The Foreign Service Journal, December 2023

50 DECEMBER 2023 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL from 25 countries to attend hearings on the case and spent time with the activist’s family and lawyers, demonstrating U.S. leadership in support of human rights. When prosecutors piled on new charges that included high treason, Burnstein pressed the State Department to include Kara-Murza in a new campaign to free political prisoners worldwide, collaborating with the public affairs team to amplify the campaign. When the court imposed a 25-year sentence, Burnstein served as the site officer at the courthouse where Ambassador Lynne Tracy publicly condemned the court’s decision, an act that garnered international media attention and ensured Russia’s crackdown on democracy drew the spotlight it deserved. “Supporters of political prisoners say that a major fear of those in detention is that they have been forgotten—out of sight and out of mind,” said Burnstein. “But they are not forgotten, and the United States continues to call attention to those cases and work for their release.” Since joining the Foreign Service in 2012, Dave Burnstein has served in Kazakhstan, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Russia, and Washington, D.C. He was a political officer at U.S. Embassy Moscow from August 2021 until September 2023, when he was declared persona non grata by the Russian government and given seven days to leave the country. A native of Louisville, Kentucky, Burnstein served as a U.S. Army officer and worked as an attorney prior to joining the State Department. M. Juanita Guess Award for a Community Liaison Office Coordinator Erin Cederlind Morale Building and Evacuation Support When Erin Cederlind arrived in post-pandemic Djibouti, she immediately threw herself into the event planning that is essential to the job of a community liaison office coordinator (CLO), starting with a Halloween Trunk-or-Treat party and moving on to events for all segments of the embassy population, including adults, children, singles, and couples. There wasn’t much of a blueprint for her and her co-CLO to work with, as events at the embassy had been put on hold while COVID-19 spread across the globe. “In the aftermath of the pandemic, many posts around the world had lost the connections and traditions they’d worked hard to create over the years,” said Cederlind. “Djibouti was no different—so when I started as CLO, there was a lot of rebuilding to be done. But with each task came an opportunity to consider the best approach and try new ideas.” Cederlind began creating fun, low-to-no-cost events for the community, partnering with the Regional Security Office and others to develop brown bag informational lunches; editing Djibouti’s first “Post Info to Go” video; participating in diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility events; refreshing contacts with local guides and vendors that had been lost during the pandemic; and serving on family member appointment (FMA) interview panels. Her workload changed suddenly when nearby Sudan went on ordered departure, and Djibouti was told to prepare for an influx of evacuees from Khartoum. Cederlind worked dozens of hours of overtime as she canvassed the embassy community for clothing, toiletries, pet supplies (a real rarity in Djibouti), baby supplies, and other essential and comfort items. When the military rescue effort began to evacuate people from Khartoum, Cederlind reported for work at 3 a.m. to await the evacuees at nearby Camp Lemonnier. When more than 80 U.S. diplomats and their family members—including several pets and young children—arrived in Djibouti en route to Germany, they found everything they needed to relax and de-stress during these first moments of safety before continuing their onward travel later that day. “Years ago, my husband and I left Libya just a few months before the embassy was evacuated,” said Cederlind. “As the situation there worsened, we followed the news of what was happening, and being unable to help was a terrible feeling. When our embassy became part of the planning to evacuate Khartoum, I was very glad to be able to help this time around. I hope I brought a measure of comfort to those who came through Djibouti.” Erin Cederlind. Her workload changed suddenly when nearby Sudan went on ordered departure, and Djibouti was told to prepare for an influx of evacuees from Khartoum.