The Foreign Service Journal - January/February 2014 - page 56

56
JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2014
|
THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL
AFSA NEWS
On Nov. 7, AFSA presented
two Senior Foreign Service
officers speaking on current
foreign affairs trends affect-
ing American diplomacy.
With 35 American Uni-
versity international affairs
students in attendance,
Ambassador Barbara Bodine,
former ambassador to Yemen
and current senior lecturer
at Princeton University’s
WoodrowWilson School
of Public and International
Affairs, started off the lecture
by addressing the implica-
tions of the “Arab Awakening”
on the political evolution in
the Middle East and on U.S.
foreign policy.
Noting that the current
generation of young Arabs is
better educated than their
parents and more urbanized,
globalized and tech-savvy,
Amb. Bodine pointed to the
role social media, particularly
Facebook and Twitter, play in
the ongoing Arab revolutions.
People are connected in ways
never thought possible under
dictatorships.
Amb. Bodine warned that
patience is required; history
has shown that transfor-
mational change can take
generations. “Sometimes
decades pass and nothing
happens; and sometimes
weeks pass and decades
happen,” she said.
Marshall Adair, a former
AFSA president, Senior For-
FS Experts Address American University Students on
Trends Affecting U.S. Diplomacy
BY TOM SWITZER, SPEAKERS BUREAU DIRECTOR
eign Service officer and son
of Ambassador Charles W,
Adair Jr., shared his perspec-
tives on what diplomats do
and what life is like for FS
members and their families.
He went on to explain the
dual role AFSA plays as a
professional association and
union for the Foreign Service.
While advocating for a strong
professional Service, AFSA
also advocates for employ-
ment policies and other
work-life issues.
Adair believes that the
Foreign Service is being
eroded by the ever-increasing
“militarization of U.S. foreign
policy.” This has resulted in
a smaller corps of approxi-
mately 12,000 members at
a time when highly qualified
and dedicated diplomats are
needed.
While acknowledging that
Foreign Service careers can
be increasingly difficult—sep-
arations, isolation, disease,
security, inadequate schools
and lack of spousal employ-
ment opportunities are
common hardships—they are
highly rewarding. Adair urged
students to study hard, gain
some “worldly experience,”
and then take the Foreign
Service exam.
A lively question-and-
answer period followed.
This event is made pos-
sible through AFSA’s partner-
ship with American Univer-
sity, intended to enlighten
students about the role
diplomacy and development
play in advancing national
interests around the world.
n
Claiming Workers’ Compensation
In the November issue of
The Foreign Service Journal
,
the
column
titled “Keeping Faith with
State’s Wounded Warriors,”
has generated a great deal of
interest.
Over the past several
years, many members have
contacted AFSA’s labor man-
agement office for advice on
how to navigate the work-
ers’ compensation process.
While each case is different,
employees are generally
required to follow the process
described on the Department
of Labor and State Depart-
ments’ websites, and on
BY JAMES YORKE, AFSA SENIOR LABOR MANAGEMENT ADVISER
Additionally, OWCP has an
office that deals exclusively
with claims resulting from
service overseas.
The cost of long-term
treatment of all civilian
federal government employ-
ees—including members of
the Foreign Service—who
are injured in the line of duty
or suffer from a medical or
psychiatric condition that
can be attributed to govern-
ment service domestically
or overseas, is reimbursed
through the Office of Work-
ers’ Compensation, in the
Department of Labor, and not
through the foreign affairs
agencies.
We can provide our mem-
bers with advice on the pro-
cess and help in assembling
the appropriate documenta-
tion. Our goal is to work with
the department and other
stakeholders to make the
process more transparent.
If you have already gone
through this process, we are
most interested in hear-
ing from you. AFSA’s labor
management staff can be
reached at (202) 647-8160 or
Department
of State constituents are also
welcome to write directly to
AFSA State Vice President
suggestions or ideas for
improvement.
n
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