The Professional Association of Foreign Service Officers is pleased to announce the recipient of the second annual Randy Orr Memorial Award. Established in 2022 to honour the memory of our long-serving Executive Committee, the award recognizes the volunteer service and exceptional dedication of our members, their families or other colleagues, that has contributed to improving the life for those who serve Canada abroad.
Nominations for the award opened in late July. In the months since, the Awards Committee was pleased to receive several outstanding nominations. After careful and difficult deliberation, the committee has now made their selection.
The 2023 Randy Orr Memorial Award goes to Melanie Bejzyk (FS3 – DD JLT), Mark Allen (EX2 – DG NGD) and David Da Silva (EX1 – RMLAH HOM) who were instrumental in formalizing the Global Affairs Canada (GAC) Pride Network in 2017. They successfully brought together 2SLGBTQI+ employees, both in Canada and at missions abroad, to work on a set of three common goals: to create a more diverse and inclusive workplace; to provide better information and protections abroad for 2SLGBTQI+ employees and their families; and to foster a more supportive department.
They also encouraged GAC to work with Canadian missions across the globe to create the 2SLGBTQI+ Accreditation and Living Conditions tool. This tool provides information vital to 2SLGBTQI+ employees seeking to serve abroad. From accreditation to legal status, access to health care, social conditions and the prevalence of violence, this tool has allowed PAFSO members in the community to make informed posting decisions that ensure their mental and physical well-being, as well as that of their families, while serving Canada abroad.
For all their selfless dedication to colleagues and the wider FS 2SLGBTQI+ community, Melanie Bejzyk, Mark Allen and David Da Silva receive the 2023 Randy Orr Memorial Award. The Award, with its $1000 prize, was presented at PAFSO’s 58th Annual General Meeting on October 23, 2023.
The committee would like to thank everyone who took the time to nominate a colleague or lend their name in support of a nomination. They could not be more pleased with the enthusiasm and interest the Randy Orr Memorial Award continues to receive, and they look forward to 2024.