BEIRUT: Beirut’s young tech community bid farewell to Britain’s ambassador to Lebanon with a “tweepup” dinner at Couqley restaurant in The Alleyway in Beirut’s Gemmayze district Tuesday night.
“It was a way to break barriers between politicians and the regular public,” said Mohammad Hijazi, head of the American University of Beirut’s Online Collaborative, a non-governmental organization (NGO) that promotes the use of social media in Lebanon and connects people from the country’s tech community.
Hijazi first got acquainted with the ambassador in December when he invited her to speak at a blogging conference about the challenges of diplomatic blogging. Six months earlier the British ambassador, Frances Guy, had been criticized in the international media for a blog post she wrote praising Shiite spiritual leader Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah following his death, calling him a “true man of religion.”
Since then, Guy, who began her diplomatic stint in Beirut in 2006, has been actively engaged with Lebanon’s young tech community.
“Most diplomats don’t blog because they don’t have time or they’re afraid of political incidents,” said Hijazi.
The Online Collaborative hopes to continue to work with Guy’s successor after assuming their post.