The Foreign Service Journal, September 2009

Open House Marks Official Reopening of HQ W ith tables swathed in moss- green embroidered Chinese silk and paper lanterns hang- ing over a bountiful buffet, AFSA offi- cially reopened its doors on May 28 for an afternoon reception for its members, friends and supporters. The décor, set off by tea-light candles around the room, transformed what is usually a utilitarian space into a decidedly luxu- rious environment with an Asian feel. AFSA staff and board were on hand to welcome guests at 4 p.m., and within minutes the large reception room was filled with people enjoying conversation, drinks and hors d’oeuvres. The guests included former and current AFSA board members and staff, as well as many retired ambassadors. AFSA was also pleased towelcome Under Secretary for Management Patrick Kennedy and other top department officials. The renovation of AFSA headquarters took about 17 months to complete. Staff were relocated to tem- porary quarters in Rosslyn, only to lose their temporary space there in December 2008 when the renova- tion took longer than expected. After several months of telecom- muting, AFSA em- ployees are glad to be back in a revamped building with com- fortable meeting rooms and convenient kitchens and bathrooms. Executive Director Ian Houston warmly welcomed guests, hailing the many people who made the renovation a success: the governing board, archi- tects, designers and contractors, staff and members. He saluted Catering So- lutions, which not only provided the af- ternoon’s tasty repast, but also decorated the reception room. AFSA Secretary Tex Harris stood up and organized an impromptu cheer for outgoing AFSA President John Na- land, who would soon depart for Iraq. Naland’s farewell remarks focused on the hard work that the board and staff had put in over recent months, citing Houston, in particular, not only for handling the last part of the renova- tion, but also for his tireless legislative work. The event succeeded on all fronts and officially affirmed that AFSA folks were home again. ❏ O n the morning of June 5, the National War College awarded its annual writing awards to a small group of graduating students. Of these awards, AFSA sponsors the George Kennan Writing Award, given each year in honor of the best paper by a State Department employee. This year, AFSA President John Naland was on hand in the War College’s Lincoln Auditorium to present a $250 check to the 2009 winner, Patricia Ma- honey. Ms. Mahoney wrote a paper titled “The Ser- bian Orthodox Church and Serb Identity.” She was nominated for the award by Professor Roy Stafford, a faculty mem- ber. The George Kennan Writing Award was first given in 1992, when AFSA agreed to sponsor an Excellence inWriting Award at the National War College. The prize money is specifically designated for the purchase of professional books. The college determines the criteria for the award and selects the winner. The win- ning essay is chosen without regard to the particular service or department of the student author, and without regard to a particular theme. AFSA is proud to participate in a ceremony that recog- nizes outstanding effort and accom- plishment in writing, research and aca- demic endeavors. AFSA also congratulates the eight other students who were recognized at the ceremony, in addition to Ms. Ma- honey. ❏ A F S A N E W S Left to right: AFSA President John Naland, former President Tony Holmes, Executive Director Ian Houston, Treasurer Andrew Winter and former President John Limbert cut the ribbon to officially mark AFSA Head- quarters’ reopening, May 28. CHRISTINE WARREN AFSA Honors Writing Award Winner BY ASGEIR SIGFUSSON 64 F O R E I G N S E R V I C E J O U R N A L / S E P T E M B E R 2 0 0 9 AFSA President John Naland (left) presents check to Patricia Mahoney, the George Kennan Writing Award winner. Major General Robert Steel, USAF (at right), the commandant of the National War College, offici- ated at the ceremony. NATIONAL DEFENSE UNIVERSITY