FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
To whom will I be speaking?
THE FOREIGN SERVICE GROUP is a group of former U. S. diplomats and their spouses, partners, widows, and widowers. Ten to fifteen percent of our members are from other government agencies, academia, the UN, and international business. Membership is based on an individual’s having spent a significant part of her/his adult life working outside of the US. At any given time, some of our members are working overseas for short periods or are teaching. Most of our members are on the experienced side of 50, well- traveled, well-read, well-educated, and multilingual. A few members may bring guests to the meeting.
What is expected of me?
A presentation lasting approximately 25 to 30 minutes plus a willingness to take up to a
30-minute Q & A session. You may include interesting insights into aspects of international affairs, international security, or the Foreign Service that you are an acknowledged expert on. History, current analysis, or forecasting (short or long term) are appreciated. Humor is welcomed but not required.
When and where is the meeting?
Our luncheon meetings are on the second Tuesdays of even-numbered months. A month before the luncheon, we will send you the name of the restaurant where we will meet and directions for getting there. Our speakers are offered two free meals, so you are welcome to invite a guest. Speakers from outside of Austin are offered partial funding for their travel expenses, or a modest honorarium. Local speakers are offered a small honorarium.
What is the agenda for the meeting?
Our members start to arrive at 11:15 a.m. for informal conversation and we take our seats at noon. After the dessert course is served, there is a short introduction and the speaker begins. (The speaker's biography, title and a description of the presentation are distributed in advance.) After a Q & A period, we thank the speaker and present a small gift. We then announce the winner of the door prize, and remind everyone of the next luncheon meeting. Generally, most people leave by 1:30 and everyone is gone before 2 p.m. If you have a time constraint, please let us know in advance.
Why do you have a speaker, and why have you chosen me?
Our members like to keep up with each other's travels, activities, health, families, and so on. At the same time, many of our members have years of experience in international affairs, including meetings with cabinet ministers, prime ministers, and major academic, business, and media figures in the nations in which we worked – yet we now have few sources of up-to-date, reliable information.
We hope that you might “light a candle of information” for us. You represent the sort of people we use to work and interact with and respect, and we think you can articulate an insight into a part of our nation's or the world's opportunities, problems, or future.
What AV equipment is available?
- A lighted, adjustable speaker's stand, with a tiltable ledge and lip to hold your papers
- Two fixed microphones on tripods, a clip-on mike and an amplifier
- A large screen, a PC laptop, and a projector
- Two large easels, one with a large vinyl map of the world which can be written on and one with a large newsprint pad
- If you wish a video recording, we can record your presentation.
Note: we will provide a written statement that no part of the recording will be used for commercial purposes, and we will need written approval from you in advance to record your presentation. If you do not wish to be recorded, we still want you to speak to us. Many of our members may be interested in your personal opinions on viewpoints the press may or may not be covering, and you may not want these recorded.
What if I have further questions?
Please contact the person who called you or email us at info@TFSG.org at any time.