The Public Diplomacy Council of America honors achievement in U.S. public diplomacy through an awards program that recognizes exemplary contributions to the field. Since 1993, PDCA and its predecessor organizations have recognized the outstanding work conducted by members of the Foreign Service, Civil Service, Locally Employed Staff (LES), employees of binational centers and American Corners, and EducationUSA advisers.

We also recognize U.S. organizations that facilitate public diplomacy and mutual understanding. Since 1993, the Public Diplomacy Association of America has presented individual and group awards that draw valuable recognition to innovative public diplomacy successes around the globe.

These awards:

  • Honor the achievements of practitioners.
  • Promote public understanding of, participation in, and support for U.S. public diplomacy.
  • Assist practitioners, students, and scholars of public diplomacy to keep up-to-date with new developments in the field of global communications.

Nomination procedures and more information about the program are available at

Beginning in 2024, PDCA will also present an award to a Senior Officer for Public Diplomacy Leadership. To read about that award, click here.

2024 Awards for Achievement in Public Diplomacy

Four Exemplars of Importance of Public Diplomacy to American Foreign Policy

By Domenick DiPasquale

Innovative work to advance U.S. foreign policy objectives across a variety of critical transnational issues – climate change, disinformation, migration – characterizes the four recipients of PDCA’s 2024 awards for achievement in public diplomacy.

In compiling their outstanding records of accomplishment, all four demonstrated excellence in team leadership, advanced organizational skills, creative use of social media, and sustained energy and drive.

The four recipients so honored by PDCA this year are:

Wren Elhai, Spokesperson, Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs  (OES) at the Department of State

Patricia Muñoz, Strategic Content Specialist, U.S. Consulate General Ciudad Juarez

Public Affairs Section, U.S. Embassy Bratislava, consisting of four American officers and 10 locally-employed staffers led by Public Affairs Officer Tamara Sternberg-Greller

Josh Lustig, Public Diplomacy Officer for Emerging Voices, U.S. Embassy Seoul

"These award winners represent both domestic and foreign employees of the State Department who work creatively and energetically to further U.S. objectives and help foreign audiences understand our country," noted Ambassador Earl Anthony Wayne, co-chair of the PDCA Awards Committee. "They also reflect the fact that public diplomacy overseas includes both Americans and Locally Employed Staff members who work hard to defend American values and represent the United States."

Continue reading here.

2024 Awards for Public Diplomacy Leadership by a Senior Officer

Two senior officers in the U.S. Department of State have been chosen as the first recipients of awards for Public Diplomacy leadership.
     The Public Diplomacy Council of America (PDCA) has named U.S. Ambassador to Chile Bernadette M. Meehan and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Camille P. Dawson as 2024 recipients of its Awards for Public Diplomacy Leadership by Senior Officers.
     Ambassador Meehan was recognized for her leadership of the U.S. celebration of the bicentennial of U.S.-Chile relations and the response to the 50th anniversary of the Pinochet coup that derailed democracy in the country for 30 years. PDCA noted that Meehan guided a public diplomacy strategy that cut across all U.S. agencies represented at the mission in Santiago.
    Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Dawson was recognized for integrating public diplomacy strategies across the range of foreign policy objectives in support of the U.S. Indo-Pacific strategy. PDCA noted that Dawson also built effective partnerships between the State Department and DOD military commands, leading to better PD coordination.
    PDCA President Joel Fischman praised the two recipients. They represent the terrific leaders the State Department has attracted to guide the U.S. effort to help foreign audiences understand U.S. society and values and its foreign policy goals. Their leadership and use of the tools needed to explain our country ensure that our national security interests are front-and-center in all aspects of the work of America’s diplomats, according to Fischman.  
    PDCA is a nonprofit association of practitioners and scholars that promotes excellence in the professional practice, academic study, and advocacy for public diplomacy. Its 500 members are drawn from U.S. Foreign Service Officers, scholars, and other practitioners.
    The awards were created to recognize individuals in the Department of State who provide broad leadership in the area of public diplomacy. PDCA was especially interested recognizing individuals who lead whole-of-government efforts to advance U.S. national interests.
    Meehan and Dawson will be recognized at a webinar later this year.

