The American Foreign Service Association (AFSA), established in 1924, is the professional association of the United States Foreign Service. With over 16,000 dues-paying members, AFSA represents more than 31,000 active and retired Foreign Service employees of the Department of State, Agency for International Development (AID), Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), Foreign Commercial Service (FCS), Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), and International Broadcasting Bureau (IBB).
AFSA's principal missions are to enhance the effectiveness of the Foreign Service, to protect the professional interests
of its members, to ensure the maintenance of high professional standards for both career diplomats and political
appointees, and to promote understanding of the critical role of the Foreign Service in promoting America's national
security and economic prosperity.
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Among its professional activities, AFSA publishes the monthly Foreign Service
Journal, presents an annual set of awards for intellectual courage and creative dissent,
organizes programs of speakers on foreign affairs, maintains meeting facilities for its members, provides a college
scholarship program for Foreign Service children and offers
specialized insurance plans to its members. AFSA's legislative affairs department
coordinates efforts to keep Congress aware of the concerns of the Foreign service and of active and retired Foreign
AFSA is the exclusive bargaining agent for the Foreign Service employees of the Department of
State, USAID, FAS,
FCS, APHIS, and IBB.
In this labor/management relations capacity, AFSA negotiates with the managements of the principal foreign-affairs
agencies on personnel policies and practices affecting members' working conditions. AFSA also represents members in
formal grievance proceedings, office of security and inspector general investigations, and EEO cases, while providing
them informal assistance in dealing with administrative problems.
Foreign Service retiree concerns are an integral part of the AFSA agenda. AFSA
works closely with retired Foreign Service personnel on legislative issues related to retiree pensions and benefits.
Retirees, individually and through independent retiree groups around the country, actively promote the Foreign
Service and international engagement in their communities.
In its efforts to explain the Foreign Service's role and to build domestic constituencies to support its activities,
AFSA operates a speakers bureau, which makes experienced diplomats available to
speak to a wide range of groups all across the country. Under the auspices of the Road
Scholar organization, AFSA members conduct continuing education programs on the Foreign Service.