The Foreign Service Journal, March 2024


THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL | MARCH 2024 5 Feature 52 Pomelo Diplomacy By Marc Gilkey March 2024 Volume 101, No. 2 Focus on Oral Histories 20 A Century of Service: Firsthand Accounts from U.S. Diplomats By Tom Selinger, Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training 43 Diplomatic Security Service: Early Days By Angela French, Diplomatic Security Public Affairs Office Straight from the Source 47 A Look at the New Learning Policy How, When, and Where Do State Department Employees Learn? By Sarah Wardwell

6 MARCH 2024 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL 88 Reflections Serving at the Panda Post By Doug Kelly 90 Local Lens Lake Tekapo, New Zealand By Carole Fenton On the Cover—Composition by Driven by Design. Photo details provided in Focus section. Marketplace 82 Real Estate 86 Classifieds 87 Index to Advertisers 7 President’s Views Promoting All Aspects of Diversity By Tom Yazdgerdi 9 Letter from the Editor Let’s Talk About the Mail By Shawn Dorman 17 Speaking Out Needed: A New Approach to Protecting America’s Diplomatic Treasures By Glyn Davies Perspectives Departments 10 Letters 11 Letters-Plus 13 Talking Points 71 In Memory 79 Books AFSA NEWS THE OFFICIAL RECORD OF THE AMERICAN FOREIGN SERVICE ASSOCIATION 57 A FSA Webinar: Constructive Dissent Today 58 S tate VP Voice—Spotlight on EERs and the New Scoring Rubric 59 USAID VP Voice—Promotion Evaluation Reforms 60 FCS VP Voice—Signs of a Spring Thaw? 60 Federal Benefits Series—2024 Insurance Update 60 AFSA Governing Board Meetings, December 2023 and January 2024 61 Retiree VP Voice—Esprit de Corps 61 AFSA Welcomes New USAID Class 61 College Scholarships Available 62 A FSA on the Hill—Third Year of Robust Authorization Acts 63 On the Agenda: Road Safety 63 AFSA Meets with Employee Organizations 64 AFSA Releases Cost of Living Survey Results 66 Employee Spotlight: Ásgeir Sigfússon 66 AFSA Editorial Board Welcomes New Member 67 AFSA Welcomes New Comms Director 67 Next Stage: So You Want to Be an REA? 68 Diplomats@Work: Evacuating Ukraine 69 Keeping It Clean 69 AFSA Welcomes LM Intern 70 AFSA’s Good Works: The AFSA Memorial Plaques

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL | MARCH 2024 7 Promoting All Aspects of Diversity BY TOM YAZDGERDI Tom Yazdgerdi is the president of the American Foreign Service Association. PRESIDENT’S VIEWS Having a diverse workforce is a good thing in and of itself and leads to better decision- making and outcomes based on a variety of viewpoints. When discussing DEIA (diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility), people generally think of racial, ethnic, and gender balance and opportunity. Inclusive of those efforts is the need to ensure that the DNA of our diverse workforce is made up of a broad representation of socioeconomic status, educational background, and work and life experience, among other factors. All the foreign affairs agencies are grappling with how best to promote DEIA and ensure all employees are engaged in this. At State, we have gone through the first EER cycle (2023-2024) that includes DEIA as one of the five stand-alone core precepts essential to promotion and a successful Foreign Service career. AFSA is working with State to assess how this effort has gone and what lessons can be learned. USAID will include a similar DEIA precept in their 2024-2025 assessment process. At a January meeting with AFSA, USAID Administrator Samantha Power and her staff expressed interest in learning from State’s experience. Other department initiatives that have a DEIA angle include rejiggering the Foreign Service Officer Test (FSOT). While the FSOT is still an important factor in whether an applicant moves forward in the intake process, since June 2022 the score (no longer pass/fail) is considered along with other application elements. To me, this change makes sense. It reflects the general move in our country away from standardized tests as the primary measure of an individual’s potential success at college or in other endeavors. Aren’t academic record, achievements in the workplace, and motivation more important indicators? The department is also aiming to make the Foreign Service Officer Assessment (FSOA)—the last step in the selection process—virtual. To many, this sounds sacrilegious. How can you possibly size up someone’s ability to succeed in the Foreign Service by way of a Zoom call? The department appears confident that it can and recently gave AFSA a preliminary demonstration of how a virtual FSOA would be conducted. It was impressive and convincing, and I am hopeful the initiative will work out and be fruitful. It could help level the playing field, allowing those to participate who could not otherwise take time off from work, find childcare or eldercare, or afford travel to and hotel costs in Washington, D.C.—currently the only place the FSOA is offered. Last December my family hosted a recent alum of my graduate school, who had to fly from overseas to Washington, on their own dime, to take the FSOA—and struggled to meet the cost. That just does not seem right to me. Coupled with the recent change to make all State Department internships paid, making the FSOA virtual will open up the possibility of a Foreign Service career for many from disadvantaged backgrounds. AFSA is doing its part to attract talent to the Foreign Service from schools that are not the traditional “feeder” schools. As I write this column in late January, I am preparing to travel to Florida to meet with our great retiree association in Sarasota but will also travel to Miami, Boca Raton, and Jupiter to speak to students and faculty at Miami Dade College (MDC) and Florida Atlantic University (FAU). MDC, with the largest undergraduate enrollment of any college or university in the country, can be a rich source of talent for the Foreign Service and help the department and other foreign affairs agencies better reflect the face of America abroad and at home. AFSA is also collaborating with FirstGens@state, a new employee organization at State that supports, develops, and advocates for first- generation professionals, first-generation college graduates, and individuals otherwise adversely affected by persistent poverty, discrimination, inequity, or inequality. This new group can help retain talent from those backgrounds. None of the above initiatives in any way means lowering standards for entry to the FS. Especially in this centennial year, AFSA will continue to support a rigorous intake process that reflects the Service’s excellence and esprit de corps. Please let me know what you think at or n

