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A World of News and Perspective

■ INSIDE: MEDICAL SPECIAL SECTION

MEDICAL Q A Special Section of The Washington Diplomat

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■ VOLUME 19, NUMBER 2

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ASIA

World Consumed By North Korean Intrigue, But People Still Hungry

Iran-Latin Relations: Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places? Iran’s courtship of leftist Latin nations has been dubbed a “tour of tyrants” by some U.S. policymakers sounding the alarm about Tehran’s presence in America’s backyard, but the Washington uproar has also become a cottage industry whose motives are a matter of debate. PAGE 10

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DIPLOMATIC SPOUSES

SOUTH AFRICA COMES OF AGE In 2012, South Africa celebrates the 100th anniversary of the

PALESTINE A FUTURE OF HOPE

founding of the African National Congress (ANC) as well as the legacy of Nelson Mandela and the country’s fight for liberation, although the ANC’s past glory has given way to present-day worries that the party known for its principled stand on human

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PEOPLE OF WORLD INFLUENCE

As a former trade lawyer and current academic, Diana Villiers Negroponte has studied business and security matters in Latin America for decades, while also devoting her time to social and development issues, building low-income homes in the slums of Mexico on one hand, while advocating for NAFTA on the other hand. PAGE 6

LATIN AMERICA

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Negroponte Studies All Sides of Latin Development

Kim Jong-un’s official comingout as the new “supreme leader” of North Korea has revealed the young heir’s pudgy appearance, similar to his father’s oncerotund frame — the results of a well-fed life that has eluded most of the country’s 24 million malnourished citizens. PAGE 8

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Q February 2012

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rights and democracy is losing its moral footing. PAGE 15

Revolution in Libya Upends Life in D.C. The flag of preQaddafi Libya is flying high at the country’s residence these days, and so is the spirit of Naima Aujali, mother of five and wife of the Libyan ambassador in Washington, whose family has spent an exhausting year watching their world crumble apart and come back together. PAGE 35


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February 2012


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February 2012


CONTENTS THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT

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8 North Korean hunger

[ news ] 6

Angelina Jolie

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38

POLITICS After 20 years, the Institute for Education has become a novelty in today’s heated political climate, serving as a bastion of civility in a culture rife with polarization.

PEOPLE OF WORLD INFLUENCE

[ medical ] 27

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

30 INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

As South Africa’s African National Congress marks its centennial this year, the celebrations have been tinged with doubts as to whether the country has matured into a fullfledged democracy, or is regressing on its principled past.

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BOOK REVIEW “The U.S. Senate: From Deliberation to Dysfunction” dissects the arcane rules and complex procedures that have led to political paralysis in the upper chamber of Congress.

COVER: Photo taken at the Embassy of South Africa by Lawrence Ruggeri.

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FILM INTERVIEW When one of the world’s most beautiful actresses offers you the chance to quiz her about her latest movie, you don’t say no — especially when that actress is Angelina Jolie and the subject is ethnic bloodshed in Bosnia.

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“Lost Worlds” resurrects the history of the Americas through haunting images of the region’s ancient ruins that are revisited and reinvented by modern technology.

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PHOTOGRAPHY

DINING A refined dining experience can be hard to find amid Penn Quarter’s glitzy hype. Thankfully, details still matter to Elisir.

FILM REVIEWS “A Separation” deploys a fierce kinetic visual style to paint a clear picture of modern life in Iran.

FILM INTERVIEW Will the Oscars finally smile down on Gary Oldman for his powerful portrayal of wily spymaster George Smiley?

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS The state of the world’s prisons is almost criminal, but a growing science-based movement is unleashing new ideas about how to keep both inmates and society safe.

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[ culture ]

COVER PROFILE: SOUTH AFRICA

PHOTOGRAPHY Photographer Harry Callahan paid attention to his surroundings and took pictures of what was in front of him, exposing the everyday and turning the simple into the sublime.

The social furor over the HPV vaccine has obscured its proven medical benefits: preventing a sexually transmitted infection that is the leading cause of cervical cancer.

Iran’s love-fest with leftist Latin nations has panicked some U.S. policymakers, but is Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s latest “tour of tyrants” just a lonely cry for international friends?

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STDs

EVENTS EUNIC is bringing local European cultural heavyweights under one umbrella to help promote some of the most active, yet perhaps underappreciated sources of international art in town.

BREAST CANCER Breast cancer awareness reaches a crescendo during the month of October, but the real news comes out in June and December at two important medical gatherings that reveal the latest developments in breast cancer research.

As the world tries to decipher what’s happening inside the hermitically sealed, nuclear-armed nation of North Korea in the wake Kim Jong-il’s death, hunger, not political transition, is the more immediate concern on most North Korean minds.

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Breast cancer research

From laboring as a trade lawyer, to laboring on behalf of refugees displaced by civil war, Diana Villiers Negroponte of the Brookings Institution has spent nearly a lifetime examining what makes Latin America tick.

