The Foreign Service Journal, December 2023

AFSA NEWS 70 DECEMBER 2023 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL AFSA Governing Board Looks Ahead The AFSA Governing Board that took office in July 2023 for a two-year term held an offsite retreat in Alexandria on Oct. 13 to discuss advocacy and other priorities and to decide on the most effective ways to take their goals forward. During the lunch hour, staff made presentations on more opportunities for board members to get involved with AFSA and serve the membership. Based on the productive discussions and a few carry-over priorities from the previous Governing Board, the group agreed to look at the following specific issues: The AFSA 2023-2025 Governing Board, Oct. 13, Alexandria, Va. Anti-bullying policy implementation; portability AFSA/ASGEIR SIGFUSSON AFSA/ASGEIR SIGFUSSON Board members hard at work during their retreat on Oct. 13 in Alexandria, Va. of professional licenses for Foreign Service members and spouses; dog ban exemption for federal employees; FEGLI payouts (D.C. locality pay); re-introduction of State AFSA President and GB Reps Speak at Chautauqua Foreign Service classwide promotions; mental health care; appropriate use of 360 reviews; road safety; D.C. cost-of-living; and the assignment review process. n On Sept. 25, AFSA President Tom Yazdgerdi and other speakers from AFSA joined almost 150 attendees at the Chautauqua Institution in Chautauqua, N.Y., as part of AFSA’s long-standing collaboration with the Road Scholar program, “U.S. Foreign Policy for the 21st Century.” This program is part of AFSA’s outreach offerings, designed to introduce the public to the work of the U.S. Foreign Service. Yazdgerdi spoke about the ways the people of the U.S. Foreign Service work to ensure prosperity and security in the United States, and he provided an overview of AFSA’s role in supporting the institution. “When I was new to the Foreign Service, U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright pronounced the United States as the ‘indispensable nation.’ We are still that, but the world looks a lot different today,” said Yazdgerdi. He called on Congress to maintain bipartisan support for the foreign affairs budget and more quickly confirm our ambassadors. Other AFSA speakers at this week-long program included AFSA Governing Board Secretary and FSO (ret.) Sue Saarnio; Foreign Agricultural Officer Alicia Hernandez; Ambassador (ret.) Alphonse LaPorta; VOA Chief National Correspondent Steve Herman, AFSA representative for the U.S. Agency for Global Media; retired USAID Senior FSO James Bever; and retired State Department Senior FSO Molly Williamson. n At Chautauqua on Sept. 25. From left, back row: Ambassador (ret.) Alphonse LaPorta, AFSA President Tom Yazdgerdi, Alicia Hernandez, James Bever. Front row: Molly Williamson, Steve Herman, Sue Saarnio. CHAUTAUQUA INSTITUTION/SCOTT BERESFORD