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2012 PDAA Awards Recognize Public Diplomacy Excellence

2012 achievement award winner and U.S. Embassy Harare Public Affairs Counselor Sharon Hudson-Dean in 2011 speaking to 400 high school girls about Women’s History Month

2012 achievement award winner and U.S. Embassy Harare Public Affairs Counselor Sharon Hudson-Dean in 2011 speaking to 400 high school girls about Women’s History Month

Public Diplomacy Alumni Association highlights achievements by professionals in Zimbabwe, Okinawa, and Washington, DC

Successful public diplomacy requires leadership, imagination, resourcefulness, and determination, and in many cases under challenging conditions. The Public Diplomacy Alumni Association (PDAA, formerly USIA Alumni Association) recognizes outstanding achievement by individuals and teams at overseas posts and at State Department headquarters that display these qualities, among others.

The three winners of this year’s recognition of public diplomacy achievement — the 15th awards in the series that has become an annual event — took place at PDAA’s 2012 annual dinner on May 6 in Washington, D.C.

Heather Eaton, Public Affairs Officer, U.S. Consulate General, Naha, Okinawa, Japan In recognition of her innovative leadership and creativity in advancing U.S. strategic objectives in Okinawa — despite an historically difficult public affairs environment and  limited resources —  by building a collaborative network of American and Japanese  civilian and military PD professionals, educators, librarians and volunteers  to expand U.S. outreach and refocus programming to core security-related themes.

Heather Grace Eaton has served as the Public Affairs Officer at the U.S. Consulate General in Naha, Okinawa since August 2010.  Prior to serving in Naha, she served one year in the Consular Section and one year as Staff Assistant to the Ambassador in Warsaw, Poland, and she spent two years in Osaka, Japan in the Non-Immigrant Visa Unit.  Heather joined the State Department in January 2005 after working as the Assistant Director of the International Legal Studies Program at the Washington School of Law, American University.  Heather is a member of the California Bar and enjoys swimming competitively in her spare time.

Sharon Hudson-Dean, Counselor for Public Affairs, U.S. Embassy Harare, Zimbabwe In recognition of her exceptional courage, creativity and perseverance — in the face of daunting political and communications challenges – in cultivating new and effective platforms for U.S. engagement with Zimbabwean youth, women, opposition groups and a hostile media , building American and Zimbabwean partnerships and exchange alumni  support for public diplomacy efforts, and harnessing the power of social media to outstanding  effect.

Sharon Hudson-Dean is the Counselor for Public Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Harare, Zimbabwe, where she is responsible for leading the U.S. government’s media, educational and cultural programs in support of Zimbabwe’s transition to democracy, rule of law and stable economic growth.  Prior to taking this position in 2010, she served as Press Attaché for three years at the U.S. Mission to South Africa, acting as spokesperson for the Embassy in Pretoria and three consulates in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban.  Sharon is a public diplomacy foreign service officer who has served in Kathmandu, Tbilisi, Moscow, Sydney and Washington, DC.  In 2005, she spent one year as an American Political Science Association Congressional Fellow in the office of Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL).  She is a graduate of Georgetown University, an avid cyclist, and proud mother of three children.

Jean Manes, Director of Resources, Office of Policy, Planning and Resources (R/PPR), in recognition of your outstanding initiative, insight and determination in leading a thorough strategic review of Department of State public diplomacy personnel and budgets, effectively advocating for public diplomacy resources and field-directed input, and tutoring a generation of PD managers in building the foundations for long-term resource planning.

Jean Manes has been with the State Department for 19 years serving in a variety of public diplomacy positions as well as Principal Officer.  Her most recent overseas assignment was as the Cultural Affairs Officer to Brazil where she focused on the use of the 38 Binational Centers and the development of a 6-year English teaching strategy in advance of the World Cup and Olympic Games in Brazil.  Currently, she serves in Washington as the Director for Resources for the Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs.  In this position, she oversees the strategic assignment of $1.1 billion dollars for public diplomacy across the various bureaus of the State Department.  She has a Masters degree in International Management from The American University and is a recipient of the Lois Roth Award for Excellence in Educational and Cultural Diplomacy.

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