It’s not too late to nominate somebody for AFSA’s Dissent Awards

Deadline February 26, 2010
The following information taken from AFSA’s information page on awards:
For over thirty years AFSA has sponsored a program to recognize and encourage constructive dissent and risk-taking in the Foreign Service. The AFSA Constructive Dissent Awards are unique for the following reasons:
1. They are not based on superior performance, for which numerous Department awards already exist.

2. No other government agency has a similar program.

3. These awards publicly recognize individuals who have demonstrated the intellectual courage to challenge the system from within, to question the status quo and take a stand, no matter the sensitivity of the issue or the consequences of their actions. The issue does not have to be related to foreign policy. It can relate to a management issue, consular policy, or, in the case of the newest award, the F. Allen “Tex” Harris Award, to the willingness of a Foreign Service Specialist to take an unpopular stand, to go out on a limb, or to stick his/her neck out in a way that involves some risk.
The following awards are for Foreign Service employees who have “exhibited extraordinary accomplishment involving initiative, integrity, intellectual courage and constructive dissent”:
The Christian A. Herter Award | for Senior Foreign Service officers (FE OC-FE CA)
The William R. Rivkin Award | for mid-level officers (FS 1-3)
The W. Averell Harriman Award | for junior officers (FS 4-6)
The F. Allen “Tex” Harris Award | for Foreign Service Specialists
Nomination Procedures
Nominations may be submitted online (using the dissent or performance awards forms) or by e-mail to Any questions may be directed to Perri Green, Coordinator for Special Awards and Outreach, tel: 202-338-4045, ext. 521, fax 202-338-6820 or e-mail as above. Nominations should be submitted no later than February 26, 2010.  Nominations may also be submitted to: Awards Committee, AFSA, 2101 E Street NW, Washington, DC 20037, Attention Perri Green.
Additional items to note:
The purpose of the Dissent Awards is to encourage Foreign Service career employees to speak out frankly and honestly; non-career ambassadors or other political appointees are not eligible for nomination.

AFSA Board members may not be nominated for their activities while serving on the Board, but may be nominated for any actions which occurred prior to serving, within the time period mentioned in statement C.

Nominations for any of the awards may be submitted by anyone with knowledge of the nominee’s accomplishments, and does not necessarily need to be a government employee. As noted in Part II of the Format guidelines, the nominator must describe the relationship or association with the nominee. Self-nominations are not eligible.

The Constructive Dissent Awards are not for performance of assigned duties, however exceptional. They offer an opportunity to publicly recognize and honor the courageous and thoughtful actions of our colleagues, over and above their responsibilities.
Read more here on the AFSA awards and here on the dissent awards.

US Embassy Tashkent Raises Funds for FSN Relief

The US Embassy in Uzbekistan announced that its embassy community came out in large numbers on February 5, to raise money for the families of employees of the Embassy in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, in the wake of the January 12 earthquake. Excerpt from the announcement:

Six Haitian employees of the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince, along with one American officer, died in the earthquake, and many more were injured and suffered personal losses.

To help their colleagues in Haiti, about 200 people from the U.S. Embassy in Tashkent purchased tickets for Friday’s fundraiser. People donated food, drinks, and prizes for raffle drawings. Uzbek singer Uktam Hakimov, whose wife is a language instructor at the Embassy, sang several songs; American Buffalo Big Mountain performed a show in which he demonstrates use of a whip; and several couples performed Latin dancing.

By the end of the evening, the event had raised about $2,250 to be sent to the Foreign Service Nationals Emergency Relief Fund, which is providing assistance to the families of Haitians working in all U.S. agencies operating at the Embassy in Port-au-Prince. This is in addition to the individual donations that Embassy workers have been making to various relief organizations.

Read the whole thing here.

2010 War, Literature and the Arts Conference this Fall

The 2010 War, Literature, and the Arts (WLA) Conference will take place September 16th—18th, 2010, at the United States Air Force Academy.

