The Foreign Service Journal, March 2020

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL | MARCH 2020 59 AFSA NEWS AFSA President Addresses Citizen Groups in Florida AFSA President Eric Rubin engaged with various audi- ences in Central Florida during a three-day visit in mid-January as part of AFSA’s outreach efforts. Over the course of the trip, Ambassador Rubin spoke to students, retirees and other groups in the Tampa and Sarasota areas. Amb. Rubin began with a speaking engagement on Jan. 16 at the University of South Florida in Tampa, hosted by the School of Interdisciplinary Global Stud- ies. Speaking on the topic of Diplomacy: Our First Line of Defense , he highlighted the work diplomats do to keep threats at bay. He shared AFSA’s new explainer video, which out - lines the work of the Foreign Service through specific examples that illustrate how diplomats keep America safe. Later that day, Amb. Rubin spoke about the importance of global engagement at the USF Sarasota-Manatee cam- pus. It was the first talk in the university’s new Diversity Lecture Series, which aims at presenting students and members of the community with different ideas and perspectives, in this case the importance of global engage- ment. There, he outlined what diplomats do overseas in general and, more spe- cifically, the role they play to protect and promote the interests of the United States. He was joined for the events at USF in both Tampa and Sarasota by Diplomat-in- Residence Rebecca Kimbrell, who provided information on the different career tracks in the Foreign Service. The outreach trip also offered the AFSA president a chance to discuss the Foreign Service and U.S. diplomacy with the wider community. This included a talk on Jan. 17 in St. Petersburg at the Academy of Senior Profes- sionals at Eckerd College, a lifelong learning organization that includes retirees from a variety of professional back- grounds. The Foreign Service Retiree Association of Florida invited Amb. Rubin to speak at its Jan. 17 luncheon in University Park. FSRA is one of the oldest and larg- est of the Foreign Service retiree associations, bring- ing retirees together from across Florida for meetings five times a year. Many FSRA members are engaged in outreach pro- grams across Florida, sharing their expertise to broaden public understanding of the Foreign Service and diplo- macy. Amb. Rubin outlined to a full house the current challenges facing the Foreign Service and the work AFSA is doing to defend our mem- bers and the Service. He also addressed a large congregation at a local synagogue in Longboat Key, near Sarasota. Speaking with audiences to demystify the Foreign Service and answer questions is a key component of AFSA’s outreach work. n AFSA President Eric Rubin (center) at a Jan. 16 meeting at the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee, with (from left) Amela Malkic, USFSM’s director for global engagement; Dr. Karen Holbrook, regional chancellor, USFSM; Rebecca Kimbrell, diplomat in residence for South Florida, and Corey Posey, diversity, equity and inclusion officer at USFSM. AFSA President Eric Rubin speaks at the Academy of Senior Professionals at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Fla., on Jan. 17. JOHNDUDLEY/UNIVERSITYOFSOUTHFLORIDASARASOTA-MANATEE THEACADEMYOFSENIORPROFESSIONALSATECKERDCOLLEGESARASOTA-MANATEE