2018 Benjamin Joy Award Honors U.S. Embassy Vientiane Team
The 2018 Benjamin Joy Award, given jointly by the U.S. Departments of State and Commerce, was presented today to the State-Commerce team at U.S. Embassy Vientiane, Laos. Manisha Singh, Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs and Ian Steff representing the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Global Markets (GM) and the Director General of the U.S. & Foreign Commercial Service, presented the award at a ceremony in Washington, D.C.
The Benjamin Joy Award highlights and promotes interagency collaboration and honors commercial diplomacy excellence. This year’s winning team includes U.S. Embassy Vientiane Political/Economic Chief Machut Shishak, Economic Officer Joe Narus, Economic Specialist Athnasak Sisouk, U.S. Embassy Bangkok Senior Commercial Service Officer Gregory Wong, Commercial Officer Stephen Anderson, U.S. Embassy Hanoi Commercial Officer Timothy Cannon, Senior Commercial Specialist Kitisorn Sookpradist, and former Commerce Laos Desk Officer Anne Gillman. The State-Commerce team’s trailblazing interagency efforts in Laos are expanding the U.S.-Laos commercial relationship and enhancing U.S. influence in the Indo-Pacific region. For example, the Embassy launched a digital forum to help enable U.S. technology companies to thrive in Laos’ emerging digital economy. They partnered with the U.S. auto industry to encourage Laos to adopt standards and regulations to help remove trade barriers. The team also arranged meetings with U.S. small- and medium-sized companies in Bangkok that resulted in negotiations for a U.S.-branded resort in Laos.
The winner was selected from 18 nominations from posts around the world. The award’s namesake, Benjamin Joy, was an early exemplar of U.S. commercial and economic diplomacy, appointed in 1792 by President George Washington as the first American Consul and Commercial Agent to India. Today, there are over 200 U.S. diplomatic outposts helping to strengthen America’s economic and commercial relationships around the world.