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Leaps of Faith: A Conversation with Ambassador Osman Siddique

October 20, 2020


M. Osman Siddique, former U.S. ambassador to Fiji, Tonga, Tuvalu and Nauru

Eliot A. Cohen, Dean, Johns Hopkins SAIS

Moderated by Shamila N. Chaudhary, Senior Fellow, Johns Hopkins SAIS Foreign Policy Institute

The Johns Hopkins SAIS Conflict Management and South Asia clubs hosted a discussion with Ambassador M. Osman Siddique, former US Chief of Mission to Fiji, Nauru, Tonga, and Tuvalu.

Siddique opened the conversation by reflecting on his childhood, having been the son of a former diplomat to Tanzania. The violence that he experience in his native Bangladesh encouraged him to seek a new life abroad. He recalled that when he came to the United States, the words on the Statue of Liberty moved him and affirmed his faith in the American Dream.

During the discussion, Siddique encouraged students to network, critically noting that “relationships are not made at the time of need.” He recalled the initial difficulties he faced upon being appointed as the United States' first Muslim ambassador, as well as the difficulties his children had in adjusting to living abroad. Overall, he expressed satisfaction during his time in government serving under the George W. Bush administration, which facilitated the important transition of returning Fiji back to democratic rule.

In his closing remarks, Siddique reminded the audience that the US Constitution is there to support them, and stated that he was not worried about the future of minority rights in America since the Constitution makes no stipulation as to who can be an immigrant based on religion, race or color.