The Foreign Service Journal, November 2020

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL | NOVEMBER 2020 77 AFSA NEWS AFSA NEWS THE OFFICIAL RECORD OF THE AMERICAN FOREIGN SERVICE ASSOCIATION Please check for the most up-to-date information. All events are subject to cancellation and/ or rescheduling. Nov. 9–Dec. 14 Federal Benefits Open Season November 11 Veterans Day: AFSA Offices Closed November 13 12 p.m. 2021 Federal Employee Health Benefits (FEHB) Insurance Program and Benefits November 18 12–2 p.m. AFSA Governing Board Meeting November 26-27 Thanksgiving Holiday: AFSA Offices Closed November 30 AFSA Scholarship Applications available December 16 12–2 p.m. AFSA Governing Board Meeting December 25-January 3 AFSA Holiday Closure CALENDAR Continued on page 84 Bringing Americans Home AFSA, Diplomacy Museum Team Up for Virtual Presentation The American Foreign Ser- vice Association teamed up with the National Museum of American Diplomacy on Sept. 22 for a special Diplo- macy Classroom virtual discussion. The program, “Foreign Service on the Front Lines: Bringing Americans Home,” explored the firsthand experiences of America’s diplomats who mounted a massive response to the COVID-19 pandemic and helped bring more than 100,000 Americans safely home from overseas when borders and airports were closing and airlines were shutting down commercial operations. Among the audience were AFSA members, educa- tors and students. Alan Eaton, a consular officer who served on the Wuhan evacuation team, and Kathryn Stevens, direc- tor of USAID’s Office of Stra- tegic and Program Planning, shared their stories. Ambassador (ret.) Jimmy Kolker, former deputy global AIDS coordinator in the Office of U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator and Health Diplomacy, moderated the panel. The event marked the formal launch of AFSA’s public outreach campaign, “The U.S. Foreign Service: Our First Line of Defense,” highlighting the crucial role the Foreign Service plays in our national security. The campaign aims to broaden the domestic constituency for the Foreign Service by seeking out new audiences that are not familiar with the work of U.S. diplomats. AFSA President Eric Rubin made brief remarks about the role of the Foreign Service in responding to threats such as this latest global health crisis. “Mobilizing our people overseas in the face of dan- gers and crises is part and parcel of what the Foreign Service does around the world to help keep Ameri- cans safe every day,” he said. “We’re all very proud of our colleagues, our dip- lomats and our develop- ment experts, who worked day and night to bring home more than 100,000 Americans. After country after country closed their borders, airports shut down, we found a way to get them home. “Carrying out these duties, our colleagues risked their health, their safety, and very often that of their families,” Amb. Rubin added. “They worked long hours under incredible pressure, in very challenging condi- tions. They were dedicated, they were tireless, they were resilient. “And that’s why we call the Foreign Service Amer- ica’s first line of defense,” he continued. “Whether it’s pandemics, civil wars, ter- rorism or natural disasters, Americans can count on our diplomats around the world to go to work every day to keep Americans safe.” Eaton, a management- coned officer then assigned AFSA and the National Museum of American Diplomacy hosted a Sept. 22 online forum, “Foreign Service on the Front Lines: Bringing Americans Home,” featuring five panelists as shown above, clockwise from top left: Kathryn Stevens, Jimmy Kolker, Lauren Fischer, Alan Eaton and Eric Rubin. AFSA/SHAWNDORMAN