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Ambassador Ali Suleiman Aujali Headshot

Learning from America While Building a New Libya

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As the Ambassador of Libya to the United States, I have the privilege of attending both the Republican and Democratic conventions. This will be my first time attending the conventions and I am excited to listen to each party's vision for America's future. Even more importantly, I hope to learn more about America's political process and to share best practices with the new Libyan government.

Living in America these past few years, I've seen the portrait painted by some in the news media of two sides, Republican and Democrat, engaging in pitched battle on every single issue. I've come to appreciate that both sides, Republican and Democrat, love their country, but at times have differing perspectives on how to achieve shared goals.

We might not hear much about it, but on important issues, especially those related to foreign policy, I've seen members of both parties work together to change the course of history. America's support for the pro-democracy movement in Libya is one great example.

Congressional members from both sides of the aisle, including Senator John McCain and Senator John Kerry, were outspoken in their support of a free Libya, and worked closely with the Obama Administration to help the Libyan people defeat a dictator who terrorized his own population and so many others for over four decades.

On July 7, just nine months after the cessation of hostilities, we held elections that were universally recognized as free, fair, and successful. I joined many other Libyans in casting the first votes of our lifetime. This was a joyous day that many of us never ever dared to dream would become a reality. For the first time, we were empowered to help chart the course of our country's future.

Over 3,000 candidates, including about 500 women, stepped forward to run as candidates for Libya's first-ever democratically-elected legislative body. With voter turnout over 65 percent, the 200 representatives elected to the General National Congress truly represent the whole country.

The winners include intellectuals, business leaders, and the Amizgah (Berber). 35 women were elected, comprising 17 percent of the GNC -- a proportion roughly equal to the number of women in the United States Congress.

At both conventions, I am carrying the message that the relationship between the U.S. and Libya has never been stronger. I hope that President Obama, Governor Romney, and the leadership of both parties understand how grateful Libyans are for America's support during its hour of greatest need.

Recently released Gallup polling data showed the U.S. approval in Libya among the highest ever recorded by Gallup in the Middle East and North Africa. In fact, America's approval rating is higher in Libya than it is in Canada.

In my travels of the U.S., I'm often asked what I see when I look to Libya's future. Based on the developments of the past year, I believe the picture couldn't be clearer:

I see a stable, inclusive democratic Libya.

I see a country where women and youth will play an active role in shaping society and building the future.

I see a vibrant, diversified economy that welcomes foreign investment and trade.

I see a Libya that is engaged in the international community and that is a responsible nation in a region in transition.

Lastly, I see a strong relationship with the United States based on shared interests, mutual respect and economic opportunity.

Alexis De Tocqueville once said that "In a revolution, as in a novel, the most difficult part to invent is the end." In Libya, we aren't inventing endings, but rather new beginnings. We are optimistic about the future and are appreciative of America's continued support as we move forward rebuilding our economy and creating democratic transitions.