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Cablegate: Embassy Manama's Ramadan Activities Showcase

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

UNCLAS MANAMA 001695

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR NEA/PPD; NEA/PI CBOURGEOIS, NEA/ARP
ECA/A DAS TFARRELL, ECA/A/AEN SEDLINS AND MASTRANGELO,
ECA/A/E/USS PETER BENDA
ABU DHABI PLEASE PASS MEPI

E.O. 12958
TAGS: PREL OIIP OEXC SCUL KPAO BA
SUBJECT: EMBASSY MANAMA'S RAMADAN ACTIVITIES SHOWCASE
AMERICAN DEMOCRACY

REF: STATE 219905

1. Embassy Manama's 2004 Ramadan activities follow:

-- The Ambassador hosted a lively youth-oriented U.S.
Elections Night "majlis" in his Residence on November 2.
More than one hundred University of Bahrain students, NGO
representatives, journalists, and government officials
attended. Eleven Mass Communications undergraduates who
interned last summer in Chicago media outlets assisted
the PAO with a mock balloting program that was a big hit
with the guests. (The internships in Chicago were
supported by the FY 04 DePaul/University of Bahrain MEPI
University Linkage.) Post's participants in MEPI's Study
of the U.S. Program for Undergraduate Student Leaders
attended the event and gave Emboffs a readout on their
experiences in the U.S. last summer. Our featured
majlis speaker was U.S. Fulbright Scholar Dr. Scott
Waalkes, who explained how his native Ohio was critical
in determining the outcome of the election, and responded
to inquiries from students.

-- The DCM hosted a ladies-only Ghabqa (late dinner) on
October 24 in her Residence for Bahrain's female movers
and shakers (and Shaikhas) who work in education, the
media, business, NGOs, and the government. The guests
represented all segments of Bahraini society, from
members of the royal family and Western-educated
secularists to veiled public school teachers. A large
delegation from the Bahrain Businesswomen's Society
arrived en masse, providing the DCM and Emboffs a perfect
opportunity to engage at length on the benefits of the
Free Trade Agreement in an informal Ramadan setting.
Guests discussed recent proposals by some ultra-
conservative Members of Parliament to transform the
University of Bahrain, the only co-ed public university
in the Gulf, into segregated male/female campuses.
Perceived as a real set-back to women in Bahrain, this
proposal was loudly and openly opposed by all of the
guests.

2. The Ambassador and Emboffs have also attended nightly
majlises and iftars hosted by Bahraini government
officials, Members of Parliament, religious figures,
academics, journalists, and businessmen. Mrs. Monroe
attended two ladies-only majlises hosted by the wife of
the King and the Prime Minister's wife. The DCM has
attended iftars hosted by business and finance leaders.
Post's four Fulbright grantees have been invited to
Ramadan events hosted by their University of Bahrain
colleagues.

3. The Public Affairs Section is distributing Eid
greetings with Americana-style 2005 calendars to a wide
cross section of Bahraini contacts.

4. The Embassy's Community Liaison Office organized a
Ramadan tent evening on November 3 for American and FSN
staff of all faiths to gather informally and demonstrate
their respect for Islam.

MONROE

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