Inclusion: Diplomats with disabilities
Inclusion at the Federal Foreign Office, © Auswärtiges Amt
The Federal Foreign Office represents Germany on the world stage. It therefore strives to ensure that German diplomacy reflects the full spectrum of German society and fosters diversity, equity and inclusion for everyone of all genders.
The people who work at the Federal Foreign Office are naturally a diverse group due to its global presence, including Germany’s missions abroad. It is less well-known that 300 people with severe disabilities also work in Germany’s foreign service. As members of the team, they are an integral element in German diplomacy.
We see the topic of difference and inclusion as being part of our diplomatic work. With this approach, we also want to send out the message that people with severe disabilities can find a place at the Federal Foreign Office. – Foreign Minister Heiko Maas
Many people with physical disabilities in particular are able to work around the world. Of the 300 Federal Foreign Office employees with a severe disability, one third are stationed abroad – working as press officers, cultural affairs attachés or protocol staff who organise diplomatic visits, for example.
The solutions deployed are just as individual as their disabilities – from building accessibility measures to special hardware and software that converts written text into Braille. Applicants to the Federal Foreign Office can state in advance that they have a disability. The application process can then be adapted to their specific needs. The Federal Foreign Office Spokesperson for People with Severe Disabilities plays a part in monitoring this.
Inclusion Prize of Land Berlin
These wide-ranging efforts have now been honoured by Land Berlin. The Federal Foreign Office received Berlin’s Inclusion Prize in 2021 – encouraging it to keep up its commitment to greater inclusion. It donated the prize money to downsyndromberlin e.V. as part of this commitment.