The Foreign Service Journal - September 2014 - page 8

8
SEPTEMBER 2014
|
THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL
LETTER FROM THE EDITOR
Celebrating AFSA’s AwardWinners
BY SHAWN DORMAN
T
his month, AFSA celebrates and
honors our own: members of
the Foreign Service community
who stand up for what they
believe to be right, even when it’s not the
easy path; those who have made lifetime
contributions to diplomacy; and those
whose performance has been so out-
standing that their colleagues single them
out for recognition.
Every June, AFSA presents its annual
dissent and performance awards in the
grand Benjamin Franklin Diplomatic
Reception Room on the State Depart-
ment’s eighth floor. AFSA and State
Department officials (including, this year,
Deputy Secretary of State William Burns,
Under Secretary of State for Management
Patrick Kennedy, and Assistant Secre-
tary for Economic and Business Affairs
Charles H. Rivkin) serve as presenters.
The State Department co-sponsors
the ceremony, highlighting the unusual
but powerful message that dissent is not
only tolerated in the Foreign Service, but
respected and perhaps even welcomed.
Or is it? We hear such disparate views
today on the state of dissent and the
inclination and ability to speak up and be
heard—without retribution—when you
disagree with a policy or see a better way
forward.
This month we bring views on dissent
from AFSA award winners, past and pres-
ent. In “Integrity and Openness: Require-
ments for an Effective
Foreign Service,” three-
time AFSA dissent award
winner Ambassador Ken-
Shawn Dorman is the editor of
The Foreign Service Journal.
neth Quinn reflects on his experiences
speaking out over the course of a long
and successful Foreign Service career.
And Ambassador Jonathan Addleton,
the 2014 Herter Award winner, shares the
story of his challenges with restrictions on
local outreach efforts in Afghanistan in “A
Reflection on Bravery.” Profiles of Amb.
Addleton and all the other AFSA award
winners can be found in the AFSA News
section.
David Holmes, winner of the Rivkin
dissent award for a mid-level FSO,
called for a more strategic approach to
U.S. South Asia policy. Nick Pietrowicz,
winner of the Harris dissent award for
a Foreign Service specialist, raised con-
cerns about a border security program.
William “Ed” O’Bryan, winner of the Har-
riman dissent award for an entry-level
FSO, pushed for an embassy presence at
human rights trials in Saudi Arabia.
Carol Backman, winner of the Delavan
Award for exemplary performance by an
office management specialist, used her
IT expertise and management skills to
improve life at Embassy Ankara; Mary
Kay Cunningham, winner of the Guess
Award for an outstanding community
liaison office coordinator, lifted the spirits
of the embassy community in Kabul in a
big way. And Kari Osborne, winner of the
Bohlen Award for an FS family member,
made a real difference to embassy com-
munity life in Mexico City.
It was my distinct pleasure to “turn the
tables on Stu Kennedy,” this year’s winner
of AFSA’s prestigious Lifetime Contribu-
tions to American Diplomacy Award, by
interviewing the interviewer about his
work creating and growing the Foreign
Affairs Oral History Collection, and his life
and work in the Foreign Service.
The oral histories are a national trea-
sure, capturing U.S. diplomatic history
of the 20th and 21st centuries through
the voices of the practitioners who were
there. Kennedy is quick to point the
microphone away from himself, praising
others and most especially the Associa-
tion for Diplomatic Studies and Training,
which is home to the oral history program
today.
He says, “Remember, I’m not
the
For-
eign Service oral historian.” But truly, he
is precisely that, and I can think of no one
more deserving of the Lifetime Achieve-
ment Award than Stu Kennedy.
Elsewhere in this issue, former Under
Secretary of State for Political Affairs Marc
Grossman outlines “A Diplomacy for the
21st Century: Back to the Future?” He
explores how the quest for “new” diplo-
macy might just bring us back to some
traditional values—optimism, justice,
honesty and realism.
In his President’s Views column, Bob
Silverman reflects on Foreign Service
advocacy and pitches a new career track
for expeditionary diplomacy. And finally,
as a preview to our December focus on
Afghanistan, we offer FSO Bill Bent’s first-
hand account of what it’s like to live and
work on the U.S. embassy compound in
Kabul today. Spoiler alert: It’s no picnic.
We want to hear from you, about what
you read in these pages, and especially
what you think about the state of dissent
today, or anything else on your mind.
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