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Letter from the President, October 2022

Dear AAFSW community members,

I am very honored and thankful to AAFSW’s board of directors and distinguished members for their trust and vote of confidence. I am looking forward to collaborating closely with my counterparts and reaching out to AAFSW’s external partners in the broader foreign affairs community. We have a common goal of strengthening our efforts to meet our community members’ needs.

As a seasoned foreign affairs community member and Eligible Family Member (EFM), I joined AAFSW in 2016 and became Spouses in Transition Chair in 2018. I began my career with a Fortune 500 US hydrocarbons company in Algiers, joining my former husband at his first overseas post. With our two daughters Astrid and Sophia, we subsequently moved to the republic of Seychelles where I served as Executive Director for the national park system. In Colombia, I transitioned to a series of consultancies with the U.S. Foreign Commercial Service (FCS). My long interest in corporate social responsibility and sustainability issues led me to Paris, where I completed the coursework for a Master of Advanced Studies degree in Corporate Sustainability Management. I currently deliver reports, and other research materials for international development practitioners and the Global Disaster Preparedness Center (GDPC), a joint initiative between the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and the American Red Cross.

I am looking forward to this new role and advocating for the AAFSW’s community. AAFSW administers the annual Secretary of State Award for Outstanding Volunteerism Abroad when the Secretary of State presents the award every year. AAFSW regularly collaborates directly with the Department of State (DOS) and sits on the Interagency Working Group. Since 1960, AAFSW’s board of directors and members’ advocacy efforts secured the establishment of the Family Liaison Office (now GCLO), pension sharing for divorced spouses, elder care travel policy, attention to the Special Needs Education Allowance, and advocating for family members during the 2017 hiring freeze.

AAFSW provides so much to our community, including, among others, the insightful international programs hosted at the Department, as well as in foreign embassies and cultural centers throughout the DMV, and the annual art and bookfair, celebrating its 60th anniversary this year.

AAFSW is a key stakeholder in the foreign affairs community, both in Washington, DC and globally. We have so many great people and so many opportunities. I want us to work collaboratively to grow AAFSW and increase awareness of the value of our work.


Celine C. Erickson