Retiree Association Announcements


December 2014 Luncheon Meeting

Carrabba’s Italian Grill
11590 Research Blvd., Austin, TX 78759
11:20 a.m.; Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Sixth Annual Fun Festival Luncheon

December Menu:
Small salad or a cup of soup
Seasonal flat bread with Italian herb and olive oil dipping sauce
Iced tea, coffee, soft drinks

Choice of
A – Wood Grilled Salmon lightly topped with tomato basil vinaigrette
B – Wood Grilled Chicken Marsala topped with mushrooms, prosciutto, Carrabba’s housemade Lombardo Marsala wine sauce
C – Tag Pic Pac (Fresh vegetables in a light Picchi Pacchiu sauce with garlic, olive oil, and basil on a small base of tagliarini pasta)

Dessert: Chef’s festival seasonal surprise

RSVP: Please confirm your attendance and menu choice by noon on Wednesday, December 3

  • By mail to TFSG, P.O. Box 50246, Austin, TX 78763-0246, or
  • By e-mail to, or
  • By phone to John at 512.797.0538

Mailing a check made out to TFSG is our preferred method. In all cases, please include a phone number so we can confirm your reservation. All RSVPs will be confirmed. If you do not get a confirmation, please contact us.

Lunch begins at noon. Members $24. No new reservations after 12 noon on Wednesday, December 3. No-shows or cancellations after this date will be billed for their lunch. Checks may be made out to TFSG and mailed to P.O. Box 50246, Austin, TX 78763-0246. Checks mailed in advance are greatly appreciated.

Memberships are $30 per person for three years or $12 per year.

NOTE: This is our one annual luncheon for TFSG members only.

**Make your reservation now! Everyone wins a door prize – so not only does the December preparation team not want you to be left out, they also need an estimated head count very soon so that they have enough time to do their work.

Upcoming Luncheons:

All TFSG luncheons are on the second Tuesday of even-numbered months, skipping August. Suggestions for restaurants are always welcome.

  • February 10, 2015: Professor Joshua David Eisenman, UT Austin, "China-Africa Trade Patterns and African Perceptions of Chinese Business"
  • April 14, 2015: Dr. Sharyl Cross, Director of the Kozmetsky Center at St. Edward’s University and a Global Policy Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center, "NATO-Russian Relations: The Ukraine Crisis and Beyond"
  • June 9, 2015: speaker invited but not yet confirmed
  • October 13, 2015: speaker invited but not yet confirmed
  • December 8, 2015: Seventh Annual Fun Festival Luncheon


  • 12 November, Wednesday, 12:15 - 1:30 pm, The Strauss Center, LBJ School, UT-Austin, Sid Richardson Hall, room 3.122
    “Why Do Rebels Resort to Terrorism and Does It Work?”
    Dr. Page Fortna, Professor of Political Science and Chair of the Department, Columbia University
  • 17 November, Monday, 8:45 am to 12 noon, The Strauss Center, LBJ School, Ayala Auditorium, POB 2.302
    “The Arab Spring: Pathways of Repression and Reform”
    Free but advance registration is required (
    • 9:00 Bobby Chesney
    • 9:05 Jeremi Suri
    • 9:15 Panel 1 - The Arab Spring: Pathways of Repression and Reform
      Jason Brownlee, UT Austin; Tarek Masoud, Harvard; Andrew Reynolds, UNC Chapel Hill
    • 10:30 Coffee Break
    • 11:00 Panel 2 - Assessing Our Understanding of the Arab Spring
      Melani Cammelt, Brown; Gregory Gause, Texas A&M; Amaney Jamal, Princeton
  • 17 November, Monday, 1:00 - 2:30 pm, Ragsdale Center, St. Edward’s University
    “Socioeconomic Factors in the United States Relationship with Mexico. Central/Latin America: Migration Challenges”
    Dr. Edward J. Williams, Emeritus Professor, University of Arizona
    A Kozmetsky Center program
  • 09 December, Tuesday, 11:20 a.m. – 1:30 p.m., Carrabba’s Restaurant
    Sixth annual TFSG Fun Festival Luncheon (see above for more information)
  • 12 December, Friday-- Opportunity to host Fulbright scholars
    The Institute of International Education (IIE) is organizing another enrichment seminar for first-year Fulbright students in December. The Austin Enrichment Seminar will take place December 11-14. Approximately 150 students, representing more than 60 countries, will participate in this seminar. They will be hosted here by GlobalAustin ( The seminar will be held at The Sheraton Austin Hotel at the Capitol, 701 E 11th St Austin, TX 78701.

