Political links with capital of the Bahrain

Published October 20th, 2008 - 06:57 GMT

Political links with capital of the Bahrain

 

A delegation of Middle Eastern city councillors from Manama in the Kingdom of Bahrain has visited Exeter to develop links with the city and find out more about public administration and municipal politics.

 

The purpose of the visit was to gather information concerning graduate programmes, such as the Masters of Public Administration offered by the University of Exeter’s Politics Department, as Bahraini officials are interested in sending council staff to study at the University.  The visit to the Politics Department was led by the Head of the Technical Committee at the Manama Municipal Council, Mr Hameed Mansoor.

 

This was a follow up visit to a study trip arranged by the University of Exeter’s Politics department for students to look at democratisation in the Middle East.  The field trip gave students first hand experience of democratic transition through meetings with top officials, the British Ambassador, politicians, and civil society in Bahrain and Qatar.  Contacts were made with many of the individuals from the council as well as the Parliament, religious groups and Editors from the three of the daily newspapers including the Gulf News,

 

Head of Politics at the University of Exeter, Professor Susan Banducci, said ‘The visit served as an opportunity to share knowledge, open a dialogue on possible student exchanges and build on an existing relationship that began with Dr Sadiki and Dr Longman’s study trip last May to the region. It was a productive visit on all of these counts. We also hope that in some way we were able to return the generosity they showed to our students on the study trip.’

 

Marc Herzog a PhD student who attended the Bahrain field trip and was also involved in the co-ordinating events for the Manama councillors whilst in Exeter and part of the University of Exeter welcoming group.  Gifts were exchanged at the welcoming ceremony at the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies.  In a symbolic gesture of friendship the Manama councillors gave the University an iconic gift that symbolises national heritage in the Gulf Arab States and serves as a constant reminder of the ongoing relationship that has developed.

 

The Manama councillors were also keen to find out about the nature of municipal politics through a visit to Exeter City Council. They were particularly interested in exploring with the City Council common issues such as supporting the business community, sustainable development affordable housing and encouraging citizen participation.

 

Director of the Bahrain Centre for Cultural Diversity and Exeter PhD graduate Dr Mohammed Al-Zekri helped the University co-ordinate the successful visit. He said ‘It will cement relations between the Kingdom of Bahrain, University of Exeter and Exeter City Council.  The councillors are interested in Exeter’s green city credentials and this environmental know-how which is vital information for the City of Manama and its citizens.’

 

The elected members of the Manama Municipal Council, Mr Hameed Mansoor, Mr Sadiq Rahma, Mr Khalil al-Aswad and Mr Sadiq al-Basri made up the four member delegation and were on a one-day visit to Exeter. 

 

They spent the morning at the University of Exeter receiving a presentation by Professor Andrew Massey on the Masters in Public Administration programme and given a tour of the Politics department and the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies.  The delegation spent the rest of the afternoon at Exeter City Council meeting Chief Executive Philip Bostock and Council Leader, Adrian Fullam.

 

As a former PhD student Dr Al-Zerki has personal experience of both the city and the University and was keen to point out the possibilities of encouraging further relations, he said ‘There is an interest in exploring the possibility of sending council officials to study public administration and sustainable development at the University, which is held in high regard in the

Kingdom of Bahrain.’

 

The University of Exeter is keen to develop a closer working relationship with the National University of Bahrain and visits like this are great for building stronger connections.

 


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