Affinity Groups

The U.S. Department of State encourages individualism in its workforce and offers several employee organizations to help strengthen and support its diversity.

The Arab-Americans in Foreign Affairs Agencies (or AAIFAA) Employee Affinity Group represents the Department’s only employee-based organization concerned with the promotion, protection, and utilization of the cultural, linguistic, personal, and professional assets Arab-American foreign affairs professionals commonly share. As with other ethnic- and minority-based employee associations, AAIFAA will serve as a resource of relevant ideas and experiences that can be shared among the Arab-American communities throughout the interagency community. AAIFAA membership is open to all civil and foreign service employees in the Department and throughout the interagency community. AAIFAA membership will not be based on any ethnicity or religion, but rather on a shared affinity for Arab culture.

The Asian American Foreign Affairs Association (AAFAA) consists of Foreign Service and Civil Service employees at the Department of State. The association seeks to represent, promote and highlight the interests of East, Southeast, South Asian and Pacific Islander employees. AAFAA was originally known as the Asian Pacific American Foreign Affairs Council (APAFFAC), founded in 1981 to support Equal Employment Opportunity, particularly in improving recruitment, outreach, and professional development of Asian and Pacific Islander officers. It has sponsored annual career fairs and other professional development programs. For more information on AAFAA, please contact AAFAA@state.gov.

The Carl T. Rowan Chapter of Blacks in Government (CTRBIG) is one of 200+ chapters nationwide of the Blacks in Government national organization (BIG). In April 2001, the Department of State recognized the United States Information Agency (USIA) BIG chapter and recommended a name change as USIA was no longer in existence. The chapter was renamed the Carl T. Rowan Chapter in honor of the former Director of USIA. At Department of State, CTRBIG strives to advocate for Black Department employees, facilitate alliances, and address issues of discrimination. The Chapter sponsors a number of events for both members and non-members including training, community service, and outreach. For more information on CTRBIG, please contact bigctr@state.gov.

The Council for Career Entry Professionals is a professional organization in the Department that supports the Career Entry Program and its members. The Council aims to improve CEP visibility, promote networking between current and former CEPs, and to encourage career development for its members. The Council also has a strong emphasis on leadership development and diversity awareness by promoting a variety of events both internal and external to the Department. Through frequent contact with HR, S/OCR, and senior Department executives, the Council strives to provide a positive experience for members of the Career Entry Program and anyone interested in learning more about it. For more information about the CEP Council, please contact CCEP@state.gov.

The Disability Action Group (DAG) strives to promote the full and equal participation of people with disabilities Department-wide, improve disability awareness, and provide a platform for discussing issues of accommodation. DAG advocates for the rights of people with disabilities by providing a forum for information exchange and exploring goals for enhancing life for individuals with disabilities. DAG hosts a variety of events such as speaker series and an annual mentoring day, and engages with officials in Human Resources, Med, and AFSA, among others, in order to improve awareness and the work-life of Department employees with disabilities. For more information on DAG, please contact DAGCouncil@state.gov.

Executive Women at State (EW@S) is an organization that brings Department employees to promote, support, and mentor women for senior leadership positions in the Department. In 2009, EW@S responded to requests from more junior women by supporting efforts to establish two affiliated groups to develop the leadership potential of women in mid-career and junior and entry-level positions. These groups are Executive Women at State: Associates (EW@S/A), for mid-career employees, and Executive Women at State: Entry and Junior Level (EW@S/EJ), for more junior employees. Together, the three groups create a continuum of leadership support, from the most junior to the most senior ranks, that is unique among the Department’s affinity groups. The group meets regularly with the Office of Civil Rights (S/OCR). EW@S sponsors a variety of events that highlight the achievements of outstanding women and support the advancement of women in the workforce, and issues a monthly newsletter. For more information on EW@S please contact EWS@state.gov.

Gays and Lesbians in Foreign Affairs Agencies (GLIFAA) is the officially-recognized organization representing the concerns of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) personnel and their families in the U.S. Department of State, U.S. Agency for International Development, Foreign Commercial Service, Foreign Agricultural Service, and other foreign affairs agencies and offices in the U.S. Government. GLIFAA seeks to challenge the continued barriers that LGBT Foreign Service, Civil Service, contract employees, and their families encounter as a result of prejudice, misunderstanding, or apathy within U.S. federal foreign service-related institutions. GLIFAA welcomes the participation of everyone regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. For more information about GLIFAA, please contact GLIFAA@state.gov or visit www.glifaa.org.

The mission of the Hispanic Employee Council of Foreign Affairs Agencies (HECFAA) is to enhance awareness of the contributions of Hispanic employees to U.S. foreign affairs agencies; to assist in the recruitment, retention and promotion of Hispanics; and to develop the leadership abilities of Hispanics at U.S. foreign affairs agencies. HECFAA welcomes the participation and support of all U.S. foreign affairs agency employees. For more information about HECFAA, please contact HECFAABoard@state.gov or visit www.hecfaa.org.

The Presidential Management Fellowship Advisory Council (PMFAC) supports the PMF program within the Department and U.S. Agency for International Development and seeks to promote the professional development of its members. PMFAC facilitates communication among PMF and PMF/PMI alumni and informs HR and other Department leadership on issues of concern to the PMFAC membership. In addition, PMFAC provides support to PMF finalists interested in the State Department and USAID, conducts diversity outreach, encourages civil service advancement, and provides career development, networking, and community service opportunities to members. For more information about PMFAC, please contact PMFAdvisoryCouncil@state.gov.

The Returned Peace Corps Volunteers at State (RPCV) aim to encourage the Department to hire eligible RPCVs. The group aims to effectively communicate opportunities at the Department to RPCVs and to facilitate communication and foster a sense of community amongst and between RPCVs and other employees. The group also aims to foster career development and networking opportunities for RPCVs, and provide a support network and information-sharing tools for employees who are interested in the work of RPCVs at the Department. For more information about RPCV, please contact RPCVs@state.gov.

The South Asian-American Employee Association (SAAEA) seeks to educate members about Department employment opportunities, self-improvement, and well-being. SAAEA also provides community outreach by educating citizens about the South-Asian culture and promoting diversity in the workplace. The mission of SAAEA is to meet the diverse educational and social needs of its members. For more information about SAAEA, please email SAAEA@state.gov.

The Thursday Luncheon Group (TLG) was founded in 1973 to increase the participation of African Americans and other minorities in the formulation, articulation, and implementation of United States foreign policy. Public programs offer members the opportunity to interact with leaders in the foreign affairs community and prepare them for service in a rapidly changing world. For more information about TLG, please contact TLG1973@state.gov.

The Veterans at State employee affinity group strives to promote the full and equal participation of the estimated 7,100 military Veterans Department-wide, participating in community service activities, improving military Veteran awareness, advocating for the rights of military Veterans by providing a forum for information exchange, assisting in the recruitment, retention, and promotion of military Veterans, and developing the leadership abilities of military Veterans at the Department of State. For more information about VETS, please contact Veterans@state.gov.