Mondays with Matthew: Open for questions – Ask Me Anything

Post by Matthew Lodge

AMA

Today I thought we’d try something different – and throw conversation open for all of you to Ask Me Anything. For those of you familiar with reddit, you may recognize the idea.

I’m happy to take questions on any subject you want. If I can’t answer openly (which I will always try to do) I shall say so.

Please ask away – it’s good to talk!

Post by Matthew Lodge
British Ambassador to Kuwait
Instagram: @HMAMatthewLodge Twitter: @HMAMatthewLodge

Update: AMA session is now closed


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49 comments, add your own...


  1. Mohammad says:

    Hello! I hope you are well. are the news regarding a UK electronic visa programme for Kuwaiti nationals being intoduced in 2015 correct?

  2. omar says:

    Worst thing about Kuwait so far?

  3. Abdulrahman Hisham says:

    Best place to visit in Kuwait?

    Your favorite EPL team?

    • Favourite team has to be Liverpool (despite yesterday’s result)!

      Best place to visit? still working on that. But the view from high up in the Al Hamra is pretty impressive..!

    • Martin says:

      While the UK and Kuwait enjoy a strong friendship, what more can be dome to turn that relationship into higher trade figures between both countries?

  4. MB says:

    Can Syrians get a visit visa to the UK ? (I hope not to get back an answer such as “yes they can if they meet requirements” because my Syrian friends who posted previously to one of your previous posts, and got no reply from your excellency, informed you that it was refused although all requirements were met). I visit Europe on yearly basis and just came back last week from a trip to Spain.

    My wife (Egyptian) wants to go shopping so bad, but I told her I can’t handle that my passport being stamped with refusal !

    • Yes Syrians can get a visa to the UK, and yes they need to meet the requirements. It’s difficult to say more than that without seeing an individual application. Everyone is judged on the strength of their case.

  5. Martin says:

    Kuwait and the UK enjoy a great friendship…but what more can both countries do to turn that into a higher bilateral trade & investment figures?

    • Good question. For me, a good starting point would be to “sell” Kuwait better. That’s about people who know Kuwait correcting some of the misperceptions and explaining all the good things. And it is about the Embassy working hard to persuade UK companies that it is worth their while coming here, that there’s business to be done and that we’re here to help. which we are!

  6. xboclibe says:

    okay,a lot of questions:-

    1)how’d you end up as an ambassador?Like did you ever think,you would be one as a kid?

    2)how can i be an ambassador for my country?

    3)favorite arabic food?

    4)what degree do you have?

    • I never imagined as a kid that I’d end up as an Ambassador. But I’m glad I have done – it’s a great job. I have always enjoyed people, languages and travel. this combines them all, plus a chance to work for something I believe in.

      It may sound trite, but we can all be Ambassadors – just share your enthusiasm!

      Favourite arabic food? I like all food (that’s my problem..)

      I have a Joint Honours BA degree in French/Russian from the University of Birmingham

  7. Martin says:

    should Kuwait work harder to have it’s voice, influence and opinions heard a little louder both in the region and in the world?

    • I think Kuwait has a good story to tell, and I don’t think it should be shy about telling it. It’s not about trying to be something you’re not. It is about making sure you get the credit for what you are. :)

  8. Kuwait says:

    You recently attended the Injaz Young Entrepreneurs award. What is your view about the current state of youth entrepreneurship in Kuwait ?

    • Sadly I wasn’t able to make it. Tom did though. He said it was good. I think it’s fantastic that so many young people are engaged and they deserve every encouragement.

  9. Alan Smith says:

    How do you plan to spend Christmas? Oh and Merry Christmas when it comes!

  10. Rebecca says:

    Have you visited Dubai and if so what do you think about it in comparison to Kuwait? Should Kuwait be more like Dubai and if so in which ways?

    • I have not seen a lot of Dubai – I have transited the airport several times and been into the city for a couple of overnight stays. Not really sure I’m equipped to comment. What I like about Kuwait are the people, the sense of humour and the fact that here it is easy to meet and mingle with Kuwaitis. Is it similar in Dubai?

      • Rebecca says:

        No, its not as easy in Dubai to mingle with Emiratis so for an expat Kuwait is a much nicer option. In Dubai many of the expats wouldn’t know that have even left home if it weren’t for the sun shining every single day!

