The Foreign Service Journal, December 2023

14 DECEMBER 2023 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL L auren Steed and Stephanie Anderson are longtime Foreign Service family members, both of whom started their own businesses before joining forces to create “Available Worldwide,” a podcast that explores issues of interest to FS family members (EFMs) and works to build a global community for them. Steed and Anderson talk to other diplomatic spouses about how they’ve built professional identities and managed their roles as parents through multiple overseas moves. Anderson, who is on her fourth overseas assignment with her information resources management (IRM) specialist spouse, is the owner of Global Nomad English, an online tutoring business that provides support to locally employed staff members as they learn business English. Steed is a college coach and founder of Nomad Educational Services who has served with her economic officer spouse at five posts. Guests have included Jessica Hayden, a lawyer, mom, and EFM who has written for the Journal in the past. Hayden talks about evacuating Kyiv ahead of the war and sustaining a law career while single parenting through an unaccompanied assignment. Another recent episode focuses on EFM Sarah Buckley, a nurse-turned-food-blogger who explains how she made that professional transition. Other EFM guests include entrepreneurs, teachers, and aid workers who share their experiences, offer packout advice, and discuss the realities of spouse employment overseas. To apply to appear on the show, or to nominate someone else, go to Podcast of the Month: Available Worldwide ( The appearance of a particular site or podcast is for information only and does not constitute an endorsement. Escrogima); the nominee for ambassador to Egypt, career diplomat Herro Mustafa Garg, was confirmed on Nov. 4. Jack Lew, the nominee for ambassador to Israel whose confirmation had been held up due to objections from some in Congress because of Lew’s work on the Iran nuclear agreement during the Obama administration, was confirmed on Oct. 31 and arrived in Israel on Nov. 5. “We have diplomats for a reason,” Farah Pandith, an adjunct senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, told NPR. “American foreign policy starts in Washington, but the leadership on the ground helps to see it through.” Meanwhile, Secretary Blinken has made several trips to the region, including another visit to Israel, a stop in the West Bank, and meetings in Baghdad. On Oct. 15, the administration announced the appointment of Ambassador David M. Satterfield as special envoy for Middle East humanitarian issues. in Russia include Paul Whelan and former Anglo-American School of Moscow teacher Marc Fogel. U.S. Ambassador to Russia Lynne Tracy visited both Whelan and Gershkovich in prison earlier this year. Also imprisoned in Russia is Robert Shonov, a longtime former locally employed staff member at the U.S. consulate in Vladivostok. Update on State’s “Modernization Agenda” On Sept. 26, Deputy Secretary for Management and Resources Richard Verma sent a State Department–wide email updating staff on the successes of the department’s Modernization Agenda, which was first implemented in 2021. According to Verma’s email, recent successes include the launch of the new Bureau of Global Heath Security and Diplomacy in August 2023; the recent rollout of a mid-level core curriculum Russia Detains Another U.S. Journalist Russian authorities have arrested another American journalist. On Oct. 19, Alsu Kurmasheva, an AmericanRussian dual citizen who works for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, was detained in the Russian city of Kazan on charges of failure to register as a foreign agent. If convicted, she faces five years in prison. Kurmasheva is the second U.S journalist to be arrested this year in Russia. In March 2023, Wall Street Journal correspondent Evan Gershkovich was arrested in Moscow on espionage charges. He remains in prison in Moscow, where he awaits trial. Kurmasheva traveled from her home in Prague to Kazan in May because of a family emergency. When she attempted to return home two weeks later, she was temporarily detained and her U.S. and Russian passports confiscated. Other Americans currently in prison