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56

MAY 2017

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THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL

AFSA NEWS

bers can see how the reports

are created and used.

Staff at all posts, he said,

should be able to articulate

why the United States has a

presence in the host country;

what the risks to mission

staff within that country are;

and, most importantly, why it

is important that the United

States maintains a presence

in the host country, even if

there are risks to the safety of

U.S. personnel. Risk is inher-

ent in Foreign Service work

overseas, so the goal must

be to mitigate rather than

eliminate risk.

He recommended that the

model used in VP2—which

clearly states the foreign

policy benefit that must be

weighed against the risk of

maintaining a presence—be

extended to the work of

Emergency Action Commit-

tees, as they weigh opera-

tional and tactical decisions

such as whether to undertake

a specific trip into a high-

threat area.

Mr. Starr answered ques-

tions from the audience

on subjects including the

importance of the Overseas

Security Advisory Council

and how OSAC members in

many countries worldwide

can be useful contacts for

political, economic and con-

sular officers.

He also responded to

questions about engaging

locally employed (LE) staff

overseas (he said more

should be done to invest in

these critical employees) and

the lessons learned about

risk management during the

years the Foreign Service has

spent in Iraq and Afghanistan.

A recording of the event is

available at the AFSA website,

www.afsa.org/video.

n

—Gemma Dvorak,

Associate Editor

Securing Diplomacy

Continued from page 47

An audience member asks a question during the Q&A session.

AFSA/GEMMADVORAK

Local Engagement in Global Affairs

AFSA President Ambassador

Barbara Stephenson partici-

pated in the annual meeting of

Global Ties U.S., held Feb. 9-11

inWashington, D.C.

Global Ties U.S., one of

AFSA’s strategic partners,

coordinates more than

40,000 volunteers in 45

states. During the annual

conference, representatives of

Global Ties U.S. engage with

Congress and underscore

the value of exchange visitor

programs such as the Inter-

national Visitor Leadership

Program that members of the

Foreign Service know so well.

In her remarks, Amb.

Stephenson presented

opportunities for closer col-

laboration between Global

Ties and AFSA, with retired

AFSAmembers in particular

being ideal candidates for

Global Ties boards around

the country—and ideal host

families for international visi-

tors.With their deep connec-

tions to local communities,

members of Global Ties are

well positioned to help tell the

story of the Foreign Service to

the heartland of America.

On Feb. 10, Amb. Stephen-

son moderated a panel on citi-

zen diplomacy with Clifton L.

Taulbert, a Pulitzer-nominated

author, speaker, entrepreneur

and activist; Anthony Shop,

co-founder of the social media

strategy company Social

Driver; and Olive Sampson,

deputy director of the U.S.

Diplomacy Center.

The panel focused on the

importance of local com-

munities in tackling global

problems, and on the role of

local and social media net-

works in amplifying the reach

and impact of our message

encouraging continued global

engagement.

At the same event, Amb.

Stephenson presented the

Global Ties 2017 Citizen Diplo-

mat Award to Mr. Taulbert.

n

AFSA/CATHERINEKANNENBERG