January 20, 2022

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The U.S. Department of State to Honor Locally Employed Staff Hella and Badye Ladhari as Heroes of U.S. Diplomacy

16 min read

Office of the Spokesperson

On Wednesday, November 18, at 11:00 a.m., the Department of State will honor Hella and Badye Ladhari as Heroes of U.S. Diplomacy live on YouTube.

Badye and Hella Ladhari, a husband-and-wife team with a combined 58 years of service to the U.S. Government at the U.S. Embassy in Tunisia, exemplify the heroism, selfless service, and extraordinary contributions of locally employed staff who contribute every day to the advancement of American diplomacy worldwide.  When protesters attacked U.S. Embassy Tunis on September 14, 2012, Badye Ladhari, the lead Foreign Service National Investigator in the embassy’s Regional Security Office at the time, coordinated critical communications with Government of Tunisia security elements, escorted staff to safety, and risked his own security to save the U.S. flag from being burned by the angry crowd.  In the aftermath of the attack, Hella Ladhari helped arrange a special evacuation flight and processed hundreds of evacuation orders to get American staff and their families to safety.

Hella and Badye Ladhari are the first locally employed staff members to be recognized as Heroes of U.S. Diplomacy, and the virtual event will coincide with Locally Employed Staff and Foreign Service National Recognition Day, when the Department of State honors the more than 60,000 locally employed staff working at U.S. embassies, consulates, and presence posts around the world.

The virtual event will feature a conversation between the honorees and Director General of the Foreign Service Ambassador Carol Z. Perez, with introductory remarks by Acting Director of the Foreign Service Institute Ambassador Julieta Valls Noyes, Acting Assistant Secretary of the Bureau of Diplomatic Security Todd J. Brown, and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs Joey Hood.

The “Heroes of U.S. Diplomacy” initiative highlights the stories of modern-day “Heroes Among Us,” alongside heroic figures from our Department’s rich history.  These individuals displayed sound policy judgment along with intellectual, moral, and/or physical courage while advancing the Department of State’s mission and elevating U.S. diplomacy.  For questions about the initiative, direct your inquiries to HeroesofDiplomacy@state.gov or visit www.state.gov/HeroesofUSDiplomacy.

This event will take place live on YouTube.  For more information please contact the State Department Office of Press Relations at 202-647-2492.

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