Foreign Service Journal - November 2013 - page 56

Educating the American pub-
lic about the importance of
diplomacy, development and
the Foreign Service has long
been one of AFSA’s stated
missions. One of our most
important mechanisms for
that education is our ongo-
ing series of Road Scholar
programs focused on current
foreign policy issues as
seen through the eyes of the
Foreign Service. Since their
inception in 1996, more than
10,000 participants have
joined retired and active-
duty members of the Foreign
Service to learn about
international affairs and U.S.
Originally presented
under the old “Elderhostel”
name, thousands of Road
Scholar programs are offered
around the world each year.
The AFSA programs are
truly unique among them,
serving up a more cerebral,
presentation-focused sched-
ule with less time devoted to
excursions and field trips—
although all programs in
Washington, D.C., do include
at least a visit to a foreign
embassy or the Foreign Ser-
vice Institute.
Once the program’s
theme has been deter-
mined, we gather eight to
10 speakers who address
that theme from a variety of
viewpoints and experiences.
Recent theme programs have
included Africa, the Western
Hemisphere, South Asia and
AFSA’s Road Scholar Collaboration
Global Terrorism, and North
Africa and the Middle East.
While we have offered
programs in a variety of loca-
tions over the years, today
they take place in Washing-
ton, D.C, and Chautauqua,
The programs at the
Chautauqua Institution (see
the November 2011 issue of
for more) have a
flavor of their own: six retired
diplomats each lecture on
two topics and spend a week
with the 150 participants in a
secluded setting. This allows
for a more immersive experi-
Over the years, AFSA has
been gratified to see partici-
pants depart each program
with a true appreciation for
the work of the Foreign Ser-
vice and hopefully, go on to
be vocal supporters in their
home communities.
This fall, we offered five
Road Scholar programs; four
in Washington and one in
Chautauqua. All were filled to
capacity, with 350 individuals
getting up close and personal
with the Foreign Service.
Ambassador David Shinn lectures about the Chinese role in Africa at
AFSA’s October Road Scholar program in Washington, D.C.
Dissent Awards: Nominate a
Colleague (or Yourself)
Next year, we celebrate 90
years of the Foreign Service
and AFSA. Now, more than
ever, we hope to see viable
candidates nominated for
our dissent awards. Nomina-
tions are now open.
For more than 40 years,
AFSA has encouraged and
recognized constructive dis-
sent in the Foreign Service
through its annual awards
program. AFSA’s awards
for constructive dissent are
unique within the U.S. gov-
The director general of the
Foreign Service co-sponsors
the annual ceremony held
Dissent continued on page 59
For the first time, we
offered a highly successful
program focused exclusively
on Africa. Speakers such as
Ambassadors Dane Smith,
Lange Schermerhorn, David
Shinn, Michael Southwick,
Hank Cohen and Charles
Ray spoke on the Sudan, the
Congo, Kenya, Zimbabwe and
the Horn of Africa.
We are always looking for
speakers who are interested
in volunteering in these
programs. If you would like
to participate, please e-mail
with your
name, topics you would like
to speak about and a short
bio. You can learn more at
in the Benjamin Franklin
Diplomatic Reception Room
at the Department of State.
We celebrate those who have
had the courage to dissent,
as well as those who perform
their duties in an exemplary
AFSA is proud to uphold
the tradition of construc-
tive dissent for these many
years, and we look forward to
our ongoing role in recog-
nizing those who have the
intelligence and courage to
define a flaw and develop an
The criteria for dissent
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