Thursday, March 10, 2011

2010 State Department Awards (FSOs) --- A Lot of Kabul Hands

November in the State Department's Benjamin Franklin Room  is always a full house, especially during the annual awards day for employees. If you work for State, the following is no longer news as you probably have seen this already in a cable.  For non-State folks, the names of awardees are often published in State Magazine, months after the actual  ceremony; this time in the February 2011 issue of the magazine.   

The State Mag coverage notes that more employees are serving in war zones and hardship posts and that "the respect for what they have managed to achieve, despite the obstacles, was palpable in the words of their leaders and the reaction of their peers."

The State Department gave out a total of 28 awards last year. A quarter of the 2010 awards went to employees who served in Afghanistan, primarily, in Kabul. Seven current and former officers at US Mission Afghanistan received awards in impact and originality in reporting, economic achievement, innovation in technology, advancing women's role, information technology, international economic performance and mentoring.

The second Ryan Crocker Award for Outstanding Leadership in Expeditionary Diplomacy went to Ambassador Anne Patterson, most recently of US Embassy Pakistan.  She was cited for "her unrelenting pursuit of U.S. national security goals in Pakistan while ambassador there and ushering in a new era of productive relationships between Pakistan and the United States that will lay the groundwork for a more secure future for both countries."

As a reward, she will  reportedly be sent to Cairo as our
next ambassador to Egypt. A quick note here: the first recipient of the Ryan Crocker award was Elizabeth Rood, previously of Afghanistan/PRT and until recently, the Consul General in Peshawar, Pakistan.  

Speaking of the
U.S. Consulate in Peshawar, the Diplomatic Security Employee of the Year is Steven M. Miller, formerly the regional security officer there. He was cited "for exceptional leadership in balancing traditional security concerns with the importance of implementing U.S. foreign policy goals to ensure U.S. national security and counterterrorism objectives were met during a period of extreme danger."

The Barbara Watson Award for Consular Excellence went to Charles E. Bennett, the consular section chief at the U.S. Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City and consular coordinator for Mission Vietnam. He was cited "for outstanding success in revitalizing the consular section, planning for the future, providing key policy input and serving as a role model for the next generation of Department officers while contributing to the career development and morale of officers and LE staff alike."

The Linguist of the Year Award went to Ambassador Kathleen Stephens, the US ambassador to South Korea. She was cited "for her  exceptional commitment and success in learning and using the Korean language, and inspiring others to do the same to deepen and strengthen the bilateral relationship."

I should note that Ambassador Stephens runs a bi-lingual blog with the help of her embassy staff, check it out here. She may also be the only chief of mission who has turned her blog into a book -- it’s called “내 이름은 심은경입니다 (My name is Shim Eun-Kyong),” and in English, “An American Ambassador’s Reflections on Life in Korea.”

Awardees from US Mission Afghanistan:

Director General’s Award for Impact and Originality in Reporting |
Christopher R. Green

Green, former political officer at the Provincial Reconstruction Team in Helmand Province, was cited for his comprehensive reporting that provided policymakers with a sophisticated understanding of the complex political dynamics and potential solutions in Helmand, one of the most challenging Afghan provinces because of its mix of Taliban activities, opium and corruption.

Cordell Hull Award for Economic Achievement by Senior Officers |
Earl Anthony Wayne

Wayne, coordinating director for Development and Economic Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, was cited for outstanding leadership in reorganizing, reforming, redirecting and reinvigorating U.S. economic, development and governance policies and programs in Afghanistan and making them more effective in promoting economic reform, growth and development.
Ambassador Wayne is currently deputy ambassador at the US Embassy in Kabul

Innovation in the Use of Technology Award |
Erin A. Nickerson

Nickerson, former political officer at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, was cited for enabling civilians throughout Afghanistan and Afghanistan watchers worldwide to access critical information and communicate more effectively by establishing the post’s Intelink Web site and transferring fi eld personnel to accounts.

Swanee Hunt Award for Advancing Women’s Role in Policy Formulation | Nujayed Ahmad –FSN
Ahmad, political specialist at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, was cited for outstanding work in Nangarhar Province to advance and report on the status of women and their role in the 2010 parliamentary elections.

Thomas Morrison Information Management Award |
Elizabeth M. Slater

Slater, former information management offi cer at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, was cited for sustained superior performance in expanding mission systems throughout Afghanistan to support those in the field, as well as expanding the capabilities of those systems while maintaining a high level of service to the embassy.

Arnold L. Raphel Memorial Award |
Joseph A. Mussomeli

Mussomeli, former deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, was cited for his extraordinary commitment to motivate, encourage and care for those with whom he lived and worked at Embassy Kabul in 2009 and 2010.
Ambassador Mussomeli is currently chief of mission at US Embassy Slovenia.

Herbert Salzman Award for Excellence in International Economic Performance | Jerry Bisson
Bisson, director of the Offi ceof Infrastructure, Engineering and Energy with the U.S. Agency for International Development at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, was cited for his exceptional achievements in advancing the implementation of the President’s strategy for Afghanistan by integrating U.S. government investments across key sectors to create jobs and generate income crucial to providing alternatives to the insurgency.

Read the rest of State's 2010 "Super Stars" below:

2010 State Department Awards | FSOs

Extracted from State Magazine | February 2011

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