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Foreign Service
Youth Foundation

FSYF Board of Directors


The Foreign Service Youth Foundation is governed by a Board of Directors. By mandate, at least two-thirds of the members of the Board have worked for or been associated with U.S. diplomatic missions abroad.

To the extent possible, the Board has a balanced representation of different groups, organizations and governmental offices concerned with issues relating to Foreign Service youth. At least one member of the Board is a young adult who grew up in the Foreign Service.
All members of the Board are volunteers who serve two-year terms and do not receive compensation from FSYF.

How to Join the Board

Any employee or family member who has served under chief of mission authority and/or has a connection to the Foreign Affairs community by employment, marriage or upbringing is eligible to be nominated for the Board of Directors. 

Ideal candidates are committed to the mission of FSYF and to Foreign Service families and young people, are able to work collaboratively as members of a team, and have adequate time to contribute to FSYF. 

First priority shall be given to individuals representing groups that directly or indirectly deal with Foreign Service youth issues as well as organizations or offices not currently represented on the Board.

Interested?  Review the Additional Information Section on the upper right side of this page for more information on specific roles and duties and complete an application form.

Current Board Members

John Naland, President

John served for 29 years in the Foreign Service, and is retiring in 2015.  He is married and the father of two teenage daughters.  He served in Colombia, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Mexico (as Principle Officer at U.S. Consulate in Matamoros), and Iraq (as leader of the Provincial Reconstruction Team in Basra from 2009 - 2010).  Washington assignments included the Secretary's Policy Planning Staff, the White House Situation Room, and the Bureau of Human Resources.  He served twice as President of the American Foreign Service Association (AFSA) and had detail assignments at the Atlantic Council and the Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training.  A former U.S. Army officer, he is a graduate of the Army War College.

Tim Sears, Treasurer

A thirty year veteran of the Foreign Service, Tim is married and the father of three school-aged children. He has served in Islamabad, Lome, Belize, Asuncion and La Paz as well as Washington. Most recently, Tim served as Financial Management Officer in the Bureau of International narcotics and law Enforcement Affairs. He retired in April 2013.

Sarah Koczot, Secretary

Sarah Koczot grew up as the daughter of a Foreign Service Officer overseas in DR Congo, India, Egypt and Bangladesh. She knows first hand the difficulty associated with re-entry into the United States and attended an FSYF event as a high school student which helped her adjust. Since then she has remained interested in helping other FS children make the most of their unique experiences. Sarah continues to travel the world and aspires to live overseas once again.

Peter Wood, Chair Fundraising Committee

Pete was a Peace Corps volunteer and trainer, a high school teacher, coach of various sports and scout leader before joining the Department of State.  He recently retired from the Senior Foreign Service after a 38-year career that took his family and him to Botswana, Lesotho, Swaziland, Ethiopia, Mali, Honduras and Mexico. Pete is the proud father of two global nomads.  He served on several school boards while stationed overseas.  He was an FSYF Board member from 2002 - 2013 and served as the fund-raising chair during a period that saw the organization triple its annual budget and expand its programs. 

Dale Dean, Chair Scholarship Committee

Dale Dean was a political officer and Arabist who served the first half of his Foreign Service career in the Arab World (Cairo, Kuwait, Jeddah and Riyadh) and was later the West Bank/Gaza desk officer in the Office of Israel Affairs. Other assignments were in the Africa Bureau (East African Affairs--Somalia Desk), in the PM Bureau as Deputy Director of the Office of International Security Operations, and later in EUR as Deputy Director for Strategy and Security, Office of European Security and Political Affairs. His last oversees post was in the Political Section of Embassy Ankara. After retirement in 1999, Dale earned a Master of Arts in Arab Studies from Georgetown University.

Dale was married to the late Michael Ann Hughes Dean, who had been an FSYF Board member, the CLO in Riyadh and Ankara, and the Publications Coordinator for the Family Liaison Office. Their children, Cat and Phil, spent much of their childhood in the Arab World. Cat served for a time as a youth representative on the FSYF Board. 

Kyle Fischer, Chair Publications Committee

Kyle and his family have been a part of the Foreign Service community since 2011, their postings include Brazil and the Philippines. While overseas Kyle served as an Economic Affairs Assistant, and a Consular Affairs Assistant. With two middle school age children Kyle is very familiar with the advantages and challenges of educating FS youth abroad, and is passionate about using that knowledge to enrich the experience for other FS families. Kyle is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, and the Hastings College of Law San Francisco.

Kim DeBlauw

Kim DeBlauw joined the Foreign Service in 1986 and has served in Nuevo Laredo, Lome, Lisbon, Brussels, La Paz, Ankara and Madrid as well as in Washington.  Kim is married to Juan Ramirez; they have three children (ages 21,19, and 15).  She previously served on the FSYF board and on multiple school boards overseas.  Kim is a graduate of Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service. 

Lesley Duncan

Lesley Duncan recently returned to the US after 11 years living overseas, and is currently working as the Chief Operating Officer of the Inter-American Foundation. A former Peace Corps Volunteer in Paraguay, Lesley served as Peace Corps Director in Bulgaria, Administrative Officer in Thailand and as USAID's Regional Education Advisor for Central Asia (based in Kazakhstan) as well as consulting tours in Nigeria, Bangladesh, East Timor, Sri Lanka, Turkmenistan and Kyrgyzstan.  She has a Master’s in Public Administration and is a Fellow of the National Center for State Courts.  Lesley is a mother to two Third Culture Kids – one now in college and one in high school in Arlington, VA, both of whom lived overseas until recently.

