The Foreign Service Journal, October 2018

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL | OCTOBER 2018 51 USAID VP VOICE | BY JEFFREY LEVINE AFSA NEWS Views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the AFSA USAID VP. Contact: | (202) 712-5267 The headlines over the past few years should be upsetting to Foreign Service officers everywhere. These stories affect our lives at home and our work. Better than most, Foreign Service officers know, because we’ve seen it, that when people get upset, they often take it out on others. We’re seeing this now in the headlines in U.S. newspapers, as some of our fellow citizens look to blame others—people who look, act or speak differently from them—for their own troubles. This is a critical moment for FS leadership.We need to be advocates for a better way.We need to provide the leadership to move past this moment. FSOs know from our years of service overseas that one of America’s strengths is our diversity—and not just ethnic or gender diversity, but diver- sity of thought, of geography, of language.While it some- times leads to misunderstand- ings and even arguments, this diversity is what makes us the powerful, creative nation that we are. As FSOs, we need to focus on supporting diversity and inclusion in both our home communities and our work places. A colleague of mine’s email signature quotes Amer- ican author and speaker Joe Gerstandt: “If you do not intentionally, deliberately and proactively include, you will unintentionally exclude.” AFSA President Ambas- sador Barbara Stephenson wrote about preserving core diplomatic power in her May 2018 President’s Views column in The Foreign Service Journal. I would add to her words that as FSOs, we lead through example, doing ourselves what we also ask others to do. This is what gives us credibility and respect from our partners around the world, and what makes our Foreign Service the premier diplomatic corps in the world. Our demon- stration of commitment to diversity and inclusion in our own workforce speaks more to our partners about what the United States stands for than anything they hear in the news or see on Twitter. USAID FSOs work closely with all sorts of host-country local partners, and our leader- ship by example on diversity and inclusion makes a dif- ference not just in terms of promoting American foreign policy objectives, but also in making our overseas com- munities and work places safe, supportive places for men and women of all backgrounds. And it ties into USAID’s stated core values: Respect: Demonstrate respect for one another, our partners and the people we serve in communities around the world. Empowerment: Elevate all voices striving for global economic, environmental and social progress. Inclusion: Value our differences and draw strength from diversity. There are so many ways to support diversity and inclusion that saying “I have no time” is not an acceptable excuse. The easiest and yet maybe the most important action is for FSOs to be seen out front, openly supporting and prac- ticing diversity and inclusion in the office, with our partners, and in our communities. You can help your office, mission or neighborhood to organize an event around diversity and inclusion. Simply joining an Employee Resource Group or Employee Affinity Group will strengthen that group’s ability to advo- cate for its members. Unsure how to engage? Contact your Office for Staff Care, Office of Civil Rights and Diversity, or even your Family Liaisón Office. As FSOs, our leader- ship and actions can make our communities and work places, both in the United States and abroad, better places by fostering an envi- ronment with fair and equal opportunities for career success, advancement and professional development for all employees, thereby building a stronger American diplomat corps and helping us reach our foreign policy objectives. Remember: “If you do not intentionally, deliberately and proactively include, you will unintention- ally exclude.” n FSOs Need to Support Diversity and Inclusion AFSA Governing Board Meeting, August 16, 2018 Retiree Vice President Report: By unanimous consent, the Board directed VP Naland to submit the following names as nominees to the Foreign Service Labor Relations Board: Ambassador Herman Cohen, Ambassador Dennis Hays, Lisa Booker, and Margie Brogan. COO Report: Auditors from Clifton Larson Allen pro- vided a report on their audit of AFSA finances. It was moved that the Governing Board adopt the recommendation of the auditors’ report to establish an enterprise risk management system appropriate for AFSA, the specifics of which will be suggested by the COO at the next Board meeting. The motion was adopted. New Business: On behalf of the Political Action Com- mittee it was moved to amend the PAC SOP by striking “calendar year” and inserting “election cycle, defined as beginning Jan. 1 following an election and ending Dec. 31 of the next election year.”The motion was adopted. n