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A Business & Trade, Diplomacy & Foreign Policy Publication

JULY - AUGUST 2011 • $7.95

B USINESS & TRAD E • P O L I T I C S • M I LI TA RY & D E F E N S E • C O N G R E S S • E N T E RTAINMENT


T H E WOR L D M EETS AT I N T ERCON T I N EN TA L

Do you live an InterContinental life? Whether your destination is New York City or Washington D.C., dignitaries from around the world experience unsurpassed hospitality at The Barclay and The Willard. For New York travel and events: Nicole McClure 212-906-3267 nicole.mcclure@ihg.com

For Washington travel and events: Kirsten Ste. Marie 202-637-7316 kirsten.ste.marie@ihg.com

111 East 48th St New York City, NY 10017 intercontinentalnybarclay.com

1401 Pennsylvania Ave NW Washing ton, DC 20004 washing ton.intercontinental.com

Š2010 InterContinental Hotels Group. All rights reserved. Most hotels are independently owned and/or operated.

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The renowned landmark of InterContinental Los Angeles resides on the prestigious Westside of the ‘City of Angels’. This luxurious sanctuary is minutes away from Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills and close to the Mid-Wilshire district. The hotel’s location is the perfect base for discovering the best of Los Angeles. The InterContinental Los Angeles has a distinguished history of hosting high-ranking delegations from all over the world. We also offer a wide variety of function space, ideal for receptions or meetings. Nearly half of our guestroom inventory is comprised of spacious suites, all with balconies and panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean, the LA skyline or the Hollywood Hills.

InterContinental Los Angeles, 2151 Avenue of the Stars, Los Angeles, CA 90067 Tel: 310 284 6500 • lasales@ihg.com • www.intercontinentallosangeles.com

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INTERCONTINENTAL CLEVELAND. WORLD-CLASS HOSPITALITY ON CLEVELAND CLINIC’S MAIN CAMPUS.

World-class hospitality meets world-class care. We are connected to Cleveland Clinic via skywalk and just minutes from museums, sports, shopping, theater, galleries and unique dining destinations. When you stay with us, you’ll experience exceptional accommodations and guest services that are unparalleled in the area. We welcome guests from across the country, and around the world, every day.

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2209 Massachusetts Avenue, located on embassy road in Washington, DC, has been the home of the United Arab Emirates and currently serves as the Georgian Embassy. LPC Commercial Services, Inc. in cooperation with Hollywood Real Estate Services, LLC will conduct the sale. Sealed Bid offers from prospective bidders must be received by September 15, 2011 and may be submitted at any time up until that date.

Bids should be sent to the Washington office of: Lincoln Property Company 101 Constitution Ave., NW • Suite 325 East Washington, DC 20001 James Connelly, VP of LPC Commercial Services, Inc. has been involved in numerous acquisitions and sales in the Embassy Row area involving Governments such as Portugal, Mozambique, Italy and Tanzania. Connelly observed “The property with its ornate ceiling heights and finishes would make an incredible embassy, private residence or perhaps other uses. It has twenty three rooms, six bathrooms and a state of the art security system. It is also serviced by separate off-street parking. The building is 9,000 square feet. The Republic of Trinidad and Tobago recently acquired the 13,942 square foot building located at 1714 Massachusetts Avenue for $11,984,000 James Kazunas, President Hollywood Real Estate Services, LLC commented “This is a unique property that presents a rare opportunity for a variety of embassy and non embassy uses. The asking price has not been set and the property will be sold in a sealed bid format, with the Seller entertaining any and all viable offers from bidders.”

Complete terms and conditions of sale are available by contacting LPC Commercial Services, Inc.

James Connelly, VP, Government Services LPC Commercial Services, Inc.

(202) 491-5300 Email: info@hollywoodres.com

LPC Commercial Services, Inc. (202) 513-6700

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Domestic flights or International flights, Wings Jets customizes each flight with its Boutique level service. Call 888.946.4753 for a quote. 6


For more information, kindly visit Wings Jets online at www.WingsJets.com or call 1.888.WINGS.JETS (888.946.4753) 7


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DIPLOMATIC CONNECTIONS COVER STORY PAGE 66 Admiral Leasing 51 Amtrak 102 Angelina Jolie - Goodwill Ambassador to the UNHCR 66 Boeing & Mongolian Airlines 112 Boeing & Saudi Arabian Airlines 118 & 119 British - President Obama’s State Visits 14 British - Prince William and Duchess Catherine 82 British School of Washington 43 Canadian Embassy - Spinal Cord Injury Research 52 DC Livery 41 Denmark - Nordic Foods 120 Denmark - Queen Margrethe II 42 Diplomatic Connections’ Reception at the Four Seasons 56 [The] Donatello Hotel in San Francisco* INSIDE BACK COVER Elysian Hotel in Chicago 13 [The] Fairfax at Embassy Row 6 & 7 Finland - Nordic Foods 120 First Lady Michelle Obama and Denmark’s Queen Margrethe II 42 Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts 10 & 56 Hay Adams 11, 124 & 125 Helga’s Catering 123 Hungary - Herend 96 Iceland - Nordic Foods 120 InterContinental New York Barclay 1 InterContinental - Willard InterContinental Washington, DC 1 InterContinental Los Angeles Century City 2

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InterContinental Cleveland 3 InTouch USA Wireless Communications 117 Jim Coleman Cadillac 22 & 23 Jumeirah Essex House in Manhattan, New York 128 LPC Commercial Services, Inc. Real Estate 4 & 5 New Zealand, Embassy of 110 Norway - Nordic Foods 120 [The] Peninsula Beverly Hills* INSIDE FRONT COVER, 77, 126 & 127 [The] Peninsula Chicago* INSIDE FRONT COVER [The] Peninsula New York* INSIDE FRONT COVER & 86 Saudi Arabian Airlines 118 & 119 Sofitel Chicago Water Tower 8 & 9 Sweden - Nordic Foods 120 Swissotel Hotels and Resorts Chicago* BACK COVER & 109 United Nations, Ban Ki-moon’s Reappointment 33 United Nations, Naomi Watts & Alicia Keys 100 US Limo System 41 Washington Hospital Center 55 White House, President Obama’s State Visits 14 White House, Defense Secretary Gates leaving office 36 White House, Mongolian President Elbegdorj 112 White House, President Obama welcomes German Chancellor Merkel to Washington 44 Wings Jets 6 & 7

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EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Dawn Parker AssistantS to the Editor Chanel Cherry Ashley Gatewood ADVERTISING EXECUTIVES Dwight Boswell, Sara Doremus, Kendra Edmonds, Reina Gabbud, Erin Ladd, Steve Yarborough EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT Kyle Byram DESIGN & CREATIVE KDG Advertising, Design & Marketing Laura Socha – lsocha@kdgadvertising.com DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENTS and CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Roland Flamini, James Winship, PhD, Mark Kennedy Michelle Parish, Caroline Barker To contact an advertising executive CALL: 202.536.4810 FAX: 202.370.6882 EMAIL: info@diplomaticconnections.com DIPLOMATIC CONNECTIONS WEBSITE DESIGN & DEVELOPMENT IMS (Inquiry Management Systems) 304 Park Avenue South, 11th Floor New York, NY 10010 TOLL FREE: 877.467.8721 X701 Website: www.ims.com Marc Highbloom, Vice President marc@ims.ca Maria D’Urso, Project Manager Mariad@ims.ca CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Christophe Avril, Gustavo Gargallo, Tahgrid Elbaba, Maja Thyssen Raaberg To order photos from the events go to: www.diplomaticconnections.com Send any name or address changes in writing to: Diplomatic Connections 4410 Massachusetts Avenue / #200 Washington, DC 20016 Diplomatic Connections Business Edition is published bi-monthly. Diplomatic Connections does not endorse any of the goods or services offered herein this publication. Copyright 2011 by Diplomatic Connections All rights reserved. Cover photo credits: Main photo on cover of Angelina Jolie, Claire Truscott/ AFP/Getty Images; Photo above of Angelina and Brad, Francois Guillot/AFP/ Getty Images; President Obama with German Chancellor Merkel, Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images; Chinese vice-president Xi Jipping and Mongolian prime minister Sukbaatar Batbold, Liu Jin/AFP/Getty Images; President Obama and Queen Elizabeth, Chris Jackson - WPA Pool/Getty Images; Naomi Watts, Hugh Jackman and Isla Fisher, Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic; Ban Ki-moon takes oath, UN photo/ Eskinder Debebe; Prince William, Duchess Catherine and Prince Harry, Indigo/Getty Images; Alicia Keys and Tinie Tempah performing, Dave J Hogan/Getty Images; Mongolian Airlines President and CEO Orkhon Tseyenoidov (L) and Kim Pastega, Boeing Commercial airplanes Vice President and General Manager of the 767 program shaking hands, Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images; Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt visit refugees in the village of Medjedja, Bosnia, Amel Emric/AFP/Getty Images; Joseph Richter, Four Seasons Hotel, Christophe Avril, Diplomatic Connections.


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arely have two nations been so fixated over defining their bi-lateral relations as Britain and the United States. President Barack Obama’s state visit to London with First Lady Michelle Obama in June was the occasion for both sides to trot out several variations on the familiar theme. An op-ed page article in The Times of London, signed jointly by the president and Prime Minister David Cameron, spoke of “a special relationship,” “an essential relationship,” and a “natural partnership.” Speaking at the lavish state banquet given for the Obamas at Buckingham Palace, Queen Elizabeth II came up with a triple flavor special. The relationship, the queen said, “is tried, tested, and very special.” The ties that bind the United Kingdom and

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Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama attend a State Banquet hosted by Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace in London, England, May 24, 2011.

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Left to right: Queen Elizabeth II, U.S. President Barack Obama, his wife Michelle Obama and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh pose in the Music Room of Buckingham Palace ahead of a State Banquet on May 24, 2011 in London, England. The 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama, and his wife Michelle were in the UK for a two day State Visit at the invitation of HM Queen Elizabeth II. During the trip they attended a state banquet at Buckingham Palace and the President addressed both houses of parliament at Westminster Hall.

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Chris Jackson - WPA Pool/Getty Images

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President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama talk with the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, U.S. Ambassador Louis Susman and Mrs. Margaret Susman at Winfield House in London, England, May 24, 2011.

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Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

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Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

President Barack Obama, assisted by members of the U.S. military, lays a wreath at the Grave of the Unknown Warrior at Westminster Abbey in London, England, May 24, 2011.

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its former North American colony, the queen said, were rooted in “our shared history, common language, and our strong intellectual and cultural links.” In her nearly 60 years on the throne, Queen Elizabeth has met every U.S. president since Harry Truman; still, the Obama state visit, which is defined by specific ceremonial including a big, white-tie banquet, is only the third by an occupant of the White House in 100 years. The Obamas spent two nights as the queen’s guests at Buckingham Palace – another aspect of a state visit by a foreign leader – and the president’s “thank you” for the banquet was a dinner in the queen’s honor at Winfield House, official residence of the U.S. ambassador to Britain, Louis Susman. Celebrity guests included Tom Hanks, Oscar winning British actor Colin Firth, soccer star David Beckham, and Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling. And also, the Mayor of London Boris Johnson who more or less jokingly asked the president to pay the huge amount in fines for driving in central London unpaid by U.S. embassy staffers (the embassy refuses to pay the new charge designed to reduce congestion, citing diplomatic immunity). “Could you please write me out a cheque for five million pounds?” Johnson asked the president.

The president also addressed both houses of the British parliament. Presidents Reagan and Clinton had done the same, but not in the famed, 600-year-old Westminster Hall – a signal honor. Obama covered a range of topics including Afghanistan, the death of Bin Laden, human rights, and the environment. He called the Anglo-American relationship “indispensible,” and said the United States and Britain “remain the greatest catalysts for global action.” An audience that included Prime Minister David Cameron who leads Britain’s coalition of Conservatives and Liberal-Democrats, Nick Clegg, the deputy prime minister and Liberal-Democrat leader, and three ex-prime ministers Gordon Brown, Tony Blair and John Major, laughed when Obama observed that the trans-Atlantic relationship “got off on the wrong foot with a small scrape about tea and taxes. There may also have been some hurt feelings when the White House was set on fire during the War of 1812. But fortunately, it’s been smooth sailing ever since.” When the Obamas toured Westminster Abbey, scene of the recent marriage of Prince William and Kate Middleton, the president laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown soldier.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama receive Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, prior to a dinner in the Queen’s honor at Winfield House in London, England, May 25, 2011.

