When should you recuse yourself from the State Dept Award Selection Committee?

re·cuse  /riˈkyo͞oz/
Excuse oneself from a case because of a possible conflict of interest or lack of impartiality.

We understand that the Foreign Affairs Manual does not provide for the recusal of any member of the Award Selection Committee for whatever reason. We don’t think that’s mentioned anywhere in the awards regulations.

But — just because it’s not in the books, that’s no reason why it cannot and should not be done — as they like to say inside the building — for the proper functioning of the service.

Reasonable people can agree that the perception that the award deliberation is slanted toward one nominee or another demoralizes as well as make people question the real value of any award.  Just as that long ago incident of an officer who nominated himself for an annual award and won.  Those can only generate derision and not/not admiration for both the award process and the recipient.

Remember R –?
Is he that one who nominated himself for the —-  award in —-?

Or:

Did you know that so and so won the —- award on —?
Really? Wait, didn’t — who sat in the Award Selection Committee directly supervised that officer in our post in —-?

Or this one:

Although I do not want to disparage the award recipient in anyway, I was horrified that the selection of — as the —  award recipient was made by a selection committee that included his very recent boss —-.

Hey! Awards are supposed to be happy news.  Inspiring even, if it passes the “fairness” test.  But it’s a small world and this still sounds bad whether the back and forth is done in the toilet stalls or down Foggy Bottom’s convoluted corridors.

So please – consider a few suggestions:

One, if you know any of the nominees –
Recuse yourself from the Selection Committee.

Two, if you’ve supervised or worked with any of the nominees-
Recuse yourself from the Selection Committee.

Three, if you’ve written or contributed to any of the EERs of any of the nominees –
Definitely, recuse yourself from the Selection Committee.

And to the bureau PDAS who allowed this show to roll on, walk the talk, man, walk the talk. The next generation you want to inspire is watching you closely.

 

 

 

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D/SecState on 2012 State Department Awards: 32 of Our Very Best

The State Department hold its Annual Awards Ceremony in November.  The news coverage is usually brief or late, in cable format, emails weeks after the event and in a spread in State Magazine probably sometime in February or March. In all, 32 awards were given in a ceremony attended by Deputy Secretary Bill Burns. He lauded “32 of our very best in the Foreign Service, Civil Service, and Foreign Service National corps” and said:

“You represent diplomacy at its finest and demonstrate that great diplomats can do much more than hold their own at the negotiating table. Great diplomats are innovative, they’re intrepid, and they’re endlessly dedicated. They work beyond embassy walls. They help create jobs and promote trade. And they venture out to the most war-torn corners of the world to act as enduring forces for peace.”

We have previously blogged about the 2012 Annual Awards (see 2012 State Dept Annual Awards: Greatest Achievements in Many Fields, Mostly By Men).

All of the awards include a certificate, signed by the Secretary of State and monetary rewards ranging from $2,000 – $10,000. Many of the awards are sponsored by private donors, who are often former members of the Foreign Service or their families but the nominations go through the State Department process.

Some awards require that a supervisor nominate the candidate. Other awards require that nominations be submitted by the chief of mission.  Still other awards open the nomination from anyone having knowledge of the nominee’s contributions.  An employee or group of employees familiar with the nominee’s work, including supervisors, task forces, and country desks, may also nominate candidates. In almost all instances, the awards require the endorsement of the nomination by the chief of mission or principal officer at posts abroad or the appropriate assistant secretary or equivalent from participating agencies. Bureau assistant secretary may also submit nominations for chiefs of mission.

The awards program is in the 3 FAM 4800 series. The regs for the Annual Awards are in 3 FAM 4830.

Here are the awardees:

James A. Baker III—C. Howard Wilkins, Jr. Award for Outstanding Deputy Chief of Mission – Recipient:  R. Stephen Beecroft

Former Ambassador to the Netherlands, C. Howard Wilkins, Jr., made this award possible. It recognizes outstanding contributions made by a deputy chief of mission who demonstrates the proficiency, creativity, and overall capacity to serve effectively as ambassadors and as chargé d’affaires in their absence. The winner receives a certificate signed by the Secretary of State, and $5,000.

