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State Department’s New Promotion Policy Raises Controversy
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The State Department, by President Biden’s executive order, has introduced a policy that links eligibility for promotions to an employee’s ability to pass a loyalty test in diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) practices. This move, aimed at fostering a more inclusive work environment, has stirred both support and criticism.

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Appointment of Gina Abercrombie-Winstanley

  
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Gina Abercrombie-Winstanley, former ambassador to Malta under the Obama administration, was appointed as the Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer for the State Department in April 2021. During her tenure until June 2023, she spearheaded efforts to promote diversity within the department.

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Policy Implementation and Impact

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Under President Biden’s directive, Abercrombie-Winstanley explained that promotions within the State Department now require documented evidence of active involvement in DEI initiatives. This policy shift aims to evaluate candidates based on their contributions to fostering diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Abercrombie-Winstanley emphasized that the new policy extends beyond minority groups, encouraging all employees to engage in DEI efforts. The objective is to create a more inclusive environment where diverse perspectives are valued and promoted.



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Strategic Plan and Leadership Vision

The Biden administration’s “Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility Strategic Plan 2022 – 2026” serves as a roadmap for advancing DEI goals within the federal workforce. This plan emphasizes the integration of DEI principles into job performance criteria, career advancement opportunities, and senior performance evaluations.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken affirmed the department’s commitment to this plan, highlighting its role in strengthening the organization’s ability to serve the American people effectively.

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Response and Future Direction

While the State Department declined to provide further comment on the DEI plan, the implementation of such initiatives underscores the administration’s dedication to promoting diversity and inclusion in government agencies.

The appointment of Zakiya Carr Johnson as the new State Department diversity chief signifies a continuation of this commitment. Despite past controversies surrounding her remarks, the department expressed confidence in her leadership abilities.

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Controversies and Challenges

However, not all appointments under the Biden administration have been met without criticism. Kelisa Wing, another diversity chief appointed by Biden, faced backlash over her comments on White individuals. Such controversies highlight the complexities and challenges associated with navigating DEI initiatives in government institutions.

In conclusion, the State Department’s adoption of DEI-focused promotion criteria reflects a broader societal shift towards inclusivity and equity. While commendable in its intent, the policy also underscores the need for ongoing dialogue and sensitivity to diverse perspectives.



 

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