The Foreign Service Journal, March 2021

58 MARCH 2021 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL THELEGACY OF Jackie Robinson Through baseball diplomacy the youth of Romania and Uganda learned important lessons. BY RONALD E . HAWK I NS J R . Ronald E. Hawkins Jr. is currently a student at the U.S. Army War College pursuing a master’s degree in strategic studies. He served as the public affairs officer (PAO) in Kampala fromAugust 2018 to July 2020. Previ- ously, he was PAO in Bucharest and Khartoum. He has had assignments inWashington, D.C., Sarajevo, Reykjavík and Algiers. FEATURE Embassy Bucharest staff welcome guests at the gate to “Ebbets Field” in 2017. U.S.EMBASSYBUCHAREST/LUCIANCRUSOVEANU A merica’s first African American to play in Major League Baseball was the legendary Jackie Robinson, number 42. Known for his athletic prowess, Robinson demon- strated even greater skill and valor off the field. The first Black man to integrate into an all-white sport in 1947, he faced callous treatment and threats to him- self and his family. Yet almost a decade before the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. appeared on the national stage, Robinson’s response to all the insults, threats andmistreatment was principled nonviolence. The deliberate choice of nonviolence—not the lack of doing something, but the conscious act of choosing not to be violent in dealing with adversity—is central to Jackie Robinson’s powerful legacy. Preventing violent extremism is an important issue for the national security of the United States. While diplomats can lecture on the merits of peace and nonviolence, engaging host-country youth in an interactive and relatable way has been the best approach I have found during my recent tours as a public diplomacy officer for getting this message out. In both Romania and Uganda, promoting nonviolence and inclusion was important to bolster democracy. Both nations