The Foreign Service Journal - December 2017

58 DECEMBER 2017 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL AFSA NEWS Russian Roundtable: FSOs Speak with AFSA about Their Sudden Exit On Sept. 14, AFSA President Ambassador Barbara Ste- phenson, State Vice President Ken Kero-Mentz and Sec- retary Tom Boyatt hosted a roundtable discussion with members of the U.S. Foreign AFSA/GEMMADVORAK AFSA Book Notes: Global Adventures on Less-Traveled Roads On Oct. 11, AFSA held the 27th event in its popular Book Notes series, hosting a talk by Ambassador (ret.) James R. Bullington about his book, Global Adventures on Less-Traveled Roads: A Foreign Service Memoir (Cre- ateSpace, 2017). The memoir chronicles Amb. Bullington’s unusual journey via “less-traveled roads” from his “redneck roots” in Chattanooga, Ten- nessee, to a successful career as a diplomat. Along the way, he served as a “warrior diplomat” in Viet- nam during the war, narrowly escaping capture by posing as a French priest when he was trapped behind enemy lines. He also recounts six years of service as Peace Corps director in Niger, as well as a post-retirement recall to diplomatic service in Senegal, where he worked to end a 30-year insurgency. Amb. Bullington’s wife, Tuy-Cam, sat in the front row as he told his AFSA audience the story of meeting her and falling in love during his first assignment in Hue, Vietnam. He also talked about growing up in the segregated South, where he accepted segregation as the “normal order” until he encountered the Freedom Riders in 1961. As editor of the student newspaper at Auburn Uni- versity, Bullington wrote a scathing criticism of segrega- tion, leading to harassment and threats from the KKK, the school administration and even Alabama Governor John Patterson. A lively Q&A session fol- lowed, covering topics from the importance of conflict resolution training to the deli- cate balance between keeping Americans safe overseas and accomplishing the mission. A video of the event is available on the AFSA website, See p. 63 for a review of the book. n Ambassador (ret.) James Bullington speaks about his experiences in Dakar, Senegal, as he worked to end a 30-year conflict. AFSA/GEMMADVORAK actions, interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential elec- tion. On July 30, Russian President Vladimir Putin retaliated by insisting that the United States must reduce the number of staff at U.S. diplomatic facilities in Russia to 455, to match the number of people employed by the Russian mission to the United States. The huge reduction in employee numbers (755 over- all), affected many members of the Foreign Service and their families, as well as locally employed (LE) staff in Russia. Service who had recently been forced to return from postings in Russia. In July, the United States Congress approved new sanctions on Russia to pun- ish them for, among other The deadline for departure was Sept. 1, leaving Foreign Service families scrambling to pack their household goods, obtain lodging in the United States and organize school- ing for their children. Some of those caught up in the draw- down had only been at post a few weeks, with household effects still in transit to Russia. The discussion was an opportunity for participants to share their experiences and for AFSA to find out what assistance people need during their unanticipated transition. n