Before he was appointed Ambassador to Iraq, Robert Stephen Beecroft was US Embassy Baghdad’s DCM.  A career member of the Foreign Service, he joined Embassy Baghdad as Deputy Chief of Mission on July 14, 2011.  Prior to that, Mr. Beecroft served as Ambassador to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.  He became Chargé d’affaires upon the departure of Ambassador James Jeffrey on June 1, 2012. We have previously blogged about him here.

Robert C. Frasure Memorial Award – Recipient:  Phillip Carter III

This award honors an individual who best exemplifies the late Ambassador Robert C. Frasure’s commitment to peace and the alleviation of human suffering caused by war or civil injustice. The winner receives a certificate signed by the Secretary of State, and $10,000.

We have previously blogged about Ambassador Carter when he was appointed to Abidjan, when his post went on ordered departure, and when his staff was ordered to shelter in place when the bloody battle reached the capital.

Arnold L. Raphel Memorial AwardRecipient:  Paul O. Mayer

This award recognizes an individual in international affairs who embodies the special human qualities exemplified by the late Ambassador Arnold L. Raphel—the mentoring and development of subordinates, especially junior officers. The winner receives a certificate signed by the Secretary of State, and $10,000. The recipient’s name is placed on a plaque in the Department.

Paul Mayer is currently the DCM at US Embassy Vientiane. If he sounds familiar, it’s because we’ve blogged about him here following the January 2010 Haiti earthquake and about his “K-Visa Delight” (set to the tune of “Afternoon Delight“)  for the Consular Corner Creative Writing Contest.

We have it it good authority that this is one of those awards where the subordinates, at least 18 of them banded as a group and put in the nomination.

Sue M. Cobb Award for Exemplary Diplomatic Service – Recipient:  David C. Jacobson

The Sue M. Cobb Award for Exemplary Diplomatic Service is presented to a Non-Career Ambassador who (a) has used private sector leadership and management skills to make a significant impact on bilateral or multilateral relations and (b) has done so in a manner that best reflects the foreign service culture of uncommon commitment in carrying out United States foreign policy through proactive diplomacy. The award is made possible by the generosity of Sue M. Cobb, former U.S. Ambassador to Jamaica. The honoree receives a certificate signed by the Secretary and the Embassy receives $5,000.

We have blogged about Ambassador Jacobson here and here with his curling consuls.

Charles E. Cobb, Jr. Award for Initiative and Success in Trade Development – Recipient:  Scot A. Marciel

The former Ambassador to Iceland, Charles E. Cobb, Jr., made this award possible. It is conferred on two career members of the Department: one member serving under an ambassadorial appointment; and one member at any grade serving abroad in a non-ambassadorial assignment. The award recognizes outstanding contributions toward innovative and successful trade development and export promotion for the United States. The winners each receive a certificate signed by the Secretary of State, and $5,000.

We have blogged about Ambassador Marciel here and here.

Secretary’s Award for Excellence in International Security Affairs – Recipient: Thomas F. Daughton

The award recognizes individual excellence in the development, negotiation and/or implementation of national policy and solutions to counter country-specific, regional and/or global nonproliferation, counter-proliferation, political-military, arms control, verification, and/or noncompliance challenges facing the United States. The winner receives a certificate signed by the Secretary of State and a $10,000 stipend and the runner-up receives a signed certificate and a $2,000 stipend. (via Wikipedia)

We have blogged about Mr. Daughton a while back in US Embassy Algiers: Diplomatic Kerfuffle Over DCM’s “Rare Candor”

Robert C. Bannerman Diplomatic Security Employee of the Year – Recipient:  Robert Joseph Baldre, Jr.

This award recognizes outstanding contributions made by an employee in the security field. The winner receives a certificate signed by the Secretary of State, and $10,000.

Is he Diplomatic Security’s Chief Financial Officer (DS/EX/CFO)?

Warren Christopher Award for Outstanding Achievement in Global Affairs – Recipient:  Steven G. Gillen

This award recognizes sustained excellence and initiative in the substantive policy areas of oceans, the environment, and science; democracy, human rights, and labor; population, refugees, and migration; and international narcotics and crime.  The winner receives a certificate signed by the Secretary of State, and $10,000.