8 MARCH 2024 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL SUSTAINABLE FORESTRY INITIATIVE SFI-01268 Certified Sourcing Editor in Chief, Director of Publications Shawn Dorman: Senior Editor Susan Brady Maitra: Managing Editor Kathryn Owens: Associate Editor Donna Gorman: Publications Coordinator Hannah Harari: Business Development Manager— Advertising and Circulation Molly Long: Art Director Caryn Suko Smith Editorial Board Vivian Walker, Chair Lynette Behnke, Gov. Bd. Liaison David Bargueño Hon. Robert M. Beecroft Gaïna Dávila Hon. Jennifer Z. Galt Steven Hendrix Harry Kopp Aileen Nandi Dan Spokojny Hon. Laurence Wohlers THE MAGAZINE FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS PROFESSIONALS The Foreign Service Journal (ISSN 0146-3543), 2101 E Street NW, Washington, D.C. 20037-2990 is published monthly, with combined January-February and July-August issues, by the American Foreign Service Association (AFSA), a private, nonprofit organization. Material appearing herein represents the opinions of the writers and does not necessarily represent the views of the Journal, the Editorial Board, or AFSA. Writer queries and submissions are invited, preferably by email. The Journal is not responsible for unsolicited manuscripts, photos, or illustrations. Advertising inquiries are invited. All advertising is subject to the publisher’s approval. AFSA reserves the right to reject advertising that is not in keeping with its standards and objectives. The appearance of advertisements herein does not imply endorsement of goods or services offered. Opinions expressed in advertisements are the views of the advertisers and do not necessarily represent AFSA views or policy. Journal subscription: AFSA member–$20, included in annual dues; student–$30; others–$50; Single issue–$4.50. For foreign surface mail, add $18 per year; foreign airmail, $36 per year. Periodical postage paid at Washington, D.C., and at additional mailing offices. Indexed by the Public Affairs Information Services (PAIS). Email: Phone: (202) 338-4045 Fax: (202) 338-8244 Web: Address Changes: © American Foreign Service Association, 2024 PRINTED IN THE USA Postmaster: Send address changes to AFSA, Attn: Address Change 2101 E Street NW Washington DC 20037-2990 AFSA Headquarters: (202) 338-4045; Fax (202) 338-6820 State Department AFSA Office: (202) 647-8160; Fax (202) 647-0265 USAID AFSA Office: (202) 712-1941; Fax (202) 216-3710 FCS AFSA Office: (202) 482-9088; Fax (202) 482-9087 GOVERNING BOARD President Tom Yazdgerdi: Secretary Sue Saarnio: Treasurer Hon. John O’Keefe: State Vice President Hui Jun Tina Wong: USAID Vice President Randy Chester: FCS Vice President Joshua Burke: FAS Vice President Lisa Ahramjian: Retiree Vice President John K. Naland: Full-Time State Representative Gregory Floyd: State Representatives Lynette Behnke: Kimberly Harrington: David Josar: C. Logan Wheeler: Whitney Wiedeman: USAID Representative Christopher Saenger: FCS Alternate Representative Jay Carreiro: FAS Alternate Representative Zeke Spears: USAGM Representative Steve Herman: APHIS Representative Joe Ragole: Retiree Representatives Mary Daly: Edward Stafford: STAFF Executive Director Ásgeir Sigfússon: Executive Assistant to the President Maria Benincasa: Office Coordinator Therese Thomas: PROFESSIONAL POLICY ISSUES AND ADVOCACY Director of Professional Policy Issues Julie Nutter: Director of Advocacy Kim Greenplate: Policy Analyst Sean O’Gorman: FINANCE AND ADMINISTRATION Director of Finance Femi Oshobukola: Director, HR and Operations Cory Nishi: Controller Kalpna Srimal: Member Accounts Specialist Ana Lopez: IT and Infrastructure Coordinator Aleksandar “Pav” Pavlovich: COMMUNICATIONS AND OUTREACH Director of Communications Nikki Gamer: Manager of Outreach and Internal Communications Allan Saunders: Online Communications Manager Jeff Lau: Awards and Scholarships Manager Theo Horn: Manager, Outreach and Strategic Communications Nadja Ruzica: Communication and Educational Outreach Coordinator Erin Oliver: MEMBERSHIP Director, Programs and Member Engagement Christine Miele: Membership Operations Coordinator Mouna Koubaa: Coordinator of Member Recruitment and Benefits Perri Green: Counselor for Retirees Dolores Brown: Member Events Coordinator Hannah Chapman: LABOR MANAGEMENT General Counsel Sharon Papp: Deputy General Counsel Raeka Safai: Senior Staff Attorneys Zlatana Badrich: Neera Parikh: Labor Management Counselor Colleen Fallon-Lenaghan: Senior Labor Management Adviser James Yorke: Labor Management Coordinator Patrick Bradley: Senior Grievance Counselor Heather Townsend: USAID Labor Management Adviser Sue Bremner: Grievance Counselors Erin Kate Brady: Benjamin Phillips: FOREIGN SERVICE CONTACTS

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL | MARCH 2024 9 Shawn Dorman is the editor of The Foreign Service Journal. LETTER FROM THE EDITOR Let’s Talk About the Mail BY SHAWN DORMAN This month as part of our centennial commemorations, we spotlight your Foreign Service stories through the decades with a Focus on oral histories from the Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training and the Diplomatic Security Service. We also feature a Straight from the Source look at State’s new learning policy, and more. Instead of previewing all the excellent articles this month, I want to direct your attention here to an important FSJ logistical development. Some 30 years ago, I started reading The Foreign Service Journal at my first post, Kyrgyzstan, a small new country in post-Soviet Central Asia. Its tiny new American embassy was not easy to reach. No commercial flights flew in or out of the country. We received mail maybe once a month when someone would drive over the mountains, if snow didn’t close the pass, to Kazakhstan’s then-capital Almaty to pick up the Bishkek pouch. The Journal was a lifeline—a connection to home, to the Foreign Service and the State Department, and to AFSA, headed by Tex Harris at the time. Back in those days, people sent change-of-address cards when they moved. The whimsical postcard announcement my brother, Josh, drew for me has been taped to my filing cabinet all these years. It brings a smile today, as I write on the FSJ’s new pouch mail arrangement. As of January 1, by agreement with the State Department after extensive negotiations, AFSA has shifted its use of the pouch. Instead of bulk mailing FSJs to members with pouch addresses, we are now sending five to 10 copies of each new edition to each community liaison office coordinator (CLO) for embassy communities. Because mail options, even to smaller posts like Bishkek, have greatly expanded, most posts have alternative mailing addresses (DPO, APO, FPO, etc.), and a majority of FS members