Posted: 3:42 am ET
The United States Consul General in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia is career diplomat, Mike Hankey. He was assigned to post in July 2014 accompanied by his wife and their two sons. According to his official bio, he joined the Foreign Service in 2001, and has “led teams to build deep and productive ties with political, economic and media partners across the Middle East, Africa and South Asia.” His bio says that in Egypt “he advanced the President’s agenda to engage Muslim communities” and “promoted economic development in northwestern Iraq, American consular and commercial interests in Yemen, and media professionalism in Nigeria.”
Mr. Hankey received his Bachelor’s Degree in international affairs and journalism from George Washington University and his Master’s Degree in second language education from Indiana University. He speaks Arabic.
Like most Foreign Service families, Mr. Hankey and his family are “all in” in their current post in Saudi Arabia. That means they went out and explored their “host country” and did not hide in their USG-provided housing commuting only to the office and back and eating only Pizza Hut and KFC. USCG Dhahran’s FB posts include photos of them in a camel farm, attending a festival, wading in a wadi and camping in a desert. And oh goodness, eating foreign food — they cooked sheep in the sand!
But how awesome is that?
On June 5, US Embassy Riyadh tweeted a 7-second Ramadan greeting featuring Mr. Hankey and his two young sons wearing the traditional Saudi male dress — a white colored Thobe (thawb), an ankle length garment with long sleeves and tunic shape, and a headdress (a large square cloth, white or red called the Gutra, a small white cap that keeps the Gutra in place called the Tagia, and a black cord called Igal that keep the whole thing in place). See more here.
First the good news! Yes, there is a Twitter account that tweets only Great Government Tweets!
Here are some local reactions appreciative of the gesture:
Here are some reactions from folks who apparently do not get the foreign in the Foreign Service. Hometown diplomats, you’ve got your jobs cut out for you.
By the way, eating haggis doesn’t turn one Scottish.
Speaking a foreign language is not un-American.
Wearing foreign clothing is not dangerous to one’s health or sense of well being.
Here’s a bonus, Americans diplomats in Pakistan learning the Paktun dance moves.