My trip to Chicago

February 15, 2012 § Leave a comment

One of the first pieces of advice given to a newly arrived ambassador to the United States is to get out of Washington. Or as the saying goes, “beyond the beltway.” The reason is not due to any dislike of the glorious capital city but because going to other part of America guarantees a much deeper and wider educational experience.

It is good for Americans to hear first hand what is happening in Bahrain and good for me to hear what Americans think should be happening.  So I was very happy to return to Chicago earlier this week and honored to have time to speak with members and guests of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.

During the event, I spoke for about 20 minutes and had the opportunity to answer a number of questions from the audience. Through hearing their ideas and concerns, I was able to emphasize that reforms in the Kingdom are meaningful and ongoing and that our commitment to deep, meaningful and substantive reform will help achieve reconciliation and unification for all Bahrainis.

Bahrain will not dare forget that the very foundation of our society was challenged and strained one year ago. We have and will continue to work tirelessly to secure the future of our democracy and the security and freedoms of our people.

Americans do care about foreign affairs and they do care about their friends around the world. Friendships come and go but alliances endure. For Bahrain and our friends in the West, our alliance is strong. There will be immense opportunities in the future to strengthen that bond to make history for global peace and democracy.

Following my remarks, I also had the chance to talk with Dr. Cherif Bassiouni – chair of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry – to discuss the ongoing progress in implementing recommendations contained in the Commission’s report. That also was very timely and rewarding.

The Council said I could return anytime – and I intend to do that. Having time to share ideas about Bahrain and its friendship with America is very important.  

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