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Halifax, Nova Scotia (October 25th – 27th)   


On Monday, October 25th, Ambassador Bahah arrived in Halifax in preparation for his Official Visit with the Government of Nova Scotia. This was his second visit to the capital city of the Province. He was greeted at the airport by Ms. Florence Sassine, the Chief of Protocol. He was then driven to his hotel and shortly after this, participated in a warm and welcoming gathering with many members of the growing Yemeni community and student population from the surrounding area.

During the course of the evening the Ambassador had many discussions with his fellow Yemenis about their personal experiences, specifically, the importance of education for the students and the valuable contributions to Canada made by Yemeni community members – in reality they are all Ambassadors for Yemen and have done an excellent job of building bridges between the two countries. He greatly enjoyed seeing old friends and meeting a number of new members of the group and was profoundly touched by the kindness of several families who had prepared delicious home-cooked Yemeni food for this very special get-together.

On Tuesday morning Ambassador Bahah was driven to Government House for an official call on the Honourable Mayann Francis, the Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia and then on to Province House to meet with The Honourable Frank Corbett, the Deputy Premier. During their time together he spoke with each one of his idea to discuss the possibility of twinning the Cities of Halifax and Aden. This concept has been received in a most positive manner by several Federal Members of Parliament and Senators in Ottawa who originate from the region. He was delighted to find them highly receptive to this idea as well as to other areas of cooperation such as cooperation in education and commerce.

At the conclusion of these visits, Ambassador Bahah exchanged gifts and signed the Official Guest Book. He then headed to the Bank of Montreal Building to visit with the Minister of Energy, the Honourable Bill Estabrooks. Needless to say, this meeting was most enjoyable, both gentlemen having vast experience in the energy field. Indeed one of the topics of conversation was the exploration of investment opportunities between the two regions.

Lunch was hosted by Ms. Ava Czapalay, the President and CEO of EduNova and Mr Issmat Al-Akhali, the Director of Project Development for the organization at the Windows Restaurant at the World Trade and Convention Centre. Several invited guests were present and all enjoyed a delicious luncheon during which they discussed numerous topics regarding international education.

Following lunch, His Excellency arrived at the Department of Education in the Trade Building where he met with The Honourable Marilyn More, the Minister of Education. Naturally educational opportunities and cooperation between Universities in Yemen and Nova Scotia were of prime importance during their discussions as well as the development of an Exchange Program for students and the possibility of exchange visits between the Ministers of Higher Education and Heads of Universities.

At the conclusion of this meeting, Ambassador Bahah proceeded to the Homburg Building to meet with the Minister of Immigration and Youth, the Honourable Ramona Jennex where conversation ensued surrounding the positive development of the increasing number of Yemeni students in Halifax, as well as the growing numbers of Yemeni community members throughout the Province.

Just one floor away, the Ambassador arrived at the office of the Minister of Agriculture, the Honourable John MacDonnell. During their conversation, they discussed the topic of agricultural education and the possibilities that exist for Yemenis to pursue these studies in Nova Scotia.

Following a successful series of meetings Ambassador Bahah returned to his hotel for a short period of time in order to prepare for his evening dinner meeting with the Honourary Consul Designate being considered to represent Yemen in Nova Scotia. Mr. Moore is a prominent and well-respected businessman from the region. Most importantly, he reflects Ambassador Bahah’s beliefs that an extraordinary cultural and strategic relationship between Halifax and Aden and that there exists unlimited economic and human potential for these two maritime regions. This was the first face-to-face meeting and both individuals came away with a sense of personal and philosophical cohesion.

The next morning, Ambassador Bahah arrived one more at the Homburg Building to meet with The Honourable Sterling Belliveau, the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture. The meeting concentrated mainly on the many opportunities for cooperation between the fishing industries – vitally important to both regions, including the subject of aquaculture exportation. Once again, tremendous progress was made in acknowledging the potential and discussing the facilitation of such a relationship and its possibilities.

This concluded the Ambassador’s meetings with Government Executive and he then proceeded to the final “academic” portion of his meetings and headed to the University Club for a superb luncheon hosted by Dalhousie University with the Acting VP and Provost, Dr. Carolyn Waters and Gillian Wood, the Head of Government Relations. Following lunch, he met with Russ Boyd, the Associated VP of Research and Asa Kachan, the Registrar and Head of International Recruiting.

After a most rewarding afternoon, His Excellency returned to his hotel and bid a fond farewell to the Chief of Protocol, thanking her for the remarkably well-coordinated and organized Visit which he felt had been extremely productive and thoroughly enjoyable.

The benefits of such visits are inestimable – a collective broadening of horizons goes far beyond the promotion of goodwill – it establishes connections that transcend geographical, historical and cultural divides. They promote collaboration and the realization that our similarities outweigh differences and our diversity provides a rich new panorama of opportunity.

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