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A Business, Diplomacy & Foreign Policy Publication

September - October 2012 • $7.95


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Located just two short blocks from United Nations Plaza. An eighteen story modern, well-appointed office building with more than 220,000 square feet of usable office space that can be custom tailored to your needs. 300 East 42nd Street is conveniently located just two short blocks from both United Nations Plaza and Grand Central Terminal. With many embassies and permanent missions in walking distance, this is an ideal location for your diplomatic connections. The property is professionally managed and leased by Cushman & Wakefield. Contact: RenĂŠ Zemp, Vice-President (+1) 212.957.1776 ext. 411 email:


Introducing the All-New BMW of Rockville. A new owner. A new name. A new way to do business. The same great Rockville Pike location. On March 1, 2012 VOB BMW became BMW of Rockville, a family owned and operated dealership. Special Diplomatic Pricing Pre-Approved Leasing Plans FREE Maintenance for 4 Years or 50,000 miles on all Brand New BMWs Home of Priority 1 Service. No Appointment Necessary. Just Drive in! Please contact our Diplomatic Program Specialist Nicholas Popovici at 1-888-445-6023 to learn more about our program.

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JIM COLEMAN CADILLAC Special Introductory Lease Offers Available

Jim Coleman Cadillac is pleased to announce:

The Jim Coleman Cadillac Exclusive Diplomat Vehicle Leasing/Sales Program. New Cadillacs priced from just $34,315. Choose from our incredible selection of sedans like the elegant All-New CTS. Sport Utility Vehicles, including the Escalade, Escalade ESV, and the all new SRX are all aggressively priced for this special sales event as well. Eligible participants include Ambassadors, members of the Diplomatic Corps, Diplomats Accredited to the United Nations, OAS, and other International Organizations, Career Counselor Officials, as well as Attaches and Career Administrative Officials of the Diplomatic Consular Missions. If you or any eligible participant is interested in learning more about the Jim Coleman Diplomat Vehicle Sales, please contact Michael Jaffe, Director Vehicle Sales, and I will be happy to discuss these special offers, terms and purchase details. It is our goal at Jim Coleman Cadillac to continue to be the leader in Diplomat Vehicle Sales for the Washington metro area. We offer the utmost in Customer Service and Satisfaction that includes: One Stop Shopping Rapid Response Time Ordering Made Easy and Convenient Models Customized to Your Personal Requirements Integrity and Fairness in all Your Transactions Knowledgeable & Experienced Cadillac Diplomatic Sales & Leasing Specialist Best Luxury Coverage in the Industry 4-years/50,000 mile New Vehicle Limited Warranty 5-years/100,000 mile Powertrain Limited Warranty 5-years/100,000 mile Roadside Assistance Please contact me at your earliest convenience, and I will make your next Cadillac purchase the pleasurable experience it should be.

Michael Jaffe Director of Diplomatic Sales Diplomatic Sales Hotline (240) 403-1257




Toyota Prius V

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Come See Why We Are One of the Top Hybrid Dealers in the Nation.

Jim Coleman Toyota Diplomat Vehicle Leasing/Sales Program. Jim Coleman Toyota would like to introduce our Diplomat Leasing/Sales Program. This program is available to all Ambassadors, members of the Diplomatic Corps, Diplomats Accredited to the United Nations, OAS, and other International Organizations, Career Counselor Officials, as well as Attaches and Career Administrative Officials of the Diplomatic Consular Missions. Through this program, you will receive great deals on some of our best-selling Toyota models. Choose from our incredible selection of sedans like the All-New Camry. Sport Utility Vehicles, including the Highlander, Venza, and the all new RAV4 are all aggressively priced for this special sales event as well. Here at Jim Coleman Toyota, we strive to remain the leader in Diplomatic Vehicle Sales for the Washington metro area. Special VIP appointments available to all eligible participants. Please contact Patrick Coleman, New Car Sales Manager of Jim Coleman Toyota for more details.

Patrick Coleman New Car Sales Manager VIP Hotline (301) 469-7100


éditionspéciale $7,595*

Illustration sectional, design Philippe Bouix.

Photo Michel Gibert. Special thanks: Neon artwork, TASCHEN

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Publication: Diplo Connection Issue: Sept-Oct Format: 7.5" x 4.75" Stroke: 0.5 pt

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INDEPENDENT SCHOOLS: CONNECTING THE WORLD Finding a school where your child thrives provides a foundation for a successful future. More than half a million families each year choose independent private schools. The schools that belong to the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) share a commitment to providing safe environments in which young people can learn academic skills plus the importance of hard work, leadership, and good citizenship. Independent schools provide challenging academics and opportunities to participate in a variety of extracurricular activities, which prepares students for success at the next level. A study from the U.S. Department of Education found that 99 percent of students at NAIS schools graduated from high school and 90 percent of graduates attended four-year colleges. The Freshman Survey Trends Report, an annual study conducted by the Higher Education Research Institute, found that NAIS school graduates felt more prepared for the academic demands of college than their public school counterparts. As college freshman, NAIS graduates reported that they were more likely to ask questions in class and explore topics on their own, even though it was not required for a class.



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The Higher Education Research Institute also found that graduates from NAIS schools were more likely than public school graduates to have had an internship and to have accepted an offer EDUCATE YOUR EDUCATE YOUR STUDENTS of employment before TO BECOME LEADERS IN AN STUDENTS INTERDEPENDENT WORLD. graduating from college. TO BECOME Independent education benefited graduates in adulthood too. The National Educational Longitudinal Study (NELS), administered by the U.S. Department of Education, found that NAIS graduates were more likely to exercise regularly, volunteer in their communities, and read newspapers and magazines daily as adults than graduates of other types of schools.


Challenge 20/20 is an Internet-based program that pairs classes at any grade level (elementary and secondary) from public and private schools in the U.S. with similar-age classes in schools in other countries. Together, the teams (of two, three, or four schools) tackle real global problems over the course of a semester to find solutions that can be implemented at the local level and in their own communities.

The projects relate to water deficits, global infectious diseases, the fight against poverty, Challenge 20/20 connects schools in the United States biotechnology rules, with schools in other countries. Together, students work to identify local solutions to a global problem. education for all, and Through this globally based, experiential curriculum, students develop cross-cultural competency and communication skills. This program is an online biodiversity and ecoprogram that is free of charge and open to all schools. system losses, among other topics. Schools are paired up by NAIS, based on their interests and age range. First, they share their perspectives on the issue and define the impact of the issue globally and in their own communities. They work together to generate project ideas and to develop plans. Since 2005, Challenge 20/20 has connected thousands of schools. Each year, we receive more than 500 applications from schools in nearly 60 countries.

One program overseen by the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), Challenge 20/20, helps nurture community engagement while building cross-cultural connections and awareness of global issues.

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independent schools Finally, they share implementation strategies. The interaction with students from other countries and cultures is among the highlights of the program for many students. Developing cross-cultural communication skills is among the top assets listed by teachers too. A handful of schools request to be partnered with schools in specific regions to help practice language skills. Many groups continue communicating with their partners after the completion of the program, forging bonds both personal and institutional. Some schools have found that the program builds enthusiasm among parents and can drive volunteerism among community members too. Doctors or development workers may want to help

Programs like Challenge 20/20 help students connect with their communities and the world around them, hallmarks of a highquality education. For more information about independent schools, please visit For information about Challenge 20/20, please see

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students study global infectious diseases, for instance, and lawyers may be able to share their expertise on intellectual property concerns. Many schools also partner with local community organizations, such as food banks or conservation groups as part of their local implementation strategies.

WWW.FLAIR.COM Tel: 321-723-3211

Visit for photos and videos of cultural and diplomatic events, interviews with ambassadors and business leaders, business directories for major cities as well as digital editions of all of our past issues.

Classical Concerts Held in the Intimate Settings of Embassies and Ambassadors’ Residences Since 1994, the Embassy Series has worked with over 100 ambassadors, hosted 300 plus concerts in 46 embassies involving more than 500 artists from the Washington area. By extending public access to the embassies in the Nation’s Capital, the Series offers its audience the opportunity to participate in a cultural exchange - to watch and listen to a musical performance that highlights the contributions of a particular country. Such a backdrop allows the audience to “get a feel” for the nation being represented, which is key to promoting and celebrating the diversity of both a host embassy and Series patrons. These wonderful experiences are accentuated by a reception at the host embassy or residence immediately following the concert, where guests are encouraged to interact with the featured artists and the diplomatic community .


for tickets, upcoming concerts and exclusive sponsorship opportunities or call 202-625-2361

UpComIng EvEntS...




10/04/2012 – 7:30 pm • EMBASSY OF LATVIA


10/10/2012 – 7:30 pm • EMBASSY OF HUNGARY


10/19/2012 – 7:30 pm • EMBASSY OF AUSTRIA



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Providing benefit solutions for the following business sectors and specialized situations: Global Health Insurance

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Protocol Partners-Washington Center for Protocol, Inc. is the premier firm of protocol professionals in Washington, D.C. Discover what makes us unique • Register for a seminar • Find protocol resources •

Visit our website to: • Meet our team of protocol professionals who have directed protocol offices at the highest levels of the federal government, the military and the private sector.

1025 ConneCtiCut Avenue, n.W. • Suite 1000 • WAShington, D.C. 20036 (202) 857-9753 • (202) 857-9799 Fax D I P L O M A T I C C O N N E C T I O N S B U S I N E S S edition | S eptembe r - O ctobe r 2 0 1 2


Located just blocks from the U.S. Capitol Building, the National Mall, Chinatown, Union Station, Verizon Center and Judiciary Square Metro! Stunning Views of the U.S. Capitol, Washington Monument and the city’s beautiful skyline await you... Ashton Judiciary Square features:

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• One, two & three bedroom furnished or unfurnished luxury apartment homes

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Crescent Luxury Apartments offer cleaner, sleeker, more modern living that reduces your environmental footprint and enhances your everyday life! At the Crescent you’ll be conveniently located in Arlington, VA just a short walk to the East Falls Church Metro, a short drive to I-66, I-495, boutique shopping, bistros and fine dining restaurants in Tysons Corner. Enjoy the wonderful green-based property features including a tree-lined promenade walkway connecting to a large park, reserved parking for low-emission, fuel-efficient vehicles and abundant bicycle storage. Features and amenities include: • One & two bedroom furnished or • Elegant bathrooms with soaking tubs, unfurnished luxury apartment homes marble countertops and dual head showers • Spacious, energy-efficient living in a modern atmosphere • Premiere amenities including a state of the art fitness club, two courtyards with • European inspired kitchens, upgraded fire pits, outdoor grilling and dual sided cabinetry and granite slab countertops outdoor fireplace, plush clubhouse, • Extra large walk-in closets, high theatre room and much more! ceilings and certified green features

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Call or email us today to schedule a tour!

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Catering to the needs of the

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Catering to the needs of the

Diplomatic Community • Fully furnished studio, one, two, and three bedroom apartments • Complimentary local phone service, cable TV with HBO, wireless high-speed internet • State of the Art Fitness center, indoor pool, game room • 24 hour Business Center with 6 iMacs • Weekly housekeeping • Assigned garage parking • Unfurnished apartments also available

4001 North Ninth Street, Arlington, VA One block from the Ballston Metro 703.525.9000

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October 30


SAVE THE DATE Diplomatic Connections is Hosting Another

eception D iplomatA ppreciation R On October 30, 2012 at the Mandarin Oriental, Washington, D.C. 1330 Maryland Avenue, SW


‘Suite’ Temptations

Rise above the fray and enjoy the luxury of our newly re-designed Signature Suites. Sweeping views of the monuments, Tidal Basin and cityscape will captivate you, while the suite’s classic yet contemporary feel will delight the discerning guest who demands capital comfort and stellar service. The Suites at Mandarin Oriental, Washington D.C. The Presidential Suite (top row), The Mandarin Suite (bottom row). 1330 Maryland Avenue, SW, Washington D.C. 20024. For more information, please call +1 (202) 554 8588 or visit


March 12


SAVE THE DATE Diplomatic Connections is Hosting Another

D iplomatA ppreciation Reception On March 12, 2013 at the Hay Adams Across the Street from the White House in Washington, D.C.



April 11


SAVE THE DATE Diplomatic Connections is Hosting Another

eception D iplomatA ppreciation R On April 11, 2013 at the Madison Hotel Just Blocks from the White House in Washington, D.C.



DIPLOMATIC CONNECTIONS EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Dawn Parker AssistantS to the Editor Kyle Byram, Chanel Cherry Ashley Gatewood, Rose Minor BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT Executives Evan Strianese, Kendra Edmonds, James Owens Mongoose Atlantic, Inc. – Stephen Channon, George Hoffman, Amber Smith

PAGE 85 Page 36

DESIGN & CREATIVE KDG Advertising, Design & Marketing DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENTS and CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Roland Flamini, James Winship, PhD, Monica Frim, Meghan Lawson, F. Lewis Bristol, Kerry McKenney Event Coordinator Assistants William Lewallen, Nate Subra, Colleen Tankei, Cristina Montesinos, Yuun Peñuelas, Jurong Kang

To contact an advertising executive CALL: 202.536.4810 FAX: 202.370.6882 EMAIL: 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: Marc Highbloom, Vice President Maria D’Urso, Project Manager CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHY Christophe Avril, Paula Morrison, Dr. John Frim, Kelly Houston

From BisHKek to Beijing Page 76

To order photos from the events go to: 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 2012 by Diplomatic Connections All rights reserved.


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Cover photo credits: Prince William, Duchess Catherine and Prince Harry, LOCOG via Getty Images; Sir Chris Hoy of Great Britain, Bryn Lennon/Getty Images; Oscar Pistorius of South Africa, Streeter Lecka/Getty Images; Zara Phillips, Cameron Spencer/Getty Images; Conor Dwyer, Michael Phelps, Ricky Berens & Ryan Lochte, Ezra Shaw/Getty Images; The Hay-Adams, Chef Schaffrath, Christophe Avril/Diplomatic Connections; Robert Harting of Germany, Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images; Tom Slingsby of Australia, Clive Mason/Getty Images; Usain Bolt of Jamaica, Harry How/Getty Images; CDR Dr. David Wilcox, Embassy of Canada, Christophe Avril/Diplomatic Connections; Gabrielle Douglas, Ezra Shaw/Getty Images; Kevin Mayer of France, Michael Steele/Getty Images; Mitt Romney, Jewel Samad/AFP/ Getty Images; President Obama, Official White House photo by Pete Souza.

APARTMENTS and HOUSING Ashton Judiciary Square UDR 16 Crescent Falls Church UDR 16 Dittmar Realty – Courtland Towers 17 Dittmar Realty – Randolph Towers 17 AUTOMOTIVE - CARS and LIMOUSINE SERVICES Admiral Leasing 4 BMW of Rockville 2 Car Services – VIP Gold Car 94 Jim Coleman Cadillac 6 Jim Coleman Toyota 7 COMMercial Real Estate ULM Holding Corporation 1 COMMUNICATIONS InTouch USA Wireless Communications 8 Diplomatic Connections Reception, October 30th, 2012 at the Mandarin Oriental Washington, D.C. 18 Diplomatic Connections Reception, March 12th, 2013 at The Hay-Adams Washington, D.C. 20 Diplomatic Connections Reception, April 11th, 2013 at The Madison Washington, D.C. 22 EDUCATION – INDEPENDENT SCHOOLS Archbishop Riordan High School 9 British School of Washington 91 Florida Air Academy 12 Le Lycee Francais de Los Angeles 11 Marvelwood School 12 Miss Porter’s School 9 Pinecrest School 12 Sandy Spring Friends School 10 The Kew-Forest School 10 Trinity – Pawling School 11 ENTERTAINMENT [The] Embassy Series 13 FURNITURE Furniture – RocheBobois 8 HOTELS, DINING and ACCOMMODATIONS Double Tree Hotel by Hilton Hotel Bethesda – Washington, D.C. 73 [The] Fairfax at Embassy Row 61


PAGE 52 Fairmont Washington, DC – Georgetown INSIDE BACK COVER Four Seasons 5 [The] Hay-Adams 21, 40 - 51 InterContinental – Willard InterContinental Washington, DC 60 InterContinental – Cleveland Clinic 29 [The] Madison 23 [The] Mandarin Oriental Washington, D.C. 19 [The] Peninsula Beverly Hills INSIDE FRONT COVER Trump International Hotel & Tower * Chicago 3 Investment U.S. Immigration Investment Center – Interview with Mahnaz Khazen 62 Medical Cleveland Clinic 26 and Back Cover InterContinental Cleveland 29


PROTOCOL Protocol Partners 15 TRAVEL, INSURANCE, PASSPORTS AND VISAS Amtrak 96 Insurance – Travel Insurance Center 14 VFS Global 15 Articles Canada – Interview with Medical Attaché CDR Dr. David Wilcox 30 Cleveland Clinic 26 Cyprus – Interview with Ambassador Anastadiades 68 Election 2012 – The Presidential Race 36 The Hay-Adams, Chef Schaffrath 46 International Destinations, Bishkek to Beijing 76 Investment – Interview with Mahnaz Khazen 62 Niall Mellon Townships, Building Hopes and Homes 74 Olympics – 85 White House – New York Giants visit 52


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Cleveland Clinic

Wherever home is, patients who travel the globe to Cleveland Clinic for world-class medical care will feel welcomed and confident. Over the past 90 years, Cleveland Clinic has emerged as one of America’s most respected medical institutions. U.S. News & World Report ranks it among the leading hospitals in America. 26

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Patients First: The GuidinG PrinciPle of cleveland clinic Cleveland Clinic puts patients first with 2,800 physicians and scientists in 120 subspecialties, caring for every disease and disorder of the body. With the most up-to-date facilities (almost 70 percent of its buildings have been constructed in the past 20 years), Cleveland Clinic has 1,400 hospital beds and 50 buildings on a 166-acre campus in the heart of Cleveland, Ohio. Cleveland Clinic’s Heart & Vascular Institute is “America’s Best” (Readers’ Digest) and has been ranked No. 1 in America for 18 years by U.S. News & World Report. And we are now No. 1 in Urology and Nephrology care, which are among the 14 Cleveland Clinic specialties ranked in the Top 10 in the nation, including Digestive Diseases; Ear, Nose and Throat; Gastroenterology; Rheumatology; Gynecology; Orthopedics; Pulmonology; Geriatrics; Neurology/ Neurosurgery; Cancer and Ophthalmology. advanTaGes of cleveland clinic care Cleveland Clinic combines compassionate, attentive care with outstanding medical outcomes. It offers the most advanced diagnoses, treatments and technology in an environment that encourages medical innovation and breakthroughs in medical research. Cleveland Clinic physicians are among the best in the world. They meet the highest standards of their profession, and many are leaders in their national and international medical societies. We are organized around patient-centered institutes that concentrate the talents and energies of leading physicians and researchers on the most difficult challenges of specific diseases and body systems. Cleveland Clinic successfully treats hundreds of patients who have been turned away by other medical centers because their cases are too risky or complex. We offer the most difficult surgeries, with the latest minimally invasive and robotic alternatives, as well medical options that make surgery unnecessary for many patients.