Civil Service Secretary of the Year – Recipient:  Crystal Y. Johnson

This annual award recognizes the high standards of performance which characterize the work of Civil Service Secretaries in the Department and abroad.  It is granted annually to one Civil Service Secretary whose performance is judged by a selection committee to exemplify most clearly these high standards.  The recipient receives a certificate signed by the Secretary of State and $10,000.  In addition, the recipients’ names are placed on a plaque in the Department. (via Wikipedia)

Director General’s Award for Impact and Originality in Reporting – Recipient:  Ryan L. Hass

The Director General’s Award for Impact and Originality in Reporting recognizes the high standards that characterize the reporting of the Department.  The recipient of the award receives a certificate signed by the Secretary of State, $10,000, and an engraved desk set. The recipient’s name is placed on a plaque in the Department.

James Clement Dunn Award for Excellence – Recipient: G. Kathleen Hill

The James Clement Dunn Award for Excellence recognizes leadership, intellectual skills, managerial ability, and personal qualities that most fully exemplify the standards of excellence desired of employees at the mid-career level. The winner of the award receives a certificate signed by the Secretary of State, and $10,000.

Equal Employment Opportunity Award – Recipient: Gregory S. Stanford

The Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Award recognizes outstanding contributions toward improving employment opportunities for minorities and women and significant achievements in taking affirmative action to employ and advance in employment qualified minorities and women.  The winner of the award receives a certificate signed by the Secretary of State, and $10,000.

Foreign Service National (FSN) of the Year Award

This award recognizes the high standards of performance and the value to the U.S. Government of the special contributions made by Foreign Service National (FSN) employees and foreign nationals serving under a personal services contract or agreement at our missions abroad.  The primary winner receives a certificate signed by the Secretary of State, and $10,000. Each of the other five nominees receives a certificate signed by the assistant secretary of the appropriate regional bureau or International Organization (IO) and $2,500.

  • FSN of the Year Award (AF) Recipient: Emmanuel Umar
  • FSN of the Year Award (EAP) Recipient: Chen Er
  • FSN of the Year Award (EUR) Recipient:  Zlatko Moratic
  • FSN of the Year Award (WHA) Recipient:  Sylvia Cabezas

FSN of the Year Award (SCA) Recipient: Farah Naz

D/SecState Bill Burns had this to say about the awardee from the SCA Bureau: “Farah Naz joined Embassy Islamabad more than 25 years ago as an administrative assistant in the Health Unit. Today, she supervises a staff of 56 at the Embassy’s Warehouse—and she’s the first woman to ever serve in that role. Last year, Farah was at the helm of a massive transition that involved moving warehouse operations from one facility on the compound to two separate facilities, off-campus. To make it happen, Farah coordinated with local police, crane and moving vendors, the Regional Security Office, a local guard force, and other agencies to move fifty 20-foot shipping containers filled with goods worth over $53 million from one side of town to the other. And she did it efficiently, cost-effectively, and with a calm, confident smile. Today, we are recognizing Farah’s decades of hard work and dedication as FSN of the year for the Bureau of South and Central Asia.”

Cordell Hull Award for Economic Achievement by Senior Officers – Recipient:  Kurt Tong

The former U.S. Ambassador to Singapore, Steven J. Green made this award possible. It recognizes outstanding contributions in advancing U.S. interests in the international economic field. The winner of the award receives a certificate signed by the Secretary of State and $5,000.

Leamon R. Hunt Award for Management Excellence – Recipient:  Jason A. Brenden

The Leamon R. Hunt Award for management Excellence recognizes outstanding contributions to management operations. The winner of the award receives a certificate signed by the Secretary of State, and $10,000.

Swanee Hunt Award For Advancing Women’s Role in Policy Formulation – FS Recipient:  Heera K. Kamboj

The Swanee Hunt Awards for Outstanding Achievement in Improving the status of women globally by advancing their influence in policy formulation is made possible by the former U.S. Ambassador to Austria, the Honorable Swanee Hunt. This award recognizes outstanding achievement in the area of promoting women as participants in the political and economic processes or as policy shapers. The annual amount of the award is $10,000, which will be given in two awards of $5,000 each: (1) To a Foreign Service or Civil Service employee; and (2) To a Foreign Service National at a U.S. embassy or consulate, along with a certificate signed by the Secretary.

