U.S. Department of StateWASHINGTON, D.C. /eNewsChannels/ — Six winners will receive the Associates of the American Foreign Service Worldwide (AAFSW) Secretary of State Award for Outstanding Volunteerism Abroad (SOSA) at a ceremony on Tuesday, December 4 at 10 a.m. in the Benjamin Franklin Diplomatic Reception Room at the Department of State. Deputy Secretary Burns will make remarks to congratulate the winners and highlight their exemplary volunteer service.

The awards recognize U.S. Government employees, family members, including domestic partners; and other members of household at embassies and consulates who gave exceptional volunteer service to their communities, mission or host country, or rendered outstanding assistance in emergencies. This year’s award winners are:

Karl P. Deringer – Kigali (AF)

Helped a socially marginalized ethnic group in the village of Bwiza become food secure, provided income-generating skills and used the villagers’ singing talents to raise their profile in a positive way.

Cassandra D. Brenn – Hanoi (EAP)

Organized and led a regular series of “Conversation Hours” at the American Center in Hanoi,

furthered the exchange of American and Vietnamese culture, and strengthened the United States’ relationship with Vietnam in creative and even unconventional ways.

Elizabeth Joy Shaffer – Skopje (EUR)

Through groundbreaking work, provided necessary tools and resources to children with Autism Spectrum Disorders in Macedonia.

Jan Cote-Cartwright – Tel Aviv (NEA)

Collected donations of household items and set up sewing centers which offered income-generating skills for residents of TIP shelters.

Dr. Charles E. Wright – New Delhi (SCA)

Provided medical assistance and medical training to the urban poor in New Delhi through numerous activities.

Amy L. Zimmerman – Brasilia (WHA)

Brought nourishment and education to disadvantaged children in Greater Brasilia through her program T.E.A.C.H, which translates into Trazer (Bringing) Educacao (Education) Alimentacao (Nourishment) Carinho (Care/Compassion) e Hope (and Hope).

A brief synopsis of the volunteer activity that earned each winner her/his award can be found at: