For teens, exploring a new culture, language, or a unique set of traditions or researching a global issue from diverse perspectives can be exciting, even admirable. These pursuits demonstrate a curiosity for how others live, cultivate empathy, and lead to problem-solving discussions.
When social studies teacher Josh McAlister heard that there was an opportunity to take his International Relations and Model United Nations (MUN) team to see Ambassador Gina Abercrombie-Winstanley speak at Westminster College, he couldn’t pass it up. The opportunity would not only better prepare his MUN team for their upcoming event at the University of Utah representing Mali and Kenya, but would also be a great way to engage and support Black History Month.
Ambassador Gina Abercrombie-Winstanley, a 30-year diplomat, is the longest-serving U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Malta. Through a series of senior positions that included advising the Commander of U.S. cyber forces on our foreign policy priorities, expanding our counterterrorism partners and programs as Deputy Coordinator for Counterterrorism, and coordinating the largest evacuation of American citizens from a war zone since WWII, her professional life has played out almost daily in international media. When looking at drawbacks or life’s difficult situations, Abercrombie-Winstanley stated to students, “ Take your pity party, keep it small, keep it brief, and then move along.”
Ambassador Gina Abercrombie-Winstanley explored the continuum from the first black consuls appointed after the Civil War to becoming the first African-American female ambassador to personally experience leading a diplomatic mission and surviving a terrorist attack in Saudi Arabia.
Through listening to the ambassador’s presentation, Wasatch Academy students were able to visualize how African-American contributions to America’s foreign policy and freedom have been unexpected, non-traditional, and often overlooked.