Why Diversity Is Important to Us

The World Bank Group staff values diversity: by national origin, ethnicity, age, education, sexual orientation, physical abilities. Differences can only help us fulfill our mission.


"Having a more diverse, more inclusive workforce across our organization can only help us in coming up with solutions that are global."


It sounds pat, but that I can be in a meeting and know that I'm the only American because I'm working with someone from Armenia, and from Nigeria, and Colombia. And it's not just the difference in the countries, but what everybody's background is. And just being able to leverage that and come up with thoughts I would never have thought about.

We have to have the diversity because our clients are different. And if we didn’t have diversity we'd only need one person. So we need to bring in all of the differences. It's not saying that you need to be Nigerian to work on Nigerian problems. In fact, we don't want that. Otherwise people will just go to their regional development banks.

But it's bringing in that other perspective that somebody may not have even thought about. And if you don't have everybody bringing all those different views, we're going to miss something; we're going to be blind. I can't see behind me right now, but somebody else can.


So GLOBE is the LGBT (the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) employee resource group of the World Bank Group. It's an organization that is actually about 20 years old and that represents and voices the concerns and challenges of LGBT staff around the institution and participates in the advancement of the conversation around those issues in the Bank in Washington and in country offices.


At least, in Washington, all the offices of the World Bank are completely accessible. And I don't find any problem with navigating the buildings. And, you know, I also have been on mission, actually, in Africa a few years ago, and I found that one of the offices in Addis, which is the new World Bank's office, is completely accessible as well. I think right now the World Bank is trying to kind of accommodate all the regional offices to bring them to a certain accessibility level. 

So, yeah, I like this about the Bank: That this issue is also under attention.


I work to mainstream disability into World Bank operations. And that requires building the evidence base around why and how we can actually do this. And then another big piece of my work is to build partnerships because it’s pretty clear that the Bank can’t do this alone. So how do we work with others that are on-the-ground, doing this already, or who have expertise that we may not have within the Bank itself? So I see my function as kind of threefold.

  • One is to build the evidence base around disability inclusion.
  • The second is to mainstream disability into our operations.
  • The third is to build partnerships and raise awareness around why this is an important piece of our development agenda.


[The World Bank Group] is an organization where diversity is not just promoted within the organization, but it’s really embraced by the workforce. And I know many organizations pride themselves on diversity, but I think if you really want to see what diversity looks like, you need to be in this organization.

Randomly pick 10 people. I bet you that the probability that they all look the same is probably zero. I will take my own GTT class, for example, where we were about 10 people and all 10 of us—we are different, we all come from different countries—and we had an amazing experience as a cohort, learning from each other, and actually experiencing each other’s culture in different ways before we actually got to rotate into different countries. 


So having a more diverse, more inclusive workforce across our organization can only help us in coming up with solutions that are global. That’s number one.

Number two is, you know, education diversity, for example. A lot of bright people got to a lot of recognized bright schools. But, of course, having diversity of education, coming from schools that are not necessarily in the top 100 in the world—as calibrated by certain academic institutions themselves—means that we have to be able to unearth that talent to be able to recruit it into the organization.


I have a few things that I really enjoy and appreciate about the Bank. One is this work environment—working with people from around the world. And I think this is a very unique situation: that you can work with coworkers from Brazil, from Spain, from everywhere. And also I have close interaction with the field offices so the coworker in Africa and the coworker in Europe. So it’s a very dynamic and very multicultural environment which is very unique. And I enjoy that very much.


The Bank is quite unique in the sense that it has people recruited from all over the world. And it’s really… you feel it when you are in a meeting or when we have a task that we are working on together. It comes through really great ideas and different styles of how people engage. But it makes it a wonderful, interesting, and extremely motivating environment.


I love the fact that I’ve got colleagues from all over the world: That just teaches me so much on both a professional level but also a personal level. That’s something I really love about my job.