Deniece Laurent-Mantey: Championing the African Diaspora’s Voice in the U.S.

Deniece Laurent-Mantey made history as the inaugural Executive Director of the President's Advisory Council on African Diaspora Engagement in the United States.

1 min read
Deniece Laurent-Mantey
Deniece Laurent-Mantey

Deniece Laurent-Mantey is the inaugural executive director of the President’s Advisory Council on African Diaspora Engagement. She embodies the bridge between America and Africa, fostering a future where both continents can thrive together. A child of Ghanaian immigrants raised in the Bronx, Laurent-Mantey understands firsthand the importance of the diaspora maintaining strong linkages to the continent. 

“The currency of our generation is Africa’s innovation. People are now beginning to embrace Africa’s culture, its diversity, and its heritage. But the key thing is that we have to protect that ownership. We have to do what we can to tell our story.”

Deniece Laurent-Mantey

The Biden administration appointed Laurent-Mantey as the first executive director of the new President’s Advisory Council on African Diaspora Engagement in 2023. Initially, this council was announced in 2022’s U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit to promote greater prosperity and collaboration between the U.S. and African nations. 

The council advises creating more fairness and opportunities for African diaspora communities. It supports UN efforts relating to people of African descent. The council recommends programs to build cultural, social, political, and economic connections between Africa, the global African diaspora, and the United States. It also suggests ways for the public and private sectors to work together to make life better for members of the African diaspora.

Laurent-Mantey was instrumental in shaping the Council’s policies and priorities. In addition to her new directorship role, she serves as the senior State Department representative for the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit. Notably, her efforts before the 2022 summit yielded significant commitments, including $15 billion to boost African trade and investment along with $55 billion for shared U.S.-Africa priorities over three years.

Her distinguished career spans over 15 years of public service. Starting at the State Department in 2008, she provided policy recommendations on U.S.-Africa affairs to the Secretary of State. 

Laurent-Mantey held several positions including Acting Deputy Director and Desk Officer in the Bureau of African Affairs. Subsequently, Laurent-Mantey served as a Special Assistant to Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the Executive Secretariat Staff of the Department. 

Additionally, she has served in the Bureau of Oceans, Environment, and Science as well as the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor as a Special Assistant. She became the Acting Deputy Director in the Bureau of African Affairs, Office of West Africa in September 2018, with responsibilities for the 10 coastal countries in West Africa. 

Laurent-Mantey’s accomplishments have earned her multiple accolades Department of State honors and being named among the Most Influential People of African Descent in 2018. She was also recognized as a 30 BlackStars Honoree for 2023 and honored at the BlackStars Summit & Awards in New York City.

She holds a Master’s in African Studies and Public Policy from Howard University along with a Bachelor’s in International Relations from Syracuse University.

Leave a Reply