The new ambassador from Iraq to the U.S., @FailyLukman, is also new to Twitter. He joined Twitter on September 6, and on the following day flew to Baghdad — and documented the flight and his arrival back home, on Twitter.
I’m off to #Baghdad for #diplomacy meetings re: #Syria, regional issues, further strengthening US #Iraq relationship pic.twitter.com/udWRuHfA65— Lukman Faily ( @FailyLukman) September 7, 2013
Busy day in #Baghdad. People are out and about; life is bustling in the city. Business as usual. Foreigners can be seen on the street— Lukman Faily ( @FailyLukman) September 12, 2013
Just arrived back in DC. Long wk in Iraq- terror attacks on civilians continues, people so used to it now, it does not impact daily routines— Lukman Faily ( @FailyLukman) September 16, 2013
Upon his return, Ambassador Faily held his first Twitter town hall to discuss conditions in Iraq and what he witnessed during his visit. Several hours before it began, he tweeted to inform people of the coming Q&A and to encourage them to use the hashtag #AskIraq for their questions.
Good morning. I have already received some good questions from you. I look forward to dialogue at 11ET. Send me your questions with #AskIraq— Lukman Faily ( @FailyLukman) September 18, 2013
He started the event at 8 am Eastern Time:
I’m looking forward to answering your questions. Let’s begin now!— Lukman Faily ( @FailyLukman) September 18, 2013
The Twitter audience wasn’t shy, and neither was the ambassador, with the first question and corresponding answer on how Iran affects the U.S.-Iraq relationship:
.@jesswohl Reservations from Iran will not prevent us from developing positive relationship w/ US. Also we embrace the SFA #AskIraq— Lukman Faily ( @FailyLukman) September 18, 2013
Over the course of the next hour, the newly-minted ambassador took numerous questions on policies ranging from international business to rebuilding Iraq.
.@DouglasOllivant positive environment- investment laws, bilateral protection agreements, provision of 1 year multi-entry visa #AskIraq— Lukman Faily ( @FailyLukman) September 18, 2013
.@MAkhwand most immediate challenge rebuiliding govt institutions, security. We are determined to provde safe env, protect citizens #AskIraq— Lukman Faily ( @FailyLukman) September 18, 2013
To connect with the audience on a different level, he also answered some personal questions. Mr. Faily is a marathon runner, as he notes in his Twitter profile, which brought on questions about his next race:
.@VOAHilleary yes, certainly will join. I was told the Boston will open in October. I’m staying away from MarineCorp marathon! #AskIraq— Lukman Faily ( @FailyLukman) September 18, 2013
He also let the Twitter community learn more about his background and life prior to being ambassador:
.@sarainthecity I’ve lived in 5 countries. Iraq is home; Japan is close to my heart and I hope US is closer #AskIraq— Lukman Faily ( @FailyLukman) September 18, 2013
While acknowledging a tendency to be long-winded…
I enjoyed my Twitter Q&A session earlier. More needs to be done, however I discovered that responses need to be more concise in the future.— Lukman Faily ( @FailyLukman) September 19, 2013
…the ambassador also recognized the power of the Twitter platform for engagement and conversation, as well as its potential for changing diplomacy in a digital world.
Thank you for engagement. I look forward to more dialogue with all of you. Technology can bring people together #digitaldiplomacy #AskIraq— Lukman Faily ( @FailyLukman) September 18, 2013
Have you seen other innovative uses of Twitter? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.