Letter from the President – January 2022

New Year – New Opportunities

I’m excited to share with you some exciting news for 2022.

AAFSW will be working with the Una Chapman Cox Foundation on two new projects to support the larger Foreign Affairs community. The first project will be Family Member Oral Histories.  AAFSW has long been involved with family member oral histories going back to the mid 1980’s, when Jewel Fenzi started the spouse oral history project. Read more on our timeline about Jewel’s initiative: https://timeline.aafsw.org/1986/foreign-service-spouse-oral-history-program/.  

The new project will create six three-hour focused oral histories that capture various aspects of the Foreign Service lifestyle through oral history transcripts and additional media. The Foreign Service Family Members Oral History Project seeks to capture reflections and perspectives on Foreign Service life as experienced by Foreign Service family members around the world. Previously untold stories, these oral histories will allow family members to share their honest, personal views and perspectives with others and, ultimately, add to the body of knowledge of Foreign Service life. This is a pilot project which aims to serve as a starting point for more interviews and oral histories in the future. 

Be sure to check back with AASFW in the coming weeks (visit our website, read Livelines or go to our social media pages) for a new professional development opportunity. This project will train two family members to conduct oral histories and will provide a stipend for interviews.  

The second project is a Volunteer Map and database. AAFSW and the Cox Foundation will create an interactive and searchable volunteer map for the Foreign Service community. The final product, housed on FSHub.org, will serve as a resource for members of the foreign service community to learn about volunteer opportunities at overseas posts or in the Washington, DC area.   

In addition, a collection of 10 case studies/best practices that highlight exceptional volunteer projects around the world will be created. The project will continue to support and promote volunteerism as a form of diplomacy. AAFSW will be seeking individuals interested in writing case studies or helping with data input for the volunteer map and will provide a stipend for the work. Be sure to check back with AAFSW in the coming weeks (visit our website, read Livelines or go to our social media pages) for more information about professional development opportunities.

I wish all of our members a safe and healthy new year.