The Foreign Service Journal, December 2020

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL | DECEMBER 2020 69 AFSA NEWS AFSA NEWS THE OFFICIAL RECORD OF THE AMERICAN FOREIGN SERVICE ASSOCIATION Please check www.afsa. org for the most up-to-date information. All events are subject to cancellation or rescheduling. December 1 AFSA Scholarship Applications available December 2 | 1-2 p.m. Webinar: “Know Your Rights” December 3 | 1-2 p.m. Retiree Webinar: “The View fromWashington” with AFSA President Ambassador Eric Rubin December 14 Federal Benefits Health Benefits Open Season Ends December 16 | 12-2 p.m. AFSA Governing Board Meeting December 25-January 3 AFSA Holiday Closure January 15 AFSA Governing Board Election Cycle Begins January 18 Martin Luther King, Jr. Day: AFSA Offices Closed January 19 | 12-2 p.m. AFSA Governing Board Meeting January 20 Inauguration Day: AFSA Offices Closed CALENDAR AFSA Works for Diversity and Inclusion: An Update On Oct. 5, AFSA released this update fromAFSA President Eric Rubin on its work in sup- port of increasing the repre- sentation of minorities in the Foreign Service: In August AFSA concluded a survey on our members’ experiences with bias and dis- crimination and suggestions on how to improve workplace culture in the Foreign Service. According to the survey responses, many of you have either personally experienced bias or discrimination or have personally witnessed bias or discrimination in the work- place. For example, Foreign Service members of color told us in overwhelming numbers that they had been targets of intentional microaggressions. In the survey, respondents prioritized ways to move the Foreign Service culture to one that truly values a diverse and inclusive workplace. Your priorities included building awareness of unconscious bias, having more diverse leadership, instituting wide- spread accountability for bias-based and discrimina- tory actions, assuring senior leadership support and providing opportunities to have honest conversations about race. You can find slides of sur- vey responses, broken out by agency and by demographic groups, on AFSA’s website. An article on the survey results appears in the AFSA News section of the October Foreign Service Journal , the companion to our September FSJ focus on diversity and inclusion. We also asked in our survey howAFSA can best advocate for a more diverse and inclu- sive Foreign Service in all our agencies, and a good number of you responded with sugges- tions for future AFSA advo- cacy. (For some current State and USAID advocacy think- ing, please see State VP Tom Yazdgerdi’s columns in the September and October FSJ s and USAID VP Jason Singer’s Sept. 21 AFSAnet message to members.) In addition to these cur- rent suggestions and your survey recommendations, we are considering measures suggested by employee affinity groups at the foreign affairs agencies, as well as steps recommended by those who testified during recent congressional hearings on diversity and inclusion. A committee of the AFSA Governing Board is examin- ing all of these elements for future AFSA advocacy. To help in our deliberations, AFSA has partnered with three Ran- gel Fellows at the Kennedy Each issue of The FSJ since July includes articles related to diversity and inclusion. PUBLISHED BY THE AMERICAN FOREIGN SERVICE ASSOCIATION OCTOBER 2020 McCARTHYISM REVISITED MAKING INCLUSION REAL School of Government at Har- vard to look at the real-world effectiveness of these recom- mendations and any possible downsides. We will look to best practice in the private sector when applicable, and we will examine policies at all our foreign affairs agencies to glean the best ideas. As I mentioned when we first invited members to take the bias survey, AFSA will con- duct further surveys address- ing gender and other forms of bias. We are committed to continuing our efforts to con- front bias and discrimination, to understand the implica- tions of new developments such as the recent executive order on diversity and inclu- sion training and to advocate actions that will have a lasting impact. A Foreign Service that truly represents our country is a great strength. The effort to bring that about is cer- tainly worthy of our serious and sustained attention. As always, please let us know your thoughts at member@ . n