The Foreign Service Journal, December 2023

54 DECEMBER 2023 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL The fund raised more than $750,000 in three months and paid $468,000 in attorney fees to save FS colleagues from the severe financial hardship they would have suffered if they had had to pay for their own representation. He worked with other Governing Board members to reform AFSA internal personnel policies to enhance family and medical leave benefits for AFSA staff. Kero-Mentz joined the State Department in 2000 and served overseas in Rio de Janeiro, Baghdad, Berlin, Colombo, and Erbil; worked domestically in the Bureaus of European and Eurasian Affairs and Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor; and as an assessor for the Board of Examiners. He was a frequent board member of glifaa (Gays and Lesbians in the Foreign Affairs Agencies), serving as its president from 2012 to 2013. An economic officer, Kero-Mentz twice won the Superior Honor Award, for his work on arms control in Berlin (2009) and as chief of the 16-person political and economic section in Erbil (2016). Prior to joining State, he spent five years on Capitol Hill covering a wide range of legislative issues, from environment and trade to education and foreign policy. Raised in Vermont, Kero-Mentz earned a B.A. in international affairs and a master’s degree in public administration from The George Washington University in Washington, D.C. He speaks German and Portuguese. He retired from the Foreign Service in 2020 but continues to serve the department as a reemployed annuitant. Ken Kero-Mentz and his husband, Neil, are currently in the process of obtaining residency and purchasing an apartment in northern Portugal, where they plan to live. “In many ways, my time in the Foreign Service brought me to where I am today,” Kero-Mentz told the FSJ. “I learned Portuguese at FSI before serving in Brazil, and I took advantage of retirement shortly after hitting 50, opting to follow a different path than the high-stakes work/life of international diplomacy. I wouldn’t be able to live the life I’m living had it not been for the Foreign Service, and I know just how fortunate I am.” Engaging on the Importance of U.S. World Leadership Launched last year, the Foreign Service Champions Award recognizes the accomplishments and achievements of individuals or groups from Congress, the military, or other influential non-career members of the foreign affairs community who have made meaningful contributions to diplomacy and the U.S. Foreign Service. This year AFSA is pleased to recognize an outstanding organization that has advocated for the critical role the Foreign Service plays in shaping U.S. foreign policy and has had an enduring impact on the diplomatic profession: the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition (USGLC). We are so fortunate to have AFSA on our side. —Ken Kero-Mentz – FOREIGN SERVICE CHAMPIONS AWARD – U.S. Global Leadership Coalition USGLC is the preeminent advocacy network working to strengthen America’s investments in diplomacy and development, alongside defense. Often called the “strange bedfellows” coalition, USGLC brings together more than 500 businesses and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) with retired military officers, veterans, faith leaders, mayors, and farmers across the country. AFSA is a member organization and works closely with USGLC. Established in 1995 in response to a rise in isolationist voices following the Cold War, today the broad-based USGLC coalition—led by powerhouse advocate Liz Schrayer—educates and engages in Washington, D.C., and in all 50 states on the importance of U.S. leadership around the world to advance America’s security and economic interests. Advocating for robust USGLC President Liz Schrayer.