Introduction and Staff
People-to-people diplomacy between the United States and Lebanon has a long tradition, rooted in educational and publishing links established during the 19th Century. The U.S. Government created the U.S. Information Agency (USIA) to help foster such ties in 1953, just after it opened its Embassy in Beirut. Charged with “telling America’s story to the world” and “promoting mutual understanding,” the U.S. Information Service in Beirut quickly became one of the largest in the world and the regional headquarters for English language teaching programs, library services, and Arabic-language publications. Its John F. Kennedy Cultural Center and Library had five branches throughout Lebanon, including Zahleh and Tripoli. At its peak, United States Information Service (USIS) had a Public Affairs Officer (PAO) managing twelve other American diplomats. Over the course of the 1975-1990 civil war, most public affairs activities came to a standstill in Lebanon. The regional printing office was closed, and the last PAO left in 1984. Still, the Embassy maintained modest press, educational, and cultural activities for 14 years with the help of a dedicated Lebanese staff.
When the State Department removed restrictions on the use of American passports for travel to Lebanon in 1997, the U.S. Embassy began to rebuild USIS and to restore two-way exchange programs. By 1999, a PAO was back in Lebanon and an American Fulbright Scholar was teaching at the Lebanese University. USIS was renamed the Public Affairs Section when the U.S. Information Agency (USIA) was merged into the Department of State and the International Broadcasting Bureau Voice of America and Worldnet Television which has been merged into the Voice of America multimedia network.
Today, the Public Diplomacy section works with all sections of the U.S. Embassy to reach the Lebanese people and their institutions through a wide range of programs and the use of both traditional media and new forms of information technology.
Embassy of the United States of America
P.O.Box: 70-840 Beirut, Lebanon
Telephone: 961-4-542-600 / +961-4-543-600
The Public Diplomacy section is open Monday to Friday, from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm.
Press Activities and Media Support
The Public Diplomacy section is the point of contact for Lebanese and resident foreign media on matters of U.S. Government policy worldwide, but especially regarding Lebanon.
Press inquiries to any section of the Embassy are made through the Information Office, which handles requests for interviews and background briefings, schedules appointments, and arranges press access for other Embassy offices.
The aim of the U.S. Embassy is to disseminate accurate and up-to-date information on U.S. policies, priorities, and programs, and to dispel misinformation and false claims in the media about the United States.
U.S. Commercial Service
The U.S. Commercial Service in Lebanon is part of a global network dedicated to support U.S. commercial interests and promote U.S. exports overseas. The U.S. Commercial Service provides the following services:
- Counsels U.S. companies on market opportunities and ways of doing business in Lebanon.
- Assists Lebanese companies in identifying manufacturers of U.S. products and services.
- Assists U.S. companies in identifying Lebanese agents and representatives.
- Recruits Lebanese delegations to attend trade shows in the U.S.
- Organizes trade fairs and seminars in Lebanon to promote U.S. products and services.
- Advocates on behalf of U.S. companies bidding for projects in Lebanon.
- Negotiates with the Lebanese government market access issues and barriers to trade and investment.
- Mediates and resolves commercial disputes between U.S. and Lebanese companies.
Defense Attaché Office
The mission of the Defense Attaché Office performs representational functions on behalf of the Secretary of Defense, the Secretaries of the Military Services, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Chiefs of the U.S. Military Services and the Commander of Central Command.
Recruitment is not a responsibility of the Defense Attaché Office, however the links should aid those interested in joining the United States Military. To be eligible for the United States military you must be a U.S. citizen OR be legally and permanently resident in the U.S. and have a U.S. Immigration (‘Green’) Card (INS 1-151 or INS 1-551) and Social Security number.
Regional Security Office (RSO)
The Bureau of Diplomatic Security (http://www.state.gov/m/ds/) was founded in 1916 as the Office of the Chief Special Agent. It assumed its current title in 1986. An arm of the U.S. Department of State, DS is the most widely represented U.S. security and law enforcement organization in the world, and is a leader in international investigations, threat analysis, cyber security, counterterrorism, and security technology. To provide a secure environment for the conduct of American diplomacy, DS protects people, property, and information at more than 285 State Department posts worldwide.
Overseas, DS agents are known as regional security officers (RSOs) and are the ambassador’s primary advisor on all security matters. RSOs also serve as point of contact for the Rewards for Justice (RFJ) program (http://www.rewardsforjustice.net/). RFJ offers rewards of up to $25 million for information about acts of international terrorism against U.S. persons or property. Since 1984, RFJ has paid in excess of $100 million to more than 60 individuals who provided credible information.
The Overseas Security Advisory Council (http://www.osac.gov/) is a public-private partnership between DS and representatives from U.S.-based commercial, educational, and nongovernmental organizations that operate overseas. Every year, OSAC conducts thousands of consultations to help these entities operate more safely in challenging security environments. Overseas, businesses and institutions join with RSOs to form OSAC Country Councils. Numbering more than 140 worldwide, these councils share information on threats ranging from terrorist attacks to intellectual property theft.
For specific information about OSAC meetings and programs in Lebanon, or to report terrorism information, please contact the RSO at e-mail: BeirutSecurity@state.gov or call: +961-4-542600.
USAID is currently a lead donor in education and water and an important influence in promoting good governance and economic opportunity for low-income Lebanese citizens. USAID funds development projects that offer grants to American-style educational institutions for scholarships and finance technical assistance, training, construction and equipment to public schools throughout the country. In the next five years, we will work to help rehabilitate Lebanon’s public schools to improve infrastructure and the classroom learning environment. USAID has awarded an estimated 10,000 student scholarships since 2000 and, to date, approximately 87,000 students have benefited from school renovations under our basic education programs.