First image: Ambassador Mari-Luci Jaramillo (second from the right) and Assistant Secretary Todman (on the right) with U.S. Embassy Honduras staff at the Ambassador’s residence. Photo courtesy of the National Hispanic Cultural Center Library and Archives. Second image: Ambassador Julia Chang Bloch with Congressman Jim Walsh on his visit to Kathmandu, Nepal in 1990. Photo courtesy of Jim Walsh. Third image: American diplomat Dr. Ralph J. Bunche (right) with American delegate Eleanor Roosevelt (left) at a dinner given in his honor by the American Association for United Nations, 1949 (UN photo).

America’s diplomatic corps has not always been representative of the diversity of the nation’s population.

Diplomats of color have broken barriers and accomplished much, but their stories are often untold.  The battle for a more diverse and inclusive Department of State and Foreign Service is now being told through the museum’s Facing Diplomacy project, where we are curating academic resources and telling the stories of diverse diplomats.

Hispanic American Diplomats

Hispanic Americans have made significant contributions to U.S. diplomacy. However, many of these figures are less known in diplomatic history.

NMAD has compiled resources highlighting the contributions Hispanic Americans have made to American diplomacy, including primary and secondary sources, media, podcasts, and oral histories.

Ambassador Mari-Luci Jaramillo

Above: Ambassador Mari-Luci Jaramillo addresses the group that has come to see her in La Esperanza, Honduras. Photo courtesy of the National Hispanic Cultural Center Library and Archives.

Background Photo: While Director of the Office of Policy Planning at the U.S. Department of State (DOS), Lino Gutiérrez (left) and then Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs at DOS Joseph Nye (center with Yankee cap) visited Peru with Department of Defense officials for a 1994 defense ministerial. They traveled in this 1980s era Soviet Union built helicopter, a remnant of the economic influence the Soviets had in the region during that period. Photo Courtesy of Ambassador Lino Gutiérrez.

NMAD wishes to thank the Hispanic Employee Council of Foreign Affairs Agencies (HECFAA)  and Ambassador Lino Gutiérrez for their support for this project.

Asian American Pacific Islander Diplomats

Sammy Lee Diving Diplomat

While Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Americans do not have a long history of serving as commissioned U.S. diplomats, these Americans have represented America as citizen diplomats and goodwill ambassadors for several decades.

NMAD has compiled resources highlighting the contributions Asian American and Pacific Islanders have made to American diplomacy, including primary and secondary sources, media, podcasts, and oral histories.

Above: A news clipping from Sammy Lee’s tour as a goodwill ambassador to Pakistan in 1954. Photo courtesy of Sammy Lee’s estate. Background Photo: Ambassador Donald Yamamoto during his tour in Afghanistan. Photo courtesy of Donald Yamamoto.

NMAD wishes to thank the Asian American Foreign Affairs Association (AAFAA)  for their support for this project.

African American Diplomats

African Americans have made important contributions to American diplomacy since the mid-1800s. 

NMAD has compiled resources that encompass the relationship between the Department of State and African Americans seeking a voice in their nation’s foreign policy, including primary and secondary sources, media, podcasts, and oral histories from former African American diplomats.

aurelia brazeal diverse diplomats

Aurelia Brazeal walks with Secret Service and U.S. Embassy officials on the lawn of President Anwar Sadat’s summer residence in Alexandria, Egypt in 1974. Brazeal would rise within the Foreign Service to become Ambassador to Kenya, Ethiopia, and the Federated States of Micronesia. (AP Photo/Horst Faas)

Background Photo: Ambassador Carl Rowan (left) talks to U.S. President Lyndon Johnson at the White House in Washington, D.C., Jan 21, 1964. Rowan, 38, currently the U.S. Ambassador to Finland, is chosen by the president to be the next director of the U.S. Information Agency (AP Photo).

NMAD wishes to thank James Dandridge, Dr. Michael Krenn, Dr. Carlton McLellan, and the State Department Affinity Groups, Blacks in Government (BIG) and the Thursday Luncheon Group for their support.

More Coming Soon

Check back for more stories of diverse figures in American diplomacy.