February 27: AFSA Dissent Awards Deadline

The most recent AFSAnet reminds the FS community that this Friday, February 27, is the deadline for nominations for AFSA’s prestigious constructive dissent and exemplary performance awards. The announcement says:

“In recent years, AFSA has often not received qualifying nominations in all available categories. Despite that fact, we are convinced that Foreign Service members continue to practice constructive dissent. But what we sometimes have is a shortage of colleagues who recognize those acts of dissent and take the time to nominate them for an AFSA award. Thus, we encourage all members to think about colleagues who have taken a stand over the past year and nominate them for one of these prestigious awards. Now is the time to honor those who have the professional courage and integrity to speak out forthrightly, using appropriate channels, by taking a stand for what they believe is right; by confronting the status quo; by asking tough questions; by offering alternative solutions; and by giving the best possible counsel that we are trained to give.

Winners receive a $2,500 cash prize and are honored at a ceremony in June at the State Department which is typically attended by the Secretary or Deputy Secretary of State. But no one can win unless someone nominates them. Details on nomination procedures and guidelines can be found [at the AFSA awards page or] in the December issue of AFSA’s Foreign Service Journal.”

Four dissent awards are offered:

• The Tex Harris Award for a Foreign Service Specialist
• The Harriman Award for a junior officer (FS 6-FS 4)
• The Rivkin Award for a mid-career officer (FS 3-FS 1)
• The Herter Award for a member of the Senior Foreign Service

Diplomatic spouses/partners with constructive dissent in mind can fogetaboutit. The official dissent channel is open only to employees with dissenting opinions on “substantive foreign policy issues” not spouses/partners, even those impacted by substantive policy issues, e.g. management policy on MOHs. Thus, there’s no AFSA award for spouses unless they fall into either of the following:

The M. Juanita Guess Award is conferred on a Community Liaison Officer who has demonstrated outstanding leadership, dedication, initiative or imagination in assisting the families of Americans serving at an overseas post.

The Avis Bohlen Award honors the accomplishments of a family member of a Foreign Service employee whose relations with the American and foreign communities at post have done the most to advance the interests of the United States.

Go nominate somebody, please.

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