Page 65 - Foreign Service Journal - September 2013

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I would like to begin my
frst column by express-
ing my appreciation for
the many years of service
my predecessor, Francisco
Zamora, dedicated to AFSA.
He is a true advocate for
the Foreign Service and has
accomplished much during
his tenure. His article in the
March 2013 issue of
The For-
eign Service Journal
ofers a
glimpse of the many avenues
of service he traveled as
AFSA vice president. I am
grateful for the opportunity
and privilege to pick up the
torch and continue to serve
my fellow Foreign Service
o cers and retirees.
My relationship with
USAID began more than 20
years ago and has taken me
to Africa, the Middle East,
Latin America, the Caribbean
and, most recently, Washing-
ton, D.C. I have worked with
USAID under various hiring
mechanisms and proudly
joined AFSA immediately
upon becoming a Foreign
Service o cer in 2004.
My respect for the Foreign
Service began in Africa in the
1990s. As I worked alongside
my USAID and other U.S.
foreign afairs agency col-
leagues, I saw frst-hand the
signifcant results our eforts
were achieving, experienced
the challenges and the
dangers and realized that
our hard work contributed
to making this world a bet-
ter place for generations to
come. I was hooked.
Whether it’s providing
administrative and logistical
support to a USAID mis-
sion or direct involvement in
programs such as improv-
ing democracy and gover-
nance, eliminating hunger,
promoting free enterprise,
or improving health and
education—the demanding
and important work we do is
more than a job, it is a way
of life.
Our dedicated and com-
mitted o cers deserve to
be supported. Having spent
much of my life in USAID, I’ve
experienced the challenges
of working overseas frst as a
single woman, then married
with children and, now, as a
divorcee with two teenagers.
As gratifying as this career
is, over the years, the lifestyle
It’s More than a Job, It’s a Way of Life
Beginning this month, AFSA will be sending cop-
ies of its book,
Inside a U.S. Embassy: Diplomacy at
to 500 lower-income and charter high schools
around the country in hopes of interesting students
in a Foreign Service career. This unprecedented
outreach opportunity was made possible by a very
generous donation to AFSA’s Fund for American
Diplomacy from Embassy Risk Management, located
in Charlottesville, Va. The company provides inter-
national property and auto insurance tailored to the
unique needs Foreign Service members.
Please see the October issue of
for an
in-depth look at this project.
AFSA Begins Eforts to Further
Reach Underserved Schools
Views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the AFSA USAID VP.
or (202) 712-1631
New Director of Communications
Joins AFSA Staf
AFSAWelcomes Kristen Fernekes, our
new director of communications. Kris-
ten comes to AFSA after seven years at
the Peace Corps, working in both the
director’s o ce and the o ce of com-
munications. She most recently served
as the deputy director of communica-
tions and manager of internal communications.
Previously, Kristen worked at the Center for Folklife
and Cultural Heritage at the Smithsonian Institution
and Design Literate, Inc., a creative frm she started
with her husband. Kristen holds a degree in journalism
from the University of Alabama.
Kristen can be reached at
or at
(202) 338-4045, ext. 516.
struggles can run equally
deep. Concerns over security,
insu cient entry-level sala-
ries, limited spousal employ-
ment opportunities, educa-
tion challenges, inadequate
medical care, protection/
improvement of our benefts,
budget cuts and limited train-
ing opportunities afect our
lives and our families.
We have an extremely
talented and motivated AFSA
team, and I thank the mem-
bership for its support as the
new Governing Board moves
forth. The Board relies on our
combined views and con-
cerns and on those conveyed
to us by AFSA members
when determining where to
focus our energy. Please do
not hesitate to share what is
on your mind by e-mail or a
phone call. I very much look
forward to serving you.