1. The American Foreign Service Association is proud to announce the 2010 AFSA Award winners. The awards will be presented on Thursday, June 24, at 4:00 P.M., in a ceremony in the Benjamin Franklin Diplomatic Reception Room of the Department of State. AFSA invites friends of the Foreign Service to attend, and particularly friends and colleagues of our award winners.
2. Lifetime Contributions: AFSA’s Award for Lifetime Contributions to American Diplomacy will be conferred on Ambassador Lowell Bruce Laingen. We are honored to present this prestigious award to Ambassador Laingen.
Born on a farm in southern Minnesota on Aug. 6, 1922, Ambassador Laingen graduated from St. Olaf College. He later received an M.A. in international relations from the University of Minnesota, and attended the National War College. During World War II, he served in the U.S. Navy, joining the Foreign Service in 1949. He served in Germany, Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Washington, D.C., before being appointed ambassador to Malta in 1977.
In 1979 Amb. Laingen returned to Tehran as chargé d’affaires, but within months of his arrival, student protestors overran the U.S. embassy. He and two other American officials were at the Iranian Foreign Ministry at the time of the assault, and were detained there for the next 14 months.
After that ordeal, Amb. Laingen received the State Department’s Award for Valor, along with several other honors, in 1981. Laingen’s next position was that of vice president of the National Defense University, a post traditionally held by a senior diplomat. He retired from the Foreign Service in 1987 and later served as president of the American Academy of Diplomacy.
Previous recipients of the Lifetime Contributions to American Diplomacy Award include U. Alexis Johnson, Frank Carlucci, George H.W. Bush, Lawrence Eagleburger, Cyrus Vance, David Newsom, Lee Hamilton, Thomas Pickering, George Shultz, Richard Parker, Richard Lugar, Mort Abramowitz, Joan Clark, Tom Boyatt, and Sam Nunn.
3. Constructive Dissent: This year’s AFSA awards for intellectual courage, initiative and integrity in the expression of constructive dissent will be presented to the following Foreign Service employees. Each demonstrated the courage to speak out and challenge the system, despite possible consequences, and will receive a certificate of recognition and $2,500 for their unique actions and courage. AFSA takes particular pride in bestowing these unique awards each year.
-- The F. Allen “Tex” Harris Award for Constructive Dissent by a Foreign Service Specialist will be presented to David M. Zwach, a security engineering officer. Mr. Zwach performed historical research and undertook a campaign to convince the Department of State that specialists deserve a certificate similar to that given to generalists. As a result of his efforts, a specialist certificate commensurate with
the generalist version was approved in 2008. And in March 2010, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton agreed that all specialists would receive a certificate that would be signed by her.
--The William R. Rivkin Award for Constructive Dissent by a Mid-Level Foreign Service Officer will be presented to Dr. Diana Putman for her courage in challenging the entire structure at the U.S. Africa Command over its proposed interventions in the area of sexual and gender-based violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
--The W. Averill Harriman Award for Constructive Dissent by a Junior-Level Foreign Service Officer will be awarded to Kathryn A. Kiser. During her tenure in the American Citizen Services Unit of Embassy Amman’s consular section, Ms. Kiser had the courage to dissent on a State Department policy that withholds passports from U.S. citizens resident in foreign countries. The policy not only inconveniences those it affects, but leaves them extremely vulnerable by essentially making them undocumented aliens
--There was no winner this year of the Christian A. Herter Award for Constructive Dissent by a Senior-Level Foreign Service Officer.
4. The AFSA Awards and Plaques Committee select the Harris, Harriman and Herter Dissent Award winners each year. Current committee members are: Retired Ambassador John Limbert (Chairman); Francisco Zamora, AFSA USAID Vice President ; active-duty Foreign Service officers George Sibley and Sue Saarnio; Office Management Specialist Teresa Yata; and retired FSOs Janice Bay, Ambassador Edward Peck and Dick Thompson.
Thank you to all these committee members.
The William R. Rivkin Award winner was selected by the children of the late Ambassador William Rivkin: Julia Wheeler, Laura Ledford, Ambassador Charles Rivkin and Robert Rivkin, as well as retired Ambassador Thomas Boyatt, who worked with Ambassador Rivkin; Marshall Bouton, president of the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations, the Honorable Newton N. Minow; Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood and former Representative Jim Leach. AFSA is very grateful to these fine judges and individuals. We are honored to be associated with an award named after Ambassador
William Rivkin, who was such a fine diplomat and person.
5. Exemplary Performance: The following individuals are this year’s winners of AFSA’s three awards for exemplary performance and extraordinary contributions to professionalism, morale and effectiveness. Each will receive a certificate of recognition and a monetary prize of $2,500.
-- The Avis Bohlen Award, presented to a Foreign Service family member whose relations with the American and foreign communities at a Foreign Service post have done the most to advance American interests, will be awarded to Anne Bridgman of Embassy Bratislava. Judges serving on the Bohlen Award panel were: Faye Barnes, President of the Associates of the American Foreign Service Worldwide; Ambassador Avis T. Bohlen, for whose wonderful mother this award is named; Mette Beecroft, AAFSW President Emeritus; Sherry Barndollar Rock, Executive Director of Diplomats and
Consular Officers Retired and Leslie Teixeira, director of the Family Liaison Office.
-- The Nelson B. Delavan Award recognizes extraordinary contributions to effectiveness, professionalism and morale by an Office Management Specialist. This year’s winner is Allie L. Almero of Embassy Kabul, and the runner-up is Alicia N. Gale of Embassy Phnom Penh. Like the other excellent judges for all awards, we were fortunate to have a fine group of judges on the Delavan Award panel: Teresa Yata, Chairwoman, OMS and AFSA Governing Board member; Terry Girone, OMS; Jo Villemarette;
Margaret Riccardelli, retired OMS; Retired Ambassador Susan Jacobs; and Jenny Jeras.
-- The M. Juanita Guess Award recognizes outstanding service by a Community Liaison Officer who demonstrates outstanding leadership, dedication, initiative or imagination in assisting families serving at an overseas post this year. This is such a critical function and so spotlighting special service is a real pleasure. This year’s award goes to Sarah Genton, Embassy Madrid; the runner-up is Stephanie Diamond of Embassy Bujumbura. Serving on the Guess Award panel were: Kendall
Montgomery, Chairman; Judy Ikels, former deputy director of FLO; Cathy Salvaterra, former CLO support officer; Katherine Munchmeyer and Jane Zimmerman, active-duty Foreign Service officers; and Gina Wells, former CLO. Thank you to these judges.
6. AFSA Post Representative of the Year: A special award for the AFSA Post Representative of the Year will be presented to James Fox, who is the AFSA representative at U.S. Mission to NATO in Brussels. He will receive a framed certificate and a cash award of $1,000. AFSA Post Representatives play a critical role in supporting AFSA’s mission and the extra efforts made by James are greatly appreciated and worthy of this special praise.
7. Finally, we gratefully appreciate the efforts of all those who sent in nominations and hope that posts can recognize their nominees outstanding accomplishments in another manner. We again thank all judges who served on panels this year. AFSA places great importance on these awards, which serve to recognize intellectual courage and outstanding achievement of our Foreign Service personnel. We also thank Foreign Service Director General Nancy Powell for co-sponsoring our
annual awards ceremony, which is open to any employee wishing to attend. The July-August Foreign Service Journal will contain more details on the achievements of this year’s winners. Coverage of the June 24 awards ceremony will appear in the September issue; photos from the ceremony will be posted immediately on AFSA’s Facebook page.