The Foreign Service Journal, December 2023

44 DECEMBER 2023 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL information to demonstrate the need for new management. Working closely with AFSA, he drafted a memo requesting personnel changes in SNEA administration. AFSA sent the letter to the department with FSFDA’s endorsement and input, and in 2020 the personnel changes were made. Today Evans continues his work as FSFDA board chair, pushing for further reforms in support of Foreign Service families facing the added challenges that come with raising a child with disabilities in overseas settings. Those efforts include extensive involvement in ongoing diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility initiatives. Regulatory and leadership changes brought about by his persistent efforts to challenge the system have contributed to a much more positive, empathetic approach to these issues by current department leadership. Mark Evans is currently the deputy chief of mission (DCM) in Stockholm. He served as director of the Afghanistan desk from 2020 until 2022, including nearly one year as acting deputy assistant secretary for Afghanistan. He served in Baghdad (twice) and as deputy director on the Iraq desk. Other assignments include Beijing (twice), Stockholm, Oslo, Tokyo, the Operations Center, and as a crisis management trainer at the Foreign Service Institute. Before joining the Foreign Service, Evans worked in the U.S. House of Representatives in leadership offices and as legislative director for a representative from Wisconsin. He holds a B.S. in political science from the University of Utah and an M.A. in international affairs from The George Washington University. William R. Rivkin Award for Constructive Dissent by a Mid-Level Foreign Service Officer Alexander Douglas Pushing for Accountability After Attack In February 2022, FSO Alexander Douglas displayed remarkable courage after a violent attack on a U.S. Embassy Muscat colleague by a man wielding a knife who had followed the colleague home and tried to kill him. Douglas called on his crisis training to administer first aid, then took the victim to one local hospital and advocated for his transfer to a second in search of emergency care. “Alex saved my life,” the colleague later said. But Douglas’ heroic actions didn’t stop there. In the aftermath of the attack, he raised challenging questions about the embassy’s security procedures and response, both privately and publicly, working tirelessly to find actionable solutions. When the embassy presented what he saw as incorrect information at a town hall to brief a traumatized embassy community about the attack, Douglas asked questions. Alarmed by the dismissive response, he put together a detailed timeline of the attack and its aftermath, highlighting deficiencies in the embassy’s standard operating procedures and proposing fixes, such as improved security measures at residential buildings and measures to ensure trauma victims go to the correct hospital. He asked questions, both in writing and verbally, of the embassy’s technical (security and medical) staff and senior leadership. The attack was a shock to the embassy community, and according to Douglas, “we did not have the procedures in place to react appropriately.” He explained that communications issues with Post 1 and the embassy’s mobile patrol force delayed the latter’s arrival at the scene. It took more than 90 minutes to notify American staff that an attack had taken place, while locally employed staff did not find out until the following day. Also problematic, in Douglas’ Alexander Douglas. Alexander Douglas addressing the September 2023 Foreign Service orientation class. REBECCA SANCHEZ It’s important to recognize constructive dissent because it helps people in difficult situations see that they’re not alone and that they can do the right thing. We don’t have to choose between our careers and our values. —Alexander Douglas