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President Barack Obama and Queen Elizabeth II greet guests, including actor Colin Firth, at a dinner in honor of the Queen at Winfield House in London, England, May 25, 2011. Firth received an 2010 Academy Award for his portrayal of the Queen’s father, King George VI, in The King’s Speech.

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama talk with Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, before they depart Winfield House in London, England, following a dinner in honor of the Queen, May 25, 2011. 24

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Official White House Photos by Pete Souza

President Barack Obama offers a toast to Queen Elizabeth II during a dinner held in the Queen’s honor at Winfield House in London, England, May 25, 2011. Actor Tom Hanks is pictured at left.


First Lady Michelle Obama greets soccer star David Beckham at a dinner in honor of Queen Elizabeth II at Winfield House in London, England, May 25, 2011.

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Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

Besides the pomp and circumstance of a state visit, Obama and Cameron had bi-lateral talks on common issues, including finding a political solution in Afghanistan. It was revealed recently that the Obama administration has had preliminary talks with the Taliban. Both leaders agreed on the need to persuade other NATO allies to join the military offensive in Libya in the hope of pressuring Libyan leader Col. Moammar Gaddafi to step down. Another item on their agenda was the eternal Israeli-Palestinian standoff in which the Cameron government is tougher than the White House on Israel’s position, including building more settlements on the occupied West Bank. The Obama’s European trip had started in Ireland where the president had words of encouragement for the Irish facing an economic crisis, visited the village of Moneygall, home of his maternal great-great-grandfather, and quaffed Guinness in a Moneygall pub. Obama’s other stops were Deauville, France, to attend a meeting of the G8 – the eight richest industrial nations -- and Poland. In Deauville, the focus was on the current turmoil in the Arab world. The meeting decided to aid Tunisia and Egypt as both countries prepared for their first free democratic elections in decades. And Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev volunteered his government as a mediator between Gaddafi and Libyan rebels, and the offer was accepted. The president wrapped up his European tour in Warsaw, where he reassured a gathering of Eastern European leaders that his efforts to “reset” relations with Russia would not come at the expense of the security of Poland or other nations in the former Iron Curtain area. n 26

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President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron walk together following their joint press conference at Lancaster House in London, England, May 25, 2011.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

President Barack Obama talks with British Prime Minister David Cameron following their joint press conference at Lancaster House in London, England, May 25, 2011.


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Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

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President Barack Obama works on his speech to Parliament, at Buckingham Palace in London, England, May 25, 2011.

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Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

Above: President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama arrive in Moneygall, Ireland, May 23, 2011. Right: First Lady Michelle Obama greets local residents on Main Street in Moneygall, Ireland, May 23, 2011.

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President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama greet Henry Healy, the President’s distant cousin, after arriving in Moneygall, Ireland, May 23, 2011. The President and First Lady were also welcomed by Counselor Danny Owens, Chair Offaly County, and Counselor John Kennedy, Chair Tipperary County, center.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama talk with Irish President Mary McAleese and Dr. Martin McAleese during a courtesy call in the Drawing Room at the President’s residence in Dublin, Ireland, May 23, 2011.


Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

President Barack Obama, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, and European Commission President JosĂŠ Manuel Barroso greet people on the street before attending the G8 Summit in Deauville, France, May 26, 2011.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

President Barack Obama talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister David Cameron before the start of the working G8 dinner in Deauville, France, May 26, 2011.

President Barack Obama jokes with Ben Rhodes, Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communication, aboard Air Force One en route from London, England, to the G8 Summit in Deauville, France, May 26, 2011. Mike McFaul, Senior Director for Russian and Central Asian Affairs, left, and Director of Communications Dan Pfeiffer laugh with them.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

President Barack Obama talks with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev during the G8 Summit in Deauville, France, May 27, 2011.

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Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

Director of Protocol Krzystof Krajewski and Ambassador Lee Feinstein, right, wave to President Barack Obama as boards Air Force One before departing Warsaw, Poland, May 28, 2011.

Above: President Barack Obama talks with family members of the victims of the Smolensk plane crash during his visit to the Field Cathedral of the Polish Military in Warsaw, Poland, May 28, 2011. Right: President Barack Obama and President Bronislaw Komorowski of Poland greet young people during a democracy discussion event at the Presidential Palace in Warsaw, Poland, May 28, 2011. 32

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President Barack Obama and President Bronislaw Komorowski of Poland participate in the arrival ceremony in the courtyard of the Presidential Palace in Warsaw, Poland, May 28, 2011.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

President Barack Obama meets with President Bronislaw Komorowski at the Presidential Palace in Warsaw, Poland, May 27, 2011.


Ban Ki-moon (centre right) takes the oath of office administered by Joseph Deiss (centre left), President of the sixty-fifth session of the General Assembly, as he is sworn in for a second term as Secretary-General. Standing to the right of Mr. Ban is Desmond Parker, UN Chief of Protocol.

UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

The General Assembly re-appointed Mr. Ban by acclamation for a five-year term, to begin January 1, 2012.

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Members of the Security Council adopted by acclamation a resolution recommending Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for a second term of office, starting on January 1, 2012 and ending on December 31, 2016. Under Article 97 of the UN Charter, the Security Council makes a recommendation UN Photo/Mark Garten

and then the General Assembly makes a decision on the appointment on June 17, 2011.

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General’s position. But, in 2006, as the charismatic Kofi Annan was preparing to leave office, there were seven contenders for what the first United Nations Secretary General, Trygve Lie of Norway, described to his successor Dag Hammarskjold of Sweden as “the most impossible job in the world.” Then, Mr. Ban was the lone survivor from a selection process that attracted a solid pool of talent and a months-long unofficial campaign for office that saw potential Secretary General’s vying for support from major world governments and members of the Security Council. Included among that list of candidates were: career United Nations diplomat and author, Sashi Tharoor of India; Jayanthi Dhanapala, a Sri Lankan diplomat with long experience at the United Nations; Ashraf Ghani, former finance minister in the Afghan government;

UN Photo/Mark Garten

pon the unanimous recommendation of the United Nations Security Council, including all five permanent members – China, France, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom, and the United States – the 192 members of the United Nations General Assembly voted by consensus to reappoint Ban Ki-moon to a second five-year term as United Nations Secretary General. His new term of office will officially begin January 1, 2012 and end on December 31, 2016. Mr. Ban immediately took the oath of office with his right hand raised and his left hand on the original copy of the United Nations Charter signed at the San Francisco Conference on June 26, 1945. This copy of the Charter was provided through the courtesy of the National Archives of the United States. General Assembly President, former Swiss President Joseph Deiss, saluted Mr. Ban’s “loyalty, discretion, and conscience.” “These are the qualities that you swore to exercise when you took your oath of office. These qualities were not just words. For the past five years, on a daily basis, they have truly guided you in your work.” Gabon’s Ambassador Noel Nelson Messoe, who held the rotating Security Council presidency for the month of June, introduced the draft resolution to re-elect Ban by praising the Secretary General’s determination to work on every continent to promote peace and development, justice, and international security “remarkably and with all objectivity and independence…sometimes in particularly difficult and trying circumstances.” Procedurally, the selection process was identical with the procedures followed in the selection of former Secretary General Kofi Annan’s successor in 2006. Then, too, Ban Ki-moon emerged as the unanimous, save one abstention, recommendation of the Security Council and was duly approved by the General Assembly without dissent. Politically, however, the two selection processes could not have been more different. This year there were no other candidates for the Secretary

Yoo Soon-taek (centre), wife of Ban Ki-moon, is pictured in the audience as the General Assembly re-appoints Mr. Ban to a second term as UN Secretary-General.

Prince Zeid al-Hussein, Jordan’s ambassador to the United Nations; Surakiart Sathirathai, former deputy prime minister of Thailand and backed by the ten nations of the Southeast Asian regional bloc – ASEAN; President Vaira Vike-Freiberga, President of Latvia; and Mr. Ban, then South Korea’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade.


UN Photo/Mark Garten

UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

In 2006, Ban became the consensus choice of the SecuConference, the high-level meeting on nuclear safety in Seprity Council only as a series of informal straw polls made it tember and the Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul next year,” clear that he had the most consistent and widespread support. Mr. Ban insisted that “our ultimate power is partnership. Our Now, in 2011, Mr. Ban was the unchallenged candidate of all legacy, such as it may be, will be written in alliance – the leadthe major powers and each ers of the world, leading in of the regional groupings common cause.” He indiat the U.N. – with only the cated that he would reach briefest reluctance expressed out to member states for by the Latin American their views and ideas on the group, praised for his way ahead and promised “bridge building” and travel to deliver a “broad longintensive diplomatic style, term vision to the General respected for his initial efAssembly in September” forts at reform of the United followed by “a detailed acNations administrative tion plan for realizing those system, and valued for his goals” as he begins his new insistent efforts to bring clifive-year term in January. mate change to the forefront Though not known for of international attention. his sense of humor, Mr. Ban Ban Ki-moon (front, right) waits with Desmond Parker (beside Mr. Ban), UN Chief of Protocol, to be sworn in before the General Assembly for a second term as UN Secretary-General. Ambassador Susan was able both to induce a Rice, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, bit of laughter and introduce a trenchant insight into the workwelcomed Secretary General Ban’s reappointment. “No one,” ings of the United Nations during his brief acceptance speech. she noted, “understands the burdens of this role better than he, Noting that he had taken the oath of office on the original and my government is grateful that he is willing to continue signed copy of the United Nations Charter, he recalled how to take them on.” “Secretary Ban,” she continued, “has been a at the time of its signing, the document had been flown from champion of peace and security, an advocate for development, San Francisco to Washington outfitted with its own parachute. and a voice for universal human rights. He has spoken out “No such consideration,” Ban noted, “was given to the diplowith compassion for Haiti, for democracy in Côte d’Ivoire, and mat accompanying it; he had to take his chances.” Perhaps the for the responsibility to protect in Libya. He has urged us all same could be said of Secretary General’s position today? The to confront the common challenge of climate change. He has UN Charter is a treasured foundational document of internaalready made important changes, such as hiring more women tional law, but the Secretary General has to confront a tumultufor senior posts and proposing the deepest reduction in the ous world without a parachute! n U.N.’s budget in more than a decade. Under his leadership, Joseph Deiss (right), President of the sixty-fifth session of the General Assembly, meets with Ban Ki-moon after swearing in Mr. Ban for a second term as UN Secretary-General. the United Nations has launched the Global Field Support Strategy, created an ethics office, and merged four disparate bodies into the important new agency UN Women. But far more work awaits the Secretary General in his second term. We look forward to working with him and his senior leadership team.” In his remarks to the General Assembly immediately after his reappointment, Secretary General Ban began by thanking the representatives of all the member states. “Standing in this place, mindful of the immense legacy of my predecessors, I am humbled by your trust and enlarged by our sense of common purpose.” He then proceeded to catalog the achievements of his first term and to set an agenda for the second. Noting that, “A clear time frame lies ahead: the target date for the Millennium Development Goals in 2015, next year’s Rio +20 (Climate) DIPLOMATIC CONNECTIONS B U S INESS e d i t i o n | J U LY - A U G U ST 2 0 1 1

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President Barack Obama and Cabinet members applaud Defense Secretary Robert Gates on the successful mission against Osama Bin Laden, during a Cabinet meeting in the Cabinet Room of the White House, May 3, 2011.

