The American Corner of Abu Dhabi City hosted its second session of “Coffee with a Diplomat” on Wednesday 24 February 2014. Over 25 students and staff had the pleasure to meet with Mr. Ali Lejlic, head of the Public Affairs Section of the U.S. Embassy in Abu Dhabi.
Since February is Black History Month in the USA, Mr. Lejlic seized this opportunity to address the topic of The Civil Rights Movement. The presentation commenced with a Civil Rights chronology from the early days of drafting the U.S. Constitution, the Civil War, and the subsequent Emancipation Proclamation. A discussion then ensued on the latter phases which were characterized by major social and political activism in the struggle to end racial segregation and discrimination against black Americans and enforce constitutional voting rights for them—a struggle that culminated in the election of the first African-American president in the history of the United States. The presentation was testament to the achievement of a minority group, acknowledging triumph over adversity.
Before coming to the UAE in August 2013, Ali served as the Rule-of-Law officer and First Secretary in the Political Section of the U.S. Embassy in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, where he also covered multilateral diplomatic and UN affairs as well as war crimes issues. He also held the position of Cultural Affairs Attaché at the U.S. Embassy in Kuwait City, and served in Amman, Jordan, in the Political, Consular and Economic sections.
Ali hails from Chicago, Illinois where he earned an undergraduate degree in public policy studies and international relations at the University of Chicago. He is also known to have played basketball for the university. He later attended graduate school at MIT’s Department of Political Science focusing on international relations and security studies. Ali is of Bosnian-American heritage and speaks Bosnian, Croatian and Serbian fluently and some Arabic as well.