Thursday, March 13, 2008

Maura Harty wins Thomas Jefferson Award

American Citizens Abroad (ACA) announced that Maura Harty, former Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs who recently retired, and Michael Parmly, Chief of Mission in Cuba are this year's winners of the ACA Thomas Jefferson Award. This award honors State Department employees who have given exemplary service to American citizens residing abroad. ACA serves US citizens living outside of the United States on subjects such as taxation, citizenship, voting, Medicare, Social Security, education and many more. Congrats to both, but especially to Ambassador Harty, who I have mentioned my fondness for before in this blog.

American Citizens Abroad Announces the Winners of the 2008 Thomas Jefferson Award

American Citizens Abroad (ACA), a Geneva-based organization serving the interests of overseas Americans all over the world, announced today the winners of the 2008 Thomas Jefferson Award. This distinction honors State Department employees who have given exemplary service to American citizens residing abroad.

The 2008 winners are Maura Harty, former Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs, and Michael Parmly, Chief of Mission in Cuba.

Maura Harty was a member of the Foreign Service from 1981 to 2008. A graduate of the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service, she served the State Department in many challenging positions, both in Washington and abroad - in Mexico, Grenada, Columbia, Spain, Lithuania. Her final overseas assignment was as U.S. Ambassador to Paraguay.
Maura became the Assistant Secretary of Consular Affairs on November 21, 2002, after having served as the Executive Secretary of the Department of State. She stepped down from her Consular Affairs position in February 2008.

Americans overseas are especially grateful to Maura Harty for her dedicated efforts on their behalf while Managing Director of the Directorate of Overseas Citizens Services, where she created the office of Children's Issues, and during her most recent position as the head of the U.S. Consular Service. Her aid in working to resolve a wide range of problems specific to individual Americans abroad and her willingness to meet and discuss with representatives of the American overseas community how to improve the relations between the overseas Americans and the U.S. Government are greatly appreciated.

Michael E. Parmly, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service with the rank of Minister-Counselor, is currently serving as Chief of Mission-Designate for the U.S. Interests Section in Havana, Cuba.

He earned a degree in International Relations and Latin American Studies at St. Joseph's College in Philadelphia and was a Peace Corps volunteer in Bucaramanga, Colombia, prior to receiving his Masters of Arts of Law and Diplomacy from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.
Michael has been a Foreign Service Officer since 1977, working in Morocco, Spain, Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, France and Afghanistan. He has also served on the faculty of the National War College as Professor of National Security Studies, specializing in post-conflict situations. From August to October, 2004, he served as Senior Advisor to Ambassador Khalilzad for the Afghan Presidential elections. In Washington he has served as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, and later as Acting Assistant Secretary.

American Citizens Abroad salutes Michael Parmly's exemplary and dedicated service to his country, including aspects of his work which have impacted positively on local overseas American communities.

ACA takes great pride in giving this award to both Maura and Michael and wishes them much success in the future.

ACA is a non-partisan, non-profit association of US citizens living outside of the United States. Founded in Geneva, Switzerland in 1978, it now has members on six continents. ACA works to address and correct a wide range of anomalies and inequities in US laws and regulations that affect US citizens residing overseas. These include trying to eliminate unfair double taxation, improve the citizenship rights of children, strengthen voting rights, and bring about direct representation for the overseas American community in the U.S. Congress. ACA works to promote a positive image of the United States and of overseas U.S. citizens, and stresses the latter's important contributions to the prosperity, security and the reputation of America. ACA recently published a new anthology of stories about life in the private sector abroad entitled: "So Far Yet So Near".

ACA launched the Thomas Jefferson Award in 1993 to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the birth of Thomas Jefferson, America's first Secretary of State and third President. Jefferson, who lived outside the new republic for a number of years, helped to secure its independence and promote its political, economic and national security interests. As he was in many ways the quintessential Overseas American, in the private sector and while serving his country, this is why the ACA award carries his name.

Previous winners of the Thomas Jefferson Award were serving in the Cameroon, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Jordan, Israel, the Philippines, China, Vietnam, Uruguay, the Caribbean and Washington DC. Their strong and meritorious commitment, creativity and enthusiasm have greatly helped to inspire, promote and protect the interests of the 4 million strong overseas American community.

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