The Foreign Service Journal - September 2017
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Steven L. Herman is the White House

bureau chief for the Voice of America.

The veteran correspondent has been a

member of the Foreign Service since 2007,

when he was named VOA’s South Asia

bureau chief, based in New Delhi. Subse-

quent overseas posts include Seoul and Bangkok. Mr. Herman

returned to the United States in 2016 to cover diplomacy,

based at the State Department, before moving to cover the

new administration shortly after the inauguration.

Mr. Herman spent 16 years living in Tokyo and working in

media before joining VOA as a staff correspondent. A former

news reporter for the Associated Press, he began his career

in radio and television news in Las Vegas, Nevada. Originally

from Cincinnati, Ohio, he is a graduate of Thomas Edison

State University and holds an M.A. in public diplomacy from

Mountain State University.

Mr. Herman is a former president of both the Foreign

Correspondents’ Club of Japan and the Seoul Foreign Corre-

spondents’ Club. He is also a governor of the Overseas Press

Club of America. He ran for office with AFSA because he “felt

an obligation to ensure that BBG/IBB/VOA members of the

Foreign Service have representation.”



John (J.J.) Hurley joined the U.S. Depart-

ment of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant

Health Inspection Service in 2002. In 2006

he joined the APHIS Foreign Service. He

has held overseas assignments in Panama

and Guatemala, where he was responsible

for overseeing binational and multilateral programs control-

ling insect pests affecting animal and plant health.

Mr. Hurley currently serves in Washington, D.C., with

APHIS’ Trade Support Team, handling sanitary and phytos-

anitary trade issues for Latin America. Prior to joining APHIS

he was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Honduras. J.J. grew up in a

Foreign Service family and gained youthful experience work-

ing in several embassies. He and his wife have four children.




During 38 years in the Foreign Service,

Ambassador (ret.) Al La Porta served as

ambassador to Mongolia, political adviser

to the commander of NATO forces in

Southern Europe, executive director to the special envoy for

the Multilateral Assistance Initiative and director of the Office

of Cambodian Genocide Investigations. He earned a B.A. from

Georgetown University and master’s degrees from New York

University and the National War College.

Since retiring in 2003, Amb. La Porta chaired the South-

east Asia area studies course at the Foreign Service Insti-

tute, serves part-time in the State Department’s Bureau of

Political-Military Affairs and is a consultant on Asian affairs to

the U.S. Pacific Command in Honolulu, Hawaii. Since 2009 he

has advised the Joint Staff/J7 and the U.S. Africa Command,

headquartered in Germany, regarding military exercise pro-

grams. In 2008-2009, he served as chief of party for Develop-

ment Alternatives International on a USAID project to advise

the foreign ministry in Pristina, Kosovo.

Amb. La Porta served as president of AFSA in 1997, and

served as State vice president before that. He was first

elected as a retiree representative in 2015.



Philip Shull retired in 2016 after 31 years

with the Foreign Agricultural Service. A

native of Wooster, Ohio, his interest in

food security and international relations

was sparked from living as a boy in India,

where he saw severe malnutrition.

Mr. Shull’s work maximizing exports of U.S. food and

agricultural products and promoting global food secu-

rity included trade negotiations, capacity building, food

safety, biotechnology, marketing and promotion, scientific

exchange and economic analysis. His overseas assign-

ments included Korea, Argentina (including Uruguay and

Paraguay), Hong Kong, Philippines and three tours in China.

His final position was minister counselor for agriculture in


Mr. Shull ran for AFSA office for many reasons, among

them to use his private-sector contacts to promote public

support for the Foreign Service, particularly in the heart-

land; to defend the Foreign Service against unjustified

resource cuts; to help ensure our Foreign Service continues

to promote the full range of our traditional diplomatic and

economic interests; and to create opportunities for retirees

to demonstrate the value of the Foreign Service by sharing

their knowledge, experience and insights in universities and

other forums.