Future Ambassadors of America

By Guest Columnist Jan 30, 2008

by Marissa Gutiérrez-Vicario While perusing U.S. Department of State’s webpage that listed all of U.S. ambassadors to the United Nations since 1945, I noticed something interesting. In the entire 63 years that the U.S. had actually designated someone to that position, not including those considered “acting” U.S. ambassadors, I counted two men of color and two white women. Unless I am severely mistaken (which I hope that I am) there were absolutely no women of color serving in the position whatsoever. Granted that the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations position is a small representation of the thousands of U.S. Foreign Service officers, I still can’t help but feel that a huge set of perspectives, a diverse one at that, is completely being left out of the picture. How should the rest of the world view a country, especially one that has been perpetrating war, represented by such a homogeneous group of individuals? This is why I was thrilled to learn of the lasting legacy of Dr. Ralph Bunche (1903-1971). Bunche was a U.S. diplomat and recipient of the 1950 Nobel Peace Prize. Bunche, a Black man, was the first person of color to be bestowed with that honor for his work between 1947 and 1949, with negotiations that led Israel and the Arab states to sign an armistice agreement. Yet the incredible work of Bunche shouldn’t be an exception, and because of the work of a group of committed activists that I have had the opportunity to meet recently, it won’t be. The One World Foundation is a non-profit dedicated to connecting young people from “minority and indigenous communities” into the global social justice, human rights, and development arenas (3). The One World Foundation organizes a series of domestic and international service projects for promising young leaders of color, to work in solidarity with non-government organization partners in developing countries. The organization gives hope that the world will see more of the diverse perspectives within the U.S., especially those activists and students of color, deeply committed to social change. The One World Foundation is currently accepting applications for its 2008 summer program (both young leader and group leader positions) until March 1, 2008. They are taking delegations of committed young people to Cambodia, India and Senegal. Please visit their website at www.theoneworldfoundation.org for more details on the program! Contributions to this blog should also be credited to Boston and Philadelphia-based activist Charles K. Chear, who is on the Board of Directors for the One World Foundation.