Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Programs and Outreach

Member and Public Events

Each year CFR organizes hundreds of in-person and virtual events for CFR members based throughout the United States and around the world, as well as for the general public who have an interest in international affairs. These events feature senior U.S. and foreign government officials, global leaders, business executives, and prominent thinkers who discuss pressing international issues. As a nonpartisan organization, CFR also invites members of Congress and U.S. administration officials from both sides of the aisle to provide their views on U.S. policy and the world. CFR aims to include a wide range of panel speakers and presiders who represent an array of ages, genders, ethnicities, races, vocations, and geographical locations. This diversity allows for enhanced discussions that delve into the intricacies of each topic and present a wealth of perspectives that serve as a means for CFR members and the public to better understand the world and the foreign policy choices facing the United States and other countries.

CFR continues to develop programming dedicated to broadening access to the foreign policy field among high school, college, and graduate students from underrepresented backgrounds to expose them to and build their interest in careers in international affairs. For over two decades CFR has partnered with Global Kids, an organization that develops youth leaders from high schools in underserved communities through global education and leadership development, and hosts an annual summer institute and regular roundtable events with CFR fellows and staff.

In 2012, CFR launched the Diversity Initiative in Foreign Policy to encourage members of underrepresented groups to participate in the foreign policy debate and consider careers in foreign policy. Since 2013, CFR has helped organize the annual Conference on Diversity in International Affairs (CDIA) in collaboration with the Global Access Pipeline (GAP) and International Career Advancement Program (ICAP). The conference connects students and professionals from diverse backgrounds with career opportunities in international affairs. In its first decade, the conference has welcomed more than five thousand participants, arranged for career counseling, facilitated mentor relationships, and hosted distinguished speakers from U.S. government, the private sector, and the nonprofit sector.

Past Events


U.S. Special Envoy Jessica Stern discusses the global state of LGBTQI+ rights, findings from the release of the first annual Interagency Report on the Implementation of the Presidential Memorandum on Advancing the Human Rights of LGBTQI+ Persons Around the World, and the importance of U.S. leadership in advancing these rights.  

Diplomacy and International Institutions

The 2022 Conference on Diversity in International Affairs was a collaborative effort by the Council on Foreign Relations, the Global Access Pipeline, and the International Career Advancement Program.


The 2022 Stephen C. Freidheim Symposium on Global Economics discusses building an inclusive U.S. economy and reforming capitalism to address inequality. The full agenda is available here. This symposium is presented by the Maurice R. Greenberg Center for Geoeconomic Studies and is made possible through the generous support of Council Board member Stephen C. Freidheim.

The Think Tank

The David Rockefeller Studies Program, CFR’s think tank, welcomes fellows from diverse backgrounds and experiences to a collegial environment where they conduct independent research. Fellows are affiliated with wide-ranging CFR centers and programs, including the longstanding Women and Foreign Policy program and the Renewing America initiative.

Fellows convene roundtables, workshops, and symposia and will continue to feature diverse experts, emerging voices, and topics such as LGBTQ+ rights and disparities in health care for marginalized communities. The Studies Program organizes the not-for-attribution roundtable series on diversity, equity, and inclusion in foreign policy. Studies staff work in collaboration with other CFR departments to promote fellows’ work to new audiences and make their research accessible through podcasts, social media, interactive reports, and strategic outreach to educators, government officials, business leaders, and news outlets.

Recent Works


Julie Dorf, co-chair of the Council for Global Equality, sits down with James M. Lindsay to discuss what the United States has done and could do to advance LGBTQI+ rights around the world.

Women and Women's Rights

UN Women has the potential to make serious progress on gender equality and equity—but the U.S. government needs to help make this a reality.


Growing inequality and exclusion around the world are resulting in destabilization, creating security risks, and damaging U.S. interests. Across the United States, polarizing discourse, deepening inequalities, and disparate treatment of different subpopulations create vulnerabilities, reduce U.S. influence, and limit U.S. foreign policy’s effectiveness. International affairs schools help shape the next generation of national security leaders, but they risk contributing to America’s continued vulnerability by failing to address the security implications of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Please join our speakers, Miguel Centeno of Princeton University and Carla Koppell of Georgetown University, to discuss transforming international affairs education to address diversity, equity, and inclusion.   Additional reading: Carla Koppell, Reuben E. Brigety II, and Jamille Bigio, “Transforming International Affairs Education to Address Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion,” CFR.org.

Reaching Wide Audiences

Targeted outreach initiatives and programs are some of the mechanisms through which CFR promotes an informed citizenry that reflects the geographic, economic, racial, ethnic, religious, and political diversity of the United States. CFR’s initiatives, described below, highlight the expertise of CFR fellows and teaching and learning resources, and foster equitable representation in the voices shaping domestic, international, and global realities. CFR makes its resources accessible to audiences—from students to business executives to global think tank leaders—and invites their participation into the foreign policy dialogue. These initiatives provide a unique forum, specifically to those beyond traditional foreign policy circles, for promoting knowledge and discussion of international affairs, the role of the United States in the world, and civic rights and responsibilities in a diverse country and world.

Audience members engaged in discussion
Audience members at the 2015 Conference on Diversity in International Affairs.
  • CFR Academic reaches higher education administrators, professors, and students from public and private colleges and universities, community colleges, and minority-serving institutions.
  • The Congress and U.S. Foreign Policy program offers a distinctive, nonpartisan forum that connects members of the U.S. House and Senate and their staffs with information and analysis on a wide range of international and economic issues.
  • The Corporate Program maintains a membership of leading private-sector companies whose executives bring differing perspectives and points of view to curated discussions on topics at the intersection of business and foreign policy, including the implementation of DEI measures within global companies.
  • The Council of Councils facilitates candid, not-for-attribution dialogue and consensus-building among influential opinion leaders from both established and emerging nations to help inform high-level foreign policy within members’ countries.
  • The Local Journalists initiative supports community-level journalists from print and media outlets across the country, connecting the events they cover with domestic and international trends.
  • The Religion and Foreign Policy program convenes congregational leaders, religion scholars, and faith-based communities from a myriad of faith traditions.
  • The State and Local Officials initiative provides elected officials and their staff from all U.S. states and territories with analysis and nonpartisan information.