Harry S. Truman Building, U.S. Department of State
Category: Event Announcements, Featured News

Title: The State of State’s Diversity: Why American Diplomacy Should Look Like America

Date Published: October 12, 2020

The Institute for the Study of Diplomacy
Edmund Walsh School of Foreign Service

cordially invite you to the

The State of State’s Diversity
Why American Diplomacy Should Look Like America

Thursday, October 29, 2020
4:00 – 5:30 p.m.

 Register here


In February 2020, the GAO published a report, State Department: Additional Steps Are Needed to Identify Potential Barriers to Diversity, that laid out the facts on diversity – or lack thereof – at the Department of State. The report noted significant improvement and efforts over the years, but also persistent shortcomings. The Department remains overwhelmingly male, and overwhelmingly white….facts not surprising but still discouraging…and unacceptable.

Please join the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy for a panel discussion on the report – what are the facts, what are the implications, and what are the steps going forward to ensure that America’s diplomacy and diplomatic corps reflect America’s realities.

Panel members will include: Jason Bair, GAO director of International Affairs and Trade, who led the report team; Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, former Director General of the Department of State and former Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs; and, Uzra Zeya, former senior foreign service officer and Acting Assistant Secretary and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor.


Ambassador (ret.) Linda Thomas-Greenfield
Senior Vice President, Albright Stonebridge Group
Non-resident Fellow, Institute for the Study of Diplomacy

Ambassador (ret.) Linda Thomas-Greenfield, as Director General of the Foreign Service and the Director of Human Resources, led the management of the Department of State’s 70,000-strong workforce, including recruitment, retention, and promotion policies and practices, and efforts to enhance diversity and inclusion within the Department and U.S. embassies and missions abroad. Until her retirement in 2017, for four years she served as Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, capping a career focused on U.S. policy toward sub-Saharan Africa. Currently Senior Vice President at Albright Stonebridge, where she leads the firm’s Africa practice, she was also inaugural Distinguished Resident Fellow in African Studies at ISD. [Read more]

Uzra Zeya                                                            
CEO and President, Alliance for Peacebuilding
Board Adviser, Institute for the Study of Diplomacy

Uzra Zeya is CEO and President of the Alliance for Peacebuilding, where she draws on over two decades of diplomatic experience in Near East, South Asian, European, human rights, and multilateral affairs. As Chargé d’Affaires and Deputy Chief of Mission at U.S. Embassy Paris from 2014 to 2017, she oversaw the day-to-day operations of Embassy Paris, six constituent posts, and 50 offices and agencies engaged in U.S. government work. Ms. Zeya served previously as Acting Assistant Secretary and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, from 2012 to 2014. Since joining the Foreign Service in 1990, Ms. Zeya served in New Delhi, Muscat, Damascus, Cairo, and Kingston. [Read more]

Jason Bair
Director, International Affairs and Trade
U.S. Government Accountability Office

Mr. Bair is a Director in GAO’s International Affairs and Trade team.  He leads GAO’s work overseeing foreign affairs agencies including the Department of State and USAID.  Key topics of that oversight include budget issues, diplomatic security, embassy construction, Foreign Service staffing, consular affairs and public diplomacy.  He joined GAO in 2000 and in recent years has conducted audit work in countries including China, Pakistan, Argentina, the United Arab Emirates, and Kenya to meet with U.S. and foreign diplomats as well as nongovernmental and international organizations. His work has resulted in numerous improvements in the efficiency and sustainability of U.S. foreign assistance programs and has helped realize billions of dollars in financial savings.  He received a bachelor’s degree from American University in Communications, Law, Economics, and Government and holds a master’s degree in public affairs from the University of Texas at Austin.

Check out more about the GAO report on Diversity:

State Department: Additional Steps Are Needed to Identify Potential Barriers to Diversity
6 minutes podcast on the GAO report
Racial Disparities in Federal Employment, Lending, and HousingRacial and Gender Disparities at State Department and USAID

Image: State Department Flickr