Several Morgan State students attended the annual HBCU Policy Briefing last Friday in Washington D.C. The briefing, organized by the U.S. Department of State, hosted more than 300 students from HBCUs throughout the nation, and provided the group with updates on diplomacy and foreign affairs efforts in China, the Middle East and North Africa.
The program allowed students opportunities at group and individual meetings with key officials in the State Department, including directors and assistant secretaries working in human rights, public affairs and global health.
“Morgan is a very diverse school, with different students from difference places around the world. It helped me develop my interests and diversify my interests, as our professors are from different places and it opened my mind to different ideas and philosophies,” said Komi Agbemapele, a second-year master’s student in MSU’s International Studies program. “At Morgan, I’m learning things in theory. Being at this conference allows me to meet foreign affairs officers, see them, see their body language when they are speaking with us. It helps us to see ourselves doing what they are doing.”
“This is the third year we’ve brought in students from historically black colleges and universities, and I think this is the best one, because we’ve had the opportunity to hear from some of the highest level folks that are working on some of the critical issues that are impacting our everyday lives,” said Cheryl Benton, Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of Public Affairs.
Students were also briefed on emerging career opportunities with the Department, in mission critical areas such as foreign affairs, management analysis, IT management and public affairs. Mike Hammer, Acting Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs, says that HBCU students are specifically being recruited to not only diversify the Department’s workforce, but to tap into a wealth of professional talent.
“We’re constantly revitalizing the department with new ideas and new perspectives. It’s very important that we try to attract the best that America has to offer, so when students from HBCUs come in, we hope that tomorrow’s generation will look to us for employment in diplomacy and that America will benefit because of it.”
“We see that there is a lot of change taking place throughout the world,” said Brian Luckett, also a second-year master’s student in the MSU International Affairs program. “From the Arab Spring to the rise of some third-world countries, this program is helping me define what my role will be in restructuring America’s role in the world.”