The Foreign Service Journal - March 2014 - page 45

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL
|
MARCH 2014
45
AFSA NEWS
CALENDAR
THE OFFICIAL RECORD OF THE AMERICAN FOREIGN SERVICE ASSOCIATION
3/5/2014
12:00 - 2:00 PM
AFSA Governing Board
Meeting
3/6/2014
Deadline: AFSA Student
Financial Aid Applications
3/4/2014
2:00 - 3:30 PM
”America’s First Globals:
Public Diplomats for the 21st
Century,” with John Zogby
3/15/2014
Deadline: AFSA High
School Essay Contest
3/24/2014
12:00 - 1:00 PM
Job Search Program
Brown Bag @ FSI
3/25/2014
2:30 - 4:00 PM
”Diplomacy in Difficult
Places” with
Amb. Gerald Feierstein
4/2/2014
12:00 - 2:00 PM
AFSA Governing Board
Meeting
F. Allen “Tex” Harris Receives Human Rights Award
On Dec. 12, F. Allen “Tex” Har-
ris, a former AFSA president
(1993-1997), was honored by
the United Nations Associa-
tion of the National Capital
Area with their Award for the
Use of Diplomacy to Advance
Human Rights.
Nominated by AFSA
President Bob Silverman,
the award recognizes Harris’
extraordinary achievements
in saving lives during the
Argentine military dictator-
ship. The ceremony took
place in the Caucus Room
of the Cannon House Office
Building on Capitol Hill.
Po i n t o f Hope
In 1977, Harris, a mid-level
diplomat in Buenos Aires,
became a point of hope
for thousands of families
whose loved ones had been
kidnapped, tortured and
clandestinely executed by
the military junta. Through
his work, he helped raise con-
sciousness worldwide about
the human rights abuses.
His initiative to collect
first-hand reports from fam-
ily members of the more than
14,000 cases of the “disap-
peared” was unprecedented.
He analyzed the files (this
was before the computer
age) and reported the facts
to the U.S. government and
the world press on the junta’s
dirty war. This data gave
critical veracity to reports of
the excesses of the Argentine
military junta’s secret pro-
gram to eliminate subversion.
Cen t e r fo r
Human R i gh t s
Owing to Harris’ efforts,
the U.S. embassy became
a human rights center,
collecting and reporting
information first-hand. These
efforts helped to organize an
information-sharing program
with other key embassies and
with the few human rights
groups in Buenos Aires. For-
eign journalists used Harris
as a source for their report-
ing. His work had a major
impact on public perceptions
and governmental policies
around the world.
Mr. Harris’ human rights
advocacy did not end in
Argentina. He also
worked for
nine years on the diplomatic
effort to bring democracy
to South Africa. As consul
general in Durban, Harris
focused on connecting the
racially isolated communities
through building grassroots
institutions. He assisted
in bringing the first black
players into South Africa’s
professional rugby teams
and warned about the HIV/
AIDS pandemic threatening
the region.
AFSA Leade r
During his tenure as presi-
dent, Mr. Harris led efforts to
improve working conditions
and to end ethnic, gender
and racial discrimination
within the State Department.
Mr. Harris currently serves
as a retiree representative on
the AFSA Governing Board.
n
F. Allen “Tex” Harris addresses members of the United Nations Association
of the National Capital Area after receiving an award recognizing his human
rights work during the Argentine military dictatorship.
UNA-NCAPHOTO
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