Programs, Events and Updates

July-August 2019

  1. Transfer Season is Here Again
  2. Welcoming the New AFSA Board
  3. Calling all FS Authors
  4. Baseball Tickets are Now Available!
  5. AFSA is Hiring!
  6. Call for Nominations: 2019 Sinclaire Language Awards
  7. Upcoming Federal Benefits Programs
  8. Give the Gift of Understanding: An FSJ Centennial Subscription
  9. Contribute to the U.S. Diplomacy Center’s Collection
  10. Write for the FSJ
  11. Is Retirement on the Horizon?
  12. Join the FSJ Centennial Celebration
 

1) TRANSFER SEASON IS HERE AGAIN

The Foreign Service in constantly on the move, and never more so than during summer transfer season. We hope you will add one more thing to your already-long checklist: Letting AFSA know that you have moved. Your home agency does not let us know when you leave post, which means that your beleaguered mail room colleagues are inundated with copies of The Foreign Service Journal for folks who have moved on. So we kindly ask: Please let us know when you move. All it takes is a very quick email to member@afsa.org. If you are at post, we much prefer the pouch address as it keeps our costs down.

Transfer season also means that a lot of AFSA post representatives pack up for a new assignment. Posts without an AFSA Post Rep should hold elections if possible. Click here to determine if there is a vacancy at your post. Areas of responsibility include:

  • Representing collective and individual interests of Foreign Service Personnel at post;
  • Forwarding to AFSA any proposals or concerns originating with the AFSA members at post.
  • Expanding AFSA's membership and encouraging others at post to seek the AFSA Post Rep position when you move on.

The only employees excluded from serving as official AFSA Reps are management officials and/or confidential employees including chiefs of mission, deputy chiefs of mission, management officers, human resources officers, regional security officers, and office management specialists for COM/DCM. Posts preparing to hold elections may visit the AFSA website to review the guidelines for holding elections. Be sure to advise AFSA when a Post Rep is elected so that they can be properly certified. For further information contact the Member Services Department at member@afsa.org.

 

2) WELCOMING THE NEW AFSA BOARD

On July 15, a new AFSA board will take office under the leadership of Ambassador Eric Rubin. AFSA thanks the outgoing board members for their dedication to AFSA. Stay tuned for a detailed introduction to the new board members on Monday!

 

3) CALLING ALL FS AUTHORS

The October 2019 Foreign Service Journal will highlight recently published books by Foreign Service-affiliated authors in the FSJ’s annual “In Their Own Write” issue. Authors from the Foreign Service community whose books were published in 2019 or 2018 (but were not featured in the 2018 In Their Own Write issue) are invited to send us a copy of the book, along with a press release or backgrounder, by August 1. For more information, email journal@afsa.org.

 

4) BASEBALL TICKETS ARE NOW AVAILABLE!

We are pleased to announce the fourth annual Foreign Service Night at Nationals Park, taking place on September 13 at 7:05 p.m. This year, the Nationals will take on the Atlanta Braves. In the past three years, we have had around 500 members of the Foreign Service community join us for this wonderful event; 150 tickets have already been sold. Please mark your calendars and get your tickets at https://groupmatics.events/event/Americanforeign?r=99.

 

5) AFSA IS HIRING!

Check out our available positions at www.afsa.org/jobs, including Advertising and Circulation Manager. The incumbent will exercise primary responsibility for advertising sales and renewals for The Foreign Service Journal, the AFSA website and related publications. Applications will be accepted until July 26, 2019.

 

6) CALL FOR NOMINATIONS: 2019 SINCLAIRE LANGUAGE AWARDS

Foreign language proficiency is a vital Foreign Service skill, and AFSA is pleased to be able to honor those who stand out in their mastery of languages. We are calling for nominations for the Matilda Sinclaire Language Award, which honors members of the Foreign Service for outstanding accomplishments in the study of a Category III or IV language and its associated culture. The deadline for nominations is August 30, 2019. Winners will receive a $1,000 prize. AFSA encourages nominations of those who have achieved outstanding results while studying at post. For candidates nominated by posts, the nominating statement is especially important. Further information can be found in the “General Guidelines” available at www.afsa.org/sinclaire; you will also find the nomination form there.

 

7) UPCOMING FEDERAL BENEFITS PROGRAMS

We want to draw your attention to two upcoming programs in our popular speaker series on federal benefits. Mark your calendars!

