Monday, September 22, 2008

The State Department's Sammies Recipients

2008 Federal Employee of the Year

USAID’s Richard Greene is this year's Federal Employee of the Year. He is the Director of the Office of Health, Infectious Diseases and Nutrition at the Bureau of Global Health at the United States Agency for International Development in Washington, D.C. Mr. Greene designed and launched the President’s Malaria Initiative, which has provided potentially life-saving services to more than 25 million vulnerable people.

An excerpt from the Sammies award narrative says that "Malaria claims the lives of 1 million people each year. Eighty percent of these deaths are children under five, and 80 percent are in Sub-Saharan Africa. What makes these losses even more tragic is the fact that malaria is both preventable and treatable. The U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Richard Greene is the day-to-day manager of an unprecedented government effort to fight this deadly disease. And it’s succeeding. Within its first two years, this effort provided services to 25 million children and pregnant women, and these services are having the ultimate impact: they are saving lives.

Greene’s dedication and leadership were critical to the program’s early success. He led the day-to-day implementation of the plan, and is credited with mobilizing programs and helping to launch services in record time while tailoring different approaches to fit the needs of each individual country. He has led his own team from USAID, coordinating their efforts with staff at CDC as well as government officials in host countries and multinational institutions.

Greene’s work on the PMI is the pinnacle of a life spent in service to others around the globe. He began his career as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Ivory Coast in 1978. After taking a job with USAID in 1984, he spent 15 consecutive years overseas in places ranging from Sudan to Cameroon to Bangladesh. He eventually settled in as the head of USAID’s Office of Health, Infectious Diseases and Nutrition in the Bureau for Global Health, and he has put the agency on the cutting edge of addressing key global health issues."

The Service to America Medals are presented annually by the nonprofit, nonpartisan Partnership for Public Service to celebrate excellence in our federal civil service. To read more about the 2008 Sammies and previous recipients click here.

2008 National Security and International Affairs Medal Recipient

Mary Katherine Friedrich is the Special Advisor to the Under Secretary for Democracy and Global Affairs at the Department of State. She is rewarded for her leadership in the U.S.-Afghan Women’s Council, a major public/private effort to enhance the economic, social and political status of Afghan women.

An excerpt from the Sammies award narrative states that: "Afghanistan has made great progress on the path to becoming a free and democratic society since its liberation from Taliban rule in 2002. Few areas have seen greater improvement than the conditions of women, and few people outside of Afghanistan have done more to drive these positive changes than Kate Friedrich. As the head of day-to-day operations for the U.S.-Afghan Women’s Council, she is empowering Afghan women to build better lives and engaging powerful partners to support the efforts of these courageous women.

Friedrich is known as “the pillar of the U.S.-Afghan Women’s Council,” a public-private partnership launched in 2002 by President George W. Bush and Afghan President Hamid Karzai, which was designed to help mobilize public and private resources to assist Afghan women in regaining economic, social and political status. Friedrich has managed every aspect of the Council, from fundraising to overseas travel logistics to the coordination of the various public- and private-sector players. She has made countless trips to Afghanistan where her diplomatic skills are described as “formidable” by her peers. Friedrich’s creativity and ability to get things done under difficult circumstances have been remarkable throughout the development and implementation of the Council and its projects, which today total more than $70 million in programming.

With Friedrich’s persistence, the Council has been able to improve the prospects for countless Afghan women in need. She launched a micro-finance program with Daimler Chrysler, which began with three female enrollees. One year later, the number of women participating increased to 80. Today, the program has served more than 30,000 Afghan women. With support from the Council, Time Warner and USAID, women’s resource centers have been opened and equipped throughout Afghanistan, funded by more than $3.5 million for training in literacy, small business administration and management of nongovernmental organizations. A one-time training program for Afghan women entrepreneurs at Thunderbird University has grown into an annual course, graduating women in management skills and partnering them with American mentors. A project by Public Broadcasting Service to train Afghan women journalists led to the filming of the award-winning documentary “Afghanistan Unveiled.” And, with assistance from USAID, a Women’s Teacher Training Institute was opened at Kabul University."

The Service to America Medals are presented annually by the nonprofit, nonpartisan Partnership for Public Service to celebrate excellence in our federal civil service. To read more about the 2008 Sammies and previous recipients click here.

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