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By Roland Flamini

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

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he most unexpected alliance within the Obama Administration has been the double act of Hillary Clinton, U.S. Secretary of State, and Defense Secretary Robert Gates. Coming after the open hostility of Donald Rumsfeld’s Pentagon towards Foggy Bottom, the level of cooperation between Republican Gates and Democratic presidential candidate Clinton raised eyebrows in Washington political circles. The Washington Post called them “Washington’s Odd Couple.” The two Secretaries traveled together to Moscow and elsewhere in the interests of Barack Obama’s foreign policy. “We didn’t get the memo that we were supposed to be diametrically opposed on everything,” Secretary Clinton said recently. Gates has even taken the unheard of step for a Defense Secretary of appearing before Congress in support of the State Department budget. Aside from the obvious personal chemistry, Gates had a distinct purpose in supporting the American diplomatic effort. He recognized – as he said at the conservative think tank The American

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Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

importance of diplomacy is solving problems,” and thus in avoiding further demands on American military resources already stretched almost to the limit by two major wars, and — as seen in the Libyan situation — reluctant to take on more conflicts. Gates stepped down in June after four and a half years as Defense Secretary. President Obama has picked Leon Panetta, lately director of the Central Intelligence Agency, to be Gates’s successor. It remains to be seen whether Panetta and Hillary Clinton can replicate the same rapport that she enjoyed with Gates. But meanwhile, in remarks prior to his departure Gates laid the broad lines of his legacy — and in so doing set out the problems facing the 23rd civilian head of America’s military establishment. At AEI, Gates did not mention Panetta, but opened his remarks with what could be a warning to his successor of what to expect from the military. “From the early months,” Gates said, “I ran up against institutional obstacles in the Pentagon — cultural, procedural, ideological — to getting done what needed to get done on behalf of those fighting the wars we are in, whether it was outpatient care for the wounded; armored troop transports; medevac; ramping up intelligence; surveillance and reconnaissance support; or any number of urgent battlefield needs.” The narrative of Gates’ tenure is in two phases: the first being management of the Iraq and Afghan conflicts — the successful troop surge against the insurgency in the first, but mixed results despite increased U.S. and NATO numbers and second, with the later and more challenging phase being — putting in place the mechanism to meet President Obama’s imposed goal of cutting $400 billion out of the defense budget over the next 12 years as part of the administration’s economic recovery effort — a tall order considering that the defense budget this year is $530 billion, the highest since World War II, adjusted for inflation. None of these issues is being handed to Panetta signed, sealed and delivered by Gates. Though the Iraq withdrawal is underway, the Obama administration (Gates says) is still hoping for a last minute invitation from the Baghdad government to retain a sizeable U.S. force in Iraq to strengthen the country’s own military, reassure Iraq’s Gulf neighbors, and frustrate any plans that Iran might have to extend its influence further in Baghdad. In Afghanistan, the internal debate over a full-blown offensive to pacify the country versus more limited


President Barack Obama waits in the Blue Room of the White House before announcing personnel changes in the East Room, April 28, 2011. Standing with the President, from left, are: Vice President Joe Biden, Ambassador Ryan Crocker, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and General David Petraeus.

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Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

counterinsurgency operations against al-Qaida was still going on in the administration even as the president had set a pullout date of 2014. As for defense budget cuts, the most obvious ones have already been made. Gates said at AEI that he had launched a reform of “the (Defense) department’s buying culture.” His main target was the spending spree “with no questions asked” following 9/11. The low hanging fruit, the most obviously vulnerable weapons programs that had unproven technology or “did not pass the test of rationality” had “not only been plucked, they have been stomped on and crushed,” he said. In this way, thirty weapons programs were cancelled that would have cost $300 billion to complete, including the Army’s $200 billion (so far) Future Combat System which relied on flat-bottomed, lightweight vehicles hugely vulnerable to improvised explosive devices, plus the airborne missile defense laser, and the controversial presidential helicopter. That Army stalwart the Bradley Fighting Vehicle, together with the Apache attack helicopter, and the F-15 fighter – all products of an earlier, Reagan-era weapons build-up – still define today’s American military. But they are worn out from use in Iraq and Afghanistan -- though still better than what any foreign army can deploy in the same category. New investments have to be found for a new refueling tanker for the Air Force (“The ones we have are twice as old as many of the pilots flying them”), a new strike fighter, an Army ground combat vehicle, and more ships for the depleted U.S. Navy – but using “proven technology that can be produced on time and on budget.” Even so, expenditure remains astronomical. The new submarine due to enter service cost $5 billion per submarine and the U.S. Navy would have 12 of them. In looking for further deficit-reduction targets, Gates continued, there can be “no sacred cows.” High levels of compensation and retirement benefits, though deserved, are unsustainable and will have to be looked at – as will the cost of health services because “everybody knows that we’re being eaten alive by health care.” Gates said, “Massive administrative and support bureaucracies” both within the Pentagon and at other military centers would also have to shrink. Even so, Gates said the way to do it was not by acrossthe-board cuts as had happened in the past. “Math exercises,” he said, should be replaced by the more rational approach of “identifying options.” A Pentagon review ordered by Gates

will look at those options and make further cost-cutting recommendations. But whatever the approach, Gates conceded the reality that a pared down military “will be able to go fewer places and be able to do fewer things.” For decades, the cornerstone of U.S. military thinking has been the ability to fight two simultaneous wars. This is what is happening now. But will this thinking survive the anticipated reductions in defense spending? “If we are going to reduce the resources and the size of the U.S. military, people need to make conscious choices about what the implications are for the security of the country, as well as for the variety of military operations we have around the world if lower-priority missions are scaled back or eliminated,” Gates declared. “They need to understand what it could mean for a smaller pool of troops and their families if America is forced into a protracted land war again -- yeah, the kind that no secretary of defense should recommend anytime soon, but one we may not be able to avoid. To shirk this discussion of risks and consequences and the hard decisions that must follow, I would regard as managerial cowardice.” On the face of it, Europe, especially western Europe, looks like a good candidate for serious reductions. The United States no longer has a Soviet enemy to guard against. Threats against the United States are more mobile and less state-based. Yet interestingly, Gates didn’t think any defense cut-backs would greatly affect American bases in Europe where three U.S. combat brigades are deployed. The investments have already been made in Europe, he argued. “bringing (the troops) home and setting them up” would only require further expense. Almost his last act as secretary was to travel to Singapore to reassure a meeting of such worried U.S. allies as Japan and South Korea that America “will continue to play an indispensable role in the stability of the region.” But the assurances from Gates for the future were somewhat overshadowed by a present reality. Present at the meeting was a high-level delegation from China which is expanding its military capabilities even as the United States is reducing its own. n


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Denmark’s Queen Margrethe II Visits Washington, DC and New York W

hen the Danish Royal Ballet performed “A Folk Tale” at Washington’s Kennedy Center in June the audience included one of the company’s former costume designers, who also happens to be Denmark’s Queen Margrethe II. She and husband Prince Henrik had timed a U.S. trip to coincide with the ballet’s Washington appearance and were on hand for a rehearsal as well as the first performance. “A Folk Tale’ has a special significance for Queen Margrethe. An accomplished artist, she designed the costumes for an earlier production of the work, one of the best known Danish alternatives to classical ballet’s mainstream repertoire, such as “Swan Lake” and “Les Sylphides.” The costumes of the “Folk Tale” performed in Washington, however, were of a more recent vintage and the work of another designer. As this was not a state visit no meeting with President Obama was envisioned. Still, the royal couple’s itinerary included a brief visit to the White House for coffee with First Lady

Michelle Obama: They also toured the Phillips Collection (and later the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in New York), and took in the Library of Congress where they were shown early editions of Hans Christian Anderson’s fables. The House Minority Whip, Maryland Democrat Steny Hoyer, whose father was Danish-born, was their guide on a tour of the Capitol. On June 9th, Queen Margrethe and Prince Henrik travelled to New York to visit the United Nations and tour the Trusteeship Council Chamber, which is currently being refurbished as part of the United Nations Capital Master Plan. The Chamber was designed by the Danish architect and designer Finn Juhl (1912-1989) and was furnished by Denmark in 1951 and opened in 1952. On December 10, 2010, Denmark donated US$3 million for the renovation.    Then as the queen returned home, Prince Henrik crossed the United States to enjoy the theme park-like Solvang, near Santa Barbara, California, that replicates a small town in Denmark. n 

Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton

First Lady Michelle Obama has coffee with the Queen Margrethe II of Denmark in the Yellow Oval Room of the White House, June 8, 2011.

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Left: Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (left) and Queen Margrethe II of Denmark.

Making a World of Difference

UN Photo/Mark Garten

UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

Below: Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (front, left) and Michael Adlerstein (front, right), Executive Director of the Capital Master Plan (CMP), accompany Queen Margrethe II of Denmark (centre) through a tour of the Trusteeship Council Chamber, which is being renovated as part of the United Nations CMP. The Trusteeship Council Chamber, designed by the Danish architect and furniture designer Finn Juhl (1912-1989), was furnished by Denmark in 1951. It opened in 1952. On 10 December 2010, Denmark donated US$3 million for the renovation of the Chamber.

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Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images

US President Barack Obama (R) and First Lady Michelle Obama (2nd-L) greet German Chancellor Angela Merkel (2nd-R) and her husband Joachim Sauer (L) at the North Portico of the White House in Washington, DC, on June 7, 2011 for the State Dinner. Obama warned Europe’s debt crisis must not destabilize the global economy, as he laid on a lavish and warm White House welcome for Merkel. Obama said he and Merkel had extensive talks about the plight of debt-stricken Greece, which needs a second huge financial bailout, despite some reluctance from some eurozone members to stump up fresh funds.

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By James A. Winship, Ph.D.

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erman Chancellor Angela Merkel [pronounced ahn-GAY-la M-AIR-kl, according to the Voice of America pronunciation guide] received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama in a recent official visit to Washington, D.C. Her visit to Washington included meetings with Obama, highlighted by a surprising dinner for two at 1789 in Georgetown the evening before the official state dinner, discussions with other high ranking U.S. government officials, as well as the formal White House state dinner served al fresco, to the steaminess of an early summer heat wave DIPLOMATIC CONNECTIONS B U SINESS e d i t i o n | J U LY - A U G U ST 2 0 1 1

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Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

US President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama greet German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her husband Joachim Sauer at the North Portico of the White House in Washington, DC, on June 7, 2011 for the State Dinner.

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and the emerging stars in a darkening sky. While the stated reason for the visit was to receive the Medal of Freedom Award, the clear purpose was to renew and strengthen relations between the United States and Germany at a time when Germany and its strong economy are taking an increasingly important leadership role in the European Union and among the G8 and G20 economies. The Medal of Freedom is the highest civilian honor bestowed by the United States, presented to individuals who have made especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors. Commenting at the time the awardees were announced in November 2010, President Obama observed that, “all of them have lived extraordinary lives that have inspired us, enriched our culture, and made our country and our world a better place.” Among the international recipients of the award have been Pope John Paul II (Vatican), Nelson Mandela (South Africa), Margaret Thatcher (United Kingdom), Vaclav Havel (then, Czechoslovakia), Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (Liberia), John Howard (Australia), Mary Robinson (Ireland), and German Chancellor Helmut Kohl. Angela Merkel is the first woman to serve as Chancellor of Germany and the first Chancellor to have come from the former East Germany. She was educated in East Germany and studied physics at the University of Leipzig, subsequently earning a doctorate in quantum chemistry from the Central Institute for Physical Chemistry of the Academy of Sciences in Berlin. As a student, Merkel was active both in the government-sponsored Free German Youth Movement (FDJ) and in unofficial student groups. After the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, she joined the new political party Democratic Awakening, eventually emerging as the deputy spokesperson for the pre-unification East German caretaker government. In the first post-unification general elections, Merkel was elected to the Bundestag from a constituency in the former East Germany, which has remained her electoral district throughout her political career. After her political party merged with the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), she

quickly became a protégée of German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, serving first as Minister for Women and Youth and subsequently as Minister for Environment and Nuclear Safety. Following the defeat of the Kohl government in 1998, Merkel emerged as Secretary General of the CDU and something of an oddity – a Protestant leader in a party and a coalition traditionally led by men and with deep Catholic roots in western and southern Germany. Merkel first assumed the Chancellor’s position in 2005 after a virtual dead heat election that left both of Germany’s major parties claiming victory but neither of them able to successfully assemble a ruling coalition. After three weeks of wrangling, Merkel emerged at the head of a grand coalition government in which she was named Chancellor but the parties agreed to divide the major government ministries equally. She was reelected in the 2009 German elections with a larger majority and was able to form a center-right governing coalition with the Free Democratic Party, without the support of the Social Democratic Party. In his after dinner remarks honoring the Chancellor, President Obama reflected, “Tonight we honor Angela Merkel not for being denied her freedom, or even for attaining her freedom, but for what she achieved when she gained freedom. Determined to finally have her say, she entered politics – rising to become the first East German to lead a united Germany, the first woman Chancellor in German history, and an eloquent voice for human rights and dignity around the world.” Responding to the President’s remarks, Chancellor Merkel recalled that the first political event she remembered was the building of the Berlin Wall fifty years ago. “I grew up in the part of Germany that was not free, the German Democratic Republic. For many years I dreamt of freedom, just as many others did.” But, she continued, “The yearning for freedom cannot be contained by walls for long. It was this yearning that brought down the Iron Curtain that divided Germany and Europe, and indeed the world, into two blocs. Also today, the yearning for freedom may well make totalitarian regimes tremble and fall. Freedom is indivisible. Each and every one has the same right to freedom, be it in North

