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Nominations are open for the SOSA, CCE-EFM and Tragen Awards!

Do you know an exceptional overseas volunteer, an outstanding advocate for EFM employment, or someone whose efforts on behalf of Foreign Service families have brought about positive change? Please consider recognizing their work and inspiring others by submitting a nomination for one of these prestigious awards, administered by AAFSW and DACOR. 

Honor an overseas volunteer. Nominate someone today for the 2021 Secretary of  State Award for Outstanding Volunteerism Abroad (SOSA)!

Volunteer opportunities are vital for happiness and morale at many overseas posts. And foreign affairs community volunteers consistently astonish with their remarkable achievements, even during a few short years at post. Examples from the 2020 SOSA award winners include raising tens of thousands of dollars to provide needed supplies to refugees and creating an ongoing “Consular Cup” based on the tournaments in the Harry Potter book series to raise morale in Islamabad.

Nominees can be any USG direct-hire employees under Chief of Mission (COM) authority, their spouses and family members over the age of 18, or their members of household (MOH). The SOSA Award is given for volunteer activities performed abroad while the nominee was posted to a U.S. Mission or on Involuntary Separate Maintenance Allowance (ISMA) status.

The award honors remarkable service to the mission community, outstanding activities directed towards the host country, or exceptional service in emergency situations. Factors considered in the selection process include: scope and reach of activities, sustainability, ingenuity, and leadership. 

The SOSA Awards are administered by AAFSW, and recipients, if qualified, are chosen from each of the six regional bureaus by a panel of AAFSW, FLO and regional bureau representatives.  Winners receive a cash award of $2500 and a certificate signed by the Secretary of State. Travel to Washington, DC for the November ceremony (if held in person at the State Department) will be paid for by regional bureaus.

See “How to Submit a Nomination” below or go here.

Identify a strong Champion of Career Enhancement for EFMs for the CCE-EFM Award

The AAFSW “Champions of Career Enhancement for Eligible Family Members” Award (CCE-EFM) was created by AAFSW’s EFM Employment Committee to recognize and incentivize those who go above and beyond their job descriptions or their routine daily activities to promote the cause of employment and career development for Foreign Service family members. The winning individual or group will receive a cash award of $750 and will be honored at the November awards ceremony.  

Wanted: Exceptional Family Member Advocate for the Eleanor Dodson Tragen Award

Since 2006, Diplomatic and Consular Officers, Retired (DACOR) has presented the Eleanor Dodson Tragen Award. This award recognizes a family member who has effectively advocated for family member rights and benefits, as did the late Eleanor Tragen, a long-time AAFSW member. The award is funded by the income from a gift to DACOR Bacon House Foundation from her husband, retired Foreign Service Officer Irving Tragen.

DACOR is seeking nominations for such an individual. Nominees can be Foreign Service employees, spouses, family members, or members of household. All members of the Foreign Service community are encouraged to present nominations. The recipient of the 2021 Tragen Award will receive a week of free lodging, including travel to and from Washington, DC, if posted abroad, be honored at the November awards ceremony and be honored at a luncheon at the DACOR Bacon House.

How to Submit a Nomination

All members of the Foreign Affairs community are encouraged to present nominations.

Nominations for the SOSA, CCE-EFM and Tragen Awards are due by April 30, 2021.

Nominations for all awards should not exceed three pages double-spaced and must include the following information:  the nominee’s name, including middle initial; the relationship to the direct-hire employee or retiree; the nominee’s e-mail address; the nominator’s name and relationship to nominee; and a justification for the nomination, including specific actions and qualities that fulfill the award criteria.

Send nominations (as a Word document or PDF) for the SOSA and CCE-EFM Awards to office@aafsw.org.  Send nominations for the Tragen Award to John Bradshaw at DACOR via jbradshaw@dacorbacon.org. Nominations for all three awards must be received no later than April 30, 2021.

You may also contact your CLO or Management Officer for additional information. Please also feel free to contact AAFSW with any questions by e-mail at office@aafsw.org.

Your nominations help recognize the vital importance and value of volunteer work in the foreign affairs community. Furthermore, highlighting these achievements inspires others to pursue projects that create positive change, advance person-to-person diplomacy, and bring more satisfaction and meaning to their time at post. Thank you for supporting these awards!

Patricia Linderman

AAFSW SOSA Chair 2020-2021