WASHINGTON: Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of State on Wednesday gave his remarks in American Center Korea, praising the center he added that during the COVID-19 pandemic, the center kept the critical work of the embassy going, helping 150,000 U.S. citizens in this country navigate testing in quarantine, processing immigrant visa petitions from priority groups like U.S. service members and Korean orphan adoption visas.
He further added that all the work of the political and economic sections, including marshaling a robust condemnation of the coup in Burma and helping secure a new special measures agreement, not to mention a lot of terrific reporting.
Furthermore, mentioning the LGBTQI community he said your leadership on diversity, inclusion, equity and as a community, you stood up against violence against black people in the United States.
You’ve stood with LGBTQI people here and around the world, he said.
Adding that it’s deeply important to me that the State Department be a place where everyone is welcome, everyone is respected, everyone is treated with dignity. That’s one reason we’ve made diversity and inclusion a major priority for this administration, he said.
Secretary of State further added that he strongly believes that
America’s diversity is one of our core strengths as a nation and also a competitive advantage,
and so we’ve got to have a diplomatic workforce that looks like the country it represents. Otherwise, we will be conducting our diplomacy with one hand tied behind our back, he said.
Your council for diversity and inclusion even sent up a set of recommendations on how the State Department can foster a more inclusive workplace. And this is really important because we need to learn from each other, he added.
Across the entire State Department family, we’re finding that embassies, different bureaus are doing things that the whole community needs to know about, and so I really appreciate sharing from your own experience, Blinken remarked.
While appreciating the center in South Korea, he said that ‘I’ve learned about this mission and the work you’re doing, you really are a model for how our teams around the world can actually turn our values into concrete action and go the extra mile on behalf of the American people and each other’.