The Secretary of State’s Award for Outstanding Volunteerism Abroad (SOSA)

2012 SOSA winner Karl P. Deringer in Kigali.

The annual AAFSW/Secretary of State’s Award for Outstanding Volunteerism Abroad (SOSA) recognizes the outstanding volunteer activities of U.S. Government employees, spouses, family members over the age of 18, EFM domestic partners, and members of household who are living and working overseas. Previous nominees can be reconsidered if an updated summary statement is included.

The winners of the Secretary of State’s Award for Outstanding Volunteerism Abroad (SOSA) are selected by a panel of representatives from AAFSW, FLO and the Executive Director or representative from each State Department geographic bureau. Full profiles of these volunteers are published annually in AAFSW’s Global Link newsletter and on this website.

Congratulations to the 2014 winners of the SOSA Award!

  • Sgt. Kyle Romero (AF)
  • Kerry Carswell (EUR)
  • Shilpa Gadde (SCA)
  • Jose Ramirez Dorce, Fernando Marcelo Alvarez, and Liana Maria Alvarez (WHA)
Read more about the 2014 winners and their accomplishments…

2012 SOSA winner Cassie Brenn in Hanoi.

The SOSA award was created in 1990 with the direct encouragement and support of then-Secretary of State James A. Baker and his wife Susan. AAFSW administers the award through generous contributions from former Secretaries of State as well as AAFSW members.

Funding for the award includes donations from former Secretaries of State, AAFSW members and an annual donation from the Green Family Foundation, which supports social action.

The SOSA Award recognizes volunteer efforts at posts overseas in the following areas:

1.) Remarkable service to the mission community.

2.) Outstanding activities directed towards the host country.

3.) Exceptional service in emergency situations. Evaluation factors considered in the selection process include scope and reach of activities, sustainability, ingenuity, and leadership.

Read more about the history of the SOSA awards and highlights from some of the winning projects over the years in “The SOSA Project: Foreign Service Volunteers – 20 Years of Grassroots Diplomacy.”

For more information about the SOSA award contact

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