Graphic Design of women of color holding a sign saying "Juneteenth: Freedom Day"
Category: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Featured News, News

Title: MSFS Reflects on Juneteenth 

As the Georgetown community honors Juneteenth, George E. Shambaugh–the Director of the Master of Science in Foreign Service (MSFS) Program–and Shanta Devarajan–Professor of the Practice of International Development and Chair of the MSFS Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee–reflect on the importance of Juneteenth and the steps MSFS has taken foster greater diversity and opportunity in our program.

Dear MSFS Community,

On June 19, 1865, a General Order proclaimed freedom for enslaved people in Texas, the last U.S. state with institutional slavery. We join President DeGioia, Dean Hellman, and all members of the Georgetown community in commemorating this important day.   

One hundred and fifty-seven years later, as we celebrate this milestone, Juneteenth, a national holiday, we reflect on how far our society has come in promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI)–and how far we have to go. In the MSFS program, our DEI Committee, consisting of faculty, staff, students, and alumni, have organized diversity dialogues with incoming students; introduced skills training in unconscious bias and bystander intervention; reviewed syllabuses for representation of women and authors of color; held widely attended seminar series on “Inclusionary International Development” and “Women in Foreign Policy”.   

We are also working to expand the diversity of our community. Thanks to the generous contributions from our Advisory Board Members, alumni, and the SFS Dean’s Office, we have dramatically expanded our financial support of scholarships for exceptional students from diverse backgrounds and experiences. We are working to make these permanent through multiple channels including by making the endowing of the Future Scholarship a central focus of our MSFS Centennial Campaign.

These efforts are bearing fruit. The share of students and faculty who are women and people of color are growing. The events, activities, and achievements within MSFS and across the Georgetown community are fostering a culture of greater awareness, openness, respect, and trust.  

As with this year’s Juneteenth, we must do more. In the coming year, we will provide DEI skills training for all first-year graduate students in the School of Foreign Service; workshops on “Decolonizing International Affairs” are being planned; and the events around the MSFS Centennial will be an opportunity for students, faculty, alumni, and staff to commit to an MSFS program whose foundations are diversity, equity, and inclusion. We hope you will join us in these activities and help us bring the opportunities and ideals reflected in Juneteenth to fruition.


George Shambaugh, Director of MSFS
Shanta Devarajan, Chair of the MSFS Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee