THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL
BY BRIAN M. GIBEL
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oung boys from Shigar, in the far northern Gilgit-Baltistan province of Pakistan, play
polo on two legs instead of four. This is a common scene here, where locals claim polo
originated. Iran might dispute that, but there is no denying strong local interest in the
sport. Gilgit-Baltistan is home to the oldest royal polo square and holds annual con-
tests with the neighboring province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, which is home to the highest polo
ground in the world.
Brian M. Gibel is the cultural attaché at Embassy Islamabad. Previous assignments include Embassy
Seoul, where he was cultural attaché; Consulate General Shenyang, where he was political-economic
chief; Consulate General Shanghai, where he was assistant public affairs officer; and two additional
tours at Embassy Seoul, where he was a consular officer and deputy spokesperson.
A native of Oceanside, New York, Brian wrestled competitively for 15 years before joining the Foreign
Service. He is married to Dr. Hyun Hee Kim, a professor and academic coordinator of Hanyang Univer-
sity’s Graduate TESOL Program in Seoul. Their daughter Maya was born in 2008.