The New York State Bar Association's Distinction in International Affairs Award for 2013 has been awarded to the nation's professional diplomatic corps, men and women who dedicate their careers to furthering peace through international diplomacy.

The award, established by the Association's International Section, recognizes those who have made a major contribution to international peace, understanding and democracy. It was presented to Deputy Secretary of State William J. Burns on January 23, during the Bar Association's Annual Meeting in New York City.

"In presenting this award to a group-the career diplomats-the International Section seeks not only to honor the service of the many fine men and women worldwide who make incredible sacrifices, sometimes the ultimate sacrifice, for the sake of peace," said International Section Chair Andrew D. Otis of New York City (Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle).

"We also seek to honor the idea of service itself and support the notion that serving one's country and the world through diplomacy is a noble undertaking worthy of our highest praise and gratitude," he said.

In accepting the award on behalf of his colleagues, Burns said, "Never has there been a moment when American diplomacy mattered more to the future of the United States, and never has there been a moment when your recognition meant more to all of us in the American diplomatic service."

The official U.S. diplomatic corps dates back to 1789. The Department of State, the lead foreign affairs agency for the United States, now operates in 180 countries and has 265 diplomatic locations around the world.

Burns entered foreign service in 1982 and has served in international leadership roles under the past three U.S. Presidents. He has been Deputy Secretary of State since July 2011.

Past winners of the International Section Award include former Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev, former Polish President Lech Walesa, United Nations Secretary Generals Javier Perez de Cuellar and Dag Hammarskjold, U.S. Secretary of State Cyrus R. Vance, International Bar Association President Fernando Pelaez-Pier, and last year's winner, Dr. Peter Ackerman, co-founder of the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict.

The New York State Bar Association, with 76,000 members, is the largest voluntary state bar association in the nation. It was founded in 1876.


Contact: Mark Mahoney
Associate Director, Media Services and Public Affairs