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February 2012

DIPLOMATIC SPOUSES This has been an emotionally exhausting yet rewarding year for the family of Naima Aujali, the wife of Ali Suleiman Aujali, once Qaddafi’s man in Washington but now the official ambassador of the new Libya.

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CINEMA LISTING

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EVENTS LISTING

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DIPLOMATIC SPOTLIGHT

PHOTOGRAPHY

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WORLD HOLIDAYS / APPOINTMENTS

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CLASSIFIEDS

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REAL ESTATE CLASSIFIEDS

Off Canada’s “graveyard of the Atlantic,” a herd of wild horses has thrived where people couldn’t in a barren landscape that’s also home to a conservation success story.

P.O. Box 1345 • Silver Spring, MD 20915-1345 • Phone: (301) 933-3552 • Fax: (301) 949-0065 • E-mail: news@washdiplomat.com • Web: www.washdiplomat.com Publisher/Editor-in-Chief Victor Shiblie Director of Operations Fuad Shiblie Managing Editor Anna Gawel News Editor Larry Luxner Contributing Writers Rachael Bade, Michael Coleman, Patrick Corcoran, Carolyn Cosmos, Ky N. Nguyen, Gail Scott, Dave Seminara, Gina Shaw, John Shaw, Gary Tischler Photographer Jessica Latos Account Managers David Garber, Chris Smith Graphic Designer Cari Bambach The Washington Diplomat is published monthly by The Washington Diplomat, Inc. The newspaper is distributed free of charge at several locations throughout the Washington, D.C. area. We do offer subscriptions for home delivery. Subscription rates are $25 for 12 issues and $45 for 24 issues. Call Fuad Shiblie for past issues. If your organization employs many people from the international community you may qualify for free bulk delivery. To see if you qualify you must contact Fuad Shiblie. The Washington Diplomat assumes no responsibility for the safe keeping or return of unsolicited manuscripts, photographs, artwork or other material. The information contained in this publication is in no way to be construed as a recommendation by the Publisher of any kind or nature whatsoever, nor as a recommendation of any industry standard, nor as an endorsement of any product or service, nor as an opinion or certification regarding the accuracy of any such information.

February 2012

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PEOPLE OF WORLD INFLUENCE

Diana Villiers Negroponte

Lawyer-Turned-Scholar Examines Latin Security, Social Challenges by Patrick Corcoran

iana Villiers Negroponte, a nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, took a somewhat circuitous route to a life of academic contemplation of Latin America. Rather than racing from her undergraduate studies to a doctoral program, she first began to develop a deeper understanding of the region while laboring as a trade lawyer.

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“I was a young attorney and therefore helped a number of partners in drafting legal briefs on a wide range of issues,” Negroponte said.“Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker is a Los Angeles firm, but with a large practice in D.C., where administrative law, regulatory practice and the drafting of legislative language form the guts of a new lawyer’s work.” But when she and her husband, John Negroponte, a veteran U.S. ambassador who was stationed in Honduras at the time, adopted five Honduran children in the early 1980s, the demands of raising a large family helped steer her away from the grinding life of an associate attorney. The shift was also driven by curiosity, though. “I wanted to know more about the culture and the history of where they came from. So this European — I’m a European; I have a British father and a Belgian mother — began to probe, investigate,” she explained. “You understand Latin American culture by breathing it, listening and absorbing every drop of verbal, written and body language. There is no single book to teach you. Instead, you must live within the culture to know and love it.” Negroponte’s passion for Latin America has led to an impressively varied career. On the one hand, she specialized in legal, judicial and police reform issues, as well as international trade matters, playing an active role with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Mexico during negotiations for the North American Free Trade Agreement. On the other hand, she’s also spent a lifetime devoted to social and development issues, particularly in the developing world. In Uganda, she taught blind children mathematics and music, according to her bio. In Honduras, she worked with refugees displaced by civil wars, taught illiterate adults, and provided medicine for children with cancer. In the Philippines, she dedicated time to micro-credit programs. And in Mexico, she built low-income homes in city slums with Habitat for Humanity International and initiated a program for the artistic development of people with disabilities. Eventually, Negroponte also completed a doctoral program at Georgetown University and embarked on a career in academia.After a stretch teaching history at Fordham University, and then a stint at the U.S.

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Institute of Peace, she arrived at Brookings in 2007. Her focus on social issues stands somewhat in contrast to her husband John Negroponte, the first-ever U.S. director of national intelligence under the Bush administration and a former deputy secretary of state who dealt largely with security issues during his lengthy Foreign Service career in hotspots such as Honduras in the early 1980s, when America built a strong military presence there to counter leftist revolutionaries, to Iraq in the midst of the U.S.-led war, to the United Nations just after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. But Diana Negroponte’s own scholarly career — like her work in the developing world — has also covered a range of subjects, from cracking down on money laundering, to U.S.-Latin relations, to Mexico’s state-owned oil industry. She’s also focused

