The American Foreign Service Association sponsors the AFSA scholarship. This association was originally established in 1924 as a professional association for the United States Foreign Services. Today membership includes 15,000 members and represents more than 28,000 active as well as retired Foreign Service employees of the Department of State as well as the Foreign Agricultural Service, Agency for International Development, Foreign Commercial Service and International Broadcasting Bureau.
The primary missions of the AFSA are to enhance the Foreign Service’s effectiveness while also protecting member interests and ensuring that high professional standards are maintained for political appointees and career diplomats. The AFSA also works to promote understanding of the significant role the Foreign Service plays in the promotion of the economic prosperity and national security of America.
The AFSA also publishes a journal on a monthly basis and present a set of awards annually. These awards recognize creative dissent and intellectual courage. Through the Association’s efforts to explain the role of the Foreign Service as well as establish domestic constituencies, the AFSA also maintains a variety of other activities.
The minimum award amount for the AFSA scholarship is $500, although up to $3,500 may be awarded. The average award amount for an AFSA scholarship is $1,800. The deadline to apply for the scholarship is typically in early February. To be eligible to apply for the scholarship, candidates must be a dependent of a U.S. government Foreign Service employee. Applicants must also have completed a minimum of 12 credit hours per semester. In addition, all candidates are required to attend a college or university in the United States. This scholarship is open to college freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors.
The AFSA has also sponsored a national high school essay contest since 1999. This scholarship contest is specifically for students who do not have parents who are in the Foreign Service. The goal of this contest is to stimulate an interest in the Foreign Service among the best and brightest students in high school. Since the contest was implemented, thousands of submissions have been received from across the country and event the world.
For 2012, the AFSA will sponsor two sponsorships. The official underwriter of the contest is Booz Allen Hamilton. As a result, the scholarship contest will include a $2,500 award as well as an all-expense paid trip to Washington, D.C. Not only will the expenses for the winning student be covered, but also his or her parents as well. The winner and their parents will meet with the Secretary of State during their visit to D.C.
In addition, the AFSA will also be providing a Semester at Sea program that includes an all expenses paid educational trip. The trip will be provided after the winner has entered an accredited university. The deadline to apply for the contest is April 15, 2012.
The Semester at Sea program was initially established in 1963. It remains as the only study-abroad scholarship program in the world of its type. A ship is used as a campus that travels around the world, allowing undergraduate students as well as faculty, lecturers and lifelong learners to live and learn together. A world region is explored each fall and spring semester. Credit that is earned is fully transferable through the University of Virginia. 100 Semesters at Sea have been launched since the program’s inception. In total, in excess of 50,000 students have traveled to more than 60 countries as part of the program.
The mission of the program is to educate individuals with a comprehensive global understanding. This unique on-ship program allows multiple country study, a hands-on field experience and interdisciplinary coursework for a more meaningful engagement in the worldwide community.
Each of the AFSA scholarship programs offers an incredible learning opportunity for both dependents of American Foreign Service members as well as individuals whose parents are not in the Foreign Service.