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AFSA President Urges Focus on

“New Threat Set” at NYC’s Lincoln Center





November 4

12-2 p.m.

AFSA Governing

Board Meeting

November 9

FEHB Open Season Begins

(closes December 14)

November 11

Veterans Day:

AFSA Offices Closed

November 15-19

AFSA Road Scholar Program

Washington, D.C.

November 19

1-4 p.m.

Second Annual

AFSA Book Market

November 26 and 27


AFSA Offices Closed

On Sept. 17, American Foreign

Service Association Presi-

dent Ambassador Barbara

Stephenson delivered the

keynote address to a gath-

ering of University College

London alumni and faculty

at New York City’s Lincoln

Center. In a room filled with

experts from across the

professional spectrum, Amb.

Stephenson spoke of a new

set of global threats requiring

a fresh approach to conduct-

ing foreign affairs.

According to Stephenson,

this “new threat set”—climate

change, immigration, rising

oceans, declining fisheries,

pandemics, cyberattacks,

etc.—is not readily addressed

by the application of military

force, but more so by a cadre


Continued on page 76

of multidisciplinary thought

leaders with diplomats at the


Citing the National Intel-

ligence Council’s 2012 report,

“Global Trends 2030: Alter- nativeWorlds,” Stephenson

explained how certain trends

are fundamentally altering the

international affairs playing


The empowerment of

subnational actors, such as

cities; the growth of the global

middle class; democratization

of technology; and the shift

in economic influence from

north to south and fromwest

to east all mean that power

is less concentrated in the

hands of the U.S. government

and its traditional nation-state


In light of such sea change,

Stephenson laid out what she

believes is the central chal-

lenge for traditional governing

institutions: “There are so

many actors, and power is

now so diffuse, that there is

a real risk of the noise simply

overwhelming the ability

to take effective, collective


Stephenson described a

new global operating envi-

ronment where stakeholder

engagement and social

license have become “abso-

lutely central” to closing the

“governance gap” (i.e., making

progress on global issues).

“Having approval from a

handful of elites in business

and government is no longer

enough,” she stressed.“Today

Top left: AFSA President Ambassador Stephenson delivers the keynote address. Top right: Lincoln Center. Bottom left:

University College London alumni during the reception. Bottom right: Panel speakers were (left) Michael Arthur, UCL

president and provost, (center) Dame Nicola Brewer, UCL vice provost for international projects, and (right) Stephenson.

you need a wide range of part-

ners to craft a way forward

that is accepted as fair.”

To underscore her point,

she highlighted Secretary

of State John Kerry’s “Our

Ocean” conference as a prime

example of American diplo-

mats’ ability—indeed, their

imperative—to use soft power

to make progress on one of

today’s most vexing chal-

lenges—protecting the global

commons. That event brought

together nontraditional

stakeholders, including those

reliant on the ocean for their

livelihoods and practitioners

literate in ocean and marine

life sciences, to help cut

through the noise to define

an agenda focused on the