The Foreign Service Journal - April 2017
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APRIL 2017




AFSAOutreach in Austin

In January AFSA President

Ambassador Barbara Ste-

phenson accepted an invita-

tion to attend the University

of Texas at Austin Forum on

Diplomacy and Statecraft,

hosted by the Lyndon B. John-

son School of Public Affairs.

The Jan. 12-14 event

brought together foreign

affairs professionals from

the State Department, the

Department of Defense and

diplomats representing the

European Union’s External

Action Service, the United

Kingdom, Germany, France,

Finland, the Netherlands, Bra-

zil, Colombia and Israel.

The forum opened with an

appeal from the organizers

to diplomats to make policy

choices that reflect their

country’s larger strategic

framework, rather than the

crisis of the day. The arc of

strategy often gets lost due

to bureaucratic fragmenta-

tion and because “the urgent

crowds out the important.”

Among other topics

featured were the rise of

populism, energy and water

resource challenges, race in

America, drone technology,

climate change and diplo-

matic training worldwide.

Amb. Stephenson led a

session on reforms that have

made the U.S Foreign Service

stronger—as well as remain-

ing challenges. She cited

gains in attracting a diverse

workforce as a key improve-

ment, observing, “We still

have work to do, but we are

getting closer to our goal of

making the Foreign Service

reflect and represent the rich

diversity of America.” She also

highlighted the importance of

leadership and management

training, noting that AFSA

members value the training,

want more of it, and believe it

makes themmore effective at

their jobs.

Taking advantage of the

travel to Austin, Amb. Ste-

phenson and AFSA Outreach

Coordinator Catherine Kan-

nenberg met with represen-

tatives of GlobalAustin, the

local affiliate of Global Ties

U.S., along with entrepreneurs

from the area and faculty

members from UTAustin and

Southern Texas University.

At that event, Amb

Stephenson spoke of the

importance of government-

funded exchange programs

such as the International

Visitor Leadership Program in

maintaining American global


The visit also included a

meeting with the executive

director of theWorld Affairs

Council of Austin. Finally,

Amb. Stephenson and Dr.

Kannenberg met with the

president of the Foreign

Service Group, AFSA retiree

member JohnWood, to

coordinate AFSA speakers for

upcoming events in Austin.


—Catherine Kannenberg,

AFSA Outreach Coordinator

AFSA President Ambassador Barbara Stephenson speaks with members

of GlobalAustin, the Austin affiliate of Global Ties U.S., one of AFSA’s

strategic partners.


AFSA Sponsors HECFAA Interns at State

AFSA and the Hispanic

Employees Council of For-

eign Affairs Agencies have

co-sponsored interns at the

Department of State since

2014. This past year, Carolina

Abraham and Mauricio Cortes

honed their diplomacy skills

in the Bureau of International

Narcotics and Law Enforc-

ment Affairs and Bureau of

Western Hemisphere Affairs’

Office of Policy Planning and

Coordination, respectively.

Ms. Abraham attends

Florida International Univer-

sity, where she is studying for

her master’s degree in public

administration and criminal

justice. She has previously

studied overseas in Switzer-

land, France and Belgium and

hopes to continue deepening

her understanding of foreign

policy implementation.

Mauricio Cortes is

pursuing a master’s

degree in public adminis-

tration at Cornell Univer-

sity. Mauricio previously

served in the U.S. Navy,

completing three tours in the

Middle East. He is passionate

about providing educational

opportunities for low-income

families and minorities, and

hopes to join the Department

of State to work on these and

other issues.


HECFAA Interns Carolina Abraham

(left) and Mauricio Cortes at AFSA