The Foreign Service Journal, September 2012

38 F O R E I G N S E R V I C E J O U R N A L / S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 2 here is only one appropriate way to begin my remarks, and that is to thank AFSA and its Awards Committee for honoring me with this high recognition. I am simply overwhelmed with grati- tude. I am particularly pleased to associate my wife, Yuen, with this award, as she has always been “the wind beneath my sails,” the one who kept my feet on the ground and my head out of the clouds. She brings me back to reality, believing as she does that “behind every success- ful man stands a surprised wife.” This is a moment of mixed emotions, a mélange of grati- tude and of humility. For while Yuen and I appreciate this distinction, we both know there are so many others, many of them close friends — some of whom are here today — who are so much more deserving than we of this recognition. Yuen and I also know that we stand on the shoulders of all our colleagues who have supported us and made us look good over the past five decades — people like Jane Jazynka, my Office Management Specialist and personal assistant for some 22 years. I am grateful for the particularly fortuitous moment that this award offers me to reflect on the years gone past — an entire half-century, since I joined the Foreign Service in 1963. Washington was still reeling from the McCarthy pe- riod, and all my Foreign Service colleagues were across the river studying Vietnamese at what was then known as Ar- lington Towers — a prevailing atmosphere that at times seems to be resurfacing in today’s Washington. My reflection on my years of service has not, however, produced any brilliant flashes or memorable passages or guideposts for the future. I’m sorry to disappoint you, but I know that those of you who know me will not be surprised. On a selfish note, my retrospection has helped me to learn from my past, and this has been valuable to me personally. This ceremony has also given me an opportunity to renew old friendships at State and beyond. A number of these good colleagues and friends are here with us today. A P ERSONAL H OMAGE TO THE F OREIGN S ERVICE AFSA’ S 2012 L IFETIME C ONTRIBUTIONS TO A MERICAN D IPLOMACY A WARD WINNER OFFERED THE FOLLOWING REMARKS AT THE J UNE 26 AWARDS CEREMONY . B Y W ILLIAM L ACY S WING William Lacy Swing, a member of the Foreign Service for 38 years, was ambassador to the Republic of the Congo (1979- 1981), Liberia (1981-1985), South Africa (1989-1992), Nige- ria (1992-1993), Haiti (1993-1998) and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (1998-2001). After retiring from the Foreign Service in 2001, Ambassador Swing served the United Nations as Special Representative to the Secretary- General for Western Sahara and Chief of Mission for the U.N. Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (2001-2003), and Special Representative of the Secretary-General for the Democratic Republic of the Congo (2003-2008). He was elected director general of the International Organization for Migration in 2008, a position he still holds. Ambassador Swing delivered these remarks at the June 26 AFSA Awards Ceremony, where he received the 2012 Life- time Contributions to American Diplomacy Award. T