1. Dream Town (An Archer Novel, 3) By David Baldacci
It’s the eve of 1953, and Aloysius Archer is in Los Angeles to ring in the New Year with an old friend, aspiring actress Liberty Callahan, when their evening is interrupted by an acquaintance of Callahan’s: Eleanor Lamb, a screenwriter in dire straits.
After a series of increasingly chilling events—mysterious phone calls, the same blue car loitering outside her house, and a bloody knife left in her sink—Eleanor fears that her life is in danger, and she wants to hire Archer to look into the matter. Archer suspects that Eleanor knows more than she’s saying, but before he can officially take on her case, a dead body turns up inside of Eleanor’s home . . . and Eleanor herself disappears.
Missing client or not, Archer is dead set on finding both the murderer and Eleanor. With the help of Callahan and his partner Willie Dash, he launches an investigation that will take him from mob-ridden Las Vegas to the glamorous world of Hollywood to the darkest corners of Los Angeles—a city in which beautiful faces are attached to cutthroat schemers, where the cops can be more corrupt than the criminals . . . and where the powerful people responsible for his client’s disappearance will kill without a moment’s hesitation if they catch Archer on their trail.
2. Red-Handed: How American Elites Get Rich Helping China Win By Peter Schweizer
That the Chinese government seeks to infiltrate American institutions is hardly surprising. What is wholly new, however, are the number of American elites who are eager to help the Chinese dictatorship in its quest for global hegemony.
Presidential families, Silicon Valley gurus, Wall Street high rollers, Ivy League universities, even professional athletes—all willing to sacrifice American strength and security on the altar of personal enrichment.
In Red-Handed, six-time New York Times bestselling investigator Peter Schweizer presents his most alarming findings to date by revealing the secret deals wealthy Americans have cut to help China build its military, technological, and economic might. Equally as astonishing, many of these elites quietly believe the Chinese dictatorial regime is superior to American democracy.
Schweizer and his team of forensic investigators spent over a year scouring a massive trove of global corporate records and legal filings to expose the hidden transactions China’s enablers hoped would never see the light of day. And as Schweizer’s past bombshells like Profiles in Corruption, Secret Empires, and Clinton Cash all made clear, there are bad actors on both ends of the political spectrum.
Exhaustively researched, crisply told, and chilling, Red-Handed will expose the nexus of power between the Chinese government and the American elites who do its bidding.
3. The Portuguese Empire: A Captivating Guide to the History of Portugal as a Colonial Power and Its Colonies in Asia, North and South America, and Oceania By Captivating History
Have you ever wondered what country had the first truly global empire? Then keep reading…
Folks used to say that the “sun never sets on the British Empire” as a means of declaring Britain’s greatness. But it was the Portuguese who forged the first truly global empire. The major dominions of the Portuguese wrapped around the globe in a straight line, from Brazil to Angola, from Mozambique to India, and all the way to Macau. With its dominion under multiple time zones, the sun, in fact, never did set on the Portuguese Empire.
Here in this book, we follow the evolution of Portugal from a small, relatively obscure country in Europe to a global empire of great wealth and power. You will learn of Portugal’s early days of conquest and its struggle against the Islamic forces of North Africa. This book then documents the steady navigation of Portuguese mariners around the African continent.
The feats of Portuguese explorers, such as Bartolomeu Dias and Vasco da Gama, are covered in great depth. Also addressed is Portugal’s governance of its empire. The Portuguese attempted to solidify their gains through colonial governors, such as Francisco de Almeida and Afonso de Albuquerque. The lives and struggles of these men will be followed in great detail. Keep reading if you would like to learn more!
4. Bitter By Akwaeke Emezi
After a childhood in foster care, Bitter is thrilled to have been chosen to attend Eucalyptus, a special school where she can focus on her painting surrounded by other creative teens. But outside this haven, the streets are filled with protests against the deep injustices that grip the city of Lucille.
