Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Monday it is "unacceptable" that there are so few black people like herself in the U.S. diplomatic corps.
"I want to see a Foreign Service that looks as if black Americans are part of this great country," Rice told a gathering of black colleges and universities in Washington.
"I have lamented that I can go into a meeting at the Department of State," said Rice, the second black person to become secretary of state after her predecessor Colin Powell.
"And, as a matter of fact, I can go into a whole day of meetings at the Department of State and actually rarely see somebody who looks like me, and that's just not acceptable," she said.
She said she has been working with black U.S. Rep Charles Rangel to target students at schools with large numbers of blacks, according to a State Department transcript of her speech.
"I've been working hard to double the number of Rangel Fellows ... to interest them in foreign affairs when they are young, to give them the training and support to learn languages and to learn about the world, and then to go out into that world to be a part of the great global debate, challenge and difficulty, too, that we face in the international system," she said.
Copyright AFP 2008