2011 PAFSO Award Recipients

Jean-François Hubert-Rouleau, Hélène Girard, Roland Legault, Ryan Kuffner

The Professional Association of Foreign Service Officers (PAFSO) is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2011 PAFSO Canadian Service Officer Awards presented on June 9th at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa.

Following the 12 January 2010 Haitian earthquake Hélène Girard established and managed the Ottawa Haiti Processing Office (OHPO) to handle applications from quake victims desperate to join their families in Canada. She is receiving the PAFSO Award for her superior innovation, management and communication skills. An entirely new way of working had two offices, thousands of miles apart, working as one. The OHPO handled the processing while the severely damaged Port au Prince office interviewed applicants and issued visas. Hélène slashed processing times from almost three years to twelve weeks and overcame daunting communication challenges. With her superb communication skills and a deft balance of firmness and persuasion, she inspired partners to take a chance on new, untested and integrated ways of working. By April 2011, the innovative system Hélène designed and led had processed 5500 immigrant applications along with 3400 applications for temporary residence. The Ottawa Haiti Processing Office will provide the model for future Canadian responses to disasters and crises abroad and the concepts tested and perfected within OHPO will be used to reform CIC’s case processing methods under its modernization vision.

Jean-François Hubert-Rouleau, Immigration Counsellor, Port-au-Prince, Haiti, is being recognized for his extraordinary response to the January 2010 earthquake and its aftermath. Following the quake nearly 400 Haitian Canadians and their families made their way to the badly damaged Embassy. Medically trained, Jean-François provided first aid and then established an emergency kitchen that provided 2000 meals over the next 4 days. Setting up a visa office in the Embassy garage, Jean-François and his team facilitated the return to Canada of 4600 Canadians and their families along with 200 orphans destined to Canadian homes. When crowds of anxious Haitians appeared at the Embassy, time and again it was Jean-François who calmed their anxieties and reassured them. He had the Embassy’s forms and letters translated into Creole and bypassed the collapsed telephone system by using text messaging to contact clients. With no functioning hotels in Port-au-Prince he created a dormitory in his living room that accommodated up to 5 temporary duty officers for six months. To bolster the morale of hard pressed Embassy staff, all of whom had lost family and friends and some of whom were homeless, he hosted weekly social events at his home, a welcome respite from the arduous work in a time of extreme stress and loss. Throughout the crisis and its aftermath Jean-François demonstrated an inspiring leadership and generosity of spirit in the highest traditions of the Foreign Service.

Ryan Kuffner is Senior Trade Commissioner and Vice-Consul in Quito Ecuador and recipient of the PAFSO Award for his unsurpassed dedication to serving Canadian business interests. Beginning immediately upon his arrival at his first overseas posting, he organised and delivered three successive and successful ministerial visits. When the Ecuadorean government forced the renegotiation of the new Quito International Airport Project two thirds of the way to completion, Ryan played a pivotal role in defending Canadian interests such as the Canadian Commercial Corporation, with a $440 million stake. Ryan’s skilful liaising with all stakeholders, combined with his insightful strategies and accurate analysis of Ecuadorean thinking, were key to a successful outcome. His ingenuity and creativity in supporting Canada’s position as Ecuador’s most important mining sector investor led to two significant outcomes: the resumption of mineral exploration by Canadian companies after an 18 month hiatus and the start of negotiations for a long term mineral production agreement with the Ecuadorean government. Ryan’s energetic response to a high profile consular case of a family group of 16 Canadians who barely survived a harrowing shipwreck in the Galapagos elicited the observation that his standard of service went far beyond merely carrying out his professional duties. According to his Ambassador, Ryan truly cares about Canada, its presence in the world, how we are perceived and the values Canada represents.

Department of Foreign Affairs’ Roland Legault is being honoured by PAFSO for his central role in Canada’s actions against the regimes in Iran and Libya and responses to the changes in Tunisia and Egypt. Under Roland’s leadership, a succession of sanctions packages targeting Iran, Libya and the deposed leaders of Tunisia and Egypt were designed and implemented in record time. In the case of the Libyan sanctions, Roland and his team had to produce an exceptionally complex set of measures for Cabinet in just 36 hours, with the result that billions of dollars were kept out of Qaddafi’s hands. Roland and his colleagues were in the forefront in developing a ground breaking bill and accompanying regulations for the “Freezing the Assets of Corrupt Foreign Officials Act” for consideration by Parliament in just eight days. Once enacted, regulations regarding Tunisia and Egypt were in place within 3 hours. Thanks to Roland’s leadership and legal expertise, Canada has a robust toolbox to effectively address the problem of corrupt regimes that betray and abuse their citizens. Roland rises above the ordinary because of his leadership and judgement, his comprehensive and insightful legal knowledge and his communication skills.

The Canadian Foreign Service Officer Awards were instituted in 1990 by PAFSO to acknowledge exceptional achievements by career foreign service officers.

Judges for this year’s Awards were: Mr. Don Newman (Chairman of the Judges’ Panel); Mr. Serge April, General (Ret’d) John de Chastelain, Mr. John Ivison, Ms Patricia Marsden-Dole and Ms Janet Siddall.

In addition to the four PAFSO Awards, one other award was presented at the PAFSO Dinner on June 9, 2011. MsJeannette Menzies was the winner of the Retired Heads of Mission Association (RHOMA) sponsored award for the best article in bout de papier magazine for Volume 25. Her article “Students on Ice: Inspiring Tomorrow’s Leaders” appeared in Issue No. 4. She received a framed Award and cheque. Honourable Mention went to Mr.Michael McCaffrey for his article “Our Travels with Monty”, Volume 25 No. 3.

For further information, media representatives may contact:

412-47 Clarence Street
Ottawa, ON K1N 9K1


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