Table of Contents Table of Contents
Previous Page  47 / 108 Next Page
Basic version Information
Show Menu
Previous Page 47 / 108 Next Page
Page Background

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL

|

SEPTEMBER 2017

47

FOCUS

ON EXEMPLARY PERFORMANCE & CONSTRUCTIVE DISSENT

Lack of fairness and transparency in the assignment restrictions

process undercuts both employees and the State Department.

Asian-American employees took it on.

In Pursuit of Transparency

in Assignment

Restriction Policies

F

or many years State Department employees

from particular ethnic backgrounds have

faced barriers to particular assignments. The

process has precluded some Foreign Service

and Civil Service employees from serving

in certain posts overseas or taking up some

domestic positions and even short-term,

overseas temporary duty assignments based

on their ethnicity.

The assignment restrictions issue has been a long-standing

one for Asian Americans at the department. The Asian-Pacific

American Foreign Affairs Council was founded in 1981 to sup-

port equal employment opportunity for Asian American and

BY CHR I ST I NA T. L E AND THOMAS T. WONG

Christina T. Le is a career Foreign Service officer currently in long-term language training for her next assignment, to

Japan. She has previously served in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research, on the Philippines desk in the Bureau of East

Asian & Pacific Affairs, and overseas in Greece and Mexico.

Thomas T. Wong is a Foreign Service officer assigned to the American Institute in Taiwan in Taipei. His previous postings include

Guadalajara and consecutive tours in Washington in the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs. Prior to joining the Foreign Service

in 2010, Mr. Wong served in the U.S. Army. His wife, Suzanne Wong, is also a Foreign Service officer and they have two children.

Christina Le andThomas Wong are the current and past presidents of the Asian American Foreign Affairs Association, respectively. The

views expressed in this article are theirs and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of State or U.S. government. Le, Wong

and their colleagues Mariju L. Bofill and Cecilia S. Choi received this year’s WilliamR. Rivkin Award for Constructive Dissent by a Mid-Level Officer.

Pacific Islander officers. Renamed the Asian American Foreign

Affairs Association in 2007, the association supports the equal

employment opportunity mission of the foreign affairs agen-

cies and supports the career advancement of AAPI employees

by organizing and hosting career development and leadership

seminars, and utilizing the experience and skills of high-

ranking officials to impart knowledge on the next generation of

AAPI leaders.

Today, AAFAA is an association of some 750 Civil Service

and Foreign Service officers, specialists, fellows, contractors,

interns and retirees, with the mission to improve recruitment,

outreach and professional development of AAPI officers at the

State Department.