Award for Excellence in Labor Diplomacy – Recipient:  Peter T. Shea

This award recognizes excellence in promoting U.S. foreign policy interest in the labor field. The winner receives a certificate signed by the Secretaries of Labor and State, and $10,000.

Linguist of the Year Award – Recipient: Adedeji E. Okediji

This award recognizes unusually successful acquisition and maintenance of a high level of proficiency in one or more foreign languages and use of the language ability to achieve Department objectives. The winner of the award receives a certificate signed by the Secretary of State, and $10,000.

Frank E. Loy Award for Environmental Diplomacy – Recipient: Christo Artusio

This award recognizes outstanding achievement in international environmental affairs. The winner receives a certificate signed by the Secretary of State, and $5,000.

Thomas Morrison Information Management Award – Recipient:  Todd C. E. Cheng

The Thomas Morrison Information Management Award recognizes outstanding and unique contributions in the information management field. The winner of the award receives a certificate signed by the Secretary of State, and $10,000.

We heard that Mr. Cheng “did amazing work for our missions in Tripoli and Benghazi in 2011 and 2012.”

Edward R. Murrow Award for Excellence in Public Diplomacy – Recipient:  Gloria F. Berbena

This award recognizes significant contributions in the field of public diplomacy and the special qualities that reflect the integrity, courage, sensitivity, vision, and dedication to excellence that were so highly exemplified in the life of Edward R. Murrow. The winner of the award receives a plaque presented during the commencement exercises at the Fletcher School, Tufts University. The winner also receives $10,000, which is presented at the annual Departmental Awards Ceremony held at the State Department.

Office Management Specialist of the Year Award – Recipient: Gail M. Cooper

The Secretary of the Year and Office Management Specialist of the year awards recognize the high standards of performance that characterize the service of secretaries in the Civil Service and Office Management Specialists in the Foreign Service. The award is conferred on both a Civil Service and a Foreign Service Office Management Specialist.  b. The winners each receive a certificate signed by the Secretary of State, and $10,000. The recipients’ names are placed on a plaque in the Department.

D/SecState Bill Burns on Gail Cooper, the Office Management Specialist for the Regional Security Office at US Embassy Sarajevo: “Last October, as our Embassy in Sarajevo suffered a brief attack, Gail sprung into action and served as a one-person ops center for the post. She worked with Washington and others involved to give regular updates on the situation, coordinated outreach to make sure embassy personnel were safe and accounted for, and eased the fears of understandably concerned family members. In a chaotic and frightening time, Gail was an island of calm. So today, we’re recognizing Gail as the office Management Specialist of the Year, not only for her superior office management abilities, but also for her leadership in the midst of a crisis.”

Luther I. Replogle Award for Management Improvement – Recipient:  Mark J. Cohen

The late Luther I. Replogle, former U.S. Ambassador to Iceland, makes this award possible. It recognizes outstanding contributions to management improvement. The winner of the award receives a certificate signed by the Secretary of State, and $5,000.

Mary A. Ryan Award for Outstanding Public Service – Recipient:  M. Andre Goodfriend

Selection will be based on the extent to which nominees demonstrate leadership abilities when providing services while assigned domestically or abroad to U.S. citizens. The recipient receives a certificate signed by the Secretary of State, and $5,000.

Herbert Salzman Award for Excellence in International Economic Performance – Recipient: Douglas J. Apostol

This award is made possible by the late Herbert Salzman, former U.S. Ambassador to the U.S. Mission to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. It recognizes outstanding contributions in advancing U.S. international relations and objectives in the economic field. The recipient of the award receives a certificate signed by the Secretary of State, and $5,000.

Rockwell Anthony Schnabel Aard for Advancing U.S.-EU Relations  – Recipient:  Paul E. Pfeuffer

A supervisor must nominate candidates for this award. Endorsement of the nomination by the chief of mission or principal officer at posts abroad or the appropriate assistant secretary or equivalent from participating agencies, State, USAID, Commerce, and Agriculture, is required. The winner of the award receives a certificate signed by the Secretary of State, and $5,000.