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Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

US President Barack Obama speaks Africa or Belarus, in Myanmar or Iran.” during a State Dinner for German As he welcomed Chancellor Merkel to Chancellor Angela Merkel in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington, President Obama noted that, Washington, DC, June 7, 2011. “Today marks the first official visit and State Dinner for a European leader during my presidency. It’s only fitting. The transatlantic alliance is the cornerstone — the heart — of our efforts to promote peace and prosperity around the world. And Germany — at the heart of Europe — is one of our strongest allies. And Chancellor Merkel is one of my closest global partners.” Chancellor Merkel responded in an unusually personal tone, referring to President Obama and the First Lady as “dear Barack” and “dear Michelle,” and displaying a warmth between the two leaders that has not always been apparent as the United States and Germany have on occasion disagreed on critical questions of regional diplomacy and international security. At their joint press conference, Chancellor Merkel thanked President Obama for his warm reception and remarked that, “Without the United States of America, I would in all probability not be able to stand here before you today. Overcoming the Cold War required courage from the people of Central and Eastern Europe and what was then the German Democratic Republic [East Germany, then under Communist Party rule], but it also required the steadfastness of Western partners over many decades when many had long lost hope of integration of the two Germanys and Europe. But the then-President George Herbert Walker Bush said German unity, European unity, is indeed something that deserves our support.” In response to a question posed to President Obama asking whether the award of the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Chancellor Merkel represented not only an acknowledgement of her accomplishments in the past but also an expression of the expectations he would “Fortunately,” the President continued, “she’s going to be have for the future of U.S.-German relations, the President around quite a bit longer. Her leadership will be critical responded that, “the Medal of Freedom certainly is a recognion economic issues in the Euro zone. And I very much tion of the Chancellor’s remarkable career. I think not only compliment her on the courage with which she approaches has she been an excellent steward of the German economy very difficult political issues, at some significant political and the European project, but she represents the unification costs to herself.” of Europe through her own life story and the capacity to While many issues were discussed during the Chancellor’s overcome the past and point toward a brighter future.” Washington visit, two emerged as central to the conversation


— the looming financial crisis in Europe as the Greek, Portuguese, and Irish economies face severe debt problems requiring bailouts from the European Central Bank and challenging the solidarity of the European Union itself; and the question of Germany’s reluctance to support NATO operations designed to bring about the fall of the Gaddafi regime in Libya. Chancellor Merkel and President Obama finessed whatever tensions might exist between their countries with

careful responses that bridged any differences of opinion. In response to questions from the press, Obama stressed the critical relationship between the economic difficulties confronting Europe and the economic stress under which the American economy has found itself in recent years. He expressed concern that the European Union agree to take action to further assist Greece in its debt crisis and observed that Germany “is going to be a key leader in that process.”

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we [Germany] participated in UNIFIL [United Nations operations in Lebanon] where the United States is not participating. Without mixing things up here, there will be areas in the world where we shoulder different responsibilities.” In a lighter vein, both leaders made elliptical references to alleged tensions between them arising from the 2008 American presidential campaign when Obama brought his campaign operation to Germany for a major foreign policy speech, and Chancellor Merkel denied him the dramatic backdrop of the Brandenburg Gate – where both PresiSaul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

dents Kennedy and Reagan had made their now famous speeches of solidarity with the people of Berlin and Germany. At that time, the Chancellor made clear that she disapproved of employing this iconic image of German division and reunification as a campaign backdrop. ABC News host Diane Sawyer stands alongside Google chairman Eric Schmidt (L) during a State Dinner for German Chancellor Angela Merkel hosted by US President Barack Subsequently, President Obama turned Obama in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington, DC, June 7, 2011. down an invitation from Merkel to attend ceremonies observing the twentieth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, For her part, Chancellor Merkel acknowledged the interdean action many Germans interpreted as a snub to Merkel and pendence of the global economy and the importance of the a diplomatic misstep. stability of the Euro. “If a country is in danger and thereby Noting that Obama had been to Germany several times, endangers the Euro as a whole, it is in each and every counMerkel offered that, “Berlin opens its arms to him every day.” try’s vested interest to see to it that this common currency is Obama riposted that the last time he had been in Berlin, “We not endangered. And we will act in such a way that sustainhad a lot of fun. And I’m sure that I’ll have a wonderful time ability is guaranteed.” the next time I’m there as well. And I appreciate you assum On the Libya question, President Obama acknowledged ing that I’ll have another term. So I’ll have plenty of time to Germany’s expanded role in Afghanistan and noted that this be able to put Berlin on my schedule.” Not to be cheated made it possible for other NATO countries to make greater out of the last word, Merkel assured the President that “the contributions to the Libyan effort. He added that, “It is Brandenburg Gate will be standing for some time more.” important to note that this is a NATO operation that’s fully Chancellor Merkel wrapped up her Washington visit integrated, which means you have German personnel who very nicely in her exchange of toasts with President Obama. are involved actively in these activities in their NATO role.” “We see,” she reminded her audience, “that living in freedom Chancellor Merkel reiterated Germany’s support for the United and defending freedom are two sides of one and the same Nations resolution calling for President Gaddafi to step down. coin, for the precious gift of freedom doesn’t come naturally “Gaddafi needs to step down and he will step down.” Asked but has to be fought for, nurtured, and defended time and whether the Libyan situation has “burdened” U.S.-German time again. Sometimes this may seem like an endless fight relations, the Chancellor observed that though there may be against windmills. But, you see, my personal experience is differences of opinion between friends and partners, “What’s imquite a different one. What we dare to dream of today may portant is that we wish each other every success. For example, well become reality tomorrow.” n 50

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All photos by Tahgrid Elbaba, Embassy of Canada

Rick Hansen, Gary Doer, Canada’s Ambassador to the United States, Shannon-Marie Soni, Cultural Counsellor, Embassy of Canada

By Caroline Barker Embassy of Canada

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O

n June 22, 2011, Canadian Ambassador Gary Doer hosted a reception in honour of Mr. Rick Hansen, Canada’s Man In Motion, and three distinguished guests: Dr. Susan Harkema, Dr. Robert Grossman and Ms Judith Heumann. At 15 years of age, Rick Hansen sustained a spinal cord injury that paralyzed him from the waist down. Undaunted, he adjusted his dreams and went on to win 19 international wheelchair marathons and six medals as a Paralympian, among many other achievements. In 1985

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he set a new goal: raising awareness of the potential of people with disabilities. Through his Man In Motion world tour, Rick wheeled more than 24,800 miles through 34 countries – including the United States. Along the way, he raised $26 million for spinal cord research and opened new doors for people with disabilities. Upon his return, he established the Rick Hansen Foundation to advance innovation in scientific research for spinal cord injuries and accessibility. In celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Man In Motion world tour, Rick returned to five countries from his original tour: Australia, China, Israel, Jordan and the United States. In each country, he has recognized individuals who have made significant contributions in the areas of accessibility, inclusivity, research & development and service above self, through the presentation of “Difference Maker Awards.” While at the Embassy, Rick recognised three outstanding Americans with his Difference Maker Award: Dr. Susan

Rick Hansen and Judith Heumann (Center), Special Advisor for International Disability Rights at the US Department of State and recipient of Rick Hansen’s Difference Maker Award

Dr. Susan Harkema, Director of the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation’s Neurorecovery Network and the Kentucky Spinal Cord Injury Research Centre, received Rick Hansen’s Difference Maker Award on Wednesday evening at a reception at the Embassy of Canada.

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For more information about Rick Hansen,

Harkema, Dr. Robert Grossman and Ms Judith Heumann. Dr. Harkema is the Director of the Christopher and Dana Reeve

the Rick Hansen Foundation and

Foundation’s Neurorecovery Network and the Kentucky Spi-

Difference Makers, please visit:

tor training whose research may provide strategies that can be

www.diplomaticconnections.com

for patients after neurologic injury.

and click on: www.rickhansen.com

the Methodist Neurological Institute. He is also a leading

nal Cord Injury Research Centre. She is a pioneer of locomoused by physical therapists for the rehabilitation of walking

Dr. Robert Grossman is the co-founder and Director of

voice in the development of guidelines for the conduct of clinical trials for treatments of spinal cord injuries. The North American Clinical Trials Network, which he formed, tests new therapies for spinal cord injuries.

Ms. Judith Heumann is the Special Advisor for Inter-

national Disability Rights at the U.S. Department of State. She helped draft the Americans with Disabilities Act, widely Judith Heumann (Center), Special Advisor for International Disability Rights at the US Department of State and recipient of Rick Hansen’s Difference Maker Award

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recognised as one of the most important pieces of civil rights legislation in past decades. n


Look past the monuments and the museums and you’ll find one of the nation’s top hospitals. Located just three miles from the nation’s capitol is another national treasure — Washington Hospital Center. With 1,600 dedicated physicians, the Hospital Center is a leader in the research, diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular and neurological disease, cancer, endocrine disorders, kidney disease, and geriatric and respiratory care. All this plus convenient services like valet parking make a trip into the city well worth your while. For an appointment with an experienced specialist, call our International Services office at (202) 877-2102.

www.WHCenter.org 55


Sixty events a week means mountains of hors d’oeuvres and every season is a busy one for the Four Seasons Hotel catering department

W

hen Joseph J. Richter, Director of Catering at Washington’s Four Seasons Hotel, talks about “doing the wave” he doesn’t mean the rippling salute performed by fans in soccer stadiums. “The wave” is also a term of art to describe the choreography of serving food (and sometimes drinks) at a reception. Waiters enter the room in pairs, separate to move in opposite semi-circles offering canapés and hors d’oeuvres to the guests, and come together again with empty platters to exit on the opposite side. Twentyfive percent of the Four Seasons’ catering business is with Washington’s foreign

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Joseph J. Richter Director of Catering Four Seasons Hotel Washington, D.C.

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embassies – national day receptions and other functions a fact that helped protect the area’s hotels from the worst setbacks of the global recession. But – says Richter – business is picking up in other sectors as well.

Joseph J. Richter: I handle all the event business that comes from embassies, but that’s only a part of what we do. I have a department of seven people that actually sells all the events and meetings that take place in the hotel but do not have guest rooms attached to them. One group handles the Middle East and diplomatic business, and the other handles the rest of the world. Diplomatic Connections: What is that in terms of numbers of events?

From the Editor:

Diplomatic Connections partnered with the Four Seasons Washington to host another incredibly successful Diplomat Appreciation Reception in May of 2011. Nearly 500 Diplomats and Staff Representatives from Embassies and International Organizations were in attendance. The Four Seasons excels at creating incredibly lavish and stunning events for their clients. They exemplify the pinnacle of professionalism and with the polished and immaculately refined skills of their talented staff, this unprecedented event represented commendable execution and grace that unequivocally equaled the dignity of the high-level and distinguished guests who were in attendance. The illustrative atmosphere and world-class cuisine was an embodiment of impeccable and exquisite style that exceedingly comprised the magnitude of their iconic, world-renowned reputation. The Four Seasons Washington represents the epitome of perfection and ensures their clients and guests have an experience that is superbly peerless. For these reasons, Diplomatic Connections joins with Four Seasons in hosting our annual Diplomat Appreciation Reception and Trade Show; one we consider magnificently prosperous far beyond just one evening!

