The Foreign Service Journal, May 2024

82 MAY 2024 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL Honoring Achievement and Service AFSA’s Exemplary Performance Awards Fifteen years after launching its unique constructive dissent awards in 1968 (profiled in the April Good Works), AFSA began expanding its awards program to honor other categories of achievement, professionalism, and service within the Foreign Service community. The first new award was the Avis Bohlen Award (1983) to recognize Foreign Service family members who make a significant impact on the U.S. mission community and the community of their host country. During the 1990s, AFSA added five additional annual awards. The Nelson B. Delavan Award (1991) recognizes Foreign Service office management specialists (OMS) who make a significant contribution to the effectiveness and morale of an overseas post or domestic office. The AFSA Achievement and Contributions to the Association Award (1994) recognizes AFSA members who advance the association’s mission. The M. Juanita Guess Award (1995) celebrates Community Liaison Office coordinators (CLO) who demonstrate excellence in assisting families serving at an overseas post. The Award for Lifetime Contributions to American Diplomacy (1995) honors those who have made extraordinary contributions to diplomacy and the diplomatic profession over many years, while the Matilda W. Sinclaire Language Awards (1997) recognize exceptional achievement in the study of a Category III (hard) or IV (super hard) foreign language. In recent decades, AFSA added three additional awards. The Post Representative of the Year Award (2001) recognizes AFSA post representatives who advance AFSA’s priorities working with members at post and post management. The Mark Palmer Award for the Advancement of Democracy (2015) honors Foreign Service members who promote U.S. government policies advancing democracy, freedom, and governance. The Foreign Service Champions Award (2021) for noncareer members of the wider foreign affairs community who champion the role of the Foreign Service in foreign policy. All awards come with a cash prize except for the Award for Lifetime Contributions to American Diplomacy, the Achievement and Contributions to the Association Award, and the Foreign Service Champions Award. Funding for awards with cash prizes is provided by the Delavan Foundation, the Ambassador William R. Rivkin family, the Avis Bohlen family, Dr. Sushma Palmer, Clements Worldwide, and the Matilda W. Sinclaire Fund. All but one (see below) of the awards are conferred at the AFSA annual awards ceremony held each year in October, usually in the Benjamin Franklin Room on the eighth floor of the Harry S Truman Building. The Secretary or Deputy Secretary of State almost always attends, along with the Director General of the Foreign Service and other senior officials. A significant driver of attendance at the ceremony is the high-profile recipient of the Award for Lifetime Contributions to American Diplomacy. Past recipients from outside the Foreign Service include former President George H.W. Bush and former Secretary of State George Shultz. Recipients from the career Service have included Larry Eagleburger, Tom Boyatt, Ruth Davis, Edward Perkins, and Tom Pickering. Announced separately each year are winners of the Matilda W. Sinclaire Language Awards. Ten recipients are selected in the fall after concluding their language studies. That timing, and the fact that recipients are almost always serving abroad at the time of the announcement, precludes their presence at the annual awards ceremony. Every year, members of the Foreign Service in all the foreign affairs agencies are invited to nominate a colleague to receive the recognition they richly deserve. The nomination deadline for 2024 is May 22 for all awards except the Sinclaire Language Awards, for which the deadline is August 23, 2024. Nominations must be submitted through the AFSA website. For details, including award criteria and a list of past recipients, see Nominations are reviewed by judging panels that forward their recommendations to the AFSA Awards and Plaques Committee. That committee finalizes the recommendations and submits them to the AFSA Governing Board for a final decision, and the award recipients are profiled in the December issue of The Foreign Service Journal. —John K. Naland n AFSA’s Good Works Each month during our centennial year, The Foreign Service Journal is profiling an AFSA program that advances the collective or individual interests of its members. This month we feature the exemplary performance awards. AFSA’S GOOD WORKS