You understand Latin American culture by breathing it, listening and absorbing every drop of verbal, written and body language. There is no single book to teach you. Instead, you must live within the culture to know and love it. — DIANA VILLIERS NEGROPONTE

nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution Latin America Initiative

heavily on public security. In researching her dissertation, which was published earlier this year as a book under the title “Seeking Peace in El Salvador: The Struggle to Reconstruct a Nation at the End of the Cold War,” Negroponte delved into the country’s civil war in the 1980s that pitted leftist rebels funded by the Soviet Union against a right-wing government backed by the United States. Some 75,000 people were killed in the conflict, one of the most notorious of its era, but, as the book’s title indicates, Negroponte was less concerned with the fighting itself than with the process by which the two sides laid down their arms, as well as America’s role in the conflict’s end. But while the study of a brutal war’s end should naturally lend itself to optimism, Negroponte concluded by asking whether

the civil war in El Salvador, and in Central America more generally, has ever really ended.The isthmus’s northern triangle — El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras — is now the most violent region on earth, with street gangs and drug traffickers wreaking havoc from one coast to the other (also see the cover profile “Central America: Out of Control?” in the January 2012 issue of The Washington Diplomat). “The effect of that violence [from the civil wars] on that generation, who is now in their late teens or 20s, is to create in them this impervious nature to violence,” Negroponte told The Diplomat. “And interestingly, the psychiatrists who interviewed them in the late 1980s, early 1990s, warned the authorities these kids need therapy.‘No, no, we got no money for that,’ [they said]. So

it wasn’t given. So my argument is that nation-building at the end of a civil war requires a generational commitment to those who have lived through the violence and whose scars will continue to demonstrate themselves in various ways.” Because of the ongoing importance of public security in Latin America, Negroponte’s research at Brookings, which concentrates primarily on Central America and Mexico, including the relationship between criminal gangs and state institutions, has allowed her to expand further on the issues she explored in her dissertation. One of the more unusual evolutions she’s noticed in the region is Nicaragua, which suffered through decades of civil conflict and remains politically unstable today, but is nonetheless far safer than its northern neighbors. To explain that contradiction, and many of the related security problems in Latin America, Negroponte points to the police. “The police in Nicaragua are a very respected institution. Your son or daughter would become a policeman or policewoman, and that was an element of pride,” Negroponte explained. “That’s not the case in Guatemala, Honduras or El Salvador — nor in Mexico. And then [there’s] the Sandinista creation of the neighborhood watch. They knew who came into their neighborhood,” she added, referring to Nicaragua’s ruling Sandinista

February 2012


socialist political party. “So those two elements have enabled Nicaragua to have a much lower level of intentional homicide, and to pretty well have avoided the kidnappings and drug violence.â€? Negroponte’s research into Latin American police forces has also taken her to Mexico, where respect for the police among the population is rare.According to Negroponte, the beat cops, who are well aware of their predicament, hold some of the greatest potential to reverse Mexico spiraling violence. Many of the potential fixes she mentions, such as police-only reading clubs, are only tangentially related to actual police work and are more so geared toward endowing the police (who generally receive meager salaries) with a sense of self worth and esprit de corps. She cited her work in Nezahualcoyotl, a populous Mexico City suburb, where the police’s top request was to:“Please give us dignity.â€? Negroponte in fact took the head of the police force to see Mexican Secretary of Public of Security Genaro GarcĂ­a Luna, to whom he said,“Sir, if you can give a scholarship to the sons and daughters of policemen, which would be continued so long as the police official remains in line, uncorrupted, that will give the policeman a standing in his community. The policeman also knows that if he starts receiving payments or behaving in such a way that indicates that his loyalty is ambiguous, his kids lose the scholarship,â€? Negroponte recalled. She also remembered Luna’s response: “I have no interest in that whatsoever. We will provide subsidized housing.â€? “He missed the point,â€? she lamented.“The point is that individuals are ready to go to enormous lengths to ensure that their sons and daughters do better than they through education. And thereby the police themselves were creating that incentive to become more effective.â€? Yet part of the challenge is that corruption in the ranks of the police is long rooted in Latin American history, stretching much further back

than the recent boom in drug trafficking. Negroponte says weak oversight and wealthy local interests have long conspired to create a culture of graft — the only difference is that today, the ones who have the police in their back pockets are the organized criminals and drug traffickers, not corporate barons or corrupt local officials. “Their pay at $300 a month requires that they take money on the side in order to be able to provide for their family. And so there is the expectation that the policeman is there to be bought. We’re objecting now because it’s the illicit [actors] who are buying. For centuries, they’ve been bought by the business community, the powerful, the politicians.â€? What the U.S. government can do to strengthen security in Central America and Mexico is the subject of heated debate. On the one hand, because much of the drug-related violence in the south stems from the insatiable demand up north, greased by lax U.S. gun laws, and because the United States has far more money to spend than the nations of Latin America, many argue that the U.S. government has both a moral responsibility and practical ability to combat the problem.At the same time, it’s not clear that U.S. policies are the solution. While many point to Plan Colombia as a successful model for the region, the MĂŠrida Initiative, the multibillion-dollar aid package to Mexico initiated in 2008, has coincided with a dramatic surge in violence as the Mexican government wages all-out war with powerful drug cartels. But Negroponte says there is a role for the United States to play, helping with much-needed training and equipment, among other assistance. “That long-term commitment will pay off.â€? America’s role must also be a multifaceted one, addressing the all-important economic and political dimensions that are often overshadowed by grim headlines of decapitations and kidnappings. “In the case of Mexico, I believe it is very important to rework the balance,â€? she said.“You’ll recall

