Ambassador Dr. Rueben Brigety II, the U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of South Africa Visits MorehouseOctober 16, 2023
Ambassador Dr. Rueben Brigety II, the U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of South Africa, was invited by political science professor Dr. Levar Smith and Dr. Hye Ryeon Jang, in partnership with the Andrew Young Center for Global Leadership to discuss the “heritage and horizons of Black men and the practice of diplomacy,” specifically delving into the topics of how to serve America, shape history, and stand with the ancestors that have gone before you.
During his talk with the students, Dr. Brigety connected global issues such as the war between Russia and Ukraine, the BRICS gathering in Johannesburg, and the severe wildfires blazing worldwide due to climate change and how each incident directly affects American lives.
“There is no scenario in which our nation’s interest and [our] individual interests are served by the absence of America taking action to address these instances... History repeating itself is not inevitable...It is a direct result of people’s choices, whether it be powerful statesmen or everyday individuals, that causes recurring events... The art of diplomacy is to get interlocutors to do what you want them to do because they want to do it.”
Ambassador Brigety referenced esteemed Black male diplomats of the past who contributed to foreign affairs and modern society – from James Weldon Johnson, author of “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” commonly referred to as the “Black National Anthem,” to Edward Perkins, the grandson of Louisiana sharecroppers who became the 1st African American ambassador to the Republic of South Africa during the South African Apartheid.
Ambassador Brigety’s most prevalent theme was to learn from, stand on, and follow in the direction of the ancestors.