Yolanda Robinson

Ilchman-Richardson Award, 2019 

In over ten years of service as ECA’s Deputy Director and Director of Budget and Finance, Yolanda has ensured that the Department of State accomplishes its cultural diplomacy  mission in the most cost-effective manner. With her all-encompassing knowledge of the Bureau’s operations, Yolanda informs important financial decisions that ensure the long-term success of ECA’s cultural and educational programs. Beyond her immense technical knowledge, she has the ability to translate policy and finances into genuine people-to-people connections. Serving as a leader and mentor to her colleagues, is what truly sets Yolanda apart and makes her indispensable to the Bureau and its mission.

Sana Abed-Kotob

Ilchman-Richardson Award, 2018

With her cultural insights, inspiring leadership and deep compassion, Sana Abed-Kotob has significantly and substantially advanced US cultural diplomacy. As the chief of ECA’s largest division, the Office of International Visitors, Sana manages projects that impact thousands of people around the world each year. Despite the scope of her position, Sana does not lose sight of individual needs, as she guides, mentors and inspires ECA staff and partners. Sana’s efforts have made operations more efficient, improved inter-agency cooperation and expanded public-private contributions to advancing cultural and educational exchanges. It is no exaggeration to say that every US diplomatic post in the world has benefited from Sana’s expertise in cultural diplomacy programming.

David Plack

From left to right: Acting Assistant Secretary for the ECA Mark Taplin, David Plack, LRE Chair Skyler Arndt-Briggs and LRE Founder Richard Arndt.

Ilchman-Richardson Award, 2017

In recognition of his work as Director (Senior Advisor) for Policy, Academic Programs, ECA.

Rick Ruth

Ilchman-Richardson Award, 2016

Rick’s expertise and deep commitment to excellence in the conduct of cultural and public diplomacy have inspired countless ECA and State Department colleagues. Through a career spanning four decades, he has always focused on relationships with people—predicated on the respectful exchange of ideas and experiences, and reflecting the founding premise and highest aspirations of US cultural diplomacy.

Lorie Nierenberg

Ilchman-Richardson Award, 2015

Lorie Nierenberg OfficeIn recognition of  contributions over a distinguished 23-year career with the United States Information Agency (USIA) and the Department of State as Attorney-Advisor for Public Diplomacy in the Office of the Legal Advisor, providing consistently valuable and insightful advice in a time when the number and complexity of issues are growing steadily. Her own experience as an exchange student in Germany has informed her guidance and the insights essential to producing Fulbright agreements that support US policy goals and meet bilateral priorities. In the 1990s, she played a central role in resolving the legal ramifications of merging USIA into State; this was an achievement of immeasurable importance, as her efforts created the structure that supports all the work now done by ECA every day.

Michael Weider

Ilchman-Richardson Award, 2014

MikeWeider1-e1417984434144-300x255In recognition of 27 years of dedication to the goals of US cultural diplomacy. The grants process he oversees—as Division Chief of the Program Management Branch in the Executive Office of ECA/IIP—is the engine that powers ECA work and programs. He is honored for his intense commitment to the ECA mission, his mastery of complex management processes and his devotion to serving and helping his colleagues.

Julia Walters

Julia Walters receives the Ilchman-Richardfson Award from Assistant Secretary Ann Stock and Chair Dick Arndt.

Ilchman-Richardson Award, 2013

In recognition of her work as a Senior Program Officer in the Office of English Language Programs of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. In particular, Walters won the award for invigorating and modernizing English language programs by recruiting and supporting top English Language Fellows and English Teaching Assistants who serve abroad, and for her cultural sensitivity, integrity and generosity. Walters died soon after receiving this award; in her memory, the Roth Endowment contributed her prize to her daughter’s education fund. (Julia Walters Obituary)

Chris Miner

Ilchman-Richardson Award, 2012

In recognition of her career‐long achievements in cultural diplomacy, including her efforts in support of the high‐profile US‐Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission.

Patricia Ehrnman

Ilchman-Richardson Award, 2011

In recognition of her work as the liaison between the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of African Affairs and Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

Marianne Craven

Ilchman-Richardson Award, 2010

In recognition of her contribution as the managing director of academic programs for the Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs.