In honor of Public Service Recognition Week, we would like to highlight the great work done by our colleagues in the Bureau of Consular Affairs. Consular Affairs is there for people during some of the most important events of their lives, documenting births, helping families after losing a loved one overseas, and many milestones in between. There is no higher priority for the team at Consular Affairs than the safety and security of U.S. citizens abroad. The team is also on the forefront of U.S. border security, keeping the world’s leading identity document – the U.S. passport – secure, and making vital decisions every day about whether to issue visas to foreign nationals. The work of these employees demonstrates a strong commitment to the safety and security of U.S. citizens.
Michael Hoffman is the Director of the New York Passport Agency. He and his team save thousands of international trips per year by handling emergency passport applications for people who need their passports in two weeks or less. When Hurricane Sandy struck the agency in 2012, the agency was left without heat or electricity. Michael and his team found a way to continue to process passport applications. Customer service is always a priority for the New York Passport Agency, even in the face of a hurricane.Roger Rigaud:
Roger Rigaud is the Consular Chief at the U.S. Consulate in Istanbul, Turkey. Along with his team, Roger tirelessly provided safety and security information for thousands of U.S. citizens during multiple terrorist incidents and an attempted coup in July 2016. When asked what he enjoys most about public service, Roger replied, “I get to spend a lot of time helping U.S. citizens enjoy one of the world’s great cities.”Derek Kolb:
Derek Kolb is the American Citizen Services Chief at the U.S. Consulate in Merida, Mexico. His consular district on the Yucatan Peninsula receives more than eight million U.S. citizen tourists each year, making it the most visited destination for U.S. citizen travelers. Derek and his team work to make sure those U.S. citizens know what to do when things don’t go quite as planned. They are on call 24 hours per day to assist with everything from lost passports to medical emergencies.Chris Breding and Kate Hoops:
Chris Breding – a consular officer at the U.S. Consulate in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – and Kate Hoops – a consular officer currently in language training for her next assignment– assisted in evacuating U.S. citizens following the catastrophic hurricanes that struck the Caribbean in September 2017. They helped more than 300 U.S. citizens safely depart the devastated island of Dominica.Marwa Zenni:
Marwa Zenni is the Consular Chief at the U.S. Embassy in Algiers, Algeria. When asked about her top priority as a consular officer serving abroad, Marwa stated, “My number one priority is the safety and welfare of U.S. citizens living in or visiting Algeria, whether they have been arrested, victims of crime, or simply need to renew their passports.” Along with her team, she also strengthens U.S. national security by making sure that only qualified applicants for U.S. visas receive them. Marwa is proud to serve the American people and represent the United States each and every day.
About the Author: Lori Lawson serves in the Bureau of Consular Affairs at the U.S. Department of State.
Editor's Note: This entry also appears in the U.S. Department of State's publication on Medium.