State Department, Howard University Launch Program to Produce Diplomats
Under a unique agreement between Howard University and the Department of State, members of underrepresented groups and students with financial needs selected as Charles B. Rangel Fellows will qualify for the U.S. diplomatic service upon completion of a master’s degree in international relations or related fields. Candidates will be selected from a nationwide competition through the Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Program.
Howard University President H. Patrick Swygert, who made the announcement recently, said the initiative is a part of the “Principles of Cooperation” signed between the Department of State and Howard in 2000, with a view toward developing “strong and diverse candidates” for the Foreign Service. The program is named the Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Program in honor of Congressman Rangel, D-N.Y., an advocate for greater diversity in the Foreign Service.
The $1 million congressional appropriation for the program has since been augmented by a $1 million grant from the MacArthur Foundation and one for $128,000 from the Una Chapman Cox Foundation.
Administered by Howard’s Ralph J. Bunche International Affairs Center, the Rangel program reaches out to students and faculty across the country in a competition among “the brightest and the best” who aspire to careers in diplomatic service, Swygert said.
With a required enrichment component offered by Howard University, the Rangel program is the only one of its kind reaching out to highly qualified minority candidates with the benefit of direct entry into the Foreign Service.
Successful candidates — now set at 10 per year — must be college seniors with outstanding academic records and leadership skills. They are funded under the Rangel program for two years leading to master’s degrees in international affairs or related areas; are provided enhancement training during summer study at Howard; and also intern at the Department of State and overseas at U.S. embassies.
The first group of Rangel Fellows is pursuing graduate studies at Yale, the University of North Carolina, the University of Denver and Howard.
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