that 10 to eight years ago, with the so-called security and prosperity partnership, security got the predominance of attention. And that has continued. But the economics, the shared prosperity, has to get greater attention too. “I’d really focus on that border. I’d really focus on public-private partnerships to increase the number of crossings,â€? she added, arguing that economic links between the United States and Latin American nations do not exist in a vacuum. Rather, they have a profound impact on a wide range of issues, of which security is just one. “The economic [side of the relationship] doesn’t stand alone,â€? Negroponte said.“The disparity of incomes — which in this hemisphere is worse than anywhere else, and growing — how do we all within the hemisphere recognize that greater wealth must be distributed.You cannot go on having an increasing number of millionaires when a majority of your young men and women are emerging from schools uneducated.â€? Negroponte praises a new mix of politicians such as former Brazilian President Luiz InĂĄcio Lula da Silva who’ve instituted popular social reforms, but not at the expense of private sector growth. “While the left doesn’t have the same strength it had in the ’60s and ’70s, I see real need for it over the next 10 years in order to achieve the greater level of equality,â€? Negroponte said.“So you have a greater focus on socioeconomic issues, but you maintain the liberal free market economy. It works so long as everyone feels that they have a stake in the present and they have prosperity in the future.â€? She adds: “I think that the anger isn’t only the inability of the government to keep people safe. It’s the inability of the government to recognize that the majority are owed better hospitals, better schools, and a decent pension.â€? The desire for a more comprehensive social safety net is not only an issue in the povertystricken nations of Central America, but also among the emerging powerhouses further south.

The nation with the best economic performance over the past 20 years is Chile, but despite its successes in the post-Pinochet era, the government last year was rocked by a wave of student protests demanding educational reform and an end to the nation’s for-profit university system. “Chile has a growing middle class, but a middle class who found a ceiling they could not break,â€? Negroponte pointed out, noting that “private school fees were so high that they were in excess of the average wages which people earn.The protest has been sustained since by many educated men and women and their parents and their teachers saying we’ve got to invest in quality public education.â€? She added: “Society in general is reaching a point of exhaustion, that it is ready to say no mĂĄs and to demonstrate in thousands is sporadic.â€? To that end, Negroponte says that with several major presidential elections in Latin America in 2012, including Mexico’s presidential race in July, it will be up to the people as a whole to decide how to forge ahead — and change will require society-wide effort, such as what happened over the last decade in Colombia, with everyone pitching in. “The public commitment to end this, which existed in Colombia, [was] created by the government, motivated by the government, supported by the government, but it was very strong and demonstrated by the wealthy agreeing to pay a wealth tax. “I want to be optimistic,â€? she said of the region’s security prospects. “And I think the example of Colombia suggests that if you can maintain the goals of the process over 10 to 14 years, you can beat it. But consistency is essential. So there’s continued focus on justice reform, police reform, penitentiaries too, combined with addressing the underlying causes of the violence.â€?

Patrick Corcoran is a contributing writer for The Washington Diplomat.

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February 2012

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INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

Asia

North Koreans Hungry — For Change, But Mostly for Food by Patrick Corcoran and Anna Gawel

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he sudden December death of longtime North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il delivered a jolt to policymakers who’ve since scrambled to decipher what’s happening inside the hermitically sealed, nuclear-armed nation, inspiring hopes of a diplomatic thaw and worries that the new regime will try to achieve legitimacy through renewed acts of aggression. Now the guessing game is on to crack the enigma of the departed dear leader’s youngest son, Kim Jong-un, the untested heir thrust into the role of replacing his cult-like father. Even his real age is anyone’s guess; most media reports estimate he’s in his late 20s. Photos were also scarce up until the elder Kim’s elaborate funeral, which experts around the world dissected to gauge who might be in a position of power in the opaque leadership. Those photos did reveal the younger Kim’s pudgy appearance, similar to his father’s rotund frame. In that regard, neither father nor son looks much like the bulk of the country’s 24 million people, many of whom are gaunt and malnourished. Indeed, hunger, not political transition, is the more immediate concern for most North Koreans. And as the United States and its allies grapple with a growing nuclear arsenal in an erratic country where only China has any modicum of influence, food aid may be one of the few areas in which the West has any leverage. While it may seem callous to describe providing food to starving people as leverage, the question over whether assistance actually feeds the fat cats who keep the rest of the country hungry is a legitimate one. And it’s more relevant than ever. While the Kim dynasty has pledged to maintain the country’s “songun” military-first policy, the government had also planned to celebrate the centenary of the birth of its founding president, Kim Il-sung, by ramping up food distribution in 2012. It would be a mammoth undertaking, and a critical test, for the North’s new “supreme leader,” one that he can’t possibly do without outside help. But will that translate into an opportunity for the West to pry open one of the world’s most closed societies while alleviating untold suffering, or is it a gambit to prey on Western sympathies that, inadvertently, props up the very regime responsible for the suffering?

