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Published on February 26th, 2010 | by Editor

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IFSA Letters to DG Nancy Powell

IFSA is an international organization in a formative stage. In both of our letters to Director General of the Foreign Service (U.S. Department of State) Nancy Powell we emphasized that we were reaching out to management at the Department of State to seek State Department’s involvement in this effort, working side by side with us as colleagues. IFSA’s objective is to “open a permanent and effective channel of dialogue with Washington on management and personnel issues.” We sent our first letter on November 25, 2009, our second letter on June 11, 2010

Excerpts from our letter of June 11, 2010:

“We believe that it is essential to establish a mechanism to directly involve representatives of Locally Employed Staff in a dialogue on these issues and in the effort to address them.

We are convinced that a representative organization for LES can make a constructive contribution. Direct participation of LES is in keeping with the goals of transparency which the President has set for US government agencies. To that end, in November 2009 we sent you a letter about the establishment of IFSA, the International Foreign Service Association, and asked for your help to formalize a constructive working relationship between IFSA and the State Department and other Foreign Affairs Agencies. Deputy Assistant Secretary J. Robert Manzanares responded to that letter that “while 3FAM 7290 provides guidance on establishing associations at the post level, an international association, such as you are proposing, is new ground for us and will require coordination with our Legal experts to ensure the proper guidance is offered.”

While awaiting further guidance from the Department, IFSA supporters have formed an interim board whose members are ready to take the next steps in order to become a formal association and establish a working relationship with your office. IFSA’s intentions are honest and straightforward. They are outlined in three paragraphs (see attachment) and have to date been endorsed by LES committees from 70 posts worldwide. We look forward to a response from the State Department so that we can move forward together and elaborate a solid institutional basis for the first global LES association.

As a first step, we would like to propose that an LES conference be convened in Washington bringing together regional representatives of LES committees from around the world. The State Department has funded such LES assemblies in the past, but never one at which representatives were sent as delegates by their peers. Such a gathering would enable LES representatives to work side by side with representatives of your office and other bureaus to identify priority areas of concern to LES around the world and to work towards IFSA incorporation. We need and are counting on your help and support to take this step.”

To read the full text of the letters, download the pdf files: IFSA letter to DG Powell (11/25/09); IFSA letter to DG Powell (061110)

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