This international conference will offer top-tier academic presentations and keynote speakers in a variety of genres to include literary and journalistic criticism, fiction, non-fiction, poetry, film studies, photography, painting and music. The thematic center of the conference is the representation and reporting of America’s wars from 1990 to present. This timeframe presents a compelling opportunity to focus on the near past as well as current engagements: topics and creative output that directly affect all Americans in the present.
An international conference on War, Literature & the Arts at the United States Air Force Academy solicits both disciplinary and interdisciplinary presentations on “Representing and Reporting America’s Wars: 1990 to Present.”

The conference seeks a variety of genre submissions, both critical and creative, including literary criticism, journalism, rhetorical analysis, cultural studies, theory, fiction, non-fiction, poetry, film studies, photography, painting, or music. As an international forum on recent warfare, the conference is designed to bring together a multitude of perspectives, critical approaches, and discourse communities on the topics of warfare and its representations in Kuwait, Balkans, Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq, and other conflict zones with direct, large-scale U.S. involvement.

The announcement says “we encourage submissions that illuminate, challenge, deconstruct, engage with, or create not simply the ‘official’ representations of America’s wars, but the sub-cultures that merit a more nuanced or sophisticated intellectual exploration.”

Abstracts, 250 words maximum, should include name, e-mail, mailing address, affiliation, genre, requirements for audiovisual support, computers, display space, or other technical requirements.  Send Abstracts to: Note that abstract submissions are accepted only from November 1, 2009 to March 1, 2010.

Featured Speakers:
Brian Turner is an American poet and the winner of the 2005 Beatrice Hawley Award for his debut collection, Here, Bullet, (Alice James Books) the first of many awards and honors received for this collection of poems about his experience as a soldier in the Iraq War. His honors since include a Lannan Literary Fellowship and NEA Literature Fellowship in Poetry, and the Amy Lowell Poetry Travelling Scholarship.
He received his MFA from the University of Oregon. Turner is a United States Army veteran, and was an infantry team leader for a year in the Iraq War beginning November 2003, with the 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division. In 1999 and 2000 he was with the 10th Mountain Division, deployed in Bosnia
Mark Boal is an American journalist and screenwriter. Valley of Elah, directed by Paul Haggis, was based on a 2004 article entitled “Death and Dishonor” penned by Boal. The story centered on the demise of Richard Davis, an Iraq War veteran who was murdered upon his return home in 2003. Mark Boal also wrote and produced the 2009 Iraq war thriller about an elite army EOD bomb squad, The Hurt Locker, with film director and business partner, Kathryn Bigelow. Boal has also written for The Village Voice, where he was a columnist, and Rolling Stone Magazine, where he is a contributing writer. Time magazine critic Richard Corliss described The Hurt Locker as “a near-perfect movie about men in war, men at work. Through sturdy imagery and violent action, it says that even Hell needs heroes…this one’s the tops.”
Benjamin Busch was born in 1968 in Manhattan and grew up in rural central New York state. He graduated from Vassar College in 1991 with a major in Studio Art and soon thereafter accepted a commission in the United States Marine Corps. He served four years as an active duty infantry officer and then from 1996 until recently in the Selected Marine Reserve. He deployed to Iraq in 2003 as the Commanding Officer of Delta Company, 4th Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion and then again in 2005 with a Civil Affairs unit in Ar Ramadi.  The images in his exhibits of photographs, The Art in War (2003) and Occupation (2005), are from these two deployments. In 2004, he began playing the role of Officer Anthony Colicchio on the HBO series The Wire, and has appeared in the HBO series, Generation Kill in Africa. His first film as a writer/director, Sympathetic Details, was released in February of 2008 along with a new exhibit of photographs, Abstract Matter. His essay “Bearing Arms: A Serious Boy at War” appeared in the February issue of Harper’s.
Read more here

Insider Quote: just because children are poor …

“The fact that some people don’t go about arranging adoptions in the right way is not a surprise to any government. But because this case has gotten a lot of attention, it is a good reminder that people need to be thoughtful and well informed so that they don’t accidentally violate a law. All governments are vigilant about protecting their children; just because children are poor doesn’t mean others can come in and scoop them up. People should make sure they are well informed.”
Michele Bond
(talking about the Idaho Baptists incident and foreign adoptions in Haiti)
Deputy Assistant Secretary for Overseas Citizen Services | U.S. Department of State