Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to head US delegation to Manama Dialogue 2010

May 14, 2010
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US Secretary of state Hillary Clinton will head the US delegation to the Manama Dialogue, the annual conference security held in Bahrain in December, a senior official said.

“In Washington earlier this month, I was delighted to learn that it is the intention of the US Secretary of state Hillary Clinton to lead a very significant and broad-ranging delegation to the 2010 Manama Dialogue to be held this December,” John Chipman, the head of the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) and co-sponsor of the conference, said. “The Manama Dialogue is now in its seventh year and maturing, into the only region-wide forum that encourages active defence and security diplomacy between the key actors of this Gulf region, its immediate Middle East neighbours, and the powers of North America, Europe and Asia who have a growing stake in this vibrant area,” Chipman said at the opening of the IISS-Middle East in Bahrain.

The office is set to serve as a base for the institute’s research programmes and activities throughout the region, as well as be a connection to IISS initiatives in Europe, North America and Asia.

Hillary Clinton’s participation would be the first by a senior US civil official to take part in the conference since it was first held in December 2004.

The US has been traditionally represented by military officials, mainly Defense Secretary Robert Gates who used the high-profile gathering to highlight his country’s policy in the region.

Iran has also used the Manama Dialogue to emphasise its policy towards the countries in the area and press for the departure of foreign powers. However, Iran missed the international get-together in 2007 and 2008, but attended last year.

“I hope that the work of the IISS-Middle East in Bahrain can help us understand more deeply how best to address the numerous challenges we face,” Shaikh Khalid Bin Ahmad Al Khalifa, Bahrain’s foreign minister, said. “This will help us ultimately bring about peace, security, stability and prosperity to the whole region while safeguarding the key tenets of our society and values:  an open market economy, an open society that ensures economic and social development, the importance of democracy, the rule of law, and civic rights and freedoms.”

According to the veteran diplomat, the Bahrain office will a remarkable research centre  where “independent, high-quality research and analysis, and candid discussions with visiting dignitaries, thinkers, business leaders and fellows will be of tremendous value in helping to inform thinking and future strategies on geopolitical and strategic issues.”

“The office can add momentum to the crucial work undertaken in the Manama Dialogue, now a fundamental pillar of regional security diplomacy. I have very high hopes that the IISS will serve as an effective incubator for some of our bright young diplomats, our future ambassadors and decision makers, through secondment opportunities, immersing themselves in particular areas of specialization and expertise that are instrumental as we embark on a new era of diplomacy, in a new international environment for foreign policy that caters to an accelerating globalized world,” he said. 

Shaikh Khalid said that the days where foreign policy was conducted primarily behind closed doors were long gone.

“I, for one, am an avid social media fan, and have benefited tremendously from the nexus of information and insight that is accessible to any virtual user. I view this office as a more physically tangible platform, providing an important lens of information and expertise that I hope will widen further our vision and understanding of international issues; a lens I hope that will help us see a more nuanced view of ourselves, our region and the world at large,” he said.

         

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About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Career
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
Education
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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