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the Foreign Service journal


April 2015


as does her proposed rem-

edy: that the judges “men-

tor, guide and nominate for

awards those who are not

like us.” Who, then, in Ms.

Schneller’s view, is “us”?

To go in the direction

she suggests would put all

of us on a slippery slope that

would distort both the ideal of diversity

and the fundamental premises on which

our country is based.

Robert M. Beecroft

Ambassador, retired

Mette O. Beecroft

Bethesda, Md.

AFSA Support for Diversity

I would like to publicly thank Rachel

Schneller for her letter to the editor in the

December 2014 issue, “More Diversity

on FSJ Pages, Please.” AFSA enjoys a wide

range of views on all kinds of issues, and

Rachel’s letter sparked replies from other

AFSA members, also published in the


. That diversity of views is a sign of

healthy engagement.

I want to let readers know that AFSA

has taken action in response to Rachel’s

concern over the lack of diversity among

AFSA award winners, a concern I share.

This concern does not impinge on the

outstanding achievements of our dissent

winners last year. As others have noted,

the AFSA Awards Committee is depen-

dent on award nominations.

In January and February, AFSA

reached out to the different affinity

groups in the foreign affairs agencies

to talk about the association and its

programs, including the AFSA awards

program. At a meeting at AFSA head-

quarters attended by the affinity groups’

leaderships, I met one-on-one with

several affinity group heads, to ask them

to spread the word about AFSA’s award

programs and encourage nomi-

nations from their ranks.

I ask all of you to think of your

colleagues and nominate one

or more of them for an AFSA

performance or dissent award.

There is amazing work being

done everywhere by members

of the Foreign Service. I want to

encourage you to ensure all of this work is


Bob Silverman

AFSA President

Washington, D.C.

A Clarification

In the January-February


, retired

FSO Carroll Brown chronicled challenges

he faced while seeking consular services

abroad in a letter to the editor. Mr. Brown

wrote that the State Department’s Ben-

elux desk was unresponsive to his queries.

Unfortunately, while AFSA in good

faith attempted to convey Mr. Brown’s

queries to the desk on his behalf, an

administrative error prevented their

proper transmission, resulting in those

concerns not being received by the Ben-

elux desk.

As AFSA executive director, I accept

responsibility. AFSA has apologized to

both Mr. Brown and the Benelux desk for

the miscommunication and any incon-

venience to those concerned.

Ian Houston

AFSA Executive Director

Washington, D.C.


We regret an error in the obituary for

Ambassador Robert V. Keeley in the March

print edition of the


. Though Amb.

Keeley was quoted in

Sideshow: Kissinger,

Nixon and the Destruction of Cambodia

(1979), that book’s author is William

Shawcross, not Keeley.