A Message from our Director
CSIS strives to serve as a thought leader in diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). As a top-rated national security and defense think tank, including and elevating diverse voices is essential to the continued relevance of our work. The goal of the CSIS Diversity and Leadership in International Affairs (DLIA) Project is to encourage innovation in international policy by expanding who is included in our research and scholarship. We will accomplish this by amplifying diverse perspectives and reexamining foreign policy with a DEI lens. Issues of equity, justice, identity, and belonging are critical to the framing and execution of smart, sound, effective, and innovative policy.
DEI is both a moral responsibility and a good business practice. A diverse and inclusive workforce is more creative and innovative, and more likely to be high performing. By contrast, a homogeneous workforce can lead to decisions and policies that disproportionately impact historically exploited and marginalized communities. Policy decisions made without the input of the audiences they serve can disenfranchise segments of our population domestically. On the global end, our strategic competitors are increasing investment in diverse populations and STEM. If we do not respond in kind, we are putting our national security interests at risk.
Therefore, DEI is a pressing national security imperative. The shifting demographics in the workforce to millennials and Gen Z make yet another case for investing in DEI. We must move with urgency to meet demands that the pathways to a career in international affairs are visible, accessible, and attainable to all. Finally, we must actively demonstrate that a career in international affairs can be a great path for anyone.
—Hadeil Ali, Director, Diversity and Leadership in International Affairs