American Foreign Service Association
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The American Foreign Service Association (AFSA), established in 1924, is the professional association of the United States Foreign Service. With over 15,000 dues-paying members, AFSA represents 28,000 active and retired Foreign Service employees of the Department of State and Agency for International Development (AID), as well as smaller groups in the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), Foreign Commercial Service (FCS), 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.
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 Service personnel.
AFSA is the exclusive bargaining agent for the Foreign Service employees of all five agencies. In this labor/management relations capacity, AFSA negotiates with the agency management 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. Through Road Scholar programs, AFSA members conduct continuing education classes on the Foreign Service.
AFSA's Governing Board is elected by the membership every two years. The current composition of the board includes 28 members: a president, a secretary, a treasurer, five constituency vice presidents, and 20 constituency representatives. The current board's term expires in July 2015.
The association's President is Robert J. Silverman, a Senior Foreign Service Officer who has previously served in Sweden, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Azerbaijan, Turkey, Egypt and Iraq. He is in his first term as President.
AFSA maintains its headquarters building at 2101 E Street NW in Washington, DC. There are also smaller offices within the Department of State, USAID, and the Department of Commerce.
AFSA's staff is divided into the following departments: Executive Office, Member Services, Advocacy, Scholarships, Communications, Foreign Service Journal, Business and Accounting, and Labor Management.
- American Foreign Service Association; Dorman, Shawn (2003). Inside a U.S. embassy: how the foreign service works for America (2nd ed ed.). Washington, DC: American Foreign Service Association. ISBN 0964948826.
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