Teamwork and collaboration are Cleveland Clinic watchwords. Patients have the attention of multiple specialists who discuss cases, compare observations and develop the best possible treatment plan for every patient. Patient Service Specialists work one-on-one with patients and families, serving as advocates and ambassadors. They accompany patients to medical appointments, interpret physicians’ instructions and connect patients with Cleveland Clinic’s financial counselors. Meanwhile, Cleveland Clinic understands the stress associated with travel and serious medical conditions, and works to provide a nurturing, healing environment. The Miller Pavilion Rooftop Plaza offers a serene escape with views of the Cleveland skyline. Our Healing Services and Wellness teams provide patients with massage and other touch therapies, art and music therapy, and yoga classes. While waiting for appointments, patients and families can also enjoy a tour of Cleveland Clinic’s extensive art collection. (Audio tours are available in English, Spanish and Arabic.) And pastoral and spiritual counselors are available 24/7 for people of all religious backgrounds; others who wish for privacy can visit Cleveland Clinic’s Meditation Chapel or Islamic Prayer Room for silent prayers or reflection.

Thousands of patients come to Cleveland Clinic for second opinions — often resulting in new, more accurate diagnoses, better treatments, or finding that no treatment is necessary at all.

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Global PaTienT services: here To Guide Cleveland Clinic offers a world of healthcare services to patients from more than 120 nations and all 50 United States. Patients who come to us from outside the United States have access to a special suite of advantages we call Global Patient Services — whether they are here for a day, a week or a month. What is Global Patients Services? In the middle of Cleveland Clinic’s busy medical activities, Global Patient Services is a friendly beacon for patients from faraway places. It’s like the concierge of a fine hotel. To begin with, Global Patient Services helps get you to Cleveland and helps you find a place to stay. It can make travel arrangements (including airline discounts when available) and hotel reservations. Beyond that, it can help you with your medical, personal and family needs. Global Patient Services facilitates your medical appointments. It will provide interpreters, arrange necessary transportation from your hotel, and direct you to restaurants, car rentals and other services. It can help you and your family find things to do and places to shop, and guide you to restaurants and cultural activities in and around Northeast Ohio. After you have returned home, Global Patient Services is available to help coordinate follow-up appointments, facilitate communications with your Cleveland Clinic physicians, and answer any non-medical questions you may have.

“We understand that you may be anxious in time of illness, far from home, perhaps where you don’t speak the language. Cleveland Clinic does everything to assure your health, comfort and convenience.” ~ William Ruschhaupt, MD, Chairman, Global Patient Services

a Global diPlomaT Cleveland Clinic is experienced in international diplomacy and protocol, having welcomed world leaders for 85 years. We work closely with government health ministries, embassies and missions to provide patient care for citizens of many nations under a variety of government-sponsored or private plans. Cleveland Clinic is renowned for security, discretion and cultural competence. Photography: Stephen Travarca, Russell Lee, Tom Merce, Yu Kwan Lee


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advanced TechnoloGy Few international medical centers can match Cleveland Clinic’s access to new technology and passion for innovation. And we are leaders in more than minimally invasive and robotic technology. An important part of delivering a personal experience to patients is providing tools to help them access medical care, electronic records and online resources. Some of our most popular online tools include: • Mychart®, which allows patients to connect to their personal health information 24 hours a day. • Myconsult, which provides online medical second opinions from Cleveland Clinic specialists for more than 1,000 diagnoses. • Drconnect, which helps physicians stay updated in real time on patients’ treatment progress. Cleveland Clinic has stepped up its emphasis on the patient experience — remaking itself as a “four-star” provider of comfort, convenience, and patient and visitor amenities. The emphasis is on courtesy, attention and compassionate care. This shows itself in every facility and every encounter — right down to a new patient gown that preserves modesty and dignity for all patients in the clinical setting. Wherever home is for patients, they will find that Cleveland Clinic extends warm hospitality and services to accommodate their individual needs while they receive outstanding medical care. That is why more than 3,000 patients from around the world traveled to Cleveland Clinic in 2011. “We are always striving to extend our reach to patients,” says Cleveland Clinic CEO and President Delos Cosgrove, MD. “Cleveland Clinic’s outstanding national and international reputation and its creative alliances expand patient access to services and strengthen our mission of patient care, research and education.” To learn more, visit


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.

• 24 Spacious Suites • Multilingual Staff • Concierge Services • Club InterContinental® • 24 - Hour In-Room Dining • Award-Winning Table 45 Restaurant and Bar • Complimentary Fitness Center

Do you live an InterContinental life?

• Valet Parking

For more details, please call 877.707.8999, 216.707.4168 or visit 29


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Canada’s CDR. Dr. David Wilcox Takes Doctoring to Extremes — In Space, Under Water and in War Zones

James A. Winship. Ph.D.

Dr. David Wilcox is a man of many talents. He holds the rank of Commander in the Canadian Navy. He is a medical doctor trained to work under some of the most adverse circumstances on and above the Earth, not to mention under the seas. He is currently assigned to a diplomatic function as Health Services Attaché with the Canadian Defense Forces Liaison Staff at the Embassy of Canada to the United States in Washington, D.C. When you first meet Cdr. Dr. David Wilcox he is all starched, sharply creased white summer uniform of the Canadian Navy with the manners expected of an officer and a gentleman. But that is the last thing about Dr. Wilcox that is starchy. Behind the professional demeanor is a spirited smile, a twinkle in the eye and a gentle sense of humor as well as a deep sense of morality and a commitment to caring for people by protecting their heath, often under the most extreme conditions. Whatever else he is, it is clear that David Wilcox is always a doctor first, a naval officer second and a diplomat third. Like the soft-serve ice cream machines of summer, however, Wilcox is really all of these things swirled together. He is a medical doctor serving in the Canadian military, but he is first and foremost a doctor who serves humanity. He is a medical diplomat whose diplomacy serves always to spread medical knowledge and to apply that knowledge as widely as possible. A native of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Wilcox came to medicine by a slightly circuitous route. He completed a bachelor

of physics degree at Dalhousie University in Halifax in 1980, but followed that with a year of an MBA program at Queen’s University. Convinced that business was not the direction he wanted to pursue, Wilcox turned his attention to medical school, but first he had to complete some of the biology courses required for medical school admission. That led to a two-year honours in biophysics graduate program before entering medical school at Dalhousie University, where he completed his medical degree in 1987. His father was in the military and introduced Wilcox to the military’s Medical Officer Training Program. “You enroll in that program after your second year of medical school,” he recalls. “Then, once you’re accepted into the program, after successfully completing your medical degree and the required internship, you owe the Canadian Forces Health Services four years of active duty.” Dr. Wilcox owed the military four years of active duty service, but he has stayed for 25 years. Why? His first posting was with a tank regiment in Germany. That was followed by service in northern Iraq following the liberation of Kuwait and the establishment of the “No Fly Zones” (1991). By then, he says, “the hook was set.” “I had had two years in Germany, where I saw the Berlin Wall come down, and I had been part of what was called ‘Operation Assist’ working in refugee camps in the Kurdish regions of Iraq. Those experiences led me to stay in the military.” That decision was followed by a return to service in

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Germany followed by a variety of postings in Canada. Those experiences were followed by two years in Pensacola, Florida, where Dr. Wilcox completed a residency in Aerospace Medicine. He was also deployed for six months as the Division Surgeon for a multi-national force in Bosnia. Beyond his residency in aerospace medicine, Dr. Wilcox has completed the basic and advanced diving medicine courses, a tropical medicine course, a nuclear emergency response management course, and an advanced radiation medicine course. He also has wide experience in disaster management situations, including flood and hurricane response. By the standards of his training, exploring diplomatic frontiers might seem tame. Summing up his career to date, Cdr. Dr. Wilcox enthuses that, “Every day is an adventure. That’s why I love coming to work.” That enthusiasm carries over to a more sobering thought. “It’s a dangerous world we live in — both from manmade disasters and terrorist attacks as well as natural phenomena like the consequences of global warming or the emergence of new strains of infectious disease. That kind of environment means that there’s always a need for medical skills.” He might have added that there’s always a need for concerned human beings like him who offer their skills to the world. Dr. Wilcox was kind enough to talk at length with Diplomatic Connections about the evolving nature of military medicine, about his personal experiences in the field, and about the doors to improved care and better understanding across conflicts that medical diplomacy can open. Diplomatic Connections: What exactly is your role here in Washington? Why is there a health attaché as part of the embassy staff? Cdr. Dr. Wilcox: That’s best explained by describing what I do. I am double-hatted as both the Canadian Forces medical liaison officer and the health services attaché. As medical liaison officer, I’m tasked with facilitating the health care of about 2,300 Canadians. There are about 750 uniformed Canadians in the U.S. They’re either posted here, involved in a training course or on exercise. And then there are their dependents, roughly 1,550 of them. My job is to help them navigate through the complicated insurance system. In Canada, we have what’s called the “gatekeeper system.” You can only access a specialist if you’re referred by a family physician. I act as a virtual family physician to quarterback care for our forces and their families serving in the United States. Diplomatic Connections: Do you do any direct medical treatment, in your present role? Cdr. Dr. Wilcox: I am not dealing with a lot of coal-face (hands-on) treatments, but I am helping to coordinate and 32

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focus on-going treatment. One of the things that we want to be very sensitive to is that we do not want to be burdensome to the American healthcare system. We feel it’s a privilege to be working with U.S. forces, networking with them, acting as liaison officers or exchange officers. We do not want to be seen as medical tourists or a burden to U.S. facilities. Diplomatic Connections: Could we turn to the second of your two hats for a moment — your role as health services attaché? Do you work directly, for example, with institutions like the Centers for Disease Control or with other American health institutions, research institutions? Cdr. Dr. Wilcox: I serve in five areas. One is coordinating conferences here, another is sitting on committees, then it’s outreach, liaison and data monitoring. The first of the principle committees that I’m on is JPMPG — Joint Preventive Medicine Policy Group. It’s a wonderful example of the U.S. military achieving joint-ness. All five branches are represented there — the U.S. Army, the U.S. Air Force, the U.S. Marines, the U.S. Coast Guard and the U.S. Navy. And their mandate is to standardize all preventive medicine issues. They’ll look at their approach to malaria, their approach to various diseases or their approach to periodic health assessment. And we [the Canadians] are invited so that when we’re tasked with the defense of North America and we’re going to be partnering very closely with U.S. forces, then it’s critical that we are fully interoperable. We want, as far as is possible, to standardize our approach with your approach in dealing with these various medical conditions. Diplomatic Connections: Is that strictly the United States and Canada involved or are there European forces involved as well? Cdr. Dr. Wilcox: That committee is just the U.S. and Canada. So, we do have a privileged platform. We’re the only foreign mission that’s included in that consultation process. But another committee is the Quintipartite Medical Intelligence Committee. On that committee we have the Americans, the Canadians, the Australians, the New Zealanders and the British. That committee is intended to share medical intelligence on things like chemical and biological weapons, the effect of various explosive devices on the human body or new illnesses that are being encountered by troops in the field. We try to disseminate that information and possible responses to the threat as widely as possible. Diplomatic Connections: Beyond these committee assignments, can you give us some specific examples of your other functions? Cdr. Dr. Wilcox: In terms of outreach, I frequently give

lectures on Canada’s national health care system so that audiences will understand how it functions and how it is different from the health care-health insurance system here in the United States. Then there is what I call data-mining, which is really sharing best practices going in both directions. To that end, I’m a member of the Health Portfolio Network. That’s a federal agency in Canada that meets quarterly or more frequently depending upon what the issue is. But, almost on a weekly basis, our office will go to meetings off-site. Then, if there’s information that we think relevant to Canada, we’ll do a synopsis and send it back to whatever agency in Canada seems most relevant. I also liaise with the surgeons general of the various American military branches. And, I facilitate conferences here at the embassy dealing with various topics of interest to military medicine. Diplomatic Connections: In fact, there’s a conference coming up at the embassy that will deal specifically with PTSD — post traumatic stress syndrome, isn’t there? Cdr. Dr. Wilcox: It’s broader than that. The September conference is a mental health symposium. The attempt is to bring best practices to light under the broad umbrella of operational stress injuries. One sub-set of that would be PTSD, but it includes many other concerns. That will be a one-day, full-on event at the ministerial/secretarial level. A follow-on meeting for staff members will try to begin implementing the recommendations that were adopted on the preceding day. Diplomatic Connections: Will this conference focus only on serving members of the military, or does it cover families as well? Cdr. Dr. Wilcox: That’s a niche that Canada has developed for itself — facilitating countries coming together to discuss common health problems. Just recently we had a big symposium in Canada on best practices for suicide prevention, one on traumatic brain injury, and one on family violence related to operational stress injuries and what are the evidence-based best practices for trying to mitigate family violence. So, we certainly do deal with family-related issues. And, also, a lot of the things that we’re working on — suicide prevention, PTSD and mild traumatic brain injuries — absolutely have civilian applications as well. Diplomatic Connections: Are there health attachés in other Canadian embassies around the world? Cdr. Dr. Wilcox: No, this is the only Canadian embassy that has a health services attaché. Diplomatic Connections: What are the qualifications for this position?