  • September 4 at 12:00 noon: An Expert’s Take on New Tax Laws and Developments in Federal Benefits: Certified Financial Planner Edward A. Zurndorfer, a recognized expert on federal benefits, retirement and tax planning, will speak on new tax laws and developments in federal benefits. Mr. Zurndorfer is a prolific writer on these subjects on websites such as www.myfederalretirement.com and spoke last year at AFSA on Social Security and Medicare, which you can watch on the AFSA website.
  • November 19 at 12 noon: Assessing Your Options – Federal Employee Health Benefits Open Season. American Foreign Service Protective Association (AFSPA) Chief Executive Officer and Executive Vice President Paula Jakub walks us through assessing our options during the Federal Employee Health Benefits Open Season. (Note that AFSPA is not connected to AFSA.)

As we draw closer to these events, AFSA will send out an invitation to members with instructions for registration. And, as always, these events will be videotaped so that our far-flung membership can, if not participate, watch the proceedings.

 

8) GIVE THE GIFT OF UNDERSTANDING: AN FSJ CENTENNIAL SUBSCRIPTION

We all need to be able to explain what the Foreign Service does and why diplomacy matters. One good tool to use is The Foreign Service Journal. Please think about who in your life you’d like to understand more about what it is you do and how diplomacy works—and consider signing them up for a Foreign Service Journal gift subscription. Our May issue looks at the Foreign Service profession and include an interview with Ambassador Bill Burns; we’d be happy to mail a copy out to any new subscriber. In addition to sharing understanding, your gift can help celebrate The Foreign Service Journal centennial year. To purchase a gift subscription, please go to the AFSA website’s subscription page. For more information, visit the FSJ, email journal@afsa.org or call us at (202) 338-4045, ext. 709.

 

9) CONTRIBUTE TO THE U.S. DIPLOMACY CENTER’S COLLECTION

The United States Diplomacy Center is actively seeking artifacts that represent American diplomacy and the work of the United States Foreign Service. These artifacts can come from a variety of individuals and sources. Anyone currently or previously working in a diplomatic capacity might have objects that could be a good fit for our collection. If you have items you might be interested in donating, please email the USDC for more information.

Specific areas of collecting interest include (but are not limited to) objects which illustrate the following:

  • Diplomats’ work on the range of global issues today, including examples from programs and partnerships;
  • The challenges diplomats face while performing their jobs (security; health; communications; transportation);
  • The unique relationships and connections made through diplomacy;
  • Diplomatic events, people, and places throughout U.S. history;
  • The wide range of work performed at embassies, consulates, and missions;
  • Tools, equipment, and clothing representing diplomatic efforts;
  • And, of course, documents, pens, and diplomatic gifts.

The United States Diplomacy Center collects primarily for exhibition purposes; USDC is not a research collection nor an archive. Acceptance of an artifact does not guarantee exhibition for any length of time. However, the Center strives to display as much of its collection as possible, either in-person or online.

 

10) WRITE FOR THE FSJ

The Foreign Service Journal welcomes your submissions on any topic of interest to members of the FS community. We are especially seeking Speaking Out submissions (1,500-1,800 words), features on topics of current concern (1,800-2,000 words) and letters to the editor responding to Journal content. Please share your reactions to the articles in the July-August focus on China. Also, take a look at our editorial calendar, and consider writing for one of the upcoming focus sections, keeping in mind that lead time is generally 12 weeks. Please send all submissions to journal@afsa.org. The FSJ Editorial Board meets monthly to review and vote on which submissions to publish. Find guidance on how and what to submit on our Author Guidelines page.

 

11) IS RETIREMENT ON THE HORIZON?

AFSA has recently updated our online resources to help members prepare and settle into retirement. The Retirement Services section of our website (www.afsa.org/retirement) is designed to be a one-stop shop offering videos, articles, Department of State ALDACs and even checklists to answer questions and identify issues to consider as you get ready for retirement. If you have questions, our retirement benefits counselor Dolores Brown is reachable via email at brown@afsa.org.

When you retire, we hope you’ll stay with AFSA by signing up as a retiree member. Although your membership does not automatically carry over into retirement, you can easily re-join by visiting www.afsa.org/retired-membership and filling out the required forms. FSA provides a key link in retirement to the Foreign Service by offering tailored information and resources through The Foreign Service Journal, the bimonthly retiree newsletter, regular updates on AFSA’s outreach and advocacy efforts and our Daily Media Digest. AFSA also offers programs uniquely designed for retired members of the Foreign Service which are provided both in-person and through webinars and videos.

We are pleased to say that AFSA’s retiree membership numbers are growing as more of our colleagues recognize how important it is to continue to support AFSA’s mission as the voice of the Foreign Service.

 

12) JOIN THE FSJ CENTENNIAL CELEBRATION

Please join The Foreign Service Journal Centennial Celebration by snapping a photo of yourself (or a friend or family member) reading the Journal wherever you are—the more distant from D.C., the better! Photos should be 1 MB or larger if possible; this is possible using almost every cell phone. Send submissions to journal@afsa.org, and please include details about yourself and the photo location and date.