WASHINGTON, DC, US — The US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) and Howard University have launched a new FAS Diversity Fellowship program to support careers in the US Foreign Service, and recruitment for the inaugural class already is underway.

Daniel Whitley, administrator of the FAS, and Wayne A.I. Frederick, president of Howard University, met on Aug. 16 to discuss their cooperation and underscore the importance of the program to create a path for outstanding students, particularly those from minority groups historically under-represented at the USDA, to pursue careers in the US Foreign Service. 

The new fellowship will provide funding and support for selected students to receive master’s degrees in agribusiness or agricultural economics at the accredited US university of their choice. Fellows will participate in domestic and overseas internships with the FAS and will be offered extensive mentoring and professional development opportunities.

“FAS is proud to launch this program in partnership with Howard University, one of the nation’s premier Historically Black Colleges and Universities, to provide a path for outstanding minority students to become Foreign Service officers and support our mission of promoting trade and food security around the world,” Whitley said. “Howard University has a proven track record of developing students from all backgrounds into diplomatic representatives and global leaders. The promise of this collaboration will strengthen USDA’s commitment to ensuring its Foreign Service team reflects the diversity of our country.”

Noting Howard University’s 20 years of administering Foreign Service fellowships with other US government agencies, Frederick said “we are eager to begin a successful partnership that will provide new opportunities for individuals and allow our government to benefit from the unique perspectives, backgrounds and skill sets that come from embracing diversity, equity, inclusion and access.”

Whitley and Frederick encourage interested individuals to apply by the Oct. 6, 2022, deadline. Complete information is available at fas.usda.gov/programs/diversity-fellowship-program.