In this May 5, 2006 file photo, former Secretary of State Colin Powell gives the closing keynote at the World Congress of Information Technology in Austin, Texas. Powell, former Joint Chiefs chairman and secretary of state, has died from COVID-19 complications. In an announcement on social media Monday, the family said Powell had been fully vaccinated. He was 84. (AP Photo/Jack Plunkett)

By Association of Black American Ambassadors 

The Association of Black American Ambassadors (ABAA) is profoundly saddened by the passing of former Secretary of State General Colin L. Powell. Secretary Powell was an icon of American diplomacy whose service to our country was unparalleled in every respect ranging from his contributions as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, National Security Advisor and Secretary of State. It is in the latter role that ABAA members appreciate him the most. America’s top diplomat set standards that elevated United States foreign policy operations through the emphasis that he placed on the importance of the members of the professional career Foreign Service, Civil Service and Foreign Service Nationals. He cared for “his troops.” His emphasis on leadership, good management, adequate resources and staffing, continuous training, the use of the internet and other technology, ensuring a family friendly Foreign Service, all combined to enhance the preparation and performance of America’s diplomatic corps. 

The ABAA appreciates the emphasis that Secretary Powell placed on diversity and inclusion in the foreign policy arena. He participated in the recruitment of candidates for the Foreign Service from underrepresented groups by increasing the recruitment budget and making video advertisements. He was attentive to the wishes of the Department’s affinity groups and ensured that African American ambassadorial assignments were not limited to the ‘traditional Africa circuit.” Equally important, Secretary Powell encouraged his senior staff to promote diversity and inclusion, personally following up on their progress.

Secretary Powell was dedicated to his wife, children, and grandchildren. Their love was his source of strength. For the rest of our lives, we will be proud to say, “I served with Secretary Powell.” 

Members of the ABAA send our condolences to the Powell family and the many others who mourn his loss throughout the world.

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