The Foreign Service Journal, July-August 2022

16 JULY-AUGUST 2022 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL Missions; a career Civil Service member to be assistant secretary of State for interna- tional security and nonproliferation; and three political appointees (special envoy for anti-Semitism, head of the sanctions office, and the assistant secretary for arms control, verification and compliance). Currently, four senior positions at the Department of State have nominees who have yet to be confirmed. In addition, two positions do not yet have a nominee, including the position of under secre- tary of State for public affairs and public diplomacy. There still is no nominee for State inspector general. At USAID, three nominees remain unconfirmed, and two positions lack a nominee (one nomination was withdrawn in early April). The CEO of the U.S. Agency for Global Media has yet to be confirmed. AFSA is currently tracking 56 ambas- sador vacancies across the globe, 31 of which have a nominee. Nominations that have been announced since our last update include 16 career Foreign Service members (Fiji, Uruguay, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Tunisia, North Macedonia, Slovakia, Mali, Mongolia, Saudi Ara- bia, Nicaragua, Qatar, Nepal, Thailand, Zambia and Ukraine) and five political appointees (Morocco, Hungary, ASEAN, the Bahamas, and Trinidad and Tobago). In addition, career FSO Geoffrey Pyatt was nominated to be assistant secretary for energy resources. Members can follow AFSA’s ambassa- dor tracker for real-time updates at afsa. org/ambassadorlist. Second Global COVID-19 Summit Held B uilding on the pandemic response goals laid out at the first Global COVID-19 Summit in 2021, officials from the United States as well as Belize, Germany, Indonesia and Senegal co- hosted the second Global COVID-19 Summit on May 12. The event, which was held virtually, reviewed current collective efforts and called on nongovernmental organiza- tions, world leaders, members of civil society and the private sector to “make new commitments” to vaccination, test- ing and preparedness programs. Secretary of State Antony Blinken offered opening remarks at the session “Advancing Health Security, Preventing Health Crises,” in which he discussed three areas where countries can work together to prepare for and prevent the next pandemic. Sustained funding for global health, strengthened collective capacity to detect and respond to health emergen- cies and modernized global health architecture, the Secretary said, will ensure a future response that is “swifter, better coordinated and more equitable with more countries represented across decision-making and execution.” USAID announced an additional $200 million commitment toward instituting a new pandemic preparedness and global health security fund at the World Bank. Sustained, collaborative approaches to both immediate and long-term impacts of the pandemic were a focus. Russian Diplomat Resigns in Protest B oris Bondarev, a veteran Russian diplomat assigned to the United Nations in Geneva, resigned on May 23 before disseminating a letter of harsh criticism of the Russian invasion of Ukraine to about 40 foreign colleagues, the Associated Press reported. “It is intolerable what my government is doing now,” Bondarev told the AP. “As a civil servant, I have to carry a share of responsibility for that. And I don’t want to do that.” The resignation comes at a time when Russian President Vladimir Putin’s government is suppressing expressions of dissent with increasing force. In his letter, Bondarev wrote: “Today, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is not about diplomacy. It is all about war- mongering, lies and hatred. It serves the interests of the few, the very few people thus contributing to further isolation and degradation of my country. Russia no longer has allies, and there is no one to blame but its reckless and ill-conceived policy.” In an interview with The New York Times , Bondarev offered that while he believed he was in the minority of Rus- sian diplomats opposing the war, he was not alone. At the time of this writing, Rus- sian officials had not issued a response to the statement. State’s Retention Unit Seeks Employee Input I n an effort to develop the State Department’s first comprehensive retention plan, the Bureau of Global Talent Management’s Retention Unit— announced by Secretary Blinken in his October modernization speech and rolled out in early 2022—is asking for help to determine why employees stay or leave. In a May 17 email to personnel, the unit outlined its goal of gathering both qualitative and quantitative data to bet- ter understand how to retain staff and improve the employee experience. Marcia Bernicat is sworn in as Director General May 31. U.S.DEPARTMENTOFSTATE