2012 Thomas Jefferson Award
United States Ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein Donald S. Beyer, Jr. was presented with the Thomas Jefferson Award at a State Department ceremony on March 26, 2013. The award is presented by American Citizens Abroad (ACA) to a U.S. State Department officer who has rendered outstanding service to Americans overseas. ACA is a citizen’s advocacy group representing six million overseas Americans.
Ambassador Beyer was recognized for his leadership and participation in a series of Town Hall Meetings where American citizens living outside of the United States could voice their concerns and opinions. A Report to Washington was produced as a result of the input from these meetings and was distributed to members of Congress and the media in late 2012.
ACA deemed these meetings and the resulting report invaluable in helping to highlight issues and open dialogue between American citizens living and working abroad and the U.S. Government at home in Washington.
The Thomas Jefferson Award was presented to Ambassador Beyer by Jackie Abrams, ACA Director, and Marylouise Serrato, ACA Executive Director. The presentation took place in the Treaty Room at the State Department. Many dignitaries attended, including Special Counselor to the President Peter Rouse, U.S. Sen. Mark Warner (VA), former U.S. Sen. Charles Robb (VA), U.S. Reps. Jim McGovern (MA) and James Moran (VA) as well as Swiss Ambassador Manuel Sager.
In his acceptance speech, Ambassador Beyer spoke of the difficulties that Americans face when living and working overseas, and he stressed the importance of having US legislative policy that empowers Americans working overseas. “Current US tax policy to combat tax evasion is having a negative fall-out on Americans working overseas and this needs to be addressed,” he said in accepting the award.
Among the speakers were Ambassador Michele Bond, US State Department Consular Affairs’ Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary and Senator Mark Warner. Senator Warner spoke of Ambassador Beyer’s lifelong involvement in community activism and philanthropic causes, noting that Ambassador Beyer’s outreach to the American community in Switzerland was emblematic of his on-going dedication to community engagement and empowerment.