Chantale Wong will be the first openly-lesbian, Senate-confirmed Ambassador

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Chantale Wong
Chantale Wong on Facebook

Ambassador Wong will serve as United States Director of the Asian Development Bank

The LGBTQ community celebrated the landmark confirmation of Chantale Wong as United States Director of the Asian Development Bank this week. In a historic move she was confirmed by the U.S. Senate. Wong is the first openly lesbian, Senate-confirmed ambassador in U.S. history.

“Congratulations to Ambassador Chantale Wong on her historic confirmation,” said Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Interim President Joni Madison. “For too long, the ranks of ambassadors have failed to reflect the diversity of the LGBTQ+ community. Ambassador Wong’s confirmation is one step closer to achieving a future where all members of the LGBTQ+ community can see themselves reflected at the highest levels of government.”

As an international development expert, Ambassador Wong is supremely qualified to represent the United States at the Asian Development Bank said HRC in a statement. “Her background and accomplishments, including her personal commitment to reform, position her to lead by example. Ambassador Wong’s confirmation comes at a critical time for United States leadership as the institution conducts its once-in-a-decade review of operating policies that could bolster LGBTQ+ inclusion in its projects across the region..”

“Ambassador Wong is now one of the highest-ranking leaders of U.S. economic and international policy in Asia and is well-positioned to leverage her exceptional qualifications and experience,” said Mayor Annise Parker, President & CEO of LGBTQ Victory Institute. “As the first out LGBTQ person of color confirmed to an ambassador-level position, Ambassador Wong is also a symbol of hope and strength for LGBTQ leaders and community members fighting for LGBTQ rights across the globe. Millions of people still live in countries that criminalize LGBTQ people and deny them the right to marry, including many members states of the Asian Development Bank. Her appointment is a powerful statement to those nations.”

Victory Institute’s Presidential Appointments Initiative works with the administration to recommend and advocate for qualified LGBTQ leaders ready to serve in the administration. It advocated for Wong’s nomination from the first day of the Biden-Harris administration and supported her throughout the nomination and confirmation process. One of the Initiative’s four priority goals is the appointment of out LGBTQ women ambassadors, LGBTQ ambassadors of color, and transgender ambassadors for the first time. Victory Institute aims to help the Biden administration become the most LGBTQ-inclusive in U.S. history.

The Initiative was launched by Victory Institute during President Bill Clinton’s administration. It achieved unprecedented success under President Barack Obama, who appointed approximately 330 LGBTQ people, the most in history. Of those, 158 were assisted by the Presidential Appointments Initiative.

Ambassador Wong previously served as the Alternative United States Director of the Asian Development Bank and held a series of other senior roles across the government, including at the Millennium Challenge Corporation, NASA, Department of the Interior, Environmental Protection Agency, and the Office of Budget and Management.

Wong is committed to public service and has mentored young Asian American Pacific Islander youth to seek careers in public service, including through the establishment of the Conference on Asian Pacific American Leadership.

Ambassador Wong holds a Master of Public Administration from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and a Master in Environmental Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley. She completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Hawaii in Civil and Structural Engineering.