Network Innovation Spotlight / June 24, 2021

WorldOregon Embarks on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Journey

By Derrick Olsen, President, WorldOregon & Board Member, Global Ties U.S.

WorldOregon’s mission is to broaden and deepen public awareness and understanding of international affairs, engaging the people of Oregon and southwest Washington with the world—and with each other.

In early 2021 as part of the organization’s current strategic plan, WorldOregon established a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Ad Hoc Work Group composed of individuals representing different identities and lived experiences from the Board of Trustees, Board of Advisors, and Young Professionals Steering Committee—with staff support. The DEI Ad Hoc Work Group was dedicated to shaping the organization’s new two-year strategic plan, working to ensure that WorldOregon programming is accessible, inclusive, and intentionally seeks to engage with the community—with a focus on building and maintaining relationships with Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC).

Facilitated by DEI consultant Cinthia Manuel with Autentica Consulting, and utilizing internal work conducted in 2020, intensive training, and discussions with WorldOregon Boards and staff in late 2020 and early 2021, the DEI Ad Hoc Work Group, in coordination with the Nominations & Strategic Planning Committee, created a DEI statement to guide the organization’s new strategic plan developed with a DEI focus.

We see this as the beginning of WorldOregon’s DEI journey, and we will share updates from time to time with the community on our progress. Here is WorldOregon’s DEI statement, approved by the Board of Trustees on June 9, 2021. We are outcome-focused, and thus the statement is closely connected to a new strategic plan and budget, as we know we have to put our time and money where our intentions are as part of this commitment. For us to authentically and responsibly live out our mission, we have embarked on this DEI journey and are prioritizing identifying, addressing, and challenging how white supremacy, racism, injustice, and exclusion have been historically and systemically embedded into the institutions, programs, services, and policies that benefit privileged individuals and communities—including WorldOregon.

This work was partially funded by a Global Ties U.S. Local Initiative Grant and received support from a local sponsor, PGE. We encourage other Community-Based Members who have not yet embarked on a DEI journey to do so. It is—and will continue to be—a challenging and crucial journey for the future of the network. The key to the growth and progress of the Network is the recently established Global Ties U.S. DEI Working Group, of which WorldOregon Program Officer Andrea Vanessa Castillo is a part. WorldOregon looks forward to continuing on this journey with the Network.