Germany appoints first woman ambassador to Bahrain

August 17, 2011

King Hamad receives Sabine Taufmann - BNA

Ambassador Sabine Taufmann has become the first German woman to head her country’s diplomatic mission in Bahrain.

The ambassador presented her credential papers to King Hamad Bin Eisa Al Khalifa on Tuesday alongside the new envoys of Britain, Pakistan and Tunisia.

The 49 year-old Berlin-born mother of two was Deputy Head of Division for Middle Eastern Affairs and the Maghreb at Germany’s Federal Foreign Office before taking up her post in Manama.


A student of French, English and American literature and linguistics in Berlin, she worked as an interpreter and translator between 1984 and 1991 before joining the Federal Foreign Office as an attaché and then as Deputy Head of Division, Directorate for Central Services.

She was assigned to the Political Department at the German embassy in Moscow from 1995 to 1999, to the Economic Affairs Directorate, Federal Foreign Office, Berlin, from 1999 to 2000 and to the Near East Division until 2003.

Taufmann was Deputy Head of Mission at the Permanent Mission of the Federal Republic of Germany to the Conference of Disarmament, Geneva, until 2006 when she was appointed Deputy Head of Division for Middle Eastern Affairs.

Turkey’s Hilal Başkal made history twice in June 2001 by becoming the first woman ambassador in Bahrain and the first Turkish woman appointed as a diplomatic representative to an Arab country. She left the island kingdom in December 2005.

Anita Limido became the second woman ambassador and the first Western woman top diplomat in the kingdom when she was appointed to head France’s diplomatic mission in July 2001. She was succeeded three years later by another woman, Malika Berak.
In 2009, Corazon Yap-Bahjin, the first Muslim Filipina to be appointed ambassador, became her country’s head of diplomatic mission in Bahrain.

Neither the United States nor the United Kingdom has ever appointed a woman to head their diplomatic missions in Bahrain, although the US has had women deputy ambassadors.

Stephanie Williams whose overseas assignments include Pakistan, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates and who joined the US embassy in Manama in May 2010 was Chargé d’Affaires for six months after Ambassador Adam Ereli left in January 2011.



About the author

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

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