The Foreign Service Journal, May 2024

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL | MAY 2024 45 1998 2000 1998 Al-Qaida attacks American embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam, killing more than 200. 1999 AFSA conducts first annual high school essay contest. AFSA engages in a highprofile fight against assignment of State Department Civil Service employee to deputy chief of mission position on which qualified FS officers had bid. Foreign Service Grievance Board sides with AFSA, but Secretary of State Madeleine Albright overrules decision on national security grounds. Congress extends law enforcement availability pay to Diplomatic Security special agents. 2000 Delavan Foundation funds Tex Harris Award honoring specialists for constructive dissent. The Anonymous Workers: FSNs Deserve More Respect FSNs provide support and continuity in operations at overseas posts and are essential to the conduct of American diplomacy. They assist Foreign Service employees in the political, economic, consular and administrative functions, as well as in public diplomacy and in foreign assistance programs; they acquaint newly arrived personnel with work procedures and provide background information important to the job. They are the secretaries, drivers and maintenance workers. Often, it is the FSN who provides the entrée to the foreign ministry, the customs official, the bureaucrat in the local office. It is the FSN who can cut through red tape and navigate the shoals of local languages and customs. —R. Michael Gall, retired member of the Senior Executive Service, May 1995 FSJ. East Africa: A Bang with the Weight of a Freight Train I was into my second year as U.S. ambassador to Kenya. With two colleagues from the Commerce Department, I was meeting with the Kenyan minister of commerce … on the top floor of a high-rise building opposite the embassy. The sound of an explosion attracted many to the window; I was among the last to stand up. A huge bang with the weight of a freight train bore through the room, throwing me back. The building swayed; I thought I was going to die. I blacked out for a moment, came to and descended the endless flights of stairs with a colleague. Only when we exited the building did I see what had happened to the embassy. I realized in an instant that no one was going to take care of me, and I had better get to work. —Pru Bushnell, ambassador (ret.), from “Reflections on the U.S. Embassy Bombings in Kenya and Tanzania, 20 Years Later,” July-August 2018 FSJ. The Identity Crisis of the American Embassy Unfortunately, the same visual cues that convey the key democratic ideals of openness and accessibility can transmit vulnerability, while those that convey strength and impenetrability can transmit aloofness, anxiety and an absence of goodwill. Security is about more than building stronger or more formidable buildings—it is about providing decent workplaces and residences for diplomats as part of an overall commitment to America’s overseas presence. —Jane C. Loeffler, architectural historian, June 2000 FSJ. May 1985 FSJ, Beirut. June 2012 FSJ. June 2000 FSJ. December 2012 FSJ.