Office of the Spokesperson, U.S. Department of State
September 9, 2023
Secretary Antony Blinken congratulates the winners of the second annual Data for Diplomacy Awards. The five winners and four honorable mentions were selected from across the Department for making major strides in leveraging data as a strategic asset in support of the Department’s mission. The winners and their exceptional work were recognized at a ceremony during the bi-annual Data Day event which celebrates data informed diplomacy.
This award program supports the Secretary’s Modernization Agenda and the Department’s Enterprise Data Strategy which call for leveraging data to inform decision making. At nearly 130 nominations, the number of submissions exceeded the award program’s successful inaugural year, demonstrating the continued and growing culture of data informed diplomacy work at the Department.
Judges carefully examined nominations in the below categories, each with an honorable mention.
Data for Diplomacy Award Winners and Honorable Mentions:
Post Award: This award is given to the top post or mission that has used innovative data solutions to advance either policy or operational objectives in line with their Integrated Country Strategy. This year’s winner is Mission Poland for the innovative use of data to support the geopolitical and humanitarian response in the aftermath of Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine.
Honorable Mention: Embassy Baku management team for leveraging data as a critical instrument of diplomacy and creating a “data-driven culture” by hosting monthly data meetings and building better data fluency throughout the mission. By asking questions and seeking the answers in the data, the team showed U.S. climate leadership, championed DEIA goals, and improved operations.
Group Award: This award is given to the group nominee that best leverages data as a strategic asset in support of the Department’s mission. This year’s winners are Dr. Susan Wolfinbarger, Natasha Christensen, Daniel “Jason” Lapadula, and Jeffrey Ellis from the Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations for outstanding performance and collaboration in the design and implementation of the Conflict Observatory program.
Honorable Mention: Nicole Patel, Hannah Brown, (Yates) William Jordan, Elliott Minge, Heather Miller, Dale Christy, Fabiola Shipley, and Jynnah Radford of the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration for successfully modernizing and transforming the reporting and analytics used to manage the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program. This resulted in faster case processing, unblocking cases pending for years, and higher numbers of refugees being resettled to the U.S.
Individual Award: This award honors the top individual nominee who has made major strides in leveraging data as a strategic asset in support of the Department’s mission. This year, the category resulted in a tie, in no particular order:
Jesse Lynch of the United States Mission to the United Nations in Geneva, Human Rights Affairs, for single-handedly changing how USUN Geneva uses data to drive decisions and influence policy at the United Nations Human Rights Council.
Chad Maddox of the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs for exceptional work in modernizing the Ho Chi Minh City Immigrant Visa process, to include identifying fraudulent activity and delivering a mission-wide technology training course for local staff.
Honorable Mention: Hussein Abdulwahab of the U.S. Embassy Dar es Salaam for outstanding work in modernizing the Afghan Task Force’s data collection and analysis efforts which greatly improved the U.S. government’s ability to vet and resettle our Afghan allies in the United States.
Data Champion: Given to a team or individual that most significantly contributes to cultivating a data culture at the Department through communications, training, or collaborative activities that improve the Department’s ability to leverage its data as a strategic asset. This year’s winner is Dr. Leonid Lantsman of the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement (INL) in appreciation for his pioneering work to identify data collection challenges inherent to foreign assistance programming in INL and Law Enforcement Affairs.
Honorable Mention: Ben Kirst and Ismael Nooraddini of the Bureau of Global Public Affairs for their success in collecting and analyzing research on irregular migration throughout the Western Hemisphere. Sharing their findings in an accessible, interoperable, and actionable way has greatly impacted White House, Department of Homeland Security, Customs and Border Patrol, State Department outreach, and informed more than $2 million in funding to advance the President’s priorities around migration.
The Enterprise Data Council (EDC) sponsors the awards each spring to incentivize and reward the workforce for integrating data into its work.
For additional information please contact M/SS Center for Analytics at CfA@state.gov or visit the Data Informed Diplomacy page at www.state.gov/data.