Amplifying the Voices of Experts of Color in Foreign Policy and National Security

In keeping with our efforts to shift culture, policies, and practices to redesign better, more equitable, and just workplaces, the Better Life Lab seeks to amplify the voices of professionals of color, providing them an online platform to discuss what needs to change in our workplaces to make them more inclusive.

The #OurVoicesinNatSec profile series, a joint project of the Better Life Lab and Diversity in National Security Initiative, seeks to elevate and spotlight the experiences and professional contributions of experts of color navigating the foreign policy and national security space.

These profiles pieces offer experts of color a space to not only discuss their professional journey, but to also name the cultures, norms, and practices that have made it difficult for them to access or fully participate in the space as professionals of color. They share what has helped them overcome barriers and discuss what they would like to see change at an organizational, institutional, and structural level to ensure their full inclusion and thriving.

These pieces seek to provide knowledge and insight to those entering the field and those seeking ways to dismantle discrimination and structural racism in this professional space to make it more equitable.

Featured Profile Pieces

"I’m in spaces that my community is not in at all."- An Interview with Laura Kupe on an “Afropean-American” Perspective and Diversity in Foreign Policy and National Security

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"When I’ve been in spaces that focus on regions in Africa, I’ve noticed that diasporic voices are not heard as much; these voices have been dismissed. There are folks in Washington D.C. who have made careers focusing on the global south, yet they don’t necessarily listen to people who have family or otherwise direct ties there. Those perspectives should be incorporated into policy discussions as well."

"Their absence impacts the policies we make." - An Interview with Wardah Khalid on Islamophobia and Diversity in Foreign Policy and National Security

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"Somebody who doesn’t have the cultural understanding or looks at the Middle East or Asia through an oriental lens is not going to be able to make the best policy decisions as an individual who would prefer to examine an issue through a human rights lens. Sometimes that human element goes missing because we don’t have people who understand the culture or the faith sitting in the room."

"Ensuring that I am taken seriously–that is my biggest challenge." - An Interview with Dr. Fabiana Perera on Latina Representation and Barriers to Inclusion in Foreign Policy and National Security

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"We must think about how to make the foreign policy and national security pipeline more accessible; diversity oriented programs should pay participants. People can’t live and work in a city like D.C. without a source of income. In this space, individuals with internship experience get job preferences, but so many people can’t afford to take unpaid positions because they have responsibilities, especially individuals most underrepresented: Black, Latina, Indigenous, people of color, first generation col

The #OurVoicesinNatSecseries is part of the Better Life Lab’s ongoing Mission Visible initiative.