Christopher Teal discovered the amazing story of Ebenezer D. Bassett during his first tour in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Bassett, appointed by President U.S. Grant in 1869, served with distinction and honor in Haiti and the Dominican Republic but sadly had been forgotten to history. Teal later wrote the biography, Hero of Hispaniola, to highlight this incredible diplomat. As an Una Chapman Cox Sabbatical Fellow, Chris will expand on his research to produce the documentary in cooperation with Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism, The Journey of Statesman: Ebenezer D. Bassett, America’s First Black Diplomat.
The film will document Bassett’s life story and his importance as the first African-American diplomat. Bassett was a role model not simply for his symbolic importance, however. His concern for human rights, leadership, and courage in the face of threats during his tenure place him among the greats of diplomatic and American history.
Bassett’s legacy demonstrates to broader audiences what diplomats have accomplished and what they do in today’s complicated environment. Bringing in contemporary voices of minority diplomats will be a crucial component of why diversity in foreign affairs is so crucial for successful engagement today.
Deadline for release of the documentary and related multimedia components is 2019, in time to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Bassett’s historic diplomatic appointment to Haiti and the Dominican Republic.
At her last post in the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, Amy Storrow ran meeting labs, which offered her the opportunity to play with different meeting styles. She designed two meeting spaces: The Collaboratory, a studio for ECA’s innovation shop, and The Aquarium, a shared space for her team. These spaces offered themselves up to different innovative meeting styles and virtual capabilities that allowed for greater communication and cross-collaboration. Having observed an increase in both the morale and productivity of those who utilized those workspaces, Amy views meetings as an opportunity for organizational change.
For her sabbatical year, Amy will expand on her experiences and study the intersection between organizational design and workplace design, and how this can affect productivity and morale of State Department employees. Through the Cox Sabbatical Fellowship, Amy will study various aspects of conducting a successful meeting by sitting in on dozens of meetings throughout the federal government and the private sector, and interviewing noted experts on decision-making, meetings, and workplace culture. Amy intends to learn from contemporary American culture outside the State Department to recognize opportunities for organizational change within the meeting culture of the State Department.
Follow Amy along the way on Medium.