Bitter’s instinct is to stay safe within the walls of Eucalyptus . . . but her friends aren’t willing to settle for a world that’s so far away from what they deserve. Pulled between old friendships, her artistic passion, and a new romance, Bitter isn’t sure where she belongs—in the studio or in the streets. And if she does find a way to help the revolution while being true to who she is, she must also ask: at what cost?
This timely and riveting novel—a companion to the National Book Award finalist Pet—explores the power of youth, protest, and art.
5. What Happened to the Bennetts By Lisa Scottoline
Your family has been attacked, never again to be the same.
Now you have to choose between law…and justice.
Jason Bennett is a suburban dad who owns a court-reporting business, but one night, his life takes a horrific turn. He is driving his family home after his daughter’s field hockey game when a pickup truck begins tailgating them, on a dark stretch of road. Suddenly two men jump from the pickup and pull guns on Jason, demanding the car. A horrific flash of violence changes his life forever.
Later that awful night, Jason and his family receive a visit from the FBI. The agents tell them that the carjackers were members of a dangerous drug-trafficking organization—and now Jason and his family are in their crosshairs.
The agents advise the Bennetts to enter the witness protection program right away, and they have no choice but to agree. But WITSEC was designed to protect criminal informants, not law-abiding families. Taken from all they know, trapped in an unfamiliar life, the Bennetts begin to fall apart at the seams. Then Jason learns a shocking truth and realizes that he has to take matters into his own hands.
Sometimes justice is a one-man show.
Want to make a difference in the foreign affairs community? Join our board and donate your time and talents! For the upcoming Summer 2022 AAFSW Election, you can indicate your interest to AAFSW by sending an email and brief bio to firstname.lastname@example.org by June 30, 2022.
The following positions are open for consideration:
Presides at all meetings of the Association and of the Board of Directors, prepares agendas for said meetings, appoints Committee Chairs with the approval of the Board, signs and executes all documents in the name of the Association when so authorized by the Board of Directors, interacts with Board members and staff as needed, represents AAFSW at external meetings and functions, and performs all other duties incident to the office of President.
First Vice President
Assumes the duties of the President in the President’s absence, keeps fully informed about Association business and issues in order to assist or represent the President at any time, acts as the Chair of the Finance Committee, clears any ideas for special projects, brings any recommendations to the Finance Committee, and takes on any additional responsibilities at the request of the President.
Second Vice President
Assumes the duties of the First Vice President in the absence of same, maintains contact with the non-standing Committee Chairs and report to the Board on their behalf as necessary, acts as Chair of the Nominating Committee, oversees volunteer management and takes on any additional responsibilities at the request of the President.
Secretary to the Board
Shall record the minutes of the Board Meetings, checks back with members regarding fact and wording to assure accuracy as necessary, emails draft minutes to office manager for distribution to all Board Members upon production, informs the Office Manager of all designated changes to the draft minutes at the end of the Board meeting in which they are approved, and ensure that the Office Manager sends the completed document to Committee Chairs, Board Members and Media Director, by email if possible.
- Must be a member of good standing with AAFSW
- Open to all foreign service employees with foreign affairs agencies, foreign service EFMs and DOS civil service employees
1. All Falling Faiths By J. Harvie Wilkinson III
In this warm and intimate memoir Judge Wilkinson delivers a chilling message. The 1960s inflicted enormous damage on our country; even at this very hour we see the decade’s imprint in so much of what we say and do. The chapters reveal the harm done to the true meaning of education, to our capacity for lasting personal commitments, to our respect for the rule of law, to our sense of rootedness and home, to our desire for service, to our capacity for national unity, to our need for the sustenance of faith. Judge Wilkinson does not seek to lecture but to share in the most personal sense what life was like in the 1960s, and to describe the influence of those frighteningly eventful years upon the present day.
