The Foreign Service Journal, November 2015

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL | NOVEMBER 2015 73 AFSA NEWS New Partnership Engages Next Generation: Building Peace through Diplomacy Presidents of the American Foreign Service Associa- tion and the United States Institute of Peace—Ambas- sador Barbara Stephenson and Nancy Lindborg—agree: American youth must be educated on the importance of building peace around the world through diplomacy. Why? Nonviolent resolu- tions are far less costly in human and financial terms, and today’s global challenges require the creative thinking and active engagement of the next generation. In that spirit, the leaders of both organizations gathered on Sept. 30 at USIP head- quarters inWashington, D.C., to launch a new partnership: USIP’s co-sponsorship of the AFSA National High School Essay Contest, with amplified reach and content reflective of today’s global challenges. AFSA’s National High School Essay Contest, estab- lished in 1999 to encourage appreciation for diplomacy’s role in advancing economic prosperity and national security, is among the asso- ciation’s principal outreach tools to young people whose parents are not in the Foreign Service. USIP retired its own flagship National Peace Essay Contest in 2014, after a 27-year run, to focus on further developing its other initiatives targeting high school students and teach- ers through the educational programs and resources of its Global Peacebuilding Center (see . The AFSA-USIP partner- ship is thus a natural one, as both organizations’ missions are focused on U.S. engage- ment in building a more peaceful and stable world. In addition to the conflict resolu- tion work it does around the globe, USIP provides analy- sis, education and unique resources for those working for peace. AFSA promotes a better understanding of how the Foreign Service is well placed to foster peace. Speaking at the launch, USIP President Lindborg said: “This new USIP-AFSA partner- ship highlights the important relationship between diplo- macy and peacebuilding. It will challenge and encourage students to think critically about why it is so important that the U.S. government engages globally and with partners to tackle the con- flicts that dominate today’s headlines, as well as those of tomorrow.” Amb. Stephenson, too, was enthusiastic about the partnership’s potential: “The American public needs to understand the Foreign Service’s role in building peace to end wars. This initiative can propel that understanding forward.” She added, “Our goal is to get the entire country, including our policymakers, thinking about how to not just end wars, but how diplomacy can help avert them in the first place.” Through this alliance, USIP has joined the distinguished list of contest co-sponsors, including Semester at Sea and the National Student Leadership Conference. USIP’s influence is reflected in the 2016 essay contest title: “Building Peace through Diplomacy.” Entrants are asked to imagine themselves as a member of the Foreign Ser- vice assigned to a functional bureau within the Department of State or the U.S. Agency for International Develop- ment. The essay should offer a peacebuilding solution to a particular conflict or crisis that threatens U.S. interests abroad. The submission dead- line is March 15, 2016. The winner will receive a $2,500 cash prize, an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C., to meet the Secretary of State and tour USIP, and a full-tuition-paid voyage with Semester at Sea upon the student’s enrollment at an accredited university. The runner-up will receive a $1,250 cash prize and a full scholarship to participate in the International Diplomacy Program of the National Stu- dent Leadership Conference. To learn more about the 2016 National High School Essay Contest, visit www.afsa. org/essaycontest or contact Foreign Service Profession Awards Coordinator Perri Green at . For additional information on USIP, visit . n —Maria C. Livingston, Associate Editor USIP President Nancy Lindborg (left) and AFSA President Ambassador Barbara Stephenson celebrate the launch of the AFSA-USIP cosponsorship of the 2016 AFSANational Essay Contest. COURTESYOFU.S. INSTITUTEOFPEACE/FITZ-PATRICK