Annual Report 2014 | American Foreign Service Association
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FSA enjoyed a robust, healthy 90th birthday year in 2014.

We celebrated at an anniversary dinner on May 22, bringing

together a full spectrum of Foreign Service members from young-

est to oldest with AFSA staff, members of Congress and the media,

and senior administration officials. AFSA is in good shape, ener-

gized and committed to work for you and for the collective welfare

of the Foreign Service.

AFSA’s Four Pillars of Strength

The people who make AFSA relevant and active on your

behalf are organized into four groups or pillars.

First is the AFSA professional staff of 36 members. I

hope you will get to know them and enjoy working with

them as I do.

Second is the AFSA Governing board of 29 elected

members, who meet monthly to decide AFSA’s policy

direction. As the Board chairman, I enjoy working with

this diverse, intergenerational group from seven con-

stituencies (State, USAID, retirees, Foreign Commercial

Service, Foreign Agricultural Service, the Broadcasting

Board of Governors, and the Animal and Plant Health

Inspection Service).

Third are the members of the seven AFSA standing

committees, all volunteers. Their important work runs

from serving as judges on the Awards and Scholarship

Committees to selecting articles for publication on the


Editorial Board and attending congressional recep-

tions on the AFSA Political Action Committee.

Fourth are the 16,500 members of AFSA, which rep-

resents one of the highest participation rates of any pub-

lic sector employee organization. You support the For-

eign Service through your payment of dues, attendance

at AFSA events, participation in letter writing

campaigns and in many other ways.

We have many other sources of strength,

including our networks with other public sec-

tor unions and professional associations and, of

course, our secure financial standing.

Three Highlights This Year

AFSA has scored numerous wins for the For-

eign Service this year, collectively and individu-

ally, many of which are described in the follow-

ing pages. I would like to briefly highlight three.

In January, the Board adopted the “Guide-

lines for Successful Performance as a Chief of

Mission.” It addresses the question of what

should be the qualifications for the job of U.S.

ambassador. The guidelines cite the Foreign

Service Act of 1980 and draw on the collective

experience of our ambassadors to offer four

qualifications for office that should apply to all ambassadorial

nominees. The document has been widely cited in the press, and

is now used by the State Department in drafting each nominee’s

Certificate of Demonstrated Competence, which is posted on the

department’s website prior to the nominee’s confirmation hearing.

This transparency initiative is a promising step toward moderat-

ing the practice of appointing non-career ambassadors.

In April, AFSA’s advocacy with the Senate Foreign Relations

Committee paid off for 1,800 Foreign Service members awaiting

President’s Report:

Robert J. Silverman

President Bob Silverman addresses visiting Chiefs of Mission at a breakfast

held in their honor at AFSA headquarters in March 2014.