The Foreign Service Journal - September 2014 - page 71

Panel Discusses Diversity
in the Foreign Service
AFSA joined with the Con-
gressional Black Associates
to host a panel discussion,
“Diversity in the Foreign
Service,” at the U.S. Capitol
Building on June 12.
Designed to increase the
participation of minority
groups in the U.S. Foreign
Service, five Foreign Service
members from State and
USAID spoke about their own
experiences and then took
AFSA State Vice Presi-
dent Matthew Asada, who is
a fourth-generation Japa-
nese-American, keynoted
the event. “The diversity
conversation is not hap-
pening in isolation,” he said.
“The Foreign Service is more
diverse than ever.”
Former Ambassador to
Argentina Lino Gutierrez
drew on his Cuban-American
heritage to discuss the For-
eign Service’s need for more
“Racial, ethnic, geo-
graphic. It needs people
from off the beaten path
[because] the Foreign
Service represents the U.S.,
and the U.S. is all of those
things,” he told an audience
of mostly young people from
diverse backgrounds.
Each panelist pointed out
the importance of remem-
bering that the term “diver-
sity” does not solely apply
to racial classifications, but
includes geographic and
religious diversity, gender
equality, and age and linguis-
tic diversity.
“Foreign policy has to
represent all of us,” said State
Department FS member Rob-
ert Bacon, citing the diversity
of the United States that
should be present in the For-
eign Service. Susan Reichle,
USAID agency counselor,
discussed the growing num-
ber of women in the Foreign
Service. “Women have come
a long way, but we’ve got a
long way to go,” she stated.
Asada declared that
diversity would allow the
Foreign Service to be taken
seriously; a group of individu-
als with varying perspectives
and experiences will be more
effective in implementing
foreign policy.
“We have to tell people
who we are as Americans,”
said Croshelle Harris-
Hussein, a division chief in
USAID’s Office of Strategic
Planning and Operations.
“And a diverse set of Foreign
Service officers is the way to
do that.”
—Aishwarya Raje,
Editorial Intern
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