A F S A N E W S NOV EMB E R 2 0 1 1 / F OR E I GN S E R V I C E J OU R N A L 73 T his year, AFSA is thrilled to report that for the first time, the National High School Essay contest will receive generous sponsorship from two prestigious donors, Booz AllenHamilton and the Institute for ShipboardEducation. ISE is providing the winner with a “Semester at Sea,” a 105-day voyage of dis- covery aboard the M.V. Explorer . The aca- demic program — sponsored by the UniversityofVirginia—offers college-level course work and in-port field studies. To learnmore about this exceptional program, please go to www.semesteratsea.org. Se e also the article on Semester At Sea in the September AFSA News . Booz Allen’s substantial support will cover funding for the $2,500 prize; travel to Washington, D.C., for the winner and hisorherparents tomeetwith theSecretary of State; and publicity for the contest. This year’s contest asks students to assume the role of U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, Cuba, Egypt, Japan, South Sudan or theUnitedNations. Their essay must outline how they would address major concerns involving theU.S. and their chosennationor theU.N. Through inde- pendent research, studentsmust determine the foreign policy issues and define the resources available to them at post. The essay contest, open tonon-Foreign Service high school students from across theUnitedStates, was inaugurated in1999 to commemorate the 75th anniversary of AFSA and plays an important role in the association’s national outreach efforts. The goals of the contest are to raise thepro- file of the Foreign Service, identify out- standing students andpromote theForeign Service as a career choice. Essayswill be accepted fromNov. 15 to April 15, 2012. The essay winner will be announced in early summer 2012. Please note that children of Foreign Service employees are ineligible. For more information, please visit www.afsa.org/essaycontest or contact Perri Green, AFSA’s Coordinator for Special Awards and Outreach at green@ afsa.org or (202) 719-9700. Win AFSA’s Essay Contest and Sail Around the World! BY PERRI GREEN, SPECIAL AWARDS COORDINATOR New Governing Board Holds Planning Retreat BY PATRICK BRADLEY, EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT O nSaturday, Sept. 17, the 2011-2013 AFSA Governing Board met at headquarters for a much-antici- pated strategic planning retreat. The board identified a number of priority issues, with protecting overseas comparability pay and benefits at the top of their list. Additional challenges, such as working to suspend or eliminate When Actually Employed hour and salary caps, were dis- cussed. Members noted that a number of goals set by the previous Governing Board at the 2009-2011 retreat have been met, including the upgrade of the AFSA Web site and improvements to inter- nal/external communication capabilities. Under the guidance of facilitator CaroleRylander of RylanderAssociates, the strategic planning session focused on AFSA’s broad goals and organizational mission and vision. The board, joined by some AFSA staff, broke into teams, each teamchargedwith one of five facets of the organization: core advocacy; profession- alismand effectiveness; governance; image and outreach; and membership and development. Boardmembers engaged in a lively discussion following the reports by each team. AFSA’s Governing Board is unique because the association serves as both a professional organization and a union. Boardmembers are elected fromthe asso- ciation’s constituencies, and con- tinue to be paid by the agencies they work for. While AFSA’s president and some vice presi- dents work full-time on behalf of the association, the remaining boardmembers continue to serve full-time in their Washington, D.C., assignments. “The retreat providedus with an opportunity to reviewAFSA’s strategic roadmap— leading us to a plan that will provide deep- er services toourmembers and further our mission goals as the voice of the Foreign Service,” commented IanHouston, AFSA’s executive director. In closing, the board defined further topics to consider and actions to take as they move forward with the 2011-2013 agenda. For more information on the retreat, please see thePresident’sViews col- umn on p. 5. (Left to right) AFSA USAID Rep. Iris Young and State Reps. Elise Mellinger, William Bent and David Zwach contribute to defin- ing AFSA’s strategy for 2011 to 2013 during the Sept. 17 GB retreat. The goals of the contest are to raise the profile of the Foreign Service, identify outstanding students and promote the Foreign Service as a career choice.