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Winners and Honorable Mentions Chosen for the 2021 Secretary of State Award for Outstanding Volunteerism Abroad (SOSA)

The SOSA awards, administered by AAFSW, were established in 1990 with the direct encouragement and support of then-Secretary James A. Baker and his wife Susan.  While on official travel, Mrs. Baker was so impressed by the extraordinary volunteer work performed by the Foreign Service community overseas that she advocated for an award to recognize these volunteer accomplishments.  

The 2021 winners were chosen by selection committees consisting of AAFSW President Lara Center; AAFSW SOSA Chair Patricia Linderman assisted by committee members Mette Beecroft and Nami Kritenbrink; Director Gabrielle Hampson of the Global Community Liaison Office (formerly FLO) assisted by Jason Pantaleo; and the director or other representative of each geographic regional bureau. In a new tradition established last year, Honorable Mentions were also selected. 

Winners will receive a cash award of $2,500 and a pin commemorating the event. Both winners and Honorable Mentions also receive a certificate signed by the Secretary of State. The Awards Ceremony is scheduled for Thursday, November 18, 2021; depending on COVID-related considerations, it will be held in the Benjamin Franklin Room of Main State, or online via GoToWebinar, as took place last year in a highly successful hybrid ceremony at DACOR-Bacon House. Funding for the award includes donations from former Secretaries of State, including annual support from James and Susan Baker and Colin Powell; the Green Family Foundation headed by former Ambassador Steven J. Green; and AAFSW members. 

The 2021 SOSA winners are: 

AF  Keri E. Dziuban, Windhoek

As a volunteer member of the Windhoek International School Board, Eligible Family Member Kari E. Dziuban led a complete turnaround of the school’s curriculum, finances, hiring and security, positively impacting the quality of education for current and future students as well as the quality of life at post.

EAP  Sean P. Doyle, Shenyang

As a “citizen diplomat” volunteering in Shenyang, Eligible Family Member Sean P. Doyle created and implemented innovative and effective cultural outreach initiatives to the Chinese public, including social media campaigns, in-person events and videos, such as a livestreamed Thanksgiving cooking demonstration that reached nearly one million viewers.

NEA  Sara E. Magnuson and Layla S. Murphy, Kuwait

As Eligible Family Members in Kuwait and Abu Dhabi, Sara E. Magnuson and Layla S. Murphy volunteered with the organization Da Bold to combat trafficking in persons and labor exploitation by carrying out research, fundraising and social media campaigns, as well as working directly with migrant workers in the Gulf region to document and publicize their stories and provide needed support.

SCA  Muliani Lyng, Nur-Sultan

Eligible Family Member Muliani T. Lyng undertook a broad range of highly impactful efforts during three years in Nur-Sultan, including supporting Embassy families during the pandemic; helping operate a soup kitchen for the needy and summer camps for local children; supporting a fledgling animal shelter; and providing much-needed support to autistic children and their parents at a rehabilitation center. 

WHA Janeth Pena-Heredia, Rio

In Rio, as well as previously in Sao Paulo, consular officer Janeth B. Pena-Heredia recruited, trained and led volunteers to establish ongoing no-cost English language programs for local guards and facilities staff with far-reaching impact, including improved communication with U.S. staff; expanded job opportunities; more meaningful dialogue about diversity, equity and inclusion; and volunteer contributions by these skilled workers to renovate an orphanage.

Congratulations as well to the 2021 Honorable Mentions:

AF  Ian Arzeni, Dar es Salaam

EAP Jennie Linton, Shanghai

NEA “Team Vaccine,” Amman

WHA Amy Duchamel, Bogota

More details about the winners and Honorable Mentions will be included in future editions of the Global Link, as well as on AAFSW’s website, www.aafsw.org https://www.aafsw.org/secretary-of-state-awards-for-outstanding-volunteerism-abroad/