements will receive appointments
as Foreign Service ofcers. Te fellowship—which combines
graduate school, internships and professional development
activities—is a unique pathway into the USAID Foreign Ser-
vice.
Valuable as initiatives like the Payne and Rangel Fellow-
ships are, waiting until the university level to start introducing
minorities to the career potential of the Foreign Service may
be too late. Sharing the stories of these trailblazers, and those
of more recent government professionals, with high school
students (and even those in junior and elementary schools)
can only improve our chances of increasing diversity within the
ranks of the foreign afairs agencies.
Infuencing the Next Generation
President John F. Kennedy famously observed that those
who look
only
to the past or present are certain to miss the
future. With that cautionary note in mind, I believe publicizing
the contributions African-Americans have made to U.S. diplo-
macy and development work over the years can help attract
young, diverse talent to careers in international afairs.
Tis is especially true in tough economic times, when
fnancial strains are a potential barrier to joining the Foreign
Service. Many aspiring professionals can make lots of money
in the private sector, so forgoing those opportunities for a less
lucrative career in public service can be a tough sell.
To help them make that choice, we need to demonstrate
that it has been done—and beyond that, who did it. In many
instances, understanding who came before can infuence those
who come next.
n
Our
Wikipedia
page, “African-Americans
in Foreign Policy,” not only makes the
data widely accessible, but allows anyone
to contribute names and edit the listings.