American diplomacy does not end at the embassy gate. In fact, through the volunteer efforts of many Foreign Service employees and their families, U.S. goodwill reaches out to the host countries around the world.
As a way to recognize these efforts, the Associates of the American Foreign Service Worldwide (AAFSW) presented the Secretary of State Award for Outstanding Volunteerism Abroad (SOSA), during a ceremony at State Department headquarters in Washington, D.C.
The award program was started 25 years ago by then-Secretary of State James Baker and his wife Susan Baker, to recognize the volunteer efforts of Foreign Service members and their families while stationed abroad.
The 2015 SOSA winners are:
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Three other volunteers were recognized at Tuesday’s ceremony.
Sheila Switzer received the 2015 Tragen Award. She established the AAFSW Foreign Born Spouse group, to provide assistance, support and volunteer opportunities to the foreign-born spouses or domestic partners of Foreign Service employees while they are stationed in the United States.
Patricia Linderman received the 2015 Lesley Dorman Award in recognition of her five-year stint as the AAFSW president. During that time, she led a team of volunteers who established the EFM Business Owners Group, EFM Business Directory and the Foreign Service Hub.
Stephanie Arnold was the recipient of the 2015 Champion of Career Enhancement for Eligible Family Members Award. While stationed in Dublin, Ireland, Arnold successfully lobbied the Irish government to grant blanket work permits to all eligible family members once they arrive in the country.
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