Michael Macy is a 4th generation Milwaukeean whose fascination with culture and the life of the spirit has led him from Golden Gate Park to the tomb of Salim Chisti in Fatehpur Sikri, with stops along the way in Timbuktu and Kabul. A professional diplomat, he recently completed spent a year in Afghanistan and is currently the Cultural Attaché at the American Embassy in London. His prior assignments include Mali, Malta, and Saudi Arabia. He was a student of Pir Vilayet Inayat Khan for twenty-five years, and has spent time among the Sufis of Istanbul, Mali and Afghanistan, Milwaukee and Madison.
He will read poetry and stories from Rumi, Hafiz, Joe Miller, and others he has encountered along the way.
Michael Macy is a 4th generation Milwaukeean who is finishing up a long and successful career as a cultural affairs officer in the Middle East and Western Asia, which included tours in Kabul during the recent Afghan war, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, before that, Mali before that, and most recently London.
Michael loves Rumi, Hafiz, and other Sufi poets. His formal training includes work under the tutelage of Sufi Master Pir Vilayet Inayet Khan.
Where: Woodland Pattern
720 E. Locust, Riverwest, Milwaukee
When: 7 p.m.
Here are some results of googling Michael Macy, State Department.
Macy in Kabul During Afghan War
American Institute of Afghanistan Studies (AIAS)
Hosts Renowned Rumi Expert, Coleman Barks
The American Institute of Afghanistan Studies played a central role in the eight-day March visit of American poet and translator Coleman Barks to Afghanistan on an Academic specialist grant from the U.S. Department of State/Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Over the past quarter-century, Barks has done more than anyone else to make 13th century mystic Jalaluddin Rumi the best-selling poet in America. His visit, in cooperation with the Afghan Ministry of Information and Culture, marks the renewal of the U.S. State Department Speaker and Specialist Program in post-conflict Afghanistan.
Barks came also as a long-standing friend of Dr. Whitney Azoy, AIAS Senior Research Fellow and Center Director. While in Kabul, Barks stayed at the AIAS Center which also hosted his first performance. Serving as Persian poetry reciter for the week was AIAS employee Rohullah Amin, who traveled to Mazar-i-Sharif, Balkh, and Herat with Barks and Azoy.
Jalaluddin Rumi was born in Balkh, now a village but once called the “Mother of Cities.” In Afghanistan he is still known as Jalaluddin Balkhi.
Coleman Barks left Afghanistan after a spectacular visit deemed by PAO Michael Macy as “pioneering” and “the pride of all those at State who put it together.”
Macy in Riyadh Saudi Arabia
Leaders condemn Saudi attack
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AM - Monday, 10 November , 2003 08:00:00
Reporter: Alison Caldwell
DAVID HARDAKER: To the Middle East where Arab leaders have led worldwide condemnation of a terrorist attack on the Saudi capital of Riyadh yesterday.
Al-Qaeda is being blamed for the latest bombing which has killed at least 11 people and left more than 120 injured.
The target was a residential compound, home mainly to Middle Eastern nationals, not far from Riyadh’s diplomatic centre.
The strike comes after a series of suicide bombings linked to al-Qaeda earlier this year, and has raised official Saudi fears of a plot to destroy the Kingdom.
We begin our coverage with this report from Alison Caldwell.
ALISON CALDWELL: More than 24 hours after the suicide bombers attacked the housing compound, children’s toys can be seen strewn among the rubble, with sofas and beds scattered across the road which divides two rows of collapsed houses.
The compound was home to mainly foreigners from Arab states.
Khaled Al Maeena is the Editor of the English newspaper the Arab Daily.
KHALED AL MAEENA: Madness, I think sheer madness, an act of terror, pure and simple. There’s no need to attack any compound or any people who are sleeping. It’s an old compound, has been refurbished, many people live there, mostly Middle Easterners, 95 per cent, they work as teachers and they work in other professions.
ALISON CALDWELL: The Muyaha compound is about two-and-a-half kilometres away from the diplomatic quarter in Riyadh, where the United States Embassy can be found.
Michael Macy is with the US Embassy in Riyadh. He’s been there for just over 12 months.
MICHAEL MACY: To the best of my knowledge there was one American treated in the hospital and released, and one unaccounted for.
ALISON CALDWELL: On Friday, the United States issued its second security alert for Saudi Arabia in almost as many weeks.
The alert warns that terrorists in Saudi Arabia have moved from the planning to operational phase of planned attacks on the Kingdom.
As a result missions in Riyadh, Jeddah and Dhahran were closed for a security review, while staff were told to stay home.
(to Michael Macy) What’s the situation now there for Americans and for the consulate?
