News Releases


Ambassador Wendy Sherman is recipient of NASW Foundation Rhoda G. Sarnat Award


WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The National Association of Social Workers Foundation (NASWF) is pleased to announce Ambassador Wendy Ruth Sherman is recipient of the International Rhoda G. Sarnat Award for elevating the image of social workers by working at state, national and international levels to make the world safer, expand roles of women and pursue fairness and justice.   

“As the first female State Department Undersecretary of Political Affairs from 2011 to 2015 Ambassador Sherman showed an extraordinary talent for leadership and communication that enabled her to use her social work expertise in tackling humanitarian crises around the globe, including in Ukraine, Syria, and Nigeria,” said NASWF Director Robert Arnold.   

“Ambassador Sherman is perhaps most well-known for leading the U.S. negotiating team for the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement,” Arnold said.   

The International Rhoda G. Sarnat Award is given to an individual, group, or organization that has significantly advanced the public image of professional social work. This monetary award is made possible from an endowment fund established by a generous contribution from long-time NASW member Rhoda G. Sarnat (1915- 2018) and Bernard Sarnat, MD (1912-2011).    

Ambassador Sherman, MSW, is deserving of the award because throughout her career she has always identified herself as a social worker, including when she made frequent appearances as a commentator on PBS, MSNBC, CNN and other news programs.   

Ambassador Sherman, a Baltimore native, got her start in social work helping women who were battered and people who were low-income in urban areas. While in social work school, Wendy was an intern at the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) National Office where she was involved in creating NASW’s Board-mandated National Commission on Women’s Issues.    

She became administrative assistant to former Sen. Barbara Mikulski when Mikulski was still a member of the House of Representatives. She served as campaign manager for Mikulski, who is also a social worker, in her successful Senate campaign. Mikulski went on to serve 30 years in the Senate.   

Sherman was also Special Secretary for Children and Youth in Maryland, a cabinet position; director of Maryland’s Office of Child Welfare; founding president of the Fannie Mae Foundation; and director of EMILY’s list, a political action committee that aims to help elect pro-choice, Democratic female candidates to office.   

“Ambassador Sherman has shown the public the tremendous skill social workers have in improving the human condition, whether they work at a local, national or international level,” Arnold said. “The NASW Foundation is proud to present her with the International Rhoda G. Sarnat Award.”

Go here for more information on the Rhoda G. Sarnat Award. 

The National Association of Social Workers Foundation (NASWF) is a charitable organization created to enhance the well-being of individuals, families, and communities through the advancement of social work practice.

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