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Speakers Bureau a Critical Instrument

in AFSA’s Outreach Toolbox

American Foreign Service

Association President

Ambassador Barbara

Stephenson has a vision: to

make the Foreign Service

stronger, in fact and in repu-

tation. Thus, she has called

for enhanced outreach to tell

our Foreign Service story and

build support among non-FS


The AFSA Speakers

Bureau has, for decades,

been the association’s

premier program for match-

ing diplomats interested in

speaking on their Foreign

Service experiences with uni-

versities, community groups

and international affairs

fora. As such, the bureau will

play a critical role in AFSA’s

enhanced outreach efforts.

In the June issue of


Foreign Service Journal

, we

were proud to report that the

number of AFSA Speakers

Bureau volunteers had more

than doubled to 300 since we

issued a new call for speak-

ers in February’s


. By the

end of September, that num-

ber had grown to 340, with

more volunteers stepping up

every day.

However, with 70 percent

of our speakers in the Wash-

ington, D.C., area, we are con-

tinually seeking volunteers

beyond the Beltway. For that,

the program relies heavily on

our retiree members to suc-

ceed. We encourage all AFSA

members to proactively seek

opportunities for the AFSA

Speakers Bureau to reach

groups across the country.

It’s hard to know who

benefits more, the speaker

or the audience. Retired

Foreign Service Officer and

Speakers Bureau veteran

Molly Williamson explains

why she enjoys participating

in the program: “Not only is it

great fun, but it is especially

rewarding to hear people

excited about diplomacy and

foreign policy and to encour-

age public interest and

build a constituency for the

Foreign Service.”

Audiences are equally

enthusiastic, as evidenced

by American University’s

thank-you note to FS retiree

Judith Kaufmann, following

her Sept. 9 talk to students

on international organiza-

tions at AFSA: “Students

were impressed by your

professional experience in

the U.S. Foreign Service and

international organizations

and found your discussion

most insightful.”

To maintain this year’s

momentum, AFSA has

applied for a grant to

increase Speakers Bureau

resources. In addition, we

urge Foreign Service retiree

associations across the

country to become Speak-

ers Bureau force multipli-

ers. Every AFSA member

can become a frontline

ambassador for the Foreign

Service simply by connect-

ing AFSA with local groups

they personally know—civic

and religious organizations,

clubs, associations, schools,

etc.—as potential speaking

venues. Send your sugges-

tions to


“Speakers Bureau Opportu-

nity” in the subject line.

AFSA provides many

benefits to its members, but

also offers them a chance to

give back. We invite you to

join us in telling the Foreign

Service’s story and building

a greater constituency for

strengthening the Foreign

Service and its mission.


—Todd Thurwachter,

Retiree Counselor


The American Foreign Service Association is pleased to welcome our group of fall semester interns.


Devon Fitzgerald is a sophomore studying international affairs at The George Washington

University. She is originally from Skillman, New Jersey.

Executive Office:

Quinn Stevenson hails from Colorado Springs, Colorado, and is a sophomore majoring

in international affairs at The George Washington University.

The Foreign Service Journal:

Shannon Mizzi remains with us for a third semester. Originally from Boston,

Massachusetts, she has a degree in history from the Royal Holloway University of London.


Milo Opdahl is double-majoring in economics and international relations at Austin College

in Sherman, Texas.


William Roberson grew up in Syracuse, New York. He is currently pursuing a master’s degree

in international affairs at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.

We thank departing interns Sanjana Hariprasad, Casey Knerr, Kathleen Serpa, Amy Jones, Nikki Roche, Isabelle

Ninh and Noor Shah for their great work this past summer and wish them the best.