Congratulations and Welcome to the Newly Elected 2020-2022 AAFSW Board Members!

AAFSW would really like to thank the 2020 AAFSW Nominating Committee, consisting of Patty Ryan, Sheila Switzer, and Barbara Reioux, for presenting a full slate of amazing candidates for the 2020-2022 AAFSW Board positions! AAFSW would also like to thank its Members and Volunteers who voted during the 2020 AAFSW Summer Election from July 1, 2020 to July 31, 2020.  After all the electronic and paper ballots were received and tabulated, AAFSW would like to announce the names of the newly elected AAFSW Board Members who started their two-year term of volunteer service on Monday, August 10, 2020:

AAFSW’s Honorary President: Mrs. Susan Pompeo


2020-2022 AAFSW Elected Executive Board Members:

President: Lara Center

Vice President 1: Anna Bysfield

Vice President 2: Milcho Uzunov

Treasurer: Pat Kennedy

Assistant Treasurer: Carol Sparhawk

Secretary: Miluska “Mili” McInerney


2020-2022 AAFSW Chairs of the 11 AAFSW Standing Committees (Voting AAFSW Board Members):

1) Art and Book Fair: Anne Kauzlarich

2) SOSA Chair: Patricia Linderman

3) Scholarships Chair: Adam Ellenport

4) Programs Chair: Sheila Switzer

5) Public Relations and Publicity Chair: Joanna Athanasopoulos Owen, PhD

6) Housing Chair: Martine Aya Nakpil

7) Forum Chair: Ann La Porta

8) Membership Chair: Sonia Moore

9) Fun For Funds Chair: Joanna Athanasopoulos Owen, PhD

10) Foreign Born Spouses Co-Chairs: Jenny Kocher and Alfredo Barela

11) Families/Spouses in Transition Chair: Celine Erickson


2020-2022 Non-Standing Committee Chairs and Liaisons (Non-Voting AAFSW Board Members):

AFSA Liaisons: Ann La Porta and Patty Ryan

State Liaison: Mette Beecroft, PhD

EFM Committee: Catherine Pierce

FSYF Liaison: Barbara Reioux

Family Crisis Fund: Sheila Switzer

Oral History: Melissa Hess

Evacuee Support: Ann La Porta

Diplomacy through the Arts: Sinikka Siskin Crarkson

French Conversation Group: Marilyn Wong Gleysteen


AAFSW would also like to thank Debbi Miller for her dedication as an AAFSW Board Member and many years of volunteer service as the AAFSW Membership Chair since 2009. Debbi Miller joined AAFSW in 1977, and has served in many capacities, including Membership Chair, Art & BookFair Volunteer, Office Manager, etc.  Debbi was instrumental in the success of the 50th-year AAFSW Anniversary Musical Play.  Debbi edited the wonderful script written by AAFSW members; recruited and cast actors/singers, downloaded and edited accompaniments to the parody songs; found a Foreign Service spouse graphic artist to make the decade signs; distributed scripts and music; organized and directed rehearsals; prepared the program; oversaw the sets, costumes and props; ran the sound system while narrating and singing in the performance; and produced a DVD of the play using the sound studio at NFATC.

As a professional singer, Debbi has used her musical talents to delight AAFSW audiences on many occasions.  Most recently, in September 2017, she collaborated with one of the 2016 SOSA winners and sang for an AAFSW benefit concert at DACOR.  It is certain that Debbi will continue her active volunteer service for AAFSW in a variety of capacities!

Below, please, find the bios and photos of the 2020-2022 AAFSW Executive Board Members.

Once again, AAFSW would like to congratulate and welcome all the members of the 2020-2022 AAFSW Board and wish them good luck!



Meet the New AAFSW Executive Board Members

Lara Center, AAFSW President

Lara Center has been part of the Foreign Service community since 2002 when her husband, Adam, began A-100. They have served overseas and domestically in Guadalajara, Caracas, Luxembourg, DC and Hanoi.
Lara and Adam returned to Falls Church last summer with their son, David and daughter, Abigail. Lara has a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Management, Master in Public Administration and Master in Museum Studies.

Lara worked as a museum consultant while living in Hanoi. Lara worked directly with the Vietnamese Women’s Museum on new lesson plans, development of a Discovery Room and outreach to international schools. Lara served on the Board of AAFSW from 2012-2016 and 2019-2020. Lara is a former Chair for the annual Secretary of State Award for Outstanding Volunteerism Abroad (SOSA) award,
where she oversaw the award process from announcements, formation of selection committees, planning the ceremony and honoring the recipients. While also serving as 1 st Vice President,

Lara broadened her portfolio, provided leadership and worked as a team player on various activities to include AAFSW’s merit scholarships, support of family member employment, online FSHub, increasing membership, and reviewing the mission of AAFSW. Lara is the 2009 recipient of the Secretary of State Award for Outstanding Volunteerism Abroad for her work at Luxembourg’s National Museum of Military History.