2023 Awards for Achievement in Public Diplomacy

Excellence in Public Diplomacy Takes Many Forms
     Working under wartime conditions in Kyiv to demonstrate continued U.S. support for Ukraine against Russian aggression. Engaging young audiences in Türkiye through video gaming. Orchestrating the bicentennial of diplomatic relations with Mexico. Bringing America to the remote hinterlands of Albania.
     The 2023 recipients of the PDCA awards for excellence in public diplomacy have advanced American foreign policy objective though their innovative use of technology, stellar management and leadership skills, outside-the-box thinking, and sheer hard work and perseverance.    
     The four recipients are:

  • Public Diplomacy Section, Embassy Kyiv
  • Onur Dizdar, Cultural Affairs Assistant, Consulate General Istanbul 
  • Monica Sarmiento, Strategic Public Engagement Specialist, Embassy Mexico City
  • Mobile American Corner Team, Embassy Tirana

      These awards reflect the extraordinary efforts of America’s diplomats and their professional staffs to share our country’s story and explain the policies and motivations of the United States. Under difficult circumstances and constrained resources, public diplomacy professionals demonstrate creativity and commitment to getting the message out that America is dedicated to the ideals on which our country was founded, noted PDCA co-president Joel Fischman.
     Fischman continued: The men and women we recognize, and the people who nominated them, understand that a consistent and committed engagement with friends and foes alike is necessary to bring about our vision of a peaceful and fair and prosperous world. We thank all of the diplomats, their staffs, and the support personnel and volunteers throughout the United States who share America’s story. I want especially to call attention to the fact that two of the recipients of awards this year are locally-employed staffers from the diplomatic posts. Their selections help highlight the fact that our diplomatic efforts overseas involve staff from the countries involved. We are indebted to them as well as to their American colleagues.

     Continue reading here.

2021 Awards for Achievement in Public Diplomacy

Covid-19 pandemic notwithsanting, public diplomacy practitioners across the globe continued to engage their local audiences creatively on key policy issues, as clearly evidenced by the winners of the 2021 awards for achievement in public diplomacy.

Whether showcasing U.S. support for democracy and human rights, combating trafficking in persons, encouraging entrepreneurship, or crafting calibrated messaging on immigration policy, the 2021 award winners employed strategies ranging from old school printed flyers to cutting-edge social media campaigns to communicate effectively with foreign publics.

The four winners of the 2021 awards were:

  • Public Affairs Section, U.S. Consulate General Hong Kong & Macau
  • Ms. Sohini Das, Public Engagement Specialist, U.S. Consulate General Kolkata
  • Public Affairs Section, U.S. Embassy Algiers
  • Allyson Hamilton-McIntire, Assistant Information Officer, U.S. Embassy Mexico City

Public Affairs Section, U.S. Consulate General Hong Kong & Macau

Confronted with the Chinese Communist Party’s harsh crackdown on democracy and human rights in Hong Kong, as well as attempts to implicate the United States in the resulting political unrest, the Consulate’s public affairs section (PAS) launched a campaign on multiple media platforms to push back against Beijing’s repressive measures. It was accomplished by highlighting positive USG support for Hong Kong and its autonomy, spotlighting Chinese government efforts to restrict Hong Kong’s fundamental freedoms, and reinforcing shared U.S.-Hong Kong values through expanded people-to-people ties.

Sohini Das, Public Engagement Specialist, U.S. Consulate General Kolkata

Combatting human trafficking is a priority for U.S. diplomatic missions in India. With eastern India a major trafficking hub, Public Engagement Specialist Sohini Das at the U.S. consulate in Kolkata has developed a multi-layered approach to the problem. The cornerstone of this initiative is the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Conclave that brings together key players to address new and ongoing challenges. Targeted activities throughout the year culminate in the annual conclaves, which have produced significant collaborations leading directly to positive legislative and judicial results.

Public Affairs Section, U.S. Embassy Algiers

Algeria faces a significant youth bulge in its population, high unemployment, and a stagnant economy dominated by inefficient state-run companies. In response to this challenging environment, the Embassy public affairs section produced and broadcast a Shark Tank-style reality television show called Andi Hulm (I Have a Dream), to promote the importance of entrepreneurship and to support U.S. businesses in Algeria. The 60 original contestants competed in challenges related to sales and marketing, business operations, product design, management, and teamwork. The ten-episode show, which was set at American businesses operating in Algiers, resulted in the crowning of a champion who received a cash prize and went on a State Department-funded incubation exchange in the United States.

Allyson Hamilton-McIntire, Assistant Information Officer, U.S. Embassy Mexico City

The Central American migrant surge at the U.S. southern border posed major challenges for Embassy Mexico, in particular the need to communicate different messages to those who had pending U.S. asylum cases and to the much larger number who did not. Assistant Information Officer Allyson Hamilton-McIntire took on the daunting high priority task of developing a finely nuanced communication strategy on migration policy aimed at these two very different audiences. For the thousands of migrants with pending asylum cases, Hamilton-McIntire filled the existing information vacuum with detailed guidelines, timelines, and procedures on the asylum process.

For a list of past recipients of awards, click here.