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DEI Spotlight Events - March 2022

Ambassador Joseph Huggins

Ambassador Joseph Huggins speaking

NOVA board member and career diplomat, Ambassador Joseph Huggins, spoke about trends in international relations throughout his decorated 30-year career in State Department service and the push for impactful representation in American foreign policy. He said, historically, diplomacy has been carried out by white males, and that the way diplomacy was done in the past is now passé as 80% of the world consists of people of color and 50% women. He said that Former Secretary of State Gen. Colin Powell understood that diversity, equity and inclusion was an absolute necessity to diplomacy, and he was one of the first secretaries of state actively putting DEI into action.

But when Powell left his role, things reverted to the old ways. “The more things change, the more they stay the same,” he said. “The State Department is currently on the right path. I will not be there to see the change, but I am excited for young people to join,” said Huggins. Posed with the question of what made him realize he wanted to pursue this high-profile field, Huggins replied that, as a seven-year-old, he would watch the trains go by and think, “When I am grown, I want to travel.” His interest carried into high school and college. He found mentoring relationships that helped him. He said his professional mentor asked him, ‘What do you want to do?’ and Huggins replied, “In ten years, I want to be in your job.” His mentor then was able to help him create a roadmap for success. When asked how NOVA faculty and administrators could “demystify” the foreign service for students and help them succeed, he suggested that students should gain an understanding of political and cultural issues. “I had to get used to cultures I wasn’t used to.  Learn the culture as much as possible.” Also, the foreign service exam is difficult, and many don’t pass it the first time, he said. But if you stay on top of world issues, you will eventually get there.

This event was presented by the Office of DEI and the Alexandria Campus. To view a recording of this event (NOTE: this recording is only available for enrolled students and NOVA faculty and staff), visit https://online.nvcc.edu/videoservices/. Click Academic Resources, then SSO Login, log in, and scroll down to DEI-Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

Submitted by Hoang Nguyen

DEI Spotlight Events are held monthly. For information about other programs by the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, please visit https://www.nvcc.edu/diversity, or contact Dr. Nathan Carter at nacarter@nvcc.edu.