Honoring Dr. Ralph J. Bunche as a Hero of U.S. Diplomacy

Office of the Spokesperson

The Department of State will honor Dr Ralph J. Bunche as its next Hero of U.S. Diplomacy at a ceremony at 12:00 p.m. on Thursday, February 27, 2020, at the National Museum of American Diplomacy.

Dr. Ralph J. Bunche (1904-1971) was an academic and diplomat who shaped some of the most remarkable moments in 20th-century history.  Dr Bunche became the first African American Desk Officer at the U.S. Department of State in 1944 and played a major role in the formation of the United Nations.  He worked to mediate the Arab-Israeli War in 1948, for which he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.  Dr Bunche became UN Under-Secretary-General for Special Political Affairs in 1955, focusing on decolonization and human rights issues.  During Black History Month, Dr Bunche is being recognized for his diplomatic contributions to the U.S. Department of State, the United Nations, and the international community.

The event will feature a panel on Dr Bunche’s life and contributions to U.S. society and international diplomacy.  The discussion will be moderated by Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield and will feature expert speakers Ralph Bunche III, Dr Kal Raustiala, Director of UCLA’s Ronald W. Burkle Center for International Relations, and Dr Ravi Perry, Chair of Howard University’s Department of Political Science.  Following the panel, guests are invited to view the “Spotlight on Diplomacy” exhibit featuring artifacts and photos illuminating Bunche’s life and legacy, curated by the Foreign Service Institute, Office of the Historian and the National Museum of American Diplomacy.

The “Heroes of U.S. Diplomacy” initiative highlights the stories of modern-day “Heroes Among Us,” alongside other heroic figures from our Department’s rich history.  These individuals displayed sound policy judgment, as well as intellectual, moral and/or physical courage while advancing the Department of State’s mission and elevating U.S. diplomacy.  For questions about the initiative, email HeroesofDiplomacy@state.gov or visit www.state.gov/HeroesofUSDiplomacy.

This event will take place in the National Museum of American Diplomacy’s lower level on Thursday, February 27 from 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.  This event is open to the press and entry will be via the 21st street entrance.  If you plan to attend this event, please contact HeroesofDiplomacy@state.gov to register.

Pre-set time for cameras is 11:15 a.m. from the 21st Street entrance.  Final access time for writers and stills is 11:45 a.m. from the 21st Street entrance.  Media representatives may attend this event upon presentation of one of the following: (1) a U.S. Government-issued photo media credential (e.g., Department of State, White House, Congress, Department of Defense or Foreign Press Center), or (2) an official photo identification card issued by their news organization, or (3) a letter from their employer on official letterhead verifying their current employment as a journalist.

Additionally, they must present an official government photo identification card (i.e., U.S. driver’s license or passport).