Washington, D.C. – In a recent briefing held by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of African Affairs, Assistant Secretary of State Molly Phee, National Security Council Senior Director for African Affairs Judd Devermont, and Special Presidential Representative for U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit Implementation Ambassador Johnnie Carson discussed the progress made in implementing the achievements of the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit. One significant development highlighted during the briefing was the establishment of a U.S. Diaspora Engagement Council, a key initiative aimed at strengthening the relationship and cooperation between African Americans in the United States and individuals living on the African continent.
According to Ambassador Carson, The U.S. Diaspora Engagement Council will comprise 12 members, including first and second-generation diaspora as well as heritage diaspora. These individuals will serve as representatives of the diaspora community and provide recommendations to enhance the level of cooperation and understanding between African Americans and those in Africa. Recognizing the immense value and foreign policy asset that the diaspora represents, the council will report its recommendations to President Biden through the Secretary of State. The engagement of the diaspora community is seen as a positive step towards strengthening ties and fostering mutual growth between the United States and Africa.
Ambassador Carson emphasized the importance of this new development, stating that the diaspora serves as an invaluable foreign policy asset for the United States. He expressed the belief that no one knows Africa better than those who have heritage or have recently immigrated from there.
In response to a question about the selection process for the Diaspora Engagement Council, Ambassador Carson revealed that he and other members of the State Department had sought recommendations from more than two dozen organizations that represent the black community, including diaspora groups. They also sought input from members of Congress and significant organizations like the National Urban League and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. After receiving around 95 recommendations, they reviewed the submissions, aiming to represent the diverse diaspora in the United States. The recommended names are currently under review by the White House, with official announcements expected within the next two weeks.
Ambassador Carson assured that their search was exhaustive and included discussions with groups across the United States. The aim was to ensure the Council represents the diversity of the diaspora, including younger first and second-generation diaspora from different African countries such as Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, among others. The final decision on the Council’s members will be made by the White House.
The establishment of the U.S. Diaspora Engagement Council reflects the Biden administration’s commitment to fostering a stronger partnership with Africa and recognizing the valuable contributions and perspectives of African Americans and individuals with African heritage. By leveraging the knowledge and connections of the diaspora community, the United States aims to enhance cooperation, understanding, and mutually beneficial initiatives between African Americans and their counterparts on the African continent. This briefing marked an essential step in the ongoing collaboration between the United States and Africa, revealing significant progress in enhancing mutual understanding and building stronger connections.