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Why We Need More Diversity in Global Affairs

Less than 10% of diplomats in the US State Department identify as African-American, Latino, or Native American. That’s why in March, Representatives Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R – FL) and Gerry Connolly (D – VA) introduced the National Security Diversity and Inclusion Workforce Act of 2018 to help expand opportunities for minorities in both entry-level positions and agency leadership. The policy aims to foster diversity among US diplomats and officers in the national service.

“Diversity is a unique source of strength for American society, our economy, and our national security. We must ensure that our federal workforce reflects the American people it serves,” Rep. Connolly said in a press release.

But the government's lack of diversity has persisted for decades and is not unique to the United States. In the United Kingdom, only 8% of members of Parliament are ethnic minorities. Governments with a strong influence on global politics need to make a concerted effort to consider the viewpoints of underrepresented communities now more than ever. Yet, often people in these underserved communities don’t have access to opportunities and initiatives that encourage an interest in global affairs, largely due to financial constraints.

Click Here for more information about the 2018 Curtis Scholarship

That is why Global Citizen is thrilled to be accepting applications for the 2018 Curtis Scholarship, an annual global leadership program conceived and funded by Pearl Jam manager Kelly Curtis. As it the program enters its fourth year, it is expanding to include 12 scholars from both the UK and the US. Scholarship winners will join together for an all-expenses paid learning trip to South Africa from August 2nd to 12th, in addition to attending Global Citizen Week events in NYC in September.

Curtis Scholars must be between the ages of 16 and 20 and will have the opportunity to participate in learning activities to develop advocacy, leadership, and global citizenship skills. The mission of the Curtis Scholarship is to equip youth from underserved communities with the skills and tools they need to become change-makers to create local and global impact.

Photo Courtesy of Leanne Demery2017 Curtis Scholars meet with a Diplomat at the U.S. Consulate in Cape Town. Courtesy of Leanne Demery


At Global Citizen, we are working to build a movement to end extreme poverty. And the root causes of extreme poverty — access to clean water, sanitation, health, and education — touch us all regardless of whether you're in Manhattan, Madrid, or Mumbai. In order to tackle these issues, diverse viewpoints are needed to bring new thinking and problem-solving skills to find innovative solutions to advance development and establish peace.

We are living in an unnerving period of isolationist rhetoric and an increasingly divided world. This makes barrier-breaking programs like the Curtis Scholarship that bring national and global efforts to end poverty together more vital than ever.

A future where more young people have limitless expectations of where they can go in life will certainly be a brighter one.  

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