Politics Blinken announces appointment of first chief diversity officer at State Department
Blinken says US will lead world in beating pandemic
Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday announced the appointment of a U.S. coordinator for global COVID response and health security while committing the Biden administration to leading the worldwide effort to beat back the pandemic.Gayle Smith, who served as administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development during the Obama administration, will take on the role of coordinator for global COVID-19 response and health security at the State Department. Smith most recently served as the president and CEO of the ONE Campaign, a nonpartisan organization that works towards ending poverty and preventable disease by 2030, particularly in Africa.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday announced the appointment of a veteran State Department official to the newly created position of chief diversity officer.
Ambassador Gina Abercrombie-Winstanley, a 30-year veteran of the foreign service and long-time ambassador to Malta, will report directly to the secretary on efforts to improve inclusion at the State Department.
"Gina is a diplomat who knows there are times when you shouldn't be diplomatic, like when people are denied an equal shot at rising in their career, prevented from serving our country because of who they are," Blinken said in remarks from the State Department.
Blinken taps COVID coordinator as US prepares to pivot to sharing vaccines overseas
Gayle Smith, former President Barack Obama's head of the U.S. AID, will serve as Blinken's coordinator for global COVID response and health security. MORE: How COVID-19 vaccinations are going, on a global scale Blinken acknowledged the criticism that the U.S. should do more to distribute vaccines, as it has only "loaned" 4 million doses to Canada and Mexico so far. But he defended the focus on vaccinating Americans first as "the right call. We serve the American people first and foremost.
"She won't be afraid to tell me where we're coming up short."
The move is an effort by the Biden administration to address long-standing inequities of minority representation in government and is an outgrowth of the national reckoning with racial discrimination following the police killing of George Floyd in May 2020.
The State Department, as the face of America to the world, has come under increased scrutiny to improve its own record of retaining and promoting foreign and civil service officers of color and confront discrimination in its own agency.
Blinken spoke to these criticisms by highlighting a 2020 report by the Government Accountability Office, an independent government watchdog, which found that ethnic minorities in the department civil service were 29 percent less likely to be promoted than their white peers.
Blinken Warns China on Taiwan Encroachment, Russia on Ukraine
(Bloomberg) -- U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned China against encroaching on Taiwan, and blamed secrecy by the government in Beijing for helping to hasten the spread of Covid-19. In an interview with NBC News, Blinken voiced concern about tension fomented by Chinese “aggressive actions” in the Taiwan Strait and said the U.S. stands by its commitments to ensure the island’s self-defense. “It would be a serious mistake for anyone to try to change the existing status quo by force,” Blinken said on “Meet the Press” on Sunday, adding that he wouldn’t speculate about possible U.S. responses. © Hanslucas.com U.S.
The report also found that women and minorities were underrepresented in the hierarchy of the agency.
Asian-American members of the Foreign Service are also speaking out about discrimination at the Department amid increased attention on racism and an increase in violence against their community that has intensified since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
that more than 100 foreign policy and national security professionals from the Asian-American and Pacific Islander community signed a letter decrying discrimination in their jobs based on ethnicity.
"Treating all Asian-Americans working in national security with a broad stroke of suspicion, rather than seeing us as valuable contributors, is counterproductive to the greater mission of securing the homeland," they wrote.
Blinken acknowledged the tough road ahead in addressing inequity at the agency.
Blinken won't commit to 2022 Olympics boycott, despite sharp criticism of Beijing
Secretary of State Antony Blinken offered a harsh rebuke of China over its alleged treatment of Uyghurs and handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, but he said the administration is not ready to make a decision on a boycott of the 2022 Winter Olympics set to be held in Beijing. © Provided by Washington Examiner On Sunday, Blinken called talks of boycotting the Olympics, which are still more than a year away, "premature," during an interview with NBC's Meet the Press host Chuck Todd. "We’re not there yet. This is a year or so before the Olympics. We’re not focused on a boycott.
"This work is hard, it can be painful, but it's going to make us better diplomats and it will help us do right by the people on our team who have for too long waged this battle alone," Blinken said.
Abercrombie-Winstanley, who is Black, is an outspoken advocate for how the Department can take steps to increase representation of minority communities and rectify discrimination.
"I believe that we, the Department of State, should and can become in the field of inclusion, a leader. Indeed, we have the talent to become the model for diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workforce," she said in remarks at the State Department.
Abercrombie-Winstanley is a veteran government official and has worked with both Republican and Democratic leaders.
She served as deputy coordinator for counterterrorism during the Bush administration and also served as a fellow on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for the then-ranking member Joe Biden.
Antony Blinken makes surprise stop in Afghanistan to sell Biden troop withdrawal .
Blinken seeks to assure senior Afghan politicians the U.S. remains committed to the country despite a plan to withdraw troops by Sept. 11.Blinken sought to assure senior Afghan politicians that the United States remains committed to the country despite Biden's announcement a day earlier that the 2,500 U.S. soldiers remaining in the country would be coming home by the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks that led to the U.S. invasion in 2001.