Cdr. Dr. Wilcox: They want somebody in this position that has some breadth of experience. So, they are looking for someone who has served in all three environments — Army, Navy and Air Force. In the Canadian system, the medical branch is not owned by any one of the three services. We get tasked out to support the various services, not just one of them. I’ve been lucky in my career that I’ve spent almost equal amounts of time with the Army, Air Force, and Navy. And that’s something that they look for in selecting someone for this position. Also, they look for someone who has a good bit of experience in the field. It is a bit of a reward for the time you’ve served and the experience you’ve gained. Diplomatic Connections: Since you’re tasked out to the various services at different times in your career, whose uniform do you wear? Cdr. Dr. Wilcox: Believe it or not, when we sign-up they just ask us what uniform we want to wear. For the dental branch, they’re all Army. But, what we try to do so that we bond and establish an esprit de corps with whatever service we’re supporting, we wear their work dress. So I wear a flight suit when I’m with the Air Force. I wear combats when I’m with the Army. And, I wear the appropriate naval uniform when I’m serving with the Navy. Diplomatic Connections: Please tell us a bit about your training in aerospace medicine. Cdr. Dr. Wilcox: When I did my aerospace training they taught me how to fly. The theory was that you can’t do the human factor aspect of an aircraft accident if you don’t have a basic understanding of what the pilot is doing. So, they taught me how to fly, which I really found fun. I did about 10 hours of Cessna training and about 30 hours in a T-34C turboprop. They want you to go solo but they don’t want you to become a pilot or achieve licensure. They just want you to know how to take-off and land. I didn’t get to solo because I only had a month to do it, but I was taking off and landing on my own. There are four areas in aerospace medicine. We’re taught to do aircraft accident investigation. We’re taught to develop and carry out protocols for medical evacuation by air. We’re taught to do various kinds of countermeasures to protect crews against sudden depressurization, cosmic radiation and the effects of weightlessness. And then the last one is to assess their mission fitness. Diplomatic Connections: You were involved in working with the astronauts and the space shuttle program as well, weren’t you? Cdr. Dr. Wilcox: One of the special moments in train-

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ing was doing the staff function for space shuttle launches, supporting shuttle retrievals, and working in mission control in Houston. When I was there, we got to meet all of the astronauts. We did their medical care and we were each involved in a project. On each shuttle mission there’s one astronaut who is designated the senior flight medical officer, so my project was to teach them how to do a neurologic exam. There are amazing things happening with telemedicine now but the one thing you lack in that circumstance is the doctor’s sense of touch. Diplomatic Connections: You’ve trained deep diving medicine and nuclear medicine as well. Do you ever take the easy way out? Cdr. Dr. Wilcox: They’re all interrelated. I came back from my training in aerospace medicine and worked in that field. But, at that time, after a 10-year hiatus, Canada was reintroducing submarines with the Victoria class. That meant that we in the medical field had to catch-up. We had lost most of our corporate knowledge of submarine medicine. I’m not sure whether it was because of my background in physics, but I was asked to get that program going. That worked into developing an underwater medicine program. Most of the advanced courses that I went on were in response to recognized needs. It all happened sequentially. Working with submariners, for instance, led to me pursuing a training program in advanced radiation medicine. Diplomatic Connections: What are some of the medical issues you encounter in these unique environments in the military — deep sea operations, the presence of nuclear materials, high altitude for example? Cdr. Dr. Wilcox: The issues are the same in space and undersea. It’s just a continuum. Everything is related to pressure. I’ve gone to a number of conferences on undersea medical issues, and NASA attends the same conferences. We have diesel submarines, and because they’re not nuclear powered we have many of the same problems that NASA encounters. For example, we are both concerned with power systems and oxygen generation and the presence of carbon dioxide whether undersea or at altitude. It really wasn’t that hard transitioning from aerospace to the undersea community. As an advanced underwater medical officer, I was taught how to treat people in hyperbaric chambers. But, again, the space environment where they’re doing a spacewalk they’re at risk for decompression — the bends — just as much as undersea divers. If you do a spacewalk, you’re at risk for nitrogen bubbles in the same way that a diver is. So, the situations are a lot closer than you might think initially. Diplomatic Connections: You have been deployed in 34

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some of the world’s trouble spots, to say the least. What did you learn from your experience in Northern Iraq, working in the Kurdish dominated areas? How does an experience like that change your approach to medicine? Cdr. Dr. Wilcox: While I was deployed in Iraq, I was able to see medical conditions that most doctors would probably never see in normal circumstances. I was in a position where I saw not only Canadian forces but a large number of Iraqi civilians who were living under very adverse conditions. This was an eye-opener for me. I saw a lot of illnesses that I’d never seen before in my life. I saw such things as scurvy and rickets and beriberi that most doctors only see in textbooks. And the trauma that I saw really made me self-sufficient because up in the mountains I did not have an x-ray machine or lab facilities. You really had to sharpen your clinical skills. What it does give you is perspective. When I saw children de-hydrated, I saw what the consequences of extreme dehydration really look like. That knowledge allows me to assure a mother whose child has vomited once that dehydration is not a problem in that circumstance. In Iraq, I saw kids die of typhoid. It really gave me a perspective on the continuum of illness for certain things. It showed firsthand what the extremes of illness can look like. And, it really made me appreciate the quality of life and the quality of medical care in North America. Diplomatic Connections: You were also deployed in Bosnia. What can you tell us about your experiences there? Cdr. Dr. Wilcox: Odd as it might seem to say, that was another wonderful experience. I was division surgeon for a multinational unit in the southwest, and I was stationed in Banja Luka working with Dutch, British and Canadian forces. So, I was in the senior position. That position required me to develop my diplomatic skills because I was in a position where I had no authority but I was tasked with developing consensus. We had tuberculosis, measles and other diseases present that are — under normal circumstances — quite easily controlled. Developing a consensus among those three countries, which had very different approaches to public health problems, was an education. Trying to deal with the Serbs and the Croats and the Muslims in the context of a high level of violence proved challenging as well. I found that medicine is a nice wedge to start talks because it’s always perceived as benign and it is perceived as providing added value. Diplomatic Connections: In that situation, medicine becomes a kind of diplomatic wedge that opens doors. Cdr. Dr. Wilcox: It does. It’s a very effective diplomatic tool. I think that it’s been shown time and time again that

when people get to know each other they realize that they have more things in common than they have differences. I think medicine is able to do that initially, especially from a military perspective. Medical issues represent safer, more benign ground than some other potential issues. Diplomatic Connections: You and the Canadian Health Services have lived through a time when you were seeing in battlefield conditions outrages to the human body that you wouldn’t normally see in civilian life. How does the military learn from those experiences — extreme wounds, burns, injuries from a variety of explosive devices that are improvised but nonetheless deadly? How do you respond to those new situations? How do you learn from these experiences and preserve that learning? Cdr. Dr. Wilcox: One of the things that we do is to try to learn from every unfortunate fatality. During any autopsy, part of the autopsy is to look at the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of personal protective equipment. We have a group in Toronto that will make instantaneous recommendations. They will look at battlefield casualties and develop almost real time recommendations for ways to protect troops more effectively. There is an absolute, stood up lessons learned cell whose mandate is to be constantly updating both our equipment and our procedures. There’s been a huge explosion in the amount of research going into trauma treatments. Now we have “Quick Clots” to stop bleeding more quickly and effectively, and a single-handed tourniquet for tactical combat application has been developed for battlefield first aid. Diplomatic Connections: Could you tell us just a little bit about the humanitarian operations carried out by the Canadian military? In some cases they grow out of natural disasters or out of battlefield deployments, but in other cases are quite separate from them and become a kind of diplomatic outreach as well. Cdr. Dr. Wilcox: There’s always a medical component to all of these disaster responses. What the military brings to the table is the ability to deploy ourselves quickly and with a self-sufficient capacity. If we want to deploy a medical capability, we don’t have to go to someone else to ask for canvas, and shelter, and communications, and security, and food. We have all of these capacities pre-packaged and ready for deployment. And, we don’t have to be taken away from our day jobs. That sort of response is our day job. Diplomatic Connections: You have a self-sufficiency capability that almost no one else has. In a disaster, if hospitals have been damaged, you can come in with a field operation that comes with operating rooms, and generators, and everything else that’s needed to support that.

Cdr. Dr. Wilcox: The Public Health Agency of Canada does have “canned” hospitals in what is called the National Emergency Stockpile System, but what we come with is people who can be transported anywhere in the world and do the job. We can come into Haiti with a unique capability that we call DART — Disaster Assistance Response Team — that is absolutely mandated to do this sort of disaster response. They’re equipped and trained to go in on short notice to respond to disasters wherever they might occur. Diplomatic Connections: What do you think is the impact and value of such humanitarian operations? Cdr. Dr. Wilcox: My own personal feeling is that it was almost as worthwhile as building a school. If we treated a mother for cancer, her immediate family and a second family are very appreciative. They know that that was you — a Canadian doctor — who did that. I think that the goodwill and winning the hearts and minds is very effectively done by treating local patients. That’s one of the things that Canada tries to do wherever we go. And, it protects us. The locals actually step in to protect us from harm because of the good will we’ve built up in the communities. People will tell you there’s an imminent attack or some other danger. It’s been a real recruiting tool as well. For a long time in the medical branch we were at 50 percent of our authorized physician strength, but now we’re up to 100 percent physician strength. We had some other recruiting programs, but these operational deployments where Canadians could see that we were actually doing good, in combination with humanitarian assistance, have been by far our most effective recruiting efforts. Diplomatic Connections: Commander Wilcox, it’s been a marvelous discussion. It is interesting to see medicine as one more tool of diplomacy, and — as you suggest — a very important tool in opening doors where they might otherwise be closed to politics and trade. At a very human level medicine is less politicized and more universal than traditional diplomacy. That’s an exciting thing to be able to lift up for our audience. n

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Oliver Dowell Lloyd

t should come as no surprise that presidential campaigns do not produce the most enlightening discussions of foreign policy. The on-theground realities of actual foreign policy dilemmas do not succumb easily to the “sound bite” rhetoric of a presidential campaign and the stream of television commercials and social media that has become campaigning in the 21st century. Neither does a presidential foreign policy record easily compress into thematic consistency. Presidents learn on the job, especially in foreign policy. That presidential learning curve imposes a degree of realism and practicality on every sitting President, but it also opens every President to charges of failing to live up to campaign promises that are, inevitably, heavy on patriotism, nationalism, defense preparedness (read “spending”), and promotion of core American values in the global stage. Add to that the foreign policy “surprises” — the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon that confronted President George W. Bush or the “Arab Spring” that challenged President Obama’s continuation of long-held relationships in the Middle East — with which Presidents must cope. The result is a campaign focused more on the atmospherics of

foreign policy than any specific policy initiatives, more on the past than on the future. It is a commonplace of American presidential politics that foreign policy plays only a limited role in the campaigns and in the voters’ decision process. Add to that, the long tradition of “politics stops at the water’s edge” and the supposed tradition of bipartisanship in foreign policy, and you have an election formula that suggests foreign policy and national security are less polarizing as campaign themes than are critical domestic questions like the federal budget deficit and taxes, the future of entitlement programs, and the complex mix of cultural and social issues that claims to define America. While there’s no doubt that jobs and the economy will play the central role in November’s presidential contest, it is impossible to separate domestic, foreign policy and national security issues in today’s complex global economy. Two extended wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as intensified anti-terror efforts around the world have helped to create the budget deficits facing and constraining the United States. Financing that debt has opened a door to China having a substantive role

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in the stability of the American economy just as global trade has dramatically expanded China’s international economic role. The competing needs for energy resources and for a meaningful response to global warming have turned energy policies into a global free-for-all of exploration in unexpected places, searches for environmentally-friendly technologies, and a yin-yang debate over the future of nuclear energy as states such as Iran and North Korea seek to shore up their sovereignty by acquiring nuclear weapons and the debate over the safety of nuclear power generation is rejoined. Barack Obama and Mitt Romney face-off as presidential candidates in an atmosphere where foreign policy discussions are unavoidable because global economic interdependence blurs the lines of sovereignty and transforms domestic economic difficulties into international economic dilemmas. At the same time, foreign policy and national security initiatives have immediate economic ramifications that will dramatically impact the federal budget. Ironically, most presidential campaigns claim to focus on domestic issues and the economy, yet it is in foreign policy where the President has the most freedom of action and where presidential actions, freed from the constraints of a diverse, deliberative and divided Congress are most consequential. Romney and Obama separately addressed the Veterans of Foreign Wars convention this summer and sought to clarify the stylistic differences in their approaches to foreign policy. Romney characterized the Obama years as “a time of declining influence and missed opportunity.” “The President’s policies,” Romney insisted, “have made it harder to recover from the greatest recession in 70 years … exposed the military to cuts that no one can justify … compromised our national security secrets … and in dealings with other nations, given trust where it is not earned, insult where it is not deserved, and apology where it is not due.” President Obama, according to the Romney view, has both failed America and failed to deliver on his promises to the American people. Obama, by way of contrast, recalled the world situation that he inherited from the George W. Bush administration. “Four years ago I stood before you at a time of great challenge for our nation. We were 38

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engaged in two wars. Al Qaeda was entrenched in their safe havens in Pakistan. Many of our alliances were frayed. Our standing in the world had suffered. We were in the worst recession of our lifetimes. Around the world, some questioned whether the United States had the capacity to lead.” His record, the President asserted, was a record of promises made and kept. “I pledged to take the fight to our enemies, and renew our leadership in the world. As President, that’s what I’ve done. I pledged to end the war in Iraq honorably, and that’s what we’ve done. I pledged to make it a priority to take out the terrorists who had attacked us on 9/11. I said that if we had Osama bin Laden in our sights, we would act to keep America safe — even if it meant going into Pakistan. Since I took office, we’ve worked with our allies and our partners to take out more top al Qaeda leaders than any time since 9/11. Osama bin Laden will never threaten America again, and al Qaeda is on the road to defeat.” Romney was quick to remind his VFW audience, however, of a string of alleged Obama failures, broken promises and half-hearted efforts to influence the course of global politics. President Obama, he declared, has brought us to a point where, “We are just months away from an arbitrary, across-the-board budget reduction that would saddle the military with a trillion dollars in cuts, severely shrink our force structure, and impair our ability to meet and deter threats.” [NOTE: The so-called deficit cliff to which Romney points is the product of a messy, last-minute Congressional compromise in August 2011, which agreed to raise the debt ceiling in exchange for the creation of a deficit reduction “super-committee.” That super-committee subsequently found it impossible to reach any bi-partisan agreement on deficit reduction, and was confronted with the default position of draconian budget cuts.] The Romney litany of criticism continued. “The threat of radical Islamic terrorism persists. The threat of weapons of mass destruction proliferation is ever-present.” He charged the Obama administration with leaking details of top-secret operations for partisan political purposes, conduct that Romney described as “contemptible.” This administration, Romney insisted, has sacrificed missile defenses “as

a unilateral concession to the Russian government.” It has says the same thing but in language that is slightly more nu“faltered when the Iranian people were looking for support anced and implies a tentativeness (“my goal will be . . .”) that in their struggle against the ayatollahs.” It has “derided” and allows voters to read their own opinions into his statement. “undermined” the policies of “one of our finest friends” — Scholars frequently talk about the “fog of war” — the Israel. The President, Romney insists, is playing politics with uncertainties created by limited battlefield information and the Afghan War by engaging in “a politically-timed retreat.” the often chaotic flow of events. Looking at the Romney and To take perhaps the Obama statements before most prominent example the VFW Convention of a situation where policy provides one of the few differences between the two side-by-side comparisons candidates seem rhetoriof their foreign policy cally dramatic but turn out stances and a perfect to be virtually non-existent, example of the “fog of compare their VFW statecampaigning.” It is a commonplace of American ments on Afghanistan. Here is the reality and presidential politics that President Obama acthe frustration of presiforeign policy plays only a knowledged “that there are dential campaigns and limited role in the campaigns and those who argued against foreign policy debates. in the voters’ decision process. a timeline for ending this The words and imAdd to that, the long tradition war,” but “I felt it was ages of the foreign policy of “politics stops at the water’s important that the Americampaign are designed to edge” and the supposed tradition can people — and our men tap wells of emotion and of bipartisanship in foreign and women in uniform patriotic devotion, not policy, and you have an election — know of our plan to to inform serious policy formula that suggests foreign end this war responsibly. debates. The policy policy and national security By the end of this sumformulations are designed are less polarizing as campaign mer, more than 30,000 to create the appearance themes than are critical domestic of our troops will have of concreteness while questions like the federal come home. Next year the leaving wide latitude for budget deficit and taxes, the Afghans will take the lead interpretation, the better future of entitlement programs, for their own security. In to attract a wide range and the complex mix of cultural 2014, the transition will be of voters. The “fuzzy” and social issues that claims complete.” positions taken by the to define America. Contrast this with candidates are intended Romney’s stated policy on to imply the candidate’s Afghanistan. “As President, thinking but never to my goal in Afghanistan will limit future presidential be to complete a successoptions. And none of this ful transition to Afghan answers what may be the security forces by the end most consequential quesof 2014. I will evaluate tion of all: who will make conditions on the ground and solicit the best advice of our up the new President’s foreign policy team? n military commanders. And I will affirm that my duty is not For a direct comparison of the Romney and to my political prospects, but to the security of the nation.” Obama foreign policy positions issue by issue Is there a difference between the two candidates here? Yes please see the Diplomatic Connections website: and no. Both refer to a transition to Afghan security forces by 2014. Obama says that transition will be complete. Romney D I P L O M A T I C C O N N E C T I O N S B U S I N E S S edition | S eptembe r - O ctobe r 2 0 1 2


An Island of Luxury at the Center of Power: Where History Surrounds and Where History Is Made


he Hay-Adams Hotel is a quietly honored treasure at the heart of Washington, D.C. Nestled between the presidential staff at the White House and the power brokers at K Street lobbying and law firms, sandwiched between legislators on Capitol Hill and bureaucrats’ agencies stretching along The Mall, The Hay-Adams is a fascinating piece of Washington’s history and an essential piece of Washington’s present. It evokes the elegance of an earlier


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era in Washington, combines that aura of history with the power realities of the national capital’s present, and completes the package with state-of-the-art facilities that assure the hotel’s “connectedness” with the global future. Often described as a boutique hotel, The Hay-Adams offers superb accommodations and exceptional amenities to its guests. Because of the building’s historic provenance, it has an intimacy that is conducive to providing outstanding guest

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care and unparalleled comfort in an atmosphere of total discretion, security and privacy. Guest rooms and suites are beautifully appointed and have been thoughtfully redesigned to retain a feeling of traditional luxury while incorporating the latest in-room technologies. Service here is unsurpassed. Hotel staff go to great lengths to make certain that guests are repeatedly welcomed, to understand guests, specific needs, to facilitate every aspect of a visit to the nation’s capital and to assure that guests have a haven of superior comfort for their official business, historic tourism trips and family occasions. The hotel takes its name from a leading 19th century American statesman, John Hay, and one of that era’s literary lights, Henry Adams — a direct descendant of Presidents John Adams and John Quincy Adams. In 1884, these two men built adjoining homes at the corner of 16th and H Streets. Hay and his wife, Clara, and Adams and his wife, Clover, along with noted geologist Clarence King became a close circle of friends dubbed “The Five of Hearts.” Gatherings at their homes quickly became one of Washington’s leading salons for the 42

