Officially In: Greta C. Holtz – from NEA Bureau to the Sultanate of Oman

On May 24, President Obama announced his intent to nominate Greta C. Holtz as the next Ambassador to the Sultanate of Oman. The WH released the following brief bio:

Greta C. Holtz, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, serves as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Strategic Communications in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs.   From 2009 to 2010, Ms. Holtz was Director for Provincial Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.  Previous assignments in Washington include Director of the Middle East Partnership Initiative in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs (2006-2007) and Coordinator for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe within the Bureau of European Regional Political-Military Affairs (2004-2006).  Ms. Holtz entered the Foreign Service in 1985 and has served at U.S. Missions in Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Tunisia, Syria, and as Principal Officer in Adana, Turkey.

She received a B.S. from Vanderbilt University, an M.A. from the University of Kentucky, and an M.S. from the National War College.

Embassy and PRT Diyala Officials in Aruba Market | Dan Gedacht (U.S. Embassy Baghdad), Mike Rothe (PRT Diyala), LTC Ricardo Singleton (PRT Diyala), and Greta Holtz (U.S. Embassy Baghdad) in Aruba Market, Muqdadiya, Iraq, December 2009. [State Department Photo/Public Domain]

Ms. Holtz speaks Arabic and Turkish.  If confirmed, she would only be the second female chief of mission to encumber the US Embassy in Muscat (the first was Frances D. Cook, a career diplomat assigned to Muscat from 1996-1999). She will succeed career diplomat, Dr. Richard J. Schmierer who was sworn in as Ambassador to the Sultanate of Oman on August 20, 2009.

Domani Spero

Related item:

President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts | May 24, 2012

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Chew on This: US Embassy Oman Celebrates 4th of July (in February) with Fast Food Sponsors

We’re late on this but last month, the US Embassy in Oman celebrated the 236th year of the independence of the United States of America. We were once told that heat is the reason for these early 4th of July  celebrations at various overseas posts, even at one EUR post. And we bought that until we saw then Ambassador Eikenberry eating ice cream at a 4th of July in Kabul.

Here is a note from Ambassador Richard J. Schmierer via FB:

The U.S. Embassy marked the 236th year of the Independence of the United States of America with a festive celebration on the Embassy grounds on February 28, 2012. Timed in conjunction with the U.S. President’s Day holiday which is celebrated each February, the event featured a ceremony by the Embassy’s Marine Color Guard and food and beverages from ten American franchise outlets. I had the honor of welcoming the official delegation of the Government of the Sultanate of Oman, led by the Honorable Shaikh Khalid bin Sultan bin Saif al-Hosni of the Majlis al-Dowla, and the Chief of Protocol at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, His Highness Sayyid Mohammed bin Salim al Said (pictured center and right above). The event highlighted this year’s 40th anniversary of the establishment of the first U.S. Embassy in Oman, which was opened on November 1, 1972 on the seafront in Old Muscat. More than 500 guests joined us for this year’s celebration.

The embassy’s Flickr account includes two sets from the event including 564 photos here, and 150 photos here. Unfortunately, both sets are photo dumps with none of the photos appropriately labeled.

Even with no captions, the photos below are clear as day, of course, since they all feature popular American fast foods. The brief explanation above makes it sound like the fast foods were on exhibit, doesn’t it?

Ambassador and Mrs. Richard J. Schmierer
Photo from US Embassy Muscat/Flickr

Ambassador and Mrs. Richard J. Schmierer
Photo from US Embassy Muscat/Flickr

Ambassador and Mrs. Richard J. Schmierer
Photo from US Embassy Muscat/Flickr

Ambassador and Mrs. Richard J. Schmierer
Photo from US Embassy Muscat/Flickr

Ambassador and Mrs. Richard J. Schmierer
Photo from US Embassy Muscat/Flickr

Ambassador and Mrs. Richard J. Schmierer
Photo from US Embassy Muscat/Flickr

Ambassador and Mrs. Richard J. Schmierer
Photo from US Embassy Muscat/Flickr

We’re missing three sponsors.  We think the more appropriate term should really be sponsors since these American fast food outlets served food and beverages to 500 guests during the Independence Day event.

This is a troubling trend that seem to have started in the 1990’s when embassy officers were sent out to recruit sponsors for the embassy’s July 4th celebration.   It this sounds cheap, well, because it is …. especially if you’re the designated diplomat with the begging bowl. We heard that it’s not fun, but that if you’re good at it, they let you put it in your EER.

Domani Spero