By Steven C. Bondy, Ambassador of the United States of America to the Kingdom of Bahrain
The U.S. Embassy kicks off the annual “Discover America Week” on October 16. This year’s theme focuses on Discovering “My” America and will feature the personal experiences of Bahrainis and Americans about their travels throughout the United States. Using food as a door to learn more about the United States, we will highlight the wonderful U.S. products available here in Bahrain, especially the brands you have come to know and love.
Meals allow us to gather around a common table and reflect a diversity of influences as well as the local ingredients, flavors, and aromas that remind us of comforting family meals, festive holidays, and special outings to a favorite restaurant. Throughout my travels as a diplomat, I have forged close bonds with friends and colleagues by sharing a meal together. I take great pride in welcoming guests into my home to serve them American fruit, poultry, beef, and dairy products, often highlighting regional and ethnic foods from around the United States.
We live in a time when commodity prices are rising and many suffer from food insecurity. Food is a precious resource, and we should all be mindful of the time, effort, and resources required to bring meat, fruit, vegetables, and grains from their sources to our plates. Recognizing this, Bahrain launched a social media campaign on October 10 to change food consumption behaviors and end food waste in the Kingdom. The campaign was created by young volunteers, reminding us that the decisions we make about food waste today can impact the food security of future generations. I commend the leaders behind this initiative.
American farmers are doing their part to solve the food security crisis by expanding agricultural production to feed a world in need. The U.S. government works with allies and partners to get help where it is desperately needed. The United States has long addressed global food insecurity through its Feed the Future program, committing $1 billion per year to global efforts to strengthen food systems in vulnerable countries.
In response to recent crises, the United States, European Council, African Union, and Spain co-chaired a September 20 Global Food Security Summit on the margins of the 77th United Nations General Assembly in New York. On September 21, President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. announced over $2.9 billion in new U.S. government assistance to address global food insecurity. That announcement built on the $6.9 billion in U.S. government assistance already committed in 2022 to support global food security.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken convened foreign, development, and agriculture ministers from a diverse group of countries for a special Food Security Ministerial in May 2022 in New York, followed by a UN Security Council meeting. The meetings focused the world’s attention on solutions to the food insecurity problem. Over 100 countries, including Bahrain, have endorsed the Roadmap for Global Food Security, which outlines steps such as greater financial and in-kind donations to humanitarian organizations providing life-saving food aid, as well as investment in science-based agriculture innovations.
The United States, Bahrain, Israel, UAE, Morocco, and Egypt will cooperate on water, agriculture, and food security issues through a working group within the Negev Forum Process. Bahrain has been able to withstand many food-security challenges through agile trade and cooperation with its neighbors, and we value its contributions to the Negev Forum discussions.
We can only tackle these kinds of issues together, which brings me back to Discover America Week and our goal to bring more people around the table to share experiences and ideas. I hope you will take the time this week to gather with friends and family, try a new American restaurant, foods, or other goods. We look forward to hearing more about your own U.S. travel experiences and favorite foods – please submit a photo or video to ManamaPAO@state.gov or DM our Instagram Account @USEmbassyBahrain, and we can post them on our social media platforms. Sahtain!