March 14, 2023

Van Hollen, Sullivan Make Bipartisan Push to Create Commemorative Coin for 100th Anniversary of the U.S. Foreign Service

Today, U.S. Senators Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) and Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), co-founders of the bipartisan Senate Foreign Service Caucus, introduced the United States Foreign Service Commemorative Coin Act, bipartisan legislation to create a commemorative coin celebrating 100 years of the U.S. Foreign Service. Under the Senators’ bill, the U.S. Mint would release a commemorative coin in 2025 marking 100 years since the passage and enactment of the legislation that created the modern-day Foreign Service. The proceeds from the coin sales will benefit the Association for Diplomatic Study and Training, a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the history and sharing the experiences of generations of U.S. Foreign Service members. 

“The members of our Foreign Service work across the globe to promote the United States’ interests and our democratic values while looking out for American citizens abroad. Their dedication and patriotism are vital to advancing America’s leadership on the world stage. This coin will mark the vital work and countless sacrifices of our Foreign Service members and their families over the last 100 years,” said Senator Van Hollen. 

“The men and women of the U.S. Foreign Service promote America’s interests, strengthen our national security, and assist U.S. citizens abroad, often without the recognition they deserve,” said Senator Sullivan. “These courageous public servants are truly on the front lines of American interests and values in an increasingly dangerous world. The issuance of these commemorative coins will not only memorialize their service and sacrifice, but go toward the preservation of the Foreign Service’s history for future generations of American patriots.”

The Foreign Service as it is organized today was established through the Rogers Act of 1924, which in that year consolidated and reorganized the existing Diplomatic and Consular Services into a single entity, with the first class of the combined Foreign Service graduating in 1925. Since then, the Foreign Service has been the primary cadre of professionals charged with conducting United States diplomacy. Operating under the Department of State, today the Foreign Service consists of over 15,000 career professionals carrying out American foreign policy and aiding U.S. citizens in more than 250 posts abroad. 

The U.S. Mint’s commemorative coin program honors American people, places, events, and institutions. Congress may authorize no more than two commemorative coins per year. Although they are legal tender, they are not minted for general circulation; they are produced in limited quantity available only for a limited time. In addition to their sentimental value, all of these coins help raise money for important causes. Part of the price paid by a coin’s purchaser is a surcharge that goes to non-profit organizations for community benefit.

Text of the legislation is available here.

This legislation is supported by the Association for Diplomatic Studies & Training (ADST), American Foreign Service Association (AFSA), American Academy of Diplomacy, Associates of the American Foreign Service Worldwide, Association of Black American Ambassadors, DACOR, Diplomacy Center Foundation, Public Diplomacy Council of America, Senior Seminar Alumni Association, and USAID Alumni Association.

“A Foreign Service commemorative coin will carry deep significance for tens of thousands in the Foreign Service and in the diplomatic community who look to this bill not just as a celebration of the upcoming 100th anniversary of the Foreign Service but as meaningful recognition of their contributions to American diplomacy. Revenue from the sale of the coins will support the continued growth, maintenance, and urgently needed modernization of ADST’s collection of thousands of American diplomatic histories, the largest in the world, accessible to the public on its website and that of the Library of Congress,” said ADST Board Chair Ambassador Anne Patterson.

“The Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training (ADST) expresses our deepest appreciation for Congressional support for the United States Foreign Service Commemorative Coin Act. This legislation is a tribute to Congress’ vision in passing the Rogers Act in 1924, which established a career, professional, non-partisan United States Foreign Service,” said ADST President Susan Johnson.

“The United States Foreign Service Commemorative Coin Act supports preservation of America's diplomatic history and the many individual diplomats who have contributed to that history over time. The American Academy of Diplomacy welcomes the bill and hopes for its speedy passage on a bipartisan basis,” said American Academy of Diplomacy President Ronald Neumann.

“DACOR, an organization of Foreign Affairs Professionals, strongly supports the United States Foreign Service Commemorative Coin Act. DACOR members have served the nation around the world in diplomatic and other capacities and welcome this well-deserved recognition of the 100th anniversary of the landmark Rogers Act of 1924 which unified the U.S. diplomatic corps,” said DACOR Executive Director John Bradshaw, a former Foreign Service Officer. “Revenue from the sale of the commemorative coins will help DACOR continue its mission to bring foreign affairs professionals together in support of diplomacy, the Foreign Service, and public understanding of diplomacy,” said DACOR Executive Director John Bradshaw.

In 2017, Senators Van Hollen and Sullivan formed the Foreign Service Caucus to provide a bipartisan platform for addressing the challenges facing those who serve in the U.S. Foreign Service around the world, and to develop policy solutions to support the U.S. diplomatic mission abroad. As part of their leadership of this Caucus, in the previous Congress the Senators passed their Foreign Service Families Act which became law through the Fiscal Year 2022 National Defense Authorization Act. The Senators’ legislation ensures that the Foreign Service is able to attract and retain a world-class diplomatic corps by providing expanded career options and services to eligible family members – affording them the same services that had already been available for years to military families