Kristin Grasso

Kristin is a TCK (third-culture kid) whose father served as a Foreign Service Officer for the Department of State. Kristin grew up in the Dominican Republic, Colombia, Russia and Mexico. She is the mother of three daughters, one attending the University of Virginia and two in high school. Kristin graduated from the University of Virginia with a degree in Foreign Affairs (and quite often finds herself wishing she majored in child psychology). She has been a stay-at-home mother and currently works at the Department of State in the Office of Overseas Schools.

Anne Kolker

The daughter of a Foreign Service officer and a Swedish politician, Anne was born in Stockholm, Sweden, and grew up in England, Botswana, Falls Church, Denmark, Burkina Faso, and Uganda. She is a recipient (with her sister, Eva) of a 2002 FSYF Community Service Award for her work with an orphanage and summer camp in Ouagadougou. After graduating from Swarthmore College with a joint degree in Political Science and Theater, Anne worked in Progressive politics in DC before succumbing to the call of the family business and joined the State Department as a Foreign Affairs Officer. She currently works in the climate change office in the OES bureau, focusing on the UN climate negotiations.

Elizabeth Cavert Morrison

As a young adult, Elizabeth instructed English in Ecuador as a WorldTeach Volunteer, and there discovered an interest in how people effectively manage transition between cultures.  That interest grew into a passion, which led her to pursue a Master's in Intercultural and International Management at the School for International Training.  Elizabeth recently returned to the U.S. with her Foreign Service spouse and three global nomad boys after six years overseas - in Honduras and Ireland.  Her family has also lived in Armenia and Syria.  Elizabeth has worked in several embassy sections: Public Diplomacy, Management, Security, and Consular.  She aims to encourage resilience in her mobile children while also balancing their needs and concerns with her own employment at each post.  

Alexandra Lena Pomeroy

Alexandra is a program officer in the Office of Europe and Asia Programs in the Department of State's Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL). She is a former TCK, FSYF participant, and the daughter of a retired Foreign Agricultural Officer. Alexandra was born in London. She has attended international schools in Tunis, Lagos, New Delhi, and Cairo. She has a B.A. in International Relations from the College of William and Mary and is a Public Policy Masters candidate at Georgetown University. She also attended the Institut Politque d'Etudes in Lyon from 2006-2007.

Blanca Ruebensaal

Blanca raised her three children overseas during her husband's 28-yr career in the Foreign Service. She has lived in Thailand, Switzerland, Israel and Bermuda as well as Brazil and Uruguay. While posted abroad, Blanca volunteered her time working almost exclusively with youth projects and education, first with the Pearl S. Buck Foundation in Udorn Thailand and later as the founder of an international preschool in Tel Aviv, Israel. After returning to the United States, Blanca joined Public Diplomacy efforts focused on youth programs, administered by the Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. From 2006-2009, Blanca served as the President of the Foreign Service Youth Foundation. Blanca was married to the late Clayton F. Ruebensaal, Jr, (FSO, retired) and is the mother of three children. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in international economics from Georgetown University, School of Foreign Service.

Erik Sundquist

A child of Arlington and graduate of Washington-Lee, Erik studied German literature at Harvard, completed a Ph.D. in English and comparative literature at Columbia, and taught English at colleges in New York, Saudi Arabia, Morocco and the DC area before and after becoming a Foreign Service spouse and accompanying his wife, Alix, during her 20-year career and four overseas postings. Besides teaching, Erik was active in commissary and employee associations abroad and in the wine business at home. Now in the 12 years since his wife's retirement, he has struggled to achieve a balance between duty, as full-time associate broker with Peake Management, and far too many passions--European languages, opera, classical and renaissance literature, Arabic, wine, and French cooking. Erik and Alix have one daughter, Karin Alexandra, born in Paris in 1984 and enriched by sojourns in Bordeaux and Rabat.

Stuart Symington

Born in St. Joseph, Missouri, Stuart grew up as the son of a Foreign Service Officer in Honduras, Spain, Mexico, Ecuador, and Niger, West Africa. In college, Stuart studied abroad at Kyoto University in Kyoto, Japan and worked at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo, Japan. He was also awarded grants to increase access to markets for women's cooperatives and build wells in rural Djibouti. Stuart was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and received a BA in East Asian Studies, magna cum laude, from Yale University. He worked for the Rwandan Government's Development Board to market investment opportunities in Kigali, Rwanda while conducting research on the post-genocide legal system. He was an active member of the FSYF in high school and a recipient of the FSYF Award from former Secretary Colin Powell for his work in Niger. Currently, he runs online marketing and revenue strategy for, a company that teaches over 50 million annual visitors Spanish and English online for free.

Xenia Wilkinson

Xenia Wilkinson is a retired Foreign Service officer. She served in Mexico, Honduras, Brazil, and the U.S. Missions to the United Nations and the Organization of American States. Her daughter Julia, and stepchildren T, Rebecca, and Jennifer grew up in the foreign service. Xenia earned a PhD. in Latin American history at Georgetown University in 2010. She has taught history at Georgetown University and the University of Mary Washington.Xenia is married to Ted Wilkinson, also a retired FSO, who served as AFSA president (1989-1991) and has remained active in the organization.

Additional Information

Learn about the Roles & Duties of a Board Member

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