The AAFSW Programs Committee, headed by AAFSW Program Chair Sheila Switzer, organizes exciting and informative programs and cultural international events which are of great interest to the AAFSW members, to the American Foreign Service community, and the International Diplomatic Community. The organization is privileged to have access to the Benjamin Franklin Rooms at the Department of State, an elegant venue for hosting various events annually as well as many other venues within the Department of State. The programs are open to members and guests, with a social coffee time prior to the meeting, and they are recorded and posted on AAFSW’s Youtube channel. website. Currently, AAFSW offers many of its events virtually and all AAFSW members and guests can enjoy them in present time during their presentation as well as ask their questions.
In-person AAFSW programs are usually held monthly or twice every month and start at 11:00 am EST. Programs are open to members and guests for a fee of $15.00 to cover the catering costs. Specific program and reservation information is always provided in the Global Link newsletter and on our website at least one month prior to each program. A Constant Contact email is also sent to all AAFSW Members and AAFSW Associate Members with information regarding each event.
AAFSW provides programs that are of current international, political, cultural, or local interest. AAFSW’s standing programs include the Ambassador Speakers’ Series Afghanistan, African Union, Azerbaijan, Brazil, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Egypt, Finland, Guinea, Iraq, Israel, Hungary, Kosovo, Latvia, Mexico, Monaco, Mozambique. Singapore, Tunisia, Ukraine, Zambia; the Women History Month presenting a panel of greatly accomplished women, the Secretary of State Award Ceremony for Outstanding Volunteerism Overseas (SOSA) which is always held in November in the Benjamin Franklin Diplomatic Reception Room at the 8th Floor of the Department of State; and the AAFSW December Holiday event dedicated to the traditions of the season as it is celebrated around the world.
AAFSW also presents many cultural programs with speakers from around the world and the United States. Congressmen, panelists from the Sustained Dialogue Institute, presenters from the Washington D.C. museums, talented musicians, athletes, and international artists present programs such as “Chopin in the Morning”, and “O Mistress Mine” as well as “Fashion in Diplomacy”. In addition to the programs at the Department of State, AAFSW features special tours and events of interest during the year providing access to some of the hidden gems in the Washington, DC area to all AAFSW members and guests. Some of the past events that AAFSW has offered include: many tours of foreign Embassies and missions located in Washington DC. Unforgettable events included a visit to the White House where AAFSW members were hosted for tea by the First Lady at the time. Other memorable events included other tours to the White House, dinners, dancing and cultural presentations at the Hungarian, Czech and Slovak Embassies, as well as at the Residences of the Ambassadors from Colombia and Tunisia, and a BBQ at the garden of the Australian Residence.
More highlights include a visit to the Japanese Tea House at the Residence of the Japanese Ambassador; Oman Embassy Cultural Event followed by traditional dinner, Saudi Arabian Cultural Mission tour followed by Arabian dining, a Cultural presentation and lunch at Twin Oaks Estate, as well as guided tours, guided Art Exhibit at the Greek Embassy as well as a special Art demonstration techniques Event, a cultural presentation at the German Embassy, guided tours at the Cultural Mexican Institute, a guided tour of the Japanese Cultural Center, guided tours to the Australian Embassy, a guided tour of the Anderson House, the headquarters of the Society of Cincinnati in Washington DC Concert and Tea at The President Woodrow Wilson House.
Other programs included: guided tours, concerts, lunch and dinner at the Arts Club of Washington; a tour of the home of President James Monroe; guided tours at the Folger Shakespeare Library; a guided tour to the Library of Congress, a guided tour to the National Archives; special day and evening tours to the U.S. Capitol by a Congressman; guided tours to the Kennedy Center followed by a lunch; a guided tour of the Washington National Cathedral followed by tea and a talk; a guided tour of the Freer-Sacker Gallery, guided tours to the National Geographic; a guided tour to the National African Museum; guided tours to the Renwick Gallery; a guided tour to the Philip Collection; guided tours at the Hillwood Estate which was the residence of the great Marjorie Merriweather Post; a guided tour of the Organization of American States Museum; a guided tour to National Museum of the American Indian; guided tours to the National Gallery of Art; guided tours to the National History Museum; a guided tour to the Air and Space Museum; a guided tour to the National Museum of the Americans; and many other museums and art galleries.
Theater and dinners and events such as high tea aboard Queen Mary II in New York, NY, several trips to the museum, galleries, and restaurants of Middleburg, VA, a tour to the capitol building and lunch in Richmond, VA, walking tours and lunch at Occoquan, VA, were other highlights. Additionally, generous AAFSW members have hosted special events in their homes including presentations of Japanese and Ethiopian tea ceremonies, Halloween parties, National Museum Christmas celebrations, as well as Welcome and Farewell get-togethers.
Many times, in the Department of State, AAFSW has worked closely with the Family Liaison Office (FLO) providing all AAFSW and Foreign-Born Spouses members with various informative workshops and seminars regarding issues pertaining to concerns about educating third culture kids, dealing with an unaccompanied tour, employment, re-entry into the employment world, naturalization and living in Washington DC.
AAFSW programming is open to any new idea of great interest. Our goal is to offer programming that is of interest and exciting to all demographic groups in our community. Email us for more information on our programs, or to offer suggestions.