Anna Bysfield, AAFSW First Vice President

Anna grew up in Northwestern China, and met and married her Foreign Service husband while they both worked in Beijing. When the Bysfields moved back to DC in 2003, they didn’t have any family or friends in the area.  Luckily, they found the AAFSW Housing Office when they were looking for a place to rent. Not only did they find a great property through the Housing Office, they also joined an amazing Foreign Service community. Their two young kids joined the AAFSW playgroup. Anna made many friends at foreign-born spouse gatherings. Livelines has
been a go-to place for them, for answers on FAM regulations, post information, or best property manager.  Anna attended many great programs that Sheila Switzer has organized, including a White House Christmas tour, a Washington Monument visit, and the Albanian Ambassador’s talk on Orthodox icons at Sheila’s house. When Anna and her family were posted overseas, what she missed most about living in DC was Sheila’s programs.  Thanks to Sheila and many other tireless volunteers, AAFSW has made the Bysfield family’s transition back to DC more enjoyable and
less stressful. Now Anna hopes to be able to help others in the Foreign Affairs community as AAFSW has helped her and her family over the years. Anna currently works as an office manager in the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs at State.

Milcho Uzunov, 2nd Vice President

Milcho Uzunov is a Communications Specialist in the Office of the Inspector General at the Department of State. Prior to his current position he worked as a Diplomatic Courier Escort managing classified pouch operations at a Priority Staffing Post as well as a DPO Mailroom Supervisor at another post where he managed all mail operations. He was also an Information Management Professional Associate working at post on both OpenNet and ClassNet systems, on administration and customer support. As a Program Assistant in the USOSCE Office of Resource Management he helped coordinate the unified budget payments and extra-budgetary fund contributions for the United States $30M annual contribution to the OSCE. He also served as the Contracting Officer’s Representative for a contract that seconded American experts as OSCE
monitors in eastern Ukraine.

As a Foreign service Spouse for 10 years he has accompanied his wife on assignments in Islamabad, Canberra, Pristina, Vienna, Skopje, and Washington. He is an amateur photographer
and an avid podcast consumer who likes to keep up with modern day technology in order to be connected regardless of where he is in the world.

Pat Kennedy, Treasurer

Patrick F. Kennedy was confirmed by the U.S. Senate as Under Secretary for Management on November 6, 2007 and served in that position until January 27, 2017. Prior to assuming that position, he was Director of the State Department’s Office of Management Policy, Rightsizing, and Innovation from May, 2007; Deputy Director of National Intelligence for Management from April, 2005 to May, 2007; and from February, 2005 to April, 2005 he headed the Transition Team that set up the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. From September, 2001 to May, 2005, he was U.S. Representative to the United Nations for Management and Reform with the Rank of Ambassador. During that period he also served from May, 2003 to the end of November 2003 as Chief of Staff of the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq, and from May, 2004 to late August, 2004 as Chief of Staff of the Transition Unit in Iraq.

In 1993 he became Assistant Secretary of State for Administration and served in that post until 2001. Concurrently, from August, 1996 to August, 1997 he served as the Acting Under Secretary for Management; during 1998, as Acting Assistant Secretary for Diplomatic Security; and from 1997 to 2001 as the Coordinator for the Reorganization of the Foreign Affairs Agencies.

From 1973 to 1993, he served in a number of positions in Washington and overseas, including as Management Counselor at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo and as Executive Director and Deputy Executive Secretary in the Executive Secretariat. Mr. Kennedy is a Fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration, a member of the American Academy of Diplomacy, and a Sage at the Partnership for Public Service.

Carol Sparhawk, Assistant Treasurer

Washington is my home now; and I’m very fortunate to have completed an assignment here at FSI, in the School of Applied Information Technology. I’ve specialized in MS Sharepoint, web conferencing and Microsoft Office. Before that, I lived overseas as a child in Istanbul, Turkey; as an adult in Moscow and Tel Aviv; and with the Foreign Service in Seoul, Korea and in Washington, D.C. My degrees are in French and theoretical linguistics. I enjoy entertaining,
music in many forms, the arts, walking and adventure: hence the years overseas! I’m looking forward to learning about the role of AAFSW Assistant Treasurer and sharing experiences with all of you.



Board Secretary, Miluska “Mili” McInerney

I have been a Foreign Service Spouse for over 16 years, and have lived in 6 countries and served in 4 of them with the Foreign Service. I am originally from Peru, but because of terrorism at the time, my family moved to Costa Rica, where I spend part of my life. I moved to the U.S. as an athlete, went to the University in the Central Coast of California. Later I transferred to the University of Southern California, where I graduated with a bachelor's degree in Liberal Arts, with a concentration in Natural Sciences. I married my military spouse, who later joined the Foreign Service. With the Foreign Service we have lived in Okinawa, Japan, Tegucigalpa, Honduras, San Jose, Costa Rica and Hanoi, Vietnam. Twenty-one years later we have three children and are currently living in the city of Falls Church.