The Foreign Service Journal, May 2022

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL | MAY 2022 59 Staying Connected with Colleagues RETIREE VP VOICE | BY JOHN K. NALAND AFSA NEWS Contact: As the global pandemic fades (hopefully permanently), activities are restarting at most of the 16 state or regional Foreign Service retiree associations around the country. These groups, while independent of AFSA, support the common goal of keeping Foreign Service retir- ees and other former foreign affairs personnel in touch with each other and the profes- sion to which they dedicated decades of their lives. If you have never partici- pated in one of these groups, please see the list starting on page 9 of your 2022 AFSA Directory of Retired Members or at ciations. There are groups in 12 states plus two that serve a multistate region (for example, New England). Cali- fornia and Texas have multiple chapters. If you live near one, please consider contacting the organizer to join. The group that I coor- dinate—the 250-member Foreign Affairs Retirees of Northern Virginia—is a good example. Founded in 1994, we meet five times a year for lunch and a guest speaker. The best part of the meet- ings is the informal table talk before the presentation during which longtime friends catch up with each other and meet other colleagues who served at the same posts in different years. Once a year, we visit a winery owned by a retired ambassador. If any of the other retiree associations have not yet resumed operations, I encour- age them to do so. If the leaders of any of those groups stepped down during the long pandemic hiatus, or if there is not a group in your area and you are interested in starting one, AFSA is available to help area retirees connect with each other to form a coordi- nating committee. For assistance and more information, contact Christine Miele, AFSA’s director of pro- grams and member engage- ment, at or (202) 338-4045. In addition, I am available to share my experience on programming and coordi- nation based on six years leading the Northern Virginia group. You can reach me at n Foreign Service retiree associations around the country … support the common goal of keeping retirees and other former foreign affairs personnel in touch with each other and the profession to which they dedicated decades of their lives. Annual Report: Legal Defense Fund BY MARY DALY, LDF COMMITTEE CHAIR The AFSA Legal Defense Fund supported three Foreign Service members in 2021, including one related to an ongoing case in the Southern District of New York stem- ming from 2019 Ukraine hearings. This marks a return to the average number of requests for assistance AFSA has typically received annually (1 to 2) in the past; 2019-2020 saw 12 requests, an unusually high number by comparison and all impeachment-related. Between donations and investment income, the fund did well financially during 2021. The fund began the year with $331,500; at year- end, it contained $341,963. During the year, five disbursements were made in support of three AFSA mem- bers for a total of $17,401. Over the same period, $16,511 was raised through donations to the fund from members and supporters. The LDF Committee, working with AFSA’s Gov- erning Board, has con- scientiously invested the LDF funds to ensure the long-term sustainability of this vital member-centered program. The Legal Defense Fund was created in 2007 and since then has provided financial assistance to mem- bers enabling them to retain an outside attorney with expertise in a particular area of law. These cases have been— and will continue to be—lim- ited to those with legal issues of far-reaching significance to the rest of the Foreign Ser- vice, such as cases involving due process or fundamental fairness. The governing documents for the Legal Defense Fund call for an annual report to AFSA membership on the main activities of the fund during the previous year. For more information about the fund, please contact AFSA General Counsel Sharon Papp at . n