2012 PAFSO Award Recipients


June 7, 2012

The Professional Association of Foreign Service Officers (PAFSO) is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2012 PAFSO Canadian Service Officer Awards presented on June 7th at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa.

Extraordinary fortitude and outstanding performance as a manager, leader, innovator, trainer, mentor and negotiator make Sophie Auger a worthy recipient of the 2012 PAFSO Award. From 2009 to 2011 when the Temporary Resident Unit of the High Commission in New Delhi could receive 1000 applications in a day and the 2011 total exceeded 100,000, Sophie responded with dedication to quality service and program integrity, unflagging support to colleagues and exemplary creativity. She instituted streamlined programs like the Student Partnership Program, accommodating March 2010’s astonishing surge of 12,000 applications; the Business and Worker Express Programs for Canada’s most important Indian economic partners; and the Tourist Partners Program. Sophie’s perseverance, determination and resilience shone when the Indian government reacted to visa refusals of military personnel and the local media targeted Sophie personally. She held her team together, delivered the visa program on time and provided advice to Ottawa on revising the guidelines.

As a creative, high performance head of mission and an inspiring and caring leader, Virginie Saint-Louis represents a new generation of leadership in the Canadian Foreign Service and clearly merits a 2012 PAFSO Award. With keen judgement, understanding of Mali, discretion, and tireless determination she managed the successful response to the kidnapping of Robert Fowler and Louis Guay. She maintained a functioning embassy, evacuated dependents and provided essential consular services when rebel groups took control of much of northern Mali. Responding to the March 2012 coup, Virginie immediately informed the instigators that such actions were unacceptable to Canada and the international community. Her steady hand, calm leadership and unfailing good humour helped maintain staff morale and effectiveness. She has advanced Canadian business interests, particularly in the mining sector. Her unique insights into a complex developing society have enabled her to oversee innovative approaches to the $120million development assistance program in Mali.

Canadian Border Services Agency’s Cairo Liaison Officer, Gary Wallace, performed above and beyond the call of duty in a chaotic and challenging environment during the January 2011 Egyptian crisis. Initially without support and thanks to his leadership, communications skills and the trusting and respectful relationships he had established at Cairo Airport, he ensured hundreds of Canadian citizens and residents were promptly evacuated to safety. Gary was then sent to Libya’s Tripoli Airport where conditions were desperate, unpredictable and dangerous; he was confronted with anxious, fatigued and often hostile officials and airport employees. “Mr. Gary’s” steady demeanor and friendly approach invariably convinced the most reluctant interlocutors to provide the assistance needed for the evacuation of Canadians. Particularly noteworthy were Gary’s determined efforts regarding a number of difficult consular cases involving tragic custody disputes. Gary receives his PAFSO award for exceptional courage, superior communication and organizational skills and for his outstanding performance protecting Canadians in extreme circumstances.

Terry Wood is Canada’s recognized expert on nuclear control files. He has diligently acquired a phenomenal knowledge of the extremely complex issues that characterize this field and has a profound understanding of their evolution. Terry played a pivotal role in the negotiation of Canada’s nuclear cooperation agreement with China, an exceptionally complicated and sensitive process. With millions of dollars in uranium sales at stake Terry balanced Canadian economic interests with the integrity of Canada’s non-proliferation obligations and policy, never lowering his standards while convincing all concerned not to deviate from established policy. He tenaciously defends his convictions, which are based on vast experience and encyclopedic knowledge, but always with courtesy and respect for his interlocutors. For his phenomenal knowledge, exceptional diplomatic skills, collegiality, grace under pressure and career contribution to furthering Canada’s interests and making the world a safer place, Terry Wood receives the 2012 PAFSO Award.

The Canadian Foreign Service Officer Awards were instituted in 1990 by PAFSO to acknowledge exceptional achievements by career foreign service officers. Each Award recipient receives a certificate, cash prize and a pin.

Judges for this year’s Awards were: General (Ret’d) John de Chastelain (Chair), Mr. Scott Feschuk, Mr. Claude Laverdure, Ms Patricia Marsden-Dole, Ms Maureen O’Neil and Ms Janet Siddall.

In addition to the four PAFSO Awards, one other award was presented at the PAFSO Dinner on June 7, 2012. Mr. Ken England and Mr. Michael Kovrig were the winners of the Retired Heads of Mission Association (RHOMA) sponsored award for the best article in bout de papier magazine. Their article “DFAIT’s Global Security Reporting Program” appeared in Volume 26 No. 3. They each received a framed certificate and cheque.

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