Guess Who's Name Was Slapped On $1.6M Fellowship For 'Diverse' Diplomats?

By Greg Moriarty | Wednesday, 22 May 2024 03:00 PM
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Image Credit : AWLA Fellowships

The Biden administration is poised to allocate approximately $1.6 million to a program christened after former Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

The initiative is designed to enhance racial diversity among America's diplomats.

The "Nancy Pelosi Fellowship Program," as outlined in federal grant documents, is part of the State Department's efforts to foster a workforce that mirrors the diversity of the United States. The program aims to nurture a varied group of future national security professionals and diplomats. This initiative aligns with the broader emphasis that Secretary of State Antony Blinken has placed on diversity and inclusion during his tenure.

On Monday, a State Department official issued a grant solicitation seeking a non-governmental organization (NGO) to manage the program named after Pelosi. The department anticipates that the NGO overseeing the program will "construct diverse pathways into public service that inclusively represent the cultural, social, ethnic, racial, gender, and geographic diversity of the United States to pursue a career in national security and diplomacy."

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The program will be supervised to monitor "how diverse candidates are represented in outreach, selection, and program cohort[s]," as per the grant document. The fellowship will offer American university students demonstrating financial need the opportunity to undertake a paid internship at either the State Department or a relevant third-party organization.

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The program is expected to be accompanied by a Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility plan, as indicated in the grant documents. The Nancy Pelosi Fellowship Program was established under the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023, as per the grant posting.

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Blinken's advocacy for diversity within the State Department commenced early in the Biden administration. In February 2021, shortly after his Senate confirmation, Blinken pledged to elevate the diversity and inclusion work already underway at the State Department by appointing a chief diversity and inclusion officer for the agency.

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Blinken reiterated his commitment to diversity in September 2022, announcing that the State Department would be unveiling a Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility Strategic Plan. The plan was intended to set targets for recruiting and retaining "a diverse workforce" while also fostering "greater inclusivity for women, employees with disabilities, LGBTQI+ employees, and religious, racial, and ethnic minorities."

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