Page 64 - Foreign Service Journal - September 2013

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64
SEPTEMBER 2013
|
THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL
STATE VP VOICE | BY MATTHEW ASADA
AFSA NEWS
Views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the AFSA State VP.
Contact:
asadam@state.gov
or (202) 647-8160
The Foreign Service’s DRI/Diplomacy 3.0 Generation
Ten years ago I joined the For-
eign Service along with my
fellow colleagues from the
115th A-100 class. We were
part of former Secretary of
State Colin Powell’s Diplo-
matic Readiness Initiative,
itself a precursor to Secre-
tary Hillary Rodham Clinton’s
Diplomacy 3.0 hiring surge.
Together this DRI/D3.0
generation now represents
more than half of today’s
Foreign Service. I want to
take a moment and refect on
this generation as part of my
introduction to you as your
new State Vice President on
AFSA’s Governing Board.
THE POSSIBILITY
OF CHANGE
Mine is a Foreign Service
generation shaped by 9/11
and a decade of war; the
burst of the dot.com bubble
followed by the global fnan-
cial crisis; the explosion of
social media and the empow-
erment of the individual;
and greater acceptance and
celebration of America’s
diversity. It is a generation
willing to “think diferent,”
challenge conventions and
embrace technology. It rec-
ognizes the catalyzing power
of the individual, the sustain-
ing power of the institution
and the value of the coalition.
It is a post-Cold War genera-
tion that believes change is
possible—here and abroad.
It is a generation witness-
ing
“The Protests Around the
World,” which
The Economist
suggests may be just as sig-
nifcant as those of the years
1848, 1968 or 1989.
A WILLINGNESS
TO SERVE
In spite of the change,
this generation longs for
intergenerational contact,
seeking out the wisdom and
experience of those who
have come before. AFSA is an
intergenerational connector,
linking the current active-
duty generation represented
in the union’s bargaining unit
with the retired population of
the professional association.
It is a generation that has wit-
nessed an attack on, and the
decline of, organized labor,
despite its past gains and the
continued need for employee
representation.
The idea of worldwide ser-
vice still resonates resound-
ingly and many of us have
answered the call to serve at
unaccompanied posts. For
several members of our For-
eign Service family, that call
would be their last. As the
custodian of AFSA’s Memo-
rial Plaques in the C Street
lobby of the Department of
State, it is important that we
honor those who have given
their lives in service by pre-
serving their memory.
AFSA: ADVOCATING
FOR CHANGE
I joined AFSA the same
day I joined the Foreign
Service. I joined because I
fundamentally believe in the
importance of a professional
association and public-sector
union for America’s 15,000
active-duty diplomats. I
joined knowing that AFSA
would advocate for changes
that would improve the
Service at both a personal
and institutional level, ensure
that the system as a whole
remained fair for me and my
colleagues and represent me
in the case that the depart-
ment wittingly or unwittingly
violated its own regulations.
I ran for vice president as a
new voice with new ideas for
the union’s leadership. I ran
as a member of the DRI/D3.0
generation that recognizes
that the time to “step up and
lean in” is now.
AFSA: FULL-TIME
IN HST 1251
Today, when I tell people
about my current position,
the vast majority of col-
leagues I talk to are surprised
to learn that the position is
full-time (I am detailed from
the State Department to the
union for two years); or that
we have an AFSA ofce in the
department, across from the
Employee Services Center—
in addition to our headquar-
ters at 21st and E Streets NW.
At HST, we advocate
policies that meet the overall
interests of our membership,
and assist Foreign Service
employees with inquiries and
grievances. In department-
speak, that means we clear
on personnel regulations,
policies and announce-
ments; participate in working
groups; and partner with
o ces, a nity groups and
external third parties on
projects and proposals.
I encourage you to think
about how your o ce or
organization might be able
to partner with AFSA. Rest
assured that we—the elected
leadership and AFSA staf—
are working full-time on your
behalf, whether you have
visited our o ces or not.
LET US HEAR
FROM YOU
In the campaign, I heard
about your career and
professional development,
security and quality of work/
life balance concerns. We
have already begun address-
ing these issues with depart-
ment management—you
can track our progress at
www.afsa.org/state.
Please
feel free to drop me a line at
asadam@state.gov,
or stop
by my o ce at any time to
let me know your concerns
and ideas. I look forward to
engaging you in this column
(next month: career paths)
and serving you as your State
vice president for the next
two years.
n