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APRIL 2015





AFSA Honors Matilda W. Sinclaire Language

Award Recipients

Foreign language proficiency

is one of the most impor-

tant skills in today’s Foreign

Service, essential not only

to professional development

but also to personal security.

Annually, the American

Foreign Service Associa-

tion recognizes outstanding

accomplishment in the study

of a Category III or IV lan-

guage and its associated cul-

ture through the Matilda W.

Sinclaire Language Awards.

AFSA established this

program in 1982, thanks to

a bequest from Matilda W.

Sinclaire, a former Foreign

Service officer, “to promote

and reward superior achieve-

ment 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.” More than

$260,000 has been awarded

to those Foreign Service

members who have received

recognition for their superior

language skills through this


Any career or career-con-

ditional member of the For-

eign Service from the Depart-

ment of State, U.S. Agency

for International Develop-

ment, Foreign Commercial

Service, Foreign Agricultural

Service, Broadcasting Board

of Governors or Animal and

Plant Health Inspection

Service is eligible for the

award. Candidates may be

nominated by the language-

training supervisors at the

FSI School of Language, the

language instructors at field

schools, or post language


Recipients are selected

by a committee comprising

the dean of the FSI School of

Language Studies (or desig-

nee), representatives of the

AFSA Governing Board, the

AFSA Awards and Plaques

Committee and the general

AFSA membership. Each

recipient receives $1,000 and

a certificate of recognition

signed by the AFSA president

and the chair of the AFSA

Awards committee.

For further information on

the Sinclaire Awards, please

AFSA is rolling out a new way for members to partici-

pate and stay connected with each other and with us.

In the online AFSACommunity, members can post

comments, exchange ideas and communicate with

one another in a closed environment accessible only to

other AFSAmembers.

The AFSA Community is now holding its first

discussion on the AFSA 2015 Governing Board elec-

tion and bylaw amendment. Use the community

to discuss a candidate’s platform and positions on

issues facing the Foreign Service or specific career

and professional concerns. You can also weigh the

pros and cons of the proposed bylaw amendment to

rightsize the AFSA Governing Board in 2017.

Access this discussion by logging into the

members-only area of the AFSA website and click-

ing on “AFSA Community” in the blue navigation tab

at the top of the page. (You must have a personal email

address stored in your contact information to access the

AFSA Community because work email addresses ending in

.gov are inaccessible in the AFSA Community.)

Once on the AFSA Community page, join the AFSA 2015

Governing Board Election & Bylaw Amendment community

to get started.

We hope the AFSA Community provides a meaning-

ful way to share your thoughts and collaborate with your

colleagues. As our recent survey (see p. 71) showed, AFSA

members want opportunities to actively participate, par-

ticularly when serving outside the Washington, D.C., area.

We are optimistic that this new benefit will allow members

to participate in AFSA no matter where they are living.

Questions and comments can be sent to



org, with the subject line “AFSA Community.”


contact AFSA’s Coordinator

for Special Awards and Out-

reach Perri Green at green@ or (202) 719-9700.

The 2014 Sinclaire Award

recipients, all AFSAmembers,


Alexander Bellah, Russian

John Ceballos-Rivera,


Rafael Diaz, Greek

Karen Glocer, Arabic

Jonathan Herzog,


Maciej Luczywo, Georgian

Rebecca Owen, Icelandic

Martin Thomen, Turkish

Elizabeth Threlkeld, Pashto

Brian Timm-Brock, Hebrew