MICHAEL MACY: Well, we’re reviewing that situation, and I expect that there will be a decision made today as to whether or not we are continuing to be closed tomorrow. I think this will be a decision made on a day-by-day basis.
I was here May 12th, I was here for the events leading up to May 12th, up to during the war with Iraq, and I’m sure the Saudi Government has said and will say it again, this is not their first experience with terrorism in the Kingdom.
ALISON CALDWELL: Saudi authorities say the attack had all the hallmarks of an al-Qaeda operation. The bombers were reportedly disguised and dressed as Saudi security forces when they shot their way into the guarded complex. Once inside they detonated three cars packed with explosives. Most of the casualties were women and children. The men were at prayer for the holy month of Ramadan.
Whether this was a failed attempt at killing Westerners is still unclear, but what’s certain is there are militants in Saudi Arabia who want to topple the government and expel all foreigners.
Khalid Al Maeena.
KHALID AL MAEENA: These people are out to create mayhem and confusion and terrify people.
ALISON CALDWELL: So it’s more about causing instability in the Kingdom?
KHALID AL MAEENA: Yes, it is causing instability and confusion and really creating chaos. These people have no respect for any life, be it European or Asian or Arab or African.
DAVID HARDAKER: The Editor of the Arab Daily newspaper, Khalid Al Maeena, speaking to Alison Caldwell.
Macy in Mali
U.S. MILITARY’S PEACETIME EFFORTS REACH
TIMBUKTU, OTHER CITIES IN MALI
By Michael Macy
The U.S. military’s efforts to help the people of Mali are a direct result of an ongoing relationship between U.S. and Malian forces that began shortly after the West African nation became democratic and committed itself to participate in peacekeeping, says Michael Macy, Public Affairs Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Bamako. Outlining a broad range of peacetime engagement activities in Mali in recent years, Macy says that nation “has continued to develop democratic institutions, and U.S. training has encouraged an appropriate role for the Malian military in the new democracy.”
Many people believe that Timbuktu is a mythical place, a symbol for the end of the earth. However, Timbuktu is real, a city in Mali, West Africa. It is the legendary place where camels from the Sahara Desert meet canoes arriving on the Niger River — the highway that has carried the trade of West Africa for at least two millennia. It is also the site where U.S. military personnel are now working with Malians to improve health care and education in their nation. Mali is one of the world’s least developed countries. Landlocked, its heart’s blood is the Niger River that dissects the country. The Niger provides the water that sustains Mali’s people and nourishes its agriculture. Timbuktu lies at the northernmost bend of the river, where it meets the Sahara. It was there that the grain, fish, and gold brought by boat were traded for the salt and goods from throughout the world that were carried by camels across the desert. This trade continues today when the salt caravans arrive in Timbuktu to trade with the Bozo boatmen who bring rice, fish, and grain. Timbuktu was the elusive goal for European explorers for hundreds of years, only becoming truly accessible during this century. In 1998 General James Jamerson, Deputy Commander in Chief of the U.S. European Command (USEUCOM), followed the footsteps of those earlier explorers to Timbuktu. That visit led to U.S. military assistance for humanitarian and development projects in Timbuktu. The U.S. Army’s involvement in initiatives to help the people of Timbuktu was a direct result of an ongoing relationship between U.S. and Malian military forces. That relationship began shortly after Mali became democratic and committed itself to participate in peacekeeping. The Malian army was instrumental in the overthrow of the dictatorship of Mousa Traoure in 1991. The officers who led that coup promised to hold free and fair elections, and they kept that promise in 1992. When civilian control of the Malian military was established, the U.S. Army began to provide assistance. Almost as soon as U.S. troops arrived in Mali, they began to include development projects as part of their training programs and volunteered to provide assistance to the communities they visited. The first contingents of U.S. troops in Mali were elements of the National Guard, who conducted two Civic Action Programs. A U.S. Army National Guard unit from Tennessee held “sick calls,” during which they offered medical services for civilians in 10 villages in the Sevare region in central Mali. The medical team provided vaccinations, vitamin supplements, and basic medical treatment to all of the residents of those villages. In the second initiative, elements from the Alabama Air National Guard reconstructed a kindergarten on a Malian military base in the same region. This school served both the base and civilians living in the area.
