National Security Advisor: Diversity a ‘National Security Imperative’

Communications Associate

May 12, 2016

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The president’s national security advisor addressed immigrants’ important contributions to our security, economy and military.

“To those who deride our diversity, my answer is: I see why it matters every day, in those who protect this country and grapple with the toughest global issues we face,” Susan Rice said during a speech Wednesday to the graduating class at Florida International University in Miami. “ … We see it in America’s businesses, where many of our most successful companies were started or grown by immigrants.”

In her speech and in an interview with the local National Public Radio affiliate, Rice, who previously served as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, also focused on the need for a more diverse foreign policy workforce.

“If we’re not taking advantage of the diverse perspectives, insights, language skills, cultural understandings of the population that we represent, then we’re making decisions and leading with one hand tied behind our back,” Rice told WLRN in Miami.

“The decisions we make in national security policy are enhanced when we’re able to draw on different insights, different backgrounds, different perspectives, and have those bounce off of one another, rather than operate in a mindset where people who are alike think alike.”

“Our country’s diversity and immigrant history are strengths, not burdens,” said Ali Noorani, executive director of the National Immigration Forum. “When we give everyone — including immigrants — the opportunity, skills and status they need to succeed, we all thrive.

“By embracing our immigrant heritage and welcoming diverse contributions to our workforce, military and government, we allow ourselves as a country to excel and put our best foot forward on the world stage.”