U.S. State Department Hosts HBCU Summit
By Mondriahn Miller
Bowie State students visited the U.S. Department of State in Washington on Feb. 24 for the 2012 Historically Black College and University Foreign Policy Conference.
With a plethora of students hailing from colleges and universities across the mid-Atlantic and Southeastern regions, undergraduates and graduates listened to a number of speakers discuss different issues that the state department handles as well as foreign service opportunities. Bowie State University had the largest contingent of students and faculty to attend the conference and their attendance was recognized from the podium.
As students gathered in the Loy Henderson Conference Room, they were greeted by the moderator of the afternoon Deputy Secretary for Public Affairs Cheryl Benton. Next, Counselor of the Department and Chief of Staff to the Secretary Cheryl Mills proceeded with a video from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton welcoming the students to the state department.
Aaron D. Snipe, spokesperson and deputy director for the Bureau of Near East Affairs, spoke about the Middle East engaging with other countries where democracies are emerging as well as how social media are playing a huge role in keeping Westerners abreast of developments in the Middle East.
Katherine “Kemy” Monahan, deputy executive director of the U.S. Global Health Initiative, spoke about the Global Health Initiative (GHI) which was announced in 2009, that proposes a plan for global health. Lastly, she touched on how the United States is truly a melting pot and if we are able to speak a different language it is beneficial to their embassies in other countries as well.
The relationship between China and the United States was discussed by Deputy Assistant Secretary Kin Moy, Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs. He explained that no issue can be solved without cooperation with China and the relationship with China will affect the future. He went on to say we need more effective Chinese speakers in America to help us understand Chinese culture.
Kimberly McClure, deputy director of the 100,000 Strong Initiative, discussed the initiative that is a national effort designed to increase the number and diversify the number of American students studying in China. She stressed that having global skills is a critical key to separating students apart from their competition.
Being able to adjust to different situations and locations are what employers are looking for and notice when hiring potential employees, McClure said. According to the Georgia Learning Outcomes of Students Studying Abroad Research Initiative (GLOSSARI), 1 percent of college students in the United States study abroad and of that number only 0.47 percent are African-American. The State Department is working with the United Negro College Fund and the Thurgood Marshall College Fund to help HBCU students study abroad in China.
Daniel Stewart, the Branch Chief for Student Programs, Bureau of Human Resources, spoke about student programs and opportunities within the State Department. Stewart touched on summer, fall, and spring internships, work study programs, as well as fellowships all offered through the U.S. Department of State. If interested please log on to www.state.gov for more information.
Overall, the 2012 HBCU Foreign Policy Conference was very informative and provided students insight into new opportunities for students who may not have thought about a career within the State Department. All of the speakers gave different aspects and overall proved no matter your major and focus, there is a job for you at the U.S. Department of State.