A senior adviser to the Mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti, will be appointed as the US State Department’s first-ever special envoy to link local governments to national foreign policy, sources told the Times.
Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken is expected to appoint Nina Hachigian as the country’s first special envoy for subnational diplomacy on Monday.
“Subnational” diplomacy refers to units of government at the local level—cities and counties rather than nations.
Hachigian, 55, has served as Deputy Mayor for International Affairs of Los Angeles under Garcetti since 2017. Before that, she was a diplomat for the State Department and the leading Asian alliance, the Assn. of the Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
The idea behind the new office, officials say, is to connect problems with local impacts, such as climate change, to international programs and share information, ideas and money.
“Communities, cities and states are coming up with some of the most innovative and creative ideas to address many of the global challenges we face,” Hachigian said in an interview prior to her appointment. “It is critical that we at the State Department harness the ingenuity of our local communities as we strive to build a foreign policy for all Americans.”
US officials say the new office is designed to further connect foreign policy with America’s middle class, a goal President Biden has stated since his election. Presumably it’s also a way of shielding foreign policy from those who would argue that domestic issues should come first at the expense of looking abroad.
“A key task for us,” said Hachigian, “will be to bring the benefits of our foreign policy to the local level.”
Blinken said in a statement to be released later Monday that cities, counties and states across the United States are on the frontlines of many of our most pressing global issues, including climate change, economic justice and democratic renewal.
For example, when former President Trump tried to back away from efforts to tackle climate change, it was local or regional entities – like California – that insisted on passing programs to curb waste, pollution and the explosion of climate destruction.
“US cities and states are incubators of innovative and novel ideas to address global challenges, and the department should leverage those solutions,” Blinken said. Hachigian’s new office will lead and coordinate those efforts, he added.
https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2022-10-03/garcetti-deputy-named-to-high-level-u-s-diplomatic-post Garcetti deputy being named to high-level U.S. diplomatic post, sources say