    GlobalAustin is organizing an evening of home hospitality with citizens of Austin. If you would like to host a group of students for dinner in your home on Friday evening, December 12, please reply on the online response form by November 23. To share information about the evening hospitality opportunity with friends and neighbors, invite them to visit the web page, If you have any questions, please contact Jane Dunham (, 512-585-2051).
  • 14 December, Sunday, 5:30 pm, Scottish Rite Theater, 207 West 18th St. and Lavaca
    “Wassail Austin,” put on by Mundi Arts
    An annual "Solstice Christmas Family Celebration" benefiting kids for kids. A fantastic and sort of crazy evening of music, song, stories, puppets, magic, mummers and morris dancers. Lots of fun and laughs for children of all ages. A number of TFSG members go every year for the laughs and seasonal spirit. The historic Scottish Rite theater is worth a visit all by itself. The fully modernized theater was built in 1871, the year Austin became the capital of Texas. Tickets are $15 each. Email or call 512-917-4809.
  • 16 December, Tuesday, after 7 p.m., Mozart’s, 3825 Lake Austin Blvd.
    Let’s watch Austin's top seasonal sound and light show. It starts after dark and repeats every hour til midnight. Gourmet magazine named Mozart's the only Texas coffee house in America's Top 20. Dress warmly as we will be mostly outdoors, enjoying hot chocolate on the banks of Lady Bird Lake.
  • 01 January, 2015, Thursday; 11 a.m.-11 p.m., Book People; 6th & Lamar
    Book People is one of the very few stores open on New Year's Day, and everything is usually 20% off. They also have a coffee shop.

TFSG Information:

One or more door prizes are awarded at every TFSG luncheon. One door prize always includes the AFSA book, “Inside a U.S. Embassy,” and two TFSG mugs. We also sell the package (book and 2 mugs) for a single $20 bill. Consider buying two mugs for a coffee mug tree (only $5) and help promote our website and our group.

Our major tool for inviting widely recognized subject experts and excellent speakers to speak with us is our impressive list of past speakers, bibliographies, and the speakers’ biographies. It is available at We encourage you to pass it on via the internet or by printing and handing copies to friends and colleagues. Some printed copies will be available at our December luncheon

All events mentioned in our announcements, except one, are usually open to your friends when you accompany them. We hope you will invite them to join you. The one event that is “members only” is our December luncheon.

The publication section of our website is where we list the books, articles, videos etc. produced by our speakers and members. Please check our website and help us keep it up to date.

We hope to refresh the Links page of our website in early 2015. Suggestions will be welcomed. Send them to

We welcome suggestions for speakers. When you nominate someone, please add biographical information and suggestions on how best to approach him or her. Suggestions for funding of speakers from outside of Austin are always appreciated.

Please give our website address to potential members, WWW.TFSG.ORG. Then call and invite them as your guest to our next luncheon.

Please browse through the website regularly yourself. Corrections and additions are always welcome. In particular, we want to keep our speaker biographies and bibliographies up to date. As new speakers and their subjects are listed, please send any bibliographic information to

Why should you belong to TFSG and encourage others to join? Because (1) our website has a full history of our group and links to over 100 international newspapers, think tanks, and other sites; (2) we publish excellent bibliographies on each speech and provide a hard copy of the listing with free internet access at the annual Texas Book Fair and other events; (3) in addition to our four luncheons with outstanding speakers, we put on a Fun Festival Luncheon in December for members only, showcasing some of the most hilarious, funniest, unique international TV ads of the past year and providing door prizes for all; (4) we print thousands of information cards for Americans who are planning to travel overseas or who are interested in joining our Foreign Service; (5) we maintain an impressive Memorial Book of TFSG members who have passed on, often with extensive bibliographies; (6) our website contains two listings of published books articles, videos, etc., one for our speakers and one for our members; (7) we try to keep our members up-to-date, in advance, on upcoming lectures on international affairs at UT-Austin and the Kozmetsky Center at St Edwards; (8) we offer the lowest group rate to the annual Gilbert & Sullivan Austin operetta for our members and their guests; (9) you can have lunch and a chat five times a year with a group that has been called "perhaps the most widely-traveled, well educated, multilingual, well-read, inquisitive, interesting internationalists to sit together in the Southwest on a regular basis in some time."

