Monday, February 20, 2012
Kudos, US Embassy Kuwait
My biggest gripes in the past about the US Embassy have been just getting through security and the level of manners of those who you have to deal with before you even get in the door. Previously, there were only grunts and gestures from most of the guards and those at the "reception" counter either spoke very little English or were rude in general - like they owned the place. Yeh!
All that has gone away. And the last several times that I've been there, not only have they immediately located my name on the guest list (imagine that!), but they have pronounced my name CORRECTLY and with a smile. Shazayam. The first point of contact guards (the guys on the street) smile and even joke and are very polite. I like what I'm seeing. It all screams, "Welcome" - which is all that I really wanted; to feel included at my own embassy in the presence of my homies.
Well, "included" has extended to people like my friend, Media Girl, who went out of her way (after reading some of my more negative posts about the embassy) to change my impression. I call it "process improvement." My philosophy is that if you know there is a PR problem with the organization, don't pretend that it isn't there and that it is going away, but confront it positively and try to change it. Isn't that the nature of true statesmanship? She did (kindly and diplomatically) and I am very grateful. She also goes out of her way in extending invitations and being a wonderful hostess. There are others like her, but she was first and took it as her mission to change my mind. Thank you, girlfraynd. I sincerely admire you (and I miss you! When are we getting together?! It has been too long.)
So, my latest compliment to the US Embassy comes today. Je am impressed. For the first time in my FIFTEEN YEARS in Kuwait, I heard a representative of the US Embassy, Ms. Wendy Ryde (I hope I'm spelling her name right), Consul General, was on FM 99.7 this morning talking about the embassy and their new program,"Ask the Consul." It is all about answering people's questions about visa and other Embassy/US requirements. Did you know that the US Embassy processed 30,000 visas in 2011? Oh.My.God! ... and I've heard that they are doing it with much more grace and kindness than in previous years. (You don't want your experience at any embassy to be negative, so the people on the front line must really have the right mix of personality and professionalism. They are basically "selling" the concept of tourism/trade to people wanting to go there.) And... it sounds like Ms. Ryde has the right personality for the job. If I were going to be on the radio, I would probably sound like a babbling moron (not too far from the truth, as you know). Ms. Ryde has a great voice and quite welcoming.
She also talked about an education expo on tomorrow night (Feb 21) from 6pm to 9pm at the Regency ballroom. 16 schools/universities will be there and there will be reps from the Embassy and Amideast to answer questions. I have to call The Man and make sure that he goes, so that Pretty Girl will have a better chance at a scholarship maybe. Her year in the States through the exchange program is almost over and the time for planning is already passing. Yala!
Anyhoo, as a long-time American resident in Kuwait, I appreciate the US Embassy's increased efforts.
By the way, the US National Day (which is actually the 4th of July) is coming up. The dates change every year. The Embassy takes sponsorship donations to help offset the costs for the event. (I don't work there, have no affiliation other than friends, so I guess it is okay to say that, right?) It is good bilateral PR and a good opportunity for companies to promote themselves. Just sayin. Last year's event was huge (the 50/20 thang) and there were SO MANY restaurants that sponsored with food stands. I thought I was gonna explode. The US Embassy, Kuwait’s contact information is HERE.
(You can also promote your company by registering it through the Commercial section, site HERE.)