Malians and Americans are involved in peacetime engagement in other ways. In 1993 the first Joint Combined Exchange Training (JCET) program, conducted by U.S. Special Operations Forces, took place in Mali. The JCET exercises have been held every year since then. During this program, the Malian Army participated in light infantry and peacekeeping exercises. In 1994 the U.S. Department of Defense made a major donation of equipment to Mali with the gift to the Ministry of Health of a field hospital including x-ray equipment, beds, exam tables, refrigerators, and other items. As more U.S. military personnel became familiar with Mali, they wanted to increase efforts to promote the country’s development, and another Civic Action Program was launched in 1995. As part of the initiative, 30 members of the Minnesota Army National Guard provided medical services in 10 villages in the Senou region near Mali’s capital city of Bamako. That same year the Arkansas Air National Guard worked on a joint project with the Malian Air Force in which 20 U.S. airmen worked alongside 20 Malian servicemen to construct a new clinic at the Malian Air Force base in Senou. The project took a month and engendered even closer ties between U.S. and Malian military personnel. In 1995 the United States also conducted the first three phases of military justice training for the Malian armed forces under a program organized by the Defense Institute of International Legal Studies (DIILS). This involved training both in Mali and the United States and focused on the role of the military in a democracy, civilian-military relations, and methods to assist Mali in developing a military justice system. A joint Army, Air Force, and Navy medical team from USEUCOM Headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany, went to Mali in 1996 for a MEDFLAG military medical exercise. The team provided emergency medical and crisis response training for the Malian military medical staff. The exercise included an enactment of a simulated train wreck that was so realistic that many people were convinced it was real. The team also provided sick call services to the local area. Phase four of the military justice training was held that year, and the U.S. Department of Defense also donated two fire trucks to the city of Bamako.
There was an even greater expansion of military engagement in Mali in 1997 when three training exercises were held: two JCET exercises and the first Flintlock exercise, conducted by the U.S. Department of Defense. The Flintlock program lasted for two months in Mali and involved one company of Malian troops and one company from Senegal. There also were observers from Guinea, Gambia, Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea Bissau, Benin, and Togo. The exercise included a development component, the construction of a school in Banankoro. The project was financed jointly by the U.S. Agency for International Development and the U.S. Department of Defense. Also in 1997 the U.S. Air Force provided transportation for the deployment of 680 Malian troops and 450 tons of equipment to Liberia to support peacekeeping. And the U.S. Foreign Military Financing program provided Mali with $350,000 for the training of pilots and mechanics to operate two reconditioned DC3 aircraft purchased from a U.S. company by the Malian Air Force. All of this activity inspired General Jamerson to visit Mali, and he could not resist the lure of Timbuktu. His visit there led to the U.S. donation to the city of two utility vans and two water trucks — gifts that symbolized the continuing close relationship between U.S. forces and the military and civilians of Mali. In 1998, U.S. supplies including beds, surgical equipment, school items, and bicycles were donated to Timbuktu and Kidal. The U.S. Department of Defense also provided support for the renovation of the high school in Timbuktu and a clinic in Kidal and for the construction of a community school near Timbuktu. The work is scheduled to be completed in 2000. These projects are being carried out by two U.S.-supported charitable organizations — Africare, in Timbuktu, and CARE (Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere, Inc.), in Kidal — and are examples of the many elements of the American community working together in Mali.
Also in 1998, formal training began for Malian participation in the African Crisis Response Initiative (ACRI), a program to train and equip peacekeeping troops from a number of African nations. The initial training session ran from the beginning of February through March and involved a Malian battalion of 800 men and about 60 U.S. Special Forces instructors. During that time U.S. funding was provided to construct two clinics in the Sevare region. In November 1998, U.S. military personnel returned to Mali for a month to conduct sustainment training under the ACRI program. Phase five of the military justice training program also was held that year in Mali. All of these activities culminated in the opening of a Defense Attache’s (DAT) Office in the U.S. Embassy in Mali in 1999. It is expected that this will result in even closer ties between the U.S. and Mali. Along with the opening of the DAT office, there were a number of other activities in 1999. ACRI training continued, and Phase VI of the military justice training was held, along with a seminar on the role of the military in a democracy. Throughout the past seven years, Mali has continued to develop democratic institutions, and U.S. training has encouraged an appropriate role for the Malian military in the new democracy. The Malian Army continues to build on its traditions of professionalism and has participated in a number of peacekeeping efforts throughout Africa. U.S. military personnel have played a supportive role in these efforts and have contributed to projects that have led to improved health care and education and other benefits for the people of Mali. Their helping hands have truly reached all the way to Timbuktu.
Two U.S. embassy officials were hurt by a roadside bomb that hit their convoy near the Afghan capital on Sunday, a spokesman said.
The blast near Kabul came hours after a bomb attack killed four U.S. soldiers in the restive Zabul province, in the southern part of the country.
“I can confirm that two American personnel of the U.S. embassy were slightly hurt while on a routine embassy mission,” Michael Macy, a U.S. embassy spokesman, told Reuters.
He declined to identify the two and also refused to say if the U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, Ronald Neumann, was in the convoy when the blast occurred.
An investigation was launched to find out who was behind the attack, he added.