The Foreign Service Journal - July/August 2017
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AFSAOutreach—Our Successes So Far

As this Governing Board’s

two-year tenure draws to a

close, we’d like to highlight

one of this board’s highest


review the progress we’ve

made in telling the story of

the Foreign Service to the

American public.

The 50 States Outreach Initia-

tive, under the banner of the

Fund for American Diplomacy,

continues to bring the story

of the Foreign Service to the

public and give our fellow

citizens the opportunity to

connect with U.S. diplomats

and gain an understanding of

the work they do.

AFSA’s outreach efforts

capitalize on results of

recent polling that show

nine in 10 Americans sup-

port strong American global

leadership. We know this

leadership depends on main-

taining a strong, professional

career Foreign Service. We

also know that diplomacy

and development are cost-

effective tools for maintain-

ing America’s leadership in

the world.

Thanks to our partnership

with the Una Chapman Cox

Foundation, AFSA expanded

its outreach capacity in

March 2016 by adding a

part-time position, which

has enabled us to grow

our Speakers Bureau and

establish new strategic and

outreach partnerships.

AFSA Speakers Bureau

The Speakers Bureau has

been integral to AFSA’s out-

reach and is the single most

cost-effective means of reach-

ing audiences around the

country. We have successfully

mobilized Foreign Service

retirees who are enthusiastic

about sharing their expertise

and experience of life in the

Foreign Service.

Beyond satisfying

speaker requests for spe-

cific programs or events

throughout the country, we

are impressed by how many

of our Speakers Bureau

participants have taken it

upon themselves to iden-

tify speaking opportunities

in their communities—for

example, with civic and reli-

gious groups, high schools

and universities.

Besides increasing

the number of speakers

and engagements during

this period, it is critical to

prepare our speakers with

quality messaging that

conveys—in every forum

and with every audience—

the value of diplomacy and


We have begun to develop

talking points that are

geared to specific audiences,

whether they are business

leaders, students, farmers

or Members of Congress.

Speakers can build on these

talking points and personal-

ize presentations with their

own “war stories,” as well as

share their geographic and

functional expertise.

Compared with July 2015,

when the current Govern-

ing Board was sworn in, we

have expanded our roster of

speakers and nearly doubled

the number of events that

featured those speakers.

Strategic and

Outreach Partnerships

AFSA has expanded

its network of strategic

partners. By working with

national organizations that

focus on global engagement

and have chapters through-

out the country— Global

Ties U.S., the U.S. Global

Leadership Coalition and

the World Affairs Councils of

America—AFSA’s message

can be heard across age

groups, political affiliations

and regions. In fact, so far

this year, our outreach work

has brought us to 46 states.