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A Foreign Service Thriller;

The Wolf of Sarajevo


On May 24, AFSA continued

its popular Book Notes series

with a talk fromMatthew

Palmer, FSO and author of the

new book

TheWolf of Sarajevo

(G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2016).

AFSA President Ambas-

sador Barbara Stephenson,

who worked with Palmer on

Balkans policy, introduced

the author. Opening with a

reading from his latest novel,

Amb. Stephenson said that

Palmer’s books help Foreign

Service officers tell their story

to those outside the diplo-

matic world.

Palmer describes his

novels as a “love letter to the

Foreign Service”—a profes-

sion he feels is frequently

misunderstood. He noted

that the public’s knowledge of

the military and intelligence

services is shaped by books

and movies; if Foreign Service

officers appear in those mov-

ies or books at all, they are

generally faceless bureaucrats

getting in the way of the hero.

In his books, beginning


The American Mission


Secrets of State

, Palmer

turns that idea on its head,

making the FSOs the heroes

and providing the public with

some insight into the varied

roles taken on by U.S. diplo-

mats at home and overseas.

Of course, to be a success-

ful author, you have to enter-

tain people. Palmer admits

that he takes certain liberties

to make the content as acces-

sible as possible. He points

out that it can be hard for

those outside the diplomatic

world to grasp the sheer com-

plexity of diplomatic work.

Accessibility, Palmer says,

affects many aspects of his

novels, even down to selecting

easily pronounceable names

for the characters.

TheWolf of Sarajevo


the story of Eric Petrosian,

a political officer at the

embassy in Bosnia. Shaped

by the genocide at Srebrenica,

which he witnessed as a

young journalist, he returns to

Sarajevo at a time of political

upheaval.With war looming,

Petrosian must use his local

knowledge and connections

to find out what is really going

on and how to stop another


Following his presenta-

tion, Palmer took part in a

Q&A session. In response to

questions from the audience

(which included former U.S.

Ambassador to Bosnia Patrick

Moon), Palmer spoke about

his writing process and inspi-

rations, Hollywood ambitions

and how global events have

shaped his books.


to view a recording of the


—Gemma Dvorak,

Associate Editor

AFSA President Ambassador Barbara Stephenson introduced Matthew

Palmer, including reading from his latest book, The Wolf of Sarajevo.


AFSA President Ambassador Barbara Stephenson introduced Matthew

Palmer, including reading from his latest book,

The Wolf of Sarajevo.


As the November election season approaches, overseas Foreign Service members may need to make arrange-

ments for voting. With a presidential election, Senate and congressional races, as well as state-specific contests,

there will be plenty of ballots to cast this year.

The Federal Voting Assistance Program offers information and instructions for registering and voting while living

overseas under the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act, which covers FS employees and their fami-



, you can check the requirements for your state of residence, register to vote and request a

ballot. Each state has different regulations on registration and submitting a voted ballot! Information is also

available at the AFSA website:

and from the Overseas Vote Foundation——a

nonpartisan organization.

Don’t forget the Hatch Act!

All active Foreign Service employees are prohibited from engaging in partisan political activities while “on duty.”

For information about the rules and regulations regarding political actions while representing the U.S. government,

check out our Labor Management guidance page at