September 29, 2022
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition (USGLC), in celebration of African American leadership in foreign policy, honored Representative Gregory Meeks (NY-05), who serves as the first African American Member of Congress to Chair the House Foreign Affairs Committee and Representative Barbara Lee (CA-13), who serves as the first African American Member of Congress to Chair the Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs. The celebration took place during the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s Annual Legislative Conference.
“This is a very special moment for USGLC to honor two outstanding public leaders, Chairman Meeks and Chairwomen Lee. They are not only two of the most skilled and talented foreign policy voices, but also African American trailblazers who have broken barriers to lead on the world stage when it comes to America’s policy and critical international resources,” said Liz Schrayer, USGLC President and CEO. “Both Members of Congress have been tireless champions to advance America’s interests in the world, and their leadership should make every American proud, reflecting the diversity and the values of our great nation.”
“When we invest in diplomacy and development, in American soft power, we are also investing in the national security and economic prosperity of the United States,” said Chairman Meeks. “As Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, I worked to pass the first reauthorization of the State Department in nearly 20 years, with an emphasis on addressing the lack of diversity in the Department by bringing in and promoting staff with a variety of experiences, backgrounds, and talents. America’s international interests are better advanced when we present the best that America has to offer in our diplomatic and development workforce. I am grateful for this honor, and applaud USGLC’s tireless efforts to empower, uplift, and mobilize diverse communities in addressing U.S. foreign policy goals.”
“Black voices, including Black women’s voices, need to be heard in American foreign policy. We need more diverse voices in the State Department as diplomats, in the Peace Corps as American representatives abroad, and in all the spaces dedicated to foreign policy,” said Chairwoman Lee. “I’m grateful to lead on strengthening America’s diplomacy and development resources—I recognize the importance of this powerful voice and look forward to building up more diverse foreign policy voices to pursue peace and prosperity in America and around the world.”
President and Chair of the Export-Import Bank of the U.S. Reta Jo Lewis; Director of the U.S. Trade and Development Agency Enoh Ebong; President and CEO of the U.S. African Development Foundation Travis Adkins; Mayor Stephen Benjamin, who served as the first African American mayor of Columbia, South Carolina and USGLC Co-Chair; President of Pacific Pension and Investment Institute Lionel Johnson; Senior Vice President of Citi Jahaan Johnson; and USGLC President Liz Schrayer also gave remarks during the conversation underscoring how America’s vibrant diversity on the global stage advances both our national interests and our nation’s values.
The U.S. Global Leadership Coalition (www.usglc.org) is a broad-based influential network of 500 businesses and NGOs; national security and foreign policy experts; and business, faith-based, academic, military, and community leaders in all 50 states who support strategic investments to elevate development and diplomacy alongside defense in order to build a better, safer world.