Since its founding in 1960, AAFSW has placed a strong emphasis on community. Our organization and membership has evolved through the years, but our focus on community remains the same. AAFSW is proud to identify some key services — we call them Community Pillars — which are universally recognized by our members posted across the globe. AAFSW’s Community Pillars include:
Art and BookFair – Since 1961, our annual Art and BookFair has been held each fall in the Exhibition Hall at the Department of State. Employees and family members and even the public can browse through donated popular and classic books, rare books and foreign language collections, stamps, coins, and art, crafts and artifacts from around the world. We constantly hear from both members and non-members, how much they look forward to the annual Art and BookFair. The money raised goes towards scholarships and operation expenses.
Scholarships – AAFSW has a long history of supporting need-based scholarships in cooperation with AFSA. In 2013, AAFSW initiated its own merit-based scholarships, including the Judy Felt Memorial Scholarship for an outstanding volunteer, and the Twice Exceptional Scholarship for an outstanding student with challenging circumstances.
SOSA– Since 1990, AAFSW has proudly administered the Secretary of State Award for Outstanding Volunteerism Abroad (SOSA). SOSA recognizes the many U.S. foreign affairs employees and family members abroad who engage in noteworthy – and newsworthy – volunteer efforts. Far from the “tea and crumpets” stereotype of diplomacy, these Foreign Service officers and family members are out there showing the world the best of the American spirit of volunteerism. The SOSA Awards recognize their efforts while in turn inspiring others to follow their example.
Foreign Born Spouse Group – Founded in the 1980s, AAFSW’s Foreign Born Spouse Group (FBS) has built connection, provided support and offered a wide range of social and cultural activities for Washington, DC area members. The FBS Group is a lifeline for spouses and partners from other cultures — and non-foreign-born spouses are also welcome at their fun and fabulous activities.