AAFSW is a private, non-profit organization dedicated to bettering the quality of life of Foreign Service families everywhere. If you are a current or retired Foreign Service employee, spouse or partner, you will find a community of like-minded people in AAFSW. Read more about membership eligibility.

For over fifty years we have served as an independent advocacy and support group for Foreign Service employees and family members. In fact, two key State Department offices, the Family Liaison Office (FLO) and the Overseas Briefing Center (OBC) exist only as a direct result of AAFSW advocacy.

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We continue to offer many services to the Foreign Service community at large–with additional benefits to our members!

AAFSW administers the Secretary of State’s Award for Outstanding Volunteerism Overseas (SOSA), an annual award recognizing outstanding volunteers worldwide.


We offer several merit and need-based scholarships for Foreign Service youth.

Our Evacuee Support Network coordinates with the Family Liaison Office (FLO) in assisting Foreign Service community members who have been evacuated from posts abroad.

AAFSW’s Happy Hours and many other programs connect our community in the Washington, DC, area.

Our Washington, DC-area Playgroup offers support and networking for Foreign Service parents.

Fun at the petting zoo in June, 2012.
Fun at the petting zoo in June, 2012.

Our very active Foreign-Born Spouses group offers support for Foreign Service family members who are “foreign at home” in the Washington, DC area.

Our newsletter, Global Link, which is distributed to AAFSW members and Community Liaison Office Coordinators and post newsletter editors worldwide, provides practical information to Foreign Service community members worldwide, as well as news regarding our events and programs.

AAFSW’s publications, which include two volumes in the Realities of Foreign Service Life series as well as the first volume in our new series, The Foreign Service Companion, Moving Your Household Without Losing Your Mind are a unique resource for our community, written and produced “in-house” by those who have been there, and done that.

Our website,, is a central resource for Foreign Service community members on all aspects of Foreign Service life, with an extensive collection of articles, advice, and links.

AAFSW members also enjoy:

Membership in our popular “Livelines” Yahoo group. Over 4,500 members of the Foreign Service community share their collective information and experience with the additional perk of being able to advertise housing, cars, and other items for sale/rent!

Free classified advertising in our Global Link newsletter and on our website.

Personal invitations to speaker programs in the Benjamin Franklin Room at the Department of State, as well as monthly cultural tours and programs in the Washington, DC-area of interest to the Foreign Service community.

“ARGO” author Tony Mendez, his wife Jonna Mendez, and rescued hostage Kathleen Stafford speak to an audience of AAFSW members and guests at the State Department.

Ready to join? There are two types of AAFSW membership.

Regular membership in AAFSW is open to all employees of the U.S. foreign affairs agencies and their adult family members who have served or are subject to serve at a U.S. diplomatic mission. From its origin as a group of female spouses, AAFSW has expanded its membership to include the whole Foreign Service community, active and retired.

Associate membership in AAFSW is for those individuals who have an active interest in US foreign affairs but who are not direct-hire employees or family members. Associate members must be sponsored by a current AAFSW member in good standing, and must submit a letter from that sponsor with their application.

Join today!