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discussion of art, literature and politics. That tradition of warm hospitality, hosting leaders of government, business and the arts from around the world, and the open exchange of ideas is carried on by The Hay-Adams today in its authors’ luncheons which bring historians, journalists and novelists together with the public to discuss their works over a three-course meal and wine. John Hay was President Abraham Lincoln’s personal secretary and wrote an extensive biography of Lincoln following the President’s assassination. Hay served as Assistant Secretary of State in the administration of Rutherford B. Hayes (1878) and was named as U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom in 1897 when William McKinley became President. He subsequently served as Secretary of State under both Presidents McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt. Hay negotiated the Treaty of Paris of 1898, which ended the Spanish-American War, negotiated the treaties that made possible the building of the Panama Canal and shaped the so-called Open Door Policy, which pressed China to allow equal access to all the major imperial powers of the day while pressing the foreign powers to guarantee China’s

territorial integrity and central administration. Henry Adams, grandson and great grandson of presidents, was best known as a journalist, historian, novelist and social critic. During the Civil War, his father, Charles Francis Adams, was named United States Minister to the United Kingdom, and Henry accompanied him as both personal secretary and anonymous London correspondent for the New York Times. Always a close student of history, Adams was particularly interested in the dynamics of democracy as an emergent concept that was protean in its possibilities for good governance or, equally likely, in its possibilities for corruption and submission to excesses of human prejudice. The corner of 16th and H, in other words, had a tradition of being at the center of the nation’s political and social discourse long before The Hay-Adams Hotel was built. After the deaths of Adams and Hay, Washington developer Harry Wardman bought and razed both homes in 1927. In their place, he commissioned noted architect Mirhan Mesrobian to design an Italian Renaissancestyled apartment hotel on the site. The result is a notable, if eclectic, edifice that offers an architectural mélange of styles ranging from classical orders to elements of Tudor, Elizabethan and Italianate decorative arts. The overall mix is indicative of Washington’s historic struggles with the architecture of power, but remarkably it works to produce a striking façade and a palatial interior feel that generates surprising warmth. The continued success of The Hay-Adams is based on three critical elements: intimacy in size, style and service; absolute discretion in everything it does, every meeting it hosts; and proximity to every aspect of the Washington world — politics, diplomacy, business and society. The hotel provides not only sumptuous guest rooms and suites, but it also provides a range of private meeting and dining rooms that can accommodate diplomatic negotiations, business trainings and financial deliberations, media opportunities and social gatherings. Close to the heart of The Hay-Adams are its culinary operations headed by Executive Chef Peter Schaffrath. He is always referred to as “chef” . . . never by his name. It is a title of great respect that is spoken in hushed almost reverential terms by the management and staff of The Hay-Adams Hotel. Peter Schaffrath’s work may be awe-inspiring, but — if so — it is because he has inspired those

around him with his low-key but commanding presence, with his gentle but persistent sense of humor, and with his exquisite but fresh and simple food presentations. He is not a shooting star celebrity chef in the culinary heavens. Instead, he is a culinary polar star — shining brightly in place, classically trained in Europe, familiar with the less formal tastes of American cuisine, a traditionalist who is not mired in tradition, an experimenter who likes new things but is not in thrall to trendy kitchen techniques. “Chef” Peter traces his interest in cooking back to his mother’s kitchen in Germany. He recalls being intrigued with all of her kitchen preparations and the delicious smells that her efforts produced. “My mother,” he recalls,” actually put me to work in the kitchen. We used to have a big garden, and she taught me many things, not only cooking but growing our own vegetables and fruits.” His uncle ran a guest

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house in the Black Forest where the budding chef spent his summers and where, “I found that I liked the noise and the routine of a kitchen on a daily basis, especially the preparations that went into cooking for more than just the family.” Chef Peter Schaffrath began his professional training as an apprentice at the Catering College in Aachen, Germany, on the German-Dutch-Belgian border. “I was lucky enough to learn my profession in a small hotel where you have to do everything from preparing food, cooking, shopping and even doing your own butchering.” After completing his apprenticeship, Chef Peter began traveling. “That was actually part of why I wanted to become a chef. My first job took me to Zurich, Switzerland, and then from there I went to Geneva, then to Lausanne, and from there to London.” In London, Chef Schaffrath worked first at the Portman Inter-Continental Hotel, where he served as Chef Entremetier. Then he moved to the Hotel Inter-Continental London, where he served as sous chef and executive sous chef. He came to the United States in 1980 to serve as executive chef at the Plaza of the Americas in Dallas, Texas. Ultimately reaching the pinnacle of his career by joining The Hay-Adams as executive chef in November 2001. For this executive chef, management skills are a necessary adjunct to the exceptional food created in his culinary imagination and by his teams of chefs and assistants working in the multiple facilities he oversees. He recognizes a need to develop staff and to take a hand in the training of a new generation of chefs who combine technical skills with a love of superior ingredients and a desire to prepare and present food in ways that simultaneously represent a respect for tradition and an awareness of changing tastes. Chef Schaffrath directs all culinary activities at The Hay-Adams including banquet facilities, in-room dining and the hotel’s variety of on-site restaurants. The flagship fine dining experience at The Hay-Adams is The Lafayette Room — a shimmering venue overlooking Lafayette Park that sparkles with mirrors, sunlight and candles, spotless silver and crystal, and superior service — with menu offerings that are local, seasonal and fit for business dealings, statecraft, or family special occasions. By morning The Lafayette is a lusciously sun-drenched breakfast room. At mid-day, it becomes a center of power lunches or a brief respite from the demands of near-by offices and official responsibilities. By evening, The Lafayette Room becomes a center of elegant dining, quiet conversation, and exceptional 44

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service to accompany equally exceptional menu selections, all with the ambience of Washington’s past and the conversations that shape Washington’s future. Quite different in ambience and reputation is Off the Record, voted one of the best hotel bars in America. This richly paneled, sous-terre public room bills itself as the place “to be seen and not heard” in Washington. It is the closest location to the White House and the Executive Office Buildings for the behind-the-scenes conversations between policymakers and power brokers that are the lifeblood of the nation’s capital. At the same time, Off the Record has some of the best and most creative cocktails in Washington, a superior wine list as well as a superb selection of bourbons, scotches and cognacs to meet the most discriminating tastes. The menu runs from appetizers to salads, to light main courses followed by tantalizing desserts, and features one of the best burgers in Washington, D.C., served on a brioche roll and topped with caramelized onions, wild mushrooms, sugar-cured bacon and Gruyere cheese. Everything here is done with discretion, except perhaps the appetites. Literally topping off the dining experiences at The HayAdams is the Top of the Hay, a recently added, glass-enclosed roof-top facility that can accommodate a single large event or be divided into separate rooms to accommodate several smaller events. The views of official Washington to be had here are spectacular with a panorama of power ranging from the White House just across Lafayette Park, to the city’s key monuments, to the waters of the Tidal Basin and the Potomac, to the Virginia skyline and the rolling countryside beyond. The Top of the Hay has its own state-of-the-art kitchen facilities and staff under the direction of Chef Schaffrath. Special events held here can choose from existing menu items or work with the Chef to develop unique offerings to suit the occasion, from corporate dinners to wedding receptions and from intimate working dinners to national day celebrations. Despite his remarkably full schedule, The Hay-Adams management was kind enough to share Chef Peter Schaffarth for a wide-ranging and revealing discussion with Diplomatic Connections and our readers. The conversation explores not only the role of the Executive Chef at The Hay-Adams but also changing culinary tastes and methods as well as the unchanging essentials of culinary art. It offers a striking look at what makes The Hay-Adams not only a superb hotel but an absolute not-to-be-missed part of the most authentic Washington experience.


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James A. Winship, PhD

Diplomatic Connections: Peter, your title is executive chef. Do you get to cook at all, or are you primarily managing the staff, the facilities and the food preparation? Chef Schaffrath: I am one of the few executive chefs who is really hands-on. I have been that way since I started this profession. I am me. I can never compare myself with any other great or good chef. I just enjoy being hands-on, and that’s what I really do well. Obviously there are management tasks that are required — menu planning, payrolls, work schedules, meetings and future events to plan. There’s meeting guests as well. We have lots of weddings here, and I make it a point to meet the mother and the bride and the groom so that we can select menus and go through tastings. That’s really my responsibility. Obviously, we have beautiful facilities — the Lafayette restaurant, Off the Record bar, exquisite guest rooms and catering — and all

of that comes under my responsibility. Diplomatic Connections: That is an enormous responsibility, but sounds as if it’s fun for you as well. Chef Schaffrath: If it weren’t fun I couldn’t do this job. I tell young culinary students who visit here sometimes that they need to look around and see the reality of what a professional chef does. When they watch television it seems easy — it’s just a show. But, in real life it’s a very detailed and often cumbersome job. Diplomatic Connections: Beyond the proximity to the White House and the incredible views this location provides, what is it that distinguishes The Hay-Adams from other leading hotels here in Washington, D.C.? What makes this place special? Chef Schaffrath: We pride ourselves on offering our guests a home away from home. We give the guests special attention from

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the moment they arrive. Most of the time we know their names when they arrive, and that immediately personalizes the guests’ experience here. From the time they move into the hotel until the time they leave, we want to take care of our guests and make certain that their every need is met. We pride ourselves on service. We know what our guests like, and we do our best to honor any special requests. We always treat everyone with the same respect. We have many dignitaries but also people from show business and the corporate world. It keeps you on your toes! And, we are very discrete about our guests’ identities and their special requests. We host them as if they were in our home, and we want to spoil them. Diplomatic Connections: Chef, at the risk of asking you to divulge a state secret, do you keep dossiers on your guests and their preferences — special dishes that they particularly like or other preferences that they have? Chef Schaffrath: Yes, we do. We keep track of every repeat guest who comes. We know all of their needs. And we really do care about their likes and dislikes right down to things like food allergies and preferred condiments. Diplomatic Connections: What role does food play in the life of The Hay-Adams Hotel? Chef Schaffrath: We have an international clientele with people coming to us from all around the world. We have people from Asia, Europe, South America, really from all the continents. We pride ourselves on our ability to handle any occasion. Given the hotel’s proximity to the White House, that leads us to have many major delegations staying with us. The head of state will, in all likelihood, be staying at Blair House, but the other high ranking members of their traveling group might be staying here with us to be close by. So, we have to carefully cater to their specific needs. Usually there’s an advance team that will let us know what our guests’ likes and dislikes are so that we are able to anticipate their needs. Diplomatic Connections: How do you handle all the different culinary and cultural expectations that are thrown at you in the course of a year coming from the different embassies and cultural communities around Washington? How, suddenly, does a European-trained chef suddenly turn into a Japanese master banqueter? Chef Schaffrath: The challenge is always to come up with a new menu, but we have a great team who participate in all the decisions and suggest menu ideas. We have the support of the general manager and other staff members who suggest 48

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ideas about how we set-up a special occasion and the accompanying menus. And, it’s not only from the culinary standpoint. It has to do with the service as well. There are so many different little details involved in how to make the presentation of the food and making certain that the event comes out perfectly. It’s nice when you have people from many different nationalities whose experience you can draw on to make certain that the food and the arrangements always work. Diplomatic Connections: Four years ago, before his inauguration President Obama and his family were here as guests at The Hay-Adams. What was that like, to have the almost-First Family in residence before their move to the White House? Chef Schaffrath: We really enjoyed having the Obama family here with us. We took care of them, and they loved it here. President Obama had one of his personal chefs, Sam Kass (assistant chef and senior policy advisor for Healthy Food Initiatives at the White House,) with him as well because the regular hotel staff was not allowed to come too close to him. He was the liaison between the President-elect and us. We’re all still friends, and he’s still at the White House. It was very nice to have the President-elect here but very complicated as well. We had the Secret Service on every floor and in every corner. But we took it as an honor really to have the future President of the United States staying with us. And we hope we have many more. Diplomatic Connections: Chef, how do you organize a kitchen and a staff? It sounds as if it must be almost military basic training to get staff prepared because it’s always working in a relatively small space even if you’re cooking for hundreds of people. How do you even begin to organize that and put your staff together? Chef Schaffrath: First of all you create a crew and then the most important thing is training. The groups I work with are really very well trained. Everything is precisely marked to show the specific function for which it is intended. You have to remember that we’re almost never preparing food for a single function. It is often the case that we have six or seven functions all at the same time. So, everything is put on cards to specify functions and exact preparations. And timing, obviously, is critical — especially for larger functions. It takes a lot of coordination and planning. Diplomatic Connections: Kitchens are almost like a dance routine on stage. Everything is choreographed precisely so that people aren’t falling over each other . . . most of the time.

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Chef Schaffrath: It gets very hectic sometimes. Another factor to consider in a larger group is that people have choices of entrees. Then you have individual dietary requirements. You have vegetarians, and you have a variety of dietary limitations. It all gets pretty complicated. And it takes a great deal of organization. That’s our job here at the hotel and in the kitchens. But, we have a great team — not only from the culinary side but from the service side as well. Diplomatic Connections: How do you work together with the service people? Do you take a hand in training the service people and setting up the schedule of what they’re going to serve when? Do you describe how you want them to present a dish that has become almost a work of art for you? Chef Schaffrath: Whenever we introduce new menu items, we always have all the new dishes freshly prepared and we have all the wait staff present. The maître d’ and sometimes the chefs will explain where the dish and its ingredients come from, the seasonal nature of the ingredients, and how the dish is prepared in the kitchen. We want the staff to know as much as possible about each dish so that they can explain it to the guests. And, then the wait staff will taste everything as well. That way they can say from personal experience that this dish is fantastic or identify specific flavors and ingredients in each dish. Diplomatic Connections: What are some of the differences between European and American kitchens? Chef Schaffrath: In Europe, we have a very regimented training program of stages you must go through to become a chef. In the United States, there is more flexibility. People may start in one profession and find themselves not very happy in it. Then they hear about the “glory” of being a chef and they go to a culinary school where they learn the basics. But they’ve never really worked in a hotel or in a restaurant before that. That’s a major difference. And then there’s the cultural part. Especially when I was younger and at home in Germany, you really do sit down as a family and eat all together. That’s a cultural thing that continues and develops in later life into a respect for food and dining as a social occasion. There’s not a rush to finish, unlike how meals are often taken here in the United States. It’s very common in Europe that the family sits together and enjoys a multi-course, even if it’s a simple meal. Then, cooking-wise, we have different products in Europe than you have here. In the United States you have year-round produce — asparagus, strawberries — which we don’t have in Europe where we really go by the seasons. You cook by what’s available in each season of the year. That has helped me in my present position to change menus seasonally and frequently. But in the States you have the produce available all year-round so you can leave menus unchanged for long periods of time. Diplomatic Connections: There is a movement throughout the culinary world toward more organic ingredients, toward more locally produced ingredients, toward really involving the chefs, the kitchens and the food producers — the growers from beginning to end of the food preparation process. Are there farmers with whom you are able to say: This is an ingredient I’d like to have, can you supply it for me? Chef Schaffrath: In Pennsylvania, for instance, I have a supplier who grows 50

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only mushrooms. They grow fresh chanterelles, oyster mushrooms, shiitakes, portabellas. You never find quality like theirs outside a dedicated supplier. For vegetables we have an organic farm that produces all of our micro-greens, all of our different leaf lettuces. And the quality is fantastic. And then we have a weekly farmers’ market right across from the hotel every Thursday where we buy produce. The sous-chef and I go over, look at what’s especially fresh and seasonal, and then we have a special for the next two days! Diplomatic Connections: Based on your experience, how is cooking in Washington — being in the nation’s capital — different from cooking in any other large city in the United States? Chef Schaffrath: I came to the States from Europe, and I started in Dallas and traveled to the West Coast as well. People in the Washington area are still a little bit more conservative in their approach and in the way they like their food. Tastes here are not as adventurous as they are on the West Coast, where everything is some kind of fusion. It doesn’t mean that we can’t do those sorts of things, but our guests come in for things like a Cobb salad, or a cupcake or a beautiful Dover sole, which you rarely still find in restaurants because it takes a bit of preparation time. When I started, I tried to change and make it more modern, but people wanted to hold on to tradition. We do introduce new dishes all the time, but you’re walking a fine food political line. What can you introduce to the menu, and what do you dare not take away? Diplomatic Connections: You have participated in several of the world’s leading cooking competitions. What are those experiences like? Do you enjoy being a part of them? Do you like working with the other chefs? Chef Schaffrath: I used to take part in these professional competitions when I was in Europe, in London. For instance, there is the Mouton Cadet competition sponsored by Baron Rothschild out of Pauillac. You submit a menu and then a panel of nine of the top chefs in London selects the last three finalists. At that stage there is a cook-off, and that puts a lot of pressure on you. You’re going into an environment where you’ve never been before to prepare and cook your menu. I won this competition. Then I was flown into the Chateau Rothschild cellars where I was asked to reproduce the same menu for 120 people, which was quite an undertaking.

