Proficiency in foreign languages is one of the most valuable and important skills in today’s Foreign Service. AFSA’s Sinclaire Language Awards program honors language students for outstanding accomplishments in the study of a “hard” language and its associated culture. The Matilda W. Sinclaire Language Award program was established by a bequest from Ms. Sinclaire to the American Foreign Service Association in 1982. Ms. Sinclaire was a former Foreign Service Officer. The purpose of her bequest was to “promote and reward superior achievement by career officers of the Foreign Service of the United States while studying one of the 'hard' languages under the auspices of the Foreign Service Institute of the Department of State.” The guidelines were amended and updated in October 2001 to expand eligibility for the awards to any career and career-conditional member of the Foreign Service from the Department of State, USAID, FCS, FAS, APHIS and IBB.
Candidates for the award are nominated by the language-training supervisors at the FSI School of Language, or by the language instructors at the field schools or by post language officers. Winners are selected by a committee composed of the Dean of the FSI School of Language Studies or designee, a member of the Governing Board and the AFSA Special Awards and Outreach Coordinator. Each of the winners receives a check for $1,000 and a certificate of recognition signed by the AFSA President and the chair of the AFSA Awards committee.
Although most nominations are submitted by FSI, AFSA encourages nominations of those who have achieved outstanding results while studying at post. Further information can be found in the “General Guidelines” which can be found here. The nomination form is also available by clicking here. Post language officers may not be able to provide all the information called for in this form, but FSI test results are required. For candidates nominated by posts, the nominating statement is especially important. Nominations are accepted throughout the year; we are now accepting nominations for the 2013 winners (to be announced in February 2014).
AFSA is proud of its association with this program, which recognizes Foreign Service employees for dedication and hard work. For further information on the Sinclaire Awards, please contact AFSA’s Coordinator for Special Awards and Outreach, Perri Green, at email@example.com or 202-719-9700.