Our Commitment to DEI

A strategic priority for our next chapter

We believe we can only achieve our mission when we actualize our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion in every aspect of our work.

As an organization guided by science and innovation, we recognize that research shows the very best ideas result from teams with a wide range of backgrounds and experiences working together effectively to harness the creative power and ingenuity of diversity.

Championing all voices and ensuring members of the Society community are empowered to bring their unique perspective and story to bear on our mission work is critical to pushing us to a brighter future.

Washington, D.C. 2022/06/09 National Geographic Explorers Festival.  Panelists at the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Speaker Series: Actualizing Inclusivity by Moving from Intent to Action.  Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer, Shannon Bartlett (shown here on far left), as she moderates a panel with four National Geographic Explorers – (from 2nd from left: Luján Agusti, Keolu Fox, Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka, and Santiago Said. The panelists shared examples from their work and action oriented guidance on how we can better equip ourselves to incorporate these practices in our own daily lives.
diversity, equity and inclusion

Our past and future

our privilege

We have had the privilege of framing the world for generations of people all across the globe. We recognize that privilege bears with it a significant responsibility to treat every community’s story with respect, dignity, and cultural sensitivity. We are committed to telling our own organization’s story, which requires recognizing that the Society has not always valued everyone’s stories equally, nor have we always treated all communities with which we have interacted and engaged with respect, dignity, and sensitivity.

our story

Taking ownership of our own complex story requires facing our history of colonialism, racism, sexism, and other forms of systemic oppression. We recognize a history that placed limits on who became members of the original Society, who became Explorers, who told stories, whose stories were told, and who was able to join our talented team of staff. For much of its history, the Society adhered to an approach of exploration and discovery that focused on opening the wonders of the world to its members without also recognizing the local communities, societies, and intrepid adventurers who paved the way to those wonders of the world long before the arrival of National Geographic Explorers. These parts of our own history are incredibly painful, but we recognize that fully accepting and acknowledging the mistakes of our past allows us to build our diverse, inclusive, and equitable future.

your story

Your story matters. We are not all the same. It is our differences that make the National Geographic Society, and our world, a better place. We embrace each person’s identity, experiences, and abilities, and we commit to cultivating an environment where everyone benefits from opportunity, mutual respect and a sense of belonging. We all have a story to tell. When we share and celebrate our stories, the yellow border comes to life.

Moving forward together

Moving forward as a Society, we recognize diversity, equity, and inclusion as a strategic priority for our next chapter, and we are committed to working with intent to weave DEI best practices into all aspects of our work. Today, nearly half of our Explorers are women and 65 percent have conducted fieldwork in their home countries. We have accelerated our efforts to identify, support, and elevate the work and voices of Explorers who are Indigenous, Black, and People of Color. To assist us in our journey, we also appointed our inaugural Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer to our senior leadership team. While we have much more work to do, we remain steadfast in our commitment to continually learning, growing, evolving and embedding DEI into everything we do.

Diversity, Equity and inclusion

Our guiding principles

We embody the Society’s DEI values and principles and put diversity, equity, and inclusion at the heart of all we do.
We are committed to creating an environment where everyone benefits from opportunity, mutual respect, and a sense of belonging.

We embrace everyone’s unique identities, experiences, and abilities. We are committed to including multiple global voices in decisions, making opportunities available to all, and creating spaces, resources, events, and communities that reflect the diverse world we live in.

We are committed to collaborating and designing in partnership with stakeholders from all communities, both internal and external, to support innovative ideas and solutions globally

We approach our work with a critical lens toward equity and ensuring the outcomes and impact of our work is equitably distributed across our stakeholders. We are committed to ensuring all people can influence and benefit from our work, regardless of their identities.

We communicate clearly and transparently around decision-making to increase accountability, encourage dialogue, and build trust.

We are dedicated to making our work inclusive and accessible to all by accounting for the varying needs of our internal and external audiences and stakeholders.

We are committed to self-reflection, ongoing learning, and improvement. We develop practical DEI goals, measure our progress toward them, and adapt our work accordingly.

Photo Credits from top of page:  Sam Kittner (2). Below: Michael Nichols, Andy Mann, Paul Nicklen, Ami Vitale, Christian Tryon, Kenneth Garrett, Mark Thiessen.  

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