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Supporting Ukraine and Evacuees from Kyiv

I’ve been touched by the outpouring of support I have witnessed for Kyiv; whether it be directed at US embassy personnel and families or the people of Ukraine.  On March 4, AAFSW was invited to attend a meet and greet for evacuees of Mission Ukraine at the Department of State hosted by EUR EDGE.  EUR EDGE is a midlevel employee affinity group within the EUR Bureau. The event was geared towards officers on ordered departure and provided a chance to chat with DC based colleagues and hear from the Department. 

Deputy Assistant Secretary Robin Dunnigan and Under Secretary for Management John Bass both gave brief remarks.  During DAS Dunnigan’s remarks she highlighted AAFSW for our work supporting evacuees from Kyiv.  It goes without saying that our Evacuee Support Network doesn’t do this for recognition, but does so out of a sense of support for our community.  Nevertheless, I appreciated the fact that word has gotten out about AAFSW’s Evacuee Support Network and will happily accept a nod of recognition from the Department.  Under Secretary Bass also noted that the Department is providing support to Mission Ukraine LES.  He has received word many have left the country and are in neighboring countries and stressed the LES are still receiving their salaries. 

However, the highlight of this event was the brief visit by The Honorable Oksana Markarova, Ukrainian Ambassador to the United States.  Ambassador Markarova spoke to the group and said “Ukrainian people value [the] support of American people.”  She eloquently stated Ukrainian people have the “desire and resolve to fight and win.”  AAFSW FBS Chair and Evacuee Support Network co-chair Jenny Kocher, summed it up beautifully “Her voice and her strength reflects the courage and the resilience of the Ukrainian Nation.”

AAFSW’s Evacuee Support Network was founded in the 1980’s by a group of AAFSW members who were concerned about the rising number of family members who were being evacuated from posts around the world for a variety of reasons.  AAFSW’s Evacuee Support Network is organized by long-time AAFSW volunteer Ann LaPorta.  If you wish to volunteer, please reach out to Ann directly at a_laporta@yahoo.com