Leveraging Diversity for Global Leadership

To protect its interests and to effectively lead on the global stage, the United States must leverage one of its greatest assets: its population. The country’s extraordinary array of cultures, backgrounds, and perspectives gives the United States a major advantage to understand international events and trends, interact with local leaders and populations, negotiate deals, and promote ideas and values. However, the senior leadership of key U.S. institutions, national security agencies, and U.S. international affairs think tanks does not reflect the diversity of the U.S. population and is not drawing on this asset.
This report reviews the business case for diversity made in the corporate sector and outlines a business case for diversity in national security agencies and U.S. international affairs think tanks. It also presents available information on both general workforce diversity and senior workforce diversity in both sectors; emphasizes the need to focus on talent management programs to increase diversity at the senior ranks; reviews selected corporate best practices for leadership diversity; and provides recommendations.



Victoria DeSimone

Deborah Ann McCarthy

Former Executive Director, Diversity and Leadership in International Affairs Project

Sandra A. Rivera

Associate Director, Office of Economics, U.S. International Trade Commission