Diplomatic Connections: Earlier you spoke about being

a hands-on executive chef. Are there certain things that are very hard for you to let go of in the kitchen? Is it difficult to let someone else prepare a dish that is close to your heart?

Chef Schaffrath: I love to create fish dishes, and to cut fish properly you really need a bit of experience. Anybody can cut fish but in order to get the best yield out of a piece of fish takes a good bit of skill. When we have special events I usually cut the fish myself! That way I can portion it properly. Also, we have many little functions that I like to cook for. I certainly don’t do everything by myself, but I am in charge. There are a lot of things that I don’t do myself, but I am in charge. When I’m the one who will be meeting guests in the dining room, then I really am actively there in the kitchen and will do a good deal of the cooking myself. I also do a lot of the wedding tastings myself. In other hotels these things might just be left to the banquet chef, but I take pride in it. I like to take care of our guests. Diplomatic Connections: This is really a question that should be asked of your family. Do you cook at home when you leave the hotel? Chef Schaffrath: On occasion when we have friends over. But my wife is French, and she is a very good cook as well. Usually she cooks so that when I come home I can sit down in peace, have a glass of wine, and she feeds me. But when we have guests or friends coming I will sometimes cook. Diplomatic Connections: I assume you learned over the years not to be too critical? Chef Schaffrath: No, I love my wife and I don’t criticize. We joke sometimes because she loves to entertain and sometimes she forgets that she has things in the oven. Things have been known to come out a little darker than they’re supposed to be! Diplomatic Connections: What are some of your favorite dishes? Some of the things you most like to prepare? Chef Schaffrath: I love fresh items like vegetables and fish — a beautifully roasted sea bass, for instance, in a fennel and saffron broth. Something light is always good for these hot summer months. I like lamb as well . . . beautiful, farmraised lamb is very tender and beautiful. Diplomatic Connections: Chef Schaffrath, you’ve helped to dispel the stereotype of the master chef as the prima donna, as the diva, of the kitchen. You have given us a very human view of the importance of food and the dearness of food to your heart. Obviously, you’ve made food a center of your life and all of us who are guests in any of your facilities are privileged to share the gift of your cuisine. n

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New York Giants visit President Obama for White House tradition By Meghan Lawson he parallels between sports and politics are ripe for analogy. But few are as fitting as that between the New York Giants’ win in Super Bowl XLVI and President Barack Obama’s re-election bid. This summer, the President honored the most recent Super Bowl champions with a ceremony at the White House. The similarities between the Giants’ stunning win and President Obama’s goal to win a second term in November were not lost on Giants head coach Tom Coughlin. “We both have a goal to get 52

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Brendan Smialowski/AFP/GettyImages

President Obama (R) listens while New York Giants Head Coach Tom Coughlin speaks during an event on the South Lawn of the White House on June 8, 2012, in Washington. Obama hosted the New York Giants to celebrate their 2012 win at the NFL’s Super Bowl 46. D I P L O M A T I C C O N N E C T I O N S B U S I N E S S edition | S eptembe r - O ctobe r 2 0 1 2



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President Obama (2nd L) poses for photographs with (L-R) New York Giants players Zak DeOssie, Justin Tuck and Eli Manning while welcoming the National Football League Super Bowl champions to the White House June 8, 2012, in Washington, DC. The Giants defeated The New England Patriots 21-17 to win Super Bowl XLVI. D I P L O M A T I C C O N N E C T I O N S B U S I N E S S edition | S eptembe r - O ctobe r 2 0 1 2


Zak DeOssie in presenting President Obama with a No. 44 jersey and a football signed by the team. Like several of his teammates, this was Manning’s second visit to the White House, having attended a similar ceremony after the Giants’ 2008 Super Bowl win over the Patriots. “This is all starting to sound like déjà vu,” joked the President. Inviting the NFL championship team to a White House reception has become a tradition for those occupying the Oval Office. In 1970, President Richard Nixon began the practice by inviting Green Bay Packers quarterback Bart Starr to a White House reception. A decade later, in 1980, President Jimmy Carter hosted then Super Bowl championship team the Pittsburgh Steelers, along with World Series champions the Pittsburgh Pirates, for a day of celebrations. “When I began to think who, in the entire nation, can give me best advice on how to meet a tough challenge successfully and win great victories,” explained President Carter, “I naturally remembered the Pirates and the Steelers.”

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

back here next year. We have a lot of work to do,” Coughlin told the crowd assembled on the South Lawn at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Members of Congress, military veterans and Vice President Joe Biden were all on hand to help celebrate the championship team. In February, the Giants shocked the football world with an unexpected 21-17 victory over the New England Patriots in the February 5 final. With a shaky regular season record of 9-7, the New York team was pinned as the underdog against New England, who arrived in Indianapolis — where the game was hosted — with a 13-3 record. Moreover, the Giants spent much of the regular season battling a series of injuries among their receiving and defensive lineups. “But the players, the coaches, the staff, the owners — they didn’t quit,” President Obama said in a speech to the crowd. “They believed in each other. And they kept winning, all the way to Indianapolis.” Two-time Super Bowl MVP and Giants quarter back Eli Manning joined defensive end Justin Tuck and linebacker

President Obama greets members of the Super Bowl Champion New York Giants on the South Lawn of the White House, June 8, 2012, during a ceremony honoring the team for their Super Bowl XLVI victory. 56

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Tim Sloan/AFP/Getty Images

Former President George W. Bush (R) receives a football jersey from then New York Giants wide receiver Amani Toomer (L) during an event to honor the NFL Super Bowl champions on April 30, 2008, at the White House in Washington, DC. Eli Manning in background on left side.

When the Giants first beat the Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI, President George W. Bush welcomed them for a White House celebration, calling their win as “one of the great, legendary football games in our country’s history.” While delivering his speech at the ceremony, President Obama drew parallels between his political role and the sporting world while describing a Giants’ pre-game ritual. On February 4,

the team watched a highlight reel set to Phil Collins’ “In the Air Tonight,” apparently the good luck song for Justin Tuck. “I don’t know about a little Phil Collins before a big game,” President Obama said. “I may try that before a big meeting with Congress.” Off the field, the Giants have also been scoring points in New York and New Jersey with community service initiatives, a develop-

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President Obama shares a laugh with members of the National Football League Super Bowl champions New York Giants at the White House June 8, 2012, in Washington, D.C.

ment highlighted by the President. “From fighting childhood obesity — Michelle likes that — to wrapping up leftover food for homeless shelters, to working with the Make-a-Wish Foundation to bring kids to practices and games, Big Blue supports the folks who support them,” he told the crowd, with a nod to the First Lady’s initiative to end obesity. This past May, Coach Coughlin’s work with America’s men and women in uniform even earned him an Outstanding Civilian Service Award, the third highest honor the U.S. Army can bestow on a private citizen. “We began to focus on the inspiration this team provided to all Americans down on their luck because of the economy,” Coughlin explained, pointing to a priority weighing heavily on America’s political minds. “How this team might have inspired them not to give up hope.” Now with two Super Bowl rings in just five seasons, Coughlin is more determined than ever to make it back to the White House for a third time. “A few short years ago, I said I hoped this day wasn’t a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” said the New York native. “Now, I hope it’s not twice-in-a-lifetime.” An estimated 111.3 million American viewers tuned in to Super Bowl XLVI, making it the most-watched television program in American history. With the National Football League set to kick off its 93rd season in September, autumn promises to be a busy season for both the players and the politicians. Even with a re-election campaign in full swing, President Obama did not hold back about his own football allegiances at the summer event. “Go Bears,” he told reporters as walked back to the Oval Office. n

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The WoR lD meeTs aT The W ill a R D.

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ahnaz Khazen and Violet Parvarandeh are emigrants from Iran who left the turmoil of their home country to seek new opportunities in the United States. Here they have become citizens and social entrepreneurs who take seriously the idea that their successes impose a requirement to give back to the community. They have found a mechanism to do exactly that through the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa program created by the U.S. Congress and administered by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service under the aegis of the Department of Homeland Security. Starting from that base, a business model that became the U.S. Immigration Investment Center based in San Jose, California, was conceived and nurtured into operation. The congressional intent of the EB-5 Visa program was “to stimulate the U.S. economy through capital investment and job creation by foreign investors.” That foreign investment was to come in exchange for expedited access to a “green card” — permanent resident status in the United States. Once the initial investment is approved, applicants receive a two-year temporary green card as a “conditional permanent resident.” Successful operation of a commercial business that saves or creates at least 10 full-time jobs will result in the investor being accorded U.S. Permanent Resident status. The minimum qualifying capital investment is $1 million though that requirement is reduced to $500,000 for investments in targeted rural areas or areas of high unemployment. Out of this thicket of legal requirements and the sharply focused memories of her own earlier immigrant experience, Mahnaz Khazen saw a business opportunity that was also an opportunity to do good and to pass on to a new generation of 62

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immigrants the opportunities that life in America had offered her. Ms. Khazen left Iran in the midst of the Islamic Revolution in 1979. Just after she graduated high school she was on her way to the U.S. Embassy in Tehran to request a visa for study in the United States, where she’d been accepted at several universities. As she approached the compound, she found it surrounded by demonstrators. That was November 4, 1979, the day that the U.S. embassy was taken over by Iranian student demonstrators and embassy staffers became hostages held for 444 days until their release in January 1981 just after the new U.S. President, Ronald Reagan, took the oath of office. Unable to request a U.S. visa, she turned to the Austrian Embassy, which granted her a visa and a scholarship for four years of study at an agricultural college in Vienna. She came to the United States in 1983. “Had I known,” she recalls, “that I would not see my family for 18 years, perhaps I would never have approached the Austrian Embassy for a visa. But these things happen, and we have to learn to understand the circumstances and make the best

out of them. We have to talk about immigrant survival skills. Immigrants have an amazing energy that allows them to come to a new country with very little and be able to achieve great things.” Khazen’s colleague, Violet Parvarandeh, left her home country in the midst of the long Iran-Iraq War in 1984. She joined her husband in the United States where he was a graduate student. “My husband and I were very young, and we were left to our own devices to adapt to life in the United States — to learn a new language, to learn a new culture and to learn new ways of doing things. It was hard.” Despite those hardships, she looks back at that experience as providing a unique opportunity. “Coming from Iran and living here in the United States, my adopted home, I can very well have the best of both worlds mingling together. I believe America is the only country that allows you to have that freedom — to have your old culture and your new culture mingling together and creating a better life for you.” As CEO and Chairman of the Board of the U.S. Immigration Investment Center, Mahnaz Khazen, and her colleague, Violet Parvarandeh, a member of the USIIC Board of Directors and Micro Loan Committee Chair, agreed to an exclusive interview with Diplomatic Connections during a recent business trip to Washington, D.C. They shared with us not only USIIC’s operational model but their underlying passion for the work that brings balance sheets and paper work to life in human terms — people’s lives changed, local lending institutions reinvigorated and new facilities constructed. Diplomatic Connections: Ms. Khazen, would you tell us a little bit about the mission of your company, the U.S. International Investment Center? Why and how did you form this company? Mahnaz Khazen: Our business started for the purpose of giving back to the country that has given so much to us and our families. The mission in detail is to provide housing for veterans including health centers, and to provide housing for immigrants who are just coming to the United States and need help understanding and adapting to their new home. We are focusing on lower-income and moderate-income housing and senior housing. We are looking at assisting many sorts of job creating factors. But the way to do it for us is to recapitalize troubled community banks because community banks actually fund more projects in their communities than do large commercial banks. Our goals are to help community banks by recapitalizing them so that, in return, they can lend to businesses in their community. Hopefully, with our assistance, their efforts will go toward projects that would help create housing, senior housing and all the other missions that we have. Diplomatic Connections: There are two sides to an

equation here. You have talked about things like veterans’ wellness centers, about housing, about recapitalizing failing community banks here in the United States. But those things only become possible by attracting foreign investment, international investors to come into the United States market. And the attraction for foreign investors is that they are able to, by bringing into the United States a certain amount of investment under certain conditions, to receive green card (permanent resident) status because of their investment. Is that correct? Mahnaz Khazen: Absolutely right. When I was a commercial real estate broker, I was eager to find U.S. investors who would actually support my ideas, but I could not find local investors who would not require high return on their investment. Completely by accident I was talking to another developer, and I asked, “Where did you get the money?” He responded, “Oh, there is a program called EB-5 (The Immigrant Investor Program administered by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service) and I made an application to form a company to encourage foreign investment in the United States.” I immediately thought, “There is a possibility that we can actually go out and attract outside investors.” Before I founded USIIC, I was not able to find financing for many of the projects we considered. By creating USIIC it has become possible to identify and attract foreign investors who wish to invest in the United States. Diplomatic Connections: To put it in business terms, the return on investment is different for a foreign investor than it might be for a domestic investor because of the immigration green card status. In other words, foreign investors can afford to take a lower percentage return on their dollar investment because, in fact, the real return on their investment is the ability to achieve green card status in the United States, perhaps to access education in the United States for their children. Mahnaz Khazen: The first intention for an immigrant is, “I want to come to the United States. I want to have better educational opportunities for my family. I want to have freedom and comfort for my entire family. And, I want to have security of investment.” Far more than freedom, though everybody talks about it, we have found that that’s not one of the problems confronting new immigrants. That’s not the big issue. The big issue is security of investment because every time a nation goes through turmoil people lose everything they have. So, stability is what they are looking for. Diplomatic Connections: In other words, there is a “safe haven” aspect to making investments in the United States. Mahnaz Khazen: Totally safe haven. It’s not the question of freedom. That’s not the main question. Instead, it’s security. Many potential immigrants to the United States are

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willing to accept limited returns on their investment in exchange for an expedited entry process, a more secure investment climate and more immediate opportunities for their families. In that situation, they have no problem investing their life savings, their hard work and their hard won earnings in the United States. Diplomatic Connections: We are using a very technical term — the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa program. Would you explain what EB-5 is and how it is different from other forms of visas under which potential immigrants might come to the United States? Violet Parvarandeh: The difference is that EB-5 is an investment visa. Basically, the foreign investor brings a certain amount of money into the United States as a business investment, and in order for them to get the green card they have to provide jobs for Americans. This program offers the potential for the investor to receive the green card while at the same time it provides jobs for Americans. It’s a win-win situation. Diplomatic Connections: There is a minimum required investment of how much? Mahnaz Khazen: The minimum requirement investment is $500,000 in a targeted area, that is, rural areas and areas of high unemployment. In these areas, the government allows the lower threshold of investment. But, the base investment is $1,000,000 in metropolitan and fairly stable areas. Our company has been staying quite com-


