The Importance of Diversity and Representation in American Foreign Policy
February 16th, 2023 4:00PM -5:00PM
President Biden has vowed to diversify U.S. government agencies so that they “reflect the American public they represent.” The State Department, whose diplomats are literally the face of the United States abroad, remains predominantly white and male. This lack of diversity deprives the State Department of the talent needed to effectively pursue its foreign policy objectives as well as credibility when touting American values of diversity and inclusion abroad. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, has labeled the lack of diversity in the diplomatic corps a national security crisis, undercutting the promotion of American interests and values.
Join the World Affairs Council virtually on February 16 at 4PM as Community Programs and Global Classroom jointly host Alexandria Maloney, the President of Black Professionals in International Affairs and Dr. Maleeka Glover, the Interim Executive Director for Women of Color Advancing Peace, Security, and Conflict Transformation to discuss the importance of diversity and inclusion for the creation and conduct of U.S. foreign policy.
About the Speakers
Alexandria J. Maloney, MPA, serves as the President of Black Professionals in International Affairs, a 501(c)3 nonprofit on a mission to increase the involvement of African-Americans and those of African descent in the international affairs field at large. Since 2020, she has taken the foreign affairs, DEIJ, and social impact world by storm.
At 30, Alexandria was announced as a “Forbes 50 Champion” by For(bes) the Culture for Black and Brown Communities for her leadership in building ecosystems to educate, prepare, and empower an organic reach of over 60,000 professionals. She has also been recognized as a CSIS-DINSN Power 50 Leader, Truman’s “Rookie of the Year”, and the 2020 JCU Alumni of the Year.
During the pandemic and the rise of the George Flloyd protests, she co-founded “The World is Watching BLM”, a global coalition supporting the international Black Lives Matter movement, and has been a featured speaker at the United Nations and G20 Civil Society Summit. After serving as a foreign policy volunteer for the Biden Presidential campaign in 2020, Alexandria helped found Foreign Policy for America’s Diversity in National Security (DINS) Working Group. Alexandria continues to support transformational change in organizations internationally, mentoring young girls, and guest lecturing at the Cornell University Brooks School of Public Policy.
For the past 20 years, Maleeka has worked across many areas of public health, both domestically and globally, holding positions with the Center for Disease Control and the World Health Organization, in addition to several academic institutions. Maleeka is currently the Executive Director of WCAPS; an organization whose vision is to advance the leadership and professional development of women of color in the fields of international peace, security, and conflict transformation. WCAPS is a platform devoted to women of color that cultivates a strong voice and network for its members while encouraging dialogue and strategies for engaging in policy discussions on an international scale.
She serves as a leader in Global Health Security and emergency response to promote and encourage sound research, application of scientific principles to emergency preparedness and response, improve data preparedness and implementation of programs that strengthen protection against public health threats. She provides strategic leadership to develop and implement science-based approaches, program coordination, training, and global health security leadership.
Dr. Glover has extensive training and experience in social epidemiology, risk communication policy, planning and implementation and a demonstrated record of accomplishment of community engagement. She is a graduate of CDC’s Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) Program. As an epidemiologist and social scientist, Dr. Glover is trained to examine how cultural, economic, and demographic factors, biopsychosocial interactions, societal influences, and various levels of social organization (ranging from small groups to complex cultural systems) influences public health and its delivery.
Maleeka holds a Doctor of Science degree from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, a Master of Public Health degree from University of Michigan School of Public Health and a Bachelor of Science degree from Clark Atlanta University.
About the Moderator
Heather Yang Hwalek
Heather Yang Hwalek is a Senior Program Officer at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, currently on maternity leave. She supports the President for Global Policy & Advocacy through cross-cutting policy and advocacy work, overseeing and developing the grants and investments portfolio for the President’s strategic reserve, and managing projects across the foundation such as efforts to promote diversity, equity and inclusion. She previously held roles at the foundation in the Communications Division and the Office of the CEO’s Strategic Planning & Engagement team.
Before joining the foundation, Heather served as a Foreign Service Officer with the U.S. Department of State. She served in the Office of the Secretary of State, at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo, Japan, at the U.S. Consulate in Guangzhou, China, at the U.S. Embassy in Pretoria, South Africa, and in additional roles in Washington, DC. Heather is an alumna of the Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowship.
Heather has also worked as an English Teacher in Shandong Province, China, as a teaching assistant for Ambassador John Negroponte at Yale University, and as an advance associate on the Presidential campaigns of Elizabeth Warren and Joe Biden, and for the Office of the First Lady. She is currently a term member at the Council on Foreign Relations.
Heather studied Anthropology at Columbia University (BA) and International Relations at Yale University (MA) and completed a semester at the Middle East Technical University in Ankara, Turkey. She was born and raised in Bangor, Maine.