This week, I joined the White House in honoring 14 leaders in American diaspora communities with roots in the Horn of Africa as Champions of Change. These leaders are helping to build stronger neighborhoods in communities across the United States, and are working to mobilize networks across borders to address global challenges.
Prior to the event, I had the pleasure of hosting these remarkable individuals for lunch at the State Department, with support from the International diaspora Engagement Alliance (IdEA). Throughout our lunchtime conversation, I was continually struck by the passion, expertise, insight, and personal commitment of each and every Champion, who traveled from California, Ohio, Minneapolis, Boston, and elsewhere to share their stories with us.
Later, as I listened to their powerful narratives, I was once again reminded of the power of diaspora communities, and of the dynamic partnership role they must play in our diplomacy and development efforts. They truly are some of our best ambassadors and partners in diplomacy.
As Secretary Clinton has said, diaspora communities are often the "first-movers" beating institutions to local challenges -- whether via humanitarian response, or investment opportunities, or even non-traditional means of engagement such as arts or sports.
Through IdEA, we are committed to celebrating and supporting the efforts of changemakers like these outstanding individuals, who are innovating, investing, and promoting development and diplomacy in their American communities and their communities of origin.