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fortably at the level of $1,000,000 and more. We do not actually even advertise the $500,000. But, if we do find banks that do have the capability of receiving $500,000 minimums, where they are in high unemployment areas, targeted areas, of course we’ll open that channel for an investor. It takes a great deal of time for USIIC to clear an application, and obviously, $500,000 deals are in highly distressed areas with high unemployment. Even though our investors are not seeking the highest rates of return, it is our responsibility not to risk their investment either. So, if we can increase their ceiling to the minimum $1,000,000 rather than the $500,000, we will be able to secure their investment over the time that they need in order to go through the clearance process and get their green card. That’s very important to us. Diplomatic Connections: When an investor makes the commitment of $500,000 or $1,000,000 then they receive a temporary green card. Is that right? Mahnaz Khazen: No. Actually, when they make a commitment, then they need to send the funds to a third-party bank. The funds will sit there until we verify whether the application will go to OFAC (The Office of Foreign Assets Control in the Treasury Department) or not. All applications will be submitted to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services under the Department of Homeland Security for approval. We will not be doing anything with the funds. The applicant will not receive anything until Homeland Security and other agencies have given their blessings. Then, the applicant goes through the process of getting their temporary green card. Diplomatic Connections: Is it true that the single largest group of EB-5 investors is Chinese? Mahnaz Khazen: Yes, that’s correct. They are the Chinese, absolutely. We are more than happy to work with Chinese investors, but that is not our primary target. We find that there are many other areas of the world where interest in the EB-5 Visa program is quite high. For that reason, we are opening processing centers in places such as Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, in Jordan and Ethiopia as well as our offices in Washington, Los Angeles, San Francisco and our home office in San Jose, California. Diplomatic Connections: One of the interesting things about this is that it’s possible to invest in the United States, receive green card status and at the same time you’re not becoming an American citizen, at least not yet. That means that you are retaining your home, your natural citizenship and still have green card status in the United States. Mahnaz Khazen: Oftentimes foreign governments will ask us: why are you trying to take away our citizens? But, you don’t have to become an American citizen. You can maintain permanent resident status without becoming an American citizen. This is a way for an investor perhaps to have temporary

housing in the U.S. until their children finish school. Perhaps your situation changes and you want to go back home, you’re free to do so. However, you may be deemed to have “abandoned” your green card status if you reside for an extended period of time outside the United States. Diplomatic Connections: How big is the EB-5 program? There is a ceiling on the number of visas that can be granted, is there not? Mahnaz Khazen: There is currently a maximum of 10,000 visas that can be issued on an annual basis. But, we haven’t ever met this number. Typically, it is more like 3,5003,600 annually. Hopefully, we will hit the current ceiling soon, and then we will go back to Congress and ask to have the ceiling raised. Diplomatic Connections: How does USIIC work with education as far as families and people who might make investments in the United States? Mahnaz Khazen: When we did our research, one of the top issues for families after stabilization and after investment was education for their children. We have excellent school systems in the United States, and we set world standards in higher education. Potential immigrant investors love to have their children here. We offer a complete team of experts that will assist our investors and their families to access the American education system. Diplomatic Connections: Your website indicates that you often work with De Anza College in California, in Silicon Valley. Why have you chosen to work with the community college system in California? Violet Parvarandeh: We noticed that one of the most important issues for the immigrant families is education for their children. De Anza College has a large number of international students and faculty and offers superb programs to support immigrant families. They provide many classes for English as a Second Language (ESL) as well as experts who will help immigrants with their integration into the community. Students from the community college system are well prepared to move on to a wide variety of four-year colleges and universities as well as leading graduate programs in a wide range of fields. Diplomatic Connections: The notion is that these colleges help ease the transition into the American education system? Violet Parvarandeh: I went to De Anza and it was a great help because you see the diversity of all the immigrant communities attending De Anza. That is true not only of the students. The faculty is also a mixture of different cultures. It’s a great way to ease your way into living in the United States. We’re very proud to be associated with them. Diplomatic Connections: USIIC is West Coast-based. Ms. Khazen, your background was commercial real estate

on the West Coast before starting USIIC. Why turn now to the other coast, to those of us here on the East Coast? Why decide to open a Washington office? Mahnaz Khazen: I love Washington. It may be our Middle Eastern upbringing, but it seems you can’t do anything without being present in the nation’s capital. This is the capital. If you have something to say, and you’re not afraid of saying it, and you have nothing to hide, then be here in Washington. Let people know what you want to do. This is where all the government is run. This is where policies are made. This is where foreign governments are officially represented. This is where you have the best of the best. Violet Parvarandeh: Why not here? The energy in this city is fantastic. Diplomatic Connections: You’ve adopted a somewhat different model for your approach to EB-5 by focusing on the banking industry and distressed, under capitalized banks. Can you first explain how such a model operates? Why choose banking as opposed to manufacturing or construction projects? Mahnaz Khazen: EB-5 was a way for me to use the program to attract foreign investors to the United States. The program allows USIIC to assemble investors to assist failing banks. We can help families by empowering the local banks. We do this by recapitalizing them so that they can get their credit levels back up. That allows the bank to continue extending loans, perhaps with modifications. Our hope is to find tools that will allow us to relieve the banks of their nonperforming assets (NPAs) and other problems while we’re recapitalizing them. That would allow the bank to invest money back into the community. How does this idea work? For every dollar that we put in, we have the power of economic multipliers. Instead of building a $100 million development like a hotel, we take the $100 million and recapitalize these community banks. With proper management that is approved by the Federal Reserve and with depositors’ accounts insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), the banks infuse the money back into the community. As these investment dollars cycle through the community, the multiplier effect means that $100 million invested can generate $1-$1.5 billion in economic activity. The impact of these dollars invested in the banks and then reinvested in the community is far greater than the impact of any single construction or development project. Diplomatic Connections: Earlier this year there was a good deal of press coverage of the possibility that USIIC would be bringing investors to a local bank in Maryland — HarVest Bank. Those assets have now been sold to a different banking group. Could you tell us — because people heard about this proposed deal — exactly how that HarVest Bank situation unfolded and how it impacts your model of invest-

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ing in distressed banks. Mahnaz Khazen: It was an amazing learning curve for us. We have learned to understand that not everything you want may happen. There are limitations. We are starting on a model that has never happened before. But the regulators and the Federal Reserve have been extremely kind to us. They understand what we’re trying to do, and they’re trying to guide us in a proper way. The limitation set on USIIC was not related to our nationalities or our background. The limitation was purely based on banking guidelines which meant that so long as we’re not a holding company, we were not able to acquire or invest or participate in recapitalization exceeding 24.9 percent. That limitation did not allow us to help HarVest the way we wanted to. We had the money, but we didn’t have the power to do more than we were allowed. And, we had no intention to break the law. So, unfortunately we just had to sit back and watch events unfold without us. Diplomatic Connections: How do you answer the criticism that your model of banking investment is opening American banks to the possibility of greater foreign control? Mahnaz Khazen: Bear in mind that the foreign investors are entering into a limited partnership with USIIC, and it is the vetted and approved managers within USIIC, our chief financial officer and our chief banking officer, who actually find these investment possibilities. Then they represent the company and the foreign investors’ interests within the banks. So, there are U.S. citizens who are overseeing the assets within the banks. The foreign investor has no power, no voting power, no direct influence. The foreign investors’ management capability is limited by the conditions set by USCIS to come into a partnership. There is absolutely no foreign influence within the banking model. It is a U.S. entity with U.S. citizens overseeing the funds that have been invested. Diplomatic Connections: How do you find and screen potential investors to know that they’re serious and that they have the financial means? And, how do you find and screen investment opportunities here in the United States? Violet Parvarandeh: The investors come to us most of the time through the recommendation of people who are known to our program officers. That means we know who they are. We take great care to follow the guidelines established by USCIS. All applications go through interviews and extensive screening to establish and confirm the applicant’s identity. As far as the screening of their money sources goes, that responsibility is on the U.S. Government agencies — the Office of 66

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Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) and Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) at Homeland Security. Diplomatic Connections: One of the concerns is the question of whether the EB-5 visa process could be used for money laundering, and that’s where OFAC would come in. Violet Parvarandeh: We have no way of verifying the financial background of the investor or the sources of the funds. Whether the money is clean or not, that is up to Homeland Security and the Treasury Department to determine. The last thing we want to do is to facilitate any kind of money laundering operation. As far as matching investors and investments, the best thing we have working for us is utilizing the banking mechanisms. Our investment is as secure as it can be because of all the regulatory hurdles we must jump before we can bring investors to a distressed bank. We have an amazingly strong banking team. I don’t think that any other EB-5 company has taken the same steps and measures for security that USIIC has been required to put in place because of its banking model and the range of U.S. regulatory agencies with which we must deal. No other EB-5 has done this. We must be extremely careful to make sure that whatever we do is completely vetted and verified. Diplomatic Connections: How — out of all of the visions and the positives that you have described for us — does USIIC make any money? Do you charge a fee, a percentage, how does the process work with your clients? Mahnaz Khazen: We do charge a processing fee depending on the size of the investment. Interested investors can communicate with us, and we will be happy to share our entire fee structure. Normally the fee ranges from $59,000 - $89,000. That includes our operating expenses as well as the fees that we have to pay to third party agencies during the screening and approval process. Our actual income would come when we do the property investment for the investor. We will not see any profits unless we make profits for the investor. That forces us to be discerning in our investment models and it keeps us on our toes to make sure that we manage investors’ funds properly. Diplomatic Connections: Under the law that created the EB-5 visa category, there also was created authorization for companies like USIIC, called regional investment centers. There are several hundred of these regional investment centers around the country. What makes USIIC different from other EB-5 regional investment centers? Mahnaz Khazen: Our business model. Our impact in the community is far greater than what other centers are doing.

We are much more transparent for the investor. Investment must be at risk as required by USCIS, but we make sure that any risk is mitigated as much as possible because we are investing with community banks that are insured by the FDIC. We believe we know what we are doing because we have a superb staff of experienced financial and legal professionals. And, we believe that our heart is in the right place. We understand what we have to give back to the community and how we have to do it. Diplomatic Connections: Thank you both for taking time to come to Washington. We’re delighted that you love the city so much and certainly pleased that you’ve set out

on new ground here. What’s most impressive is the fact that you’ve devoted so much thought to both sides of the equation — your investors’ needs but also what you’re investing in, especially the kind of community focus that you’re taking with your emphasis on banks, on wellness centers, on microloans and on woman-centered businesses.

For more detailed information on the U.S. Immigration Investment Center please go to their website:

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n 1974, Turkish troops parachuted into Cyprus with the declared intention of protecting the Mediterranean island’s Turkish Cypriot minority from an attempted coup by Greece. Today, almost 40 years later, there are still 36,000 Turkish troops based in the self-styled Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, which is recognized only by Turkey. Greek Cypriots, almost 80 percent of the population, live in the southern two-thirds of the country. A United Nations peacekeeping force maintains a buffer between the two. Turkey’s continued military presence is justified by Ankara as security for the Turkish minority, but is seen by Greek Cypriots as an occupation. The international community is also critical of it; but no real pressure has ever been exerted on Turkey, a NATO member, to withdraw its forces. Since the 1970s, the United Nations, with U.S. support, has promoted a series of negotiations aimed at reuniting the island as a federal, bi-communal, bi-zonal republic. Despite the division (widely known as “the Cyprus problem”), in 2003 the island — realistically the Greek Cypriot part — became a member of the European Union, and in June of this year took over for the first time the rotating EU presidency. In 2008, a new round of talks started on the Cyprus problem. At first, the talks showed more promise than their predecessors, but they have since stalled, with each side blaming the other for the deadlock. The key to a solution, says Cyprus Ambassador Pavlos Anastadiades in an interview with Diplomatic Connections, is and has always depended on Turkey. Hence the new element in the negotiations: Turkey has applied to join the European Union, and accession is not possible without the agreement of all EU members. And that includes Cyprus.

By Roland Flamini Diplomatic Connections: Cyprus holds the rotating presidency of the European Union until December. What does that involve? Ambassador Anastasiades: This is the first time that Cyprus is holding the EU presidency, so it’s a historic occasion for Cyprus. We feel both proud and heavy with the burden of responsibility. Cyprus is a small country with no special agenda, so we’ll be acting to facilitate our common objectives in the European Union. Diplomatic Connections: The challenge of handling all the activity of the presidency must be huge. Ambassador Anastasiades: Yes, it’s huge. We are going to be holding something like 185 meetings in Cyprus with 20,000 delegates [from the 27 member countries] participating, and there are hundreds of meetings in Brussels. However, the task has been lightened somewhat since the [signing of the] Lisbon Treaty because the role of the European Union common institutions has been widened. They have assumed a wider range of competencies, including in the area of foreign affairs where we have Baroness (Catherine) Ashton, as the high representative. Diplomatic Connections: More or less the European foreign minister… Ambassador Anastasiades: Our European foreign minister. The European Union now has an external service — a foreign service — and

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European Union delegations represent the European Union abroad. We cooperate closely with the European Union delegations, and that eases the burden. Yet, the presidency still has a lot of work to do. We have more than doubled our strength in Brussels, and we’re running a presidency that is Brussels-based. Diplomatic Connections: Usually, the presidency has specific objectives of its own that it wants to accomplish during its six-month tenure. Is there a special Cyprus project? Ambassador Anastasiades: Our overall aim is a better Europe — greater solidarity and social cohesion, a more efficient and sustainable Europe that is more economically vibrant and growth-based. Diplomatic Connections: But there’s always the inherited agenda — in this case the biggest economic challenge the European Union has so far faced. Ambassador Anastasiades: Of course, we are all faced with an economic crisis — a sovereign debt crisis — which in the European Union is quite serious. We’re dealing with that. Our approach is to promote greater fiscal consolidation for controlling budgets, but to provide for growth, and greater integration.


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Diplomatic Connections: But integration is already happening.

Ambassador Anastasiades: The last European Council in June took very important decisions in all these fields, providing the basis for work to be done during the current period to deal with the crisis and allow us to get out of this vicious circle of greater sovereign debt, greater assistance, greater austerity and so on. We’ve done our homework: we know what we have to do, and we are doing it. Diplomatic Connections: From across the Atlantic, the situation for the Eurozone looks extremely alarming, but are we in the United States being too negative about it? Ambassador Anastasiades: I think there is an element of that, yes. The significance that’s being attached at all levels within the European Union to dealing with the crisis is not always appreciated. We have to do the right thing, to do the work, and we have to explain what we are doing so that this perception gap is reduced. Diplomatic Connections: How has the closeness of Cyprus to a near-bankrupt Greece impacted the Cyprus economy? Ambassador Anastasiades: The major issue has been the wide exposure of the Cypriot banks which have had to accept the so-called “haircut” [big reduction in the debt] along with other lenders. Diplomatic Connections: Cypriot banks were among the lenders? Ambassador Anastasiades: Very much so. The three largest Cypriot banks were quite exposed to that debt. A large part of their operations was based on Greek bonds, so they lost billions. And that has had a significant impact on the Cypriot economy; these banks had to be capitalized and that requires quite a substantial capital, and as a secondary consequence of that the wider economy of Cyprus has been affected even though the fundamentals of the Cyprus economy are very sound: our economic history has been quite bright. Diplomatic Connections: But as a result of this, did you need a bailout? Ambassador Anastasiades: We are in discussions with the European Union, European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund, even as we speak. Diplomatic Connections: Worst-case scenario for Greece, by which I mean having to drop out of the Eurozone: is there any danger of Cyprus being dragged down as well? Ambassador Anastasiades: I do not think so. I hope that it will not happen for Greece. I know that the Greeks are very committed to staying in the Eurozone and they are taking very tough measures with a lot of economic and social

consequences for the people — so the sacrifices are there. But even in the worse-case scenario I don’t think Cyprus will follow. Look, the euro is not just an economic project it’s also a political project, and I know Greece, Cyprus, and all the European partners will do their utmost to see that this project is successful: they don’t want to see the whole European project starting to unravel. It has been of great significance for consolidating peace, stability. Sometimes we take this for granted, but we should always reflect on it and appreciate it. Diplomatic Connections: Can I move on to the most recent U.N.-brokered negotiations on the Cyprus problem that have been going on since 2008? The Cyprus Mail has just called the talks “near deadlocked.” Would you agree with that and — if so — what are the primary areas of disagreement? Ambassador Anastasiades: Just to get the terms right, Cyprus is one country — that’s internationally recognized. It is the whole of Cyprus that entered the European Union, including the part of Cyprus that is under Turkish military occupation since 1974. Because of the Turkish occupation, the European Union aquis — its body of laws and practices — are temporarily suspended in that part until the solution of the Cyprus problem. But all citizens of Cyprus, both Greek Cypriots, and Turkish Cypriots are full European Union citizens. Diplomatic Connections: To what extent do Turkish Cypriots now benefit from being members of the EU? Ambassador Anastasiades: Any Turkish Cypriot who applies can have a European Union passport, but in economic terms certain [EU] programs can not apply in that area. Certainly, the unification of Cyprus will bring much greater, much needed benefits to Turkish Cypriots. Diplomatic Connections: But once again the talks are stalled. Ambassador Anastasiades: The talks are not going on. They have been suspended due to the reluctance of the Turkish Cypriot Community. That leadership, together with the [Turkish] government in Ankara have said the talks will not continue while Cyprus holds the presidency. Quite the opposite, we have asked that the talks be resumed. Diplomatic Connections: And the primary areas of disagreement? Ambassador Anastasiades: We attach the greatest priority to ending the [Turkish] occupation and to unifying Cyprus: that is only just. That is to the benefit of all Cypriots — and in my view it will be in the best interests of Turkey as

well — and of other countries round the world, including the United States. Diplomatic Connections: How does the Cyprus government want to achieve this? Ambassador Anastasiades: There is international agreement that the basis of an agreement should be a bicommunal, bi-zonal federation with one single sovereignty, citizenship and international personality. In other words, one state and a federation, not two states, and that’s where the difference in the negotiations has been. During the talks, the position of the Greek Cypriot side was consistent with this basis; the position of the Turkish Cypriot side, under the guidance of Ankara was for two states and instead of federation, confederation. Initially, when Mr. [Mehmet Ali] Talat was the Turkish Cypriot leader, there were some convergences on parts of how the state would be governed, on European Union matters, and on the economy, but not on security. The problem has been that after the change of leadership and under the current leader Mr.[Dervis] Eroglu, not only did [the Cypriot Turks] not proceed with new convergences, but the old convergences were abandoned; so since 2010 we remain in the same situation, and even went backward. Neither we nor the international community agree. Diplomatic Connections: Positioned between the two sides is a U.N. Peacekeeping Force which has been in place for … Ambassador Anastasiades: Forty-eight years. Its mandate is to prevent violence and also to contribute to the

