Skip to main content

ACA has announced the winners of the 2008 Thomas Jefferson Award. This distinction honors State Department employees who have given exemplary service to American citizens residing abroad.

The 2008 winners are Maura Harty, former Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs, and Michael Parmly, Chief of Mission in Cuba.

mharty.jpgMaura Harty was a member of the Foreign Service from 1981 to 2008. A graduate of the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service, she served the State Department in many challenging positions, both in Washington and abroad - in Mexico, Grenada, Columbia, Spain, Lithuania. Her final overseas assignment was as U.S. Ambassador to Paraguay.

Upon learning of ACA’s choice, Ms. Harty replied, “I am very touched by this honor. I want to thank you and ACA from the bottom of my heart. It has been my great privilege to serve the American people.”

Maura became the Assistant Secretary of Consular Affairs on November 21, 2002, after having served as the Executive Secretary of the Department of State. She stepped down from her Consular Affairs position in February 2008.

Americans overseas are especially grateful to Maura Harty for her dedicated efforts on their behalf while Managing Director of the Directorate of Overseas Citizens Services, where she created the office of Children's Issues, and during her most recent position as the head of the U.S. Consular Service. Her aid in working to resolve a wide range of problems specific to individual Americans abroad and her willingness to meet and discuss with representatives of the American overseas community how to improve the relations between the overseas Americans and the U.S. Government are greatly appreciated.

mparmly.jpg Michael E. Parmly, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service with the rank of Minister-Counselor, is currently serving as Chief of Mission-Designate for the U.S. Interests Section in Havana, Cuba.

Mr. Parmly wrote, “You can imagine my genuine surprise–mixed with deep humility–to learn of having been chosen for your award.  I am grateful beyond words.  Attention to American citizens has been a priority my entire career, from my Consular days through Bosnia and Afghanistan.  However, here in Havana, the importance of taking care of our fellow Americans has been more clear than ever, and with the help of my superb USINT colleagues, we have tried to do that.  I am touched that an organization of your standing would have taken notice.”

He earned a degree in International Relations and Latin American Studies at St. Joseph's College in Philadelphia and was a Peace Corps volunteer in Bucaramanga, Colombia, prior to receiving his Masters of Arts of Law and Diplomacy from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.

Michael has been a Foreign Service Officer since 1977, working in Morocco, Spain, Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, France and Afghanistan. He has also served on the faculty of the National War College as Professor of National Security Studies, specializing in post-conflict situations. From August to October, 2004, he served as Senior Advisor to Ambassador Khalilzad for the Afghan Presidential elections. In Washington he has served as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, and later as Acting Assistant Secretary.

American Citizens Abroad salutes Michael Parmly's exemplary and dedicated service to his country, including aspects of his work which have impacted positively on local overseas American communities.

ACA takes great pride in giving this award to both Maura and Michael and wishes them much success in the future.

The co-winners will have their names inscribed on a plaque of all winners which hangs in the State Department, and will receive framed certificates. In addition, this honor is inscribed on their service records.


Maura Harty, award winner, with ACA board members Jackie Abrams (L) and Jackie Bugnon (R) 


ACA's Jackie Bugnon with award winner Michael Parmly