The Foreign Service Journal, December 2023

AFSA NEWS 64 DECEMBER 2023 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL 1972—and outlined the challenges facing today’s diplomats. “I am a member of an exceptional generation of Foreign and Civil Service professionals who worked on American foreign policy as freedom spread in Central and Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union imploded,” said Tefft. “A new post-Soviet world of independent states and serious new geopolitical challenges took its place. … We now have a new generation of officers in Eastern Europe, who are dealing with an array of new problems, most notably Vladimir Putin’s horrific invasion of Ukraine. “Resisting Russia in Ukraine and rebuilding both Ukraine and international security will be major challenges for this new generation of Foreign Service officers,” he continued. “But they are only some of the many challenges that our Foreign Service will have to confront. China has joined Russia in trying to reject large parts of the postWorld War II international order, promoting authoritarianism over democracy, and threatening U.S. interests in Asia. New weapons and technologies pose new threats to international security. Artificial intelligence will transform every aspect of the world we live in, where climate change is already having serious effects.” Amb. Tefft emphasized the need for “a Foreign Service of creative, nonpartisan professionals advising our political leaders and implementing American foreign policy around the world” and reminded the audience that “today’s Foreign Service officers will have to stand up for our country’s values and their personal integrity as they do their work.” See the Journal’s interview with Amb. Tefft on p. 30. Foreign Service Champions Established in 2022, the Foreign Service Champions Award recognizes an influential noncareer member of the foreign affairs community who has made meaningful contributions to the Foreign Service and the diplomatic profession. Recipients may be from Congress, the U.S. military, non-government organizations, or elsewhere. This year’s recipient was the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition (USGLC), the preeminent advocacy network working to strengthen America’s investments in diplomacy and development. Accepting the award on behalf of the coalition—which she memorably called “the strange bedfellow coalition”—was USGLC President and CEO Liz Schrayer. “We all know the high stakes work that the brave women and men of our Foreign Service deliver for the American people every day—and the incredible work of AFSA,” Schrayer told the audience. “USGLC is proud to tell your story—to make the connection of why leading globally matters locally, and to encourage policymakers to speak up.” For more on USGLC and the Foreign Service Champions Award, see p. 54. Awards for Constructive Dissent AFSA’s four constructive dissent awards are unique within the U.S. government. Every year for over a half-century, AFSA has given these awards to Foreign Service officers and specialists who demonstrated the courage to dissent within the system, to question the status quo, and to take a stand. This year, the Christian A. Herter Award for Constructive Dissent by a Senior Foreign Service Officer was given to Mark Evans, currently the deputy chief of mission (DCM) in Stockholm, for his yearslong dedication to supporting Foreign Service families with special needs dependents. When accepting the award, Evans said he believes that “by supporting children within our community who have disabilities, we are also strengthening the State Department as an institution, since supporting Foreign Service family members appropriately is inextricably linked with issues of morale and retention.” It also helps, he continued, to “ensure that we can place the best people into the positions where they are able to be most effective in achieving our foreign policy aims.” Robert Rivkin presented the William R. Rivkin Award AFSA President Tom Yazdgerdi (left) with dissent award winners Christophe Triplett, Alexander Douglas, and Mark Evans, and presenter Robert Rivkin (right). AFSA/CALEB SCHLABACH