The Foreign Service Journal, November 2023

AFSA NEWS 64 NOVEMBER 2023 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL Congratulations to the AAFSW & DACOR Award Winners In mid-August, winners were announced for the 2023 Secretary of State Award for Outstanding Volunteerism Abroad (SOSA) and the Champions of Career Enhancement for Eligible Family Members (CCE-EFM) Award, both sponsored by Associates of the American Foreign Service Worldwide (AAFSW), as well as DACOR’s Eleanor Dodson Tragen Award. Created in 1990 at the suggestion of Secretary of State James Baker and Mrs. Susan Baker, the SOSA Award recognizes remarkable volunteer efforts and activities performed while posted to a U.S. mission. This year’s winners are as follows: Mandy Brown (EFM in Doha, Qatar) for her work with Afghan refugees, partnering with a group of volunteers dubbed the “Doha Do-Gooders,” and often using her own resources to purchase items she uses to teach women and children new skills. Jerry Case (EFM in Dublin, Ireland) partnered with a local bike shop to launch the Good Bike Project, refurbishing more than 2,000 used bicycles and distributing them to displaced Ukrainian refugees across Ireland. This newfound mobility enables them to attend school and go to work. George Cornick (EFM in Kampala, Uganda) for his volunteerism in mentoring youth at a local refugee shelter, securing grant funding for a foundation that supports pediatric cancer patients, and organizing multiple clothing, food, and toy drives for Afghan evacuees and Ugandans in quarantine during an Ebola outbreak. Daniela Garcia (EFM in San Salvador, El Salvador) for driving the community’s support of children at the local orphanage, Mi Casa. She raised funds for a building expansion and led planning to create a safe home for pregnant teen orphans, many of whom have been victims of abuse. She also mapped out counseling to help the girls and is developing a training program to teach the soon-to-be mothers how to care for themselves and their babies. Robert Gudenkauf (FSS) and Kimberly Gudenkauf (EFM) in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, for their efforts to help the local animal population by creating a network of more than 80 volunteers, saving the lives of many animals. Through meetings with advocacy groups and government officials, they promoted the animal shelters and built support for a bill that would create Mongolia’s first animal rights law. William “Ed” O’Bryan (FSO) and Alesia Krupenikava (EFM) in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, for breaking barriers for women and girls in the country through their work with a global tech innovation nonprofit, Technovation Girls. From coaching local program leaders to lobbying the Turkmen government to allow girls to travel to the capital to take part in programming, this husband-and-wife team has enabled more than 400 girls to participate in Technovation Girls since 2022. In fact, two teams from the country progressed through a pool of 1,000 teams to reach the semifinals of the organization’s global competition. Honorable mentions: Sarah Begbie (EFM in Yerevan, Armenia); Mikell Reed Caroll (EFM in Belgrade, Serbia); Jason Coombs (EFM in Colombo, Sri Lanka); Danielle Muench (EFM in Nairobi, Kenya); Heather Nader (EFM in Nairobi, Kenya); Malia Skaret (EFM in Asunción, Paraguay); and Diane Young (EFM in Nairobi, Kenya). The CCE-EGM Award was developed to recognize those who go above and beyond their job descriptions to expand and elevate job opportunities and long-term career enhancement for Foreign Service family members. Rona Jobe (EFM in Washington, D.C.) is this year’s winner for her work supporting small businesses in the EFM and military spouse community. The Eleanor Dodson Tragen Award, sponsored and administered by the DACOR Bacon House Foundation, honors a spouse or family member who has promoted rights, programs, and benefits for Foreign Service families, as did the late Mrs. Tragen. This year, DACOR selected Michelle Neyland (EFM and Civil Service employee in Bucharest, Romania) to receive this award in recognition of her tireless work spearheading last year’s successful campaign for pay equity legislation for Civil Service domestic employee teleworking overseas (DETO) positions. Her leadership addressing an issue that many dismissed as too difficult to fix demonstrates a new model for employee-driven change. All awards will be presented to recipients at the annual AAFSW awards ceremony on Nov. 29, 2023, at the State Department. n