Deloitte, in conjunction with the U.S. Government Accountability Office's Asian American Leadership Group, held an event entitled, "Asian Americans Leadership and Influence in the Federal Government", which sought to highlight the various experiences of Asian Americans' rise in the government ranks, Asian American influence in the federal government, and understand the role diversity plays in policy-making and operational decisions. As the Assistant Secretary of Policy at the Department of Homeland Security, I participated in a panel discussion with officials from the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, the Government Accountability Office, and a former official from the Department of Labor. The event was held at Georgetown University's Business School and attended by young professionals and graduate students.
There is still significant concern about discrimination on the basis of ethnicity in the professional world, including the public sector. Young Asian American professionals are very interested in learning about opportunities in public service but are anxious to learn from leaders and mentors about how to handle the perceived challenges of working in the government. The Asian American community, however, is filled with talented, enthusiastic, and creative people who are very interested in, and committed to, serving their country despite any perceived adversity and are encouraged by the presence of leaders who are from the AAPI communities of the United States.
Arif Alikhan is the Assistant Secretary for Policy Development for the Department of Homeland Security.