Happy Birthday FLO! 35 years young on March 1!
In 2013, FLO and the CLO program will celebrate 35 years of supporting employees and family members overseas. From a single position in Dar es Salaam in 1977, to the pilot FLO (as you were originally called) program in 15 posts in 1978 to over 350 family members filling CLO staff positions today, we’ve come a long way!
In March 1977, the Association of American Foreign Service Women AAFSW – now known as the Associates of the American Foreign Service Worldwide - http://www.aafsw.org made the following recommendation in their Forum Report entitled Report on the Concerns of Foreign Service Spouses and Families:
Create a Family Liaison Office, headed by a director who is directly responsible to the Deputy under Secretary for Management and who works in close cooperation with other offices.
In remarks opening the Family Liaison Office on March 1, 1978, Secretary of State Cyrus R. Vance said, “Traditionally the Foreign Service has sought to be representative of the best aspects of American life and culture as it pursues the conduct of foreign relations abroad. The Foreign Service family has long been an essential element of our diplomatic presence overseas, but the Foreign Service is not just a career or a job. It is a way of life that depends not only upon the work and dedication of its employees, but also upon the goodwill and sense of community of its family members.”
Years later, first FLO Deputy Director reflected, “I can think of no other example in which dedicated volunteers, in this case members of the Forum of the AAFSW, succeeded in inserting an entirely new function within a government bureaucracy. The Family Liaison Office has become an institution which serves as an indispensable bridge between the individual and the Department of State.”
FLO is proud of our heritage and eternally grateful to the AAFSW and the women who lobbied to establish our office. You can read the experiences and histories of our Founding Mothers and others who have worked in FLO and as CLOs on the Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training (ADST) website, www.adst.org .