Welcome to our unaccompanied tours (UT) blog, Foggy Bottom Rambles! We can share information, programs, and resources quickly with you and since blogs are a two way street, we (and the other readers) can hear from you. What's in a name you say? This blog reflects how we (back here in DC, Foggy Bottom area) provide information (rambles) to you. Find websites and information, upcoming webinars, programs and events. FLO does not endorse organizations or companies linked-to in this blog, the views they express, or the products/services they offer. Let us know what you think: contribute to the blog or email us at FLOAskUT@state.gov.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Nominate Outstanding Volunteers for SOSA and Tragen Awards

If you know someone at post whose extraordinary volunteer efforts have made a difference to the mission community or host country, nominate him/her for a 2013 Secretary of State Award for Outstanding Volunteerism Abroad (SOSA) or an Eleanor Tragen Award.

The SOSA program is sponsored and administered by the Associates of the American Foreign Service Worldwide (AAFSW), the non-profit organization supporting spouses, partners and employees. SOSA recognizes volunteer efforts at posts overseas for: remarkable service to the mission community; outstanding activities directed towards the host country; and exceptional service in emergency situations.

A panel will select one award recipient from each of the regional bureaus. Winners will each receive a certificate signed by the Secretary of State and a pin commemorating the awards event. Travel to Washington to attend the awards ceremony on December 3, 2013, will be paid by the individual bureaus. Due to the current freeze on discretionary monetary awards under sequestration, the normal cash component to these awards may or may not be provided.
Eligibility: All active American USG direct-hire employees, their spouses and family members over the age of 18, their EFM domestic partners and members of household are eligible. Nominations for the SOSA awards should be sent to the AAFSW Office by e-mail to office@aafsw.org or by fax to 703-820-5421.
The Tragen Award is sponsored and administered by DACOR, an organization of Foreign Service professionals. This award recognizes a spouse, family member, EFM domestic partner, or member of household who has effectively advocated and promoted rights, programs, services, and benefits for FS families. The recipient will receive a certificate by DACOR Bacon House Foundation. Due to the current freeze on discretionary monetary awards under sequestration, the normal cash component to these awards may or may not be provided. Nominees must agree to attend the December awards ceremony (held in conjunction with the SOSA program) if selected. If posted outside Washington, D.C., the winner will receive two nights of lodging at the DACOR Bacon House.
Eligibility: Nominees must be spouses, family members, EFM domestic partners or members of household of FS employees, active or retired. Nominations for the Tragen Award should be sent to DACOR by email to  sbrock@dacorbacon.org or by fax to 202-842-3295.

Format for Nominations: Nominations for both the SOSA and Tragen Awards are not to exceed three double-spaced pages (Word document only) and must include the following: nominee’s full name; the relationship to the direct-hire employee or retiree; the nominee’s email address; the nominator’s name and relationship to the nominee; a justification for the nomination with specifics related to criteria; and the name of the nominee’s hometown newspaper and U.S. representative in Congress.

Check with your CLO or Management Officer at post for a copy of the State Department cable (State 00056848) that outlines the nomination procedures and requirements for both awards.

Deadline for nominations for both awards is September 6, 2013.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

On April 25, 2013, the State Department will once again welcome their employees' children (ages 9 – 15) for the annual Take Your Child to Work Day (TYCTWD). The Family Liaison Office (FLO) would like to make this event available to State Department children with a parent serving at an unaccompanied tour by registering and escorting families who are interested in attending.   If you and your child are interested please contact FLOaskUT@state.gov or call 202 647 1786.  You must RSVP by April 19th. 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Realities of Foreign Service Life

Realities of Foreign Service Life — Free Online Training 

FSI’s Transition Center has announced the availability of the “Realities of Foreign Service Life” (http://www.state.gov/m/fsi/tc/realities/) — a free distance learning resource for all employees and family
members of USG employees headed or already overseas.
This interactive resource is available anywhere, at any time. No registration, password or test required. “Realities” offers users insights into what it is like to be part of the diplomatic community overseas and familiarizes them with the challenges and opportunities of this internationally mobile lifestyle. The material is designed to address the needs of single or married employees as well as accompanying family/partners.

Friday, April 5, 2013


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 .

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

In DC in July? 

Interested in Overseas Employment? 

Foreign service family members posted or headed overseas who will be in Washington, D.C., July 10-12, may want to jump-start their employment prospects by participating in the following FLO-FSI initiative held at FSI:

July 10 – Employment Tools for Foreign Service Life – MQ704 (a one-day course reviewing resume, interview skills, etc. to prepare family members for meeting with international employers)

July 12 – Meet-Up with International Employers (a chance to meet with employers who hire overseas)
Registration for MQ704 is open now. For more information and registration instructions, visit the FSI course webpage (http://www.state.gov/m/fsi/tc/fslstraining/c48159.htm). Registration for the Meet-Up with International Employers will begin in May.

Stay tuned to FLO’s Network listserv for more details. Not registered with The Network? Send a request to join to FLONetwork@state.gov.