The Foreign Service Journal, November 2013

56 NOVEMBER 2013 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL AFSA NEWS Educating the American pub- lic about the importance of diplomacy, development and the Foreign Service has long been one of AFSA’s stated missions. One of our most important mechanisms for that education is our ongo- ing series of Road Scholar programs focused on current foreign policy issues as seen through the eyes of the Foreign Service. Since their inception in 1996, more than 10,000 participants have joined retired and active- duty members of the Foreign Service to learn about international affairs and U.S. diplomacy. Originally presented under the old “Elderhostel” name, thousands of Road Scholar programs are offered around the world each year. The AFSA programs are truly unique among them, serving up a more cerebral, presentation-focused sched- ule with less time devoted to excursions and field trips— although all programs in Washington, D.C., do include at least a visit to a foreign embassy or the Foreign Ser- vice Institute. Once the program’s theme has been deter- mined, we gather eight to 10 speakers who address that theme from a variety of viewpoints and experiences. Recent theme programs have included Africa, the Western Hemisphere, South Asia and AFSA’s Road Scholar Collaboration BY ÁSGEIR SIGFÚSSON, DIRECTOR OF NEW MEDIA Global Terrorism, and North Africa and the Middle East. While we have offered programs in a variety of loca- tions over the years, today they take place in Washing- ton, D.C, and Chautauqua, N.Y. The programs at the Chautauqua Institution (see the November 2011 issue of AFSA News for more) have a flavor of their own: six retired diplomats each lecture on two topics and spend a week with the 150 participants in a secluded setting. This allows for a more immersive experi- ence. Over the years, AFSA has been gratified to see partici- pants depart each program with a true appreciation for the work of the Foreign Ser- vice and hopefully, go on to be vocal supporters in their home communities. This fall, we offered five Road Scholar programs; four in Washington and one in Chautauqua. All were filled to capacity, with 350 individuals getting up close and personal with the Foreign Service. Ambassador David Shinn lectures about the Chinese role in Africa at AFSA’s October Road Scholar program in Washington, D.C. PHOTOBYJULIANSTEINER Dissent Awards: Nominate a Colleague (or Yourself) Next year, we celebrate 90 years of the Foreign Service and AFSA. Now, more than ever, we hope to see viable candidates nominated for our dissent awards. Nomina- tions are now open. For more than 40 years, AFSA has encouraged and recognized constructive dis- sent in the Foreign Service through its annual awards program. AFSA’s awards for constructive dissent are unique within the U.S. gov- ernment. The director general of the Foreign Service co-sponsors the annual ceremony held Dissent continued on page 59 For the first time, we offered a highly successful program focused exclusively on Africa. Speakers such as Ambassadors Dane Smith, Lange Schermerhorn, David Shinn, Michael Southwick, Hank Cohen and Charles Ray spoke on the Sudan, the Congo, Kenya, Zimbabwe and the Horn of Africa. We are always looking for speakers who are interested in volunteering in these programs. If you would like to participate, please e-mail with your name, topics you would like to speak about and a short bio. You can learn more at n in the Benjamin Franklin Diplomatic Reception Room at the Department of State. We celebrate those who have had the courage to dissent, as well as those who perform their duties in an exemplary manner. AFSA is proud to uphold the tradition of construc- tive dissent for these many years, and we look forward to our ongoing role in recog- nizing those who have the intelligence and courage to define a flaw and develop an alternative. The criteria for dissent