On December 7, 2011, ministers of government, members of the diplomatic corps, and over 300 guests gathered outside, in the dead of winter, to inaugurate the new U.S. Embassy compound in Djibouti.
At 10 a.m, the mercury read ninety degrees.
Located in the tumultuous Horn of Africa, the U.S. Mission in Djibouti plays a vital role in promoting stability in the region. It also makes its home in one of the hottest places on Earth.
U.S. Ambassador to Djibouti Geeta Pasi and her staff welcomed guests to the new compound, a state-of-the-art facility built by the Bureau of Overseas Building Operations. At the opening, OBO was represented by Managing Director Jay Hicks. Djiboutian Foreign Minister Mahmoud Ali Youssouf also attended the event.
New "green" initiatives implemented in similar compounds around the world are even more essential here, in a country that has less than 0.4 percent arable land and chronic food security concerns. The mission works in tandem with other U.S. government partners and the Djiboutian government to provide food and support to drought victims.
American and local employees teamed together to lead tours through the compound, which included stops at the multipurpose room, cabana, and art collection. Tours even gave guests an opportunity to sample freshly filtered water at the Reverse Osmosis Water Purification Units on the compound.
U.S. Embassy Djibouti staff worked day and night to pull off the grand opening. The hopes were that guests left not only entertained, but also with a better understanding of day to day life in a modern American Embassy.