Twenty-three SIPA students are taking part in State Department programs that aim to enhance the excellence and diversity of the U.S. Foreign Service.

“You are extending my life by continuing my mission,” Rangel told attendees.

Former congressman Charles Rangel spoke to an audience of Pickering and Rangel fellowship recipients who will serve as American diplomats in the coming years. Ten first-year and thirteen second-year SIPA students are participants in the Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Graduate Fellowship Program or the Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowship Program, both U.S. State Department initiatives.

The fellowships provide up to $42,000 per year for graduate-school tuition and other expenses. Participants complete two summer internships and receive additional mentoring to help prepare them for positions in the U.S. Foreign Service, in which they serve for at least five years.

Rangel retired from the U.S. Congress in December 2016 after 23 terms and 46 years as a Member of Congress, representing the people of New York City and promoting the interests and values of people throughout the United States. He is a longstanding and vocal supporter of showing the world the diversity that is the strength of the United States. Because Congressman Rangel believed the U.S. Foreign Service should better reflect the people it represents, he championed the creation of a program to support this goal.

Since the Rangel Fellowship program was established in 2002, the highly competitive program has enabled hundreds of students from historically underrepresented backgrounds to join the U.S. diplomatic corps. Since 2013 alone, SIPA has enrolled more than 89 Rangel and Pickering Fellows.

Joining Charles B. Rangel at the April 8 New York-based gathering were Patricia Scroggs, Director of Diplomatic Fellowships, Christian Loubeau, SIPA Alumni and 2011 Rangel Fellow, and Ahmed Shama, Political Advisor at the U.S. Mission to the UN and 2010 Rangel Fellow. Congressman Rangel spoke about his experience in government and his interest in creating the program