no longer rely on the pouch for their mail. Any AFSA member using a non-pouch address will continue to receive the magazine that way, and we encourage those using pouch addresses who want to receive the print magazine to send us an alternate, non-pouch address. If you are at a pouch-only post and cannot get a copy from the CLO, please reach out to us, and we’ll take care of you. But we urge you to try the CLO first. This change is already reducing waste from copies going to out-of-date addresses (for those who move and do not inform AFSA), lessening our environmental footprint, and lightening the load on pouch facility colleagues and those who manage mailrooms at posts worldwide. If you enjoy reading the hard copy, by all means, we want to send it to you! But you absolutely must update your mailing address and keep it up to date. AFSA does not get any address changes automatically—they have to come from you. Please take a moment and go into your AFSA account online (https://ams. and update your mailing address. Always use a non-pouch address if you have one. We know reading habits have changed. If you currently prefer to read online, want to help save resources, or do not plan to update your mailing address regularly, please let us know and opt out of the print copy. You can always opt back in later. Send a quick note to with “opt out of print” in the subject line. Include your name, agency, and current mailing address. For maximum reach and accessibility, we post the entire Foreign Service Journal online each month in three formats: HTML, Flipping Book, and PDF. We send out an AFSAnet message when the new edition is launched online at the beginning of the month. We also offer a weekly “FSJ Insider” email including links to the new articles and other content. Also find FSJ content through the FSJ LinkedIn page, on all the AFSA social media channels, and in our searchable archive online that houses every edition back to 1924 (and the Consular Bulletin before that). Thank you for helping us keep up with you. And please do keep reading—and writing for—the Journal. n On the road to Bishkek, circa 1994. SHAWN DORMAN

10 MARCH 2024 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL LETTERS Framing the Immigration Issue I read the letter “The Biden Administration and Immigration,” by Ambassador (ret.) Michael A. McCarthy and Senior FSO (ret.) Nicholas M. Hill, in the November 2023 FSJ. I appreciate their dedication to discussing this critical issue and recognize the value their experience brings. While I share concerns about the impact of current immigration policies on locally employed (LE) staff, I find the language overly harsh and divisive. Labeling immigrants uninvited “scofflaws” dehumanizes individuals driven from their homes by desperation and fierce hope for a better life. And statements like “we effectively have no border” contribute to a narrative fueled by fear and anxiety rather than fostering a productive dialogue. Further, the authors’ assertion that we are betraying our LE colleagues is unwarranted. Hill and McCarthy present a false dichotomy between supporting displaced individuals and protecting the interests of LE staff. This oversimplification ignores the complexities of the issue. Throughout history, immigrants have played a crucial role in shaping America. Many of our ancestors, for instance, were uninvited immigrants who risked everything for the American dream. America’s continued success hinges on embracing the resilience of those who migrate in pursuit of opportunity. While acknowledging the challenges in the current system, we must recognize the significant contributions of immigrants. Many successful entrepreneurs, past and present, hail from immigrant backgrounds, highlighting the enduring impact of migration on our nation’s fabric. In fact, according to the American Immigration Council report “New American Fortune 500 in 2022,” immigrants or their children founded 43.8 percent of the Fortune 500 list. These companies employ more than 14.8 million people and generate more than $7 trillion in revenue annually, greater than the GDP of every country except the United States and China. Also, immigration offsets our low fertility rate, giving us an economic edge over other developed countries facing population decline. As argued by Esther Duflo and Abhijit Banerjee, Nobel laureates in economics, in their book Good Economics for Hard Times, “the politics of the response to immigration is not just one of misunderstood economics, but also one of identity politics.” Framing the debate with divisive rhetoric obscures the value of diverse migration to our nation. America’s true strength lies in upholding the principles of freedom and opportunity—principles that motivate individuals from across the globe to seek a brighter future not just for themselves but for us all. Therefore, I urge the authors to revisit their language and approach and refrain from using fear-based rhetoric. In a positive development, President Biden signed the GRATEFUL Act into law in December 2023. This legislation grants up to 3,500 additional visas to U.S. government employees abroad in 2024 and 3,000 annually thereafter. The GRATEFUL Act aims to alleviate the backlog in the Special Immigrant Visa process, reflecting a commitment to those who have dedicated their careers to supporting U.S. diplomatic efforts. Jesse Gutierrez USAID / Somalia Nairobi, Kenya Inviting Indochina Service Alums There will be a MACV/CORDS (Military Assistance Command, Vietnam / Civil Operations and Rural Development Support) reunion April 24-27, 2024, at Fort Moore (formerly Fort Benning), in Columbus, Ga., hosted by Counterparts. All military and civilian personnel who served in advisory positions in Indochina and their counterparts are invited. The program will include sessions with activeduty personnel in the Security Force Assistance Brigade and faculty of the Military Advisors Training Course. Counterparts is a veterans association comprising former Allied military and civilian advisers and their counterparts who served in various theaters of operation during the Second Indochina War. CSPAN recorded presentations at the 2019 reunion, including of FSO Robert “Bob” Traister ( For more information on the 2024 reunion, contact the organizer, Len Ganz, at or (781) 444-7808, or me at (301) 717-4127. Gordon Bare U.S. Army and State Dept., retired Bethesda, Maryland n Share your thoughts about this month’s issue. Submit letters to the editor: Correction In the November 2023 FSJ Focus, “In Their Own Write,” the author note for FSO Michelle L. Stefanick (Tell the Truth) states that she retired in 2013. In fact, she resigned at that time.

