The Canadian diplomat demonstrated a strong commitment to international accountability and justice for the Rohingyas
Phedra Moon Morris, head of aid at the High Commission of Canada in Bangladesh, has recently won the Professional Association of Foreign Service Officers (PAFSO) Award.
PAFSO is a professional association of the Canadian Foreign Service and represents officers working for Global Affairs Canada (GAC), Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and Canada Border Services Agency.
The PAFSO established the Canadian Foreign Service Officer Awards in 1990 to recognize outstanding achievements by individual officers.
In many ways, 2021, the PAFSO awards program's 31st year is special. It tells the stories of foreign service officers who stepped up during a very challenging year, both to deal with the immediate issues posed by the pandemic and to excel at the foreign service's "regular" duties in anything but usual circumstances.
Alongside Morris, three other members from the political, trade, immigration, and international assistance streams of the foreign service have also won this award, according to a statement released recently on the PAFSO website.
They are -- Stefanie Bergeron, an entry-level foreign service officer serving her first assignment abroad in Bamako, Mali; Robin Crowder, manager of assignments for the Workforce Management Division at IRCC’s International Network; and Francis Huot, an experienced trade commissioner.
Phedra Moon Morris joined the Canadian High Commission in Bangladesh as the head of aid in 2017 and prepared to manage development assistance.
The PAFSO statement said that one million Rohingya refugees had surged across the Myanmar-Bangladesh border within days of Morris's arrival, forcing her to quickly pivot. She became their ally in a humanitarian crisis after adjusting to the migration of people fleeing genocide.
Morris used her extensive network, which spanned missions and countries, to bring the right individuals together to develop novel solutions and achieve consensus. She presented recommendations not only in support of Ottawa's crisis response but also to the foundation of Canada’s three-year strategy, said the statement.
As a result, Canada was at the fore of the international response. Within the diplomatic community, Morris became the go-to person.
She has also demonstrated a strong commitment to international accountability and justice for the Rohingyas by supporting Gambia's case against Myanmar before the International Court of Justice.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, Morris personally facilitated safe passage for refugee witnesses so they could testify at the Hague, as well as ensuring the success of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police investigative expedition to document testimonies at the camps.