2014 PAFSO Award Recipients

Stephanie Duhaime, Nicholas Coghlan, Noëlla Nincevic, Eric Laporte

The Professional Association of Foreign Service Officers (PAFSO) is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2014 PAFSO Canadian Foreign Service Officer Awards presented on June 12 at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa.


Nicholas Coghlan, was head of the Office of the Canadian Embassy in Juba, South Sudan, in December 2013 when violence erupted, setting off a devastating humanitarian crisis. Nicholas negotiated space on American, British and European flights to evacuate 300 Canadians, many of them former refugees from the Sudanese civil war caught in the violence. In the crushing heat, working out of the office vehicle under a Canadian flag in the airport parking lot, Nicholas identified the fleeing Canadians and shepherded them onto outbound flights. At the end of each exhausting day Nicholas prepared situation reports and insightful political analysis to keep the government abreast of fast-paced changes. After he was evacuated to Kenya at the end of December, Nicholas continued to arrange for the UN to evacuate Canadians from remote hotspots and to make gruelling day trips to Juba to ensure their safe departure for Canada. Nicholas, who has since returned to South Sudan, will receive the PAFSO Award for inspiring leadership, skillful crisis management and exceptional service to Canadians in peril.


Stephanie Duhaime is the first and only Canadian diplomat to reside in Iraq since 1990. In less than a year Stephanie opened a Canadian Embassy office within the British embassy along with a satellite trade office in Erbil, northern Iraq. She organized three Ministerial visits, played a critical role in successfully resolving a dispute between Bombardier and the Iraqi authorities and co-organized a trade mission with the Canada-Arab Business Council – the first trade mission to Iraq in over 25 years. Stephanie managed the full spectrum of official relations with Iraq, provided consular services to Canadians and successfully stickhandled complex and sensitive immigration issues. She has enhanced Canada’s visibility in Iraq and convinced Canadian firms that it is possible to do business there. All this was accomplished within an exceedingly difficult political, operational and security environment. Stephanie’s PAFSO Award recognizes her success in advancing Canada’s diplomatic and commercial interests in Iraq.


When Typhoon Haiyan, the strongest storm ever recorded, struck the Philippines in 2013, Minister Baird asked Eric Laporte, Deputy Director, Humanitarian Policy and Disaster Response Division, to lead the joint civilian military team to the Philippines to assess the situation and provide advice on an appropriate Canadian response – a task normally reserved for a senior executive. In dreadful conditions, and under severe pressure to produce quickly, Eric’s tact, compassion and cultural awareness allowed him to garner the trust of the Philippine authorities while formulating recommendations balancing Philippine needs and Canadian capabilities. The resulting deployment of the Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) to Panay Island and other measures recommended by his team have been hailed by the Philippine government and the United Nations for exemplary sensitivity to local needs and outstanding civilian-military cooperation. Eric Laporte receives the 2014 PAFSO Award for exceptional performance, leadership and determination under extreme pressure in the face of a major tragedy.


Noëlla Nincevic, a veteran of Citizenship and Immigration’s operations in Nairobi, Beijing, Bogota and Mexico City, is being recognized as a manager guided by the highest ethical standards who creates positive and constructive work environments that improve client service and meet departmental production objectives while enhancing the competence, confidence and dedication of those she supervises. One example: while managing an 11 person unit in Beijing, her strong analytical skills and commitment to continuous improvement enabled her team to deliver visas to Canada bound spouses in half the time specified by CIC’s processing standards. She is adept at dealing sensitively but firmly with difficult cases and underperforming employees alike and is famous for her well stocked cookie jar, inspirational sayings and propensity for celebrating her employees’ career and life milestones. Noëlla’s PAFSO Award recognizes her excellence as a manager, a leader, a source of inspiration and an innovator.

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