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL | MARCH 2024 11 LETTERS-PLUS Navigating the Education of Special Needs Children BY KAREN SLITER RESPONSE TO DECEMBER 2023 EDUCATION SUPPLEMENT ARTICLE, “A PARENT’S GUIDE TO PSYCHOEDUCATIONAL ASSESSMENTS” Karen Sliter, a doctor of veterinary medicine (DVM), retired with the rank of Career Minister from the APHIS Foreign Service in 2021. She and her husband, David, have spent 25 years raising four girls on four continents. The family currently lives in Vienna, Austria, where Karen is working for the International Atomic Energy Agency. Thank you for the very informative and helpful article regarding psychoeducational evaluations for children in the December 2023 FSJ. My husband and I have done a number of these evaluations for our daughter, who has a “one of a kind” genetic deletion. Psychoeducational evaluations were central to figuring out her unique learning profile. She is 19 now, so we have perspective on her entire primary and secondary school education. I am sharing our experiences in the hope that they will be helpful to other Foreign Service families as they navigate what can at times seem like a very long, dark tunnel. My key pieces of advice would be as follows. 1. Be very careful who you allow to evaluate your child and interpret the results. The results, conclusions, and recommendations from an inaccurate evaluation can negatively affect your child for years, if not decades. We once followed the advice of our daughter’s school to let them do the psychoeducational evaluation since “they knew our child best.” Well known for its special needs program, the school was considered one of the best in the international community and had done a great job implementing the results of the previous evaluations done elsewhere. However, in this situation, the school’s testing results and their interpretation of those results contradicted previous assessments and pointed toward a radically different educational trajectory. Yet they were certain that they were “right.” In retrospect, there could have been a financial consideration for the school in wanting to do the evaluation themselves; and their recommendations might have had as much to do with what they were prepared to offer as a school as they did with our child’s actual abilities. Had we remained at that school, we would have had no choice but to follow their recommendation, which was to discontinue our child’s formal education and put her in a life skills class. Instead, we immediately took our daughter back to the center that had done her initial evaluation and were advised to ignore the school report and “stay the path.” We never showed the school’s assessment to anyone else, and I still feel somewhat traumatized thinking back on that difficult time. Our daughter is currently completing her senior year of high school, having been successful at three different schools since that school psychoeducational assessment was done. She has a GPA of 3.9 and has been accepted with a scholarship to the college of her choice. 2. As Dr. Nelson points out, go through the results and recommendations very carefully before they are shared with anyone else. Among other errors we have found, one report would have diagnosed our child with a completely erroneous genetic syndrome. Many children with special needs and/or individual education plans (IEPs) have extensive medical files. Errors happen. 3. Find an evaluation center/team that welcomes parents, gives you an active role in the assessment process, and values and incorporates your input. The fact is, we know our children best. We have been at every doctor’s appointment, helped them with their homework, seen their progress, and know where they struggle. We know the impact of our frequent international moves. And in the end, we are the ones to implement the results of any evaluation (working with the schools, of course).

