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2018 Service Award

Ambassador William Lacy Swing

The Board of Directors of the American Committees on Foreign Relations hereby names the Ambassador William Lacy Swing the recipient of ACFR’s 2018 Distinguished Service Award for the Advancement of Public Discourse on Foreign Policy, for his service of exemplary public service in foreign policy spanning four decades, and his continued contribution to advance a constructive debate on U.S. foreign policy.

On 18th June 2008, Ambassador William Lacy Swing of the United States was elected as the Director General of the International Organization for Migration (IOM). He assumed his post on 1 October 2008 and was re-elected in October 2013. From May 2003 till January 2008, as UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) for the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Ambassador Swing successfully led all facets of the largest UN peacekeeping operation in history. Prior to this appointment, Ambassador Swing served as the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Western Sahara and Chief of Mission, United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO). Ambassador Swing has had a long and distinguished career as a member of the Senior Foreign Service of the Department of State, (USA), spanning some forty years including five postings as Ambassador to African countries – South Africa, Nigeria, Liberia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (ex-Zaire), and the former People’s Republic of the Congo (Congo Brazzaville). William Lacy Swing was assigned to the Republic of South Africa in 1989, shortly before Nelson Mandela’s release from prison. The posting was the culmination of a diplomatic career begun twenty-six years before in Port Elizabeth.

Ambassador Swing has been the recipient of numerous professional, diplomatic and academic distinctions, including the Annenberg Award for Excellence in Diplomacy from the American Academy of Diplomacy, the Presidential Certificate of Commendation, and the American Foreign Service Association’s award for “Lifetime Contribution to American Diplomacy”. He is an Honorary Fellow of the
Harris Manchester College, Oxford University and a recipient of the Order of Merit, First Class, of the Federal Republic of Germany. William Lacy Swing was born in 1934 in Lexington, North Carolina. He graduated from Catawba College (BA 1956) in North Carolina, and Yale University (BD, 1960) and pursued post-graduate studies at Tuebingen University, Germany.

Past Recipients of the Distinguished Service Award

Amb. Walter L. Cutler 2017 Amb. Ryan Crocker 2011
Sens Richard Lugar and Sam Nunn 2016 Richard Haass 2010
Amb. Paula J. Dobriansky 2015 Jim Lehrer 2009
Amb. John D. Negroponte 2014 Gen. James L. (Jim) Jones 2007
Amb. Husain Haqqani 2012 Hon. Donald P. Gregg and
Hon. Robert B. Oakley

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