2009 Thomas Jefferson Award Co-Winners
Anne-Marie Casella, Chief of American Citizen Services in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, was warmly recommended for the award by a broad cross-section of the Haitian and American community. During her tenure, she dealt with the aftermath of four tropical storms which ravaged the country in 2008 and with more than a hundred kidnappings of American citizens. Her diligence, efficiency and above all caring attention to each case has won praise from victims and their families, resident missionaries, the chief of police of Port-au-Prince, the anti-kidnapping unit of the Haitian National Police, the FBI, and the UN police. Ms. Casella modestly responded to the outpouring of praise, "I am just doing the job the State Department trained me to do and I do it the best that I can."
Mark C. Storella, Deputy Permanent Representative and Chargé d'Affaires at the US Mission in Geneva, took the bold step of reaching out to local Americans in pioneering Town Hall meetings at which representatives of the community were invited to the Mission and encouraged to discuss the broad range of concerns specific to them as overseas Americans. These concerns were noted, and then, with the agreement of those present, a summary report was sent to the State Department for circulation to other relevant departments and agencies. Although legislation approving such a concept was passed some years ago, it had not previously been incorporated into the agendas of American embassies and missions. The model meeting initiated by Mr. Storella will hopefully be duplicated at many other posts.