Remarks by HE Mr. Abdelouahab Bellouki, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Morocco, bidding farewell to HE Mr. Nawaf Wasfi El Tell, Ambassador of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan to the Kingdom of the Netherlands

02-07-2021 – Diplomat Club Wassenaar – The Netherlands

Honorable Mayor, Mrs. Bliek,

Excellencies, dear friends, ladies and gentlemen,

It is an honor and privilege for me to take part in this convivial and friendly ceremony, and, in my capacity as Dean of the Arab Ambassadors, I am pleased to say few words to bid farewell to a distinguished Ambassador and dear friend; HE Dr. Nawaf Wasfi El Tell. Of course, I take this opportunity to welcome wholeheartedly the new Ambassadors and wish them full success and best of luck in this beautiful country. I also wish all of you good health, happiness and enjoyable summer, hoping that the pandemic will be history in 2022. I think we should remember everyone who has been lost because of COVID-19 and pay tribute to those still striving to overcome this pandemic.

Our friend, H.E. Dr. Nawaf Wasfi (his composed first name) is really the person we don’t wish to depart. As someone said: “We started with a simple hello but ended with a complicated goodbye”, especially, in this occasion, when the departing is the present, absent.
I would like to convey my deep appreciation to Mr.  Leendert de Lange, Mayor of Wassenaar, and Mrs. Shida Bliek, Founder and Director of Diplomat Club Wassenaar, for organizing this magnificent dinner to bid farewell to a departing colleague, represented by his spouse, and to welcome the new Ambassadors. This well-established tradition is very much appreciated.

Since 12 October 2020, Dr. Nawaf Wasfi, 47 years old, is Minister of State for Follow-up and Government Coordination. A Jordanian journalist wrote, I quote, “This Ministry is entrusted to a young man, elegant diplomat and academician, and it is one of the important ministries because follow-up and coordination are vital factors for the success of any government.” End of quotation. In a conference, held in last April, Mr. Minister stressed the need to rationalize and streamline the size of the government apparatus. Definitely, Dr. Nawaf Wasfi, with his far-sighted vision, will give impetus to this new Ministry. In his previous life, from 12 September 2018 to 12 October 2020, Dr. Nawaf Wasfi was Ambassador of Jordan to the Netherlands as well as non-resident Ambassador to Estonia and Latvia. 

His Excellency has a brilliant career. After obtaining his PhD in political science in 2002 from the University of Exeter, one of the top universities in the United Kingdom, as well as a Master degree in international law in 1997 from the same university, he started his professional career as a researcher in the Center of strategic studies in the Jordanian University from 2002 to 2007. After that, he was Director of negotiations coordination Department from 2007 to 2008. Then he was appointed Chair of this Centre from 2008 to 2011. From 2011 to 2018, he served as Special adviser of the Foreign Minister and Director of Policy planning in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates. By the way, for your information, Minister Sigrid Kaag is also a notable Exeter’s alumni as well as, among many, Ms. Joanne Rowling, very known author of the famous seven Harry Potter novels, and Mr. Sajid Javid, British politician, recently appointed Secretary of State for Health and Social care.
In addition to his human qualities, which earned him respect and esteem from his friends and colleagues, Dr. Nawaf Wasfi demonstrated hard work, full energy, high competence, strong abilities, skills and talents. Known for his dedication and engagement for positive endeavors. A ready smiling face, a personification of wisdom and incarnation of kindness. Anyone who interacted with him cannot but be so generous in compliments. He did make Jordan’s voice clearly heard in the Netherlands. I think he set the bar too high for his successor. 

Dr. Nawaf Wasfi belongs to a famous family in Jordan living in Irbid north of the country. The family gave to Jordan political leaders, military commanders, successful business people, cultural activists, etc. His father, Said El Tell, was one of the founders of the educational movement in Jordan. His grandfather, Mustapha El Tell, was one of the best poets in Jordan, always committed to Jordan’s and Jordanians’ aspirations.

El Tell’s ancestors, the Banu Zaydan, after emigrating from the Arabian Peninsula, had lived in the Jordanian cities of Amman and Irbid from 17th century. They adopted the surname el tell in reference to their previous habitation near Amman citadel, which was built on a “tell”, which is the Arabic name for “hill.”
Dr. Nawaf Wasfi has left behind delightful memories. A distinguished and dynamic representative of his country. 

In recognition of his commendable achievements and efforts to promote reliable partnerships on many issues, the President of the French Republic bestowed on 16 November 2018 upon Dr. Nawaf Wasfi the prestigious decoration of Knight of the National Order of Merit, which is to reward, I quote, “Distinguished Merit.”

At the bilateral level, in spite of limited staff at the embassy, he discharged his duties, as it should be and with high sense of responsibility. Relations between Jordan and the Netherlands were strengthened and expanded further, following the successful official visit of their Majesties King Abdullah Ibn Al Hussein and Queen Rania Al Abdullah to the Netherlands in March 2018. And also, Queen Maxima paid a working visit to Jordan in February 2019 in her capacity as the UN SG Special advocate for inclusive finance for development. I think everybody knows the warm bonds of friendship that exist between the House of Orange and the Jordanian Monarchy. In the multilateral arena, Dr. Nawaf Wasfi did his best to cover closely International Organizations’ activities in the Netherlands, such as OPCW and ICC. In the monthly meetings of the Council of Arab Ambassadors, his inputs and remarks were always wise, pertinent and thought-provoking. 

Dr. Nawaf Wasfi’s well-deserved nomination as Minister of State is the culmination of hard work. Hard work always pays, as we say. It is a legitimate reward for his rich career. His wife, the esteemed Madam Sian, did definitely play a crucial role in his success. And I believe she will continue to do so. I am sure Mr. Minister realizes, as well as all of us, I guess, the importance of having the spouse by his side throughout his career trajectory. I am sure he counts on her in so many ways. Madam Sian deserves our tribute and recognition for her unwavering support for her spouse to be a dignified representative of their country. In total solidarity, the couple served Jordan with distinction and class. The couple is a real role model and a source of inspiration for others.

All colleagues, who met Dr. Nawaf Wasfi El Tell, knew him, interacted with him, cherish his sincere friendship and treasure the memorable time shared with him. A wise man said, I quote, “True friends do not say goodbye. They just take extended leaves of absence from each other. Goodbyes mean we miss him until we meet again. Good friends are hard to find, harder to leave and impossible to forget.”, end of quotation.

In conclusion, on behalf of Arab Ambassadors and Heads of Mission, present and absent, I can say with total confidence Dr. Nawaf Wasfi is missed a lot, remembered always. Our heartfelt wishes and prayers will always accompany him in his life journey. We wish him and his esteemed family good health, continuous happiness and more success in his professional life and new venture. 

Thank you for your kind attention.

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