Foreign language proficiency is invaluable for today's Foreign Service both in terms of professional development and personal security. Annually, AFSA recognizes outstanding study of a Category III or IV language and its associated culture through the Matilda W. Sinclaire Language Awards. The purpose of Ms. Sinclaire's bequest was to "promote and reward superior achievement by career officers of the Foreign Service [...] while studying one of the Category III or IV languages under the auspices of the Foreign Service Institute." The guidelines were amended and updated in October 2001 to expand eligibility for the awards to any career and career-conditional member of the Foreign Service from the Department of State, USAID, FCS, FAS, IBB and APHIS.
Candidates may be nominated by the language-training supervisors at the FSI School of Language, the language instructors at field schools, or post language officers. Winners are selected by a committee comprising the Dean of the FSI School of Language Studies (or designee), members of the AFSA Governing Board, AFSA Awards Committee and general AFSA membership. Each winner receives a check for $1,000 and a certificate of recognition signed by the AFSA President and the chair of the AFSA Awards committee.
Although most nominations are submitted by FSI, AFSA encourages nominations of those who have achieved outstanding results while studying at post. Further information can be found in the “General Guidelines” which can be found here. The nomination form is also available by clicking here. Post language officers may not be able to provide all the information called for in this form, but FSI test results are required. For candidates nominated by posts, the nominating statement is especially important. Nominations are accepted throughout the year; we are now accepting nominations for the 2013 winners. Deadline is December 24, 2013 (to be announced in February 2014).
AFSA is proud of its association with this program, which recognizes Foreign Service employees for dedication and hard work. For further information on the Sinclaire Awards, please contact AFSA’s Coordinator for Special Awards and Outreach, Perri Green, at email@example.com or 202-719-9700.