The Foreign Service Journal, November 2015

80 NOVEMBER 2015 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL AFSA NEWS Speakers Bureau a Critical Instrument in AFSA’s Outreach Toolbox American Foreign Service Association President Ambassador Barbara Stephenson has a vision: to make the Foreign Service stronger, in fact and in repu- tation. Thus, she has called for enhanced outreach to tell our Foreign Service story and build support among non-FS audiences. The AFSA Speakers Bureau has, for decades, been the association’s premier program for match- ing diplomats interested in speaking on their Foreign Service experiences with uni- versities, community groups and international affairs fora. As such, the bureau will play a critical role in AFSA’s enhanced outreach efforts. In the June issue of The Foreign Service Journal , we were proud to report that the number of AFSA Speakers Bureau volunteers had more than doubled to 300 since we issued a new call for speak- ers in February’s FSJ . By the end of September, that num- ber had grown to 340, with more volunteers stepping up every day. However, with 70 percent of our speakers in the Wash- ington, D.C., area, we are con- tinually seeking volunteers beyond the Beltway. For that, the program relies heavily on our retiree members to suc- ceed. We encourage all AFSA members to proactively seek opportunities for the AFSA Speakers Bureau to reach groups across the country. It’s hard to know who benefits more, the speaker or the audience. Retired Foreign Service Officer and Speakers Bureau veteran Molly Williamson explains why she enjoys participating in the program: “Not only is it great fun, but it is especially rewarding to hear people excited about diplomacy and foreign policy and to encour- age public interest and build a constituency for the Foreign Service.” Audiences are equally enthusiastic, as evidenced by American University’s thank-you note to FS retiree Judith Kaufmann, following her Sept. 9 talk to students on international organiza- tions at AFSA: “Students were impressed by your professional experience in the U.S. Foreign Service and international organizations and found your discussion most insightful.” To maintain this year’s momentum, AFSA has applied for a grant to increase Speakers Bureau resources. In addition, we urge Foreign Service retiree associations across the country to become Speak- ers Bureau force multipli- ers. Every AFSA member can become a frontline ambassador for the Foreign Service simply by connect- ing AFSA with local groups they personally know—civic and religious organizations, clubs, associations, schools, etc.—as potential speaking venues. Send your sugges- tions to with “Speakers Bureau Opportu- nity” in the subject line. AFSA provides many benefits to its members, but also offers them a chance to give back. We invite you to join us in telling the Foreign Service’s story and building a greater constituency for strengthening the Foreign Service and its mission. n —Todd Thurwachter, Retiree Counselor AFSA WELCOMES FAL L I NTERNS The American Foreign Service Association is pleased to welcome our group of fall semester interns. Communications: Devon Fitzgerald is a sophomore studying international affairs at The George Washington University. She is originally from Skillman, New Jersey. Executive Office: Quinn Stevenson hails from Colorado Springs, Colorado, and is a sophomore majoring in international affairs at The George Washington University. The Foreign Service Journal: Shannon Mizzi remains with us for a third semester. Originally from Boston, Massachusetts, she has a degree in history from the Royal Holloway University of London. Advertising: Milo Opdahl is double-majoring in economics and international relations at Austin College in Sherman, Texas. Advocacy: William Roberson grew up in Syracuse, New York. He is currently pursuing a master’s degree in international affairs at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. We thank departing interns Sanjana Hariprasad, Casey Knerr, Kathleen Serpa, Amy Jones, Nikki Roche, Isabelle Ninh and Noor Shah for their great work this past summer and wish them the best. n NEWS BRIEF