WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, was joined by 12 of his Senate colleagues in making the case for growing Congressional support and funding levels for U.S. programs that foster diversity and inclusion in international affairs. In a letter to Senators Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs, the senators laid out their funding priorities to help advance diversity, equity, anti-racism and inclusion initiatives within the State Department, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), as well as at the United Nations and other multilateral organizations.
“The requests below reflect the importance of providing on-going support for these and other initiatives that assist in diversifying our nation’s own pool of national security and international affairs professionals; mitigating security concerns arising from race-based extremism and other violence; and reiterating our nation’s commitment to the International Decade for People of African Descent. And, while not all inclusive, the requests are an effort to 1) provide an equitable approach to strengthening U.S. policy and assistance responses for racial and ethnic communities in a similar manner as gender, religion, LGBTQ+, youth, disability, and indigenous approaches over the past decade; and 2) ensure the success of current efforts to diversify international affairs personnel,” the senators wrote. “This particularly includes the recognition that for successful implementation of diversity, inclusion, and anti-racism efforts in this Administration, agencies must be sufficiently empowered and equipped with staffing and other resources.”
In addition to supporting implementation of Executive Order (E.O.) 13985 - Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government, the National Security Memorandum on Revitalizing America’s Foreign Policy and National Security Workforce, Institutions, and Partnerships (NSM-03), and OMB-M-21-17, Revocation of Executive Order 13950, M-20-37, and M-20-34, the senators requested support for the following initiatives within the Department of State, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and other function 150 accounts:
Joining Chairman Menendez in signing the letter were Senators Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawaii), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), and Alex Padilla (D-Calif.).
Find a copy of the letter HERE and below.
Dear Chairman Coons and Ranking Member Graham:
As you begin work on the Fiscal Year 2022 State, and Foreign Operations Appropriations bill, we respectfully request your continued support for programs that support diversity and inclusion in international affairs in honor of Representatives Alcee L. Hastings and John Lewis, long time champions of such efforts. These requests also support implementation of:
We thank you for your previous support of important programs and initiatives that foster diversity and inclusion in international affairs careers, policy, and assistance, such as the Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Program, the Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowship Program, the Donald M. Payne International Development Fellowship Program, International Career Advancement Program, international minority exchanges, and the expansion of a State Department-wide Race, Ethnicity, and Social Inclusion Office to address the global rise in prejudice, discrimination, and extremism, in addition to efforts to combat racism and empower populations of African descent in Europe and the Western Hemisphere.
The requests below reflect the importance of providing on-going support for these and other initiatives that assist in diversifying our nation’s own pool of national security and international affairs professionals; mitigating security concerns arising from race-based extremism and other violence; and reiterating our nation’s commitment to the International Decade for People of African Descent. And, while not all inclusive, the requests are an effort to 1) provide an equitable approach to strengthening U.S. policy and assistance responses for racial and ethnic communities in a similar manner as gender, religion, LGBTQ+, youth, disability, indigenous approaches over the past decade; and 2) ensure the success of current efforts to diversify international affairs personnel.
This particularly includes the recognition that for successful implementation of diversity, inclusion, and anti-racism efforts in this Administration, agencies must be sufficiently empowered and equipped with staffing and other resources. For instance, any personnel responsible for implementing diversity initiatives should be appropriately compensated, staffed, and titled, have efforts included in their performance reviews and workplans given the extra time (often uncompensated) for this work, and be recognized and awarded for their past and present efforts, including Chief Diversity Officers, affinity group officers, etc. This includes all federal advisory committees, boards, and commissions. Additionally, we support expanded opportunities for minority-owned businesses and non-governmental organizations participation in the provision of goods and services at Function 150 account entities.
We therefore respectfully request your support of the following initiatives within the Department of State, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and other function 150 accounts:
This supports the Administration’s intention to increase diversity and inclusion personnel initiatives at the Department by supporting: the appointment of a Chief Diversity Officer with no less than seven FTE staff, and an operational, measurement and evaluation, and grants budget ($10M); the Administration’s FY22 request for the Rangel ($6.3M) and Pickering ($6.1M) programs which expanded to 45 participants last year; the participant ($750,000) and operating costs ($250,000) for the mid-career International Career Advancement Program (ICAP) and Fellows Association (ICAPFA) to support alumni of the program ($300,000); and other professional development opportunities for diverse mid- career, and senior professionals, including for the Senior Executive and Foreign Services (SES/SFS) ($5M). This request also includes ($16M) for the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program and ($10M) for the State Student Internship Program in support of diversity pipeline initiatives.
