Annual Awards for Service, Dedication, and Achievements

08-Jun-2017 Categories: Press Releases Volunteer Stories Washington

Celebrating Excellence at IESC

This month, IESC celebrates 53 years of bringing private sector solutions to sustainble economic development. IESC's longevity and success are made possible because of our people. Every year, we recognize employees and volunteers whose dedication and service have truly made an impact on the lives and livelihoods of people around the world. Last month, IESC presented its annual awards at our triannual board meeting in Washington, D.C.

Frank Pace Award

  Jan Buresh on a volunteer assignment in Morocco

Volunteers have been a critical part of IESC’s mission since 1964. The Frank Pace Award, named for one of IESC’s founders, is awarded each year to the volunteer expert who performed the most outstanding project in the previous year. This year, IESC recognized Jan Buresh for her volunteer support on our Farmer-to-Farmer Middle East and North Africa Program.

Buresh went on assignments in both Lebanon and Morocco. In Lebanon, she helped a microfinance organization assess agriculture lending needs in the southern part of the country. In Morocco, Buresh helped a local foundation to identify the needs of their beneficiaries and draft scopes of work for future IESC volunteers. During her 20-day assignment, she laid the groundwork for IESC to field more volunteers to Morocco, a new core country for the Farmer-to-Farmer Program.

Despite the ongoing security concerns and political instability in the region, Buresh fully embraced the opportunity to return to Lebanon and accept an assignment in an unfamiliar area outside Beirut. Similarly Buresh embraced an assignment in Morocco under challenging circumstances. She hit the ground running and got right to work. After returning home from Morocco, Buresh remained involved with and invested in the Farmer-to-Farmer Program, her host organization, and Land O’Lakes, the prime award holder for the program.

Although the ultimate impact of her assignments remains to be seen, Buresh did phenomenal work that laid the groundwork for future success. 

With a background in finance and business development, Buresh has completed three other assignments for IESC. She is the volunteer embodiment of IESC’s mission, committed to ensuring that host organizations and beneficiaries get the knowledge and skills they need to build a resilient economy and thriving community.


Tarek Nabhan International Award

Margarita De los Santos  

Established in 2013, the Tarek Nabhan International Achievement Award recognizes staff members in the field who regularly go above and beyond their normal job responsibilities to achieve excellence. The award is named after Tarek Nabhan in recognition of his 31 years of service to IESC.

This year, IESC honored Margarita De los Santos, the finance and administration manager with the Exporting Quality and Safety Program in the Dominican Republic.

With the program from the beginning, de los Santos manages a team of seven and coordinates several critical administrative functions. She has used her talent and instincts to recruit talented staff and consultants whose hard work helps to meet the project’s objectives to improve food safety and quality of Dominican fruits and vegetables and increase exports to strengthen the local economy.

De los Santos is praised as an excellent negotiator who ensures the biggest possible return from program resources. Her colleagues admit that she “runs a tight ship,” but does so with humor and integrity. Thanks in large part to de los Santos, the program better supports the Dominican people through well-organized activities that are thoughtfully executed.


David Rockefeller Spirit of Service Award

David Rockefeller (smiling, center) after the White House Rose Garden announcement of the launch of IESC, June 1964  

Established in 1992, IESC’s David Rockefeller Spirit of Service Award recognizes outstanding and continuing contributions to IESC. All members of the IESC family, including staff, consultants, chiefs of party, and volunteer experts are eligible for the award.

IESC presented the 2016 David Rockefeller Spirit of Service Award posthumously to David Rockefeller himself, who died on March 21 at the age of 101. There is no one who embodies the spirit of IESC more than our founder. Mr. Rockefeller understood that strengthening small and medium businesses in developing countries could fuel innovation, expand opportunity, and lead to more peaceful and prosperous nations—outcomes that are in America’s interest, too. Mr. Rockefeller (along with IESC’s co-founders) was an extremely successful businessperson, and as such, exemplifies the practical, market-based approach to development that IESC has upheld for 53 years.

After founding IESC, Rockefeller served as its chairperson for the first five years, through 1968. He remained involved with and dedicated to IESC, serving on our Board of Directors for decades.

Rockefeller’s vision motivates and inspires our staff and volunteers to come together to work in service of IESC’s mission.

IESC congratulates all of this year’s award winners and nominees. Thanks to them, we have helped raise living standards, create jobs, and grow businesses around the world thanks to the support of our hardworking, talented, and dedicated staff and volunteers.