Dina Kawar


Jordanian Ambassador to the United States Dina Kawar said Saturday she decided to come to Nebraska this week as part of her effort to reach out and "strengthen the connections" between her country and Americans as they battle together against terrorism and seek peace in the Middle East.

"The relations between Jordan and the United States are deeply-rooted," Kawar said during an interview at the end of a tour of Nebraska's iconic state Capitol.

"We are allies," the ambassador said.

And the new Trump administration "understands our role in the fight against terrorism" as well as Jordan's role in attempting to at last reach an agreement that eases or resolves the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Jordan is geographically at the center of ongoing conflicts in the Middle East, bordering both Syria and Israel and acting as host to hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees.

"U.S. support has been consistent and will continue," Kawar said.

Kawar, the first Arab woman to ever preside over the United Nations Security Council when she led the Jordanian delegation, was named ambassador to the United States in 2016.

Her Saturday visit to Lincoln included her first American football game.

"I'm going to learn about the game," she said before she departed for Memorial Stadium to watch Nebraska play Northwestern.

"I'm a very curious ambassador," Kawar said. "I want to learn. It's a very important part of what I do."

Kawar was in Omaha on Friday.

Stops have included the University of Nebraska Medical Center and Nebraska Innovation Campus,  with the ambassador seeking outreach and cooperation in agriculture, education and medicine with an eye on "students who work on innovative technology."

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High unemployment among Jordanian youth is "one of the things that keeps His Majesty awake at night," Kawar said. 

King Abdullah II of Jordan will be in Washington soon and has expressed particular interest in corn as food, the ambassador told Rep. Jeff Fortenberry of Lincoln at the conclusion of the interview.  

Together, they decided to arrange for the king to sample some of Nebraska's corn while he is in the United States.

Fortenberry is a member of the House Appropriations subcommittee on state and foreign operations and "he's somebody I go to in asking for advice," Kawar said. "He's a friend of Jordan."

"I've never seen as many people as generous as they are in the United States," she told Fortenberry.

Jordanians are "definitely hoping for a political settlement of the Syrian question," Kawar said.

And as efforts continue to find a solution to the Palestinian conflict, she said, "we will help whenever we are asked to help."

Reach the writer at 402-473-7248 or dwalton@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @LJSDon.


Political reporter

Don Walton, a Husker and Yankee fan, is a longtime Journal Star political and government reporter.

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