By Krish Das
Many organizations within the private, academic, and government sectors host employee affinity groups (EAGs)—a collection of individuals who share similar interests and goals. The Department of State wholeheartedly supports the formation and activities of EAGs. These groups are foundational in promoting diversity and inclusion across the Department and build a sense of community and belonging for employees by connecting people socially and professionally.
3 FAM 5300 establishes that the primary mission of an EAG is to promote diversity and inclusion in support of the Department’s Diversity and Inclusion Plan. In Aug. 2020, a small group of Muslim employees—including some with nearly 15 years of service to the Department—as well as first-tour officers, drafted a petition to form a new EAG to cultivate a sense of community, share best practices, and support professional development for Muslims who form a significant minority group at the Department. In January, the Department officially welcomed the new group, Mosaic, bringing the total EAGs to 17. Mosaic was also formed to represent the vast internal diversity of the Department’s local staff who are members of Muslim communities worldwide.
Mosaic’s mission is to foster community among and promote professional development for Department employees identifying as Muslim, however, membership it is open to all backgrounds and faiths or no faith. According to co-chair Usra Ghazi, Mosaic does not represent any singular cultural, ideological, or religious perspective and is a space for all employees, regardless of how they identify, interested in professional development.
Mosaic helps to promote the Department’s goals of achieving a more diverse workforce and plans to collaborate closely with the Bureau of Global Talent Management and the Office of Civil Rights in this endeavor. The group will also work with the other EAGs to promote diversity and the professional development of communities underrepresented in the senior ranks and within all workforce segments.
Mosaic’s democratic leadership structure consists of four employees, representing diverse employment categories that include a domestic co-chair, overseas co-chair, Friday meet group coordinator, and an outreach officer. They have also established a steering committee, whose members rotate annually through a nomination and election process. Membership is free and open to all Department employees. Membership meetings will be held a minimum of twice per year, with additional ad hoc meetings, and they will also distribute a biannual newsletter.
For more information or to become a member, email the Mosaic board.
Krish Das is the communications officer in the Office of Civil Rights.