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Joseph J. Richter: We do anywhere between 20 and 60 events a week. That could be receptions, private dinners or weddings; and that’s all within 17,000 square feet of space on two lower floors of the hotel. We also do parties outside and in the spa. Diplomatic Connections: Do you use the same kitchen staff that services the hotel guests? Joseph J. Richter: We have a whole separate catering service. Wherever you’re going to eat, whether you’re up one level at the Bourbon Steak restaurant for dinner, or down two levels for a catered event, the food is all the same. All the cooks are cross-trained. So someone who does a brunch on a Sunday could jump in and do a banquet, and then could work on the line in Bourbon Steak.


Diplomatic Connections: Do you actually do a lot of weddings?

Joseph J. Richter: We do Persian weddings, Hindu weddings, ethnic weddings, same sex weddings – it’s all on our Website. This year we’ll do about 55. We have no more Fridays or Saturdays left for the rest of the year -they’re all taken by weddings. The big, splashy weddings went away for a while, but they’re back. We do a lot of weddings with planners and they’ll take up to 36 hours to decorate the hall. This is the best year for catering in the hotel’s 32-year history. Diplomatic Connections: Why is that? Joseph J. Richter: Washington is insulated because the government is here. As far as corporate business, many local businesses are doing a lot more meetings. What has changed

is the time-frame. They used to make long term arrangements, anything up to 12 months. Now, 30 percent of our business books for the same month. We’ve seen that in the past 18 months. Big conventions coming into town – that business is down; people are staying closer to home, teleconferencing, and things like that. But then groups from New York that had stopped using us, like financial groups, seem to have come back to life.

Diplomatic Connections: How about the diplomatic market?

Joseph J. Richter: The first year is very tough when you bring in a new embassy, and there’s kind of a mistrust because they don’t know us, or they’ve never been to this hotel. They know the brand; but not us. Once trust is established, it takes

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a phone call and about five seconds - we know what they like. I would have a Middle Eastern embassy call, or Russia, and I’ll know exactly what to do and what not to do. They all are very, very specific about what they want. Diplomatic Connections: For example… Joseph J. Richter: There are groups that say, “We want the party to start at seven o’clock, but you know nobody will show up before nine. Then, there are groups that say they’ll start at seven and they’re camped outside at four o’clock. There are many cases where there are a hundred chiefs and two Indians. Some groups have to have a certain type of table cloth, or they don’t like a modern look. You know what kind of flowers not to use for certain embassies because it’s an insult. Diplomatic Connections: How so? Joseph J. Richter: Well, with some Asian countries you can’t use white flowers because that’s a sign of death. I’ve been in rooms five minutes before a party and they’re ripping flowers out of an arrangement because somehow the wires got crossed. Diplomatic Connections: Any other problems you want to mention? Joseph J. Richter: Well, this happens consistently: one person will book an event, and on the telephone they can say, “I love that idea, I love that idea, Yes, go with that.” They’ll sign off on a proposal, and then someone else will take charge and they’ll say, “That’s nice, but we’re not serving that, and we want this…” But we’re used to it. Sometimes, you cannot judge who’s going to walk through that door and be in charge. Diplomatic Connections: What about special food requirements? Joseph J. Richter: Our kitchens have staff from many countries, so we can do phenomenal Thai food, we can do Russian food, authentically – and if we can’t, we’ll research it and still blow their socks off. But I will tell you, all Middle Eastern countries, if they’re having a stand-up reception will have 90 percent Western food, and they will bring in their chef from the ambassador’s residence to do one dish – lamb, things like that. Diplomatic Connections: Is the preference for Western food because it’s an experience? Joseph J. Richter: Exactly, the last thing they want to do is to come here and have a bad version of their own cuisine. Diplomatic Connections: What is the largest group that you’ve had to accommodate? Joseph J. Richter: 1,200, and we’ve done it for more than one national day embassy celebration. Embassies rarely take 60

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the entire space we have available; they would rather have the room look crowded for a reception because then it looks more successful. Diplomatic Connections: What about security? Joseph J. Richter: We have a very large security staff at the hotel. If there’s a distinguished foreign guest coming to the party, the Secret Service is likely to be involved. Diplomatic Connections: Have you ever had the president? Joseph J. Richter: I actually can’t tell you that. It’s our policy; we’re really not supposed to say who has been here. People find out: we cannot verify it. Diplomatic Connections: Any incidents that you would care to mention – a fight breaking out at a reception? Joseph J. Richter: Never had one. I’ve seen the bride kiss the wrong guy – a little too long, but never a fight.

Diplomatic Connections: Thank you, Mr. Richter. n 

If you would like to contact Joseph J. Richter, Director of Catering, for a future event, email: Joseph.Richter@FourSeasons.com or call: 202.944.2020

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Claire Truscott/AFP/Getty Images

US actress and UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolie gives a press conference in Islamabad. Jolie visited Pakistan’s northwest to draw the world’s attention towards the plight of 21 million people affected by the country’s worstever floods. It was the 36-year-old actress’ fourth visit to Pakistan since she became a UNHCR goodwill ambassador in 2001.


By James A. Winship, Ph.D

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ngelina Jolie may be a major screen star, among the sexiest women in the world, co-star her life with Brad Pitt, and mother to an “assembled” family of six children – three of them fathered by Pitt and three of them adopted from around the world, but she has also served as a leading advocate for the cause of refugees, displaced persons, and victims of war for the last decade. Named a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Commission on Refugees (UNHCR) in 1991, Jolie has spent the past decade traveling the world, often to conflicted and dangerous areas, to highlight the plight of refugees and displaced persons and the work of UNHCR. “It is critical that all parties respect the fundamental right of people in danger to

Focusing Attention on Global Refugees in Tunisia and Afghanistan

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flee to safety – whether civilians caught in conflict in their own country or refugees and asylum seekers caught in new conflicts,” she noted in a recent statement. “All I’m asking is that civilians be protected and not targeted or harmed.” Jolie’s peripatetic schedule may find her amid the glamour of the Cannes Film Festival promoting her new animated film, Kung Fu Panda 2, with Jack Black and Dustin Hoffmann, and sharing in the advance showing of Brad Pitt’s new film, “Tree of Life,” directed by Terrence Malick, which won the coveted Palme d’Or award. But, it may equally well find her traveling with her entire family in Namibia, working on new film projects in Bosnia, or visiting refugee camps in Afghanistan and Tunisia. Altogether, Jolie has visited camps in more than twenty countries around the world, including Cambodia, Pakistan, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Kenya, Sri Lanka, Russia, Bosnia, Jordan, Chad, Lebanon, Thailand, Syria, Iraq, India, Costa Rica, Haiti, and even Arizona – where she visited facilities for asylum seekers detained by the United States government. Repeatedly asked why she undertakes these missions, Jolie has said she seeks to increase “awareness of the plight of these people. I think they should be commended for what they have survived, not looked down upon.” 68

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Visiting Afghanistan for the second time this spring, Jolie was particularly concerned to highlight the on-going needs of children, women, and displaced persons in that country now ten years into the aftermath of the post-9/11 toppling of the Taliban and the long-term presence of American military forces seeking to stabilize the Afghan government of Hamid Karzai and to expand the territory effectively controlled by his central government. Her visit focused on the problems of returned Afghan refugees still struggling to survive and reintegrate ten years after returning from exile. “As the world’s attention shifts to the newest refugee crises,” Jolie pointed out, “we need to remember that if we don’t support people in the long term to really get back on their feet – to feed, shelter and educate their families, to earn a living with dignity, and to participate in meaningful ways in their societies – we will see a continued cycle of instability and new crises.” Jolie’s visit to Tunisia was designed to highlight Tunisia’s critical role in accepting waves of refugees fleeing the violence in Libya as the internal conflict between rebel forces seeking to oust long-time Libyan ruler Col. Muamar Gaddafi and forces loyal to him drags on and intensifies under pressure of intensified NATO bombings of Gaddafi’s strongholds and

Jason Tanner/UNHCR via Getty Images

UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador, Angelina Jolie presents education materials to both local Headteacher, Gul Rahman, and young schoolgirls in the village of Qala Gudar, Qarabagh District February 2011 some 28km outside Kabul, Afghanistan. Angelina Jolie was visiting the site where she will fund a new girls’ primary school. Girls are only currently studying part of the year in the open air grounds of a local mosque and limited to Grade 4 due to the lack of a proper school building.


Tariq Mahmood/AFP/Getty Images

Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) Angelina Jolie (L) talks with an Afghan family at the Kacha Ghari Repatriation Centre outside Peshawar. Oscar winning US actress Angelina Jolie has taken her mission to Pakistan to focus world attention on the plight of over three million Afghan refugees.

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Jason Tanner/AFP/Getty Images

UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) representative and Hollywood actress & UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolie (R) meeting with 64-year-old Zenul Hawa, a flood affected victim, in the village of Mohib Bandi, on the outskirts of Nowshera, Pakistan.

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Inset photo: Jason Tanner/UNHCR via Getty Images

UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador, Angelina Jolie, meets with Khanum Gul, 35, a mother of 8 and her youngest son, Samir at their makeshift home at Tamil Mill Bus site February 2011, in Kabul city, Afghanistan. When Angelina last visited Khanum Gul, Samir was a newly born baby of 14 days, now he’s two and a half years old, but having medical problems. Tajik and Pashtun families live side by side without any major conflict at the Tamil Mill Bus site. Over 70 percent of the families are returnees from the period of 2002-2004 who were unable to achieve sustainable reintegration in their places of origin and subsequently drifted to Kabul City in search of work. A nearby school is accessible to the children but the poor economic circumstances of the many families oblige them to send their children out to work. Low levels of literacy, particularly amongst the women, limit their access to employment other than the lowest paid daily labor wage.

expanded international economic sanctions. Though she visited with Tunisian leaders, praising them for their efforts to receive large numbers of refugees even in the midst of dramatic political change in their own country, the primary focus of Jolie’s trip was to visit the Choucha Refugee and Resettlement Camp on the Tunisia-Libya border. The camp has been home to over 4,000 migrant workers and refugees – most of them Somalis, Eritreans, Bangladeshis, and Sudanese – who had fled the spreading conflict in neighboring Libya. Since Jolie’s visit, the camp itself has been the site of looting and violence, involving clashes between groups in the camp as well as the local Tunisian population. More than 400,000 people have escaped the violence in Libya in recent months, and Tunisia has accepted more than half of them. Egypt, too, has been especially responsive to receiving this new wave of refugees as have Niger, Algeria, Chad, and Sudan. Many of these refugees represent the large migrant labor force that Libya employed but others represent people from other war-torn countries in the region who had been received in Libya and are unable to return home. These people “are waiting here with little hope, unable to return home and unsure of what’s to come,” Jolie observed. “This constant cycle of displacement must come to an end.” Sub-Saharan African refugees attempting to flee Libya are particularly at risk because they are often accused of being foreign mercenaries hired to support the Gaddafi regime. Just as Jolie was preparing to leave Tunisia, word was received of the reported drowning of 213 refugees loaded on a small boat attempting to reach southern Italy from Tunisia. The group, including Somalis, Eritreans, and Ivoirians was attempting to reach the Italian island of Lampedusa in the Mediterranean when their boat foundered. Stunned by this loss of life, Ms. Jolie observed, “Having just spent time with similar families fleeing the violence in Libya, I am deeply saddened by the large loss of life of people who were simply trying to escape war and find

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UNHCR goodwill ambassador Angelina Jolie (L) and actor Brad Pitt visit refugees in the village of Medjedja, near the eastern Bosnian town of Visegrad, 70 kilometers (43 miles) east of Sarajevo. Film stars Angelina Jolie and her husband actor Brad Pitt flew into Bosnia on a surprise visit to meet refugees still suffering from the brutal 1992-1995 civil war.

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A. Majeed/AFP/Getty Images

Actress and UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolie arrives for a meeting with Pakistani Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani at the prime Islamabad.

