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THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL

|

SEPTEMBER 2016

9

LETTER FROM THE EDITOR

Recognizing Excellence and Courage

BY SHAWN DORMAN

E

Shawn Dorman is the editor of

The Foreign Service Journal.

(East Pakistan, 1970-1971; Yugoslavia,

1993) and salutes the recent “Dissent 51”

(Syria, 2016). We also highlight a selection

of

previous FSJ coverage of dissent

.

Please see AFSA News for complete

coverage of the

June 23 awards ceremony

and profiles of all of the winners.

We turn to diplomatic tradecraft in the

focus section. In “Diplomatic Training: New Trends,” Ambassador (ret.) Kishan

Rana surveys the international landscape

and finds that foreignministries from

London to Kuala Lumpur are expanding

and intensifying their emphasis on training

in innovative ways.

FSOs Elijah Bush and Todd Hughes are

both former foreign language teachers and

recent FSI language students. They present

a seriously practical guide to finding your

way as a language student in “Five Ways to Tackle a New Language.”

Then, with language well in hand, it’s

time to get out to post and plan the perfect

VIP visit. Through the lens of a recent

presidential visit, U.S. Ambassador to Viet- namTed Osius recounts what he’s learned

about how to plan andmanage such a

visit. Hints: strategy, advance planning,

teamwork, initiative and ownership.

As youmay recall, the January-Feb- ruary Journal ’s focus onmental health care for the Foreign Service (beginning

with our call for members to share their

experiences) generated great interest and

brought to light some serious issues and

deficiencies in this area. Support for FS

children with special needs emerged as an

area of particular concern that warranted

separate coverage.

very September, in assembling a

detailed report on AFSA’s awards

program and the year’s recipients,

we have the opportunity to intro-

duce to you, in an in-depth and personal

way, some of the stellar individuals who

represent the best of the Foreign Service

community.

In June I had the distinct honor of

interviewing Ambassador Ruth A. Davis, the 2016 recipient of AFSA’s Lifetime Con- tributions to American Diplomacy Award.

Diplomat, leader, mentor, innovator,

trailblazer—if you don’t find inspiration

in her remarkable story, you won’t find it

anywhere.

Our spotlight on the AFSA awards,

always with particular attention to the

unique dissent awards, includes another

inspiring story, from

Jefferson Smith

, win-

ner of the 2016 Rivkin Award for Construc- tive Dissent.

Smith is an FSOwho challenged

prevailing practice on locally employed

(LE) staff compensation and in the process

helped secure a living wage for LE staff at

U.S. Embassy Kuwait

and other posts in the

region.

No other dissent awards were given this

year, as Ambassador Barbara Stephenson

explains in

President’s Views

.

Further on dissent, Ambassador Tom Boyatt’s Retiree VP Voice column, “In Defense of Dissent,”

is a must-read. Boyatt

shares his own dissent

story (Cyprus, 1974),

reminds us of other

significant examples

So in June we published a Speaking Out

by two FSOs, “Supporting FS Families with Special Needs Children,” that spelled out

the challenges facing families and offered

suggestions for improving access to the

right care. We also published a series of

comments fromFS parents weighing in on

mental health support for their children.

Those comments and others made it clear

there is concern and confusion about

access to care, allowances and other

aspects of support.

The office responsible for managing

these issues as of 2013, the Child and Family Program, is part of the Bureau

of

Medical Services Mental Health Services

Office. MED graciously offered to clarify

the role of the CFP; we, in turn, provided

a set of questions toMED, intending to

publish a Q&A that would contribute to the

conversation.

In our lead feature this month, “MED’s Child and Family Program, Explained,”

Deputy Medical Director for Mental Health

Programs Dr. Kathy Gallardo describes the

CFP—its origins, aims and responsibilities.

She also provides the link toMED’s new online FAQ in which the bureau respond

s

tomost of our questions.

Moving on to less weighty matters,

we bring you, “Creepy Critters We Have Known” by Margaret Sullivan. Nothing l

ike

a few cicaks to lighten things up.

In Speaking Out, retired FSO and

veteranWorld’s Fair hand Beatrice Camp

makes a plea to stop ignoring international expos and, instead, do them right. And FS

spouse Laura Fabrycky offers a poignant

reflection on a family road trip to Syria in 2011. Last but not least, Andrew Parker’s

image fromLiberia speaks for itself.

n