The Foreign Service Journal, July-August 2021

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL | JULY-AUGUST 2021 61 AFSA TERM REPORT A s this board’s term comes to an end, we can look back with satisfaction at important accomplishments, both in terms of achieving positive changes that benefited our members and protecting the Foreign Service and our members from threats and hostile challenges. Our largest successes in the difficult environment of the Trump administration were defensive: we defended and supported members who were forced to testify or give depositions under subpoena in the first impeach- ment process against President Donald Trump, lobbied and negotiated to get the rules changed to allow us to raise money to support their legal defense, and then raised about $750,000 in direct donations to ensure that not a single AFSAmember was out of pocket a single penny for legal expenses related to impeachment. We also publicly defended our members’ courage in service to the Constitution. Then came COVID-19, and much of the final year of our term was devoted to pushing for additional informa- tion and transparency on vaccinations, health resources, authorized and ordered departure, and equity in the vaccine rollout process. We are relieved that we finished this board term with every AFSAmember, as well as every American family member overseas and all of our Foreign Service National employees overseas, having had access to one of the approved vaccines We did not just play defense, however. Throughout the past two years, we have worked intensively with members of Congress and their staffs to make certain that our foreign affairs and foreign assistance accounts were adequately funded, despite the previous administra- tion’s attempts every year to gut them. After the November elections, we reached out to build relation- ships with the new committee chairs in the House of Representatives and the Senate, and with the congres- sional leadership, to advocate for needed changes to our foundational legislation and for urgent action on diversity, equality of benefits and protection from harm. We worked rapidly to establish close ties to the new Biden administration after the inauguration, promoting AFSA’s priority goals and objectives and seeking to be a partner on efforts to make progress on diversity and inclusion, professional education and training, and reform of parts of our Foreign Service career path. We began the campaign to press for a significant expansion of the Foreign Service in all agencies, a goal that appears to be within reach this year. Despite the shutdown of AFSA offices for nearly a year and a half due to the pandemic, we maintained member services and outreach at their prepandemic levels, and leveraged the new technologies of telework and virtual public platforms to ensure that we kept our members engaged and informed. 2019-2021 AFSA Governing Board Term Report We are pleased to present the term report for the 2019-2021 AFSA Governing Board. In 2019, we moved away from the separate printed annual report of past years, opting instead for a Governing Board term report covering the two years of the most recent board. This report gives a view of the activity and accom- plishments of our elected officers and vice presidents during their term, as well as highlighting the work of each AFSA department. –Ásgeir Sigfússon, Executive Director President’s Message