NEED STILL ACUTE North Korea’s inability to feed its people is widely known and longstanding. The topography of the region is unsuited to agriculture and it has a short growing season; consequently, the nation has always been dependent on imports and donations to meet its nutritional needs. The end of the Cold War also signaled the end of Soviet aid, which had turned into a lifeline for the North. With the country diplomatically adrift and economically backward, one of the most severe famines in recent history ensued in the mid-1990s, killing up to 1 million people, or possibly even 2 million according to some estimates. But while the horror of what has been called the Great Hunger has passed, the need for food assistance has not.

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CREDIT: UN PHOTO / JAMES BU

North Korea has relied on temporary international emergency humanitarian food aid donations — but on a permanent basis. — NICHOLAS EBERSTADT

scholar at the American Enterprise Institute

Indeed, before Kim’s death at the age of 69, much of the nation’s dialogue with the world community throughout 2011 focused precisely on this issue, and for good reason. “[The North Koreans] made widespread calls for food aid, and as the year progressed, there were multiple delegations from the U.N. and NGOs [examining the issue],” Karin Lee, executive director of the National Committee on North Korea, told The Diplomat.“All of them found the same thing, which was chronic malnutrition, with pockets of acute malnutrition. These findings are not necessarily a surprise. It’s a chronic problem.” In fact, the World Food Program says that one in every three children in North Korea remains chronically malnourished or “stunted,” meaning they are too short for their age, and nearly one in five is underweight. Earlier last year, the group estimated that some 6 million people would need assistance in 2011, due mostly to a bitter winter and diminished aid. Although the annual harvest improved heading into the New Year, a joint report by the World Food Program and Food and Agricultural Organization noted that nearly 3 million people in the country will continue to require food assistance in 2012. A combination of international sanctions, natural disasters such as flooding, and rampant government mismanagement and greed has made food shortage a fact of North

In this U.N. photo taken in 1997, following the famine in North Korea that killed an estimated 1 million people, a farm wife shows a one-day ration of food in the reclusive communist nation.

Korean life.While outsiders rarely glimpse inside the reclusive country, reports have frequently surfaced of families scouring the woods for plants to boil or resorting to eating manure to stay alive. More commonly, people spend their entire incomes to feed themselves, especially after a botched currency reform in 2009 that wiped out life savings and caused food prices to soar. The American Enterprise Institute’s Nicholas Eberstadt wrote in a report last year that North Korea is the only industrialized nation in world history that, after having overcome the era of famine and achieved the ability to produce enough food to feed its citizens, has regressed to a state of perpetual food insecurity. “North Korea has relied on temporary international emergency humanitarian food aid donations — but on a permanent basis,” Eberstadt said. He added in an op-ed that Kim Jong-il earned the dubious “lifetime achievement award for overseeing the first industrialized economy ever to lose the capacity to feed itself.” “Since the very late 1990s, when North Korea’s famine apparently subsided, the food situation in the country has remained desperately precarious: Resumption of famine has been forestalled only by humanitarian food aid, Western economic assistance and Chinese largesse.”

RECENT HEADWAY But that largesse has been running dry. The United States, South Korea, China and Japan had accounted for more than 80 percent of food aid to the North from 1985 to 2009, much of which has since stopped, according a report last summer by the Congressional Research Service, which noted that Chinese contributions have significantly

February 2012


decreased as well. The United States had pledged to ship 500,000 tons of grain in 2008, but the deliveries stopped a year later, after 170,000 tons had been dispersed, amid disagreements over the transparency of the distribution as well as the North’s nuclear weapons program. More recently though, Washington, along with its regional allies, had been mulling whether to resume food assistance to the North and, according to media reports, the two sides were close to formalizing a food donation deal just as Kim died. Kim Jong-un has since sent mixed signals on further negotiations.“We will wait and see if the United States has a willingness to establish confidence,” a January government communiqué stated, in what was widely interpreted as an olive branch. At the same time, however, the North complained that the United States sought to “drastically” change the remaining 330,000 tons of food aid it had promised in 2008. It also criticized Washington for offering aid and the temporary lifting of economic sanctions on the condition that Pyongyang halt its uranium enrichment program, accusing the U.S. government of “politicizing” humanitarian assistance. On that note, U.N. humanitarian chief Valerie Amos, speaking to reporters last October, argued that food aid should not be tied to politics. “You do not judge people on the basis of the political environment in which they are living,” she said after a fact-finding trip to North Korea.“We need to remember the most vulnerable people in North Korea are victims of a situation over which they have no control.They are suffering from no fault of their own.”

