One of the things that for me defines a cool job is that it be extremely challenging and present new and interesting problems to be solved every day. If there is a more challenging job to be had than representing any Middle Eastern country during these troubled times, I can’t imagine what it would be.
From the humility, eloquence, and wry humor of his contribution, I can only assume that he is not only extremely good at what he does, it would also be fascinating to hang out with him for a while and watch him at work. And besides: how many people do you know that can start the answer to a question with, “The first time I met the President…”
1) When people ask you “what do you do?” how do you describe your job?
Usually, I never describe myself as the Ambassador, I tell people who ask me that I am a diplomat. When they ask me: From which country?, and I respond: Syria, they invariably become intrigued, because of the political issues between my country and the U.S. Usually this leads to a longer conversation, during which they discover that they are actually talking to the Ambassador himself. I find this unassuming and less formal.My job is to reach out to the American public, as well as political and intellectual circles, in order to convey the real face of Syria and not the one the mainstream media depicts. My job entails simultaneous demolition and construction –tearing down stereotypes, and building new bridges.
2) What are the things about your job that you love?
What I enjoy most is traveling the country, and interacting with the American public across the board on my different speaking engagements and getting to know the different faces of America . I especially enjoy watching people’s reactions when they learn about the true and multifaceted Syria , its history, culture, tradition, and politics.
4) What education, training, vocation or just plain luck would someone have to have in order to get a job like yours?
In order to get a job such as mine, Syria ’s representative to the United States under the Bush administration, one needs a good deal of bad luck. And to survive a job such as mine, one needs a good deal of patience. Having said this, an Ambassador needs to be well-read, fluent in many languages, engaging, and with a wide variety of interests (e.g. the Arts, economy, history, etc.)