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THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL

|

SEPTEMBER 2015

61

AFSA NEWS

Constructive Dissent in Uncertain Times

THE CHR I ST I AN A . HERTER AWARD FOR A SEN I OR FORE I GN SERV I CE OF F I CER

THOMAS DUFFY

“I believe the world is at a

strategic inflection point. The

essentially unipolar world of

my generation is transition-

ing to a multipolar norm. And

I think many of the advances

we have made in the interna-

tional space over those last

25 years are at risk.

“Paradoxically, the way

to preserve the gains of the

last 25 years is to realize we

can no longer do business

the same way we’ve done it

since the end of the Cold War.

Constructive dissent, or as

the U.S. military would like to

put it ‘disruptive thinking,’ will

be essential as we navigate

the way forward.”

Those were the words

spoken by this year’s recipi-

ent of the Christian A. Herter

Award, Thomas Duffy, as he

accepted his award in front

of an audience comprised

of distinguished diplomats,

members of Congress,

friends and family.

Duffy received this year’s

senior-level AFSA award

for his actions to revive the

relationship between the U.S.

Mission to the United Nations

in New York and the State

Department’s Bureau of Inter-

national Organization Affairs.

Collaboration between the

two offices had suffered since

the 2009 decision to accord

Cabinet-level rank to the U.S.

permanent representative to

the United Nations.

As director

of IO’s Office

of U.N. Political

Affairs, Duffy

recognized that

this rift had been

detrimental to

efforts to advance

U.S. multilateral

policy. Believ-

ing the United

States is at its

best when IO and

USUN are pulling

in the same direc-

tion, he wrote

a memo to IO’s

then-new assis-

tant secretary,

Sheba Crocker, detailing the

challenges caused by the

competitive atmosphere.

Motivated by Duffy’s

memo, Assistant Secretary

Crocker invited Permanent

Representative Samantha

Power to Washington, D.C., to

address IO leadership. It was

during that meeting that the

intrepid director pitched his

diagnosis of and proposed

solutions to the problem.

Duffy’s constructive but

tough and well-timed mes-

sage paved the way for an

honest discussion between

top USUN and IO principals.

Spurred by his actions, the

U.S. permanent representa-

tive and the IO assistant

secretary now have regular

conversations, and USUN

and IO coordinate early to

ensure advancement of U.S.

goals in places such as Libya

and Yemen.

Speaking at the June 9

awards ceremony, Deputy

Secretary of State for

Management

and Resources

Heather Higgin-

bottom credited

Duffy’s actions

with setting a

standard for

transparent and

inclusive informa-

tion sharing: “The

application of his

ideas makes us a

better advocate

for the American

people, and that

is something to

which we should

all aspire.”

Duffy joined

the Foreign Service in 1991,

and has served in Bogota,

Riyadh, Baghdad, Jerusalem,

Manama and Jeddah. He

and his wife, Anne, have two

children.

n

Profiles of award recipients compiled by Maria C. Livingston.

GOVERN I NG BOARD APPROVES

SECOND TRANCHE SUPPORT

FOR U. S . D I PLOMACY CENTER

At its final meeting on July 1, the 2013-2015 Ameri-

can Foreign Service Association Governing Board

approved a second contribution to the Diplomacy

Center Foundation in the amount of $100,000.

This follows AFSA’s first disbursement of $50,000

to the foundation in July 2014 (see the March 2015 AFSA News). The money is being used to sup-

port construction of the U.S. Diplomacy Center,

a museum that, when completed, will highlight

the critical role of diplomacy and development in

promoting U.S. national security and economic

prosperity.

n

NEWS BRIEF

AFSA/JOAQUINSOSA

Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources Heather

Higginbottom (left) presents FSO Thomas Duffy with this year’s

Herter Award.

AFSA CONSTRUCT I VE D I SSENT AWARDS