STARVING THE REGIME But in North Korea, as in other totalitarian states, it’s difficult to separate the suffering from the politics that breeds it. Officially, the U.S. government says aid is not directly linked to political issues, but it’s no secret that the nuclear standoff and Pyongyang’s belligerent posturing have led to a fierce debate over whether to restart food aid, and thereby reward a brutal pariah that has consistently pushed the region to the brink of conflict. North Korea, which has one of the world’s largest standing armies, abandoned the six-party talks over its nuclear weapons program in 2009 shortly before it carried out its second nuclear test in the last five years. Moreover, the North’s provocations over the years have rattled the Korean peninsula, which technically remains in a state of war. Most recently, Pyongyang shelled a South Korean island and was accused of sinking a South Korean warship in 2010, killing 46 sailors — an act that has been attributed to Kim Jong-un as a way to shore up his military standing. And with the military-obsessed regime seemingly determined to maintain its nuclear program as a hedge against a possible invasion — or to simply to extract concessions from the West while feigning interest in returning to talks — food assistance is one of the few enticements the West has that might get the North to seriously re-engage in negotiations. From a more practical standpoint, much of the reluctance over food aid stems from the very real possibility that it will just get siphoned off by the elite and never reach the people who need it. That’s why the United States has offered nutritional supplements for children, rather than grain, which can be diverted to the country’s one-million-strong military or cronies of the regime. That’s also why some experts caution that, while well intentioned, food aid can ultimately do more harm than good because it strengthens the root cause of most North Koreans’ misery: the prevailing political system. And this system — not outside donors — is to blame for keeping its citizens in desperate straits for decades.As one of the last hard-line vestiges of communism left in the world, North Korea’s rigid, state-controlled system is a model of inefficiency and economic mismanagement — epitomized by the stunning failure of food rations and farm policies. Recent speculation that North Korea, under new leader-

February 2012

ship, might adopt China’s model of economic reform has sparked some hope but remains, at best, a distant possibility. To that end, some experts say food aid will only temporarily alleviate the symptoms of the North’s deep dysfunction. “To address chronic malnutrition, you don’t give food aid. You give development assistance,” Lee of the National Committee on North Korea said, pointing out that the United States and European Union are prohibited from doing so because of sanctions. “Until you break this cycle of only being able to provide emergency assistance, you really can’t solve the problem.” But given the North’s longstanding recalcitrance, international sanctions, which have crippled the economy and perpetuated food shortages, will likely remain in place for the foreseeable future. Moreover, because North Korea’s economic isolation is so extreme and unique, the repercussions of food assistance are unpredictable. On the one hand, food scarcity has fueled revolts and democracy movements throughout the Arab world. On the other hand, the Kim dynasty has so far successfully prevented upheaval perhaps in part by keeping their people constantly on the brink of starvation. While the United States debates whether to give food aid, the North may in fact have no real interest in feeding its people, preferring to keep them in perpetual misery while beefing up the military to ensure the regime’s survival.

FEEDING THE PEOPLE But for advocates of humanitarian assistance, analyzing the different geopolitical scenarios is beyond the point — people are hungry, and aid is aid. Analysts like Leon Sigal of the Social Science Research Council also say that making an issue of food aid is counterproductive to U.S. strategic aims. “The people who think if we hold back food we will starve the regime out, that’s just crazy. You are basically feeding into the propaganda of the regime,” Sigal said, arguing that withholding aid feeds into the government’s narrative that the West has a vendetta against the nation’s citizens. On the contrary, he says aid not only mitigates the suffering of average North Koreans, it also offers constructive links with both the people and the country’s leadership.“If you want to get somewhere with regard to denuclearization, you want to do the opposite of denying food. You want to provide food.” The pro-food aid camp also says the concern over monitoring is overblown, as is the charge of military hoarding. “It’s not clear to me that you want the military to be in short supply,” Sigal pointed out. “Do you want an army that’s alienated because it’s not well fed?” There is also recent evidence that aid agencies are capable of successfully monitoring their distribution. “I saw where it is getting through, it is making a real difference,” U.N. humanitarian chief Amos said in October, adding that the North appeared to be allowing international Korean speakers and random inspections to ensure aid reaches the needy. “In October, after visiting the provinces most affected by this year’s flooding, representatives from U.S.-based NGOs Mercy Corps and Samaritan’s Purse noted that they were very satisfied with the monitoring and oversight of the food aid,”North Korea expert MortonAbramowitz, senior fellow at the Century Foundation, wrote in a Dec. 13 National Interest article. “They not only delivered food aid to the intended needy but also expressed confidence they can continue to do so. Other countries have ponied up funds for food, which reportedly is being properly delivered via safeguards that were agreed upon between Pyongyang, the World Food Program and the European Union.” At a panel discussion on the topic last year at the U.S. Institute of Peace, Andrew Natsios, former USAID administrator, outlined several ideas

See NORTH KOREA, page 26 The Washington Diplomat Page 9


INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

Latin America

Is Iran’s Latin ‘ Tour of Tyrants’ Just a Desperate Flyby for Friends? by Larry Luxner

C

aracas, Havana, Quito, La Paz and Managua all boast famous Catholic cathedrals, colonial architecture worthy of UNESCO world heritage status and, most recently, Iranian embassies flying the green-andwhite flag of the Islamic republic — at a time when Tehran has few real friends left in the world.

