WMU News

Qatari ambassador to U.S. speaks at Fetzer Center

Oct. 11, 2004

KALAMAZOO--The ambassador to the United States from the Arab nation of Qatar will visit Western Michigan University Thursday and Friday, Oct. 14 and 15, and during his stay, he will give a public lecture on his nation's relationship with the United States.

Ambassador Omar Bader Al-Dafa will describe "United States--Qatari Relations" in a public address at 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 14, in Putney Lecture Hall of the Fetzer Center. A reception in the ambassador's honor, also in Fetzer, will precede the lecture at 5 p.m. Both events, which are free and open to the public, are being coordinated by WMU's Institute of Government and Politics.

Al-Dafa, a career diplomat with more than a quarter century of service, was named his nation's ambassador to the United States in 2000. A WMU graduate, he is coming to the campus to accept a 2004-05 Distinguished Alumni award of the College of Arts and Sciences.

He earned a bachelor's degree from WMU in 1975 and a master's degree in international public policy from Johns Hopkins University in 1979. His diplomatic career began in 1976, when he was made diplomatic attaché at Qatar's Foreign Ministry in Doha.

Prior to assuming his current post, Al-Dafa was director of European and American affairs at the Ministry of Foreign affairs in Doha, Qatar. During his career, he has served as ambassador to France, the Russian Federation, Egypt and Spain. In addition, he has held diplomatic credentials to Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Greece and Switzerland. While serving in Cairo from 1988 to 1993, Al-Dafa was also his country's permanent representative to the Arab League.

Qatar is an independent state in the Persian Gulf region and a neighboring state to Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Iran. The country is situated midway along the western coast of the gulf and has a population of nearly 800,000.

For more information about the visit by Ambassador Al-Dafa, contact Dr. Gunther Hega, associate professor of political science and director of the Institute of Government and Politics, at (269) 387-5885.

Additional information about Qatar is available on the Qatari Embassy's Web site at <www.qatarembassy.net>. A photo of Ambassador Al-Dafa and additional biographical information can be found at <www.qatarembassy.net/welcome.asp>.

Media contact: Cheryl Roland, 269 387-8400, cheryl.roland@wmich.edu

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