Examples of Excellence

From among the legions of outstanding diplomats who have served the United States since the middle of the 20th century, the following 25 individuals were chosen to exemplify the highest standards of the profession. The list is by no means intended to be exhaustive, or to suggest that others are not equally, if not more, deserving of such attention.


Thomas D. Boyatt (1933- )

In the early stages of his career, Thomas “Tom” Boyatt served in Chile, Luxembourg and Cyprus. As a very junior FSO in Chile, he developed close friendships with several fast-rising Chileans who would become that nation’s leaders at the time Boyatt returned to that country as deputy chief of mission. While serving in Cyprus he received a Meritorious Honor Award in 1969 for "heroism in helping injured passengers to safety and negotiating passenger relief with Syria" during the 1969 Palestinian guerilla hijacking of a TWA plane on which Boyatt was a passenger. One year later he received the William R. Rivkin Award for "intellectual courage, creativity, disciplined dissent, and taking bureaucratic and physical risks for peace on Cyprus." During his subsequent tour in Washington, Boyatt became president of the American Foreign Service Association (AFSA) and led its transformation from being a professional association to becoming a union-like "exclusive bargaining unit" representing the entire State Department Foreign Service community in its relations with Department management. In the years prior to his retirement in 1985, Boyatt served as ambassador successively to Upper Volta (now Burkina Faso) and Colombia. In 1999 he received the Foreign Service Cup for postretirement contributions to the Foreign Service from DACOR (Diplomatic and Consular Officers Retired) and in 2001, he received the lifetime achievement award from AFSA. He is the founder and president of the Foreign Affairs Council, an umbrella body of 11 organizations that support the Foreign Service.