Judge Wilkinson acknowledges the good things accomplished by the Sixties and nourishes the belief that we can learn from that decade ways to build a better future. But he asks his own generation to recognize its youthful mistakes and pleads with future generations not to repeat them. The author’s voice is one of love and hope for America. But our national prospects depend on facing honestly the full magnitude of all we lost during one momentous decade and of all we must now recover.
2. Try Not to Laugh Challenge, Easter Joke Book for Kids By Easter Bunny Press and Howling Moon Press
Great Easter Joke Book for all Ages! This Easter Joke Book has over 275 Eggs-tra Funny Jokes, Silly Riddles and Laugh out loud Knock-Knock Jokes along with Comical Art Work! The Easter Gift that will provide hours of Fun for Friends & Family! Perfect for all ages! Best Easter Basket Stuffer for all! The Rules are Simple: Pick your team, or go one on one. Sit across from each other & make eye contact. Take turns reading jokes to each other. You can make silly faces, funny sound effects, etc. When your opponent laughs, you get a point! First team to win 3 points, WINS! If You’re Laughing, You’re Losing!
A great children book to enjoy during Spring break and on Easter.
3. One Damn Thing After Another: Memoirs of an Attorney General By William P. Barr
William Barr’s first tenure as attorney general under President George H.W. Bush was largely the result of chance, while his second tenure under President Donald Trump a deliberate and difficult choice. In this candid memoir, Barr takes readers behind the scenes during seminal moments of the 1990s, from the LA riots to Pan Am 103 and Iran Contra. Thirty years later, Barr faced an unrelenting barrage of issues, such as Russiagate, the COVID outbreak, civil unrest, the impeachments, and the 2020 election fallout. One Damn Thing After Another is vivid, forthright, and essential not only to understanding the Bush and Trump legacies, but also how both men viewed power and justice at critical junctures of their presidencies.
4. A Is for Awesome!: 23 Iconic Women Who Changed the World By Eva Chen and Derek Desierto
Why stick with plain old A, B, C when you can have Amelia (Earhart), Malala, Tina (Turner), Ruth (Bader Ginsburg), all the way to eXtraordinary You―and the Zillion of adventures you will go on?
“That theme of swinging for the fences and going for it is the undercurrent in this book. Even though it’s about how they’re all awesome, the real undercurrent is, ‘Look at all these people who are superheroes who are just like you.’ I try to tell that to my daughter.” ―Hasan Minhaj, in Huffpost
5. The Midnight Library By Matt Haig
Between life and death there is a library.
When Nora Seed finds herself in the Midnight Library, she has a chance to make things right. Up until now, her life has been full of misery and regret. She feels she has let everyone down, including herself. But things are about to change.
The books in the Midnight Library enable Nora to live as if she had done things differently. With the help of an old friend, she can now undo every one of her regrets as she tries to work out her perfect life. But things aren’t always what she imagined they’d be, and soon her choices place the library and herself in extreme danger.
Before time runs out, she must answer the ultimate question: what is the best way to live?
Do you know an exceptional overseas volunteer who has made a positive and lasting impact in their host country, supported morale and well-being within the Embassy or Consulate community, or helped others in an emergency?
Please consider recognizing their work and inspiring others by submitting a nomination for this prestigious award administered by AAFSW!
Volunteer opportunities are a key to good morale and a sense of purpose at many overseas missions. And volunteers within the U.S. foreign affairs community consistently demonstrate remarkable achievements, even during a few short years at post.
Examples from the 2021 SOSA award winners include assisting victims of human trafficking in the Middle East; leading a complete turnaround of an international school’s curriculum, finances, hiring and security; creating cultural outreach programs in China; providing support to autistic children and their families; and creating English-language programs for local staff at two consulates.
Learn more about the program and previous winners here: https://www.aafsw.org/sosa/
SOSA nominees can be any USG direct-hire employees under Chief of Mission (COM) authority, their spouses and family members over the age of 18, or their members of household (MOH). The SOSA Award is given for volunteer activities performed abroad while the nominee was posted to a U.S. Mission or on Involuntary Separate Maintenance Allowance (ISMA) status.
