State Magazine April 2013 : Page 5

EFM Promotes Community in Kyiv When Leah Evans arrived in Kyiv, Ukraine, in 2011, her family’s third posting, she had three small daughters and a son on the way. She was miserable due to the heat, sporadic elevator service in their apartment and the fact that she couldn’t remember much Russian. “I desperately wanted a community of moms to help me figure out this new country, to listen to my adjustment stories and provide playmates for my children,” she recalled. So, Evans started a page on the Shutterfly. com photo-sharing website where she could post photos and “find friends for me and for my children.” Her “Kids in Kyiv” page now has approximately 150 participating families. To get the page rolling, she collected email addresses of fellow expat families and found like-minded moms with whom she began brainstorming, publicizing the group and compiling information. Her page, which can be found by searching for its title on Shutterfly, gives families in Kyiv a way to share information, come together for events and enjoy the city. To attract visitors to the site, she advertised on local listservs and expat newslet-ters, approached parents at playgrounds or the embassy and “begged people to join.” Eligible Family Member Jelena Cali reads a book to Kids in Kyiv children at a fundraiser. Photo by Leah Evans To help newly arrived moms and families feel at home, site participants answered newcomers’ questions and organized welcome boxes of toys for newcomers’ children to use while waiting for their household effects. Soon, participants were offering activities. A librarian started a reading program, a Zumba teacher started a class and a father started a group that gives fathers a chance to bond with other dads while hanging out with kids (and give moms a break). The Web page features a forum where visitors can post questions and share informa-tion, a classified ads section and calendar of play groups, exercise classes, summer camps, kid classes and meet-ups in the park. It also has photo contests and picture-sharing, and allows participants to become charitably involved. On Evans’ own page, called “Kik Cares,” she shares information about helping local orphanages; the page led to a program of celebrity book readings for the children. At Christmas, participants collected more than 40 gift bags for an orphanage. Others at post have since created their own pages on exercise classes, reading groups and welcome programs for newcomers. Fellowship Renamed for Former Secretary Eagleburger At a reception at DACOR-Bacon House, the Executive Council on Diplomacy’s Corporate Placement Program Fellowship was renamed to honor former Secretary of State Lawrence S. Eagleburger. The event, hosted by the council’s president, Solveig Spielmann, and DACOR President Ambassador Paul Cleveland, was attended by colleagues and friends of Eagleburger and other dignitaries, including Brent Scowcroft, Under Secretaries of State Robert Hormats and Patrick Kennedy, and Eagleburger’s son, Lawrence Andrew Eagleburger. Mark Biedlingmaier, who held the fellowship during a year spent at Dupont-Nemours in 2007-2008, said it offers the opportunity to use Foreign Service skills, explore a new professional environment and model one’s career in the image of Eagleburger, a historic and inspira-tional figure who died in June 2011 after a 27-year government career. The Executive Council on Diplomacy (ECD) is a forum composed of U.S. corporations that provides foreign diplomats and American executives opportunities to share ideas and foster understanding of their countries’ institutions, policies and cultures. The council partners with the Department of State to train Foreign Service and Civil Service staff through the Eagleburger Fellowship. During the fellowship, Department employees spend a year at a major firm that seeks to benefit from their expertise in the interaction of business and government. Participants gain knowledge of U.S. business operations and offer the firms a better understanding of governmental programs and operations. This year’s fellow, economics officer Lane Darnell Bahl, works for the global insurer ACE Group, gaining expertise on financial services delivery to those without a credit card or bank account. As consultant to one of the firm’s vice presidents, Bahl is helping define a new line of micro insurance policies available via mobile technologies. Under Secretary Robert Hormats announces the Eagleburger Fellowship at DACOR-Bacon House. Photo by Executive Council on Diplomacy “My hands-on experience at ACE can serve as an anchor in building meaningful public-private partnerships in future assignments,” she said. The FSO selected for the 2013-2014 fellowship, Joe Callahan, serves in the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs. Employees interested in the fellowship can visit the ECD website,, examine the Department’s long-term training booklet on the intranet, or go to STATE.GOV/STATEMAG // STATE MAGAZINE 5

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