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THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL

|

SEPTEMBER 2017

85

AFSA NEWS

Retirees: A Force Outside the “Beltway Bubble”

AWARD FOR ACH I EVEMENT AND CONTR I BUT I ONS TO THE ASSOC I AT I ON

JOHN S. WOOD

AFSA EXEMPLARY PERFORMANCE AWARDS

“If all Foreign Service retir-

ees were like John, we could

create a strong domestic

constituency in no time

at all,” said AFSA Presi-

dent Ambassador Barbara

Stephenson, introducing

John S. Wood, recipient of

the 2017 AFSA Award for

Achievements and Contribu-

tions to the Association, at

the June 20 ceremony.

This award recognizes

an active-duty or retired

AFSA member of any of

the foreign affairs agen-

cies represented by AFSA

who has made a significant

(non-monetary) contribu-

tion to the association in its

role either as a professional

association of practitioners

of diplomacy, or its role as

a labor union representing

Foreign Service members.

As president of The For-

eign Service Group–Texas, in

Austin, Mr. Wood has been

a tireless advocate for the

Foreign Service. Through his

efforts, the group punches

well above its weight when

it comes to events, outreach

and influence.

In 2016, The Foreign

Service Group was by far

the most active in AFSA’s

campaign to place letters

to the editor highlighting

Foreign Service Day in Texas

newspapers. The group

holds regular luncheons

that bring together Foreign

Service retirees and attract

high-caliber speakers, from

former ambassadors to

academics.

It is worth noting that,

although this award does

not take financial contri-

butions into account, The

Foreign Service Group–

Texas makes an annual

contribution to the Fund for

American Diplomacy, AFSA’s

501(c)(3) organization dedi-

cated to raising awareness

of the Foreign Service and

diplomacy.

Mr. Wood is a proactive

AFSA member, brimming

with ideas about how to tell

the story of the Foreign Ser-

vice to the American public.

His insights are extremely

valuable to AFSA’s outreach

team, because he has the

benefit of being outside the

“Beltway bubble” and is in

touch with the interests and

world views of those not liv-

ing in Washington, D.C.

This perspective is

invaluable to AFSA as the

association aims to reach

out to different communities

across the United States

and let them know how the

Foreign Service works for

them. He is exactly the type

of retiree member that AFSA

needs: dedicated, engaged,

persistent and with a deep

love of his profession.

Accepting the award, Mr.

Wood noted: “Geographi-

cally dispersed groups like

diplomats, their families

and friends can be a huge

force for good, given a few

resources and encouraged

to be creative.” He also

encouraged those present

to visit The Foreign Service

Group–Texas’ website, www.

tfsg.org for information

about their activities.

Mr. Wood was born in

Winnipeg, Canada, and

holds a B.S. and MBA, both

from Columbia University.

A 17-year veteran of the

Foreign Commercial Service,

Mr. Wood served in Cal-

gary, Mexico City, Mumbai,

Bangkok, Seoul, and posts

in Washington, D.C., before

retiring in 2001.

n

Achievement and Contributions to the Association Award recipient John Wood (left) with AFSA President

Ambassador Barbara Stephenson, who nominated him for the award.

AFSA/TOYASARNOJORDAN