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President’s Letter, January 2024

Dear AAFSW Members and Friends,

We are thrilled to usher in the New Year by announcing that our organization has amplified its commitment to giving back. We extend our heartfelt gratitude for your steadfast support. Our Board of Directors has sanctioned a twenty-five percent increase in our donations for the year 2024 to the “Foreign Service National Relief Fund.” This fund, administered by the Department of State, provides assistance to local and national staff overseas who are in need. This increase in our contribution will benefit four selected embassies.

In addition, we will continue our annual contributions to the Foreign Service Youth Foundation (FSYF), the Merit Scholarship for College Students, and the Secretary of State Awards for Outstanding Volunteerism Abroad (SOSA). Your generous contribution to our December 2023 dinner gala at the Embassy of Colombia has enabled us to significantly donate to The George Washington University Hospital Women’s Board. This donation supported their 20th Annual Lights of Life Tree Lighting Ceremony, which honors and remembers loved ones, friends, first responders, military personnel, and other notable individuals.

On another front, we are collaborating with the American Foreign Service Association (AFSA) to enhance the “Be Nice” cable. This initiative aims to provide support to families undergoing a divorce. Our goal is to assist in abandonment cases, foster resilience, enhance well-being, and facilitate a smoother transition for those affected. Over the years, AAFSW has raised funds through the Crisis Fund to help in such situations. We are advocating for a more structured and reliable system to ensure everyone can navigate life changes with dignity and support. Furthermore, we are committed to assisting in training legal experts skilled in international law. This is particularly important when employees face challenging situations regarding child custody while serving overseas. These situations become particularly complex when dealing with cross-continental custody and parenting issues, especially when living abroad and having a foreign-born spouse.

We want to express our sincere gratitude to The Una Chapman Cox Foundation, who approved our grant proposal of $10,000. This grant, titled “Shared Platform for Dialogue and Legislative Change and FS Community Business Directory,” enhances the opportunities available to Eligible Family Members (EFMs) within our community. However, due to professional, personal, and location-related issues of the people involved, AAFSW cannot pursue this ambitious and worthwhile effort at this time. We believe it is best if the Cox Foundation’s funding for AAFSW is redirected toward another deserving cause and an organization committed to achieving the Cox Foundation’s mission. We sincerely thank Ambassador Jo Ellen Powell, Alexis Alexander-Jackson, and the Una Chapman Cox Foundation for their support.

We are also delighted to highlight the positive impact of our international programs and fundraising galas, including the Ambassador Speaker Series held throughout the year. These events have provided a platform for ambassadors to share their insights and experiences, fostering a deeper understanding of global affairs in our community.

One of our notable international programs is the Asian Women’s Circle (AWC). This network, comprising women from 10 Asian countries, shared their region’s vibrant and peaceful culture in October 2023. This event was a testament to our commitment to promoting cross-cultural understanding and appreciation.

In December 2023, we hosted an event dedicated to the Games of the XXXIII Olympiad (French: Jeux de la XXXIII Olympiad), Paris 2024. This event, held at the U.S. State Department HST Building, celebrated the spirit of sportsmanship and global unity that the Olympics embody. Most of these events were recorded and are available on our website, allowing those who could not attend to still benefit from the rich content and discussions.

Your participation in these events and programs has been instrumental in helping us achieve our organization’s goals. We are committed to promoting cross-cultural understanding and fostering a global community that values diversity and mutual respect. We look forward to your continued support of our upcoming initiatives. 

Thank you once again for being a part of our journey.