- Awards & Honors
- About AFSA
Eric Rubin is beginning his second term as AFSA president. He served as U.S. ambassador to Bulgaria from 2016 to 2019. Previous positions include deputy chief of mission in Moscow, deputy assistant secretary for European and Eurasian affairs, consul general in Chiang Mai, executive assistant to the under secretary for political affairs, assistant White House press secretary and National Security Council director for public affairs, and Rusk Fellow at Georgetown University’s Institute for the Study of Diplomacy.
Amb. Rubin joined the Foreign Service in 1985 and holds the rank of Career Minister in the Senior Foreign Service. In 1994 he was a recipient of a group William R. Rivkin Award for Constructive Dissent by Mid-Level Officers for his work on the Bosnia crisis. Amb. Rubin is a former member of The Foreign Service Journal’s Editorial Board and a career-long AFSA member.
Sue Saarnio is a retired Foreign Service officer who served most recently as consul general in Tijuana from 2018 to 2021. A career economic officer, she worked at U.S. embassies in Mexico City, Panama and Ottawa, and at U.S. Consulate Jerusalem.
She served as principal deputy assistant secretary in the Bureau of Energy Resources and deputy assistant secretary for Mexico, Canada and regional economic policy in the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs. In the Economic Bureau she served as deputy special representative for commercial and business affairs and special adviser for conflict diamonds.
Ms. Saarnio has served twice before as a State representative on the AFSA Governing Board.
Prior to government service, she worked as a journalist in Montana and Minnesota. She holds a bachelor’s degree in history from Macalester College in St. Paul, Minn., and she also spent a year at the American University in Cairo, Egypt, through a study abroad program.
She has two grown children and lives in Falls Church, Va., with her Mexican dog, Daisy.
Ambassador (ret.) John O’Keefe served for 32 years in the Foreign Service, beginning in Moscow as a general services officer. He joined the Wilson Center as a Global Fellow in 2019. On retirement from the Foreign Service in 2007, he headed the Open World Leadership Center, a legislative branch agency, for 10 years, then served for two years as counselor to the board of trustees. Amb. O’Keefe expanded the center’s programs from Russia and Ukraine to all countries of the former Soviet Union, the Balkans, Turkey and Mongolia.
As ambassador to Kyrgyzstan from 2000 to 2003, he negotiated the treaty allowing Coalition forces to establish a base there to support operations in Afghanistan. From 2003 to 2004, he headed the Office of Career Development and from 2004 to 2006 was deputy assistant secretary in the Bureau of Human Resources, serving as acting Director General of the Foreign Service. Amb. O'Keefe has received the Distinguished Honor Award, the Repogle Award for Management Improvement and, the Presidential Meritorious Service Award, as well as several Superior Honor Awards and Meritorious Honor Awards. The American University of Central Asia awarded him the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters. He is married to Monica O’Keefe, a retired public diplomacy officer.
A member of the Senior Foreign Service, Tom Yazdgerdi served as special envoy for Holocaust issues in the European and Eurasian Bureau at the Department of State before joining the AFSA Governing Board in 2019.
Mr. Yazdgerdi has served as director of the Office of South Central European Affairs, political counselor at U.S. Embassy Kabul, head of U.S. Consulate Kirkuk and deputy political counselor for Iran affairs at U.S. Embassy Baghdad. He also served as deputy chief of mission and political-economic chief at U.S. Embassy Pristina during the run-up to and aftermath of Kosovo independence.
Other assignments include Panama City, Bratislava, Tirana and Athens, as well as positions in the European Bureau (Czech desk) and the Political-Military Affairs Bureau, and as senior Balkans program officer with the National Democratic Institute in Washington, D.C.
Before joining the Foreign Service in 1991, Mr. Yazdgerdi worked on Capitol Hill. He has a bachelor’s degree in history from Cornell University and a master’s degree in Central European history, security studies and American diplomatic history from the Fletcher School at Tufts University.
The son of a USAID Foreign Service officer, Jason Singer is a proud high school graduate of the International School of Kenya (Go Lions!) with more than 20 years of professional interagency development experience, including 16 years as an FSO with USAID and earlier service with the U.S. Treasury Department and the National Security Council.
