Cablegate: Returned Iv Participant in the Spotlight

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.




E.O. 12958: N/A

1. SUMMARY: In the midst of anti-American sentiments in
some segments of Bahraini society, Yousif Mohammed
Mahmoud, a participant in an April 2004 International
Visitor (IV) program, gave the U.S. a much-needed
positive press spin this week. Mr. Mahmoud reflected to
the local press on his International Visitor experience
and extolled American accomplishments in museum
management, while also highlighting the value of these
accomplishments to Bahrain. The articles demonstrated
the potential influence that visits to the U.S. could
have on participants and their home societies. END

2. On June 20, a half-page article in the Gulf Daily News
entitled "Official's US Visit Builds Cultural Bridges"
focused on the experience of International Visitor (IV)
Mr. Yousif Mohammed Mahmoud. Mr. Mahmoud is the Director
of the Bahrain Contemporary Art Association and was the
only Arab participant in the "Role of Museums in American
Society" IV in April 2004. In the article, he asserted
that American communities are keen to present their
heritage and culture to the world and that Bahrain, as a
whole, can benefit from this experience. He emphasized
that following the example of the USG's support for
cultural preservation would be a step in the right
direction for Bahrain. A similar article was published
two weeks ago in the Bahrain Tribune.

IVs Make a Difference

3. Since returning from his visit to the U.S., Mr.
Mahmoud has been active in fostering the U.S./Bahraini
relationship. In a report written by Mr. Mahmoud to post
about his IV experience he asserts, "I am ready to work
with you on any program or activities that help to
promote our relation for better understanding." He
reported to journalists that in the spring of 2005 he is
planning to organize a visual art exhibition of American
artists and their Bahraini counterparts. As part of the
project, he will use his newfound network of colleagues,
developed during his trip in the U.S., to nominate
participant artists.

4. COMMENT: This article demonstrates the long-term
influence that visits to the U.S. can have on IV
participants and their home societies. As Mahmoud
states, "The impact of this visit on me was completely
different from what I had expected as an Arab visitor
after 9/11. The American people were so friendly and
agreed that we should not judge Islam on the basis of
individual fundamentalist activities." Post will continue
to stay in close touch with Mr. Mahmoud and our other IV
returnees. END COMMENT.


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