November 17, 2021

Dear FDAAA Colleagues,

We hope this note finds you and your loved ones safe and thriving during these challenging times.

As you all are well aware, the mission of the FDA Alumni Association is to “serve those who have served.” This includes helping to connect our members with each other nationally and internationally, offering educational opportunities, and supporting the work of the FDA. Today, we are writing to share news about an exciting new program that further advances the mission of our association.

The FDAAA International Network is launching an FDA-focused “Foreign Office Alumni Network.” This will provide both current and former FDA foreign office staff with a convenient, collegial way to connect and share information, experiences, and learnings that are unique to diplomats and locally employed staff serving in FDA foreign offices.

We are delighted as well that the FDA, through the Office of Global Policy and Strategy, actively supports these efforts.

What will the Foreign Office Alumni Network do?

  • This new, innovative network will offer opportunities to connect, sponsor targeted events of interest, and provide a conduit for strengthen camaraderie and mentorship within this unique community.
  • Creating a community around the FDA foreign offices will serve as a support for everyone who works in those offices, whether they are just entering service, staying on duty abroad, or leaving a foreign office. This is an addition to ongoing FDAAA communications, events, and services that are available to all members, including those who serve or have served abroad.

Why launch this now?

  • The impact and stress of the pandemic on members of the foreign offices helped to crystalize our thinking about what we can offer this unique group.
  • As FDAAA leadership continues to strive to expand our membership offerings, this initiative will support a group of associate members and alumni who have not been able to access our in-person programming. (Associate members are current FDA employees.)
  • During the pandemic, FDAAA has increased our use of online networking tools and video conferencing. Building on this experience, FDAAA has developed a new online communications platform that will be available exclusively to members of the Foreign Office Alumni Network.

What happens next?

  • All current or former members of the FDA foreign office staff, both diplomats and locally employed staff, who join the FDAAA are eligible to become part of the Foreign Office Alumni Network. (FDAAA members who have not served abroad are not eligible for this specific network.)
  • FDA’s Office of Global Policy and Strategy is simultaneously sending an informational letter to all past and present staff to inform them of this new network.

When is the first event?

  • We will host an online informational event in December for those interested in learning more about the foreign offices and the Foreign Office Alumni Network.

We strongly believe that this initiative will be an excellent learning experience that could potentially serve as a blueprint for future networks for interest groups within FDAAA.

If you have served or are currently serving in a foreign office, we hope you will join both FDAAA and the Foreign Office Alumni Network and help to make this new initiative a global success!

Thank you for your continued support of FDAAA. As with all FDAAA-related matters, we welcome any ideas or suggestions you might have.

Deb Autor                                        S. Leigh Verbois
FDAAA Board Chair                     Associate Member