12 MARCH 2024 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL There is no one-size-fits-all for our unique and wonderful Foreign Service children. The evaluation and its conclusions and recommendations need to “make sense” to and be helpful to parents. This can require advocacy on parents’ part. Do not unquestioningly accept a result or recommendation that goes against your own gut feeling. Finally, know what you want from the assessment going in, and make sure you get what you need. (For example, do you need advice on educational trajectory? “Best fit” class models? A 1:1 instructor? Will a school’s proposed IEP be appropriate for your child?) 4. Incorrect assumptions will still be made, and wrong things will still be written about your child. Our approach has been to ensure that the most serious errors were corrected. We advocated strongly on those. Smaller issues we accepted and moved on. 5. Be careful when it comes to psychiatric evaluations. Having raised four daughters, we have found that their perspectives on how their life was going could change markedly from day to day, at times from hour to hour. This was particularly true of our daughter with special needs; and there were times she just needed to “vent.” Some psychiatrists were far better than others at sorting out a “bad day” from the signs of a deeper or more concerning issue. An inaccurate psychiatric diagnosis, however well intentioned, can have profound effects on a child’s future. After one very negative experience, we insisted on only using the center that had made the original diagnoses and educational plan for our child. This provided long-term consistency of support; the evaluators came to understand our daughter and our family’s context. That center had more than 60 specialists (speech, occupational therapy, and so on) and a director who designed the assessment plan and determined which experts’ input was needed, and then brought it all together. The director was able to cut through all the test results and various recommendations, find what was most relevant at the time, and use that to develop a forward plan. He was able to pick out the three to four things most relevant to our child’s learning struggles and to predict (when she was 7 years old) with tremendous accuracy what “fair” learning expectations for her would be. He gave our child a future. This individual is now retired; I hope other families find someone like him and his team to support them on their journey. There is no one-size-fits-all for our unique and wonderful Foreign Service children. I hope that the Bureau of Medical Services will provide families with the Special Needs Educational Allowance support they need to ensure all our children get the education they need to have a future that is appropriate for them. n

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL | MARCH 2024 13 TALKING POINTS Ambassador Tracker: Congress’ Latest Since Nov. 1, 2023, the Senate has confirmed 13 nominees to ambassador and other senior positions in the foreign affairs agencies. These include nine career members of the Foreign Service to ambassadorships in Azerbaijan, Egypt, Gabon, Guatemala, Laos, Lebanon, Lithuania, Malaysia, and Papua New Guinea. In addition, career FSO Elizabeth Richard was confirmed as coordinator for counterterrorism at the Department of State. Three political appointees were also confirmed: ambassadors to Barbados and Croatia as well as the USAID Inspector General, a position that had gone unfilled since December 2020. As of this writing in early February, seven nominees are ready for a vote on the Senate floor. The Senate confirmed Kurt Campbell to be deputy secretary of State on Feb. 6. In addition, on Jan. 31, President Biden selected John Podesta to replace John Kerry as his global representative on climate. While Kerry is currently the president’s special envoy, Podesta’s title will instead be senior adviser; as an adviser rather than a special envoy, he will not need to wait for Senate confirmation. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee has a large backlog of nominations to work through: 22 ambassador nominations (mostly career FSOs), eight senior official nominations, and a whopping 383 FS promotions and tenures. AFSA will continue its tireless efforts to advocate on behalf of all career nominees. AFSA currently counts 25 ambassadorial vacancies around the world as well as five unfilled senior positions at State and USAID, including two assistant secretary positions at State and—yes, still!—the Inspector General role at State. Trouble for Feds Joining Walkout? Axios reported on Jan. 14 that House Republicans planned to push federal agencies, including the State Department, to punish employees who joined the group “Feds United for Peace” in a planned Jan. 16 walkout in protest of the Biden administration’s support for Israel in the Israel-Hamas conflict. House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) said ahead of the walkout that federal workers who join “deserve to be fired.” In response, the group posted on their Instagram account that the event was not technically a walkout, calling it instead a “day of mourning” and encouraging other government employees to join the movement by taking the day off. As it turned out, Jan. 16 was a snow day in Washington, D.C., and federal offices were closed. Two organizers of the event, both longtime government employees, told Government Executive—which granted them anonymity to speak—that they had discussed the planned protest with ethics officials at their agencies, who determined that as long as they took leave to participate, they would not be violating any laws or procedures. Participants were also encouraged to communicate about the protest on their personal time using their personal devices, thereby avoiding accusations of violating the Hatch Act. Speaker Johnson said in a tweet that he plans to “initiate appropriate disciplinary proceedings” against participants. But John Mahoney, an attorney focusing on federal employment law, told GovExec that protesters “have First Amendment rights like anyone else to raise grievances with the government,” though they could still face disciplinary action if they misuse leave or engage in misconduct in a manner that “has a nexus to their employment.” After AFSA contacted the State Department and asked it to put out guidance, the department issued a Jan. 22 cable reminding employees that its “political activities guidance does not prevent department employees from expressing their personal opinions about policies and issues” provided they do not connect the issue with a political party, partisan political group, or candidate for partisan political office. AFSA encourages employees to contact their agency ethics officer if they have questions about permissible activities. READINESS Act to Support Spouses The Resilient Employment and Authorization Determination to Increase National Employment of Serving Spouses Act, or READINESS Act, was As though on the Titanic, leaders are steering the world toward catastrophe—more nuclear bombs, vast carbon emissions, dangerous pathogens, and artificial intelligence. Only the big powers like China, America, and Russia can pull us back. Despite deep antagonisms, they must cooperate—or we are doomed. —Former California Gov. Jerry Brown, executive chair of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, in a Jan. 23 press release announcing the Doomsday Clock will remain at 90 seconds to midnight. Contemporary Quote