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Farooq Naeem/AFP/Getty Images

minister’s house in


Actress and UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolie (C, in black scarf) leaves after a visit to a makeshift camp for Pakistanis displaced by floods in the Mohib Bhanda area of Nowshera district, Pakistan.

refuge. It is all the more devastating knowing the children were on board.” United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, António Guterres, noted that, “These people were refugees twice. They fled war and persecution in their own countries and now, in their attempt to seek safety in Italy, they tragically lost their lives.” The United Nations High Commission on Refugees observes its 60th Anniversary this year, having been founded in December 1950 to help Europeans displaced during World War II. Initially, it was expected to be in existence for only three years. Now, decades later, it has been responsible for encouraging a series of international treaties intended to protect the rights of refugees and displaced persons, assists millions of people around the world, and has an open–ended

mandate to aid in dealing with the human results of conflict and economic migration wherever the need arises. UNHCR’s operating budget is entirely funded by contributions from national governments, regional entities, international organizations and businesses as well as individuals. The 2011 needs-based budget is estimated at $3.3 billion. The United States is substantially the largest single donor to the UNHCR budget, distantly followed by the European Commission, Japan, and Sweden. Making direct contributions to the efforts of UNHCR, the Jolie-Pitt Foundation has covered the costs for a flight of 177 persons to return to their countries of origin from their temporary status in Tunisia and bought an ambulance to help support Tunisian efforts on the border to assist the injured arriving from Libya. The foundation has also made contributions to establishing schools for girls, children in Afghanistan and elsewhere, HIV-AIDs clinics in Ethiopia, wildlife preservation programs in Namibia, and rural development programs in Cambodia. Most recently, the foundation has announced a $500,000 grant to assist in the rebuilding of lives and homes in tornado-struck Joplin, Missouri.

Morris Bernard/AFP/Getty Images

UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador and actress Angelina Jolie meeting an elderly refugee, one of 1,300 trapped at the makeshift Al Waleed camp inside Iraq, unable to leave the country for neighboring Syria. Over the years, Jolie has travelled to Iraq and Syria to see first-hand the plight of four million people uprooted by the ongoing conflict in Iraq.

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Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Actors Angelina Jolie (L) and Brad Pitt depart ‘The Tree Of Life’ premiere during the 64th Annual Cannes Film Festival at Palais des Festivals on May 16, 2011 in Cannes, France.


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Francois Durand/Getty Images

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Angelina Jolie (L) and Brad Pitt attend ‘The Tree Of Life’ premiere during the 64th Annual Cannes Film Festival at Palais des Festivals on May 16, 2011 in Cannes, France.

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Francois Guillot/AFP/Getty Images

Angelina Jolie will make her directorial debut with a drama about the Bosnian War, now titled In the Land of Blood and Honey, for which she also wrote the script. The film was shot last October in Eastern Europe Actress Angelina Jolie and US and tells the story of a young Serbian man and a actor Brad Pitt pose on the red carpet Bosnian-Muslim woman who begin a romance only before the screening of ‘The Tree of to have their relationship pulled apart by the ethnic Life’ presented in competition at the war of 1992 that ravages the former Yugoslavia. 64th Cannes Film Festival on Interviewed by entertainment reporters while still May 16, 2011 in Cannes. shooting scenes from the story, Jolie explained that, “The film is about the experience that a lot of different people, on all different sides, have as war takes its toll. A couple that maybe would have lived a certain life, had the war not begun, end up having a very different story because of the war.” Here the impact of her work with UNHCR in Bosnia on Angela Jolie’s art is immediately visible. Currently, the film is scheduled for release on December 23, 2011. It would be tempting to see Angelina Jolie’s latest theatrical release Kung Fu Panda 2, in which she reprises her role as the voice of Master Tigress. This educational and entertainingly fun film is animated, 3-D eye and ear candy carefully designed to be family friendly – PG-rated but with a star studded cast of voices designed to attract adults as well as children. The movie has already been one of this summer’s box office winners, but it is also a heartwarming morality play that confronts real life dilemmas as ugly as genocide, technological arms races, and loss of biodiversity. Ironically, the story line also deals with experiences of rejection, separation, and adoption of parental figures by key characters who have been orphaned. Asked about how her children reacted to the film and its themes, Jolie replied that the whole family loved the film alternately laughing, crying, and being afraid for the characters. But none of the film’s themes disturbed the children “because in our family we talk about things like orphanages and adoption all the time. For us these are good words.” And, Jolie added, “Today more than ever we really understand that family comes in all different ways, two mothers, two fathers, single parents, different races, some are adopted and so family is where the love is. Family is where you find loyalty and friendship.” Clearly, Angelina Jolie is far more than just another pretty face or an action-game hero. She is a woman of conscience, creativity, and commitment who acts on her beliefs in shaping her family, in supporting the work of UNHCR, and in confronting real threats to the quality of life for all human beings in some of the world’s most dangerous places. That places her - among the real world heroes. n


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By Roland Flamini

n average, three million U.K. citizens visit the United States every year, but until July 8 Kate Middleton, now the Duchess of Cambridge, was not one of them. That changed when Prince William and his bride arrived in

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Los Angeles following their week-long tour of Canada. The U.S. trip was tacked onto the Canadian itinerary mainly because the Duchess of Cambridge had never before visited the United States. Royal Tours – official royal travel – are


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Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge walk hand in hand from Buckingham Palace the day after their wedding, on April 30, 2011 in London, England.

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President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama talk with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in the 1844 Room at Buckingham Palace in London, England, May 24, 2011.

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Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

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Prince William, Prince Harry and Duchess Catherine attend Derby Day at the Investec Derby Festival at Epsom racecourse on June 4, 2011 in Epsom, England.

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Prince William and Duchess Catherine attend the 10th Annual ARK (Absolute Return for Kids) Gala Dinner at Kensington Palace on June 9, 2011 in London, England.

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Inset photo: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

carefully choreographed, with the program designed to give (Absolute Return for Kids), the start of the horse racing the visiting members of the royal family maximum exposure, season at Epsom, or watching her robed husband walking in and the trip usually has a specific purpose. In this instance, procession in the more arcane annual church service of the the tour introduced a new element in the British royal family Knights of the Garter at Windsor. She was at the Trooping — the Kate factor. of the Color ceremonial parade to mark Queen Elizabeth II’s Twenty years ago, Prince William’s mother gave a boost official birthday (the queen’s real birthday is in April), riding to the British monarchy’s popularity — until, that is, Princess to and from the festive event in an open carriage, waving Diana emerged as comcheerily to the crowd, petition to the family. and then taking her Compared to Diana’s place on the Buckingcaring personality and ham Palace balcony in natural elegance the rest the familiar royal family of the group was made to tableau. She and Prince seem staid and remote. William were also on There are indications hand to greet President that Buckingham Palace Barack Obama and is hoping the Kate factor the First Lady on their will arouse some fresh state visit to London. interest in an aging royal The newlyweds had a house: Queen Elizabeth 10 minute conversaII is 85; her husband, tion, mainly about Prince Philip, is 90; their wedding, with the Prince Charles, the heir president. The Obamas to the throne is 62. occupied the same The former Kate six-room suite in BuckMiddleton is off to a ingham Palace used flying start. Unlike by Prince William and Diana who was a shy Kate on their wedding 19-year-old, she is ten night, but a palace aide years older and more in was quoted as saying, Prince William and Duchess Catherine stand on the balcony of Buckingham Palace after the Trooping the Colour parade on June 11, 2011 in London, England. control of the situation. the presidential couple The ceremony of Trooping the Colour is believed to have first been performed Her broad, easy smile “may not have had the during the reign of King Charles II. In 1748, it was decided that the parade would be used to mark the official birthday of the Sovereign. More than 600 guardssays she is having the same bed.” men and cavalry make up the parade, a celebration of the Sovereign’s official birthday, although the Queen’s actual birthday is on April 21. time of her life. She has For Kate, starting been Prince William’s her foreign travel as partner since college a royal with a trip to and the couple has had America was a huge time to develop a close challenge. Los Angeles relationship. In a remarkably short time is the quintessential media city and she was she has emerged as a sparkling personality bound to be subjected to the pressure of in her own right and a fashion icon, with a intense scrutiny. Their three-day program youthful taste that is more Main Street than (July 8-10) included a charity polo game, haute couture. promoting Anglo-American trade, attending Following their April 29 marriage, the a couple of events with a Hollywood flavor, young duchess fitted remarkably smoothly visiting an inner city school and a job fair into the royal family’s public rituals – whether it was the for vets, plus some sightseeing. star-studded evening gala for the children’s charity ARK Prince William’s program included playing in a fundDIPLOMATIC CONNECTIONS B U SINESS e d i t i o n | J U LY - A U G U ST 2 0 1 1

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Members of the royal family join HM Queen Elizabeth II to celebrate her official birthday by taking part in the Trooping the Colour parade on June 11, 2011 in London, England. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge joined other members of the royal family to take part in the ceremony which marked the official birthday of the British sovereign since 1748.

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raising polo game organized by the American Friends of the Foundation of Prince William and Prince Harry at the exclusive Santa Barbara Polo Club. The royal brothers’ joint charity provides funds to help underprivileged children and backs wild life preservation. A chance to hobnob with the stars was a black tie dinner given by the Los Angeles branch of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts of which Prince William is president. Guests included 42 92

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young British talents who were making a name for themselves in television, film, and video games. Another reception at the residence of the British Consul General in Los Angeles, Dame Barbara Hay, brought together local businessmen. Not that the Canadian visit was any easier. Close to half a million people were at the July 1 Canada Day celebrations in Ottawa, the capital, at which Prince William and his duchess were present. The couple’s tour took them from one


Carl Court - WPA Pool/Getty Images

Prince William and Duchess Catherine leave with other members of the royal family after a church service to mark Prince Philip’s 90th birthday on June 12, 2011 in Windsor, England.

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Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and his father, Prince Charles, Prince of Wales (R) are watched by their wives Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall while walking in the procession for the annual Order of the Garter Service at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle on June 13, 2011 in Windsor, England. The Order of the Garter is the senior and oldest British Order of Chivalry, founded by Edward III in 1348. Membership in the order is limited to the sovereign, the Prince of Wales, and no more than twenty-four members.

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Richard Pohle - WPA Pool/Getty Images

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Prince William, Duke of Cambridge attend the annual Order of the Garter Service at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle on June 13, 2011 in Windsor, England.

end of the vast country to the other, ending in Calgary, Alberta, where another huge crowd awaited them at the famous Calgary Stampede, rodeo’s richest and roughest ride. The British government had hoped that the wedding Prime Minister David Cameron called “unadulterated good news” would be a welcome distraction from the current austerity measures, job cuts and soaring prices, and it was. “The mood is largely benevolent,” observed The Guardian newspaper on the big day. “Any wedding is a statement of hope about the future: the grandest and most public wedding of this generation inevitably makes a bigger statement.” How long that benevolence will last is another matter. The couple decided to postpone going on a honeymoon until a later date, but the truth is that they are enjoying a honeymoon

with the British public. In addition to the government, the royal family would also like the Kate factor to continue to generate good will — at least until 2012 when the queen marks her diamond jubilee: 60 years on the British throne. The old sovereign will be very visible as the jubilee is celebrated with festivities throughout the country, and the public’s reaction will be a measure of the monarchy’s continued popularity. The royal couple’s traveling team included Sir David Manning, advisor to Prince William and Prince Harry and no stranger to the United States. He was lately British ambassador in Washington. n

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Master Painter Tamรกs Klein from Herend, Hungary flew to Washington, D.C. to introduce a great collection of Herend China, to celebrate the 185th anniversary of the Manufactory during the EU presidency of Hungary.

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Herend painting lessons at the Embassy of Hungary

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n exclusive Herend porcelain exhibition was recently hosted at the Embassy of Hungary by Ambassador Gyorgy Szapary and Ms. Lotti Letanoczky, spouse of DCM András Bácsi-Nagy. It was a unique opportunity to meet master painter Tamás Klein, who made a special trip from Herend, Hungary to Washington, D.C. to make an exclusive appearance at the embassy just for this event and celebrate Hungary’s EU presidency while simultaneously recognizing the Manufactory’s 185th anniversary. The exhibited masterpieces impressed the guests from the Washington diplomatic social community, who not only Ambassador Gyorgy Szapary with Mrs. Aniko Gaal Shott and Mrs. Nina Pillsbury during a unique observed Tamás’ painting presentation about the royal dinnerware set by in complete appreciation, Master Painter Tamas Klein from Herend, Hungary DIPLOMATIC CONNECTIONS B U SINESS e d i t i o n | J U LY - A U G U ST 2 0 1 1

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The guests, like Mrs. Asmeret Demeter-Medhane, tried their hand at painting some pieces. Here Curator of the State Department Ms. Virginia Shore and Master Painter Tamas Klein are observing the process.

