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Letter from the AAFSW President, September 2023

Dear members and friends,

I hope you had a wonderful summer. We are excited to share our vision, goals, and plans for fall. We have prepared various activities, events, and opportunities for you to engage, connect, and collaborate among the AAFSW community.

First and foremost, I am pleased to congratulate the first tandem winners of the 2023 Dorman Award, Ambassador Patrick Kennedy and Betty Slope, unanimously chosen by the selection committee of previous Dorman Award recipients for their lifelong contribution to our organization and the broader American foreign service community. They inspire current and future generations by demonstrating an unfailing commitment to our nation’s highest ideals.  

As we are ready to start a new season, let’s celebrate the commitments and achievements of our foreign affairs community members, who keep showing limitless compassion and are always ready, willing, and able to give back. On November 29, 2023, AAFSW will honor the 2023 Secretary of State Award for Outstanding Volunteerism Abroad (SOSA), Leslie Dorman, Eleanor Dodson Tragen, and “Champions of Career Enhancement for Eligible Family Members” (CCE-EFM) awards winners at our annual SOSA ceremony in the Benjamin Franklin room at Main State.

SOSA recognizes their exceptional volunteer efforts that have positively impacted the host countries where our Embassies and Consulates community resides through their inspiring and admirable actions. They keep demonstrating the best of American values and spirit, enhancing the image and reputation of the United States abroad while showing leadership, creativity, and dedication in their service to our country.

AAFSW hopes the 2023 SOSA ceremony will showcase their talents and skills to our community and the wider international development community. We are delighted to welcome Devex leadership to our 2023 SOSA ceremony. Devex is a social enterprise and media platform for the global development community, connecting development, health, humanitarian, and sustainability professionals through news, business intelligence, funding, and career opportunities related to international development. Headquartered in Washington, Devex brings together development organizations, donor agencies, suppliers, aid workers, and over a million active users. This partnership embeds AAFSW’s pledge to seek more innovative, problem-solving, and responsive initiatives to support the needs, concerns, and job satisfaction of Foreign Service members and promote the EFMs and non-working adults pool of talents deployed worldwide and available stateside.

Throughout the next few months, we hope you can join us at the Marshal and the Dean Acheson auditoriums for our series of programs that showcase cross-cultural conversations with ambassadors and speakers from Ukraine, France, and Asia. These are unique opportunities to learn about the current and historical events, perspectives, and challenges of various regions of the world. We will hold our annual Art and Book Fair at the National Museum of American Diplomacy (NMAD) in October. You can also visit our awesome Art Corner and Bookstore year-round at a new Main State / Foggy Bottom location.

As we embark on this new journey together, I want to express my gratitude and appreciation for your dedication, enthusiasm, and commitment to our mission. You are the heart and soul of our organization.

I look forward to seeing you soon and to hearing your ideas and feedback.

All the best,