State Department Recruits In San Antonio To Fix Diplomat Diversity Problem

“I don’t want to get into the statistics, but suffice it to say that we are not where we want to be.”

By Aaron SchrankOctober 17, 2016 9:30 am| , , ,

From Texas Public Radio

Arnold Chacon is the first Hispanic Director General of the Foreign Service—a job that doubles as hiring manager for the entire U.S. State Department. He’s onstage before thousands of students at the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities recent annual conference in San Antonio.

“The Department is no longer the exclusive bastion of white males from the Northeast or, as they used to say, pale, male and Yale,” Chacon says.

Chacon says the U.S. diplomatic workforce is more diverse than when he began as a Foreign Service officer 35 years ago.

“I don’t want to get into the statistics, but suffice it to say that we are not where we want to be,” Chacon says.

State Department data released in June shows that 71 percent of employees are white. Just 7 percent are Hispanic, while Hispanics account for 18 percent of the U.S. population. Following an Obama directive to improve those stats, the Department is boosting recruiting efforts in cities like San Antonio to get more talent from outside of the Beltway and the Ivy League into its ranks.

“It’s a vibrant Hispanic community in the San Antonio area—an area I think really has a lot of potential, so that’s one of the primary reasons I’m here,” Chacon says.

At St. Mary’s University, the former Ambassador to Guatemala tells a roomful of students how his colleagues are tackling problems like climate change, arms control, ISIS and Ebola.

“You have the opportunity to serve your country and impact the lives of people that you never knew existed in places you never imagined,” Chacon told students at the nearly 60 percent Hispanic or Latino Catholic institution.

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