The Foreign Service Journal, December 2022

dedication to duty and life continues to inspire me to this day,” she said. “A huge thank you to each and every one of them. I am so proud of every- thing we accomplished and still heartsick for everything we could not.” The Mark Palmer Award for the Advancement of Democracy is open to all Foreign Service members from any of the foreign affairs agencies, especially early- to mid-career level, who promoted American policies focused on advanc- ing democracy, freedom, and governance through bold, exemplary, imaginative, and effective efforts. The award was presented by Dr. Sushma Palmer in AFSA NEWS 66 DECEMBER 2022 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL honor of her late husband, Ambassador Mark Palmer, and his lifelong passion for promoting democracy and human rights. Two recipients were selected this year: RaeJean Stokes , then working as the Belarus desk officer, for her creative diplomatic engage- ment with that nation’s fledg- ling democracy movement; and Jacob Surface , whose tenacious reporting, advo- cacy, and coalition building as political officer in Baghdad contributed to the success of Iraq’s October 2021 federal elections. “The people of Belarus will no doubt continue their struggle for freedom for years to come,”Ms. Stokes said when receiving her award. “But I know that our support to the political opposition and exiled members of civil society is having an impor- tant impact on the country’s future, particularly as they work to solve the crisis of Belarus’ enablement of Rus- sia’s war in Ukraine.” The AFSA Post Rep- resentative of the Year Award is presented to an exemplary post rep who has demonstrated sustained and successful engagement with AFSAmembership at post and post management to advance the strategic priori- ties of the association. The 2022 award was presented to Jeff Osweiler , in recognition of his successful efforts to secure the COVID- 19 booster shot for the mis- sion community in Kingston. The AFSA Achievement and Contributions to the Association Award recog- nizes an active-duty or retired AFSAmember from any of the foreign affairs agencies who has made a significant (nonmonetary) contribution to the association in its role as either a professional asso- ciation or a labor union. Susan Johnson received this year’s award for her service as AFSA president for two terms (2009-2013). During that time, she worked to elevate the importance of professionalism and ethics in the Foreign Service, leaving a lasting mark on both the institution and AFSA. In accepting the award, Ms. Johnson recounted her lifelong affiliation with the Dr. Sushma Palmer (right) presents RaeJean Stokes with the Mark Palmer Award for the Advancement of Democracy at the awards ceremony. Foreign Service: “I have expe- rienced the Foreign Service and diplomacy frommultiple angles—as a child and family member, as an FSO, as the spouse of a foreign diplomat, and as an ‘insider on the out- side’ through leave without pay and assignments with nongovernmental organiza- tions. This has deepened my appreciation of the value of the Foreign Service as a pro- fessional career diplomatic service. “Today, the times call for more active engagement in institutional stewardship and direct involvement in adapt- ing the FS to meet the oppor- tunities and demands of the 21st century in which effec- tive diplomacy is so needed. The ‘voice of the Foreign Service’ is more important than ever,” she concluded. Finally, the AFSA Special Achievement Award was given to AFSA General Coun- sel Sharon Papp for her innumerable contributions to AFSA, its constituencies, thousands of FS members, and the whole of the Foreign Service community during her 30 years with the asso- ciation. In her acceptance remarks, Ms. Papp said that she strives to ensure justice for AFSAmembers. “When an agency takes an action that is unwarranted or unfair, such as an agency’s substan- tiation of an allegation that is not true or a proposal for discipline that is overly harsh or inconsistent with past dis- ciplinary action, I will do my best to fight it,” she said. n AFSA/CALEBSCHLABACH