This effort supports Sec. 419 of Public Law Number 114-323 to address increased global prejudice and discrimination, and global racial justice efforts by providing $30 million for a Department-wide Race, Ethnicity, and Social Inclusion Office based on the Race, Ethnicity, and Social Inclusion Unit (RESIU) model tested and currently located in the Western Hemisphere Bureau. A Department-wide Office would be led by an expert Special Envoy for Race, Ethnicity, and Social Inclusion who will also serve as the Director of the Office
with no less than five FTE support staff. In honor of Representative Alcee L. Hastings, who established the RESIU through legislation, and introduced the African Descent Affairs Act (H.R. 1134), a Department-wide Office would coordinate Department race, ethnicity, and social inclusion efforts, administer an International fund for African-Descendants, Racial Justice and Empowerment, and monitor the inclusion of discrimination towards people of African Descent in human rights reports and coordination of USG implementation of the International Decade for People of African Descent.
This request also includes $20 million for the Bureau of International Organization Affairs to implement racial justice, equity, and inclusion initiatives with the United Nations and other multilateral organizations and countries including implementing the International Decade for People of African Descent, International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, and supporting the work of the Working Group of Experts of People of African Descent, Special Rapporteur on Contemporary forms of Racism, and Independent Expert on Minority Issues, for example.
$10 million would establish the Leadership Institute for Transatlantic Engagement (LITE) in honor of Representative Alcee L. Hastings legislation (H.R. 1135) to support a diverse community of transatlantic leaders, including emerging leaders, committed to democratic institutions, processes, and values by (1) providing training and professional development opportunities for racially and ethnically diverse leaders on democratic governance and international affairs; (2) enabling international exchanges between leaders to increase the understanding and knowledge of democratic models of governance with a focus on representation and inclusion; and (3) increasing awareness of the importance of international public service careers in racially and ethnically diverse communities. Strengthening transatlantic relations, democracy in the west, and intergenerational and intercultural policymaking in response to changing demographics and rise in prejudice, discrimination, hate crimes, and extremism would build upon the Transatlantic Minority Political Leadership Conference and Transatlantic Inclusion Leaders Network models founded by Representative Hastings, and be central to the work of LITE.
To address the increase in hate groups and race-based violence and extremism in Europe, and to continue efforts supported by Representative Alcee L. Hastings, this request includes $1M to support the International Religious Freedom Office's Strategic engagement /Social Inclusion Unit's (IRF/SRE/SIU) innovative On the Road to Inclusion program that increases
interreligious and intercultural social cohesion by strengthening civil society democratic participation with a focus on youth from diverse faiths and backgrounds, including from refugee and migrant communities; $5M to support EUR/RPM efforts through the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe to empower African descent, Roma, Asian, migrant, and refugee civil society leaders to address prejudice, discrimination, and foster empowerment through political participation and other initiatives; $5M to continue and expand EUR/PD support for the Transatlantic Inclusion Leaders Network (TILN) and alumni programming focused on young elected officials committed to inclusive societies representing diverse political parties, racial, ethnic, LGBTQ+, religious, gender, and disability communities from across North America, western Europe, eastern partnership countries, and the Balkans; and $500,000 for EUR/DRL to support the annual Roma Workshop for European officers and staff responsible for Roma and Sinti issues and engagement.
This supports the Administration’s intention to increase diversity and inclusion personnel initiatives at the Department by supporting: the appointment of a Chief Diversity Officer with no less than seven FTE support staff, operational, measurement and evaluation, and grants budget ($10M); the expansion of the Donald M. Payne International Affairs Development Program from 15 to 20 ($2.5M), ($500,000) for the mid-career International Career Advancement Program (ICAP); ($8.2M) for diversity and professional development initiatives including RISE, MIT Seminar XXI, Human Capitol and Talent Management outreach, analysis, and training, Minority Serving Institutions/HBCU and high school talent pipeline programs.
The request also includes $50M to support a USAID Chief Advisor for Race, Ethnicity, and Social Inclusion (see USAID Chief Advisor for International Religious Freedom) with at least five FTE support staff to address racial equity and empowerment foreign assistance efforts, including implementing the goals of the International Decade for People of African Descent and providing assistance grants for African descent communities and civil society in Europe, Asia, and the Western Hemisphere.
This request also includes ($10M) to pilot a small grants program providing multiple grants of up to $150,000 for operating expenses and projects directly to Afro-Latino and indigenous led communities and organizations to continue Representative John Lewis’ efforts to improve the situation of Afro-Latino and indigenous communities through the promotion of human rights, political participation, land rights, and environmental protections, and address concerns that USAID funding continues to go to large organizations with significant overhead costs leading to little funding being spent on the ground.
