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MAY 2017



Veterans Writing Project

and FSO Ron Capps

Receive Award

O n April 5 the Veterans Writing Project and its founder, U.S. A


veteran and retired FSO Ron Capps,

received the 2017 Anne Smedinghoff


The annual prize is dispensed by the

Johns Hopkins University Foreign Affairs Symposium in honor of Anne Smeding- hoff, a Foreign Service officer, graduate o


Johns Hopkins and member of the For-

eign Affairs Symposium who was killed

in a suicide bomb attack in Afghanistan

in 2013.

The award committee recognized

Capps as “an individual who has dedi-

cated his life to service, social justice and

a commitment to others” and stated that

the VWP’s commitment to veteran aware-

ness “would most fittingly honor Anne’s


The VWP provides no-cost writing

workshops for veterans and their family

members, and publishes their writing

online and in print. Working with part-

ners it provides workshops and seminars

across the country.

The project’s literary journal,



, publishes works of fiction, poetry,

memoirs and plays by veteran and family

member authors.

The VWP also serves wounded war-

riors at the National Intrepid Center of

Excellence, the Defense Department’s

premier research and treatment facility

for post-traumatic stress disorder and

traumatic brain injury.

“We’re honored to be recognized for

the work we’ve done supporting veterans

and their families,” Capps said on receiv-

ing the award. “Much of what we do

echoes Anne’s interests in education and

outreach to underserved areas.”

Capps, who has served as a soldier


If you want to be peaceful here, if you want to preserve our way of life,

you better be involved over there. The only thing I can tell you after 15 years

of being at war, we are never going to win this war all of us staying over here.

And the best and brightest among us are not just our soldiers, it’s the people

in the State Department and the NGOs who go and represent American val-

ues without carrying a gun.

I am a pretty hawkish guy but I’ve had the pleasure of seeing our State

Department in action, our NGO community in action, and I believe we would

be wise to invest in them just as we would be wise to invest in our


—Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), speaking with U.S. Institute of Peace President

Nancy Lindborg at the USIP’s “Passing the Baton” event on Jan. 10.

Contemporary Quote

and a Foreign Service political officer in

Rwanda, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq and

the Darfur region of Sudan, founded the

VWP in 2011 while a student in Johns

Hopkins University’s graduate writing


His memoir

, Seriously Not All Right:

Five Wars in Ten Years

, was published in

2014 and

reviewed in the June 2014 FSJ .

—Susan B. Maitra, Managing Editor

Where Are the



s has been noted by commenta-

tors and the press, the pace of

President Donald Trump’s transition has

been unusually slow, especially when

compared to many of his predecessors.

Important assistant secretary and under

secretary positions remain unfilled,

months into the new administration. But

it is not only Cabinet appointments that

are moving at a snail’s pace.

By early April, the Trump White

House had made only five nominations

for ambassadorships—former South

Carolina Governor Nikki Haley for the

United Nations, David Friedman for

Israel, Iowa Governor Terry Branstad

for China and career FSOs Todd Haskell

for Republic of the Congo and Tulinabo

Mushingi for Senegal and Guinea-

Bissau. Of the five nominated, only

Ambassadors Haley and Friedman have

been confirmed.

The press has floated names for

such prestigious ambassadorships as

the United Kingdom, Ireland, Austria,

Italy, Spain, Japan and the Dominican

Republic. But at press time, nothing was


Traditionally, many of these embas-

sies are headed by politically appointed

ambassadors rather than career mem-

bers of the Foreign Service.

As we have done since the 1970s,

AFSA is keeping track of these nomina-

tions, as well as those for senior posts at

the foreign affairs agencies.

A list of current U.S. ambassadors is

available through the AFSA website at,

as well as

President Trump’s nominations at

—Theo Horn, Communications Intern