The American Liaison Network (ALN) is a key component of U.S. Embassy Sofia’s efforts to ensure the safety and security of U.S. citizens in Bulgaria. As a Citizen Liaison Volunteer (CLV), you have an important role in helping the Embassy Sofia keep the U.S. citizen community informed and, in extraordinary circumstances, helping the Embassy Sofia to deliver emergency services to U.S. citizens. As a CLV, you are expected to be an active part of the U.S. citizen and CLV communities, maintaining regular communication with the Embassy Sofia, as well as other CLVs, working together to continuously identify the needs and vulnerabilities of the U.S. citizen community in Bulgaria.
KEY ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
CLVs are key liaisons between the Embassy Sofia and U.S. citizens in Bulgaria. As a CLV, you will be an important point of contact for the Embassy Sofia within the private U.S. citizen community, providing a window into the concerns, interests, and needs of U.S. citizens in your ALN zone.
As a CLV you may be asked to:
- Disseminate information as directed by the Embassy Sofia to the U.S. citizen community in your ALN zone;
- Be an on-the-ground resource to help the Embassy Sofia understand issues of concern to U.S. citizens and share information that might further post’s consular operations;
- Report on available local resources for U.S. citizens in your ALN zone, identify gaps, and when possible, seek solutions to fill those gaps;
- Identify risks for potential crises and security issues in your ALN zone, identify gaps in preparedness for the U.S. citizen community;
- In exigent situations only, and at post’s explicit direction, help post provide emergency services to U.S. citizens;
- Maintain local contacts in your ALN zone, including U.S. citizen and non-U.S. citizen expatriates, which might be of use to the Embassy Sofia’s consular operations;
- Engage with other CLVs to share experiences through the Embassy Sofia’s ALN online forum, by email, by meeting in person, or other appropriate means;
- Encourage U.S. citizens to enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP);
- Identify for post’s consideration individuals who may be willing to serve as an alternate CLV for your ALN zone or as a CLV in another part of the country.
- You are not a representative of the U.S. government or U.S. Embassy Sofia.
- You are not compensated for performing this role.
- You are not a government employee, are not a spokesperson, and are not a consular officer or consular agent.
- You are asked to refer all media or legal inquiries to the Embassy Sofia.
- You also must refer to the Embassy Sofia all general requests to explain policies, procedures, or services beyond what is publicly available.
- You must safeguard the privacy of personal information that is provided to you in the course of your duties. Some of the information that you will receive from the U.S. Department of State in your role as a CLV is subject to the Privacy Act of 1974, as amended, when it is maintained by the Department. You must not use or disseminate this information to others, except as necessary to perform your duties as a CLV.
WORKING WITH ALTERNATE CITIZEN LIAISON VOLUNTEERS
Recommend an alternate CLV from the list of U.S. citizens in your ALN zone. The alternate CLV also will sign a Memorandum of Agreement with Embassy Sofia after approval by the consular section chief.
With the alternate CLV, agree how you will distribute Alerts within your ALN zone. Notify each other if one of you will be away from your ALN zone or out of the country. If both of you will be away at the same time, or if you do not have an alternate CLV identified, please identify a candidate to serve as the CLV pending your return and immediately notify the ALN coordinator in the Embassy Sofia’s consular section by email at ACS_Sofia@state.gov. Alternate CLVs must sign a Memorandum of Agreement with the U.S. Embassy Sofia before they may serve as CLVs. In your message, please provide the alternate CLV’s name, address, and contact numbers, and length of time that s/he will cover during your absence.
IN THE EVENT OF AN EMERGENCY In the event of a crisis, our foremost concern is your safety. Do not put yourself at personal risk to deliver Alerts, information, or services. When you are in a safe location, you should contact the consular section so that we can confirm your welfare and whereabouts. Be aware of your surroundings and report information that can help consular officers assess the situation. This will help the Embassy Sofia and the Department of State understand where there are needs to be met and how best to respond.
The consular section transmits Alerts to U.S. citizens electronically, but there may be instances during crises where local infrastructure fails or inhibits the delivery of timely alerts. If necessary, these Alerts for the local U.S. community may be relayed from the embassy or consulate to you for dissemination by any means available to you.
Distribute Alerts and other situational/emergency information for the local U.S. community as relayed from the embassy or consulate to the members of your ALN zone. The Embassy Sofia will relay Alerts to you via email, fax, or telephone/text. Arrange the fastest mode of dissemination of information possible in your ALN zone (this might include forwarding the Alert to a group email list, a cascade telephone system, faxing, or “buddy” system, depending on the distribution of citizens within your zone.)
Remain accessible by email, telephone, or fax. If possible, the Embassy Sofia will email information directly to your email address. You can then distribute this Alert by the means you previously set up. In addition, identical information promptly will appear on the Embassy Sofia’s website at https:/bg.usembasssy.gov. CLVs who do not have internet access can call 2-937-5101.
Distribute Alerts from the Embassy Sofia regarding the status of the emergency and suggested actions to be taken. Alerts must be transmitted verbatim without interpreting, paraphrasing, or expanding the Alert.
Coordinate with Embassy Sofia personnel in choosing assembly areas and movement routes, should it be necessary to move people to a central location to facilitate communication, documentation, and/or evacuation.
Report back to the Embassy Sofia the results of efforts to contact the members of your ALN zone, information as provided by the local U.S. community, and any situational information about your zone via ACS_Sofia@state.gov or by fax 3-937-5209. CLVs who do not have internet access may call 2-937-5101.