Assistant Secretary of State Ramin Toloui and Assistant Secretary of Commerce Arun Venkataraman honored Benjamin Joy Award finalists at a ceremony on July 11, 2023.

The Benjamin Joy Award, named after Benjamin Joy, the first U.S. Consul to India, was first established in 2016 to acknowledge and promote the partnership between the Departments of State and Commerce in advancing U.S. economic and commercial interests. In July, Assistant Secretary of State Ramin Toloui and Assistant Secretary of Commerce Arun Venkataraman presided over the 2023 Benjamin Joy Awards, honoring interagency collaboration with U.S. embassies to secure important wins for U.S. companies abroad.

The 27 embassies who submitted nominations showcased outstanding interagency collaboration that successfully advanced U.S. business and national economic objectives, often in the face of complex challenges within the host country. Noteworthy initiatives included raising over $100 million in private sector earthquake relief efforts in Ankara, and helping an American company secure a $1 million technology deal in Muscat.   

The three finalists from non-Foreign Commercial Service posts were: 

  • Embassy Windhoek, which formed the largest U.S. business delegation in the history of Namibia;
  • Embassy Tunis, which was able to double the number of U.S. security and defense companies at the U.S. pavilion of Tunisia’s air show; and
  • Embassy Ljubljana, which worked to level the playing field for U.S. healthcare equipment manufacturers in Slovenia and spark reforms to Slovenia’s healthcare procurement process. 

The three finalists from embassies with U.S. Foreign Commercial Service were:

  • Embassy Warsaw, which secured Poland’s selection of a U.S. technology company for the first three of six planned reactors in its nuclear power program;
  • U.S. Mission to the European Union in Brussels, which advised the alignment of U.S. sanctions and export controls across more than $100 billion of trade with Russia;  
  • Embassy San Jose, which leveraged over 10 U.S. agencies to create opportunities for a trusted vendor solution for Costa Rica’s 5G network.

The Benjamin Joy Award reminds us of the importance of collaboration and cooperation across different government agencies in pursuit of the United States’ economic interests. This prestigious award serves as a testament to the impact of joint efforts by the Department of State and the Department of Commerce to advance America’s economic interests on the global stage.

About the Author: Esma Abib is a summer 2023 U.S. Foreign Service Intern in the Office of Economic Policy Analysis and Public Diplomacy in the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs.

U.S. Department of State

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