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Promoting human rights overseas is

some of the most important and vital

work we can do in the State Department.

If we are to continue to be an example to

the world, we must consistently represent

universal values, including freedom of

speech, freedom of religion and freedom

of association.

—René Gutel

Each of this year’s dissent

recipients shows how the

Foreign Service is taking

ownership of the organiza-

tion, making hard choices

and refining processes to

strengthen the institution.



Dr. Sushma Palmer next

presented the first awards for

exemplary performance, the

Mark Palmer Award for the

Advancement of Democracy.

After recognizing runner-up

Maria Elena Barrón, a USAID

Foreign Service officer, for

her work promoting a demo-

cratic transition in Nepal, Dr.

Palmer honored Ambassador

Tulinabo Salama Mushingi

with the 2017 Palmer Award

for his efforts to prevent

conflict during an attempted

coup d’état in Burkina Faso.

Dr. Palmer presented the

second 2017 Palmer award

to René Gutel, the human

rights officer at U.S. Embassy

Beijing. Against all odds, Ms.

Gutel made significant head-

way in promoting human

rights and making common

cause with other democra-

cies in the diplomatic com-

munity in China.

Amb. Stephenson

presented the Award for

Achievement and Contribu-

tions to the Association to

Foreign Commercial Service

retiree John S. Wood, leader

of the energetic and engaged

Foreign Service retiree group

in Austin, Texas, for his effec-

tiveness in telling the story

of the Foreign Service to our

fellow Americans.

Amb. Harrop then

At a champagne reception after the June 20 awards ceremony, friends, family and

colleagues celebrate the achievements of the 16 AFSA award winners.


returned to

the podium

to present the

Nelson B. Dela-

van Award for

Exemplary Per-

formance by an

Office Manage-

ment Specialist

to Diane Corbin,

who had just

returned from

an immensely



tour in South

Sudan. Judith

Brown of the

U.S. embassy

in Yaoundé was

the runner-up.

Jon Clements,

CEO of Clements Worldwide,

presented the M. Juanita

Guess Award for Exemplary

Performance by a Commu-

nity Liaison Officer to Aubrey

Dowd of U.S. Embassy Dhaka.

Ms. Dowd generously

acknowledged her CLO

colleagues in Dhaka and

expressed her appreciation

to AFSA for acknowledging

the important work CLOs do

within the embassy com-

munity. Michael P. Murphy of

U.S. Embassy Algiers was the


The final award of the

afternoon was the Avis

Bohlen Award for Exemplary

Performance by an Eligible

Family Member. On behalf

of the Bohlen family, Mette

Beecroft presented the

award to Henry Throop of

U.S. Consulate Mumbai.

A NASA scientist, Dr.

Throop has volunteered

thousands of hours at multi-

ple posts to engage local chil-

dren in science, technology,

engineering and mathemat-

ics (STEM) subjects, includ-

ing night-time astronomy

observations and countless

school appearances.

A celebratory champagne

reception in the depart-

ment’s Exhibit Hall followed

the ceremony, a fitting way

to conclude an event whose

purpose is to highlight and

reward those who carry out

their duties in the finest tra-

dition of the Foreign Service.

Please visit


org/video to watch the full

ceremony, as well as selected

highlights. Photos of the

recipients, ceremony and

reception are available at