Good afternoon. I want to welcome everyone to the 2022 Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR) Employee Awards Ceremony. I am particularly thankful that we’re able to hold this year’s ceremony in-person after more than two years of virtual events due to COVID-19. Let me begin by recognizing several people who were critical to making today’s ceremony a reality. I’d like to thank the INR Awards Committee for reviewing the hundreds of submissions and coordinating with INR’s Office of the Executive Director (EX) and other INR offices. I also want to thank our Human Resources team, especially Eric Johansen and Souheir Carty, and INR interns Sebastian Key and Rajdeep Dhillon for their efforts over many months to make this ceremony possible. Thank you.
Today, we are honoring the outstanding work and dedication of INR employees. I’m pleased to report we have 140 individual award recipients and 10 group awards! For everyone receiving an award today, my message is simple: Thank you. Thank you for serving the country and for going above and beyond to provide the best intelligence and support to empower diplomacy. INR, the Intelligence Community, and the State Department are stronger because of your contributions.
As is often the case in the world of intelligence, you’ve made vital contributions without fanfare or public recognition. But I want you to know that I see the value of INR’s work every day. You’ve authored intelligence assessments that warned policymakers of President Putin’s long-term goals for Ukraine and highlighted Russian atrocities in Ukraine. You’ve provided a stream of foreign public opinion polling to help shape public diplomacy and foreign policy. You’ve provided important operational and analytic support to policymakers in Washington and to U.S. Missions overseas. You’ve led the way for the Department on new approaches to improving Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility. You’ve taken care of our people, worked to modernize our technology ecosystem, and advocated for unprecedented resources and funding for the Bureau. For these efforts – and many more – I am deeply grateful.
Today, we’re recognizing and honoring the very best in INR. Ultimately, this is what it’s all about – doing our absolute best every day to make sure INR is serving the Department and the American people. Many of the talented folks we’re recognizing today could serve in the private sector with more perks and better pay. But you’ve chosen to serve the country by working in INR. I can’t overemphasize how important it is to have people like you who choose to serve.
For everyone here today, don’t forget what an incredible opportunity you have in INR to make a difference – whether you’re in HR, an analyst, operations specialist, watch officer, or a technologist – you have a unique opportunity to create a safer, more peaceful, and more prosperous world. It’s a privilege to serve in the positions you hold. I want you to know how much Secretary Blinken and I appreciate your work and service on behalf of the Department and the nation. I am proud to be your colleague and partner.
Now for the fun part – handing out the awards. I will turn the mic over to Ambassador Stevenson to announce the winners. Congratulations to the awardees!