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I am pleased to report that 2015 was a productive year for the Ameri-

can Foreign Service Association, one in which we experienced growth

in nearly every aspect of our organization and made significant prog-

ress on a number of issues about which our members care deeply.

Serving as the president of AFSA has given me an ideal platform for

pursuing the vital work of strengthening the professional career

Foreign Service. We are charting the course for a healthy, attractive

career path for members of the U.S. Foreign Service for decades to

come. The magnitude of this task is not lost on me, and I thank

members for electing me and entrusting me with this responsibility.

The world is a much different place than when I first set out on

my Foreign Service journey 30 years ago. American leadership is

needed now more than ever if we are to successfully address a

new set of challenges (e.g., unprecedented refugee flows, terrorism,

climate change, cybersecurity, pandemics), even as the global

landscape shifts and power becomes more diffuse.

I believe that a bold, effective American foreign policy capable of

addressing this

new threat set

rests on the shoulders of a Foreign

Service comprised of career professionals who are fully trained (e.g.,

in languages and regional knowledge) to make common cause with the

people and leaders of other countries. That is why the 2015-2017

Governing Board has pledged to make the Foreign Service stronger

than when we first took office. We aim to ensure that the Foreign Ser-

vice continues to attract and retain America’s best and brightest talent

for our vital work of protecting and serving America’s people,

interests and values wherever we are deployed across the globe.


Ambassador Barbara Stephenson

Three pillars, or work streams, structure

AFSA’s efforts and this annual report:


to tell the proud story of the

Foreign Service in all 50 states, so that the

Foreign Service, like the U.S. military, has

broad support among the citizens we serve.

Workforce Planning

to ensure a healthy,

attractive career path that guarantees a

steady stream of top-flight recruits at

entry level and a deep bench of seasoned,

experienced senior leaders 20 years later.


to foster the professional devel-

opment of our members and the cohesion,

strength and resilience of our institution.

I’d like to close by recognizing the work done

by the 2013-2015 Governing Board, whose

efforts led to demonstrably improved

governance at AFSA. We, the current

Governing Board, are carrying that work

forward and hope to leave as our legacy an

American Foreign Service Association even

more professionally governed, as well as

better aligned behind the priorities most

important for the institutional health of the

Foreign Service. We thank the members of the

previous Governing Board for their dedication

to AFSA, the voice of the Foreign Service.