THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL
t was a joy to see AFSA members
featured at Nationals Park on Sept. 30
and to hear the announcer explain
to the crowd that members of the
Foreign Service protect and serve
America’s people, interests and values all
around the world.
A member of the West Point Alumni
Glee Club, on the baseball field with us to
sing the national anthem, thanked me for
my service. I felt appreciated and proud,
and I hope the 500 members of the FS
community who participated in Foreign
Service Night felt the same way. I would
like to do more of this sort of thing, but
we will need your continued support to
make a success of the ambitious outreach
plans we are developing at AFSA.
AFSA members, especially retirees,
have a long and distinguished record of
generous giving. This is seen most clearly
in the spectacular success of the AFSA
Scholarship Fund, which has grown from
$2 million in 1995 to $8 million today.
With dedicated, effective AFSA staff
support and a clear message about what
the 501(c)(3) nonprofit fund supports—
merit and need-based college scholar-
ships for children of AFSAmembers—the
Scholarship Fund is now on firm footing to
continue to fulfill its mission in perpetuity.
draw, the fund will
than enough to
cover the costs of
scholarships AFSA gives to nearly 100
students each year.
With scholarships secure, we now
intend to pivot our fundraising efforts
to the Fund for American Diplomacy,
AFSA’s other 501(c)(3) nonprofit arm, in
support of ongoing and expanding out-
reach efforts to tell the proud story of the
Foreign Service to the American people.In his column this month, Retiree VP Tom Boyatt urges members facing
required minimum distributions to con-tribute this year to the Fund for American Diplomacy.
The FAD’s aim is to help build a
domestic constituency for the Foreign
Service so that we have supporters, ide-
ally in all 50 states, prepared to stand up
for us and defend our vitally important
mission. We plan to channel lessons
learned from the success of the Scholar-
ship Fund into making a success of the
The first lesson is that we need dedi-
cated staff and a clear message abouthow the funds will be used. In my Octo- ber column, I described forging strategic
partnerships to serve as the foundation
of our outreach efforts to tell our story
across the 50 states.
As we build out that effort, though, it
is clear that what we should say to inner
city high school students about the value
of the Foreign Service is not the same as
what we should say to the Colorado Farm
Bureau or to elite students at George-
town’s School of Foreign Service, or to
military or business audiences.
A key element of the AFSA outreach
effort, therefore, is to curate a library
of speaking materials to help members
explain in concrete terms to a wide range
of audiences why a strong, professional,
nonpartisan, career Foreign Service
matters to them and deserves their full
We will need dedicated staff to build
that library and to coach and prepare
speakers to connect with audiences. And
we will need you to contribute, drawing
on your own experiences—what worked
(and did not work) when you last spoke
to your alma mater, your hometown
Rotary Club, or to a local World Affairs
Other elements of the outreach
strategy include expanded use of a
new edition of AFSA’s hugely success-
ful book,Inside a U.S. Embassy
has sold more than 120,000 copies. The
revised edition will include new mate-
rial showing how the presence of career
Foreign Service professionals at embas-
sies around the globe benefits Americans
from all walks of life—travelers, business-
people, researchers, missionaries, voters.
With completion of the digitization
The Foreign Service Journal
writing about American diplomacy will
have ready access to primary source
material dating back to 1919 showcasing
the central role of the Foreign Service in
American diplomacy and history.
I will continue to keep you informed
as AFSA’s outreach strategy takes shape
and scores successes. And I will continue
to ask for your support and engagement.
We can do this!
Ambassador Barbara Stephenson is the president of the American Foreign Service Association.
Championing American Diplomacy
BY BARBARA STEPHENSON