Manama: Alfred Simms-Protz came on stage with an elated smile.
The German ambassador to Bahrain wanted to do something special for the German National Unity reception.
After the usual rituals of giving a speech, taking group pictures and cake-cutting, the German diplomat disappeared.
He came back, jazz guitar in hand, to join the “Jazzabilly band” in a few songs. The audience was thrilled.
Simms-Protz has always professed his belief that music and art are instrumental tools for bringing people together — especially the youth.
Ahmad Shahizan Abd Samad has been the high-profile ambassador of Malaysia to Bahrain since 2011.
While he holds impressive academic credentials and has won several distinguished awards for his diplomatic work, few people know that he is also a singer.
He has been known to break out into songs during events and gatherings. Like Simms-Protz, Abd Samad is also a strong proponent of music and arts.
For former Iraqi ambassador Gassan Mohsin, painting is his passion.
A year-and-a-half into his posting in Bahrain, he held his first solo exhibition of his acrylic paintings, to help raise money for poor people in post-war Iraq.
Since his post began in 2004, he immediately immersed himself in the local arts and culture scene in Manama.
The self-taught artist did not hide behind his embassy’s walls. Instead, the self-taught artist would make regular appearances at cultural events across the country.
It was through these events he could make numerous friends and raise money for needy Iraqis with their help.
Mohsin first displayed his art skills in 1982 when he was posted in Pakistan. He said he was inspired to paint by the country’s impressive mountains and lush greenery.
Mohsin retired in 2009, but remained an iconic figure in Bahrain until he passed away in August.
He had held impressive 29 painting and sculpture exhibitions in Turkey, the US, France, Sweden, Bosnia, Japan, Cyprus, Bahrain and Oman.