Guests of the special event after the presentation (from left to right): Mrs. Noemia Prada, Mrs. Lori Clarke, Ms. Sheila Clarke, Mrs. Lotti Letanoczky, Mrs. Laurie Owen, Ms. Kathy J Trenholm and Mrs. Deborah Carstens

but also tried their hand at this task. They admired the different dinnerware sets, of which perhaps the most interesting was a new line that UK Prince William and his wife, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, received for their wedding recently. This was the very first time that this pattern could be seen outside of Hungary by anyone other than the royal couple. Besides these sets, other extraordinary pieces also attracted attention, such as a rare porcelain reproduction of the crown of the former kings of Hungary, bracelets, animal figurines and golf balls made of porcelain. Timothy Albrecht - a Herend collector, and seller of Herend porcelain at his Consider It Done boutique in Bethesda, MD – arranged the rare pieces graciously provided by Martin’s Herend Imports. Master painter Tamás Klein explained the history of the different patterns and the unique motifs featured on the exhibited pieces. For those who appreciate meticulous craftsmanship and true luxury, it was a spectacular opportunity to see the process of art being made. As participants also learned, it takes at least 10-15 years to become a master in this profession. The manufactory has its own vocational school where the most gifted candidates can acquire the tricks of the trade. Tamás’ family has been working in the factory for two generations; it was not a question for him what career to choose. The manufactory’s name is derived from the small Hun98

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garian village of Herend, located not far from Lake Balaton. In 1826, the company was started with a few employees; currently 850 painters are working on the porcelain sets, making the manufactory the second largest of its kind worldwide. And with almost 200 years of existence, it is the second oldest porcelain factory in the world. All of the pieces are handpainted; this fact makes Herend products truly exceptional and invaluable. The guests of the Embassy enjoyed refreshments and pastries created by Embassy Chef Viktor Merényi - served on Herend china, of course. Herend porcelain became internationally celebrated throughout the world when at the London World Exhibition in 1851 Queen Victoria ordered a large table service for Windsor Castle. Decorated with a Chinese design of flowers and butterflies, it has since become famously known as the Queen Victoria pattern. Many aristocrats followed the Queen’s example and Herend continued to prosper. The company’s first exposure to the American market came in 1853, with their medal-winning entry at the New York Exhibition of Industrial Arts. The special hand-painted Herend dinner set made by the factory and presented to Prince William and Duchess Catherine at their wedding puts a modern interpretation on this pattern, and had been named the Royal Garden. It is speculated that they may have used some pieces of the china when serving their wedding cake (see photo). The original, richly


colored Chinese-style pattern of butterflies and flowers has been toned down to purple, green, turquoise, delicate rose and yellow hues with golden accents and rims, with monochrome-rimmed dinner plates. Besides the royal couple, Franz Joseph, Queen Elisabeth II, Alexander von Humboldt, John Paul II, Lady Diana and Benedict XVI received several wonderful pieces from the manufactory. n

With the traditional methods of manufacturing and the more than 200 year long heritage, Herend porcelain shows modern patterns with new and extraordinary colors and motifs

Cake photo by: JOHN STILLWELL/AFP/Getty Images, Inset photo Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

The eight tiered wedding cake made by Fiona Cairns and her team, awaits the newlyweds Prince William and Kate Middleton, in the Picture Gallery of Buckingham Palace in central London on April, 29, 2011.

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Actress Naomi Watts attends the 2011 CFDA Fashion Awards at Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center on June 6,

Larry Busacca/Getty Images

2011 in New York City.

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he Washington Post calls them “celebvocates” — show business and sports stars who lend their support to worthy causes ranging from curing cancer to saving whales. But long before they became a fact of life on the Hill testifying before congressional committees and holding press conferences, star activists flourished at the United Nations. Audrey Hepburn was a goodwill ambassador for UNICEF in the 1960s, as was the actor Peter Ustinov. The late Elizabeth Taylor was

an early supporter of the global fight against HIV/Aids. In June, a new generation of committed celebrities participated in a three-day United Nations Summit on HIV/Aids — Anglo-Australian actress and Oscar nominee Naomi Watts, U.N. goodwill ambassador in the world organization’s HIV/Aids campaign, R&B singer Alicia Keyes, and Scottish singer Annie Lennox. They joined heads of state, Aids groups and activists from more than 30 countries to mark the

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Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic

(L-R) Naomi Watts, Hugh Jackman and Isla Fisher attend the Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic at Governor’s Island to benefit Hope, Help and Rebuild Haiti on June 5, 2011 in New York City.

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Queen Noor of Jordan and Matt Dillon pose for a photo during the Refugees International’s 32nd Anniversary Dinner at Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium on May 5,

Kris Connor/Getty Images

2011 in Washington, DC.

30th anniversary of the discovery of Aids, review progress (such as it is) at halting the pandemic and set new targets eradicating it. Addressing the meeting, Naomi Watts — mother of two — described her meetings with HIV infected pregnant mothers in Africa. She said the U.N. needed to make “a giant leap” to “stop Aids and raise an HIV-free generation.” Alicia Keyes stressed the importance of increasing access to treatment, a key theme of the conference. “We must do everything in our power to keep our promises with a very bold plan for universal access” she said. “We must commit up to $22 billion by 2015 to prevent 12 million infections and save 7 million beautiful lives. Fifteen million on AIDS treatment by 2015! We CAN create the future.” The UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, called for a global commitment

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UN Photo/Mark Garten

British actress Naomi Watts speaks at the special event to remember more than 25 years of AIDS, at UN Headquarters in New York.

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Alicia Keys and Tinie Tempah perform at the Keep a Child Alive Black Ball 2011 at Camden Roundhouse on June 15, 2011 in London, England.

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Dave J Hogan/Getty Images

to eliminate Aids by 2020. “That is our goal — zero new infections, zero stigma and zero Aids-related deaths,” Ban said to a round of applause. To that end, the summit concluded with the adoption of a declaration that by 2015 seeks to double the number of people on antiretroviral (ARV) treatment to 15 million, end mother-to-child transmission of HIV, halve tuberculosis-related deaths in people living with HIV, and increase preventive measures for the “most vulnerable populations”. Naomi Watts was also among the raft of celebrities who the same week took in the fourth annual Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic on New York’s Governors Island, to benefit Hope, Help & Rebuild Haiti. Along with her watching the polo-matchwith-a-cause were Isla Fisher, Julianna Margulies, Wyclef Jean, Donna Karan, and Marc Jacobs, with Hugh Jackman as master-of-ceremonies. Watts — star of Mulholland Drive, 21 Grams, and King Kong — wore a gold gown for the annual Council of Fashion Designers of America awards. By then, Alicia Keyes was in London to attend a fund raising gala for Keep A Child Alive, the charity she helped found to help children and families whose lives have been affected by HIV/Aids. Meanwhile in Washington, the Refugees International’s 32nd anniversary gala showed that two celebrities on hand are better than one. When actor Sam Waterston, the long-time presenter of this, one of the season’s major fund raising events ($675,000), was delayed by traffic and arrived late, Matt Dillon, a member of RI’s executive committee, stepped in and the two stars shared the podium for the rest of the evening — a double act that is likely to become a fixture of the event. n

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Stuart Wilson/Getty Images

Alicia Keys (R) and Swizz Beatz attend the Keep A Child Alive Ball at The Roundhouse on June 15, 2011 in London, England

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The Convergence of Luxury at Every Angle W elc o m e to t h e S w i ss ôtel E x p e r i e n ce Hosting world leaders and dignitaries for years has made Swissotel Chicago the preferred choice for diplomatic guests. We invite you to pamper yourself with the award-winning hospitality at Swissôtel Chicago, which sets the standard for downtown Chicago hotel accommodations. Precise Swiss service – combined with Midwest hospitality and European elegance – make this distinctive four-diamond landmark the perfect place for distinguished tastes.

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By Michelle Parish Embassy of New Zealand

Ambassador Jim McLay, New Zealand Ambassador to the United Nations, Assistant Secretary Rt. Hon. Kurt Campbell, Assistant Secretary Dr. Esther Brimmer.

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The New Zealand Embassy

in the United States hosted the annual Washington D.C. Pacific Night in late June, which celebrates and raises awareness of the Pacific in America’s capital city. The event had spirit, style and substance. Prior to the reception, a seminar focusing on Pacific Issues was held, in collaboration with the East West Center. Ambassadors and representatives from American Samoa, Australia, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Guam, Hawaii, Marshall Islands, Nauru, New Zealand, Northern Mariana Island, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu all came together for both the seminar and reception. Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Dr. Kurt Campbell and Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs Dr. Esther Brimmer spoke at the event. Dr. Campbell, who has travelled to the Pacific region, spoke of the friendship that the United States has with Pacific Island nations, adding that the U.S. intends to step up its engagement in the region.


Following speeches, guests enjoyed New Zealand and Australian wine and food, as well as dishes such as Chicken Estufao from Guam, Fish Kokonda from Fiji, Hawaiian Lomi Salmon, Bobo Rice from the Marshall Islands, Chicken Calderetta and Grilled Milk Fish from Papua New Guinea, and Cooked Plantain with Baked Fish from Micronesia. “Pacific night was a stunning success at every level,” said New Zealand Ambassador to the United States, Rt. Hon. Mike Moore. “It was more than just a great party. For the first time, we had the UN Ambassadors with us, as well as a serious seminar, which allowed us to drill down into the substance of our region’s real needs.” Throughout the night, guests were entertained by a continuous stream of performers including dancers and artists from New Zealand, Samoa, Fiji, Australia and Hawaii. n

Above: Rt. Hon. Mike Moore New Zealand Ambassador to the United States and Mrs Yvonne Moore. Right: Kahurangi with guests James Turner (second from left) NOAA, Tom Hourigan NOAA, Elizabeth McLanahan NOAA and Lesley McConnell New Zealand Ministry of Science and Innovation on the far right.

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Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

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Seeks to Extend His Country’s ‘Third Neighbor’ Policy

Mongolian Airlines President and CEO Orkhon Tseyenoidov (L) and Kim Pastega, Boeing Commercial airplanes Vice President and General Manager of the 767 program, shake hands during a signing ceremony as Mongolia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Zandanshatar Gombojav (L), and US Commerce Secretary Gary Locke look on June 16, 2011 at Blair House, in Washington, DC.

On his first official visit to Washington, D.C. as the democratically elected President of Mongolia, Tsakhia Elbegdorj (pronounced tsah K-YAH ELL-beg-dor-zh, according to the Voice of America Pronunciation Guide; note also that the first name in Mongolian is generally not used), sought to draw greater American attention to his country, its democratic political transformation, and its economic future. Elbegdorj was a leader of the early democracy movement in Mongolia, which took its inspiration from the emergence of perestroika reform policies in the then-Soviet Union and the democracy initiatives sweeping Eastern Europe. He twice served as Prime Minister, and was elected President in 2009, defeating President Enkhbayar in

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Liu Jin/AFP/Getty Images

Chinese vice president Xi Jinping (R) and Mongolian prime minister Sukhbaatar Batbold (L) attend a meeting at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on June 17, 2011. China pledged to help resource-rich Mongolia develop its economy, offering visiting Prime Minister Sukhbaatar Batbold a 500 million USD loan and support for the key mining and energy sectors.

