The Foreign Service Journal, December 2021

AFSA NEWS 64 DECEMBER 2021 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL years of work, I believe the Foreign Service has stepped up in ways that were truly above and beyond the call of duty. We can be justifiably proud of the way our officers and staff have stood side by side with our military brothers and sisters in times of danger. For me personally, the chance to work at close quarters with our military, whether in Viet- nam, Iraq or elsewhere, has been among the most reward- ing experiences of my life.” Katherine Perkins—daugh- ter of the late Ambassador Edward J. Perkins , who was honored with the 2020 Award for Lifetime Contributions to American Diplomacy spoke about her father and his legacy. “To say that he was pleased and honored with this award is an understatement,” Ms. Perkins said. “He cher- ished the men and women of the Foreign and Civil Service, but he always asked how the State Department could fully represent the United States when it did not represent all of its people. “With help from col- leagues and support from Congress,” she continued, “he convinced the department to create programs that would diversify the Foreign Service, focusing on those who were under-represented and who might not otherwise have the opportunity to consider the Foreign Service as a career. These opportunities, now known as the Pickering and Rangel Fellowship Programs, have brought a cadre of dedi- cated professionals who bring their own vision, intelligence, curiosity and desire to make a positive impact on the world.” Constructive Dissent AFSA’s four constructive dissent awards are unique within the U.S. government. Every year for nearly a half- century, AFSA has given these awards to Foreign Service officers and specialists who demonstrated the courage to dissent within the system, to question the status quo and to take a stand. In 2020, two recipients were selected for the Chris- tian A. Herter Award for a Senior Foreign Service officer. Julie M. Stufft , then on detail to the National Security Council, was recognized for her advocacy of policies to protect American citizens abroad in the early days of the pandemic—policies that some senior officials initially viewed as unthinkable and that were later adopted by the executive branch. “There is a deep and abid- ing need for Foreign Service expertise to be part of the policymaking apparatus,”Ms. Stufft said in her remarks at the ceremony.“My greatest satisfaction [at the NSC] was to see how others perceive the Foreign Service when encountering us for the first time—almost universally with astonishment at what we do and what we contribute.” Stufft is now a deputy assistant secretary for the Bureau of Consular Affairs. Monica Smith , as the senior resident legal officer for USAID’s Israel mission, received the award for her persistence, at great per- sonal cost, in challenging the approach of mission manage- ment in theWest Bank and Gaza as she assessed the risk of inadvertently assisting a terrorist actor. “I hope we all recognize every day that being a leader, and a person in a position of authority, gives us a special responsibility to speak up, encourage discussion of dif- ficult issues and support our colleagues who do the same,” Ms. Smith said in her accep- tance remarks. “Diversity of opinions fosters diversity in action.” This year, the William R. Rivkin Award for a midlevel officer was given to Anny Vu , on detail to the National Secu- rity Council, for her courage and conviction in countering China’s growing influence in international organizations, despite the threat of profes- sional reprisal from senior political opposition. Ms. Vu was unable to attend the ceremony. AFSA State Vice President Tom Yazdgerdi, who accepted the award on her behalf, read aloud her remarks: “Through- out the process [of dissent], my North Star remained the belief that what I was doing— and what each and every one of us does every day—must always be in the best interest of the United States and the vision of the world that we seek to uphold and at times defend.” The 2020 William R. Rivkin Award was presented to Jason Smith , then a politi- cal officer in Jerusalem, for his objectivity and integrity in helping shape U.S. policy on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, one of the most politically charged and controversial American foreign policy issues. Mr. Smith shared obser- vations on his experience: “First, dissent can and should be empowering, and good leadership—and trust in that leadership—is critical. Second, dissent does not need to be a solo journey. As Americans we know that when we are united, we stand.” Lindsay Dana received the 2020 W. Averell Harri- man Award for an entry-level officer for her work to end gender bias on visa applica- tion forms, which resulted in a departmentwide alteration to the forms. “Constructive dissent for me means being confident enough to ask the department to take an uncomfortable look at itself in order to improve, to better serve our public or to better represent our interests abroad,”Ms. Dana said on receiving the award.“Those who dissent within the depart- ment do so from a place of understanding the role of diplomacy, and out of a very genuine want to make the State Department better.” The cover of the Dec. 2020 FSJ issue highlighted the work of the 2020 AFSA award winners, who were recognized during this year’s awards ceremony.