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Diversity in security

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Sixteen students studying national security and intelligence at the College of Social Sciences had a rare opportunity to speak with and learn from the U.S. Director of Intelligence. The university hosted a virtual visit with Avril Haines in December 2021, which began with a conversation between Haines and UH President David Lassner. It concluded with a Q&A session with students in an internship course, “UHM-INDOPACOM Mentoring Program for Intelligence” – a collaboration between UH Mānoa and the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command.

UH Mānoa is a Native Hawaiian-serving institution and one of the most ethnically diverse universities in the nation. Haines is prioritizing efforts to increase diversity within the intelligence community, focusing on recruiting and retaining a workforce representative of the U.S.

“The University of Hawaiʻi and your student body, as incredibly diverse as it is and geographically where you’re located – you bring perspectives that we need,” Haines told the students. “We absolutely have to understand this (Asia-Pacific) region. And . . . we need people from this region to be able to tap into your understanding of the area, so we can absorb that as we try to provide the Intelligence picture.”

Haines answered questions from students, ranging from the Intelligence Community’s (IC) role in advancing U.S. President Joe Biden’s goal of promoting democratic ideals around the world to the U.S. strategic competition with China through a humanitarian, military and economic viewpoint. She also outlined career opportunities for those interested in joining the IC.

To view the entire event, visit the College of Social Sciences on YouTube.

For more on Haines’ virtual visit, see the Office of the Director of National Intelligence website.