In early January, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visited Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez and his other Spanish-speaking amigos just as the 27-member European Union debated whether to slap a ban on Iranian oil imports to prevent Tehran from developing nuclear weapons, the latest in an escalating campaign of sanctions (and possibly high-tech sabotage and assassinations) that’s tightening the economic vise on Tehran. Ratcheting up the saber rattling, Ahmadinejad has threatened to block the Strait of Hormuz, through which roughly one-fifth of the world’s crude oil is shipped. Not a particularly opportune moment for the Iranian head of state to take off on a whirlwind junket of Latin America, but analysts say the timing of the five-day trip to Venezuela, Nicaragua, Cuba and Ecuador was no coincidence.

Iran is being squeezed, and that’s led to a sense of economic desperation. So if the best they can do is to show they have alliances with Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua and Ecuador, it suggests that they’re not in very good shape.

— MICHAEL SHIFTER president of the Inter-American Dialogue

“I think it reveals how desperate Iran is,” said Michael Shifter, president of the Inter-American Dialogue. “Iran is being squeezed, and that’s led to a sense of economic desperation. So if the best they can do is to show they have alliances with Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua and Ecuador, it suggests that they’re not in very good shape.” Neither Francisco Campbell, Nicaragua’s ambassador to the United States, nor Nathalie Cely Suárez, Ecuador’s

Page 10

The Washington Diplomat

newly appointed ambassador here, could be reached for comment. Cuba has no full-fledged embassy in Washington, and Venezuela’s former ambassador here, Bernardo Alvarez, was barred from returning to the United States in 2010 after going home for Christmas — yet another sign of the dismal state of bilateral diplomatic relations. (Alvarez had already been declared persona non grata by the Bush administration but permitted to resume his post after Obama took office). Ahmadinejad’s high-profile trip — his sixth official visit to Latin America — certainly generated the attention he most likely craved, with the goal ostensibly to show that the embattled Iranian leader was still a powerful world player, and not an impotent pariah. It also probably gave him a welcome escape from mounting troubles back home: Sanctions are hitting Iran’s economy hard, with the value of the country’s currency plummeting. Meanwhile, food and home prices, along with public discontent, have been rising. Ahmadinejad also faces political pressure from the reformist opposition as well as a deepening gulf between him and the ruling Islamic clerics, including the nation’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. And Iran’s regional ally Syria has been besieged by protests that threaten to collapse its government. None of that seemed to faze Ahmadinejad, though, as he mocked U.S. attempts to blunt Iran’s nuclear program during his stop with Chávez. “They say that we are building bombs. Ignorant people would probably ask themselves what is really happening. Fortunately, the people of Latin America are awake and know the truth behind all those words,” he declared. But Shifter says Ahmadinejad has proven to be a lot more empty words than action when it comes to the region. “Latin America is pursuing new global partners, and naturally there’s been some expectation that Iran will come through with investments,”he toldThe Washington Diplomat.“But if one looks at the record, they haven’t delivered. It’s fundamentally more of a geopolitical alliance than anything else, a message to Washington that Iran is still a force to be reckoned with.”

CREDIT: UN PHOTO / MARK GARTEN

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, seen here at a 2010 conference on the Nuclear NonProliferation Treaty, recently toured his leftist allies in Latin America, in a trip many suspect was to divert attention from mounting problems back home, where international sanctions over Iran’s nuclear program are beginning to take a major economic toll.

Yet some inside the Beltway are taking that message far more seriously than others — though their motives are a matter of debate. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a Florida Republican who chairs the House Foreign Affairs Committee, blasted Ahmadinejad’s “tour of tyrants” shortly before the Iranian leader received the red-carpet treatment in Caracas. “Ahmadinejad’s desire to strengthen ties with anti-American dictators and expand Iranian influence in the Western Hemisphere directly threatens U.S. security interests, and continues a trend also followed by previous Iranian leaders,” said Ros-Lehtinen, a Cuban-American exile who bitterly opposes any weakening of Washington’s 50-year-old embargo against Cuba.

“Iran has extensive defense and economic partnerships with the Castro, Chávez, Ortega and Correa regimes that endanger democracy and stability in the region,” she warned in a statement. “The Iranian-backed extremist group Hezbollah has also expanded its activities throughout the region since the 1994 AMIA attacks in Argentina, which Iran was behind. This is a threat which we cannot ignore.” But is the threat being overhyped? Ros-Lehtinen is the same congresswoman who, several months ago, issued a similar statement loudly accusing Cuba of harboring Hezbollah training camps — an allegation that was never proven, and that was later allowed to quietly die.

