AMERICAN BAHRAINI FRIENDSHIP SOCIETY
At a dinner in Washington, D.C. in 1988 a group of American friends who had lived in Bahrain and had developed an affection for the country and its people discussed the forming of an association of friends of Bahrain similar to the Bahraini Society founded in Great Britain in 1965 by a group of Bahrainis and former British subjects who had lived in Bahrain.
Present at that dinner were two former Presidents of the Bahrain Petroleum Company (BAPCO), Mr. Joe Josephson and Mr. Walter Stolz; a former Commander of the Middle East Force, Vice Admiral Marmaduke (Duke) Bayne; a former Charge d'Affaires of the American Embassy in Bahrain, Mr. John Gatch; and a former executive of Gulf Air and Middle East Airlines, and advisor to Bahrain Civil Aviation, Mr. Fouad Habiby.
From those initial discussions the American Bahraini Friendship Society was founded in 1990 with the approval and support of the Amir of Bahrain, H.H. Shaikh Essa bin Salman Al-Khalifa, and with the endorsement of the President of the United States, George H.W. Bush.
The objectives of the Society are to promote friendship and better understanding between the United States and Bahrain ; to raise the level of awareness of Bahrain in the United States ; to bring about closer ties; and to promote historical, commercial, cultural, and social programs of mutual benefit to both countries.
The Society's activities include:
- Promoting the exchange of official and unofficial visits
- Promoting greater understanding and appreciation of the cultures through letter writing exchanges between middle school students
in the U.S. and Bahrain and providing information and promotional materials to elementary schools throughout the United States
- Sponsoring educational seminars in cooperation with colleges and universities in the Washington D.C. area.
- Encouraging commercial and business relationship
- Sponsoring social functions including receptions and dinners with
notable speakers on topics relating to Bahrain and the Gulf region.
- Publishing a quarterly Newsletter about Society activities and
containing items of interest about developments and events in Bahrain .
The Society reflects the special relationship that has long existed between the United States and the Kingdom of Bahrain, a relationship founded initially in 1893 when the American Mission Hospital the oldest in Bahrain, began as a dispensary at a time when health services were at their initial stages in Bahrain. A long and fruitful relationship with the U.S. Navy beginning in 1949 also reflects that special relationship. These relationships have developed into a rich and multifaceted interaction involving business, academic and governmental dimensions.
Membership in the Society is open to citizens of the United States and Bahrain . Currently there are 300 individual members, 45 of whom are Bahraini citizens, and 16 corporate members. Ten of these corporations have their headquarters in Bahrain . Annual membership dues are $30 for individuals, and $500 per year for corporate memberships.
The Society is non-political and is incorporated in the Commonwealth of Virginia as a non-profit organization that is exempt from U.S. Income Tax under IRS Section 501(c)(4). All Officers and Directors of the Society serve gratuitously.
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