14 MARCH 2024 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL introduced on Nov. 21, 2023. The bill was spearheaded by Reps. Jasmine Crockett (D-Texas) and Don Bacon (R-Neb.) and had 10 additional co-sponsors. On Dec. 19, the Senate introduced its version of the same bill, sponsored by Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), and Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.). Emmalee Greusen, a co-author of the act, wrote a letter about it in the JanuaryFebruary 2024 Foreign Service Journal, calling it “an initiative [that] creates a retention path for federally employed military and Foreign Service spouses during permanent changes of station.” Report Details DEIA Public Diplomacy Programming Overseas In November 2023, the United States Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy (ACPD) issued a special report titled “Public Diplomacy and DEIA Promotion.” To compile the report, ACPD interviewed more than 150 public diplomacy practitioners at the State Department, three quarters of whom were serving overseas, to better understand how the current emphasis on diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA) has influenced the practice of public diplomacy in the field. ACPD found that public diplomacy officers and locally engaged staff members have produced “significant, and in some cases remarkable, outcomes” given limited resources and capacity constraints. The report’s authors made recommendations for improvement focused on resource and capacity building that would enable posts to better promote DEIA principles. The full report can be found at State Announces Lateral Entry Program On Jan. 24, the State Department announced the launch of the Lateral Entry Pilot Program (LEPP), a fiveyear, congressionally mandated program to recruit mid-level professionals with expertise in areas critical to U.S. foreign policy. The current pilot will bring in up to 35 new mid-level FSOs. LEPP applicants must demonstrate proficiency in their designated specialties. The first jobs to be posted on the USAJobs website include cyberspace, climate diplomacy, and global health security. Applicants must be able to pass the Foreign Service Officer Assessment (FSOA). According to cable 24 State 6722, LEPP is open to current entry-level and former Foreign Service officers, Civil Service employees, contractors, and the general public. More information on the program can be found at AFSA does not support lateral entry into the Foreign Service. State Bypasses Congress As the clock approached midnight in December 2023, the State Department notified congressional committees that it would be bypassing a required congressional review process to send 13,000 rounds of tank ammunition, valued at more than $106 million, to Israel. The rounds are part of a larger, 45,000-round order that is currently under review. The New York Times reported on Dec. 9 that the department invoked an emergency provision in the Arms Export Control Act to bypass Congress. According to the Times, the department has used the emergency provision “at least two times since 2022” to rush weapons to Ukraine. In a statement, Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) wrote: “Congressional review is a critical step for examining any large arms sale. The administration’s decision to short-circuit what is already a quick time frame for congressional review undermines transparency and weakens accountability. The public deserves better.” U.N. Workers Accused of Participating in Oct. 7 Attack on Israel More than 150 employees of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) have died since the conflict in Gaza began on Oct. 7, when Hamas militants attacked Israel. On Jan. 26, Israel claimed to have evidence that at least a dozen UNRWA staff members were complicit in the Oct. 7 attack, causing the U.S., UNRWA’s largest funder, and many other governments to freeze their financial support of the agency. UNRWA was established in 1949 to provide humanitarian assistance to Palestinian refugees. The agency’s commissioner-general, Philippe Lazzarini, said in a statement that he had “taken the decision to immediately terminate the contracts of these staff members and launch an investigation in order to establish the truth without delay.” On Jan. 28, U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres called on UNRWA donors to resume funding, saying that while the “abhorrent alleged acts” of the 12 accused workers must have consequences, “the tens of thousands of men and women who work for UNRWA, many in some of the most dangerous situations for humanitarian workers, should not be penalized,” and the needs of the refugees they serve must continue to be met.

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL | MARCH 2024 15 T his weekly podcast covers issues at the intersection of national security and the law. Hosts Quinta Jurecic and Scott Anderson are fellows in governance studies at the Brookings Institution. Jurecic is also a senior editor at Lawfare, and Anderson is a senior fellow in the National Security Law Program at Columbia Law School and a former attorneyadviser in the State Department’s Office of the Legal Adviser. The hosts have a knack for explaining complicated topics in an approachable and even humorous way. Recent episodes include the “Dry January” edition, in which the hosts discussed the dangers posed by a cross-border attack that killed a senior Hamas official in Beirut, and December’s “Arose Such a Clatter,” in which they discussed recent attacks by Houthi rebels in the Red Sea, along with the election of populist economist Javier Milei as the new president of Argentina. Podcast of the Month: Rational Security ( The appearance of a particular site or podcast is for information only and does not constitute an endorsement. U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Linda Thomas-Greenfield said that while any employees who participated in the attacks must be held accountable, their actions shouldn’t cloud the work of UNRWA, which she called “the only organization on the ground that has the capacity to continue to provide that assistance. And their personnel have done extraordinary work—they’ve literally saved thousands of lives.” Of the 12 employees accused of taking part in the attack, Guterres said nine had been immediately terminated, one was confirmed dead, and “the identity of the two others is being clarified.” According to State Department Deputy Spokesperson Vedant Patel, 23 U.S. citizens have been killed in the Israel-Gaza conflict since fighting broke out on Oct. 7, including a 17-year-old Palestinian American from Louisiana, Tawfic Abdel Jabbar, who was fatally shot in the occupied West Bank on Jan. 19, and 21 members of the Israeli National Police (INF). According to The Washington Post, at least 32 Americans were killed by Hamas The aerial bombardments have rendered our jobs impossible. The withholding of water, fuel, food and other basic goods has created an enormous scale of need that aid alone cannot offset.” U.S. Troops Killed, Wounded in Jordan Three American servicemembers were killed and at least 34 injured in a Jan. 28 drone attack in Jordan. The attack on Tower 22, a U.S. military outpost in the northeast corner of Jordan on the border with Syria, was the latest in a series of attacks carried out by Iranian proxies in the region. Since the start of the Israel-Gaza conflict on Oct. 7, 2023, there have been more than 160 attacks on U.S. personnel in Iraq and Syria. Project 2025 Aims to Dismantle “Administrative State” On Jan. 21, The New York Times Magazine published a long-form interview with Kevin Roberts, Heritage Foundation president since 2021. Heritage’s “Project 2025” aims to, in Roberts’ words, “destroy the administrative state,” in part by instituting “Schedule F,” removing employment protections from the federal workforce and creating a system that allows any administration in power to hire and fire federal employees at will. When asked to elaborate, he said that “people will lose their jobs. Hopefully their lives are able to flourish in spite of that. Buildings will be shut down. … Most importantly, what we’re trying to destroy is the political influence [the administrative state] has over individual American sovereignty, and the only way to do that, or one of the ways to do that, is to diminish the number of unelected bureaucrats who are wielding that power instead of Congress.” during its Oct. 7 attack on Israel, and at least 10 Americans are believed to have been taken hostage by Hamas on Oct. 7— two of whom were later released under a hostage exchange deal. Several U.S. government contractors have also fallen victim to the violence in Gaza. USAID contractor Hani Jnena, along with his wife and two daughters, was killed in an airstrike on Nov. 5, The Washington Post reported. An employee of Save the Children was killed on Dec. 10 along with his wife, four children, and several members of his extended family. “The U.S. concern about these [humanitarian worker] casualties remains almost purely rhetorical. There is no policy leverage being put behind it whatsoever,” Refugees International President Jeremy Konyndyk, a former Biden and Obama administration official, told the Post. On Dec. 11, 2023, the leaders of several NGOs, including Mercy Corps and Save the Children U.S., penned an op-ed for The New York Times, writing in part: “Most of our organizations have been operating in Gaza for decades. …

