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Workforce Diversity: A Driver for Effective Advocacy

Not too long ago, I read an

article on how a diverse

workforce spurs economic

growth. The author argued

that employees with different

backgrounds help compa-

nies market more effectively

to diverse segments of the


For a business, build-

ing a diverse workforce is

a financially savvy move.

For an organization like the

American Foreign Service

Association, it is the key

to a successful advocacy


Our goal is simple: to

leverage Foreign Service

diversity to demonstrate that

foreign affairs agencies are

representative of the entire

country, not just a select few.

AFSA strives to educate

lawmakers and staffers

about their constituents’

contributions to American

diplomacy. We explain how

diverse workforce perspec-

tives have improved the way

U.S. diplomats understand

and address regional and

religious conflicts, promote

U.S. exports and business

interests abroad and foster

security and stability through

development and coopera-


By highlighting the many

ways in which our diverse

members are forging innova-

tive and effective foreign

policy solutions, we foster an

understanding of how invest-

ments in the Foreign Service

are really investments in


At the end of the day, our

most effective advocacy is

telling your stories.


—Javier Cuebas,

Director of Advocacy

On June 10, AFSA met with Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), ranking member

of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. From left: AFSA Director of

Advocacy Javier Cuebas, AFSA Retiree VP Larry Cohen, Sen. Cardin, AFSA

President Robert J. Silverman, AFSA USAID VP Sharon Wayne and AFSA

FCS VP Steve Morrison.

Thousands Join AFSA’s Online Discussion Board

Only a few months after the

March launch of the Ameri-

can Foreign Service Asso-

ciation’s online discussion


AFSA Community


the platform has grown to

include more than 11,000

users (with nearly 300 writ-

ten contributions so far).

A 2014 membership sur-

vey revealed a large demand

for new and innovative ways

to get involved. AFSA Com-

munity is the association’s

response to that call, with

great potential to expand

and become a dynamic

medium through which

AFSA members across the

world can exchange advice,

network and discuss topics

around American diplomacy.

The inaugural discussion

forum, “AFSA 2015 Gov-

erning Board Election and

Bylaw Amendment,” allowed

members to stay up to date

with election news, read

candidate statements and

submit questions and com-

ments directly to Governing

Board hopefuls.

After the election in June,

AFSA converted the discus-

sion to the “AFSA Open

Forum” to spur conversa-

tions on broader Foreign

Service issues. Members

may suggest discussion top-

ics; and, if needed, separate

forums may be created.

If you haven’t already,

AFSA asks that you please

sign up for this new member

benefit by logging into the

members-only area of the

AFSA website and clicking

on “AFSA Community” in

the blue navigation tab at

the top of the page. (You

must have a personal email

address stored in your user

profile to access the AFSA

Community. Email addresses

ending in “.gov” do not


Once you have logged

into the AFSA Community

page, join the “AFSA Open

Forum” discussion to get


Each user is required

to agree to a basic set of

guidelines for participation,

in order to preserve a safe

environment that encour-

ages civil, fruitful dialogue.

Please send questions

and comments to mem-,

with “AFSA

Community” in the subject



—Natalie Cheung,

Member Services