Diversity and Inclusion

Diversity and inclusion remain an important priority for GW and the Elliott School. As the University has taken important steps to create a more inclusive community, the Elliott School has also taken crucial actions towards this goal.

Diversity Statement

The United States of America is projected to be a “majority-minority” country by the year 2050 or sooner. Diversity and social mobility are among our country’s greatest assets in engaging the rest of the world. It is imperative, therefore, that international affairs institutions of the United States reflect the diversity of America. The Elliott School of International Affairs is committed to reflecting this diversity.

We believe this diversity enriches the educational experience for students and faculty alike. We are committed to ensuring that every student, faculty, and staff member has a chance to reach their full professional potential, do great work, and be a fully enfranchised member of the Elliott School community.

We seek not only to reflect American society, but also to serve as a model for proactively engaging with difference, with respect, dignity, openness, and acceptance, recognizing that diversity reflects the society in which we live and can be its greatest strength.

Fostering a welcoming and inclusive community is a core value of the Elliott School. To this end, we are committed to attracting and supporting students, faculty, and staff from diverse backgrounds and experiences, for example, based on race, gender, socio-economic status, age, sexual orientation and identity, religion, nationality, culture, ideas (including political perspectives), and methods.

We are especially committed to increasing the representation and inclusion of those who have been historically excluded from participating in higher education, and in the US international affairs community in particular. The inclusion of these underrepresented groups is necessary: 1) to ensure the US international affairs community remains connected to the American public it serves, 2) to ensure that we are best positioned to understand and resolve the most pressing challenges facing the interconnected world today, and 3) to facilitate a new generation of leaders within the discipline of international affairs who understand the importance of equity, respect, inclusion, and civil discourse among diverse parties.

Key Activities and Initiatives

Photo: Staff and students pose for photo for Public Service Weekend

Staff and students take a group photo to celebrate Public Service Weekend in June 2018. See additional photos at our Flickr album.


  • Elliott School's Community Building Committee hosted a gender sensitivity workshop for staff and faculty, led by GEIA Gender Expert Instructor Andrea Bertone on December 5, 2018
  • Became an institutional member of the National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity. 
  • Completed focus groups with students and faculty as a follow-up to the school climate survey.
  •  Hosted a gender sensitivity workshop for faculty and staff on December 5, 2018.
  • Hosted unconscious bias training for faculty and staff on May 29 and June 12, 2019.
  • Received approval to convert a single-gender restroom in the building to one that is gender-neutral.
  • Partnered with Public Policy and International Affairs (PPIA) Program and the Trachtenberg School to host Public Service Weekend. This program provides underrepresented students an opportunity to learn more about domestic and international public service careers as well as strategies for applying to graduate school. This summer, July 26-28, we hosted 50 students.
  • Hosted and sponsored the Department of State’s Annual Historically Black College and Universities Foreign Policy Conference which included an Elliott School reception following the event.
  • Designed a class session to discuss and explore student identities in IAFF 1001-First Year Experience.
  • Sponsored the Association of Professional Schools of International Affairs' (APSIA) Diversity Programming. 
  • Worked with Public Affairs to develop and implement guidelines for planning inclusive events that will be integrated into Public Affairs’ Event Training and Training Guide, beginning Fall 2019
  • Included a question on course evaluations related to diversity and inclusion 
  • East Asia National Resource Center partnered with District of Columbia Public Schools, Fairfax County Public Schools, and Montgomery County Public Schools for their summer teacher workshops by providing informational and curriculum development sessions.


2018-2019 Diversity Action Plan

  • Community
    • Establish special funding for diversity and inclusion-focused programming.
    • Conduct focus groups with students, faculty, and staff to better understand concerns derived from the climate survey.
    • Explore the implementation of affinity groups and mentoring programs for faculty, staff, and students.
    • Address limitations to accessibility for individuals with disabilities.
    • Establish a speaker/event series focused on viewpoints across the political spectrum.
    • Educate Elliott School faculty and staff on university processes/protocols for addressing reports of discrimination, including sexual and non-sexual harassment.
    • Expand invited speaker diversity, especially with regard to race and ethnicity.
    • Continue to track perceptions of climate moving forward, to quantify trends over time.
    • Enhance school’s diversity website to reflect past and current diversity related efforts.
  • Students
    • Restructure IAFF 1001-First Year Experience to include content on accessing campus resources/support networks and diversity.
    • Establish partnerships with campus and external organizations to support low-income, first-generation, and underrepresented students.
  • Faculty
    • Create a structured mentoring system for Elliott faculty to support professional development and scholarly growth.
    • Create more internal structures to connect Elliott faculty and support interaction and community-building.
    • Facilitate inclusive teaching practices by offering professional development.
    • Become Institutional members of professional development organizations for faculty of color.
  • Staff
    • Provide professional development to empower managers in leading teams and supervision.
    • Establish inclusive professional development fund supporting employees of all classifications.
  • Students
    • Engage in community outreach to ethnically and socioeconomically diverse K-12
    • Continue and expand partnership with the Public Policy and International Affairs Program (PPIA) and host Public Service Weekend (PSW) for underrepresented, undergraduate students.
    • Establish partnerships with Minority Serving Institutions.
  • Faculty
    • Develop a strategy for supporting diverse recruitment and hiring in future searches.
      • Conduct unconscious bias training for faculty search committees.
  • Staff
    • Assess and improve the staff search and hiring process.
      • Provide training for hiring managers on conducting an effective competitive recruitment process for open staff positions.
      • Establish exit survey and include information regarding diversity and climate.
  • Identify resources needed to support and actualize the short and long-term diversity planning efforts of the school.

The Elliott School's Council on Diversity and Inclusion

How to Report a Bias-Related Act

Diversity and inclusion are crucial to an educational institution's pursuit of excellence in learning, research, and service. We strive to build a community of respect for all community members.


Make a Report