Lifetime Contributions

Lifetime Contributions to American Diplomacy

The American Foreign Service Association established its award for Lifetime Contributions to American Diplomacy in 1995.  The award honors those who have made extraordinary contributions to diplomacy over a period of many years.  By giving this high-profile award, AFSA also seeks to bring greater recognition to its other awards, including its unique annual awards for constructive dissent.  Candidates are proposed by AFSA’s Awards and Plaque Committee.  The AFSA Governing Board makes the final decision. 

Originally, there were no criteria beyond those implied by the award’s name. In 2009, the AFSA Governing Board specified that “lifetime” means at least a decade of service to diplomacy, ideally including continuing involvement after retirement.  The contributions should include involvement in foreign policy development and/or implementation as well as efforts that advance the diplomatic profession.  Recipients will normally be career diplomats, but may include other individuals in exceptional cases.  Recipients must attend the annual AFSA awards ceremony.

The presentation takes place during AFSA’s annual Awards Ceremony in June in the Benjamin Franklin Diplomatic Room of the State Department. The Secretary of State is invited to present this award. If the Secretary is unable to attend, a distinguished individual who has worked with the recipient is asked to present the award. Colin Powell presented the award to Thomas Pickering and to George Shultz; Elliot Richardson presented the award to Frank Carlucci; Mr. Carlucci presented it to Lee Hamilton; Robert Zoellick presented it to Richard Lugar; Senator Lugar presented to award to Senator Nunn; and Lawrence Eagleburger presented the award to Joan Clark. Honorees are presented with a globe and certificate.

For information on these awards, please contact AFSA's Coordinator for Special Awards and Outreach, Perri Green, at or (202) 719-9700.

The American Foreign Service Association is proud to announce that Charles Stuart Kennedy received the 2014 American Foreign Service Association Award for Lifetime Contributions to American Diplomacy in recognition of his distinguished Foreign Service career and a lifetime of public service. The award was presented on Wednesday, June 18, during a ceremony in the Benjamin Franklin Diplomatic Reception Room at the Department of State. 

Previous recipients of this prestigious award are U. Alexis Johnson, Frank Carlucci, George H.W. Bush, Lawrence Eagleburger, Cyrus Vance, David Newsom, Lee Hamilton, Thomas Pickering, George Shultz, Richard Parker, Richard Lugar, Morton Abramowitz, Joan Clark, Tom Boyatt, Sam Nunn, Bruce Laingen, Rozanne Ridgway, William Lacy Swing and George Landau.

A career officer in the U.S. Foreign Service from 1955 to 1985, Charles Stuart Kennedy retired after a distinguished consular career with the rank of minister counselor. Mr. Kennedy was consul general in Naples, Seoul, Athens and Saigon, and also served in Germany, Saudi Arabia, Yugoslavia and Washington, D.C. He set a high standard for creatively managing and responding to the growing need for protection of, and services for, American citizens, and for managing U.S. visa programs and processes.

In 1986, after retiring from the Foreign Service, Mr. Kennedy became managing director of The George Washington University’s Foreign Service History Center. There he created the Foreign Affairs Oral History Collection and began recording the insights and experiences of American diplomats. The program moved to Georgetown University and then, in 1988, to the Association of Diplomatic Studies and Training, where Mr. Kennedy serves as its director.

In that capacity, Mr. Kennedy has personally interviewed more than 1,000 retired American diplomats, some of whose careers date back to the 1920s. The ADST Oral History Collection now includes more than 1,800 entries, which are posted on the Library of Congress website, as well as at ADST’s website. The collection is a rich and essential resource for authors, scholars and journalists.

Mr. Kennedy is the author of The American Consul: A History of the United States Consular Service, 1776-1914 (1990). He is the co-author, with William D. Morgan, of The U.S. Consul at Work (Praeger, 1991) and American Diplomats: The Foreign Service at Work (iUniverse, 2004); and, with Dayton Mak, of American Ambassadors in a Troubled World (Praeger, 1992). He has received the Foreign Service Cup, the Cyrus R. Vance Award for Advancing Knowledge of American Diplomacy, the Forrest C. Pogue Award from the Mid-Atlantic Region Oral History Association and a special citation from the American Academy of Diplomacy.

Early in his Foreign Service career, Stu Kennedy realized that there was no real record of the lives and contributions of the men and women who have served in the United States Foreign Service. As a result, their fellow Americans have no idea of these individuals’ many contributions and sacrifices, and suffer from serious misconceptions about what Foreign Service members do.
By creating the ADST Oral History Program, he has made an enormous contribution to public understanding of American diplomatic history and the crucial role the Foreign Service has played in advancing U.S. interests around the world

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Our Recipients

2014 Charles Stuart Kennedy, Jr.
2013 George W. Landau
2012 William Lacy Swing
2011 Rozanne L. 'Roz' Ridgway
2010 L. Bruce Laingen
2009 Senator Sam Nunn
2008 Thomas D. Boyatt
2007 Joan Clark
2006 Morton Abramowitz
2005 Senator Richard Lugar
2004 Richard Parker
2003 George Shultz
2002 Thomas Pickering
2001 Lee Hamilton
2000 David Newsom
1999 Cyrus Vance
1998 Lawrence Eagleburger
1997 George H.W. Bush
1996 Frank Carlucci
1995 U. Alexis Johnson

Related Links

2014 recipient Charles Stuart 'Stu' Kennedy, Jr.
with AFSA President Bob Silverman.