On 2nd September I hosted an Iftar at my residence, for the embassy’s friends and contacts from the Filipino Muslim community. For those not familiar with this custom, iftar is a meal Muslims take at sunset to break their fast during the holy month of Ramadan. When I took up my job as ambassador last year, an iftar was one of the first events I hosted. I hope this will now be a regular annual occurence at this embassy.
I wrote in my post of 13th August about the importance of the Muslim communities in the Philippines. Yesterday’s meal was an opportunity for a relaxed gathering among friends, to renew contacts and look ahead to further co-operation between the embassy and our Muslim friends in the year ahead. Among our guests were business-people and scholars, as well as leaders and officers of the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos, the government of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, the Philippine Council for Islam and Democracy, the Liberal Party of the Philippines and the Young Moro Professionals Network. The Network is a very energetic group of young Muslims playing a leading role in different sectors. It was a real pleasure to see a number of our former Chevening scholars, who had studied variously at university in Bradford, Birmingham, Oxford and Manchester.
One aspect of the event was distinctively Filipino. As ambassador I’ve learnt that no event in the Philippines is complete without photographs. Here are two.
With Muslim friends from government and civil society as they break their fast at the end of the day
With young Chevening alumni and Moro professionals