An American Ambassador Who Plunged Into Arab Life –

Its worth exploring what made J. Christopher Stevens such a great diplomat:

 A northern Californian with a toothy grin, he had a passion for the Arab world and its language, and he went out of his way to use it, whether with officials or shopkeepers, in an effort to show respect.

In his willingness to allow others to be heard, even when he had an important message to impart, Mr. Stevens was an unusual American diplomat, friends and colleagues say. He allowed himself to be governed by the habits, proprieties and slower pace of the Arab world.

As another who knew him observes:

John Bell, an Arabic-speaking former Canadian diplomat, knew Mr. Stevens when they were young political officers together in Syria, and later in Jerusalem. “He was a consummate professional, calm and deliberative, with a real sensitivity to the Arab world,” Mr. Bell said. “He was good on the ground, and he had a way about him that endeared him to a lot of people; he listened to a lot of people and was not highly opinionated. And that made him a good and unusual American diplomat.”

And yet another:

Another friend in Jerusalem, Noga Tarnopolsky, a journalist, remembers Mr. Stevens as “the ideal of what you want when you meet a diplomat; he was a complete anomaly,” she said. “Wherever he was living, he was able to let go of everything else and live that place completely.”

via An American Ambassador Who Plunged Into Arab Life –


4 thoughts on “An American Ambassador Who Plunged Into Arab Life –”

  1. This is a great loss not only for America but for everyone who wish and pray for peace and prosperity in the Arab world. There are a brave few who dare to go out from the shelter of home to a hostile region with a vision to mitigate the chaos . This is a prime example of miscommunication and calls for an effort to spread the voice of goodwill and love that America has for the Arab world.

    In the meantime, it also calls for a better security for all the brave diplomats and journalists who risk their lives on the front line.

  2. I am impressed. Granted, those that have passed on to get a little glorified in the memories of them. I still feel a great respect for this diplomat. It mentions a multiple times in the article that there are few people that would be willing to do what Chris did. I admire him for that. Also, for his ability to not only do his job, but to love it. Even while in dangerous situations he wished that he could go and connect with the people. This amazes me. It is almost as if that he is a missionary diplomat.
    We see different cases, even in recent times, where the lives of diplomats in foreign lands are put at risk.
    This job requires courage. I respect Chris Steven in his demonstration of courage in his diplomacy.

  3. Mr. Stevens seemed to be a very successful and loved diplomat. I particularly like the first account of Mr. Stevens because it shows that he had an understanding of the Arab culture and an understanding of the the language which aided him to be as successful as he was. The Arab people in the country he worked were very fond of him. Mr. Stevens had courage, but, in my opinion, courage was not the reason he worked in the Middle East. To be the diplomat he was the key element was passion. Passion for the culture and language of the country you are in, makes one successful wherever they may go. (the 8th picture)

  4. This article I’m linking is a few days old, but it raises an interesting point that I heard when the Batman shootings in Aurora happened.
    The link begins by focusing on the “sorry America” demonstrations Zoya talks about, but then goes on to argue that they do not accurately express the sentiment of the region. But what I began musing about was the role of the media in this debacle.

    It began with a stupid and tasteless YouTube video, spread to enough homes and even caused a handful of deaths. I’m willing to bet that most of the rioters were not accurately informed of the video – and the media coverage is what sparked the protests in the almost one dozen Arab countries that had anti American demonstrations. The argument made during the Aurora shootings is that the media should stay away from too much coverage of such violent events because they incite copycats; that seems to at least have been an influence here.
    Contrast that with Mr. Stevens who became known not through any media campaign, but by his love of the culture and genuine care for the people.

    It was interesting to me how a message of ignorance and miscommunication spread so quickly through the media and how it managed to tear down decades of slow, careful work in building bridges and reaching out across cultural differences.–angry-mobs-storming-embassies-Middle-East.html

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