Innovation in the Use of Technology Award – Recipient:  David C. Schroeder

This award recognizes the suggestion, planning, development, or implementation of an innovative use of technology (both program and administrative) that has substantially contributed to the efficiency and effectiveness of the Department. The winner of the award receives a certificate signed by the Secretary of State, and $10,000.

Barbara M. Watson Award for Consular Excellence – Recipient: Joshua D. Glazeroff

This award recognizes outstanding contributions to consular operations. The winner of the award receives a certificate signed by the Secretary of State, and $10,000. The Assistant Secretary for Consular Affairs will chair the selection committee, which will be comprised of the principal deputy assistant secretary for consular affairs, and representatives from CA offices, the Bureau of Human Resources, and the bureaus.

D/SecState Bill Burns on the awardee: “Joshua Glazeroff, Consul General New Delhi, is compassionate and perceptive — a combination of qualities that make him a consular officer of the highest caliber. A few months ago, when a gunman shot and killed six people at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin, Josh took charge to help the friends and relatives of those who were slain travel to the U.S. to grieve for their loved ones. Josh was put in an extremely difficult position—he had to strike the balance between helping make a tragic situation a little less painful without making the visa process any less rigorous—and he pulled it off. Today we recognize Josh’s outstanding contributions with the Barbara M. Watson Award for Consular Excellence.”

Ryan C. Crocker Award for Outstanding Leadership in Expeditionary Diplomacy (no award given)

The award recognizes those who excel in the most challenging leadership positions overseas.  The winner, if an employee of the agencies covered by the Foreign Affairs Manual, receives a certificate signed by the Secretary of State and $10,000.  In accordance with 3 FAM 4813.2(c), the winner, if a member of the military, may only receive the certificate.

Human Rights Officer of the Year Award – this award was reportedly shared jointly by 4 officers at a US Mission in the EAP Bureau.  We’ve looked for references to this award and the awardees at http://www.humanrights.gov/ but have been unable to find any further details or press. A previous winner of a human rights award was roughed up by police in central Vietnam.  Not sure that’s the reason why this is  low key — but if the names of the awardees are published by State mag next month, we will update this entry.

For additional details on all of the awardees, we have to wait and read it in the next issue of State magazine. The 2011 awardees were featured in its February 2011 issue.
domani spero sig

 

 

 

Book Notes: Alison Krupnick’s Ruminations from the Minivan

Alison Krupnick is a former world-traveling diplomat, turned minivan-driving mom and writer. As a Foreign Service officer with the State Department (March 1986-September 1995), she served in India, Thailand and Vietnam and in Washington, D.C. on the country desks for Egypt, Sri Lanka and the Republic of Maldives. Her writing has been published in Harvard Review, Brain, Child, the magazine for thinking mothers, Seattle magazine, Crosscut and other news and trade publications, literary journals and anthologies. She is the author of the blog Slice of Mid-Life (http://www.sliceofmidlife.com). Alison lives in Seattle with her husband and two daughters. She is also the author of a newly released book, Ruminations from the Minivan: musings from a world grown large, then small.

Book by Alison Krupnick

Book by Alison Krupnick
(image used with permission)

Below is an excerpt from the book (republished with permission).  This story, Benefit of the Doubt was originally published in the Harvard Review.

I am standing in the lobby of the former Majestic Hotel trying to make a break for it. At the hotel entrance, a throng of fans is waiting for my companions and me. They’ve been waiting there all day, ever since they broke away from the roped off area at the airport and began to chase us. Chase us on foot, chase us by bicycle, chase us on mopeds. They chased us as we left the decrepit airport and drove into town. They chased us as we passed billboards for state-run enterprises and posters with Soviet-style artwork celebrating the workers’ struggle that look out of place in this tropical environment. They chased us as we attempted to enter the hotel. They chased us and they called out to us by name and tapped us on the shoulders, trying to hand us scraps of paper with names and numbers written on them. Now, hours after our arrival, we want to go to dinner. But if we leave by the front door we will be mobbed. We are ushered out of the hotel via the service entrance and manage to slip away to Maxim’s, a nearby restaurant. We are given a private room. We enjoy a dinner of crab farci, while musicians serenade us with traditional songs of old Vietnam. Then I have a moment to digest what has happened. This is the closest I’ll ever come to knowing how it feels to be a rock star, I think. Nobody has ever wanted me so much in my entire life.

