The Foreign Service Journal, May 2018

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL | MAY 2018 65 AFSA NEWS AFSAHonors 2017 Sinclaire Language Awards Recipients Each year since 1982, the American Foreign Service Associa- tion has recognized the outstanding accomplishments of members of the Foreign Service in the study and utilization of difficult languages through the Matilda W. Sinclaire Awards program. Proficiency in foreign languages is a vital skill in the work of the Foreign Service, not only for professional develop- ment but also for personal security and success at post. AFSA established this program as a result of a generous bequest from former Foreign Service Officer Matilda W. Sin- claire, who sought “to promote and reward superior achieve- ment by career officers of the Foreign Service…while studying one of the Category III or IV languages under the auspices of the Foreign Service Institute.” Any career or career-conditional member of the Foreign Service from the Department of State, U.S. Agency for Interna- tional Development, Foreign Commercial Service, Foreign Agri- cultural Service, Broadcasting Board of Governors or Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is eligible for the award. Recipients are selected by a committee comprising the dean of the FSI School of Language studies (or his or her designee), an active member of AFSA and the AFSAAwards and Plaques Committee. Each winner receives $1,000 and a certificate of recognition. This year’s recipients demonstrated dedication to their chosen language and extraordinary skills by engaging in a wide variety of in-language activities, including participating in the In-Language Media Practicum at FSI with mock interviews on various subjects in Icelandic, engaging in conversation at the Estonian Independence Day reception in Estonian, conduct- ing visa interviews without the assistance of an interpreter in Khmer, conducting outreach to Bangladeshi students inter- ested in studying abroad in Bengali and putting in extra effort, both in and out of the classroom, to improve their language skills. We are pleased to announce the 2017 Sinclaire Award recipients: • Geoffrey Anisman—Russian • Oscar Avila—Icelandic • Kathryn Barnes—Farsi • Edward Dunn—Estonian • Bryan James Furman—Bengali • Jason Inslee—Cambodian/Khmer • Leo Jilk—Armenian • Janette LeHoux—Dari • Autumn Patterson—Bengali • Pamela Pontius—Vietnamese • Carly Ros—Farsi For more information about the Sinclaire Awards, please contact AFSAAwards Coordinator Perri Green at green@afsa. org or (202) 719-9700, or visit n RewardMeritorious Service: Nominate a Colleague for anMSI! With the 2018 open season for MSIs quickly approach- ing, AFSA has a recommen- dation for all our members: Look around! Do you have colleagues whose work is exceptional, and who are delivering on mission priorities, but who might not otherwise get the recognition their work deserves? Does one of your colleagues demonstrate policy leadership, collabora- tion across functional lines or other markers of excellence that should be recognized with an award? Nominate that person for an MSI! MSIs are no longer tied to the promotion process. To ensure equity and equal access, the MSI award program is open to all eli- gible Foreign Service career employees on a yearly basis and is structured as a com- petitive, nominations-based awards process. Especially meritorious service is defined as “out- standing performance and/ or service in the areas of policy leadership, collabora- tion across functional lines and human resources devel- opment.” It recognizes supe- rior performance exceeding normal work expectations, irrespective of potential to serve at a higher grade. A Meritorious Service Increase is a permanent raise to the next higher salary step within a Foreign Ser- vice class. It is in addition to any promotion and regular within-class step increase. Those approved for an MSI who have reached the high- est step of their grade (FS 2-7, step 14 or FS-1, step 10 and higher) by the effective date of an approved MSI will be granted a cash payment in the amount of $2,500 in lieu of a step increase. In order to receive an MSI, you must be nominated. Anyone can nominate an employee, but all nomina- tions require approval by Continued on page 66