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MARCH 2016



Philip Laidlaw

Susan Danewitz

Connecting with America’s Teachers

AFSA’s Awards Coordinator Perri Green, seated

behind table, and Editorial Assistant Shannon

Mizzi attended the 2015 National Council for

the Social Studies Conference in New Orleans,

Nov. 13-15. NCSS is the United States’ largest

association devoted to social studies education.

Green and Mizzi were there to meet social stud-

ies educators and promote the Foreign Service

through AFSA’s 2016 National High School

Essay Contest and best-selling book,

Inside a

U.S. Embassy: Diplomacy at Work

. AFSA was one

of more than 150 exhibitors at the conference,

which attracted approximately 3,000 attendees.

Pictured: Green speaks with teachers about this

year’s essay contest theme, which focuses on

peacebuilding through diplomacy.



Changes on the AFSA Governing Board

Given the mandate of the

Foreign Service to deploy

worldwide, it is sometimes

necessary for members of

the AFSA Governing Board

to leave the board during

their term. When vacancies

occur, AFSA bylaws state that

the Governing Board has the

authority to appoint individu-

als to fill these positions.

State Representatives

Sam Thielman and Philip

Laidlaw took office with the

current Governing Board on

July 15. In November, Thiel-

man took the momentous

step of retiring from the For-

eign Service, and Laidlaw has

taken up his new assignment

as the deputy chief of mis-

sion in Bogotá. We congratu-

late them both and thank

them for their service.

Not skipping a beat,

at the Jan. 6 meeting, the

Governing Board appointed

Information Management

Specialist Susan Danewitz

and Economic Officer Ramón

Escobar to fill Thielman and

Laidlaw’s spots.

Danewitz joined the

Foreign Service in 2006

and is currently serving as

technology policy adviser to

the senior coordinator for

knowledge management in

the Office of the Deputy Sec-

retary of State for Resources

Sam Thielman

Ramón Escobar

and Management. She has

served in Yemen, Austria and

Saudi Arabia, not to mention

the 20 posts to which she

has been sent on temporary

duty assignments.

Having been involved

with information technol-

ogy for more than 20 years,

Danewitz started as a Unix

system administrator and

webmaster in 1995. She has

covered the entire software

development life cycle during

the course of her career and

became a certified informa-

tion systems security profes-

sional in 2015.

Escobar is a State Depart-

ment Dean and Virginia

Rusk Fellow at Georgetown

University. Since joining the

Foreign Service in 2006, he

has served in Iraq, the United

Kingdom, Saudi Arabia and

Washington, D.C. In his last

assignment, on the Colom-

bia desk, he was primarily

responsible for assisting

Special Envoy to the Colom-

bia Peace Process Bernard

Aronson in his efforts to help

end Latin America’s longest-

running conflict.

We welcome Susan and

Ramón to the AFSA Team!

AFSA still hopes to fill the

vacant Broadcasting Board

of Governors representative

slot on our Governing Board.

To submit your name for con-

sideration to fill this or other

board vacancies, please send

your CV and a statement of

interest to bradley@afsa. org. n

—Patrick Bradley,

Executive Assistant