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June 7th-13th, 2009   

Calgary Visit

Ambassador Khaled Bahah spent June 7th – 13th in the bustling City of Calgary. The focus of this visit was to participate in the celebration of the annual Yemen Scholarship Program hosted by Nexen Inc. (www.nexeninc.com). While taking advantage of the opportunity to meet Yemeni students and community, he also attended a variety of other meetings with key individuals in business and the private sector, endeavouring to strengthen the economic, political and social bonds between Canada and Yemen.

The week-long visit was launched shortly after his arrival on June 7th with a private dinner at the residence of our Honourary Consul Nader Al-Saidi.

The next day, Ambassador Bahah attended an exceptional luncheon at Rush Restaurant, hosted by Nexen’s President and CEO, Marvin Romanow and seven other senior management executives from Nexen.

Following lunch, he visited Mount Royal College (www.mtroyal.ca), where he met with International Education personnel and executives, including President Dave Marshall. This excellent meeting permitted Ambassador Bahah to familiarize himself with the College’s exceptional programs and facilities with a view to future collaboration with similar institutions in Yemen. This visit was proposed and also attended by the College’s renowned archaeologist, Dr. Bill Glanzman, famous for his remarkable Yemen expeditions and with whom the Ambassador met in Ottawa earlier this year.

A grand reception in honour of His Excellency was held later that evening in the Nexen Atrium. More than sixty guests were in attendance including Nexen representatives and Yemeni scholarship students and graduates. On this occasion the Ambassador gave a speech highlighting the precious and legendary partnership which has existed between Nexen Inc and Yemen for many years – a relationship considered to be Yemen’s greatest success stories. In recognition of Nexen’s generosity, partnership, and extraordinary relationship, His Excellency presented the Company with a silver plaque.

He also congratulated the students on their impressive hard work contributing to their academic achievements and transforming their dreams into reality. Ambassador Bahah took this opportunity to present another silver plaque to retired CEO Charlie Fischer and his wife, Joanne Cuthbertson, Chancellor of Calgary University, for their superb stewardship of the Scholarship Program and their adoption of the hearts and minds of so many young Yemeni students over many years.

Another highlight of the trip was Wednesday’s visit to “GO-EXPO”, the Gas and Oil Exposition for 2009. On this occasion, the Ambassador was accompanied by Nexen Finance Manager, Mr. Mohammed Binsumait. The show which was held at Stampede Park was a resounding success.

Ambassador Bahah was delighted to attend Wednesday evening’s 2009 Graduation Dinner for the Nexen Scholarship Program at the Calgary Golf & Country Club. This was an exceptional event, hosted by President & CEO, Marvin Romanov with more than 110 invitees. Guests were a vibrant collection of Nexen executives, and many well-known academics, scholars and teachers from the University of Calgary (www.ucalgary.ca) and SAIT (www.sait.ca), plus many talented students and graduates.

His Excellency gave an inspiring speech to the students congratulating them and also urging them to follow their dreams and lead their country into a bright new future.

The following morning, Thursday, Ambassador Bahah, attended a breakfast meeting, organized by Canada-Arab Business Council (www.canada-arabbusiness.org) Vice Chair & President, Sandra Leblanc, with several other prominent business leaders, mainly in the oil and gas industry who are members of the CABC. This meeting proved to be extremely fruitful and important in the future potential growth of Canada/Yemen economic development and part of the discussion revolved around the organization of a Canadian economic delegation visiting Yemen. They also discussed the possibility of a reciprocal delegation from Yemen, to include a visit the Annual Petroleum Show which will take place in Calgary in July 2010.

Later in the morning he attended a meeting at Calgary’s lead economic development agency, Calgary Economic Development (www.calgaryeconomicdevelopment.com). This organization supports and promotes Calgary’s business relationships in many fields, both at home and internationally. Among the group were John Hankins, Vice President – Investment and Trade Development; Monica Rovers, Manager - International Business Development, and Saad Bashir, Manager - Energy Business Development. Although this was an introductory meeting for His Excellency, he nevertheless felt that CED would provide excellent contacts and be a source of great support in the future.

Prior to attending the University of Calgary Convocation at the Olympic Oval in the afternoon, Ambassador Bahah attended a luncheon with the graduating students of the Scholarship Program together with Nexen Vice President, Pierre Alvarez and Andrea Bosnjak, Senior Analyst, Government Relations, Nexen.

Later that evening, a highly energetic and successful reception was held at the University for the Ambassador and Yemeni community which was greatly enjoyed by all in attendance. At this meeting community and students agreed to set up their own official bodies.

For his final order of business on Friday morning, His Excellency and Andrea Bosnjak of Nexen met with Irene Lewis, the President of the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) at the Institute which proved to be a highly informative and rewarding meeting.

This brought to conclusion a very active week-long visit which was resoundingly successful. Ambassador Bahah, in bidding farewell, thanked all involved for such an exciting and impeccably well-organized itinerary. He was delighted with the many productive developments, including the news that the annual scholarship program would be extended and welcomed the opportunity for him to return in 2010.

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