|The Embassy of Brunei is actively seeking closer co-operation with Bahrain business.
There may only be a handful of Bruneians in Bahrain but that hasn’t stopped the South East Asian nation maintaining an embassy here since 2001.
“The embassy is here as a testament to the great friendship between our two leaders, His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah and His Majesty King Hamad,” says Head of Mission, Charge d’Affaires Nor Huda Ahmad.
After studying Islamic Theology at Al Azhar University, Egypt, Madam Nor joined Brunei’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs seeking the chance to travel and represent her country overseas.
She says: “When I first joined the ministry, it was a big challenge for me as my educational background was different from what I’ve been doing in the work place. I am ready to be criticized. I believe in myself that it is part of the learning process to become better and we learn from our mistakes. I trust that one needs to work hard to achieve success and here I am.”
Her last posting was in Oman as a Second Secretary or Deputy Head of Mission, where she also had the chance to lead the mission as a Charge d’Affaires for almost one year following the ambassador’s departure. She went back to the Foreign Ministry in 2006, and was given the task to oversee countries from different regions, such as South Asia and South East Asian Nations (ASEAN countries).
“The varieties of areas gave me knowledge about countries in the world, the history, politics and the people,” she says.
After being in the Foreign Ministry for about eight years, she was later assigned to head Brunei’s mission in Bahrain as a Charge d’Affaires. Despite the very small Brunei community here in Bahrain, which Madam Nor says “can be counted on one hand”, the embassy has its own role to look at ways to strengthening the relations between the two countries.
“My job is to strengthen relations between our two countries,” she says. “We are encouraging exchanges of officials, including business people to look at possible ways of cooperation. At the moment, most of the activities are concentrating on Islamic banking. As an international financial centre, Bahrain is important and it’s good for our officials to come here and learn from the experts.
“In the future I would like to see more prospects for co-operation to create even closer ties.”
She and her staff also take part in events organised by their regional group ASEAN. For the first time this year, the Embassy was actively involved in a bowling tournament and gala dinner hosted by the Embassy of Malaysia.
“We always like to have a presence,” says Madam Nor. “We like to let people know we’re here and promote our beautiful country.”
The Charge d’Affaires has been in Bahrain nine months and the 42-year-old mother of two loves the country and the people. She says: “I have found Bahrain and the Bahrainis to be very friendly and welcoming. My job is very busy but, when I’m not working, I like to go out with friends to see new places.” One of the places she likes is a coffee shop in Reef Island which she said is a good place to relax and enjoy the scenery.
She is also looking forward to a visit from her family in the near future as they only come during the school holiday in Brunei.