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maintaining of normality. The size of the Force is now much smaller than it used to be: it’s less than a thousand, but was once more than 10,000. Because with the continued occupation, the presence in Cyprus of more than 40,000 heavily armed Turkish troops, the U.N. Force performs an important function apart from the classic peacekeeping role. It provides an interface so that cooperation between the two communities on certain levels can take place. Diplomatic Connections: Isn’t one of the outstanding issues the question of restitution to Greek Cypriots for properties on the other side that have been taken over? Ambassador Anastasiades: The issue of property is an important chapter in the negotiations. The majority of the properties on the other side are Greek Cypriot owned, simply because Greek Cypriots are 80 percent of the population. Some have been given to settlers from mainland Turkey (and there are hundreds of thousands of settlers from Turkey), or sold to foreign buyers. But the European Court of Human Rights has repeatedly found that the ownership of these properties remains with their original [Greek Cypriot] owners. The transfer of these properties has not conferred ownership. The original owners may decide that they don’t want to return to their original properties, so they may seek compensation. Diplomatic Connections: So when Mr. Alexander Downer, the U.N. representative at the negotiations, says that “many convergences have been reached” is he wrong? Ambassador Anastasiades: In the early part of the negotiations several convergences were achieved. For example, on the federal structure of the government, on representation and relations


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with the European Union, on the economy, but those convergences were not confirmed when Mr. Eroglu became leader. Diplomatic Connections: But still a lot has changed in the relationship between the two communities; for example, I understand there is a great deal more crossings into each other’s areas. Ambassador Anastasiades: In the aftermath of 1974, there was total segregation enforced by the Turkish. Greek Cypriots were forced to flee their homes in the area, including my family. No Greek Cypriots could cross into the Turkish Cypriot area. In 2003, when Cyprus joined the European Union there was a relaxation of these restrictions, and since then there have been millions of crossings both ways. It’s important that with these millions of crossings there has never been a violent incident: it shows that the nature of the problem is not incompatibility between the two communities. Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots lived together for centuries and had many things in common — and the renewed interaction has been quite impressive. There are now many communal groups — youth groups, professionals. Diplomatic Connections: So why is it so hard to come together formally? Ambassador Anastasiades: The dominant power in the occupied area is Turkey. [The Turks] have political, economic and certainly military control. The key to a solution in Cyprus is in Ankara. If Ankara decides to cooperate constructively in a solution to the Cyprus problem, we will find a solution. Diplomatic Connections: How does Turkey’s application to join the European Union impact on the Cyprus problem, given the fact that Cyprus itself is already a member of the Union? Ambassador Anastasiades: We think it provides a catalyst — a positive framework for

Turkey to do the right thing in Cyprus. The European Union’s decision to start accession negotiations with Turkey was taken with the concurrence of Cyprus; it could not have been taken if Cyprus had said no. Sometimes there’s a misunderstanding that Cyprus doesn’t wish to see Turkey as a member of the European Union. Quite the opposite. Cyprus supports the accession of Turkey — but Turkey has to fulfill its obligations vis-à-vis the European Union and all its member states. Diplomatic Connections: But the negotiations for Turkey’s admission are ongoing. Ambassador Anastasiades: The problem with the Turkey accession talks has been Turkey’s failure to comply with those obligations. Turkey has continuously refused to comply with what is called the Additional Protocol of the Customs Union, which is to allow Cypriot ships and aircraft to use Turkish ports and airports. That’s one of the obligations that Turkey agreed to in the negotiations, but has yet to fulfill. And because that has not been fulfilled to date, a number of other developments have been frozen. But Turkey has also not responded to the European Union’s call to normalize relations with all the member states, including Cyprus. Turkey blocks Cyprus membership to a number of international organizations to which it is a member, and Cyprus is not, for

example, OECD (Organization of Economic and Commercial Development), and even innocuous organizations like the International Meteorological Organization. Diplomatic Connections: So what is the Cyprus position on Turkey possibly becoming a member of the European Union? Ambassador Anastasiades: We have said that if Turkey cooperates we will respond positively and go along with its accession. Turkey’s accession does have a positive dynamic, and if Turkey cooperates we will react positively and promote its accession. Diplomatic Connections: How about the position of the United States regarding the Cyprus problem? Ambassador Anastasiades: The position of the United States is well known. The United States supports a solution to the Cyprus problem with the establishment of a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation. The United States has an important role to play as the main global power, and the influence it has with the main players. A Cyprus that is reunited and free of the control or domination of another country will serve the best security interests of the United States. Diplomatic Connections: Thank you, Ambassador Anastasiades. n

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From top, clockwise: Ned Michalek from Rep. Eliot Engel’s office pays tribute to the late Congressman Payne, as Councilman Donald Payne, Jr. looks on; Stella O’Leary of Irish American Democrats and Rep. Donna Christensen; Amanda Makulec of John Snow, Inc. and Erin Houston of Devex; Kerry McKenney of the Niall Mellon Townships Initiative, Councilman Payne, George Burke of Rep. Gerry Connolly’s office, Ned Michalek, Gerry Lamb of General Dynamics Corporation; Ambassador Michael Collins of Ireland and Ambassador Akec Khoc of South Sudan. 74

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Photos by Kelly Houston

by Kerry McKenney

ecently, the Niall Mellon Townships Initiative held a fundraiser at The Dubliner on Capitol Hill to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the founding of the non-profit by the Irish philanthropist Niall Mellon in 2002. With the theme “Building Homes, Building Hope,” the event showcased the work of the organization in recruiting over 18,000 volunteers from Ireland, the United Kingdom, the United States and other nations to build nearly 20,000 homes for impoverished families in the townships of South Africa. As a result of the non-profit’s work, families and children previously living in dilapidated shacks without running water or electricity now enjoy healthier, more secure lives. Benefits of homeownership include a reduction in disease, greater family stability and better conditions for children to advance academically. The organization is currently working in 23 townships. By the end of this year, over 100,000 residents will have been housed as a result of the work of the organization. The Ambassador of Ireland, His Excellency Michael Collins, spoke at the event, praising the work of the Niall Mellon Townships Initiative in alleviating poverty and spreading international goodwill. He also expressed pride in the volunteers from Ireland and other nations who sacrifice their time to help provide access to a better life for the poorest families of South Africa. Also attending was His Excellency Dr. Akec Khoc, Ambassador of the Republic of South Sudan, who received a warm welcome as the first Ambassador of the new nation to the United States. A special “Superstar” Award was presented posthumously to the late Congressman Donald Payne for his passionate support of the work of the Niall Mellon Townships Initiative. The honor was accepted by his son, Councilman Donald Payne, Jr. of New Jersey, who spoke of his father’s love and respect for the people of both South Africa and Ireland. An award was also given to former Congressman Jack Fields of the 21st Century Group, an outstanding supporter who hosted an event for U.S. volunteers and sponsors following the “Building Blitz” in the townships last year. Representative Donna Christensen, the first female medical doctor in the history of the U.S. Congress, also attended the gathering. Congresswoman Christensen, who served as an honorary co-chair of the event, is well known for her leadership in promoting improvements in global health. For further information about the work of the non-profit, contact

by Monica Frim Photography by D r. J o h n F r i m

Diversifolius poplar trees flank the road near Korla. Also known as desert poplars, these hardy trees can survive up to 3,000 years in the sand and wind of the Taklamakan desert. 76

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ilk. The very word stirs the senses with images of soft, smooth, fabric — downy light, exotic, sensual and cool to the touch. It causes the mind to wander east, to the Far East, to a forgotten time when camel caravans carried not only silk but also gold and silver, precious stones (jade and lapis lazuli), lacquer ware, porcelain, paper and gunpowder along an elaborate network of roads. It wasn’t just a single road, but many Silk Roads or “Seidenstraßen”, so named by the German botanist and cartographer, Ferdinand von Richthofen in 1877. The roads spidered across deserts and over mountains, from Chang’an to Constantinople (today’s, Xian and Istanbul), and across Asia as far as India, Persia, Arabia, Greece and Rome. It was a two-way exchange. While Chinese products trundled west, exotic foodstuffs and perfumes wafted east: myrrh, frankincense, saffron, dates and pistachios. Even horses and caged lions could be bartered for a simple worm’s finely spun thread. But the power of silk extended well beyond trade by integrating the skills and

Diplomatic Connections is now dedicating a section of each publication to national and international destinations. We are continuously asked for more information about different places to travel to. For our first feature, join Monica Frim on her excursion by Land Rover along the ancient Silk Road from Kyrgyzstan through the heart of China to Beijing — a 4,400-mile journey in the footsteps of Marco Polo.

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Thousands of camels drive a thriving tourist business in the sand dunes of Mingsha Shan Mountain, a mere stone’s throw from the City of Dunhuang.

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Crescent Moon Lake has been gurgling up through the sand dunes of Mingsha Shan for thousands of years. Although it’s water level has dropped more than 25 feet in the last four decades, it has never been buried by sand.

John and Monica Frim join a modern camel caravan in the dunes of Mingsha Shan Mountain at the edge of the Gobi desert.

philosophies of diverse societies while simultaneously storming political boundaries and causing alliances to be forged culturally and economically. It imported and exported religions and exerted its power in a series of journeys, often taking years to reach an endpoint in Rome. Few merchants (Marco Polo, excepted) endured the entire journey. Instead, various middlemen relayed goods from one end of the route to the other and many palms were greased along the way. My journey along the Silk Road began in Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan, and my camel of choice was the iron horse: first a chauffeur-driven Mitsubishi for circling Lake Issyk Kul, the second highest lake in the world after Lake Titicaca, then a self-driven Land Rover Discovery for breaching the heart of China. The changeover happened at Kochkor, a village south of Lake Issyk Kul, between Bishkek and the border with China. Here my husband John and I joined a two-car convoy of Land Rovers that had started their journey months earlier in Venice. We were seasoned Canadian travelers, having travelled to more than 80 countries over 80

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A Silk Road expedition vehicle shares the highway with sheep and cattle in Kyrgyzstan.

the years, but newbies to this group, which also included Austrian, American, South African and Chinese participants. They had joined the caravan along different waypoints, some in Venice, others in Istanbul. Two of them would also be terminating their journeys at different endpoints, the South African, in Naryn, and the Chinese in Kashgar, the westernmost city of China. Our travel bonds would be forged most closely with the Austrian and American with whom we would share driving a vehicle, sometimes for as much as 10 hours a day. The “Drive the Silk Road” expedition is the brainchild of Yue Chi, a Chinese transplant to Toronto and her South African husband, David Visagie. Together, they form an indomitable team. While David’s skills as a Land Rover specialist ensure that the vehicles are always in top condition, Yue is the driving force behind AAST, a travel company based in Canada and South Africa. As trip leaders go she ranks among the best. She thrives on coming up with innovative solutions to problems that could reduce a lesser traveler to tears. Autocratic border officials? No problem. Missing visas? A mere

hiccup. Lost luggage? Yue will track it. Ornery police? Yue will even convince them to recant citations for minor traffic violations. Nothing unnerves her. No matter the gravity of the situation, she’d kick start a resolution with her mantra, “Don’t worry, don’t worry. There are no problems, only solutions.” Her creative thought processes extended to overcoming any bureaucratic snafu or unpredictable situation — cheerfully! She commanded our full respect and complete trust. When John and I touched down at Manas International Airport in Kyrgyzstan at 2:30 a.m., Yue and her team were somewhere deep within the fabled trading posts of Uzbekistan — spinning dreams or snoring off their day’s adventures. It would be at least three days before we’d all meet at Kochkor. In the meantime, Yue had arranged for her partner in Kyrgyzstan, Elena Dudashvili, the director of Asia Mountains International Travel Centre, to supply us with a driver and guide. Ah, this was the life. For three glorious days Marat drove us through a landscape of changing terrain and civilizations while Maria enthralled us with tales of battles won and lost, relics found and restored, and political truces forged among disparate peoples. For Kyrgyzstan is a smorgasbord of cultures. The word “Kyrgyz” stems from an old Turkic word for “40” and refers to the forty clans that united in the early 800s AD against the Uyghurs who once dominated most of Central Asia. Today the tiny landlocked country counts Kyr-

Twelve dancers merge to appear as a single entity with many arms in a performance of the Goddess of Mercy dance at a Tang Dynasty Revue.

Night Market in Dunhuang.

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Left to right: Girls learn embroidery skills at a young age in Minfeng.; Stretching noodle dough at the Sunday Animal Market in Kashgar.; Three generations of a Kyrgyz family sing traditional songs in their yurt.

gyz, Uzbeks, Russians, Ukrainians, Uyghurs, Tajiks, Dungans (Chinese Muslims), Tatars and Germans among its five and a half million people. Russia remains an official language. Kyrgyz was only added as a second official language in 1991 after the country’s secession from the Soviet Union. Bishkek still bears monuments of Tsarist and later, Soviet rule. Maria cheerfully guided us among the city’s large, concrete public squares with their statuary odes to political pageantry, but with leafy parks and gardens that incongruously softened the Soviet penchant for austerity. Then off we were to the Burana Tower, an eleventh century minaret that once guarded the Silk Road 50 miles east of Bishkek. We spiraled up the tower’s dark and narrow staircase, fingering its rough brick walls for balance, then popped like squeezed soap into sunshine and vistas of snow-capped mountains and valleys rippling with green. In the other direction, sixth century bal-bals, stone figures reminiscent of miniature moai (the stone statues of Easter Island), marked the graves of nomadic Turks. The road skirted the red sandstone cliffs of the Boom Gorge that once took caravans through the Tian Shan Mountains, around Lake Issyk Kul and onwards to China. Dusk fell in progressive shades of red, turning the canyons from amber to purple. It would be morning before we’d be able to walk to the lakeshore, wiggle our toes in the ice cold water, which, nevertheless, never freezes, and amble among the methodically laid out vacation homes that are part of the north shore hotel complex where we spent the night. Surrounded on all sides by mountains, Lake Issyk Kul dazzles like an oiled blue stone. It takes about a day to circumnavigate the 113- by 37-mile lake with excursions to Karakol, an old Russian military outpost at the lake’s eastern end that now serves as a jumping off point for treks in the Tian Shan Mountains or the Djety Oguz Valley. Here the craggy contours of red sandstone rock formations bear names like Broken Heart and Seven Bulls, inspired by legends of love gone awry and revengeful slaughter. Our time with Marat and Maria ended much too soon. 82

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In one prolonged goodbye embrace at Kochkor, my good memories of the past three days surged like fire foam: eating strawberries fresh from a field, bobbing like corks in the tiny privately-owned Salt Lake south of Lake Issyk Kul, scrambling over rocks at Fairy Tale Canyon, listening to Maria playing piano in the salon of our guesthouse in Kajy-Say, and most of all, engaging in private intergenerational “girl-talk” with Maria out of earshot of the men. We transcended our political, cultural, religious, language and age differences, proving that people are people irrespective of backgrounds. I packaged the thought for China. That night in Kochkor, Yue mustered the troops for a genuine Kyrgyz feast in a yurt, the white felt tents used by nomads throughout the centuries. We gorged on doughy manti filled with ground beef and onions; samosa-like samsi, stuffed with meat, cheese and cabbage; beshbarmak, beef boiled in its own broth, then served with vegetables and noodles; and platters of fruits and berries. But the crowning glory was not a foodstuff, but a rousing rendition of “Manas” in song. In its entirety, the epic poem that tells of the hero Manas’s feats and battles to unify the Kyrgyz tribes is more than 20 times longer than Homer’s Odyssey and Iliad combined. Our hostess’ teenaged granddaughter spewed out a throaty percussive rendition, somewhat shorter than the poem’s original million plus lines, that sent the yurt walls quivering and my arm hairs saluting the invisible presence of the legendary Manas himself. The evening spun into a frenzy of song and dance — a dozen tired travelers in jeans and rumpled traveling clothes swept into a musical eddy with three proud generations of Kyrgyz in traditional padded velour vests, white-felted kalpak hats, and gossamer dresses with multi-tasseled conical headdresses. If there’s one thing that sets AAST apart from other tour companies, it’s the opportunities for genuine interactions with local people. An impromptu stop at a nomad camp near the Dolon Pass provided us with an up-close encounter with rosy-cheeked horse herders as well as my first proffered cup of

Left to right: A Kyrgyz matriarch in traditional dress.; Uyghur young men in Kashgar.; A Uyghur woman and child. Uyghurs are the predominant ethnic group in Xinjiang, an area formerly known as Chinese Turkistan or Uyghuristan. They speak a Turkic language and use a script similar to Arabic.; Street vendors in Khotan, China.

