The Atlantic Council celebrated Black leaders in foreign policy during Black History Month 2023

Event Recap

New Atlanticist

Feb 8, 2023

A more diverse US State Department is taking on its ‘male, pale, and Yale’ legacy

By Nick Fouriezos

US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield and Gina Abercrombie-Winstanley, the State Department’s first ever chief diversity and inclusion officer, spoke at an Atlantic Council Front Page event honoring Black trailblazers in foreign policy.

Africa Politics & Diplomacy

Since its founding sixty-two years ago, the Atlantic Council’s mission has been inclusion in a fundamental sense: helping Americans understand that they are part of a broader international community. This year during Black History Month, the Atlantic Council Black Employee Network proudly presented a conversation with Black leaders who are making the changes they want to see in the global community.

Black Employee Network: In alignment with the Atlantic Council’s commitment to creating and sustaining an inclusive environment, the Black Employee Network enhances Black and African American employees’ sense of belonging and empowers their path to success through the following:

  • Dynamic engagement opportunities in recruiting the global leaders of the future,
  • Elevated opportunities for celebration and appreciation of culture, and
  • Targeted responses in establishing equity.

Global Strategists Association: GSA is a Chicago-based non-profit organization founded in 2013 to increase global engagement among the Black diaspora. It promotes global citizenship, prepares people for global leadership, and encourages global entrepreneurship.

This hybrid event took place on February 8, 2023, at the Atlantic Council offices and was streamed virtually.

An #ACFrontPage Event

Atlantic Council Front Page is our premier live ideas platform for global leaders to discuss the defining challenges of our time. #ACFrontPage is a high-level event series featuring top newsmakers across multiple digital platforms. Harnessing the convening power and expertise of the Council’s sixteen programs and centers, #ACFrontPage leverages the Council’s capabilities in social media, press, and digital outreach to spotlight the world’s most prominent leaders and the most compelling ideas across sectors and engage new audiences eager for nonpartisan and constructive solutions to current global challenges. This widely promoted program features the Council’s most important guests and content serving as the highlight of our programming.


8:00 – 8:45 a.m.

An #ACFrontPage conversation with Ambassador Gina Abercrombie-Winstanley

The Hon. Gina Abercrombie-Winstanley
Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer
Department of State

In conversation with

8:45 a.m.


8:45 – 9:30 a.m.

An #ACFrontPage conversation with Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield

The Hon. Linda Thomas-Greenfield
US Representative to the United Nations

In conversation with

Abby Phillip
Anchor and Senior Political Correspondent

9:30 – 10:00 a.m.

Continental breakfast

10:00 a.m.


Appreccia D. Faulkner
Founder and Chief Executive Officer
Global Strategists Association

10:00 – 11:00 a.m.

The importance of the Black diaspora in foreign policy

The discussion focused on the state of diversity and racial equity in global affairs and foreign policy. What’s working, and what’s not working? What does equity look like in state and local institutions outside of Washington and New York? The discussion addressed the role of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in fostering diversity.


Bunmi Akinnusotu
Deputy Director of the Charles Rangel Fellowship
Howard University

Bunmi’s bio

Bunmi Akinnusotu is a foreign policy enthusiast and organizational management leader. As the deputy director of the Rangel Fellowship at Howard University, Bunmi helps build the talent pipeline of foreign service officers and international affairs leaders. Prior to Howard, Bunmi was the chief of staff at Young Professionals in Foreign Policy which also amplifies the voices of rising global policymakers. She was a political appointee in the Obama administration, where she served as special assistant in the Office of Land and Emergency Management at the US Environmental Protection Agency. There, she coordinated international and domestic efforts to advance resource conservation and bring greater visibility to the social and economic benefits of reducing negative environmental impacts. Bunmi’s international journey began at Search for Common Ground in Timor-Leste and she later taught English in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic. Prior to her career in foreign affairs, Bunmi was a non-profit fundraiser for the YWCA and United Way in Chicago. She’s also an Americorps Alum, a Truman National Security Fellow, and a Penn Kemble Democracy Fellow.

Bunmi obtained her master’s degree in public administration from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) and also a master’s in sociology from Illinois State University’s Stevenson Center for Applied Community and Economic Development. She received her bachelor’s degree in computer information systems from Bryant University, located in her home state of Rhode Island. Bunmi is a recovering collegiate volleyball player, loves anything made of red velvet and anything from Chicago, and enjoys producing her radio program and podcast, What in the World?. She is relentless in her pursuit to help more Americans understand the connection of foreign policy to their everyday lives.

Moderated by

Ted Williams III

Ted’s bio

Ted Williams III is a performing artist and educator who lives to inspire. He has taught political science at Wright College and Chicago State University, and currently is the chairman of the Social Sciences Department at Kennedy-King College. He holds degrees in public policy studies from the University of Chicago and Rutgers University, and is the former host of WYCC-PBS Television’s The Professors weekly talk show. He has provided political commentary for BET-TV, WGN-TV, NBC-TV, Upfront with Jesse Jackson, PRI’s Smiley & West, WVON radio, and a host of additional media outlets. He has also appeared in commercials and training videos for companies including McDonald’s, Empire Carpet, Six Flags, Federal Express, Cheerios, and Subway.

He is the creator of the productions 1619: The Journey of a People and TORN the Musical, and author of the book The Way Out: Christianity, Politics, and the Future of the African American Community. 1619 was funded by the Illinois Arts Council and was nominated for the 2020 August Wilson Award for the Best Writing of a Musical by the Black Theater Alliance Awards. He is also a contributor to the Third World Press text Not Our President and was featured in the film Human Zoos.

Ted is a former candidate for the Chicago City Council and a current Illinois Humanities Road Scholar. He considers his most important work to be his role as a mentor to young people and as a husband and father to Roslyn and their three beautiful children, Gabrielle, Amaris, and Ted IV.

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