The Foreign Service Journal - November 2014 - page 77

Make a Difference: Nominate Someone
for a Constructive Dissent Award
Nominations are now being
accepted for the American
Foreign Service Association’s
2015 Constructive Dissent
These awards recognize
Foreign Service members who
work constructively within the
system to change policy and
performance for the better.
AFSA has sponsored the
dissent award program for 46
years, and it is unique within
the U.S. government.
AFSA does not give out
each dissent award every
year, but only when a worthy
recipient is identified. In fact,
2014 was the first year since
2006 that all four dissent
awards were given out.
AFSA introduced the first
two dissent awards— the
W. Averell Harriman Award
for constructive dissent by
entry-level officers (FS-6
through FS-4) and theWilliam
R. Rivkin Award for mid-
level officers (FS-3 through
FS-1)—in December 1967, and
awarded them in 1968.
In 1969, AFSA established
the Christian A. Herter Award
honoring constructive dissent
by a Senior Foreign Service
officer. And in 2000, AFSA
created the F. Allen “Tex”
Harris Award for dissent by a
Foreign Service specialist.
Recipients are chosen by
an AFSA committee for their
“extraordinary accomplish-
ment involving initiative,
integrity, intellectual courage
and constructive dissent.”The
dissent does not have to be
related to foreign policy but
can involve a management
issue, consular policy or, in
the case of the Harris Award,
the willingness of a Foreign
Service specialist to take a
stand in a way that involves
some risk. Nominees are not
required to have used the
formal Dissent Channel.
Recipients are honored at
the AFSAAwards Ceremony
in June, which is held in the
Benjamin Franklin Diplomatic
Reception Room at the State
Department. Winners receive
a trophy, as well as a $4,000
Ambassador Edward
Peck, a 1974William R. Rivkin
Award winner, wrote of the
importance of the awards
in the September 2010
“For our system to function
at maximum effectiveness,
the individuals working in it,
who are in the best position to
point out its flaws, must advo-
cate steps to correct them,”
Amb. Peck noted.
He added: “All AFSA
members can be part of this
important effort in two ways:
by speaking up and speaking
out to make a difference; and
by nominating someone who
AFSA urges its members
to nominate colleagues—or
themselves—for an award. For
more details on the dissent
awards, visit
dissent. If you have ques-
tions, contact Perri Green,
Special Awards and Outreach
or (202) 719-9700.
The Nomination Process
Anyone may propose any member of a foreign affairs
agency—or themselves—for an AFSA constructive dissent
award. The nomination must be 700 words or fewer, and
must include all of the following elements:
• The name of the award for which the person is being
nominated, along with the nominee’s grade, agency and posi-
• The nominator’s name, grade, agency and position, along
with a description of his or her association with the nominee
• A justification for nomination that describes the actions
and qualities that qualify the nominee for the award. This
should cite specific examples demonstrating that he or she
has “exhibited extraordinary accomplishment involving initia-
tive, integrity, intellectual courage and constructive dissent.”
Additional Guidelines
• Only career or career-conditional members of the
foreign affairs agencies (i.e., State, USAID, FCS, FAS, APHIS
or BBG) are eligible.
• The actions attributed to the nominee must have
taken place no more than four years prior to the nomina-
•While messages sent via the State Department Dissent
Channel and USAID’s Direct Channel may be cited as the
basis of a dissent award, it is still necessary to submit a
nomination directly to AFSA for consideration.
For additional details and instructions or to nominate
online, see
If you have questions,
contact Special Awards and Outreach Coordinator Perri
Green at
or (202) 719-9700.
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