The Foreign Service Journal, July-August 2012

J U LY- A U G U S T 2 0 1 2 / F O R E I G N S E R V I C E J O U R N A L 39 n December 1967, as the Vietnam War was raging, AFSA unveiled two annual awards to rec- ognize and encourage constructive dissent and risk-taking within the Foreign Service: the W. Averell Harriman Award for constructive dissent by junior officers (FS-6 through FS-4) and the William R. Rivkin Award for mid-level of- ficers (FS-3 through FS-1). A Foreign Service Journal editorial that month expressed the hope that the awards would “result in even higher pro- fessional standards in the Foreign Service. In this regard, we are particularly pleased that in stressing excellence, these two awards are to be received primarily by those officers who show intellectual courage or creativity.” First given in 1968, the Harriman and Rivkin Awards were joined the following year by the Christian A. Herter Award , honoring constructive dissent by Senior Foreign Service of- ficers. And in 2000, AFSA created the F. Allen “Tex” Har- ris Award for dissent by Foreign Service specialists in honor of the renowned FSO and AFSA activist, who received the Rivkin Award in 1984. Ambassador Thomas D. Boyatt, himself a recipient of two AFSA dissent awards, points out that in a culture where peer regard is very highly prized, these awards bestow extraordi- nary distinction. Moreover, most awardees have gone on to enter the Senior Foreign Service and account for a much higher percentage of ambassadors than the Service as a whole. Together, the four AFSA constructive dissent awards con- stitute a program unique within the federal government, one that celebrates the courage and integrity of Foreign Service personnel at all levels who have challenged the system from within. The association confers its dissent awards, as well as per- formance and other awards, each June in the Benjamin Franklin Diplomatic Reception Room at the Department of State in the annual AFSA Awards Ceremony, which is co- sponsored by the director general of the Foreign Service. The Secretary of State or Deputy Secretary has frequently at- tended the ceremony, as well. Profiles of this year’s award-winners begin on p. 53; look for coverage of the June 26 ceremony in the September edi- tion of AFSA News . A Unique Program Commenting on the distinctiveness of the AFSA con- structive dissent award program in a September 2010 Speak- ing Out column, retired Ambassador Edward L. Peck, the 1973 recipient of the Rivkin Award and a longtime member of AFSA’s Awards and Plaques Committee, observed: “Doing battle with authority is certainly not a major facet of the Foreign Service’s public persona. When people think C ELEBRATING I NTELLECTUAL C OURAGE : AFSA’ S C ONSTRUCTIVE D ISSENT A WARDS T HESE UNIQUE AWARDS TRULY HONOR THE BEST OF THE F OREIGN S ERVICE . B Y J OHN W. L IMBERT John W. Limbert, a retired Senior Foreign Service officer, chairs AFSA’s Awards and Plaques Committee. He was am- bassador to Mauritania from 2000 to 2002 and AFSA presi- dent from 2003 to 2005, among many other assignments. Ambassador Limbert is the author of Iran: At War with His- tory (Westview Press, 1987), Shiraz in the Age of Hafez (Uni- versity of Washington Press, 2004) and Negotiating with Iran: Wrestling the Ghosts of History (U.S. Institute of Peace Press, 2009). I