Esti Durahsanti

Gill Jacot-Guillarmod Award, 2020 

Since her arrival in 2003, Esti’s interpersonal skills and leadership has provided the foundation for the Consulate’s public diplomacy programming and serves as an example of excellence for all Consulate employees.  Her extensive knowledge and experience with Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math (STEAM), women empowerment, disability rights, LGBTQ issues and trafficking in persons have driven Surabaya to create cutting-edge programming with broad impact.  In just one example, Esti partnered with a local TEDx organization to amplify a speaker program on Astrophysics to reach thousands more across the Indonesian archipelago.  Countless young women wrote to share how the event inspired them to pursue higher education in the United States as well as STEAM-oriented careers.

Felicity Aziz

Gill Jacot-Guillarmod Career Achievement Award, 2020

Over a 40-year career, Felicity Aziz, Deputy Director of the American Center, Jerusalem,has managed Center operations and staff, while serving as the liaison to some 35 grantee organizations. The Mission relies on her advice regarding women’s empowerment and economic development, religious affairs, innovation and entrepreneurship, climate and environmental issues, rule of law, good governance and peripheral communities.  Felicity has successfully informed and influenced generations of Israel’s future leaders, current influencers and professionals through her deep understanding of her community, her knowledge of how to use public diplomacy tools to their fullest extent and her determination to make a positive difference in the lives of her fellow citizens.

Ali Al Ghadban

Gill Jacot-Guillarmod Career Achievement Award, 2020

Ali Al Ghadban, Cultural Assistant, U.S. Consulate General Jeddah, has supported the entire U.S. Mission to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia with his stellar work in exchange and alumni programs over thirty-five years of service.  His connections across Saudi Arabia run deep and he continually leverages his vast network of contacts to strengthen U.S.-Saudi ties through education and cultural exchange and deepen connections with the next generation of Saudi leaders.

Ivanka Ponikvar

Gill Jacot- Guillarmod Career Achievement Award, 2020 

For most of the nearly three decades that Slovenia has been an independent nation, Ivanka Ponikvar, Education and Professional Exchanges Specialist, U.S. Embassy Slovenia, has been the Embassy’s most respected exchanges interlocutor.  Known for her compassion, around-the-clock attentiveness to detail and commitment to participant satisfaction, she deftly navigated a changing political and economic landscape to recruit the nation’s most promising educational and professional exchange participants. Ivanka owes her success to creating and maintaining the Embassy’s most productive and mutually-beneficial relationships by discerning the right balance, qualifications and temperaments of successful participants.  She has steadily increased the Embassy’s network of policy and opinion-makers who have advanced US interests in measurable ways.

Helena Vagnerova

Gill Jacot-Guillarmod Career Achievement Award, 2020

Helena Vagnerova, Senior Member, Established Opinion Leader Team, U.S. Embassy Prague is a living legend within Embassy Prague and has mentored generations of Foreign Service Officers and local staff. She has mastered every aspect of public diplomacy, from brainstorming to carrying out policy-relevant, impactful programming. She can single-handedly draft Front Office memos and remarks for the Ambassador, while managing a panoply of logistical, budgetary and bureaucratic issues. In doing so, she personifies how cultural programs advance US security, economic, and policy objectives, as well as the critical role cultural outreach plays in strengthening the bonds between the two countries. During Secretary Pompeo’s historic speech at the Czech Senate in August 2020, he cited Helena’s work on the PKF Prague Philharmonia’s concert at the Ambassador’s Residence as an example of U.S.-Czech friendship and solidarity.

Helen Reidy

Gill Jacot-Guillarmod Award, 2019 

As Cultural Affairs Specialist at the U.S. Consulate General in Australia over the past 27 years, Helen has inspired hundreds of Australian students to study abroad in the United States by creating specialized outreach programs for EducationUSA and increasing media coverage to make opportunities more visible. Her unwavering dedication to educating students about study in the United States led to the U.S. becoming the first-choice destination for study abroad for Australian students. Helen has created long-lasting professional relationships that will continue to strengthen the greater U.S.-Australia partnership for years to come.

Marta Garcia de Bello

Gill Jacot-Guillarmod Award Honorable Mention, 2019 

Marta’s leadership as a Cultural Affairs Specialist has been crucial to maintaining diplomatic relationships in Venezuela even after the official American presence there ended. Due to Marta’s resilience in the face of these difficult circumstances, outreach activities by EducationUSA and American Spaces continue guiding current and future leaders of Venezuela to become agents of positive change.

Nadia Ouhenia

Gill Jacot-Guillarmod Co-Winner, 2018

Louiza “Nadia” Ouhenia, who has worked with U.S. Embassy Algiers for 25 years, is the master of a portfolio that covers the gamut of cultural and educational engagement with Algeria, single handedly managing the Post’s entire professional exchange program. Even during the “Dark Decade,” when she faced real danger just coming to work, Nadia has been a trusted barometer for new initiatives and has proven that even seemingly impossible projects can be achieved through dedication and hard work. Her institutional memory and attention to each grantee and program partner have built bridges between embassy officials and program alumni who have opened doors and multiplied the entire Embassy’s effectiveness.

Felix Mbatalbaye

Gill Jacot-Guillarmod Co-Winner, 2018

Felix Mbatalbaye, of U.S. Embassy N’Djamena in Chad, has utilized his interpersonal skills and judicious recruitment of program participants to build a powerful network of contacts in a variety of fields, and his procurement of essential resources and expertise has transformed the US Embassy into the partner of choice for Chadians over the course of his 29-year career. Always a steadfast and trusted leader, Felix ensured programs continued during the evacuation of American staff in 2008 and even drafted the Post’s first Public Diplomacy Implementation Plan during a gap between Public Affairs Officers. Approaching mandatory retirement, Felix Mbatalbaye leaves a profound legacy.

Markéta Kolářová

Gill Jacot-Guillarmod Award Honorable Mention, 2018

Marketa Kolarova, an invaluable advisor to Political Affairs Officers and Ambassadors in Prague, Czech Republic, for 28 years, revitalized US-Czech cultural relations after the Velvet Revolution. With her profound insight and managerial savvy, she midwifed the Fulbright Commission; right-sized American Spaces; and led nationwide teacher tech-training, literature engagement and English language programming, all resulting in a closer US-Czech relationship for decades to come.