($50M) would support the Department’s work with HBCU and MSI stakeholders to support recruiting and hiring interns, fellows, and staff from HBCUs and MSIs, create two-way international exchanges and scholarships for African-descendant students faculty, academics, and professionals from HBCUs and other key educational institutions in the United States and overseas, including ($2M) to WHA/PD to support exchanges within the HBCU Alliances formed under the U.S.-Brazil Joint Action Plan to Eliminate Racial and Ethnic Discrimination and Promote Equality (JAPER) and the U.S. Colombia Action Plan on Racial and Ethnic Equality (CAPREE).
Finally, we also submit the following report language for your consideration:
Office on Race, Ethnicity, and Social Inclusion. The Committee supports Section 419 of Public Law Number 114-323, to address racism. The Committee is concerned by the global rise in prejudice and discrimination and requested the expansion of the Race, Ethnicity, and Social Inclusion Unit (RESIU) currently located in the Western Hemisphere Bureau, to a Department-wide ‘Office on Race, Ethnicity, and Social Inclusion’ in FY20 and FY21 report language. The RESI Office should be led by a Special Envoy for Race, Ethnicity, and Social Inclusion who will also serve as the Director of the Office with no less than five FTE
staff. The Special Envoy/Director shall be an expert in addressing global racism, and work to promote stable and representative democracies via racial and ethnic equality, inclusion, diversity, and empowerment initiatives around the world. The work of the Office shall include collaboration with the office of the Chief Diversity Officer, regional, policy and planning, public diplomacy, educational, cultural affairs, Global Women’s Issues, USAID, and other relevant offices to develop and implement global and regional anti-racism and inclusion policies and foreign assistance strategies, monitoring and implementing racial and ethnic equality Action Plans, MOUs and other relevant bi- and multi-lateral agreements, managing the inclusion of incidents of racial and ethnic prejudice and discrimination in Annual Human Rights and Country Reports, and preparing toolkits for Department activities on these issues, and other activities.
Countering global racism. The Committee is concerned by the rise in global racial and ethnic bias, discrimination, and extremism that also impacts diverse U.S. citizens living and traveling abroad, including those working in international affairs and national security agencies, Members of Congress and Congressional staff, students, tourists, and others. The committee requests a report within 90 days that lists State Department and all 150 account agency initiatives explicitly focused on addressing racial and ethnic prejudice, discrimination, and/or extremism, civil society grants and other support, embassy/mission programs and initiatives, exchange and leadership programs, and other efforts, and dollar amounts spent on programing where possible. Note this report request was included in the FY20 and FY21 House Committee report.
Workforce, Grantmaking, and Procurement Diversification. The Committee requests not later than 90 days after the date of enactment of this legislation, and annually thereafter, a comprehensive report from State Department, USAID, and leadership of all function 150 account agencies to Congress that describes 1) all workforce diversity activities and initiatives, including but not limited to the actual number, dollar amount, positions, and grades of African-American, Native American, and other traditionally underrepresented groups, and women, hired as American employees in direct hire and with Personal Service Contractors or Foreign Service Limited status currently and over the past five years; and 2) State Department, USAID, Peace Corps, MCC, DFC, USIP, and all other 150 account agencies’ demographic information on U.S. based prime contractors, subcontractors, and grantee recipients. The report should also include any adverse impact studies performed in the past decade for the Department of State Foreign Service Officer Test and Oral Assessment, and the passing rates of traditionally underrepresented groups and women. This report was requested in FY20 and FY21 report language, and the Committee notes receipt of the most recent report and continuing concerns raised in the recent State Department and USAID GAO reports on diversity.
Federal Advisory Committee, Boards, and Commissions. The Committee requests not later than 90 days after the date of enactment of this legislation, and annually thereafter, a comprehensive report from the State Department Secretary, USAID Administrator, and leadership of all function 150 account agencies to Congress that describes the demographic composition of all function 150 account Federal Advisory Committees, Boards and Commissions that includes the number of members from African-American, Hispanic American, Native American, and other traditionally underrepresented groups, and women currently and over the past ten years. Any diversity and inclusion efforts by the Federal Advisory Committee, Board, or Commission should also be included in the report. For instance, the Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board, United States Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy, African, Asian, Inter-American and other Foundation and boards, Millennium Challenge Corporation, Peace Corps, DFC, USIP, etc shall all provide reports to Congress. This request would assist in addressing continuing diversity and inclusion in international affairs concerns raised by Members of Congress, highlighted by recent GAO State Department and USAID diversity reports, and Executive Orders.
Thank you for your past support and consideration of this request.