Annual Report 2013 | American Foreign Service Association
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AFSA Annual Report 2013



Traffic to the AFSA website


) grew by 23

percent last year, much of it coming from outside the AFSA

membership. Our High School Essay Contest,

The Foreign

Service Journal


Inside a U.S. Embassy

, our ambassador

tracker and AFSA’s internship page drew the most visitors.



, in particular, has seen a jump in traffic after AFSA

began making articles available in an HTML format, making

them easier to read and share via social media.

We also created several new sections on the website to

increase the variety of resources available to our members.

For instance, we created an archive of “Foreign Service

Know-How” columns from

The Foreign Service Journal


ing back to 2003, which provides advice on unique Foreign

Service challenges ranging from dealing with dietary restric-

tions overseas to retirement planning.


One of AFSA’s most effective outreach elements is our

Speakers Bureau. In 2013 the Bureau deployed nearly

400 Foreign Service speakers to explain the critical impor-

tance of U.S. diplomacy in advancing vital American

interests around the globe to more than 23,000 professional

and academic opinion leader attendees in 44 states and

Washington. Audiences ranged from leading universities

and think-tanks, to civic organizations, town meetings,

adult education and high schools.

AFSA also developed

partnerships with the

international studies fac-

ulties of several universi-

ties, beginning in March

with St. Thomas Univer-

sity in Houston. Former

Deputy Secretary of

State John Negroponte’s

addressed an audience of

more than 300.


AFSA National High School

Essay Contest

This unique program encourages

students to think critically about

a topic of global significance and

the key role diplomacy plays in

connecting people and ideas.

The 2013 contest drew some

500 entries from 42 states and


The 2013 winner, Kailee

Marie Pedersen of Lincoln, Neb.,

received $2,500, an all-expenses-

paid trip to Washington, D.C., and

the opportunity to meet Secretary

of State John Kerry—and thanks to AFSA’s partnership with Semester

at Sea, a free semester-long educational voyage.

We also welcomed a new partner, the National Student Leader-

ship Conference, which provides a free International Diplomacy sum-

mer program for the runner-up.

AFSA significantly increased our outreach on this program, con-

necting with educators and students at conferences, via social media,

direct mail and in-person meetings. Our large increase in submissions

over the last two years is in many ways attributable to those addi-

tional efforts.

The AFSA Memorial Plaques

The AFSA Memorial Plaques,

housed in the C Street Lobby

of the Department of State,

honor Foreign Service members

who gave their lives in the line

of duty. The 2013 Memorial

Plaque Ceremony, AFSA’s 80th,

honored eight fallen Foreign

Service personnel, bringing

the number of names inscribed

to 244. Vice President Joseph

Biden and Secretary of State

John Kerry attended this cer-

emony and delivered eloquent

tributes to those honored




AFSA Scholarship Program

In 2013, the AFSA Scholarship Program

disbursed $240,375 in academic and art

merit awards as well as financial aid schol-

arships and other awards to 93 children

of AFSA members. Friends and family

members established two new memorial

perpetual financial aid scholarships in the

names of Omar Sykes and Christopher and

Eliza Van Hollen.

The AFSA Scholarship Committee’s chairman, Ambas-

sador Lange Schermerhorn, agreed to serve for a second

year, and the committee also added representatives from the

four largest Foreign Service agencies: State, USAID, FAS and

FCS. A total of 21 Foreign Service employees (active-duty

and retirees) served as merit award judges, adjudicating 128



Former Deputy Secretary of State John

Negroponte (right) is introduced at

St. Thomas University in Houston.

AFSA merit award winners jump for joy.

Omar Sykes

Secretary of State John Kerry and

AFSA President Bob Silverman

congratulate the 2013 winner,

Kailee Pedersen.

Vice President Biden and Secretary

of State Kerry at the Memorial Plaque

Ceremony in May 2013.