It’s December 1988. Twenty-seven years old, fresh from a year of intensive Vietnamese language training, I have arrived in the former South Vietnamese capital of Saigon, renamed Hồ Chí Minh City by the post-war Communist Vietnamese government. I am part of a team of U.S. government officials. Our mission is to interview and decide whether to grant visas to Amerasians (the wartime offspring of Vietnamese women and American men); former prisoners of Communist “re-education camps;” and beneficiaries of immigrant visa petitions filed by family members already in the United States. We do so as part of the Orderly Departure Program (ODP), which was created under an international agreement to stop the dangerous flow of “boat people,” who had been risking their lives to flee Vietnam. The United States has had no diplomatic relations with the Socialist Republic of Vietnam since 1975, no Embassy where Vietnamese people can simply apply for a visa. The ODP makes it possible for qualified applicants to meet face-to-face with a U.S. government official in Vietnam. The alternative is to take their chances with escape, which, even if successful, could leave them languishing for years in one of the many overcrowded refugee camps of Southeast Asia.

For nearly four years, I will participate almost every month in these ten-day interview trips, which are physically exhausting and emotionally draining. Despite my extensive training and the fact that I have experience conducting visa interviews in India, the stakes are higher in Vietnam. As I find myself in the uncomfortable position of making decisions that will literally change another person’s life, the responsibility to do the right thing, sometimes with very little to guide me, is daunting. Ultimately the guilt that I have not done enough, that nobody can ever do enough, that we are being asked to do too much, will take its toll on me.

Click here to read more about the Orderly Departure Program from Vietnam which was established in 1979-1994 to provide a safe and legal means for people to leave Vietnam rather than clandestinely by boat.

We asked Alison to sum up what it was like being female and single in the FS during the time she was in and below is her response:

“I felt that there was a double-standard for single female FSOs during my era, especially in the developing world.  Several of my male peers dated and eventually married local women, but dating locals was frowned upon for female FSOs and I felt our behavior was more scrutinized. The opening chapter in the book (Junior Officer) touches on this.”

Why she left the Foreign Service in 1995?

I left the Foreign Service to marry an American traveler I met in Vietnam 1991. After we each returned to the U.S. in 1992 (him to Seattle, me to D.C.) we had a three-year, pre-Internet long distance relationship. This was at the time that Sleepless in Seattle had come out and I think I saw that film at least twice on trans-continental flights.  He was reluctant to follow me into the Foreign Service, so I tried some creative solutions so we could be together (including creating a Pearson appt. in Seattle, which the Department assigned to someone else).  Finally, since we had never spent more than two weeks in the same place, an understanding boss gave me a few months of LWOP, just prior to my having to bid on my next overseas assignment.  Summer is deceptively dry and beautiful in Seattle.  The weather and my boyfriend convinced me that Seattle should be my next “assignment.”

We also wanted to know what made her write this book. If this book is mostly about her experience during her FS years or is this more about her transition back to life outside the FS/the beltway. Here is what she said:

My experience in the Foreign Service was life-changing and continues to influence me. The book is divided into four parts. The first part deals with my Foreign Service life and pre-Foreign Service international awakening.  I was living in Paris in 1979-1980, a pivotal year when the U.S. hostages were taken in Iran and  the U.S. boycotted the Summer Olympics in Moscow.  I decided to study international relations at Monterey Institute of International Studies, and later join the State Department,  to make sense of situations such as these and  because of my exposure in Paris to a wide range of nationalities and their impressions of Americans and of U.S. foreign policy.

Other sections of the book are about post-Beltway life. I often joke that being in the Foreign Service is like being in a leper colony and it can be challenging to transition out of the fold.  Few outside of the community understand the unique facets of this life, or fully appreciate the role FSOs play in promoting international understanding.  During my early years with kids I didn’t travel internationally, was acutely frustrated by this and missed being a player on the world stage.

I eventually figured out that just because your world shrinks, your world view doesn’t have to. The Internet and the massive changes in information technology have made it much easier to stay informed and connected from almost anywhere.

If you’re in the DC area, you’ll get a chance to see Alison when she visits to promote her book sometime this year.  The book is available at amazon.com here. The Kindle edition should be available in the next few weeks.

domani spero sig