AFSA Awards


The 2014 Awards Ceremony took place on June 18. Charles Stuart Kennedy, Jr. received AFSA's award for lifetime contributions to American diplomacy. AFSA also honored Ambassador Jonathan Addleton, David Holmes, William 'Ed' O'Bryan and Nick Pietrowicz with our awards for constructive dissent and Kari Osborne, Mary Kay Cunningham and Carol Backman received awards for exemplary performance. Photos from the ceremony are available here, and you may watch the ceremony here.

Learn about this year's recipients of the lifetime, dissent and performance awards.

Since 1968, AFSA has endeavored to single out those in the Foreign Service community who have demonstrated intellectual courage, exemplary performance, and outstanding service. We do this with pride, because we know that within our community there are so many who exhibit these characteristics on a daily basis. Each June, at an awards ceremony in the Benjamin Franklin Diplomatic Reception Room at the Department of State, we turn the spotlight on the winners of our various awards, and we do so with great pleasure. Additionally, each September AFSA News covers the Award Ceremony winners. 

Constructive Dissent Awards

AFSA's Constructive Dissent Awards recognize Foreign Service members who work constructively within the system to change policy and performance for the better. Such dissents may be made in any non-public channel including meetings, e-mails to superiors, memoranda, telegrams, or via the State Department's formal Dissent Channel. Thus, AFSA's Constructive Dissent Awards may be given to, but are not restricted to, employees who send in Dissent Channel messages. The deadline for nominations is February 28.

Exemplary Performance Awards

These awards are meant to highlight the professionalism and spirit of service and volunteerism found within the Foreign Service community. The three awards honors community liaison officers, office management specialists and family members for their important contributions at work, at home and in the community at large. The deadline for nominations is February 28.

Lifetime Contributions to American Diplomacy

Each year, AFSA selects a truly inspiring and respected diplomat or public servant to receive our highest award for their contributions to the conduct and success of American diplomacy. The criteria call for a sustained commitment to the cause for a good portion of their professional lives; with a roster of previous winners ranging from President George H.W. Bush to Senator Sam Nunn to Ambassador Richard Parker, there is no shortage of patriots and practitioners of diplomacy from which to choose.

Sinclaire Language Awards

The study of hard languages is an important part of any Foreign Service career, and these awards celebrate those Foreign Service employees who have demonstrated the greatest facility and success in the learning and utilization of such languages. This learning may have taken place at FSI or individually. The awards are made possible through a generous bequest from former FSO Mathilda W. Sinclaire.

Kennan Writing Award

Each year, AFSA honors the State Department employee whose essay has been chosen as the best from among their cohort during the National War College graduation ceremonies. Named after George Kennan, AFSA is proud to sponsor an award in the tradition of a man whose writing skills literally changed American foreign policy.

All of these awards are administered by AFSA's Coordinator for Special Awards and Outreach Perri Green. She is available at and (202) 719-9700.

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Past Winners

Amb. George Landau receives
the 2013 Lifetime Contribution Award
presented by Amb. Thomas Boyatt

Theodore Lyng, the 2013
William R. Rivkin Award winner,
with the Hon. Robert Rivkin

Brian Beckmann accepting
in James Rider’s absence
the W. Averell Harriman Award
from Amb. John Limbert