The Foreign Service Journal, April 2018

12 APRIL 2018 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL ing you think of what state you want to be in after retirement. I hope you will enclose this excep- tional article or something similar in the welcoming package of every new FS employee—foremost secretaries (now FS specialists). If I’d had this information when I joined in 1973, I certainly would have had a larger pension than I now have. The advice truly reveals a caring, soul-reaching Foreign Service. Makes me even more proud to have been a member. Kudos to the author! Catherine I. Postupack FSO, retired Tamaqua, Pennsylvania On Foreign Development Aid: Tom Dichter Responds I am writing in response to the critical discussions of my November critique of development assistance by Desaix “Terry” Myers and Raymond Malley in the March “Letters-Plus .” Mr. Myers says I do not define what I mean by foreign aid. Perhaps I failed by not being explicit enough. I thought my repeated use of the term “develop- ment,” along with the data on some of the agencies that work in that sphere, would make clear that I refer exclusively to aid for development and thus not for diplomacy, national security, disaster relief, military sales, etc. Mr. Myers claims that “constant re- invention” undertaken by USAID, the World Bank and others is evidence that the aid establishment does listen to its critics. But the reinvention Meyers notes amounts to a dumbing down of develop- ment aid in response to the public and Congress. It is, indeed, these political pressures that, as both Mr. Myers and Mr. Malley admit, give us the short-termism, the lack of local ownership, the overwrought focus on indica- tors and log-frame templates, and the heavy emphasis on relieving extreme poverty (which P.T. Bauer, whom I quote in the piece, reminds us is “altogether different” than development). Instead my article focuses on 40 years of criticism by people with development aid experience who are thoughtful about it. And what they’ve said has not been listened to—that, among other criti- cisms, aid for development has become a self-perpetuating industry; that it pretty much ignores political, cultural and social structural complexity; and especially Bauer’s historically demonstrable point that “foreign aid is patently not necessary to emerge from poverty.” Myers and Malley seem to ignore the central point in my piece: the develop- ment aid industry cannot face Bauer’s critique because if it did, it would have to commit to a reduced future for itself: a less central role, less money and fewer jobs. My discussion of the growing numbers of stakeholders and their addic- tion to lucrative aid contracts serves as evidence of that self-interest. Thomas Dichter Washington, D.C. Parents of Special Needs Kids Want to Serve I would like to comment on the March Speaking Out, “Families with Special Needs Kids Need Support,” by Kathi S ilva. I am an FSO with two special needs children. In my experience, which began 20 years ago, there was zero help from MED or HR. Though I asked both for assis- tance in identifying any post where I could go overseas, I got no answer from either. When I pressed the issue, HR sug- gested I convert to the Civil Service. When I opted not to do that, but filled vacant Foreign Service positions at the State Department in Washington, D.C., I was warned by the Director Gen- eral in writing that I would be fired if I did not go overseas. So I volunteered for a position overseas and went alone. Sounds like very little has changed, sadly, to assist Foreign Service personnel with special needs children. Robert Ward FSO Washington, D.C. An Unfortunate Pairing I want to point out the distasteful juxtaposition in the March Journal of a cover article on sexual harassment in the Foreign Service (“#StateToo: Ending Harassment at the State Department,” by Ambassador (ret.) Leslie Bassett) and the back page ad for liability insurance in case one is ever accused of “gender discrimination.” I’m going to assume this was an unfortunate coincidence, because it’s a bad look for both AFSA and the adver- tiser if it isn’t. Beth Milton FSO Foreign Service Institute Correction The name of the co-founder and current CEO of the employment agency Serving Talent, quoted in the March article, “Still Waiting: Family Member Employment Today,” was misspelled. The correct name is Marcelle Yeager. We regret the error. n