He has led USAID teams in a variety of sectors including economic growth; anti-corruption and good governance; immunization and water, sanitation and hygiene; basic education; agribusiness; workforce development; disaster risk reduction; and women’s empowerment.
Mr. Singer has tremendous respect for development professionals across all functional and technical areas. He appreciates the importance of intra- and interagency collaboration to strengthen the Foreign Service cadre.
He joined the AFSA Governing Board as USAID VP in 2019.
Charlie Ranado is a senior commercial officer who has been with the Department of Commerce for more than 25 years. Most recently, he served as a senior adviser to the U.S. Foreign Commercial Service and Global Markets’ deputy assistant secretary for Global Markets Asia, where a majority of his efforts were focused on promoting the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity.
He has served tours as a senior commercial officer in Vietnam, Poland (also overseeing commercial operations in Lithuania) and Guatemala. Mr. Ranado has also served as principal commercial officer in Saudi Arabia, and commercial officer in Argentina (also overseeing commercial operations in Uruguay) and Russia.
During a one-year assignment with FedEx in Memphis, Tenn., he collaborated on programs to promote greater export opportunities for small and medium-sized firms.
Mr. Ranado began working for the Department of Commerce in 1996. Prior to joining the Foreign Service, he was director of the Department of Commerce’s Rochester, N.Y., Export Assistance Center.
Throughout his career, he has received numerous Department of Commerce and Department of State awards, notably the Commerce Department’s silver medal in October 2019 for his work on advancing U.S.-Poland bilateral energy issues.
A graduate of the State University of New York at Brockport, where he earned a B.S. in political science, Mr. Ranado is currently pursuing a master’s degree in climate change and development at the University of London. He is married with two daughters.
Ms. Ahramjian started working for FAS in 2015. She served in Washington, D.C., focusing on bilateral trade issues with India and Foreign Service operations. She later became the agricultural attaché at Embassy Santo Domingo with regional coverage of the Dominican Republic, Haiti and Jamaica. Her most recent posting was asgricultural attaché in Kyiv, where she represents U.S. agricultural interests in both Ukraine and Moldova. Prior to Kyiv, she led the FAS section in Rangoon, where she introduced 4 million Burmese consumers to U.S. food through a collaboration with MasterChef Myanmar. After the military coup in February, she advised the ambassador and policymakers in Washington on ways to hold the regime accountable for its actions, including through U.S. government sanctions.
Ms. Ahramjian is the recipient of two 2015 Office of the U.S. Trade Representative Team awards for her work negotiating the U.S.–East African Community cooperation agreement and the U.S.-Korea organic equivalency arrangement. She was also honored with the 2014 Administrator’s Award for connecting organic farmers and businesses with services through the USDA Organic Literacy Initiative, and she received the Secretary’s Honor Award for streamlining organic trade between the U.S. and the European Union, the two largest organic markets in the world. Before joining FAS, she worked at the USDA’s National Organic Program, in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative and at the National Institutes of Health. In total, she has 15 years of U.S. government service across four agencies.
Ms. Ahramjian holds a bachelor’s degree in animal science from the University of Delaware and a master’s in biotechnology from Georgetown University.
John Naland’s 29-year Foreign Service career included service in Colombia, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Mexico (as principal officer in Matamoros) and Iraq (as leader of the provincial reconstruction team in Basra). Washington assignments included the Secretary’s Policy Planning Staff, the White House Situation Room and the Bureau of Human Resources (as director of the Office of Retirement).
Mr. Naland was AFSA State vice president from 1999 to 2001 and served two terms as AFSA president, from 2001 to 2003 and from 2007 to 2009. He retired from the Foreign Service in 2015 and is in his third term as AFSA Retiree VP. He is also president of the Foreign Service Youth Foundation and coordinator of the Foreign Affairs Retirees of Northern Virginia.
Mr. Naland is co-author of the fourth edition of Career Diplomacy: Life and Work in the U.S. Foreign Service (Georgetown University Press). A former U.S. Army cavalry officer who served in West Germany during the Cold War, he is a graduate of the Army War College. Born in Kansas, he grew up in New Orleans and graduated from Tulane University. He is married and has two daughters.
