Georgetown University in Qatar (GU-Q) alumnus Sami Wehbe (SFS‘17) recently organised a unique opportunity for Georgetown’s international alumni community to connect with a fellow graduate, who is also a representative of the international diplomatic community, Herro Mustafa (SFS’95), the US ambassador to Bulgaria.
In the wide-ranging interview, Wehbe asked the ambassador about the ways her academic journey at Georgetown prepared her for a diplomatic career that has included several overseas diplomatic postings and a role as the senior adviser on the Middle East to then US vice president Joe Biden.
They also discussed her childhood as a Kurdish-Muslim refugee from Iraq, events that were chronicled in the 2009 biographical documentary, ‘American Herro’.
“Ambassador Mustafa’s personal story was truly inspiring and shows that hard work and dedication can make the impossible possible,” noted Wehbe, strategic communications consultant at public relations and communications firm, BLJ Worldwide.
Wehbe, a polyglot who also speaks Arabic, Russian, and Bulgarian, is no stranger to the world of diplomacy. As an undergrad, the International Politics major founded, hosted, and produced the national tourism show ‘Around the World in 30 Minutes’ where he interviewed over 20 diplomatic leaders about their country’s tourism industry, history, cuisine and traditions, including the ambassadors of Canada, France, Japan, Germany, Italy, South Africa, and Brazil. He also co-hosted 200 episodes of the ‘Rise’ daily morning show.
The idea for his most recent diplomatic interview was sparked by a walk past the US embassy in Sofia, Bulgaria, where Wehbe lives.
“I was curious to know more about the current US ambassador. "When I found out she was an SFS alumna, I approached the Alumni Association Club of Qatar and the US embassy in Sofia to explore the possibility of an engagement opportunity.”
The virtual conversation was open to the entire Georgetown community, including alumni, current students, faculty, and staff from both the Doha and DC campuses. The co-president of the alumni club, Georgetown Law graduate and attorney Dean Jaloudi (L'12), gave the opening remarks.
“One thing I have noticed about fellow graduates from Doha and Washington, DC, is that they are always supportive and willing to share their life and career experiences with the community,” said Wehbe. “It is always a true pleasure to speak to fellow alumni, especially those in the well-respected positions that we as Hoyas all aspire towards, whether in diplomacy and politics, business, or the governmental or NGO sectors.”
Herro Mustafa, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, was confirmed by the US Senate as ambassador to the Republic of Bulgaria on September 26, 2019. She is the recipient of notable awards from the State Department, including the Matilda W. Sinclaire Award for superior achievement in a foreign language.
She speaks Portuguese, Arabic, Hindi, Russian, Greek, among other languages, and is studying Bulgarian. Ambassador Mustafa has an undergraduate degree from Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service in Washington, DC, and a master’s from Princeton University.
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