The Foreign Service Journal, June 2022

Please check for the most up-to-date information. June 15 12-2 p.m. AFSA Governing Board Meeting June 20 Juneteenth: AFSA offices closed July 4 Independence Day: AFSA offices closed July 20 12-2 p.m. AFSA Governing Board Meeting AFSA NEWS AFSA NEWS THE OFFICIAL RECORD OF THE AMERICAN FOREIGN SERVICE ASSOCIATION Book Notes Lessons from the Edge with Marie Yovanovitch CALENDAR THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL | JUNE 2022 51 AFSA was honored to host Ambassador (ret.) Marie “Masha”Yovanovitch for an in-person discussion of her new memoir, Lessons from the Edge , on March 30. This highly anticipated members- only event, conducted in a hybrid format, drew an audi- ence of 50 people to AFSA headquarters and several hundred more to the Zoom livestream. AFSA President Eric Rubin praised the book as he welcomed Amb. Yovanovitch: “Those of you who’ve read the book know that it is a wonderful memoir, but not just a memoir. It’s really about our profession, the values that we as diplomats bring with us when we carry out our missions overseas and here at home—doing the right thing in a tough situation.” Integrity, Amb. Yovanovitch pointed out, is a key theme in her book but also, more broadly, in a public service career. “Even those little decisions that we make in the course of our work that don’t determine our foreign policy—it’s important to get them right,” she said. “As you rise in the ranks, you’re build- ing on those past decisions. You need to set an example not only for our local employ- ees, who are watching what we’re doing, but also for the Foreign Service officers who come behind you.” Another thread running through Amb. Yovanovitch’s memoir is the ever-present threat that corruption poses, both in the countries where she served and, at a certain point, in the country she represented abroad. “I was pulled out of Embassy Kyiv because of a corrupt deal between Ukrai- nian government officials and private citizens in the U.S.,” she recounted.“It was a terrible time for me, but more broadly, it was a terrible time for U.S. diplomacy and our national security interests. Not only did it empower bad actors, but it also undermined our ambas- sadors, our embassies.” The experience, she said, serves as a reminder that “we need to tend and defend our democracy if it is to endure.” As she notes in the book, sometimes public servants must be “willing to risk it all in the fight to make our institu- tions live up to our ideals.” Amb. Yovanovitch also used the opportunity to thank AFSA for the support it provided during Trump’s first impeachment inquiry, when she was subpoenaed to testify before Congress. “I want to thank the many people at AFSA who helped me personally during the ter- rible summer and fall of 2019,” she said. “It was the worst year of my life, but AFSA had my back. I had just been pulled out of Ukraine, and I didn’t know what to make of it. When I came to AFSA, I was believed, and that was so important to me.” When asked what she would tell those considering a career in diplomacy, she said she advises them to take Amb. Marie Yovanovitch and AFSA President Eric Rubin discuss the new memoir. Rubin is holding up a copy of his review of the book in the April FSJ . the leap. “I had a great career in the Foreign Service; I felt that I could make a difference every day, even as a junior officer. But you need to be realistic and know yourself, because what we do is really hard, both professionally and personally. A career in the Foreign Service comes with incredible highs and satisfac- tion, but it also comes with real challenges and sacrifices.” Masha Yovanovitch served as the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Armenia and Kyr- gyzstan, in addition to other senior positions during her 33-year diplomatic career. She retired from the State Department in 2020 and is a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and a nonresident fel- low at Georgetown University. AFSAmembers can view the entire book talk at n AFSA/JULIAWOHLERS