The award honors remarkable service to the mission community, outstanding activities directed towards the host country, or exceptional service in emergency situations. Factors considered in the selection process include: scope and reach of activities, sustainability, ingenuity, and leadership.
The SOSA Awards are administered by AAFSW, and recipients, if qualified, are chosen from each of the six regional bureaus by a panel of AAFSW, GCLO and regional bureau representatives. Winners receive a cash award of $2500 and a certificate signed by the Secretary of State. Travel to Washington, DC for the November ceremony (if held in person at the State Department) will be paid for by regional bureaus.
How to Submit a Nomination
All members of the Foreign Affairs community are encouraged to present nominations.
Nomination season for the SOSA Awards opened this year with ALDAC cable 22 STATE 9450, released on February 1, and nominations are due by April 29.
Nominations for all awards should not exceed three pages double-spaced and must include the following information: the nominee’s name and position or relationship to the direct-hire employee; the nominee’s e-mail address; the nominator’s name and relationship to nominee; and a justification for the nomination, including specific actions and qualities that fulfill the award criteria.
Send nominations (as a Word document) for the SOSA Awards to email@example.com.
You may also contact your CLO or Management Officer for additional information. Please also feel free to contact AAFSW with any questions by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Your nominations help recognize the vital importance and value of volunteer work in the foreign affairs community. Furthermore, highlighting these achievements inspires others to pursue projects that create positive change, advance person-to-person diplomacy, and bring more satisfaction and meaning to their time at post. Thank you for supporting these awards!
Patricia Linderman, AAFSW SOSA Chair 2020-2022
The Around the World 5k has been described as the largest embrace of the concept of participation trophies ever. With a stated goal of connecting across countries, encouraging participation and fitness, and cheering every success, we accept and encourage this description. The eighth annual virtual race will be held this April. Participants around the world will run, walk, bike, or crawl through a 5k and share their success on the Around the World 5k Facebook page or the AroundtheWorld5kracewalk Instagram page.
Each year dozens of cities worldwide participate with teams that range from one individual to groups of up to 100. In 2019, over 500 people participated in the race and the 2022 goal is to break that record. Signing up is easy, simply visit the website at www.aroundtheworld5k.com and click on the sign-up tab.
The best part of joining the race? We have so many prizes and gifts to give out through the month of April. We work with different small businesses — the majority of which have ties to our foreign service community – to create giving opportunities and everyone has a chance to win. Most of our winners are selected through random drawings. Traditionally, we have also had easy contests such as best photo, largest team, or the funniest running story. Each year we have new fun and easy contests to encourage participation. Last year our sponsors included DiploDash,Team RunRun, RNG International Education Consultants, Epiphany Pilates, Fierce After Forty-Five, Tales from a Small Planet, and AFSPA. Prizes included running coaching sessions, gift baskets, handmade mugs, gift cards, and t-shirts.
We love picking a different charity to support each year. Donating is completely optional and not a required part of participation. However, we have raised up to $5,000 for different causes throughout the years. This year we will support the Free to Run charity. This fund provides support and training in leadership for females living in conflict zones. This feels particularly important in light of current events. Our goal this year is to raise $5,000 for Free to Run.
The last two years have been challenging for our team-based program. Runners were not deterred by Covid, ordered departures, and lockdowns and managed to get their 5k’s in despite the challenges. One runner under lockdown ran circles on her patio, another in the embassy parking lot, and a third ran up and down the alley behind her house. A few teams did come together for masked and distanced runs, especially in the DC area. Families have been able to run together in smaller and tight-knit teams. We have seen an increase in four-legged teammates as our runners and walkers find ways to get active and bring along a furry friend.
We welcome everyone to join us. If you like to run or walk or just connect with different people from around the world, then this race is for you. It is open to everyone, regardless of fitness level or location. For more information, visit our website or our Facebook page.