Exemplary Performance Awards

AFSA offers six awards for recognition of exemplary performance, extraordinary contributions to effectiveness, professionalism and morale. Recipients of the Delavan, Guess, Bohlen and Palmer awards are presented with a monetary prize of $2,500. The Post Rep of the Year award comes with a $1,000 cash prize. All award recipients are honored at a ceremony in October in the Benjamin Franklin Room at the State Department.

  • The Mark Palmer Award for the Advancement of Democracy is open to all Foreign Service members from any of the foreign affairs agencies, especially early- to mid-career level, serving domestically or overseas, who promoted American policies focused on advancing democracy, freedom and governance through bold, exemplary, imaginative and effective efforts during one or more assignments. The award offers a $2,500 prize and a travel stipend to attend the award ceremony to be held at the State Department’s Benjamin Franklin Room in October.
    Click here to nominate someone for the Mark Palmer Award
  • The Nelson B. Delavan Award recognizes the work of a Foreign Service Office Management Specialist who has made a significant contribution to post or office in effectiveness and morale, both within as well as beyond the framework of her or his job responsibilities.
    Click here to nominate someone for the Nelson B. Delavan Award
  • The M. Juanita Guess Award is conferred on a Community Liaison Officer who has demonstrated outstanding leadership, dedication, initiative or imagination in assisting the families of Americans serving at an overseas post.
    Click here to nominate someone for the M. Juanita Guess Award
  • The Avis Bohlen Award honors the accomplishments of a family member of a Foreign Service employee whose relations with the American and foreign communities at post have done the most to advance the interests of the United States. Ideal nominees must have made a significant and meaningful impact on not only the U.S. mission community, but especially the adopted community of their host country.
    Click here to nominate someone for the Avis Bohlen Award
  • The AFSA Achievement and Contributions to the Association Award recognizes an active duty or retired AFSA member of any of the foreign affairs agencies represented by AFSA who has made a significant (non-monetary) contribution to the Association in its role either as a professional association of practitioners of diplomacy, or its role as a labor union representing Foreign Service members.
    Click here to nominate someone for the AFSA Achievement and Contributions to the Association
  • The Post Representative of the Year Award is presented to an exemplary AFSA Post Representative(s) who has demonstrated sustained and successful engagement with AFSA membership at post and post management to advance the strategic priorities of the Association. S/he has demonstrated an understanding of AFSA’s goals and objectives and engaged with membership to advance those priorities in meaningful ways. Examples of activities may include demonstrated commitment, engagement and activism in representing AFSA and its members overseas; improving workplace conditions and morale; pursuing vigorous and constructive relationships with post management; and helping expand membership and engaging members to enhance the work of AFSA. Recipients receive a monetary prize of $1,000. The Post Representative, or the person’s successor, will also receive an additional $500 that can be used by the post representative or the successor for AFSA-related activities at the post within 24 months.
    Click here to nominate someone for the Post Representative of the Year Award

Nomination Procedures

Nominations should be submitted through the AFSA website no later than Wednesday, May 22, 2024. Any questions can be directed to AFSA's Programs and Member Engagement department. They are available at member@afsa.org.

Criteria for Performance Awards

The nomination must include the following elements:

  1. Nominee's name, grade, agency, and position (or, for the Bohlen Award, the family relationship).
  2. Nominator's name, grade, agency and position and description of association with the nominee.
  3. Justification for nomination. The narrative should discuss the actions and qualities that qualify the nominee for the award, with specific examples of accomplishments that fulfill the criteria above. Part III should not exceed 700 words.

Additional Guidelines for Nominations

  1. Only career or career conditional members of the foreign affairs agencies are eligible to be nominated for an award: i.e., State, USAID, FCS, FAS, APHIS or USAGM employees. Exceptions to this are the M. Juanita Guess Award for a Community Liaison officer at an overseas post, and the Avis Bohlen Award for a family member of a Foreign Service employee at post.
  2. A person may be nominated more than once in different years for the same award, providing that they have never won for the same achievement/circumstance.
  3. The time period during which the events attributed to the nominee took place does not have to be within the most recent calendar year. However, they should have occurred no more than 4 years from the time of the nomination.
  4. Nominations for all AFSA awards should go directly to AFSA.
  5. With respect to the Avis Bohlen Award to a family member at post, only those activities of a voluntary nature will be considered. If the nominee receives any type of monetary compensation for her/his work, they cannot be considered.
  6. With respect to the AFSA Achievement and Contributions to the Association Award, only active duty or retired AFSA Members who demonstrate a deepened understanding of the history of the Foreign Service, increase public awareness of the United States Foreign Service, strengthen AFSA’s focus on the profession of diplomacy, increase the operational efficiency of the organization, or empower AFSA as the Voice of the Foreign Service both as a professional organization and/or as a labor union will be considered.
  7. AFSA Board members may not be nominated for their activities while serving on the Board, but may be nominated for any actions which occurred prior to serving or have taken place following their term on the board.
  8. Nominations for any of the awards may be submitted by anyone with knowledge of the nominee's accomplishments, and does not necessarily need to be a government employee. As noted in Part II of the Format guidelines, the nominator must describe the relationship or association with the nominee.
  9. The Awards and Plaque Committee has final authority over decisions by all judging panels to ensure consistent standards.