From Friendship Heights to Anacostia: The State Department's Impact on the District of Columbia

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Fall foliage and the Lincoln Memorial, with the words "State4States" and "District of Columbia"
#State4States: The Department of State has direct impact on the District of Columbia

From Friendship Heights to Anacostia: The State Department's Impact on the District of Columbia

The State Department benefits the American people by advancing U.S. national security, promoting our economic interests, providing services, and reaffirming our country’s exceptional role in the world. This work directly impacts the District of Columbia. 

Founded in 1790, Washington, D.C. was established by the Constitution of the United States to serve as the nation’s capital. Although it is not a state, it is, nonetheless not only the center of American political life, it is the central hub for diplomacy and international organizations resident in the United States. Home to the United Nations Foundation, the World Bank, and the IMF, all diplomatic roads lead to Washington, D.C. It is, therefore, unsurprising that the State Department has a far-reaching impact on the District of Columbia in a number of high-priority areas that further U.S. foreign policy. 

For example, the Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement (INL) has informally partnered with the District of Columbia Federal Judicial Center (FJC), the research and education arm of the federal judiciary, since 2012. Beginning in 2015, the FJC hosted several foreign delegations from INL’s International Justice Sector Education and Training Program to discuss mediation, juvenile justice, and the U.S. trial system. 

Additionally, the State Department’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons awards grants to organizations in the District of Columbia to combat human trafficking. The Warnath Group, for example, was granted an award through the U.S.-Jamaica Child Protection Compact Partnership, to build the capacity of Jamaican law enforcement, to support victim service providers, and to bolster the efforts of civil society to increase the number of victim-centered investigations, prosecutions, and convictions of child trafficking cases. This partnership also supported the Warnath Group’s efforts to strengthen and maintain the Government of Jamaica‘s data collection systems. Washington, D.C.-based organization Free the Slaves received a grant to support its efforts to combat forced labor in the form of debt bondage in India. The International Association of Women Judges also received a grant to support its efforts to enhance coordination among multi-sector stakeholders for victim-centered services, build prevention strategies for labor and sex trafficking within vulnerable communities, and improve the quality of comprehensive services to survivors of trafficking in the Dominican Republic. Through these kinds of grants and partnerships with organizations dealing with the horrors of human trafficking on the ground, we will ultimately see greater success in eliminating trafficking-in-persons from our society.

Finally, the State Department impacts Washington, D.C. through the Women in Science program, or WiSci. WiSci is a public-private partnership that brings together a diverse group of female high school students from around the world for a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts & Design, and Mathematics) education camp with the goal of closing the gender gap through access to education, mentorship opportunities, and leadership training. Participants take part in hands-on activities to learn about various STEAM topics in a cross-cultural learning environment. District of Columbia-based organizations Girl Up Campaign, NASA, Millennium Challenge Corporation, and World Learning are all WiSci partners, as we work together to further achieve gender equality and girls’ empowerment around the globe. 

These are but a handful of examples of the State Department’s impact on our nation’s capital. From Friendship Heights to Anacostia, the District of Columbia’s 68 square miles extend far beyond its boundaries. As an international hub, Washington, D.C. impacts the nations of the world. 

Find out more about the Department of State's impact in American communities at Department of State by State

Editor's Note: This entry also appears in the U.S. Department of State's publication on Medium.

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