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54

OCTOBER 2015

|

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL

AFSA NEWS

AFSA ON THE HILL

Advocating Diversity: Hispanics in the Foreign Service

Hispanics comprise more than

17 percent of the U.S. popula-

tion. And although the number

of Hispanics in the Foreign

Service (roughly 5 percent

at State and 2.5 percent at

USAID) is a long way off from

that mark, the American

Foreign Service Association is

working with multiple partners

to close that gap.

According to the Associa-

tion for Diplomatic Studies

and Training, the advent of the

Alliance for Progress—a presi-

dential initiative established in

1961 to strengthen economic

cooperation between the

United States and Latin Amer-

ican countries—prompted an

influx of Hispanics into the

Foreign Service.

Four years later, Joseph

John Jova became the first

Hispanic, career-Foreign

Service ambassador and

represented the United States

in Honduras. He later became

ambassador to the Organiza-

tion of American States and to

Mexico.

Today, the Service benefits

from a cadre of distinguished

career diplomats of Hispanic

heritage, such as retired

Ambassadors John Negro-

ponte and Lino Gutierrez

and active-duty Ambassador

Liliana Ayalde.

The rise in the number of

Hispanics in the Foreign Ser-

vice has also been bolstered

by allies on Capitol Hill.

To commemorate Hispanic

Heritage Month, AFSAwould

like to highlight some of the

congressional groups and

educational initiatives dedi-

cated to the advancement of

Hispanics whose members

strive to make significant

contributions to U.S. foreign

policy.

The Congressional Hispanic Caucus, foun

ded

in 1976, serves as a forum

for the Hispanic members of

Congress to coalesce around

a collective legislative agenda.

Its focus is to advance

issues—domestic and interna-

tional—affecting Hispanics in

the United States, Puerto Rico

and the Commonwealth of the

Northern Mariana Islands.

Recently, AFSAworked

with the office of CHC mem-

ber and former chairman of

the Senate Foreign Relations

Committee, Senator Bob

Menendez (D-N.J.), to secure

language in support of addi-

tional resources for recruit-

ment and retention of under-

represented communities in S.

1635, the Department of State

Operations Authorization and

Embassy Security Act, Fiscal

Year 2016. The bill passed

the SFRC unanimously, and a

floor vote is now pending.

AFSA is also working with

CHC member Representative

Jose Serrano (D-N.Y.), who

serves on the House Appro-

priations Subcommittee on

State, Foreign Operations and

Related Programs, toward the

same goal.

In addition, educational

programs have been invalu-

able in identifying and devel-

oping the next generation of

Hispanic leaders. In 1978, a

small group of Hispanic mem-

bers of Congress established

the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute.

CHCI is founded on three

cornerstones: educational

attainment, leadership devel-

opment and access to a pow-

erful professional network.

The institute benefits more

than 1,700 young Latinos each

year through its fellowships,

congressional internships and

scholarships.

And in 2003, the Congres-

sional Hispanic Leadership

Institute was founded by

members of Congress to

promote the advancement

of Hispanic and Portuguese

Americans through educa-

tional partnerships, leadership

programs, academic seminars

and other events.

Today, many members

of the Foreign Service have

passed through these pro-

grams, and still other alumni

remain on the Hill and have

proven to be valuable allies.

If you participated in CHCI

or CHLI, please share your

experience with us at

advocacy@afsa.org.

n

—Javier Cuebas,

Director of Advocacy

• There are 38 Hispanics in the 114th Congress.

• Hispanics make up 7 percent of Congress.

• Thirty-four Hispanics serve in the House (25 Democrats,

9 Republicans).

• Four Hispanics serve in the Senate (3 Republicans,

1 Democrat).

• Nine of the Hispanic members of Congress are women.

• Representatives Linda Sánchez (D-Calif.) and Loretta

Sánchez (D-Calif.) are sisters.

• Twenty-six Hispanics form the Congressional Hispanic

Caucus. They are all Democrats.

(Source: Congressional Research Service)

FACTOIDS ON HISPANICS

IN THE 114TH CONGRESS