Remarks by Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield on Black History Month and a Diverse Workforce

Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield
U.S. Representative to the United Nations
New York, New York
February 1, 2022


To celebrate Black History Month, we are honoring some of the extraordinary Black diplomats who broke barriers, promoted peace and prosperity, and advanced the interests of the United States around the world.

The history of American diplomacy has been led by Black diplomats determined to make a difference. Ralph Bunche shaped the founding of the United Nations and won a Nobel Peace Prize. Patricia Roberts Harris became our country’s first female African American Ambassador and went on to serve as a cabinet secretary for two different agencies. My mentor, Ed Perkins, challenged the leaders of apartheid South Africa as the Ambassador from the United States, before becoming U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations.

These trailblazers and so many others understood a simple concept: racial diversity should be America’s strength, not its weakness. It took hard work and the sacrifices of many great Foreign Service Officers before the State Department, and the United States Government embraced this powerful principle.

But today, we are committed to building and recruiting the most talented, diverse, and inclusive workforce in the world, and to advancing equity and inclusion across the globe. Especially now, with so much at stake abroad – from climate change to the COVID-19 pandemic, to countless humanitarian crises – we need the best of America. We need our country’s top minds and top talents. People with diverse skills, perspectives, and backgrounds who can advance America’s interests on the world stage.

So, if you’ve been looking for a sign, here it is: I am inviting you to join the Department of State, and to serve in one of our 270 diplomatic offices, whether through the Civil Service, the Foreign Service, an internship, or a fellowship. Come join a long and proud legacy of diverse diplomats making a difference. Come serve your country.

For more information, please check out and connect with our Diplomats in Residence in your region. And happy Black History Month!