Open Government Appreciations

This week the American Society of Access Professionals (ASAP) honored the National Archives with its two highest awards. The President’s Award for Distinguished Public Service was awarded to Miriam Nisbet, Director of our Office of Government Information Services (OGIS). And the Director’s Award for Superior Public Service was awarded to the Public Interest Declassification Board (PIDB).  PIDB is an advisory board created by Congress to promote access to national security decisions and activities.  Our Information Security Oversight Office (ISOO) Director serves as the PIDB Executive Secretary and ISOO staff support the work of the board.

The President’s Award is the highest honor that ASAP grants recognizing distinguished and sustained contributions in the furtherance of the public interest with respect to access, privacy, and fair information laws, policies, and practices.  ASAP noted Miriam’s work in FOIA at the Justice Department and then in the National Archives General Counsel’s office during the 1990’s, as legislative counsel for the American Library Association and then UNESCO in Paris.  Special recognition was focused on her work to establish and head OGIS, created by the 2007 amendments to the FOIA. In accepting the award, Miriam pointed out that she had grown up along with the FOIA and that OGIS represents the maturity of a law that is one of the hallmarks of open government and democracy.

berryman - open for business 6011066
“Open for Business,” by cartoonist Clifford Berryman, which appeared in the Washington Evening Star on August 15, 1914, shows Uncle Sam officially opening the Panama Canal. National Archives Identifier 6011066


The Director’s Award recognizes unusual excellence and special benefit to the public with respect to access, privacy, and fair information laws, policies, and practices, or superior contributions to the Society itself.  The award was accepted by PIDB member, Martin Faga, who thanked ASAP for its recognition of the Board’s Report to the President on Transforming the Security Classification System. He reiterated PIDB’s belief that the challenges facing declassification and classification must both be addressed to preserve access to national security information, noting that the entire lifecycle of the current system requires transformation to address the “digital tsunami” now in our midst.

Marty ended his remarks with a quote from Voltaire: “Appreciation is a wonderful thing: it makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.”

Thanks to Miriam, PIDB, and the staffs of OGIS and ISOO for your excellence.

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