Washington, DC - The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs and Americas Society/Council of the Americas (AS/COA) will convene on Monday, October 24 in Washington, DC to launch the 2016 Social Inclusion Index.

Participants will include Mari Carmen Aponte, Acting Assistant Secretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs, Alana Tummino, Senior Editor of Americas Quarterly and Senior Director of Policy at AS/COA, and representatives from the World Bank and the University of Vanderbilt.

For the past five years, the index has measured how effectively countries are serving their citizens regardless of race, income level, or creed. The index measures different factors, including civil rights, women’s rights, and policy towards the LGBTI community. The ranking creates an opportunity to reflect on progress in these areas and identify challenges. Index data continues to support themes raised during the United Nations International Decade for People of African Descent (2015-2024), and related engagement by the U.S. Department of State across the hemisphere.

The U.S. Department of State engages with historically marginalized populations in the region, including indigenous peoples, people of African descent, women and girls, LGBTI persons, and persons with disabilities, and collaborates with governments, civil society, and the private sector to address the underlying causes of social exclusion.