FSO Joshua Archibald is the acting director of the Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation’s Office of Weapons of Mass Destruction Terrorism. He previously served as deputy and director of the Bureau of Economic and Business Affair’s Economic Policy and Public Diplomacy office, and from 2016 to 2019 was deputy director of the International Narcotics and Law Enforcement office in San Salvador, where he led the fight against MS-13, corruption and impunity.
Prior to El Salvador, Mr. Archibald was a special assistant for the under secretary for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment; the State Department’s lead officer on the Committee for Foreign Investment in the United States; and manager of the internal unit in the political-military office of Embassy Baghdad. Other diplomatic assignments include Laos, Ecuador, the Dominican Republic and Italy.
Born and raised in the Bay Area of California, Mr. Archibald earned a bachelor’s degree in international economics and German from the University of California, Davis, and a master’s degree from Georgetown University’s Walsh School of Foreign Service. He is married (as part of a “tandem”) with three children.
He was first elected to the AFSA Governing Board in 2019.
Camille Dockery is a management-coned Foreign Service officer currently serving as an assignments officer in the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs. Prior to that, she completed a consular tour in Ciudad Juarez.
Ms. Dockery worked previously in the Bureaus of Intelligence and Research, Global Talent Management and Diplomatic Security. Before joining the Foreign Service, she worked in the office of Congressman Jim Matheson of Utah.
The daughter of a tandem couple (a Diplomatic Security special agent and a Foreign Service officer), Ms. Dockery originally hails from Houston, Texas, but lived abroad as a Foreign Service dependent for most of her childhood. She was a Latin American studies major and history minor at Brigham Young University. Outside of the office, Ms. Dockery is an avid reader, cook and moviegoer. She looks forward to exploring Washington, D.C., more during the next two years.
Kim Harrington is currently director of the Office of Policy Analysis and Public Diplomacy in the Bureau of Energy Resources. In her most recent overseas posting, she served as political and economic counselor at Embassy Kampala, including five months during the COVID-19 pandemic as acting deputy chief of mission. She was deputy economic counselor at Embassy Bogota from 2014 to 2018 and political-military affairs officer in Jerusalem from 2011 to 2014.
Since joining the Foreign Service in 2002, Ms. Harrington has also served overseas in Manila, Cairo and Tripoli. At the department, she worked as a staff assistant in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs. On detail at the Pentagon during the Arab Spring, she worked as an adviser in the Joint Staff’s Office of Strategic Plans and Policy (J-5) for the Middle East.
Ms. Harrington received a bachelor’s degree in international politics from Georgetown University’s Walsh School of Foreign Service and studied abroad at the American University in Cairo. She has a master’s degree in national resource strategy from National Defense University. Ms. Harrington and her husband, a USAID Foreign Service officer, have two young children.
Maria I. Hart is a Foreign Service specialist, currently serving as office manager in the Office of the Under Secretary for Political Affairs. She joined the Foreign Service in 2005, was appointed to serve on the AFSA Governing Board in 2020 and later elected to serve as AFSA State Representative for the 2021-2023 Governing Board.
Previously Ms. Hart served overseas as an office management specialist at U.S. Embassies Accra, Tel Aviv, Baghdad, Tashkent, Wellington, Madagascar and, most recently, a two-year stint at U.S. Embassy Kabul.
Before joining the Foreign Service, she began her State Department career as a citizen services specialist in the Office of Children’s Issues, where she successfully facilitated the return of more than 50 children wrongfully removed from the United States under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.
She later transferred to the Office of the Inspector General as a management analyst.
Ms. Hart earned a bachelor’s degree in communications (film and television studies) from Queens College in Flushing, New York, and a master’s degree in news and print journalism from Regent University in Virginia Beach, Virginia. She completed postgraduate work in African studies at Howard University in Washington, D.C.
Christy Machak is the deputy director in the Counterterrorism Bureau’s Office of Terrorist Screening and Interdiction Programs. Before that, she was political unit chief in The Hague. Pprevious assignments include political-military officer in Dhaka, Kosovo desk officer, watch officer in the Nuclear Risk Reduction Center, consular officer in Port of Spain and general services officer in Berlin.
Ms. Machak joined the Foreign Service in 2006 as a political-coned officer. She is a Rangel Fellow and a member of the 2014 class of the Program for Emerging Leaders at the Center for the Study of Weapons of Mass Destruction at the National Defense University.