Doris and Naomi, our Contact Coordinators, hope that you will share with them some of your biographical information and the name of a contact person for you.

Directions to Carrabba’s Italian Grill:
Note: Research Blvd. is the eastbound Hwy 183 access road. If you approach the restaurant from Jollyville Road, you enter the parking lot from the rear. Or, if you miss that turn, drive straight to Duval, turn right onto Duval and right again onto the Hwy 183 access road, and enter the parking lot from the front. There is plenty of free parking close to the restaurant.

From the Northwest
Drive east on Hwy 183. Exit at Duval, cross Duval, turn right into the large parking lot at Outback Steakhouse. Carrabba’s is on the left, Outback Steakhouse on the right.

From the North
Drive south on Mopac. Exit at Braker Lane and turn right onto Braker. Drive underneath Hwy 183 and turn right at the next light onto Jollyville Road. Drive about 400 yards past Balcones Woods Drive and turn right at the Carrabba’s/Outback Steakhouse sign into the parking lot. The restaurant is about 50 yards ahead on the right.

From the South
Drive north on Mopac or Loop 360, then west on Hwy 183. Exit at Braker Lane and turn left onto Braker. Turn right at the next light onto Jollyville Road. Drive about 400 yards past Balcones Woods Drive and turn right at the Carrabba’s/Outback Steakhouse sign into the parking lot. The restaurant is about 50 yards ahead on the right.

From the East
Drive west on Hwy 183. Exit at Braker Lane and turn left onto Braker. Turn right at the next light onto Jollyville Road. Drive about 400 yards past Balcones Woods Drive and turn right at the Carrabba’s/Outback Steakhouse sign into the parking lot. The restaurant is about 50 yards ahead on the right.

President, John S. Wood,
Treasurer, Joe McLean,
Secretary, Danny Root,
Webmaster, Jane Dunham,
Transportation Coordinator, Florita Sheppard,
Speaker Bibliographies, Suzanne Natafji,
Contact Coordinators
     Doris Scott,
     Naomi Ritchie,



The Foreign Affairs Retirees of New England (FARNE) are gathering for their Winter Luncheon on January 16, 2015 in Wellesley, MA. Canadian journalist, writer, Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada from 2006-2011, and now professor at Harvard, Michael Ignatieff, will speak to us regarding "Russia, China, and the Challenge of Authoritarian Capitalism", a very topical choice, as other nations reportedly seek a model other than our own for moving into the future. Professor Ignatieff was born inCanada, educated at the University of Toronto, and received his PhD in History at Harvard University, where he is currently Edward R. Murrow Professor at the Kennedy School of Government. A charismatic lecturer, he has also worked as a television presenter and documentary film maker, all the while writing award-winning books and teaching in the US, Canada, and the UK. He is a steady contributor to the New York Review of Books, The Atlantic, and The New Republic, among others. His recent book, "Fire and Ashes: Success and Failure in Politics" is a candid appraisal of what it takes to throw one's hat into the political arena. Professor Ignatieff and his wife, Zsuzsanna Zsohar, are in residence as sophomore advisors at Harvard's Mather House, enjoying student life - and the view from the top floor.

At this luncheon, we will have a three course meal with choice of several entrees at a cost of $40 per person; reservation and payment by check must be received no later than January 5.

FARNE, a volunteer-run group established in New England by a group of retired American diplomats in 1983, happily welcomes guests, especially those who may consider becoming members, at all our events. For more information please contact FARNE's MA state volunteer, Toni Stearns, at or FARNE Membership VP Liz Barnett at


The FSRA of FL is having its next luncheon at the Palm Aire Country Club on saturday, January 17, 2015 in Sarasota. Tony D’Souza, writer, reporter, teacher and Returned Peace Corps Volunteer is our guest speaker. He will speak on the Ivorian Civil War and his return trip to the Ivory Coast after 10 years, the devastation observed and his overall experiences abroad.

Prior to the luncheon on Friday evening, the 16th, we will have a reception at the Palm Aire Country Club from 5 to 7pm. Paula Jakub, Chief Executive Officer of AFSPA, will be available to talk to members on the Coordination of Medicare and the FEHB. She will also be available the following day to answer any questions. If anyone wishes to attend please contact Bob Ribera at or call him at (352) 242-2554.


No announcements at this time.


No announcements at this time.


No announcements at this time.