Friday, October 29, 2010

FSN of the Year Award

It's award season at the Department, and I think this one is particularly well-deserved.

The Department of State is pleased to announce the selection of Ms. Dominique Gerdes, Visa Specialist from Embassy Port-au-Prince, Haiti for the 2010 Department of State Foreign Service National of the Year (FSN of the Year) award.

The 2010 Department FSN of the Year winner is a dedicated and long-serving Embassy employee recognized for her leadership and vast institutional knowledge. This was keenly demonstrated in the aftermath of the highly destructive earthquake of 12 January, 2010. Dominique actively encouraged and motivated her staff to return to work immediately after the quake to provide the tremendous logistical support needed to conduct the largest American citizen evacuation under the most extreme circumstances since WW2. Under her hands-on supervision, and with few readily-available resources, her team simultaneously oriented 75 TDYers, managed translator teams for humanitarian parole processing, prepared hundreds of emergency immigrant visas for orphans, and arranged for feeding babies in the overcrowded consular waiting areas as well as stocking food and water for 16,000 evacuees waiting at the airport. As a result of her leadership, immigrant visa processing resumed less than six weeks after the earthquake. In 2009, her superb visa management reduced the embassy immigrant visa backlog by nearly 20,000 cases, achieving the shortest visa processing time possible in the past 20 years.


Joble said...


Apologies in advance that this post is not relevant to the esteemed winner of FSN of the Year...

I wondered if you had any information on that Sergei Eisenstein sketch you use in lieu of a photo?

My research has taken me into the labyrinth of Soviet Bureaucracy, Apparatchiks and suchlike, as well as to Eisenstein, and I wondered if you had a source for the image?

I've been wondering around online archives obsessively for quite a while and my skills be flawed.

Would be grateful for any information you could spot me?

TSB said...


I came across that image in a summary of a Soviet play from 1954 which I believe used the sketch for a poster. Here's a link:

Eisenstein did many sketches, and there have been shows of some collections, such as his Mexican sketches. However, I don't know when he did that one, or which particular set of bureaucrats - Russian, French, etc. - might have inspired it.

I'll see if I can find more.

Joble said...

Thanks TSB,

I'd found that site after yours! I imagine it would have been Soviet Bureaucrats, and from what I gather he had a difficult relationship with them at times.

What attracted me to it was the relation of the drawing to the columns in the page, the lines of the sketch vs. the lines of the page, it's early days but I think that might connect to some of the studies I'll be doing on Soviet Apparatchik culture.

I'm going to keep on the lookout, and hopefully find it via the play! Cheers for the headsup!

TSB said...

You can see about 150 of his early drawings at this website:

His Mexican drawings have also been published, but I don't have a link to an online source.

I much prefer his bureaucrat sketch to any others I've found. Upon real close examination, I think the columns are depicting a newspaper, which reminds me that another reproduction of the sketch (one I can't find now) included the words "Ce Soir." That was the name of a 1930s quasi-Communist newspaper in Paris, some of whose writers - such as André Malraux - were in contact with Eisenstein, so possibly it was French bureaucrats he was thinking of.

Joble said...

That's a lot of drawings!

I've managed to find an article on a different drawing published by Camera Obscura a Duke University Journal, so that's something! It may not be the image but it's definitely along the same theme so I'll order that and see if I can't get any leads.

There's something about the Bureaucrat sketch isn't there, it and "My Position at Work" remind me of an article on Kafka that focussed on the posture of characters in his work, the head bend staring at the floor, institutions having an affect on people's bodies and such. I think both sketches are relevant.

Thanks for the research links TSB, just read the piece on Security Jargon, you are in a field that DEMANDS skepticism!