In the Fall of 1990, the global price of oil was very volatile, and the Federal Energy Bar Association, at my recommendation, chose to have a first-ever international keynote speaker to address global energy issues at its November 1990 Annual Meeting. At my invitation, the speech was made by the then-Director General of OPEC, H.E. Sadek BOUSSENA, Algeria’s Minister of Mines & Industry. Algeria’s Ambassador to the U.S. at the time, H.E. Abdu BENSID, told me it was the first time that an Algerian minister had traveled to the United States under private invitation rather than government-to-government.
After doing much of the advanced work, I escorted Minister BOUSSENA and his delegation, including Mohamed FECHKEUR, Founder of the RedMed Group, on their six-day visit in Washington, New York City & Houston. On his departure, Sadek invited me to visit him in Algiers, a visit postponed by the first Gulf War. I did travel in March 1992 at the invitation of the successor Energy Minster. That first trip was a very pleasant introduction to the land and the citizens of Algiers, capitol city of an important U.S. ally endowed with very considerable natural resources and geographically located in a very strategic position.
Over the years, I have been acquainted with each of Algeria’s succession of Ambassadors to the United States, and many of the senior Algerian diplomats who serve in the Algerian missions in the US and at the United Nations. I have become friends with a great many of Algeria’s government and business leaders, as well as with a great many successful Algerian ex-pats living in the United States and Canada. I am a Co-Founder and first Corporate Secretary of the United States-Algeria Business Council, dedicated to the promotion of two-way commerce. Later, I worked with Dr. Elias Zerhouni as Co-Founders of the Algerian-American Foundation for Culture, Education, Science and Technology.
My interest in Algeria continues, both to work to improve opportunities for the Algerian citizenry, as well as to acknowledge the central role that Algeria is able to play in both the political stability and commerce of the Middle East and North Africa region.