On May 18, the North America Committee visited the U.S. Embassy, where Political Military Affairs Officer Shane Siegel discussed his experiences working for the United States, before opening up the conversation to questions from students. Students were invited to ask critical questions and Shane was more than welcoming in answering them. Topics varied from more personal experiences, to valuable insights on the U.S.-Dutch bilateral relationships between the Dutch and the US-Americans, and from security concerns globally to the Ukraine and Russia situation more specifically. The speaker was extremely knowledgeable, eloquent, and was a beacon of American friendliness.
The U.S. Embassy and the U.S. Consulate in the Netherlands is more than a place for Americans residing in the country to call regarding concerns about COVID regulations, passport renewals, or general foreign assistance.
The U.S. Mission in the Netherlands is an institution that represents the strength of the Dutch-American relationship, which is the longest unbroken friendship the United States has with another state. Furthermore, The Hague was home to the first U.S. Embassy in the World in 1782, located in Fluwelen Burgwal 18, where John Adams who would later become America’s second President was its first Ambassador. While the Embassy has now moved, students might recognize the original address, as it is now Amazing Taste, an Asian restaurant near Wijnhaven and Strouwburgstraat. Beyond the historical connection between the two countries, both the Netherlands and the United States value individual freedom, human rights, and pursuing commercial endeavors.
As Paul of the North America Committee explained: “We organized our visit to the US Embassy in response to the many opportunities that lay at hand here in The Hague. After everything opened up last January, it seemed like a good idea to pursue real-world events. We are really just a few BAIS students that wanted to see more study-related activities in The Hague, so we are quite happy to be helping out in this capacity – the response we have received so far has been overwhelming. The committee only relaunched this semester after some downtime, so we were lucky that the folks at the Embassy were happy to conduct more public diplomacy.” Indeed, the efforts by both the North America Committee and the US Embassy were appreciated: not just students from the North America specialization, but in fact from all eight BAIS areas had signed up to attend the event, and continued to talk about it long after the visit concluded.
While BAISmag would love to go into the specifics of what was discussed, students promised to keep the details of conversation to themselves. If you are interested in learning more about visits to the U.S. Embassy uncovering embassy “secrets”, look out for more embassy visits organized by the North America Committee.
This report was written by the BAISmag team, but has been approved by the U.S. Embassy prior to publication.
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