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African American Trailblazers in Diplomacy

Feb. 28, 2019

Following is the transcript of a panel on "African American Trailblazers in Diplomacy" which was presented on February 28, 2019, at the U.S. Diplomacy Museum.  Panel Presentations were:

Ebenezer Bassett  - Christopher Teal, US Foreign Service Officer and author of "Hero of Hispaniola: America’s First Black Diplomat: Ebenezer Bassett

Ambassador Ralph J. Bunche -  James T.L. Dandridge II, Board of Directors of the Diplomacy Museum

Ambassador Edward Dudley  - Dr. Michael Krenn, Professor of History, Appalachian State University

Ambassadors Patricia Roberts Harris and Mabel Murphy-Smythe,  Ambassador Ruth A. Davis, Vice President. Association of Black American Ambassadors  (ABAA)

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                                                                           Remarks by Ambassador Charles Ray

Ambassador Ray briefed an outgoing class of Foreign Area Officers recently. See video of his remarks which include comments on the December 2022 African Leaders Summit hosted by President Biden.

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Remarks by Ambassador C. Steven McGann

United Negro College Fund Leadership Breakfast

   November 16, 2022


Pleased to speak this morning representing the Association of Black American Ambassadors.

The UNCF Leaders Breakfast hosted by The Cornerstone Group is an important opportunity to share the future direction
of ABAA.

The African-American Community needs to know ABAA and its goals.

We are a senior-level group that understands how policy-making works. Our objective is to share that knowledge and
advance the interests of the community we serve.

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Address by Ambassador (Ret) Ruth A. Davis

Challenges Faced by Businesswomen and Solutions to Overcome Them: 

Successful Stories from Different Parts of the Globe

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You Better Believe That Africa Matters

B Charles A. Ray - 2022

    The Jerusalem Strategic Tribune, February 2022

For too long in the West, primarily the United States and Western Europe, the continent of Africa has been viewed as peripheral to world affairs. It was thought of only in terms of the natural resources that could be extracted from it or as a place of poverty, violence, and disasters—natural and man-made. As a diplomat who has served in Africa, a journalist who has photographed and written about the continent, and now as a think-tank analyst who studies Africa, this view of Africa is short-sighted and needs to be revisited.

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How Diversity Can Enhance Diplomacy

by June Carter Perry and Christopher Faison - August 2021

Given their life experiences, People of Color (POC) and women already possess many of the skills to succeed in diplomacy. These include cross cultural communications, linguistic competence and acceptance of practices absent from life in the United States and Western countries. From childhood, People of Color and women often learn “to fit” into concepts of appropriate attire, hairstyles and even speech, an experience akin to what diplomats face as they encounter new cultures. Male colleagues often dismiss their statements in meetings. Or, later take credit for their ideas and may perceive efforts to reinforce contributions as demonstrating the individual as being “difficult” or “overbearing”, which leaves often good ideas by the wayside in negotiations.

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Fresh Thinking on U.S. Engagement with Africa: Probing the Limits of Engagement

By Charles A. Ray - June 16, 2021

The Biden administration faces the opportunity to reset U.S. policy towards Africa and possesses a variety of tools to use in doing so, including traditional diplomacy, economic statecraft, development assistance, and military engagement. With the increased militarization of U.S. foreign policy over the past few decades, there is an unfortunate tendency to default to military engagement when confronted with even remote threats to U.S. national security interests, and Africa is no exception. With vital security interests in Africa, it can be argued that military engagement should be limited in its application and targeted to those situations that do not lend themselves to solution through traditional diplomacy or development assistance.

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Can Sisyphus Win? Reforming Diplomacy for New Challenges

By June Carter Perry - February 2021

Moving the bureaucracy is akin to Sisyphus: forever pushing the rock up the hill only to have it roll back. However, with a renewed interest in making diplomacy and the State Department more effective and equitable, the New Year brings a plethora of reports and recommendations to align the oldest and premier United States agency into an institution prepared to meet contemporary challenges. 

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                                                Broadening the Foreign Service: The Role of Diplomats in Residence

By June Carter Perry - August 2020

What is a Diplomat in Residence in 2020?

In order to reach out to potential future Foreign Service Officers (FSOs), the Department of State places experienced officers at colleges and universities in sixteen regions of the United States. The FSOs assigned as Diplomats in Residence (DIRs) offer guidance and advice on careers, internships and fellowships to students and professionals in the communities they serve.

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Opinion Piece in The Federalist

After 18 Years, It Is Past Time To Face The Truth About Afghanistan

Last week,  three U.S. service members  were killed in an improvised explosive device attack near Bagram Air Base, an operation subsequently claimed by the Taliban. The deaths of Christopher Slutman of Newark, Delaware, Robert A. Hendriks of Locust Valley, New York, and Benjamin S. Hines of York, Pennsylvania take the number of U.S. troop fatalities in Afghanistan this year to seven.

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Letter in The Washington Post 

written by Amb. (ret) June Carter-Perry

Let’s get rid of the term ‘biracial’

The May 17 "Style" Article

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Ambassador Ruth Davis

Distinguished African Americans at the Department of State

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Book Review 

Diversifying Diplomacy: My Journey from Roxbury to Dakar by
Harriet Lee Elam-Thomas, with Jim Robison, Potomac Books, 2017.

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Ambassador Edward J. Perkins

Diplomacy and Policing

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Ambassador Charles A. Ray

The Everyday Importance of International Relations: Walk a Mile in Your Own Shoes

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America Needs a Professional Foreign Service

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Decision Making in Times of Uncertainty

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6 Things My Grandmother Taught Me About Effective Leadership

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