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the first instance of an incumbent president losing a Mongolian election. Mongolia is a fledgling democracy sandwiched between two very large powers — Russia and China — in Northeast Asia. In many ways, its geography is its destiny. Mongolia, which has its own history of imperial dominion in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries (1200-1400), beginning with the reign of Chinggis (“Genghis”) Khan and continuing under his successors - including his grandson Kublai Khan, that at one time reached as far as China, Southeast Asia, and Central Europe, cannot afford to alienate its giant neighbors on whom it depends for its energy supplies and much of its trade. Nevertheless, Mongolia has sought to pursue a foreign policy that uses its locale between great powers to create a political space that provides the country with remarkable freedom of action. “We have a peaceful foreign policy,” President Elbegdorj told an audience at the Brookings Institution just before his meeting with President Obama. “Some call it a tough neighborhood. But we exist next to each other for centuries and we know how to get along with the People’s Republic of China and the Russian Federation.” Russia is Mongolia’s primary source of petroleum products, and China is Mongolia’s chief export partner as well as the source of the country’s “gray” economy — transactions that do not pass through government authorities or the banking sector. U.S. Secretary of State under President George H.W. Bush, James Baker, first coined the phrase “third neighbor” in an August 1990 address to the people of Mongolia praising them for holding free elections and moving toward democracy. His use of the terminology was meant as a gesture of rhetorical support for Mongolia’s break with its Soviet-styled past, but it was immediately picked up by the Mongolian policy community and turned into a foreign policy doctrine. Subsequently, President George W. Bush, reiterated the term during his 2005 visit to Mongolia, again largely in recognition of the country’s democratic progress and its cooperation in the U.S.-initiated Global War on Terror. The “Third Neighbor” doctrine, however, is a broader strategy than simply a pro-U.S. foreign policy agenda. 116

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Instead, Mongolia seeks to assure its security and economic growth by pursuing several “third neighbors” who will help — in the absence of formal regional security arrangements — to balance the country’s tenuous geostrategic position between giants and to strengthen and diversify its economy. What Mongolia is attempting to do is to create a virtual “third neighborhood” that includes India, Japan, the United States, the European Union, and historic connections with both South Korea and North Korea. Some voices have suggested that Mongolia’s long relations with North Korea might offer an important back channel of informal diplomatic communication with Pyongyang. President Ellbegdorj’s visit prompted a sense of the Senate resolution, sponsored by Senators Kerry, McCain, Murkowski, and Webb, which rehearsed at length the recent history of U.S.-Mongolia relations acknowledging Mongolia’s transition to democracy, on-going American assistance to Mongolia, and Mongolia’s emerging international role. Noting especially that Mongolia will be celebrating the 100th anniversary of its independence, the 20th anniversary of its commitment to democracy, and will be assuming the chairmanship of the Community of Democracies in 2011— a global intergovernmental coalition of more than 100 democratic and democratizing countries, the Senate resolution praises “the continued commitment of the Mongolian people and the Government of Mongolia to advancing democratic reforms, strengthening transparency and the rule of law, and protecting investment.” It further calls on the United States government to promote economic cooperation, to consider next steps in expanding trade and investment, to support Mongolia in its dealing with international financial institutions to improve its economic system and accelerate development, and to continue to expand academic and cultural exchanges between the two countries. Presidents Obama and Elbegdorj formalized these same sentiments in the joint statement resulting from their White House meeting, reaffirming “their commitment to a United States-Mongolia comprehensive partnership based on common values and shared strategic interests.” Additionally,


“Mongolia welcomed and supported the key role played by the United States as an Asia-Pacific nation in securing peace, stability, and prosperity in the region. The United States reaffirmed its support for a secure and prosperous Mongolia that plays an active role in regional affairs and that promotes strong, friendly, and open relations with its neighbors.” The joint statement confirmed a commitment to further developing a strong economic partnership, highlighting “the importance of concluding negotiations and signing a bilateral Transparency Agreement by the end of 2011,” in order “to ensure a welcoming investment and business climate for each other’s companies.” Mongolia expressed its appreciation for continued U.S. economic assistance and noted “the important role that U.S. companies, with their internationally leading management, technical, safety, environmental, and sustainable mining practices will play in the development of the country’s coal, other mineral resource, infrastructure, agriculture, energy and tourism industries.” Mongolia’s hope of developing a self-sustaining economy depends heavily on developing its extensive mineral resources, and this statement was intended to be reassuring to potential American investors, among them Peabody Coal, that Mongolia does not intend to limit resource development only to Russian and Chinese

investors. Mongolia also announced the purchase of three Boeing jetliners and its decision to expand its fleet with U.S. aircraft in the future. Both Vice President Joseph Biden and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton are scheduled to travel to Mongolia later this year. Neither a “neighborly” visit to the United States by the Mongolian President nor any visit by American leaders to Mongolia can make the diplomatic realities necessitated by Mongolia’s geographic position and regional history disappear, however. Just weeks before his White House visit, President Elbegdorj visited Russia for talks with President Dimitri Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin where conversations focused on Mongolia’s need for an uninterrupted flow of petroleum from Russia. And even as President Elbegdorj was meeting President Obama in Washington, Mongolia’s Prime Minister, Sukhbaatar Batbold, was visiting Beijing, China where the two countries signed a “strategic partnership agreement,” including a $500 million loan from China to Mongolia. “Third neighbors” may be desirable from the point of view of Mongolia’s future economic development, to affirm and sustain the country’s commitment to democracy, and to allow it room for diplomatic maneuver. But, next door neighbors cannot be ignored. n

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Saudi Arabian Airlines extends its Reservation working hours in the USA and Canada In anticipation of the summer peak season, Saudi Arabian Airlines Americas Region has extended the working hours of its Reservations Call Center up to 7:00 pm Eastern Standard Time, Monday to Friday effective June 19 until July 29, 2011. The airline’s Call Center, located in Vienna, Virginia, which services passengers in the USA and Canada, will also be operating on Saturdays from 12:00 noon to 5:00 pm (EST) also until July 29, 2011. It may be reached through 1-800-472-8342. Saudi Arabian Airlines currently flies 4 times a week from New York JFK and 5 times weekly from Washington Dulles International, effective July 1, 2011. Saudia operates Boeing B777-268 aircraft to the USA, with sleeper seats in First and Business Class. All seats are equipped with a state of the art in-flight entertainment system that features, in certain aircraft, up to 40 channels with varied programming including movies, pop videos, children’s programs, video games, air show, landscape camera and audio channels. Saudia recently placed a firm order with Airbus at the Paris Air Show for four additional Airbus A330-300, taking its total order for the plane to 12. This order takes Saudia’s total Airbus aircraft to 62. This is on top of 12 B-777-300s and 8 B787 Dreamliners ordered previously as part of its fleet modernization program. 118

For information, contact: Jonathan Pansacola, Saudi Arabian Airlines jpansacola@saudiairlines.com 9841 Airport Blvd., Suite 410, Los Angeles CA 90745 Ph. (310) 410-9000 ext. 3016


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By James A. Winship, Ph.D

The visiting Nordic celebrity chefs shown from left to right. Iceland; Siggi Hall, Sweden; Tommy Myllymäki, Finlad; Petteri Luoto, Norway; Geir Skeie, Denmark; Mads Refslund.

T

he five Nordic Embassies – Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, and Iceland combined with the Nordic Council of Ministers and the Nordic Innovation Center – to bring five of the Nordic region’s most talented and prize-winning chefs to Washington, D.C. for a week of culinary celebration, cross-cultural gastronomic encounter, and food-centered diplomacy. Each of the guest chefs was associated with a leading restaurant with whose staff he worked to create and introduce a national menu that showcased the style of so-called “New Nordic Cuisine” and featured the finest quality ingredients from his native land. The week began with a reception and

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food tasting at the House of Sweden on the Georgetown riverfront and ended with the chefs offering Nordic delicacies at a Nordic Food Pavilion as part of the 2011 RAMMY awards black-tie masquerade dinner dance, “Carnevale da Cuisine,” sponsored by the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington. “Nordic Food Days” was inspired by the remarkable success of New Nordic Cuisine in one of the most prestigious culinary competitions in the world, the Bocuse d’Or in Lyon, France, where Nordic chefs took the first, second, third, fifth, and seventh places in 2011. Originally conceived by world famous French chef, Paul Bocuse, in 1987, this competition has become the Olympics and the World Cup for chefs from around the world. Competition takes place over two years during which regional competitions whittle down a starting


field of more than fifty contestants to a final field of twentyfour chefs, who must prepare both a meat and a seafood dish from prescribed ingredients. The final competition becomes a contest of culinary gladiators as chefs must prepare their dishes in twelve mini-kitchens before an audience of more than 2000 people. Bocuse has been quoted as saying that, “Bringing the ‘live performance’ component in front of the general public made this gastronomic contest truly unique, and for the first time revealed the amount of work done in the kitchens of famous restaurants. Today, I am proud to say that the Bocuse d’Or has become the most sought-after culinary award in the world, and winning it automatically and deservedly launches a chef’s culinary career.” Norwegian chef, Geier Skeie, winner of the 2009 Bocuse d’Or and jury president for the 2011 competition recalls that winning the competition gave him an international name that allowed him to take jobs and make new friends all over the world. The Bocuse, he notes “is the biggest, the best, the most difficult, and the funniest contest you can participate in. Forcing people to become better means a lot for the development of cooking all over the world.” Chef Skeie presented his menu, “A Taste of Norway,” which featured fresh Norwegian seafood — sponsored by the Norwegian Seafood Export Council, in collaboration with DC Coast Restaurant. Swedish chef, Tommy Myllymäki, winner of second place in the 2011 Bocuse d’Or competition, presented his “Taste

of Sweden,” featuring both seafood and lamb, in collaboration with Masa 14 Restaurant. Finland was represented by Chef Petteri Luoto, winner of a Bocuse d’Or prize in 2005, who featured shrimp, roasted halibut, and veal fillet on his “Taste of Finland” menu, which was served in collaboration with Marcel’s. Danish chef, Mads Refslund, is a dedicated fish-cook who says his skill is “all about how not to drown fish. Too many fish are drowned, destroyed with heat, boiled to pieces, or manhandled. You want your fish and shell life so great and fresh that they barely need cooking.” His “Taste of Denmark” menu featuring raw mackerel, raw langoustine and foie gras, black lobster, and mullet was served in collaboration with Birch and Barley. Iceland’s Chef Siggi Hall is renowned for his unique and innovative handling of Icelandic seafood and lamb. His “taste of Iceland” menu, prepared in collaboration with Vidalia, included cured Icelandic Char (kin to North Atlantic salmon), warm white asparagus, potato

Clockwise from top left: Food preparation at Nordic Food Days kickoff event; Swedish Embassy Chef Frida Johansson, Catering Assistant preparing food, Icelandic Chef Siggi Hall and Chef/owner of Vidalia Jeffrey Buben, Tender Baked Cod with shrimp, quail egg yolk and horseradish served in a sabayonne of brown butter and lemon.

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From left to right; Finish DCM Anne Lammila, Danish DCM Anne Mette Vestergaard, Icelandic Ambassador Hjalmar W. Hannesson, Norwegian Ambassador Wegger Chr. Strommen, Swedish Ambassador Jonas Hafström. Swedish Chef Tommy Myllymäki, Nordic beverage brands (water, beer and vodka) on ice.

crusted Icelandic cod, and stuffed Icelandic lamb saddle. Each of the chefs also prepared a unique desert using simple, familiar ingredients found in his home country, ranging from blueberries to rhubarb and from strawberries to “fallen fruit wheatgrass and cherries.” Despite the tempting preparations and interesting ingredients described above, there remains one central question: what exactly is “New Nordic Cuisine.” One answer might be to say that, “Everything old is new again.” For most of their life hunting, fishing, and foraging nurtured the Nordic peoples. Virtually everything they ate came from natural ingredients found or grown on the land and harvested from the sea. The “New Nordic Cuisine” is both a culinary movement and a manifesto for a food policy program. It emphasizes a cuisine based on purity, simplicity, 122

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and freshness that reflects the micro-environments and the changing seasons of the Nordic regions. At the same time, food production must be environmentally friendly and sustainable in a way that protects plant and animal species and treasures pure flavor subtly enhanced by herbs and spices over extensive preparation and sauces that overwhelm natural flavors. The “New Nordic Food” program, cooperatively undertaken by the Nordic states starting in 2005, is more than a “foodie’s” delight and a restauranteur’s menu theme. It is a cultural identity, trade and tourism promotion, regional cooperation, environmental protection, public health, and economic development program wrapped in deliciousness, culinary creativity, and a return to the Nordic region’s roots. More than that, “New Nordic Cuisine” reflects centuries old dishes, natural ingredients, and traditional styles of preparation carefully updated to simultaneously preserve their natural flavors and transform these into haute cuisine. But most of all, in the words of one of the award-winning chefs, “It represents making food from your heart.” n


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Diplomatic Connections July-August 2011 Issue  

Diplomatic Connections July-August 2011 Issue

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