About the Author: Mitul Desai serves as Senior Advisor for Outreach for South and Central Asian Affairs.
As the first-ever Senior Advisor for Outreach in the State Department's Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs, I am responsible for building partnerships with South and Central Asia-focused non-governmental entities, such as businesses, non-profits, civil society organizations, and Diaspora groups. Secretary Clinton and my boss -- Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Robert Blake -- deeply believe that we can strengthen our relations with South and Central Asia by leveraging the multiple resources that outside partners bring to the table. And by creating positions like mine, this vision is being put into action.
Although I come from the private sector, serving my country has been a lifelong dream. Serving in a role that lets me utilize my diverse background makes it that much more special. Before joining government, I specialized in health care, finance, and law. I worked at global law firms, a multinational corporation, an international investment bank, and a nonprofit. Because I was always drawn to public service, I spent much of my free time on public policy issues, particularly those impacting South Asia and South Asian Americans. I hope to use my background to reach out to a broad range of potential partners.
Since the State Department's work touches on virtually every important global issue today, the number of projects and relationships we can build together is limited only by our creativity. We mean it when we say the State Department's door is open for any individual or organization who has an interest in South or Central Asia and a good idea. Because as Secretary Clinton herself said, “in the Obama Administration, we seek collaboration whenever possible.”
All Americans have a special role to play in helping realize Secretary Clinton's vision for 21st Century diplomacy. So I look forward to hearing from you and to finding that unique role for you. There's lots to be done, so let's get to work!