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Diplomacy in Action

AAFSW Member Lesley Dorman - Remarks at FLO 30th Anniversary Celebration 3/05/08

The Family Liaison Office became a reality because AAFSW members realized the urgent need for such an office. Because of its autonomy AAFSW was able to create an office within the State Department, an unusual feat. The Forum Group of AAFSW was fortunate in being able to work with the right people at the right time.

There was great skepticism about the future of such an office, but being determined and highly motivated and having fine individuals like the then Director General, Carol Laise, who agreed to send the "Forum Report on the Concerns of Foreign Service Spouses and Families" to our embassies worldwide, Benjamin Read, the Under Secretary for Management, Joan Clarke and Phyllis Busco, who worked with Ben, Governor Gilligan, director of the Agency for International Development (AID), John Reinhardt, Director of the United States Information Agency (USIA) and finally Cyrus R. Vance, Secretary of State, success was achieved.

Jean Vance, chair of the Forum, and I were able to select the office space, and sat as members of the panel to choose the Director and Deputy Director. A good deal of credit should be given to the early pioneers in the office, Janet Lloyd, Mette Beecroft, and Joan Scott. Janet and I were invited to participate on TV and radio and met with the press.

Driving over the 14thStreet bridge I heard this strange voice talking about family affairs in the Foreign Service and I recognized my voice, and other times, Janet. AAFSW testified before the Foreign Relations Committees of the Senate and the House and the White House Committee on Families. A big thank you to, among others, Patricia Shroeder, Dante Fascell, Jim Walsh, and Claiborne Pell.

The Forum had six separate sessions with the Medical Division. When Carol Laise left Harry Barnes became the DO with whom the Forum worked.

FLO's creators welcomed the challenge, the excitement of the chase, and the utter joy of achievement. Ben Reed ensured that everything possible was done to assist FLO in getting off the ground by putting the office under M (Management).

Today, Leslie Teixeira and, with many other people, are helping with FLO's continued success with a wonderful team spirit.

So many have contributed from its inception to the present, and I am so very proud to be referred to as Mother FLO.

Information provided by the Family Liaison Office
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