The U.S. Department of State has awarded more than $20,000 for a cultural center in Ecuador to host “drag theater performances” in the name of diversity and inclusion.
The State Department awarded a $20,600 grant on Sept. 23 to the Centro Ecuatoriano Norteamericano Abraham Lincoln (CENA) in Cuenca, Ecuador, a non-profit organization supported by the U.S. Embassy and Consulate in Ecuador, to “promote diversity and inclusion” in the region.
The project at CENA, which started Sept. 30 and runs until Aug. 31, 2023, will include “3 workshops,” “12 drag theater performances,” and a “2-minute documentary,” according to the State Department’s grant listed on the USASpending.gov website.
The grant to CENA is part of the State Department’s public diplomacy program, which seeks to “support the achievement of U.S. foreign policy goals and objectives, advance national interests, and enhance national security by informing and influencing foreign publics and by expanding and strengthening the relationship between the people and government of the United States and citizens of the rest of the world,” the website states.
The State Department has awarded hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars to the CENA over the years, but the September grant appears to be the first of its kind funding drag performances.
In 2016, the State Department awarded a $50,000 grant to the CEN to promote the College Horizons program, which teaches English to young people of color. In 2015, it awarded $234,000 to the CEN for the building of a new auditorium.