Fellow BCAGlobal Members, Supporters, and Visitors:
Welcome to BCAGlobal. Thanks to you, we have come a long way from our humble beginnings over twenty-one years ago, when we started as an alumni chapter of the Culinary Institute of America. Diversity, a familiar buzzword today, was not a well-known subject in the culinary, food service and hospitality industries at the time of our inception. Now, every major player in the industry has a diversity department; educational institutions are developing programs geared towards increasing diversity on their individual campuses as well. In spite of the attention being given to the advancement of diversity, there is still plenty of action that needs to be taken to help the movement forward.
By definition, inclusion is a state fo being valued, respected and supported. It’s about focusing on the needs of every individual and ensuring the right conditions are in place to achieve his or her full potential. Inclusive should be reflected in every learning and working environment. In simple terms, diversity is the mix; inclusion is getting the mix to work well together. It starts with learning about who is in the mix, and that will take some conscious work.
Over the past several years, we have participated in numerous conversations aimed to determine the best way to increase our impact while remaining focused on our mission, which is to connect students of color with industry professionals. Our top priority is to promote the similarities that link various cultures together while recognizing the differences that make them unique. This is why our focus is now shifting to the larger, global perspective. True diversity in a globalized and multicultural world can only be accomplished by respecting different cultural traditions that work together to create a global society.
This is why our current work is shifting to reflect the mission that BCAGlobal has set out to accomplish. Food connects people across the globe, but too often are the cultural roots of cuisine ignored while dishes and culinary traditions make their way across national borders. We aim to develop a global consciousness based on the idea of culinary and cultural diversity. This consciousness around respect for food, how it is handled and cultivated, and concerns about sustainability is an awareness we would be wise to embrace. Moving forward, I ask everyone reading this message to use your emotional intelligence and decide not if but how you can explore this vision with BCAGlobal. I’m sure there is a great deal to be learned as long as we remain open to the concepts of shared customs, culture, and history.
Society in general, in the culinary and hospitality industry in particular, can be greatly impacted if we pursue this approach for advancing diversity. This is probably the most important challenge facing the industry today. Your decision, to support BCAGlobal and its mission will help contribute to greater diversity in our industry and culture.