Table of Contents Table of Contents
Previous Page  82 / 108 Next Page
Basic version Information
Show Menu
Previous Page 82 / 108 Next Page
Page Background

82

SEPTEMBER 2017

|

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL

AFSA NEWS

Fostering Community in South Sudan

NELSON B . DELAVAN AWARD FOR EXEMPLARY PERFORMANCE BY

AN OF F I CE MANAGEMENT SPEC I AL I ST

DIANE CORBIN

AFSA EXEMPLARY PERFORMANCE AWARDS

Presenting the Nelson B.

Delavan Award to Diane

Corbin, Ambassador Wil-

liam Harrop called the role of

office management specialist

“indispensable” to the effec-

tiveness and ultimate success

of the Foreign Service’s over-

seas mission.

As the only office manage-

ment specialist (OMS) for the

U.S. embassy in Juba, South

Sudan, Ms. Corbin’s official

assignment was to the front

office. However, that does

not begin to describe the

contribution she made to the

embassy community over the

29 months she served there.

As well as day-to-day

tasks such as managing the

ambassador’s schedule and

making sure she had all the

materials necessary to do

her job, Ms. Corbin was the

point of contact and source

of information,

guidance and

encouragement

for the entire

community.

In the

absence of a

community

liaison officer

at post, Ms.

Corbin took on

that role as well,

reaching out to

newly assigned

staff before they

arrived and pro-

viding photos and documents

about life in Juba to ease their

entry to post. Her friendly and

informative emails not only

helped to prepare officers for

arrival, but also allayed the

concerns of their loved ones

about assignments to this

remote post.

Ms. Corbin did whatever

she could to orient FSOs,

make their jobs easier and

improve their quality of life—

from organizing weekly game

nights to arranging for local

vendors to visit the embassy

compound for a monthly

market.

South Sudan has been

living with civil unrest for

four of the six years since it

gained independence; Juba

is an unaccompanied post.

However, in July 2016, even

more intense fighting broke

out between government and

opposition forces. Assuming

the role of auxiliary consular

officer, Ms. Corbin fielded

hundreds of calls fromAmeri-

can citizens concerned for

their safety.

She worked tirelessly to

collect their information,

which proved invaluable when

it became necessary to evac-

uate U.S. citizens from South

Sudan. During the evacuation,

she remained at the airport

under tough conditions, work-

ing to validate and protect

U.S. passport information.

Ms. Corbin’s sense of com-

munity came to the fore once

again when a staff member

died suddenly at post. She

not only accompanied his

remains home to the United

States but has maintained

contact with his family,

offering comfort and helping

to process paperwork and

provide resources for them.

When not occupied at the

embassy, Ms. Corbin spent

many hours volunteering at

a local orphanage. To foster a

sense of community in Juba,

she organized weekly trips

for FSOs to visit the orphan-

age to work and play with the

children.

When accepting the award,

Ms. Corbin paid tribute to

her colleagues (both FSOs

and locally employed staff):

“My colleagues assigned to

Embassy Juba are the most

dedicated employees I have

served with in the 15 years of

my Foreign

Service

career. The

American

staff bid on

South Sudan

because they

care—they

want to make

a difference.

The local

staff work to

make their

country a

better place.”

Diane Corbin has two

children and is a proud New

Englander (Go Sox!). She

joined the Foreign Service

as an OMS in 2002 and

has served in Guatemala,

Panama, Ethiopia and the

Dominican Republic, as well

as Washington, D.C.

n

Delavan Award winner Diane Corbin, at right, helps local

women pump water in Juba, South Sudan.

Diane Corbin (center) reading with Innocent (left)

and Cecilia (right), two young girls at the Confident

Children out of Conflict home in Juba, South Sudan.

COURTESYOFDIANECORBIN

COURTESYOFDIANECORBIN