Annual Report 2014 | American Foreign Service Association
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13

Advocacy:

Addressing the Issues

A

t AFSA, we have a holistic approach to advocacy and make

use of the best practices in public policy, direct lobbying,

grassroots mobilization, networking, marketing and communica-

tions. We educate and influence both government officials and the

American public on the vital contribution members of the Foreign

Service make to national security, economic development and job

creation and on what they require to do their jobs effectively.

In 2014, AFSA’s advocacy department continued to raise

awareness about the issues that affect Foreign Service members

and their families. Because the political climate on Capitol Hill

made it very hard for legislation to be approved, AFSA concen-

trated on educational initiatives. Aware that not all issues affect-

ing our members are federal in nature, we also did the legwork to

launch a state outreach project in 2015.

90th Anniversary

AFSA worked with then-Senate Foreign Relations Committee

Chairman Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) to introduce Senate Resolu-

tion 369, designating Foreign Service Day and recognizing the

men and women who have served, or are presently serving, in the

Foreign Service of the United States and honoring those in the

Foreign Service who have given their lives in the line of duty. In

the House, Committee on Foreign Affairs member Representative

Juan Vargas (D-Calif.) introduced Resolution 582 in support of

Foreign Service Day and in recognition of the men and women

who have served, or are presently serving, in the Foreign Service.

AFSA also hosted a congressional reception for the 90th anni-

versary. Senator Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Senator Sheldon Whitehouse

(D-R.I.) and Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) addressed attendees.

New Strategic Partnerships

To address the unique situation of congressional gridlock in 2014,

AFSA launched new partnerships with the business and military

communities and raised its profile on Capitol Hill through direct

lobbying and grassroots mobilization.

AFSA held its first Advocacy Day in February. Twenty-five

Governing Board and professional staff members visited 17 Sen-

ate and House offices from both sides of the aisle to present AFSA’s

priority issues: overseas comparability pay, overseas security, and

career development and professional capacity.

Aiming to help the more than 1,800 Foreign Service members

whose tenure and nominations were delayed due to no fault of

their own, AFSA made a strong case in Congress, which helped to

secure their confirmation and attestation.

To address the ambassadorial logjam, AFSA visited with Sen-

ate leadership, hosted a roundtable discussion with business lead-

ers on the importance of chiefs of mission, secured letters of sup-

port from the business and military communities, and mobilized

members and supporters to urge their senators to promote an ex-

pedited confirmation process for career nominees.

Outreach

AFSA revamped its outreach efforts and hosted or provided sup-

port for a series of networking events in the District of Columbia

aimed at connecting foreign affairs agencies personnel with con-

gressional staff and young professionals interested in diplomacy.

The effort resulted in exponential growth in the number of re-

quests for partnerships, speakers, and issue and area experts.

Community Work

AFSA expanded its local presence this year with community ser-

vice initiatives like the Foreign Service Park Clean-Up Day in May,

which we expect to make an annual event.

Awareness and Branding

As we have done for the past two years, the advocacy department

helped magnify the impact of AFSA programs such as the Nation-

al High School Essay Contest, scholarships, the Memorial Plaque

Ceremony and awards by informing the winners’ and honorees’

congressional offices and soliciting their support.

State/Local Action

In recognition of the 90th anniversary, the Virginia General As-

sembly adopted a resolution honoring the men and women of the

Foreign Service.

Advocacy Staff:

(from left) Policy Advisor Janice Weiner,

Director of Advocacy Javier Cuebas, Senior Legislative Assistant

David Murimi.