The Foreign Service Journal, December 2006

harlie Bray came from the classic old- school background: the prep school, the “tweedy” intellectual years at Princeton University. Yet, far from using this advantage for his own gain, Bray chose a career and life of public service. He is remembered as a diplomat, philanthro- pist and scholar; and, as his friend Peter Krogh points out, he was “equally at home” in each role. After an overseas tour with the U.S. Army from 1956 to 1958, Bray joined the Foreign Service in 1958 and served with distinction in Cebu and Bangui before returning to Washington in 1965. Beginning in the mid-1960s, he played a major role in transforming the American Foreign Service Association into a vehicle for reforming the Foreign Service and American diplomacy. The AFSA Foreign Service Club was a fitting place to cel- ebrate the life of Charlie Bray, the man who helped establish the “Young Turks” reform movement in the 1960s that even- tually led to the establishment of AFSA as a union, and as the exclusive bargaining agent it is today for the 14,000 members of the Foreign Service. AFSA is sometimes even called “the house that Charlie Bray built,” referring to both the AFSA headquarters building as well as to AFSA as an institution. The Oct. 17 event, attended by about 100 of Charlie Bray’s colleagues, closest friends and family members, paid tribute to his extraordinary life of service. Each participant shared thoughts about the life of Charlie Bray, weaving the pieces of his life together to cre- ate a rich picture of Bray the diplomat, the reformer, the philanthropist, the academic, the loyal friend and devoted family man. The many three-minute tributes (the timing strictly enforced by host Tex Harris) all made clear that Bray was a man of vision, a man of action, someone who believed in and empowered the people around him. He was also, as many described, a lot of fun. Remembering their days together at Princeton in the class of 1955, Amb. Tom Boyatt used three words to describe Bray: “tweediness, intellect and leadership.” Early evidence of his leadership skills was illustrated, Boyatt says, by the fact that he was chosen to lead the Tiger Club, a club for “sweaty jocks,” even though he was distinctly not one of them. Boyatt closed with this description of his lifelong friend, from the Iliad : “The mildest manners, and the gen- tlest heart. In death a hero, as in life a friend!” The Young Turks In the mid-1960s, against the backdrop of the Vietnam War, Bray was co-founder with Lannon Walker and Dean Brown of a reform movement inside the Foreign Service. The press dubbed them the Young Turks. They sought, in the words of former AFSA president and Young Turk Tex Harris, “to expand the connections between the Foreign Service and Americans involved in foreign affairs and to modernize the Service’s personnel system.” Charlie Bray is credited with figuring out how to win an AFSA election so that the Young Turks could take over AFSA and use it as a 56 F O R E I G N S E R V I C E J O U R N A L / D E C E M B E R 2 0 0 6 C Shawn Dorman is associate editor of the Foreign Service Journal. A PPRECIATION The Best Among Us Charles W. Bray III 1933 – 2006 B Y S HAWN D ORMAN