americasupplement When? May 20-26 | Event? America Week | Venue? Throughout the Kingdom
H. E. Thomas Krajeski and his wife, Bonnie
A Collaborative Effort As the Kingdom welcomes its first America Week, Bahrain This Month asks H. E. Thomas Krajeski, the U.S. ambassador to Bahrain, about plans for the week and his perspective on events over the past year.
BTM: How did the concept for America Week arise? Thomas Krajeski (TK): The idea is to celebrate the long-standing friendship between the United States and Kingdom of Bahrain, and to highlight our strong cultural and economic ties. We also view the event as an opportunity to explore new possibilities for collaboration in business, trade, the arts and other areas. Lastly, it’s a chance for all of us to come together for a variety of exciting events before the hot days of summer hit.
BTM: Will you personally be speaking at any of the events? TK: I will definitely be attending as many of the events as I can, and will make remarks at more than one of them. Bonnie, my wife, and I are both looking forward to formally opening the event at Seef Mall. Of course, many of these events will be organised and hosted by our local partners, so I look forward to hearing from many of them as well.
BTM: What’s the attraction for visitors to the week? TK: We’ve come up with a wide variety of events and themes for the week so there truly should be something for everyone. Whether you’re a sports enthusiast, artist, musician, business leader, prospective student at an American university, or just a fan of American food, there will be something for you. We are very encouraged by the level of interest we’ve already seen with the project and are very excited to bring all of these plans to fruition.
BTM: How does America Week hope to boost business ties between America and Bahrain? TK: America Week Bahrain promotes American brands in Bahrain, which supports both the local supplier and the company in the U.S. In addition, we’ll be holding a business symposium that highlights some of the great success stories under the U.S.-Bahrain Free Trade Agreement (FTA), and provide more information on how Bahraini companies can take advantage of the FTA. We’ll also be holding an American Fair Trade, Car and Motorcycle show to promote the U.S. goods.
BTM: What are the themes running through America Week and why were they selected? TK: America Week is organised around the themes of education, tourism, sports and culture. The U.S.-Bahraini relationship is so multifaceted that we could have chosen any number of themes, but we felt that these offered us the widest range of opportunities and the chance to recognise and celebrate some of our key partners here.
BTM: Is the embassy bringing over any guests to take part in the week’s events? TK: We are lucky to have a delegation from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce participating, including vice president for MENA, Lionel Johnson, to participate in the business symposium. On the cultural side, Arab-American country singer Kareem Salama and Arab-American comedian Nemr Abu Nasser will be performing several shows throughout the week.
66 May 2012 BTM America In Bahrain
Published on May 8, 2012