U.S. State Department to create diversity officer role

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Wednesday will announce the creation of a chief diversity and inclusion officer position at the State Department, according to a statement seen by Reuters.

The officer will report directly to Blinken, who is asking the department’s bureaus and teams to designate an existing deputy assistant secretary to support the diversity and inclusion efforts.

The statement did not say who would be named to the position.

“The State Department has the honor of representing the American people to the world. To do that well, we must recruit and retain a workforce that truly reflects America. Diversity and inclusion make us stronger, smarter, more creative, and more innovative,” Blinken is set to say according to the statement.

The move reflects a sea change from the administration of former President Donald Trump, who had directed federal agencies last year to end programs deemed divisive by the White House. This prompted the State Department to suspend all training programs for employees related to diversity and inclusion.

Under the first days of administration of President Joe Biden, the State Department resumed that training.

(Reporting by Humeyra Pamuk; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)