By Linda McMullen
Embassy Manama has worked closely with the Kingdom of Bahrain’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) for more than 50 years. In October 2021, the embassy enhanced this relationship by collaborating with the Mohamed bin Mubarak Al Khalifa Academy for Diplomatic Studies (MBMA)—the Bahraini MFA’s Foreign Service Institute-equivalent—on a professional development seminar series.
At MBMA, Embassy Manama participated in programs on federalism, climate policy, and women in diplomacy. These programs offered deep dives for Bahrain’s newest diplomats—but frequently found senior Bahraini diplomats tuning in.
MBMA requested that the embassy lead a session to help them improve retention and morale, upgrade offerings for diplomatic family members, and advance diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility priorities. The Department of State’s Global Community Liaison Office (GCLO), which supports U.S. direct hires and their families, graciously agreed to develop a specially tailored presentation.
In June, GCLO staff members, Gabrielle Hampson, Michelle Ross, Anna Kolodzinski, and Marybeth Hunter, spoke to 25 individuals from MBMA and MFA human resource representatives about GCLO work on mental health, family member employment, safety and security, the Community Liaison Office program, and children’s education. After their presentation, they made themselves available for an in-depth question and answer session.
“I have taken more notes in this session than I have in any other meeting all year,” said MBMA Director Dr. Shaikha Muneera.
“This briefing allowed GCLO staff to share their experience and knowledge supporting the diverse Foreign Service community, while helping post further their diplomatic mission,” said former Bureau of Global Talent Management Acting-Deputy Assistant Secretary, Karin Sullivan.
Ambassador Steven Bondy expressed his appreciation for GCLO colleagues’ efforts, noting that MBMA staff were “clearly intrigued” and called the presentation “groundbreaking.” He said the presentation will expand conversations between the U.S. embassy and Bahrain’s MFA and reinforce the already close Bahrain-U.S. partnership.
Linda McMullen is the public affairs officer at Embassy Manama.