Ms. Machak received a bachelor’s degree in political science and international studies from Denison University in Granville, Ohio, and a master’s degree in security policy from George Washington University. She and her husband, David, have a son and a daughter. They call Ohio home.
Tina Wong currently leads the State Department’s Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs in advancing U.S. national security through nonproliferation policy, export controls, sanctions and international cooperation. As a Foreign Service officer, she has served in a wide array of policy roles, including most recently as the adviser on agricultural trade and biotechnology issues in China and the East Asia and the Pacific region in the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs.
She is also a mentor on diversity and inclusion efforts across the State Department and interagency to increase underrepresented groups in international affairs.
Her overseas tours included Beijing and Mexico City. Her previous domestic assignments also included public diplomacy and policy roles in the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, Bureau of International Information Programs and Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor.
From 2019 to 2020, Ms. Wong was president of the Asian American Foreign Affairs Association and is currently a core member of the EUR Diversity and Inclusion Committee. She is fluent in Mandarin, Cantonese and Spanish. She received her master’s degree from the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University and her bachelor’s degree from Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut.
Sharon Carter is a Senior Foreign Service officer currently serving in Washington, D.C., as the interagency coordinator for the Global Fragility Act Plan for Coastal West Africa.
She joined the Foreign Service in 1995 after 15 years as a justice and anti-corruption specialist. She has served as deputy mission director in Senegal, Nicaragua, the Sahel and in USAID’s civilian-military coordination office.
Ms. Carter attended Michigan State University, the University of Maryland and the National War College. For her various USAID assignments, she has learned French, Spanish and Portuguese.
Now living in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley, she loves to go hiking as often as possible. She has three daughters and two grandchildren who are often found puttering around in her backyard.
Steven L. Herman is the White House bureau chief for the Voice of America. The veteran correspondent has been a member of the Foreign Service since 2007, when he was named VOA’s South Asia bureau chief, based in New Delhi. Subsequent to his India posting, Mr. Herman was Northeast Asia bureau chief, based in Seoul, and then Southeast Asia bureau chief in Bangkok. He returned stateside in 2016 to cover diplomacy at the State Department, before moving to cover the new administration shortly after the inauguration.
Mr. Herman spent 16 years living in Tokyo, working in media, before joining VOA as a staff correspondent. He is also a former news reporter for the Associated Press and began his career in radio and television news in Las Vegas. He is a former president of both the Japan Foreign Correspondents’ Club and the Seoul Foreign Correspondents’ Club.
Mary Daly is a senior adviser in the Department of State’s Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs where she works on Holocaust restitution issues. She was a political officer in the Foreign Service for 23 years, serving as political counselor, speechwriter, policy planner and legislative liaison, among other assignments, before retiring early to care for a family member.
Since retiring, she has directed the Franklin Fellow program and served as a senior inspector in the Office of the Inspector General and as editor-in-chief of the department’s International Religious Freedom Report, in addition to her work in EUR.
She served as AFSA’s director of advocacy and speechwriting from July 2017 to March 2018. In that capacity, she built relationships for AFSA with House and Senate Appropriations and Authorizations Committee members and staff, and helped launch the Friends of the Foreign Service caucus.
This will be her second consecutive term on the AFSA Governing Board.
Philip A. Shull retired in 2016 after 31 years with the Foreign Agricultural Service. A native of Wooster, Ohio, his interest in food security and international relations was sparked by living as a boy in India, where he saw severe malnutrition. Mr. Shull’s work maximizing exports of U.S. food and agricultural products and promoting global food security included trade negotiations, capacity building, food safety, biotechnology, marketing and promotion, scientific exchange and economic analysis.
His overseas assignments included Korea, Argentina (including Uruguay and Paraguay), Hong Kong, the Philippines and three postings to China. His final position was Minister Counselor for agriculture in Beijing.
Throughout his career, Mr. Shull built coalitions with colleagues in like-minded embassies and host governments to achieve common goals in food security, food safety, agricultural sustainability and rules-based trade. He relished working with colleagues in other sections of the U.S. embassy he served in to promote a broad range of U.S. commercial, technical and public diplomacy outreach.
He joined the AFSA Governing Board in 2019.