Citizen Diplomat of the Year Becca Heller Recalls Fight Against Travel Ban

From "most likely to debate a teacher" to FP's Citizen Diplomat of the Year.

Becca Heller accepts her award for Citizen Diplomat of the Year.  (Jason Dixson Photo)
Becca Heller accepts her award for Citizen Diplomat of the Year. (Jason Dixson Photo)

For the last six years, Foreign Policy has identified the leaders, policymakers, and activists who have made the greatest contribution to international relations and honored them at our annual Diplomat of the Year Awards. For the first time in the event’s history, FP honored three outstanding women for their contributions in each field.

Becca Heller, once voted most likely to debate a teacher during her senior year of high school, received the Citizen Diplomat of the Year award for her work in leading the International Refugee Assistance Project. The organization works with refugees around the world, defending their human rights and helping them find greater security.

When President Trump announced the travel ban for majority Muslim countries after taking office, Becca worked tirelessly on the ground at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City to provide legal assistance to travelers stuck trying to enter the U.S. She recalled this time in her speech at the event:

Shelbie Bostedt is Foreign Policy’s audience engagement editor, focusing on delivering FP’s stories to our readers. She previously reported for the Chicago Tribune and graduated from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism.

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