The Ilchman‐Richardson Award, instituted in 2007, recognizes a domestic employee of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA), of the U.S. State Department, who has made significant contributions in the management of American cultural diplomacy, while leading and mentoring others. The award is named in appreciation of two former ECA Assistant Secretaries. After her tenure at ECA, Alice Ilchman, formerly Dean of Wellesley College, became the Associate Director of USICA and USIA (1979‐81) and then the President of Sarah Lawrence College, before becoming chair of the board of the Rockefeller Foundation; until her death in 2006, she directed the Jeanette Watson Fellowships. John Richardson, after years in corporate law, investment banking and Radio Free Europe, became Assistant Secretary for State/ECA (1968‐77); he then headed Youth For Understanding and chaired the boards of the U.S. Endowment for Democracy and the U.S. Institute of Peace.
This year’s Ilchman-Richardson Award for a Civil Service employee supporting educational and/or cultural programs in the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) went to Sana Abed-Kotob. With her cultural insights, inspiring leadership and deep compassion, Sana has significantly and substantially advanced US cultural diplomacy. As the chief of ECA’s largest division, the Office of International Visitors, San 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.
For a complete list of recipients of this award, please consult Ilchman-Richardson Award Recipients.