The Foreign Service Journal, March 2020

10 MARCH 2020 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL The Promise of Independence The conversation with Ambassador Hank Cohen in the December 2019 FSJ was an extraordinary article in an equally extraordinary issue. Students of diplo- macy and the Foreign Ser- vice will benefit immensely from it. Congratulations to the Journal and Amb. Cohen. In my 20-odd years as an LS [Language Services] contractor, I heard the same about Africa’s lack of postcolonial progress as the ambas- sador revealed in the interview. When I interpreted at a Young African Leaders Conference at State some 10 years ago, at one point all the individuals who ventured opinions on their governments were uniformly critical. Little wonder, then, that in recent years desperate thousands of Africans have tried to enter Europe as putative asylum-seekers, many losing their lives at sea, while others try to cross our bor- der from Mexico. Thus, the promise of independence for many Africans remains that. Let’s hope Amb. Cohen’s calling attention to the sad situation will cause political leaders and elites to do something, at last, for their own peoples. Everyone would stand to benefit—even they would, of course. Finally, the ambassador touched on Africa and climate change. I hope he will expand on his view in the regional con- text. His other ideas and observations are so sound that more on these topics would be most welcome. Louis V. Riggio Former FSO and LS Contractor Hollywood, Florida LETTERS The Mighty 102nd I was glad to see AFSA State VP Tom Yazdgerdi’s column in the December FSJ on understanding why peo- ple leave the Foreign Service. It’s an important issue, and I’m sure we all look forward to getting past anecdotal reports and learning what les- sons we may be able to draw from a fuller picture. I do want to take issue, however, with Mr. Yazdgerdi’s assertion that the 200th A-100 class was the first to have women outnumber men. Our small but mighty 102nd brought 23 women and nine men into the Foreign Service in April 2001. Matt O’Connor FSO Kaohsiung, Taiwan An In-State College Tuition Win July 18, 2019, was a special day when—thanks to Delegate Paul Krizek, who represents the 44th District in the Virginia General Assembly’s House of Delegates—AFSA announced the new law allowing Foreign Service members and their dependents to meet less strin- gent requirements to receive in-state tuition in Virginia. Under the new law, FS families will be required to reside in Virginia for no more than 90 days immediately prior to receiving a diplomatic assignment for continued work overseas. As an FS child, my daughter went to five international schools, ultimately graduating in South Africa. I wanted her to be able to choose her college. She didn’t want to study at the University of Florida, where I had graduated. She wanted to study in Virginia because she was born in Arlington and had always lived around families from the state. She enrolled in a Virginia university, but we only had funds for her to attend two years as a nonresident. When her residency appeal was ultimately denied, she withdrew from the university after her second year. Hope reemerged, however, with the AFSA announcement. In September, I moved to Virginia to begin language training at FSI for an onward assign- ment to Mozambique, and my daughter applied to James Madison University as a transfer student. I was apprehensive, knowing no guidance had been issued on how to implement the new law. The JMU Resi- dency Committee Members and both the dean and associate dean of admis- sions worked with us, however, quickly reviewing documentation they needed related to lodging and my onward assignment. And now my daughter is officially a Duke and attending JMU! The battle for Virginia residency is over, and because of this new law, my daughter will stay in Virginia where she feels she belongs. Sincere thanks to all. Melissa Knight USAID FSO U.S. Embassy Maputo On Afghanistan and the Growing Iranian Disaster Let’s start with a brief consideration of a few of our own major political adjustments. The Declaration of Inde- pendence, in 1776, bluntly states “all men are created equal,” except for those men over there. Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, in 1863, abolished slav- ery, but only in the Confederate states, where it had no effect.