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MAY 2015



AFSA Staff Take Part in Panel Discussion on

Careers in International Relations

Foreign Service Journal


in-Chief Shawn Dorman and

AFSA Executive Director Ian

Houston recently took part in

a panel discussion for young

people interested in careers

in foreign affairs. Hosted by

AmericanWomen for Inter-

national Understanding, the

event was held at the National

Press Club inWashington,

D.C., on March 4.

Dorman and Houston

joined other panelists from

the State Department, the

Federal Bureau of Investiga-

tion and the Department of

Homeland Security, as well as

representatives from univer-

sity public health, public policy

and international relations


Mr. Houston urged stu-

dents to find issues they are



about and

acquire real





because, he

said, knowing

how to man-

age people,

budgets and

programs is

essential to

career longevity and promo-


Ms. Dorman introduced the

audience to the Foreign Ser-

vice career path, which many

students were unfamiliar with.

An FSO herself from 1993

to 2000 before joining the


, Dorman described the

skills needed to succeed as

a Foreign Service officer and

answered questions about lan-

guage training, career cones

and typical tasks for FSOs.

State recruiter and retired

FSO Ramona Harper high-

lighted the many internships

and fellowships State offers

each year to students and

recent graduates to kickstart

their careers in international

relations. Each student who

attended received a copy of

AFSA’s popular book,

Inside a

U.S. Embassy



—Shannon Mizzi,

Editorial Intern


17th Annual National High School Essay Contest

Receives More than 450 Entries

AFSA’s 17th annual National

High School Essay Contest

received more than 450

entries from 41 states and

eight countries. The contest

asked eligible high school

students to write an essay

describing how they, as newly

arrived diplomats, would

address one of these issues

currently facing U.S. diplomats

today: Liberia and its response

to the Ebola epidemic; Hon-

duras, and the crises of crime

and violence; the complicated

status of Taiwan and its

relationship with the People’s

Republic of China; the Syrian

refugee crisis and the pres-

sure it places on Jordan; the

predicament of Kazakhstan as

it seeks an independent role

beyond that of a former USSR

satellite; and Ukraine and the

U.S. response to the ongoing

conflict. Their essays were to

include a discussion of how

or whether social media can

be leveraged as part of the


Most entrants wrote on

Honduras. Qualified essays

moved on to the second round

of judging, which took place

in early April. The final round

of judging began in late April.

Awinner is expected to be

chosen in May.

The winning essay earns

the student an all-expenses

paid trip with family to

Washington, D.C., to meet the

Secretary of State, a $2,500

prize, and an educational voy-

age courtesy of Semester at

Sea when the student enrolls

in an accredited university.

The runner-up wins a full

scholarship to participate in

the International Diplomacy

program of the National Stu-

dent Leadership Conference.

Learn more at


org/essaycontest or contact

Perri Green, AFSA’s coordina-

tor for special awards and

outreach, at

or (202) 719-9700.

—Leo Martin, Awards Intern

AFSA Executive Director Ian Houston (front row, right) and


Editor-in-Chief Shawn Dorman,

(second row, center) with other panelists and audience members.