What’s it worth for Americans to be invested in the local-to-global connection for U.S. foreign policy and diplomacy? On October 17, the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition (USGLC) hosted a conversation with Ambassador Nina Hachigian, the first U.S. Special Representative for Subnational Diplomacy, U.S. Department of State, to discuss the impact of city and state diplomacy on both everyday Americans and U.S. foreign policy priorities.
Key Quotes from the Conversation
On Subnational Diplomacy
“The term ‘sub nationalism’ is very wonky, but it basically refers to state and local governments connecting with their counterparts, with other nations, or with us. It refers to entities within a nation.”
On Priorities at the State Department
“First is bringing benefits to the local level. That’s job number one. Job number two would be encouraging our cities and states to engage more internationally with us and with their counterparts, and sometimes, frankly, just helping the State Department with foreign policy… Mayors and governors are the first responders on some of these transnational challenges and some of the best problem solvers I’ve ever met. Some of what they know should inform our foreign policy. So number three is helping the State Department consider subnational elements in foreign policy both here and in other countries.”
On the Need to Invest in Subnational Diplomacy
“One reason is the economic benefits that can support good jobs like foreign direct investment and trade and hosting major international events… We hope to help create the connective tissue to make those kinds of opportunities more available to our local partners. Another reason is exchanges for young people. I did a lot of that work in Los Angeles and it was some of the most rewarding work that I did. Seeing young people being able to connect to the world at large and get those global skills is really key.”
On the Resources Needed to Address Climate Change
“When it comes to our own country, there will be lots of resources going into helping American cities and states decarbonize, as we are one of the biggest emitters. Our actions make a huge difference in terms of our leadership and our ability to lead coalitions that will help the people who are suffering in poor countries, the ones who are disproportionately affected by climate change. And then there’s also all kinds of resilience and adaptation funds that we have through USAID, for example, to make those communities less vulnerable.”
Ambassador Nina Hachigian Bio
Ambassador Nina Hachigian (ret.) is the first U.S. Special Representative for Subnational Diplomacy. In this role, she seeks to bring benefits to, and learn from, local leaders in the United States, and connect them to counterparts around the world. Before rejoining the Department, Ambassador Hachigian served as the first Deputy Mayor for International Affairs for the City of Los Angeles. From 2014 to 2017, Ambassador Hachigian served as the second U.S. Ambassador to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
Read more about Ambassador Hachigian here.