Manama: Campaigners from Bahrain have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the US-based Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) in a bid to improve the perception of the country abroad.
Bahrain Federation of Expatriate Associations secretary-general Betsy Mathieson, who is leading a “This is Bahrain” delegation to the US, signed the document with MEMRI vice-president Alberto Fernandez at its headquarters in Washington.
The 200-member “This is Bahrain” delegation is visiting Washington and New York until Tuesday and is hosting a conference and exhibition in each city to highlight Bahrain’s multi-cultural society and promote peace, tolerance and co-existence.
Its first event in Washington took place yesterday and will be followed by another event in New York on Monday.
“We are set to work closely together to change negative media perception of the situation in Bahrain and to use the Bahrain model of centuries-old religious freedom, peaceful co-existence and mutual respect in the fight against global terrorism,” said Ms Mathieson.
“Our plans also involve advocating the need for education and sharing of beliefs and values to promote understanding, peace and love on a global
“Bahrain suffered unfairly from negative media reports and “This is Bahrain” looks forward to working closely with MEMRI, which does an outstanding job on many fronts.”
Mr Fernandez paid tribute to His Majesty King Hamad’s commitment to peaceful co-existence and religious freedom, as well as Bahrain’s multi-faith society – describing it as a model for the world.
Meanwhile, another MoU was signed with the Sixth and I Historic Synagogue in Washington to conduct exchanges of delegates, share experiences and hold meetings.
Dialogue Table of Religions and Cultures (Tasamah) chairman and top Bahraini clergyman Shaikh Salah Al Jowder also led Eid Al Adha prayers at the Islamic Centre in Washington, in which he emphasised that moderate voices were helping combat extremism.
“The world is now a small village, not in size, but in cultural closeness and we have to live together happily disregarding our differences,” he said.
“We in Bahrain are beyond differences and we see diversity as a personal belief that we need to respect.”
Other events include visits to places of worship, a prayer for peace and a visit to the 9/11 Memorial.
The events and visits are organised in collaboration with the American Chamber of Commerce Bahrain and follow similar roadshows in London, Berlin, Brussels and Paris. Brazil and Rome have been planned as the next two “This is Bahrain” destinations.