The Foreign Service Journal, December 2023

AFSA NEWS 66 DECEMBER 2023 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL family member David Baugh was named honorable mention for the Bohlen Award in recognition of his efforts (as the spouse of Addis Ababa’s chief of mission), to rebuild the community after a drawdown due to civil war. The AFSA Post Representative of the Year Award is presented to an exemplary AFSA post rep who has demonstrated sustained and successful engagement with AFSA membership at post and post management to advance the strategic priorities of the association. The 2023 award was presented jointly to Felix Peng and Paige Puntso in recognition of the many hours they devoted to supporting AFSA members in China, advocating directly for issues such as pay errors and technology allowances, and keeping AFSA informed about member concerns during the difficult period under China’s “zero COVID” policy. “I look at my fellow honorees in this room and see so many colleagues who have done so much more than me,” said Peng in his remarks. “You made principled stands to protect people with disabilities and the queer community, to advance human rights and fight corruption. You fought for safer working conditions and built broad support for us diplomats. And your efforts to tighten the bonds between American and locally engaged staff helped strengthen people-topeople ties. Your determination and solidarity inspire me every day.” Puntso was unable to attend the ceremony. The AFSA Achievement and Contributions to the Association Award recognizes an active-duty or retired AFSA member from any of the foreign affairs agencies who has made a significant (nonmonetary) contribution to the association in its role as either a professional association or a labor union. Ken Kero-Mentz, who was unable to attend this year’s ceremony, received the 2023 award in recognition of his many years of service as a volunteer post representative, a State Department representative on the governing board (2011-2015), and later as AFSA’s elected State vice president (2017-2019). “I’ve always believed in trying to make the State Department the best place to work for everyone,” said Kero-Mentz of his many years at AFSA. “We are so fortunate to have AFSA on our side.” Watch this space in the coming months for information on how you can nominate next year’s winners. n David Baugh, Felix Peng, Erin Cederlind, David Burnstein, and Marina Grayson were honored for exemplary performance. AFSA/CALEB SCHLABACH AFSA President Tom Yazdgerdi, Palmer Award winner Marina Grayson, presenter Rohani Mahyera, and Palmer Award winner David Burnstein. AFSA/CALEB SCHLABACH