16 MARCH 2024 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL Retired Ambassador Arrested for Espionage On Dec. 3, 2023, the Associated Press broke the news that Manuel Rocha, a retired Foreign Service officer and former U.S. ambassador to Bolivia, had been arrested for espionage, accused of working as an agent of the Cuban government. He pled not guilty on Feb. 14. Rocha, who was born in Colombia and raised in New York City, received a B.A. from Yale and M.A.s from both Harvard and Georgetown before joining the Foreign Service in 1981. Ambassador (ret.) John Feeley, who served with Rocha in the past, told The New York Times on Dec. 4 this was one of the worst intelligence breaches in recent history, saying: “Manuel literally had the keys to the kingdom. If it had to do with Cuba, he got to see it.” Bill Miller, former director of the Diplomatic Security Service (DSS), told NPR on Dec. 6 that DSS and the FBI would begin damage assessment and damage control. The fact that Rocha left government service two decades ago would make the task much more difficult. It wouldn’t be as easy to pull off such a feat today, Miller said, “because our technology has advanced to the point where we can do more routine monitoring, especially of social media, those things which could prove what we would refer to as undue influence.” First the Boston Tea Party, and Now This A U.S. chemistry professor sparked controversy in the U.K. after claiming that adding a pinch of salt to tea makes for a tastier brew. On Jan. 24, the U.S. embassy in London issued a statement assuring the “good people of the U.K. that the unthinkable notion of adding salt to Britain’s national drink is not official United States policy. And never will be.” The release went on to say that the proper way to make tea is by microwaving it. This jab at British friends reprised a 2020 scandal that began when a U.S. TikTok user recommended microwaving tea. At the time, U.K. Ambassador to the U.S. Dame Karen Pierce called in the military to explain to befuddled Americans how a cup of tea should be brewed. In these (earl) grey times, we’ll take any opportunity for a spot of levity in the news. NYT on Assignment Restrictions On Dec. 31, 2023, The New York Times reported on assignment restrictions at the State Department, interviewing several Asian American Foreign Service officers who believe they have been unfairly scrutinized because of even distant family ties to Asia. Several said they have been banned from working in the region. AFSA State Vice President Tina Wong, who was also interviewed for the article, called the situation “problematic.” The Times reports that the list of posts affected by assignment restrictions includes Russia, Vietnam, and Israel. FSO Thomas Wong, who fought the department for years over an assignment restriction before finally winning an assignment to Beijing in 2023, told the Times, “We should be asking ourselves how to deal with the risk, not cutting off the people who have the best skills from serving altogether. That’s a self-inflicted wound.” n This edition of Talking Points was compiled by Donna Scaramastra Gorman. Interesting and fascinating as Constantinople is, I began to wonder how I was going to get to Alexandria, being then not much nearer than when I first started upon my journey. “Travelling Tredwell,” as Maxwell Blake, at that time in Constantinople, named him, whispered that he had heard that a destroyer might be going to Alexandria. In a day or two the muffled conversation regarding the destroyer’s trip ceased for it had been decided that No. 220, the U.S.S. MacLeish, was to go, and through the courtesy of Admiral Mark Bristol, the High Commissioner, we were to make the voyage together with two naval officers on leave. We were known as the “damn Passengers”! —FSO Ernest L. Ives in “From Pillar to Post,” in the March 1924 American Consular Bulletin (precursor to the FSJ). Agreeable Experiences En Route to Post 100 Years Ago

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL | MARCH 2024 17 SPEAKING OUT Ambassador (ret.) Glyn Davies served 38 years as a Foreign Service officer in Australia, Africa, Europe, Asia, and at the State Department and White House. He was permanent representative to United Nations agencies in Vienna and U.S. ambassador to the Kingdom of Thailand. The celebration this year of the 100th anniversary of the modern Foreign Service and the approaching 250th anniversary of our nation’s founding offers hope that the story of diplomacy’s contribution to America’s success will be well told. How did a small, isolated, experimental republic gain acceptance and ultimately assume global leadership? Our success depended on how well we could navigate among nations. As an acknowledgment of that, the Department of State was established in 1789 as the first administrative arm of the U.S. executive branch. Thomas Jefferson, the first Secretary of State, oversaw just two diplomatic posts, London and Paris, and 10 consular posts. No real estate came with the job, and there was no interest in acquiring any. Remarkably for a nation among the wealthiest by 1900, the United States largely avoided obtaining property to house its diplomats until after World War I. Yet we now have hundreds of historic properties and thousands of artworks, antiquities, and artifacts on six continents. They are a tangible representation of how American diplomacy navigated our way to world leadership. Their historical and cultural value is inestimable. But our nation’s diplomatic treasures are a fragile national resource. Many are centuries old. They require conservation and restoration for which public funding at scale will never be available. Either we dramatically raise awareness of them and adopt a new, robust philanthropic approach to their care, or we risk losing them. What Brought Me to This Challenge I grew up in a Foreign Service family and served 38 years as an FSO, visiting, working, and even living in some of State’s heritage properties. But I never fully understood how we came to own some 260 culturally, historically, or architecturally significant structures. I knew even less about the collections of more than 16,500 artworks and artifacts housed in our missions and residences. And I had no inkling of the challenge State faces in maintaining, much less restoring, it all. In retirement, by luck and coincidence, I found myself serving as a senior adviser to a small team in State’s Office of Cultural Heritage (CH), part of the Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations. I was drawn to it after a lifetime in the Foreign Service and an interest in history and the power of cultural diplomacy. The Office of Cultural Heritage is responsible for cataloguing, assessing, setting standards for, and assisting colleagues worldwide in caring for our many culturally significant properties and far-flung collections. It is not quite a decade old. But the architects, engineers, historians, conservationists, and others among its dozen or so professionals have made great strides in bringing coherence and attention to the challenge of protecting State’s overseas heritage. I learned from them that inadequate funding to address the growing backlog of maintenance creates an especially acute problem for our older properties, typically ruling out needed restoration work or the installation of modern, more environmentally sound systems. We Needed: A New Approach to Protecting America’s Diplomatic Treasures BY GLYN DAVIES Either we dramatically raise awareness of them and adopt a new, robust philanthropic approach to their care, or we risk losing them.

