Randy Berry, a 1987 graduate and member of the Bethany College board of directors, was named as the first-ever Special Envoy for the Human Rights of LGBT Persons by United States Secretary of State John Kerry.
In a U.S. Department of State news release today, Secretary Kerry stated: “We looked far and wide to find the right American official for this important assignment. Randy’s a leader. He’s a motivator. But most importantly for this effort, he’s got vision. He’s a voice of clarity and conviction on human rights. And I’m confident that Randy’s leadership as our new Special Envoy will significantly advance efforts underway to move towards a world free from violence and discrimination against LGBT persons.”
Berry has recently served as a senior foreign service officer at the American Consulate in Amsterdam. The news release announcing his appointment further stated, “Wherever he’s served – from Nepal to New Zealand, from Uganda to Bangladesh, from Egypt to South Africa, and most recently as Consul General in Amsterdam – Randy has excelled.”
According to Secretary Kerry, the goal of the newly established position is to assert the equality and dignity of all persons, no matter their sexual orientation of gender identity, and build capacity to respond rapidly to violence against LGBT persons. The Special Envoy will work with governments, civil society, and private sector through the Global Equality Fund to support programs advancing human rights of LGBT persons worldwide.
“Defending and promoting the human rights of LGBT persons is at the core of our commitment to advancing human rights globally – the heart and conscience of our diplomacy. That’s why we’re working to overturn laws that criminalize consensual same-sex conduct in countries around the world,” Kerry said in the news release.