Each year, Christmas brings holiday magic to the delighted members of the Associates of the American Foreign Service Worldwide (AAFSW). This year was no exception, as more than 35 members of AAFSW celebrated Christmas in Arlington, VA on Saturday, December 9, 2017.
Braving the first snowstorm of the winter, guests were greeted in the wonderfully decorated room by Sheila Switzer, AAFSW Program Chair and FBS State Liaison, and Dr. Joanna Athanasopoulos Owen, AAFSW President, with warm smiles and hugs. The atmosphere was enthusiastic and relaxed, full of laughs and lively conversation, with many open to meeting old and new friends. The food, brought by each guest, was delicious and a good example of AAFSW members’ international culinary talents and flare. The party was a resounding success. This celebration was also an opportunity for members to meet again and celebrate Christmas with the Foreign Service family.
After a lovely meal, in her welcome address Ms. Switzer explained that “we all share the same values and roots,” despite our diverse backgrounds, and congratulated AAFSW President Joanna Athanasopoulos Owen, PhD and all AAFSW members for their achievements this year. Sheila described AAFSW as a “bridge of friendship, meeting and dialogue.” Each guest was invited to introduce themselves, and share their experience with the Foreign Service and AAFSW.
Sheila reiterated that for the coming year the goals of AAFSW are to keep growing and to organize more events to cater to all members, with the top priority being to raise funds for the AAFSW scholarship program and AAFSW Family Crisis Fund. The spirit of AAFSW is being “solid, passionate and reliable in the way we do things and the volunteer service we offer to our members.”
Following the holiday tradition, all members exchanged wonderful gifts. Our AAFSW members and guests left with big smiles on their faces, looking forward to the many coming AAFSW events and fantastic AAFSW accomplishments in 2018!
AAFSW wishes you a happy new year!
Celine (Cyrille) Erickson
AAFSW Art and BookFair and BookRoom Volunteer