      • a says:

        90% of the people in Dubai are expats, Emiratis are only 10% of the population so you rarely see any Emiratis

        But Dubai has tourism and a nightlife (nightclubs)

  11. Maged says:

    Mr. Ambassador ,

    From your experience and point of view how do you see the recent reformation of the middle east and how some models worked its way like Tunisia and models didn’t did so well like Syria and Libya. and what’s your vision of the middle east for the coming 10 years

    • The Middle East as a region is hugely diverse and varied. It faces particular tensions and challenges. But the key point is that any future vision for the region – and for the countries within it – has to be for the people in those countries. Governments, politicians, civil society, community groups and others need to find their own accommodation, their own balance. For that to be sustainable it has to reflect the concerns of ordinary people across societies. Where we are seeing more success and increasing stability, it is because people are talking and rejecting violence. Where people are refusing to compromise, the opposite is sadly true.

  12. Hi Excellency,
    How do you and your family find to adjust to the lifestyle in Kuwait. Are the people friendly as they are in the UK? And does UK have more of the Kuwaiti Supercars than Kuwait (I have seen more Kuwaiti supercars on youtube than I have seen in Kuwait).

  13. expat999 says:

    As a Kuwait celebrity how do you feel about people talking about you, or forming an opinion about you, often without meeting you…

    • Ha, Ha! OK, not sure I’d consider myself a celebrity. But thanks…

      People will form their own opinions whatever I do. I hope they’ll give me the benefit of the doubt until they get the chance to meet me or read what I’m writing. But if your work means you need to have a public profile (as any Ambassador’s does) then you have to take the rough with the smooth.

  14. MB says:

    Do you agree that the decision of Visa refusal can be unfair to some applicants due to labelling them with a certain nationalities / or a certain situation in their counties.

    • I understand that it may appear unfair. But there are clear rules that our visa officers have to follow. No one is refused a visa simply on the basis of their nationality.

  15. Abdulaziz Alnafisi says:

    Excellency,

    Given the political and humanitarian escalation in recent years in Kuwait, do you expect a rise in asylum seeking applicants? If so, any new procedures in place?

    Merry Xmas and a happy new year…

  16. Claire says:

    As a Brit living in kuwait for over a decade we have seen many changes at the embassy, gone are the wonderful days of being able to renew a passport at the embassy or getting paperwork easily sorted out.
    Apart from the role of maintaining the relationship Kuwait has with the UK I feel very little is done to assist and help the British community living here, in the past the embassy has been a taste of home.
    Are there any plans in place to improve the services and the relationships the British citizens have with the UK embassy?

    • The Government in the UK is working hard to bring the deficit under control. UK tax payers rightly demand value for money and efficiency in the delivery of public services. Changes to our consular operations have been made with that in mind. Supporting UK nationals is one of our three foreign policy priorities, but in a period of austerity we rightly focus on those most in need.

  17. Genwah says:

    Hi, how do you do?
    First i just wanna thank you for being so kind to answer our questions.
    My questions are:
    1- I am syrian / british citizen. I was married in damascus to an indian guy. I live in kuwait now but i did not register our marriage in the british embassy there. So what are the procedures to do it here in kuwait? P.s i gave my son the citizenship here in kuwait.
    2- My second question is that i have been told that as an employee i have to keep my passport with my sponsor… So is that true? … I am a supervisor at a school with visa 18.
    Hope to hear from you soon.
    Thanks again..

  18. Nada says:

    As the British ambassador to Kuwait, what is your biggest responsibility and goal?

    • My goal is to make sure that the relationship between the UK and Kuwait is stronger when I hand over to my successor than it was when I started. I have lots of responsibilities. For me, one of the largest is to ensure that British nationals and embassy personnel are safe, secure and able to go about their business.

  19. AnimalLover says:

    I’ve heard there are a few embassy cats. How do you feel about getting an ambassadorial puppy, like Obama’s Bo?

  20. boyousef says:

    too many beggers in london streets who Bother the arab tourists and the police are just watching
    thanks

  21. Wael AlFarhan says:

    Hi

    We represent many british companies, and when we tried to present some of the products to your Embassy for your usage we were told that our products (British products) are expensive and can’t use them and alternatively you are using cheaper local products!!!

    I think image wise this should not happen!!! What do you think..

    Tnx

    -Wael

  22. Wael

    We are keen to help any UK company who want to export here and sell their products and services. The new Kuwait Britain Business Centre is being set up just with that goal in mind. When it comes to internal Embassy use, we want to support the UK, but we also have to manage our budgetary constraints.

  23. Thank you everyone for doing this. I really appreciate you taking the time and asking all those questions.

    Happy Christmas to you all!

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