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Ministry of State appreciates the “exceptional” volunteer workforce of the Department of Foreign Affairs

The Department of State promotes US diplomatic missions abroad, but the men and women of the Department of Foreign Affairs, and the families they bring, face that mission through their kind, 24-hour action.

Over the past year, diplomats and their families have created programs for children in special needs in Malaysia, organized triathlons in Islamabad, and rescued endangered marine wildlife in Gabon.

To honor the employees of these agencies and their qualified families (the agency abbreviation for spouses and children of foreign service officers traveling them), the State Department volunteered seven individuals this year. Awarded the activity excellence award.

The award is sponsored annually by US Foreign Affairs Associates and retired diplomats and consular officers.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said at a virtual awards ceremony last Friday that the winners went up and down to give back to the onboard community.

“Our people are exceptional because they are free to come together to solve problems that help people in need,” Pompeo said.

Carol Perez, director of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and director of the Department of State’s Human Resources, said the work of the Foreign Ministry’s family is essential to the success of the organization and is “a wise resource for us to utilize.” I did.

“The 2020 winners, prestigious references and candidates represent the best family of our Foreign Affairs Department,” Perez said. “And in this most difficult year, I couldn’t think of anything better to celebrate.”

How to “start running” by volunteering

EFM’s Jane Thompson, who has traveled with her spouse from the Department of Foreign Affairs since the mid-1990s, won the SOSA Award for creating a program for children in need of special needs at a school in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. did.

In an interview, Thompson said the volunteer work made sense for her. Because she works as an early intervention specialist for children with special needs when she returns to the United States. She is currently the Director of the Montgomery County Infant and Toddler Program at the Lurie Children’s Social Emotions Wellness Center in Rockland, Maryland.

As an early intervention expert, Thomson said it’s always easy to find an opportunity to use your skills wherever you are.

“What I’ve learned is to try to step into the ground when I get to a new post. Look around, talk to people, find out what your needs are, and get involved in it.” Thompson said. “At the end of the tour, I’m always happy if I can see and say that I made a difference, [that] I started something that I could pass on to others. “

Like a military spouse, a qualified family member can have a hard time finding formal employment in a new post. However, according to Thompson, EFMs often find ways to apply their skills and passion through projects when they arrive at a new post.

“EFM is the most skilled volunteer workforce in the world, but we have to make a decision along the way to put our ego and usually our professional trajectory on the shelves-and I do it. I don’t regret it, “she said.

Thompson and her spouse raised three children under the Foreign Affairs Department’s lifestyle, and they are all pleased that they have grown as they did. But it’s certainly a challenging way of life.

Thompson remembered that his busy first day was regaining his daily routine, including dialing by phone, calling a taxi, and finding the nearest grocery store. Meanwhile, her family experienced a full range of tropical diseases.

“I remember having scabies, lice, Shigella, and amebiasis once a month,” Thompson said. “And this year started with a bout of dengue for our family.”

Mr. Thompson said life at the Foreign Affairs Department is not always easy and culture shock continues no matter how many times he moves.

“You have to adjust, you have to experience it, you have to recreate your life. And doing that makes you more resilient. I don’t give it up, so I don’t want it to sound like it’s not something the family shouldn’t do. “

Think “outside the box” of the Foreign Affairs Bureau

Diplomat Moises Mendoza won the SOSA Award for developing a Google Maps add-on that keeps embassy staff out of the violent “red zone” of Matamoros, Mexico. This will tell you how to get back to safety. Green belt.

In addition, Mendoza, in collaboration with the University of Texas-Pan-American, investigated the history of the 200-year-old consulate in Matamoros through centuries-old primary records.

Through this investigation, Mendoza said he found an incredible story of combat and courage dating back to the early 20s.th And the latter half of 19th For centuries. He also learned of a policeman who died in a heroic situation. Its name is on the State Department’s memorial wall, which lists the names of all the fallen employees.

In addition, Mendoza became an emergency medical technician by taking an evening class and began teaching CPR in the post because she did not have a medical unit.

“Once you’re good at your job, you need to find niches and ways to make a difference, and think out of the box,” says Mendoza. “That’s what I was trying to do. I was looking for ways to add value to my posts and add value to the community beyond 9 to 5 jobs.”

“Introducing America” ​​through good deeds

EFM’s Michelle Collette won the SOSA Award for organizing a group of volunteers to patrol the beaches of Libreville, Gabon during the nesting season of endangered sea turtles, and worked with the community to trash beach Organized a pick-up.

Colette said he came across this volunteer activity by discovering sea turtle eggs on the beach while participating in a beach cleanup. The beaches of Libreville are near the city, and in this particular section of the estuary, many Gabons believed that urban pollution had driven sea turtles away.

Colette also received a J. Kirby Simon Foreign Service Trust grant to build wells, bathrooms and reservoirs for orphanages and shelters for children. For three years in Gabon, Colette volunteered as a soccer coach, music instructor, choir director, and theater teacher.

In addition to giving back to the community, Colette said the Foreign Ministry’s family volunteering is very important in a country where many locals have never met Americans. It was.

“I’m not an officer or a civil servant at the US Embassy, ​​but it’s an interesting memory to be behind my head because I’m going to meet so many people I’ve never met before. I’m a guest. We introduce America solely by the pure fact that we are American in another country, “Colette said.



Ministry of State appreciates the “exceptional” volunteer workforce of the Department of Foreign Affairs

Source link Ministry of State appreciates the “exceptional” volunteer workforce of the Department of Foreign Affairs

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