THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL
et’s just call a spade a spade.
Shortly after I got news of receiving the
W. Averell Harriman Award for Construc-
tive Dissent, I went running with our
consul general at post.
I go running a few times a week around
a dusty old field in front of the consulate. I
find the hot midday sun in Baja California
somewhat more pleasing than adjudicat-
ing visas in my cubicle. And when the CG has the time, he likes
the opportunity to exercise and mentor entry-level officers.
“So, not to take away anything from your achievement,” he
starts, as we round the curve near the carcass of a dead dog.
“Sir?” I manage to pant as I trip over the curb. (Our CG is twice
my size; my short legs have to move twice as fast to keep up.)
“Your article. Well written.” He sails over some trash. “But it
seemed like too easy a win. Nobody dissents anymore. I won-
der if anyone else was even nominated.”
Now, some people might have taken offense at that. I just
took it on the chin. I’ll take honesty over platitudes any day.
Amelia Shaw joined the Foreign Service (public diplo-
macy cone) in 2014 after careers in journalism and public
health. She is currently doing consular work in Tijuana,her first post. She is the 2015 recipient of the W. Averell Harriman Award for Constructive Dissent.
ON AFSA AWARDS AND DISSENT
At heart, dissent is about integrity,
speaking up on issues that matter,
regardless of whether or not we think
we can actually change anything.
BY AME L I A SHAW