18 MARCH 2024 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL often hear from ambassadors about the problems they confront when they walk through their front doors. An Alternative to Public Funding There is, however, a path to address the challenge that does not involve securing more public funding. After all, the demands of ongoing diplomatic operations will always be more urgent and compelling. This alternate path entails developing a culture of philanthropy based on the stories these places and artifacts tell. Analogous philanthropies already exist at State, namely those supporting our Art in Embassies Program and Diplomatic Reception Rooms. And we have the example of a trust set up to help maintain an overseas property, Winfield House in London, established decades ago by Ambassador Walter Annenberg. The Fund to Conserve U.S. Diplomatic Treasures Abroad, the private sector partner of CH, was founded in 2012. Since then, it has undertaken fundraising efforts for small, one-off decorative arts conservation efforts. Today its evolving mission and organizational structure also provide a vehicle for supporting historic buildings considered heritage assets by the Department of State. A Short History of America’s Public Property Abroad When Benjamin Franklin arrived in Paris in December 1776 as America’s first diplomat, he had a daunting assignment—to win French support for our independence. But he was left to arrange his own lodging and so stayed in a small mansion lent by a rich aristocrat. The house is gone, but the precedent endured. Until the 20th century, our envoys largely fended for themselves. We obtained our first property abroad in 1821, when the Sultan of Morocco presented us with a building in Tangier to cement a friendship begun when his kingdom became the first state to recognize the United States. The Tangier American Legation served as a diplomatic post for a record 140 years. The only building beyond our borders listed on the Secretary of the Interior’s National Register of Historic Places and now a nonprofit library, museum, and study center popular with neighbors, scholars, and visiting Americans, the legation’s future is uncertain. The first property we purchased abroad was the Seoul American Legation, acquired in 1884 and in U.S. possession longer than any other official residence. Our first in Europe was the Palazzo Corpi in Constantinople, bought by our ambassador to the Ottoman Empire in 1907. (Sadly, the popular report that its funding was won in a poker game with congressmen is only legend.) America’s growing global role and early 20th century Foreign Service reforms began to change the status quo. Villa Otium, an Oslo landmark, was the first residence purchased in Western Europe, and we also acquired Schönborn Palace, our Prague embassy whose spotlit flag symbolized freedom during the Cold War. The exquisite Palacio Bosch in Buenos Aires, now an Argentinian national monument, was bought in 1929. The Foreign Buildings Office (now the Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations) also began building. Our landmark Tokyo residence, in which Douglas MacArthur received Japan’s emperor after World War II, was completed in 1931. During the postwar period of U.S. global primacy, we bought and built at a fevered pace. The State Department balked at buying Winfield House for a token dollar from Barbara Hutton, fearing its upkeep would be ruinous, but President Harry Truman ordered its purchase. Collections: Art & Artifacts Many know that State’s Diplomatic Reception Rooms house priceless early American antiques and art, from Jefferson’s desk to Paul Revere’s silver. Far fewer are aware of the rich collections in our overseas missions and residences. Worldwide, our residences, embassies, and consulates house more than 16,500 works of art and artifacts, acquired over generations—statuary conveyed with property, artwork donated by collectors or artists, public art purchased for new buildings, even an antique boat bought to serve an embassy’s needs. CH experts work to catalogue, appraise, assess, and advise our posts on their conservation, care, and display. The crown jewel of our collections is likely Giambologna’s Cesarini Venus, a 16th-century marble statue that conveyed with Palazzo Margherita, our Rome embassy. The art world raved when it went on tour, including to Washington’s National Gallery of Art. “Washington at Princeton,” a portrait painted in 1780 by Charles Willson Peale, was meant as a diplomatic gift to the Dutch during the American Revolution but was seized at sea and kept as a prize of war in Britain for 165 years. Sold into American hands after World War II, it was bequeathed to our ambassador’s residence in Paris. The New York Times published an article in early 2023 about CH’s successful effort to authenticate the enigmatic portrait.