fermented mare’s milk, called koumiss. Gentle reader, I cannot be kind: after a tentative sip, my palate simply went on strike. Yue, however, downed the entire cup. “It’s good,” she said. Between Naryn in Kyrgyzstan and Kashgar in China lies a No Man’s Land of formidable mountains, barbed wire fences and about a hundred miles between the two countries’ formal border patrols. Up, up we climbed over the arduous Torugart Pass that, at 12,310 feet above sea level, provides a snowy separation of countries. After six hours of combined Kyrgyz and Chinese border formalities we descended into the bustling city of Kashgar. Never was a five-star hotel more welcomed! Kashgar is a timeless city at the convergence of forks of the Silk Road in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. Eight centuries after Marco Polo first set foot in this wild west corner, Kashgar still feels like a medieval market town. Its Sunday animal market bustles with goats, sheep, cows and bulls hauled in and out in trucks or tiny flat beds pulled by motorcycles and sometimes bicycles. Entire lamb carcasses hang from hooks until they are cleaved by axe-bearing butchers and sold raw or dropped into cauldrons of bubbling stews. Noodle makers pull wads of limp dough like skeins of wool, stretching them into skipping rope lengths of intricate loops and twists. Farmers shear sheep on dusty mats. Tinsmiths show off knives and old locks. Young boys hawk shiny, oiled blue stones and necklaces that may or may not be lapis lazuli. They blend gently into the jangle of bleats and moos and brays. There’s an odd paradoxical calm to all the fussing and haggling. Seasoned negotiators simply place their hands up each other’s sleeves and tap out a deal so that bystanders are unaware of the price eventually settled on. Kashgar’s residents are predominantly Uyghur Muslims living in an uneasy peace with China’s predominantly Han people. But change is on the way. The animal market keeps moving farther into the countryside as the city expands to make way for an influx of Han Chinese. The crumbling mud walls of the Old City on the hillside are being torn down and replaced with modern bricks, mudded over to simulate the

old, and new restaurants and hotels are cropping up throughout the city. As trade and tourism pull in the cash, the future of Kashgar’s past hangs in delicate limbo. From Kashgar, we followed the dusty southern arm of the Silk Road to Khotan, then on to Minfeng and the daunting 324-mile drive across the world’s second largest living desert, the Taklamakan. The word “takla” means enter and the word “makan” means no exit. No self-respecting silk merchant braved this route: caravans took either the northern or southern arm around the desert, for the Taklamakan was historically harsher than the Gobi. Today artificial oases in the form of tiny glacier-blue houses, spaced almost three miles apart, line the entire route. They are the homes of government-sponsored workers who take on the tasks of irrigating the roadside plantings that hold back the shifting sands from the road. The Turpan Basin is China’s lowest and hottest spot, a jumping off point to sun-baked marvels such as Jiaohe, an ancient stone city carved into a rocky plateau reminiscent of Jordan’s Petra, and Flaming Mountain, an unclimbable rock mass so hot that even birds won’t fly over it. By contrast, a visit to a nearby underground canal called karez was a cooling break. Karezes irrigate an extensive grape-growing district in the desert by way of miles of underground canals that bring water from the mountains to the valley. From Minfeng to Beijing, China unfurled historical and geological marvels that would make any archaeology buff salivate with wonder. At Dunhuang, on the edge of the Gobi Desert, we rode camels across the dunes of Mingshan Mountain. Nearby, in the Mogao Grottos we saw some of the best examples of Buddhist artwork in the world in sandstone caves dating from 366 AD and built over 10 dynasties. Farther east, the city of Zhangye in the center of the Silk Road’s Hexi Corridor boasted the largest reclining Buddha in Gansu Province. Langzhou afforded a boat ride on the Yellow River and a walk in the gardens surrounding the famous stone sculpture of the Mother Yellow River. China is a study in contrasts. Dirt roads and superhigh-

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Left: The Mogao Grottos are a shrine of art treasures. Begun in the fourth century AD, the complex comprises 492 caves. Inside, the walls and ceilings are covered in colourful murals of historical and cultural events.; Right: Statue of the Mother Yellow River in Lanzhou.

ways. Poverty-stricken villages with no running water and expanding cities in perpetual construction. Dry scrub and lush mountains. Mega rich and mega poor. You see it all between Lanzhou and Xian, a 500-mile-or-so stretch of tunnels, tolls and tarmac that shrink the country into a one-day lesson in geography. With each tunnel (I counted 50!) we enter a greener landscape, as the tunnels themselves evolve from west to east, from simple holes cut through barren rocks to lushly vegetated canopies that open onto vistas of government-sponsored environmental enhancement. Entire cities appear plunked in the desert. Acres of wind turbines roll by our windows along with fields of melons, beans and wheat. Elsewhere, barren mountainsides are laboriously being terraced and artificially greened with expansive irrigation systems. We see geography changing before our eyes, history in the remaking as the deserts of the past give way to futuristic cityscapes. The dense populations of the east are seeping into the west in ambitious resettlement projects that boggle the imagination. But if our all-day drive was a lesson in future technology, our drive through the old city wall of Xian took us back 2,000 years to the eastern terminus and cradle of the Silk Road. Begun during the Han dynasty, the Silk Road reached the epitome of power under the Tang Dynasty from the 7th to the 10th centuries when Chang’an, as the city was then called, was one of the grandest cosmopolitan cities of the era. Today the ancient capital’s biggest drawing cards are some 10,000 life-size terra cotta warriors and horses that predate the Silk Road by roughly 300 years. They were built for the afterlife of the Emperor Qin who reigned from 221 BC to 206 BC, but only discovered in 1974 by poor farmers digging a well. Today the farmers are museum curators who also sell

books on the warriors and pose for tourists for a fee. We spent hours wandering among warriors, temples, ancient walls and attending an extravagant revue of Tang Dynasty court music and dances. It wasn’t enough time. Although Xian marked the official end of our Silk Road journey, Beijing beckoned. We stopped over night at the ancient walled city of Pingyao, an incredibly well preserved city whose layout dates from the Ming and Qing dynasties. Its crowded streets were a perfect introduction to the excesses of Beijing: crowds, traffic, Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, the Temple of Heaven and the Summer Palace. We ran ourselves ragged squeezing them all into a full day of guided tours. The South Silk Road Restaurant may possibly be Beijing’s finest restaurant. The name alone befitted the end of a journey that had always been a step shy of overwhelming but bang on as one of the greatest land routes on earth. But if overwhelming didn’t quite describe the journey, it suited perfectly our final celebratory meal. Surprise toppled surprise as a procession of some 50 dishes, all artfully presented, arrived at our table: a variety of shredded or thinly sliced fish, paper thin cuts of beef, pork and chicken, duck tongues, smoked eel, bewildering vegetables, exotic fruits, little flans, sweets and pastries. In typical Chinese style, the soups came last — different ones for men and women. I can’t vouch for the men’s virgin male chicken soup ladled over a solitary scallop, but my snow frog soup with diced pears was a delightful culinary surprise, the translucent meat mild with a velvety texture that melted on the tongue. The meal was just too marvelous to end. Just like our journey along the Silk Road. n

“Drive the Silk Road” is an annual event organized by AAST Inc. The full adventure trip spans roughly three months — from the beginning of April to the beginning of July. The route is divided into four segments that can vary slightly from year to year. Travelers may participate in any number of segments or the entire trip. For more information contact: 84

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LOCOG via Getty Images

By Roland Flamini

Torchbearer 170 Wai-Ming Lee passes the Olympic Flame to Torchbearer 171 John Hulse (third from right) in front of Buckingham Palace in the presence of Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry on the Torch Relay leg through The City of Westminster, during Day 69 of the London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay on July 26, 2012, in London, England. The Olympic Flame was on Day 69 of a 70-day relay involving 8,000 torchbearers covering 8,000 miles.

Stephen Hird/AFP/Getty Images


Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II meets actor Daniel Craig. They joined together to do an unprecedented opening for the London Olympics 2012. Craig has won rave reviews as James Bond in “Casino Royale.”

he Olympic athletes are back home with their medals, and memories of triumphs or failures. In Britain, celebrations for Team GB’s phenomenal string of athletic successes were winding down, and the euphoria has given way to a debate over how Britain could do even better in 2016 in Brazil. One British newspaper suggested that the London 2012 Olympics had restored the popularity of the Union Jack. The collective flag of the British Isles had lost favor as growing separatist sentiment had boosted the regional flags of England, Scotland, and Wales. But suddenly, being British had become

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through the long opening ceremony, but appeared to some to be scowling as a group of deaf children serenaded her with an extremely touching rendition of the national anthem. But some people interpreted the queen’s countenance as a scowl; however, what many may not realize is that it’s actually an expression she has been known to adopt to avoid showing too much emotion in public. After that, the sequence of images speeds up — Jamaican Usain Bolt’s record breaking dash in the 100 meters, earning him the unofficial title of the fastest man in the world, America’s super-athletic teenage gymnasts, cool as cucumbers, spinning in the air and bending their bodies in seemingly impossible positions, U.S. swimmer Michael Phelps scooping up gold medals with laconic good humor, Australian Sally Pearson’s resounding screech when the photo finish confirmed that she had won the 100 meter hurdles, Andy Murray’s success at Wimbledon — at last — and later

Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

trendy — helped considerably by the BBC’s coverage that kept the spotlight firmly on the Brits’ performance, just as NBC coverage focused on Team USA. What remains in the memory of the London Olympics is as always episodic, a kaleidoscope of images and incidents, starting with the remarkable “cameo” by Queen Elizabeth II (not to mention her three corgis: Monty, Willow, and Holly) in the opening ceremony receiving James Bond (Daniel Craig) at Buckingham Palace, and then supposedly parachuting from a helicopter into the Olympic Stadium. The queen herself is said to have volunteered to play a role when the organizers came round to ask permission to land a helicopter at Buckingham Palace. Not the least remarkable thing about the taping, made in March before the Queen’s diamond Jubilee celebrations, is that it stayed secret — even from family members, as Prince Harry revealed recently. At the Olympic Stadium, the 85-year-old monarch sat

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, meets Finn class gold medal winner Ben Ainslie of Great Britain on Day 10 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Weymouth & Portland Venue at Weymouth Harbour on August 6, 2012, in Weymouth, England. 86

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Zara Phillips (daughter of Princess Anne and Captain Phillips, granddaughter of Queen Elizabeth II) of Great Britain riding High Kingdom in action in the Show Jumping Equestrian event on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Greenwich Park on July 31, 2012, in London, England.

tweeting a picture of his two dogs wearing his gold and silver Olympic medals (was that cute or a desecration?). The sportsmanship was for the most part exemplary. “Inspire a generation” was the official slogan of the London Olympics and somehow it doesn’t seem as much of a cliché as when it was first touted a year ago. There was the moment when Grenada runner Kitani James paid tribute to fellow athlete Oscar Pistorius, the double amputee from South Africa, in front of a packed stadium by swapping bibs (name tags). And for the Brits there was the embrace between British cyclist Victoria Pendleton and Australian Anna Meares, ending years of bitter rivalry between them. Horse Guards Parade was transformed into a volleyball stadium with a rock concert atmosphere. The sand was piled high, pop music blared and the bikini-clad competitors never lacked an audience. Where in May, Queen Elizabeth II

watched the traditional panoply of the Trooping of the Color, Misty-May Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings, reigned. Track events were held in the purpose-built “birdcage” Olympic Stadium in rundown, economically depressed Stratford, East London. The venue was a hopeful lure for developers to rescue the area from its plight. Britain’s young royals were everywhere. Photos and videos of Prince William, the heir to the throne, and his iconic young wife Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, cheering Team GB at some athletic event or other were part of the daily ration of Olympic imagery. The highly visible presence of Britain’s future king was a symbol of the British monarchy’s involvement in the life of the nation: Prince William had been part of the successful team that had successfully lobbied the International Olympic Committee to hold the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.

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4. Jamie Squire/Getty Images


1. Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images; 2. Michael Steele/Getty Images; 3. Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images;


1. Brooklyn Beckham, Cruz Beckham, British cyclists Laura Trott and Jason Kenny kissing in background, David Beckham and Romeo Beckham during the Beach Volleyball Olympic Games at Horse Guards Parade on August 8, 2012, in London, England. 2. Kevin Mayer of France celebrates during the Men’s Decathlon Javelin Throw on Day 13 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium on August 9, 2012, in London, England. 3. Robert Harting of Germany celebrates winning gold in the Men’s Discus Throw Final. 4. Jessica Ennis of Great Britain (C) celebrates winning gold in the Women’s Heptathlon with fellow heptathletes on Day 8 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium on August 4, 2012, in London, England.

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8. Harry How/Getty Images; 9. Clive Mason/Getty Images 5. Streeter Lecka/Getty Images; 6. Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images; 7. Jeff Gross/Getty Images;



5. O  scar Pistorius of South Africa waits for the baton while competing in the Men’s 4 x 400m Relay Round 1 heats on Day 13 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium. 6. T rey Hardee of the United States reacts during the Men’s Decathlon Javelin Throw. 7. K  im Ekdahl du Rietz #25 of Sweden is defended by Michael Knudson (L) #14 and Thomas Mogensen (R) #2 of Denmark during the Men’s Quarterfinal match between Sweden and Denmark on Day 12 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at The Basketball Arena. 8. U  sain Bolt of Jamaica leads Yohan Blake of Jamaica on his way to winning gold in the Men’s 200m Final on Day 13 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium. 9. P  eter Burling (R) and Blair Tuke (L) of New Zealand celebrate winning silver in the Men’s 49er Sailing on Day 12 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Weymouth & Portland Venue at Weymouth Harbour on August 8, 2012, in Weymouth, England.

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6 5. Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/GettyImages; 6. Ezra Shaw/Getty Images


1. Bryn Lennon/Getty Images; 2. Quinn Rooney/Getty Images; 3. Ezra Shaw/Getty Images; 4. Al Bello/Getty Images;

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Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

The family turned out in force to watch silver medalist Zara Phillips compete in the equestrian events: in the stands was her grandfather, Prince Philip, her mother Princess Anne — Queen Elizabeth II’s daughter — and assorted royal cousins. But few spectators at the event were aware of the underlying personal drama. Also watching, but apart, was Zara’s father, Mark Phillips (Princess Anne’s first husband), long-time trainer of the U.S. equestrian team. Meanwhile, as part of its wall-to-wall coverage, the BBC has collected some of the marginal facts of the games. For example, the Royal Mail (British Post Office) has painted one of the familiar red mail pill boxes gold in the hometown of every British gold medal winner to signal that this is the home of a champion. Victorian novelist William Makepeace Thackeray, who ran The Royal Mail and introduced the pill boxes, would probably have liked that! The Post Office has also issued a stamp for each gold medalist in Team GB and had them on sale in 500 post offices within 24 hours of the event. It’s not in the Oxford Dictionary yet, but the BBC says commentators on the Games, have further consolidated the use of “medal” as a verb, as in

Above: Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, and Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, embrace after Philip Hindes, Jason Kenny and Sir Chris Hoy of Great Britain win the gold and a new world record in the Men’s Team Sprint Track Cycling final during Day 6 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Velodrome on August 2, 2012, in London, England. Opposite: 1. Sir Chris Hoy of Great Britain celebrates winning the Gold medal in the Men’s Keirin Track Cycling Final on Day 11 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Velodrome. 2. Oscar Pistorius (L) of South Africa hugs Kirani James (R) of Grenada after the Men’s 400m semifinal on Day 9 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium. 3. Gold Medallists Conor Dwyer, Michael Phelps, Ricky Berens and Ryan Lochte of the United States after winning gold in the Men’s 4 x 200m Freestyle Relay final on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre. 4. Kai Qin of China competes in the Men’s 3m Springboard Diving Preliminary on Day 10 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre. 5. U.S. swimmers Ryan Lochte (C), Conor Dwyer (L), Ricky Berens (R) and Michael Phelps react after they won gold in the men’s 4x200m freestyle relay final during the swimming event. 6. Krisztian Berki of Hungary competes on the horse during the Artistic Gymnastics Men’s Pommel Horse Final on Day 9 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at North Greenwich Arena.

British School of Washington Authentic International Education – Rich in the Arts, Languages, and Technology 202.829.3700  •  • D I P L O M A T I C C O N N E C T I O N S B U S I N E S S edition | S eptembe r - O ctobe r 2 0 1 2


1. Sally Pearson of Australia leads Phylicia George of Canada and Nevin Yanit of Turkey during the Women’s 100m Hurdles Final. 2. Gabrielle Douglas competes on the beam.

4. Spice Girls perform during the closing ceremony of the 2012 London Olympic Games at the Olympic stadium in London on August 12, 2012. Rio de Janeiro will host the 2016 Olympic Games. 5. Victoria Beckham of Spice Girls performs during the closing ceremony of the 2012 London Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in London on August 12, 2012.


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1. Stu Forster/Getty Images; 2. Ezra Shaw/Getty Images; 3. Clive Mason/Getty Images; 4. Leon Neal/AFP/GettyImages; 5. LeonNeal/AFP/GettyImages

3. Tom Slingsby of Australia celebrates winning gold in the Men’s Laser Sailing on Day 10 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Weymouth & Portland Venue at Weymouth Harbour on August 6, 2012, in Weymouth, England.


“Phelps has medalled again.” The innovation made a tentative appearance at the Australian Games 12 years ago, gained strength in the Chinese Games in 2008, and is now accepted usage. Sports writers are now giving the same treatment to “podium.” The British government had hoped that the Olympics would pick up where the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations had left off in raising the spirits of a nation facing economic straits. As Team GB’s medal count rose to somewhat unexpected levels so did public enthusiasm for the games. “A sea of emotion was omnipresent in the [British] newspapers,” reported the French newspaper Le Monde somewhat snidely. But there were also somber warnings from economists that when the cheering stopped, the road to recovery would still be a serious challenge. And yet there was a lot to be proud of, from the somewhat whimsical blockbuster opening ceremony celebrating bucolic and industrial Britain (but somehow forgetting imperial Britain) to the multiple medaling of Team GB, with notions of regional independence temporarily shelved and even a return to the imperial anthem Rule Britannia. Not bad for a country the size of Oregon. n



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Diplomatic Connections September-October 2012 Issue  

Diplomatic Connections September-October 2012 Issue

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