Coming together around the Formula 1 Grand Prix

April 20, 2013 § Leave a comment

Tomorrow, spectators from around the world will converge on the Bahrain International Circuit for the Gulf Air Formula 1 Grand Prix. Over the past few years, the Grand Prix in Bahrain has been exploited for political purposes;  but I count myself among those Bahrainis who see it as a way to come together in support of reconciliation.

The international attention drawn to Bahrain during the Grand Prix offers the unique opportunity to showcase the many things that make Bahrain a special place. Indeed, the honor of becoming the first Gulf country to host a Grand Prix came about precisely because of the economic, political, and social reforms implemented by Bahrain following the enactment of the National Action Charter and the Constitution of 2002. We can use events like this to continue to build national unity and consensus on how we can enact additional needed reforms.

Those using the publicity surrounding the Grand Prix to sow division and participate in violence are only undermining the national interests of all Bahrainis. When international visitors come to Bahrain, they spend money in Bahraini restaurants, stay in Bahraini hotels, and patronize a variety of Bahraini businesses. This means jobs and economic opportunities for all of us.

Moving forward, it is my sincere hope that we can use important international events rally in common cause for our country. I’m very much looking forward to this year’s race and please be sure to check out the Embassy’s Facebook and Twitter accounts for updates throughout the weekend.

Statement on the attacks in Boston

April 16, 2013 § Leave a comment

The Embassy of the Kingdom of Bahrain in Washington, D.C. has reached out to all Bahrainis currently in Boston, including students, through phone calls, emails, and social media channels. The Embassy encourages all Bahrainis to follow the procedures prescribed by their respective universities and the City of Boston. Any Bahrainis in need of assistance are encouraged to contact the Embassy at any time by calling the following numbers: 202-537-7810, 202-664-6463, or 202-531-0133.

We would also like to extend our deepest sympathies to the victims of this senseless act and their families. The full details of what transpired are not yet known and the proper authorities do not know who is responsible for them. Violence in any form must be condemned in the strongest and most certain terms.

The thoughts and prayers of everyone at the Embassy and in Bahrain are with the victims and their families, the people of Boston, and the United States at this difficult time.

An update on the National Dialogue

April 15, 2013 § Leave a comment

Over the past several weeks, participants in the National Dialogue have continued to meet in an effort to produce consensus on Bahrain’s path forward. As in any initiative of this kind, progress has been made slowly, but it is encouraging that the full range of Bahraini political actors remain engaged in the proceeding.

To date, it seems that discussion points that appeared settled have been reopened for discussion by certain participants. It is very important to continue moving forward to achieve real consensus.

The National Dialogue remains critically important for the future of Bahrain. I hope that we will see additional important outcomes out of the next session, which will take place on Wednesday.

I have also included summaries of the past two sessions. The can be viewed downloaded below.

National Dialogue – Day 11 Summary

National Dialogue – Day 12 Summary

One week until Formula 1

April 11, 2013 § Leave a comment

The stage is set for a grand spectacle of sport and entertainment when Bahrain’s most popular event, the 2013 Formula 1™ Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix, takes place in just one week. The world’s top F1 drivers are gearing up to showcase their skills on the track, so here’s a quick look back at the former champions who have found glory at the Bahrain International Circuit (BIC) in Sakhir.

The first Bahrain GP took place on 4 April 2004. It made history as the first Formula One Grand Prix to be held in the Middle East, and was given the award for the “Best Organized Grand Prix” by the FIA. The race was won by acclaimed German driver Michael Schumacher for Ferrari. Fernando Alonso won the second Bahrain Grand Prix for Renault in 2005, and then became the first repeat winner of the Middle Eastern race in 2006, once again for Renault, after a thrilling race-long battle with Michael Schumacher. In 2007 and 2008, Brazilian Felipe Massa won the race for Ferrari, and 2009 saw Jenson Button win for Brawn GP. In 2010, the Spaniard Alonso became the first three-time winner of the Bahrain GP.

2012 champion, Sebastian Vettel will be back with Infinity Red Bull Racing seeking a repeat Bahrain GP win, as well as another World Drivers’ Championship, having won his third consecutive title in the final race of 2012. After two races, Vettel currently leads the championship, with teammate Mark Webber in third place, leading into the Chinese Grand Prix this weekend, before they take to the circuit in Bahrain.

While Schumacher has recently retired from the sport, several other former champions will join Vettel back on the desert circuit April 19 through 21, including Alonso and Massa. Race fans from around Bahrain, the Middle East region, and the whole world, are also looking ahead to a fantastic three days of exciting entertainment at the BIC, “The Home of Motorsport in the Middle East.”

Remembering Margaret Thatcher

April 9, 2013 § Leave a comment

It was with great sadness that I learned yesterday that former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher passed away at the age of 87. She was a towering giant in British politics and a role model to many women, including me.

I arrived in the United Kingdom in September 1979, only a few months after Baroness Thatcher assumed her position as Britain’s first female prime minister. Throughout my time studying in the UK, I was awed by her ability to shape events and to succeed as a woman at the highest levels of politics – something that seems quite routine now, but was utterly remarkable in Britain at the time. Her willingness to stick to her principles and to fight determinedly for what she thought to be right provided a strong model for anyone interested in public service.

Her particular brand of feminism was also infectious I have always enjoyed her famous quote in which she remarked “If you want something said, ask a man. If you want something done, ask a woman.”

And although I never met her personally, I will certainly miss her. Rest in peace, Madam Prime Minister.

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