Cultivating a Workforce that Reflects the Diversity of the American People

Posted by Robert O. Blake
July 14, 2010
Secretary Clinton Speaks With SCA Bureau Employees

About the Author: Robert O. Blake serves as Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs.

Earlier this year, I sent a message to the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs encouraging my colleagues to help cultivate a workforce that mirrors the diversity of the American people. Having officers with a wide variety of backgrounds and ethnicities is right and smart, allowing us to draw on a range of skills to deal with a region of the world that itself features a diverse population. Secretary Clinton has made ensuring the diversity of the State Department a moral and diplomatic imperative.

I was particularly proud to speak at the South Asian Americans Employee Association (SAAEA) one-year anniversary on June 29. SAAEA has focused on the growing number of South Asian Americans who work at the State Department, many of whom have served in the SCA Bureau. Our South Asian-American colleagues provide important cultural insight and historical perspective as we build strategic partnerships in the region.

In its first year, SAAEA itself has held an Iftar dinner and a discussion about Ramadan. The anniversary event featured music, dances, and even comedy from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Nepal. By providing a mechanism for South Asian Americans to gather and promote their culture within the State Department, SAAEA has demonstrated how the State Department benefits from a spectrum of perspectives and backgrounds.

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Mohammad S.
District Of Columbia, USA
July 14, 2010

Mohammad S. in Washington DC writes:

I am delighted to read this Blog. I equally share the importance of diversity in work place and worldwide. All U.S. agencies and all countries should promote diversity in woek place. Understanding learning other cultural and religious values are core responsibility of all citizens.

United States
July 14, 2010

O.C. in the U.S.A. writes:

If the State Department wants more diversity in its staff then they should get rid of their trivia tests. I think there are two tests. The real test and the fake test. One question asked in so many veiled words,why do you even bother applying? Then there is a whole series of questions where you should answer A because C,D,E, require a response. If you pick C,D,or E the computer doesn't allow you to go back and change your answer. The testing is rigged just like a Las Vegas casino. Welcome to American democracy!

Pamela G.
West Virginia, USA
July 14, 2010

Pamela G. in West Virginia writes:

The more diversity we have in the state dept will hopefully translate into greater understanding of the cultural problems that exsist between the countries.


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