The Foreign Service Journal, June 2022

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL | JUNE 2022 25 FOCUS A PROGRESS REPORT ON DIVERSITY The Office of Diversity and Inclusion Turns One AFSA President Eric Rubin: April 12 marks the first anni- versary of Ambassador Gina Abercrombie-Winstanley’s tenure as the State Department’s first Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer. She was charged by Secretary of State Antony Blinken with chang- ing the culture, the norms, the behaviors and the biases of our State Department and the Foreign Service. It’s a tall task. Any bureau- cracy is resistant to change. Ambassador Abercrombie-Winstanley’s 30-year career includes such highlights as being the longest-serving ambassador to the Republic of Malta, advising the commander of U.S. cyber forces on our foreign policy priorities, and expanding our counterterrorism partners and programs as deputy coordinator of counterterrorism. She is one of our most distinguished leaders, and we are very lucky to have her in this position. Today’s event is an opportunity to discuss the work that’s been done so far, what’s underway and the challenges that still lie ahead. Editor’s Note: This interview is adapted from the transcript of AFSA’s April 5 “Inside Diplomacy: Creating a More Diverse and Inclusive Foreign Service,” featuring a dialogue between AFSA President Eric Rubin and Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer Gina Abercrombie-Winstanley. The conversation, which took place on Zoom with an audience of several hundred, was followed by questions from the attendees presented by AFSA Outreach and Strategic Communications Manager Nadja Ruzica; Ambassadors Rubin and Abercrombie- Winstanley then wrap up the discussion. To view the entire event, go to AFSA’s YouTube page, AFSAtube. When Secretary Blinken appointed you as the first CDIO, he charged you with a mandate to improve diversity and inclusion in our workforce, in our work and in the product that we deliver for the American people. What does that mean in practical terms? And how did you decide where to start? Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer Gina Abercrombie-Winstanley: Thank you for setting up this opportunity to speak with so many of our colleagues about this new turn that we are taking as an organization, as an institution, and this new bold walk into a better future for everyone. I came to this position knowing that I had a strong mandate. The Secretary was clear that he would judge his success by whether he left behind an organization that reflects the greatness of the United States of America as this will help us better navi- gate, address and meet the challenges of the 21st century. Then, An Interviewwith Ambassador Gina Abercrombie-Winstanley