The Foreign Service Journal, November 2015

AFSA NEWS CALENDAR THE OFFICIAL RECORD OF THE AMERICAN FOREIGN SERVICE ASSOCIATION AFSA President Urges Focus on “New Threat Set” at NYC’s Lincoln Center THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL | NOVEMBER 2015 69 November 4 12-2 p.m. AFSA Governing Board Meeting November 9 FEHB Open Season Begins (closes December 14) November 11 Veterans Day: AFSA Offices Closed November 15-19 AFSA Road Scholar Program Washington, D.C. November 19 1-4 p.m. Second Annual AFSA Book Market November 26 and 27 Thanksgiving: AFSA Offices Closed On Sept. 17, American Foreign Service Association Presi- dent Ambassador Barbara Stephenson delivered the keynote address to a gath- ering of University College London alumni and faculty at New York City’s Lincoln Center. In a room filled with experts from across the professional spectrum, Amb. Stephenson spoke of a new set of global threats requiring a fresh approach to conduct- ing foreign affairs. According to Stephenson, this “new threat set”—climate change, immigration, rising oceans, declining fisheries, pandemics, cyberattacks, etc.—is not readily addressed by the application of military force, but more so by a cadre AFSA/MARIAC.LIVINGSTON;LINCOLNCENTERBYSIX/CREATIVECOMMONS Continued on page 76 of multidisciplinary thought leaders with diplomats at the helm. Citing the National Intel- ligence Council’s 2012 report, “Global Trends 2030: Alter- nativeWorlds,” Stephenson explained how certain trends are fundamentally altering the international affairs playing field. The empowerment of subnational actors, such as cities; the growth of the global middle class; democratization of technology; and the shift in economic influence from north to south and fromwest to east all mean that power is less concentrated in the hands of the U.S. government and its traditional nation-state allies. In light of such sea change, Stephenson laid out what she believes is the central chal- lenge for traditional governing institutions: “There are so many actors, and power is now so diffuse, that there is a real risk of the noise simply overwhelming the ability to take effective, collective action.” Stephenson described a new global operating envi- ronment where stakeholder engagement and social license have become “abso- lutely central” to closing the “governance gap” (i.e., making progress on global issues). “Having approval from a handful of elites in business and government is no longer enough,” she stressed.“Today Top left: AFSA President Ambassador Stephenson delivers the keynote address. Top right: Lincoln Center. Bottom left: University College London alumni during the reception. Bottom right: Panel speakers were (left) Michael Arthur, UCL president and provost, (center) Dame Nicola Brewer, UCL vice provost for international projects, and (right) Stephenson. you need a wide range of part- ners to craft a way forward that is accepted as fair.” To underscore her point, she highlighted Secretary of State John Kerry’s “Our Ocean” conference as a prime example of American diplo- mats’ ability—indeed, their imperative—to use soft power to make progress on one of today’s most vexing chal- lenges—protecting the global commons. That event brought together nontraditional stakeholders, including those reliant on the ocean for their livelihoods and practitioners literate in ocean and marine life sciences, to help cut through the noise to define an agenda focused on the