See IRAN, page 12 February 2012


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from page 10

Iran What hasn’t died is the speculation over Iran’s budding ties with leftist Latin governments, which has evolved into something of a cottage industry in Washington, with think tanks routinely sounding the alarm about Iran (and by extension its proxy Hezbollah) in America’s backyard. The alarm has been going off for a while: A congressional briefing on “Radical Islamic Activity in Latin America,” for instance, issued dire warnings on the rise of Hezbollah cells in the region. That briefing was co-sponsored by Ros-Lehtinen at the beginning of 2007. From a diplomatic point of view, there’s no question that Iran has dramatically expanded its presence south of the Rio Grande. Six new Iranian embassies have opened since Ahmadinejad’s election in 2005 — in Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Nicaragua and Uruguay — and its embassies in Argentina, Brazil, Cuba, Mexico and Venezuela have been enlarged. These missions are guarded by soldiers of the elite Quds Force, the same outfit U.S. officials say was behind a recently exposed plot to allegedly hire Mexican drug cartels to assassinate the Saudi ambassador in Washington. Jaime Daremblum, director of the Hudson Institute’s Center for Latin American Studies, has for years been warning about Iran’s penchant for terrorism in panels such as “Venezuelistan: Iran’s Latin American Ambitions.” “Three years ago, the U.S.Treasury Department accused the Venezuelan government of ‘employing and providing safe harbor to Hezbollah facilitators and fundraisers,’” Daremblum, the former Costa Rican ambassador in Washington, wrote in a recent op-ed for Real Clear World. “With its failed scheme to murder the Saudi ambassador, Tehran graduated to a new level of violent audacity.”

“Tehran has established a strategic alliance with Venezuelan leader Hugo Chávez, and it has also developed warm relations with Chávez acolytes in Bolivia, Ecuador, and Nicaragua while pursuing new arrangements with Argentina as an additional beachhead in Latin America,” he said, arguing that if Iran is allowed to develop nuclear weapons, “the Western Hemisphere would likely witness a significant jump in terrorist activity.” But this “conspiracy theory” mentality is also dangerous in itself because it plays on voters’ fears, especially in an election year, Latin America expert Christopher Sabatini told The Diplomat. “Some people are making a career of echoing Ahmadinejad’s own claims of collusion and cooperation,” said Sabatini, a senior policy director at the New York-based Council of the Americas. “That’s not to say we shouldn’t be careful and watch these things. Iran’s interests are truly opposed to ours, but demagogues make promises that are intended to inflame.You need to separate such claims from reality, and several Washington commentators have failed to do that.” Sabatini suggested that conservative lawmakers such as Ros-Lehtinen and lobbyists like Roger Noriega — assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs during the George W. Bush administration and now a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute — are intentionally using Iran’s presence in Latin America to undermine the Obama administration. “It’s a convenient campaign point,” he said. “Making Americans feel they’re at risk because the U.S. is asleep at the switch is a very troubling policy, and I don’t think it’s true.” Indeed, most of the GOP presidential hopefuls have taken a nihilistic view of Tehran’s aims. “The greatest threat the world faces is a nuclear Iran,” Mitt Romney recently declared. Newt Gingrich compared Ahmadinejad to Adolf Hitler and said he wouldn’t hesitate to overthrow the

government by force. Rick Santorum and Jon Huntsman also don’t rule out military intervention to stop Iran from getting the bomb. Most political observers say these hawkish statements are typical campaign chest thumping. Likewise, Stephen Johnson, director of the Americas Program at the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), says Ahmadinejad’s frequently forays to Latin America are mainly intended for domestic consumption — to show that Iran wields more influence than Saudi Arabia or Israel. “Overstating the case for action could set back relations with friendly neighbors and make cooperation, when needed, less likely,” he said. “Instead, U.S. and friendly intelligence services should boost efforts to understand the degree to which Iran is circumventing sanctions, transferring technology and materials, establishing an Iranian Guard presence, and engaging terror groups for possible attacks.” To be sure, speculation about Iran and Hezbollah’s Latin connections is grounded in legitimate fears. In December, U.S. authorities released details of a federal indictment against Lebanese citizen Ayman Joumaa, 47, who reportedly has ties to Hezbollah and was indicted by a Virginia grand jury on charges of conspiring to distribute cocaine. The indictment accuses Joumaa of coordinating the smuggling of at least 85 tons of Colombian cocaine through Mexico in partnership with the Mexican drug cartel Los Zetas between 1997 and 2010. It doesn’t specifically mention Hezbollah, but U.S. law enforcement officials said evidence points to an indirect connection between the terrorist group and Los Zetas. In another development sure to further fan tensions between Chávez and the Obama administration, the State Department on Jan. 8 gave Venezuela’s consul-general in Miami, Livia Acosta Noguera, 72 hours to leave the country.The decision to expel her came a month after the Spanish-language TV network Univisión broadcast a documentary about Iran’s alleged terrorist activities in Latin America — in which Acosta, then cultural attaché at the Venezuelan Embassy in Mexico, reportedly discusses hacking into U.S. nuclear facilities. Despite this latest diplomatic rupture, Johnson cautions that “a lot of what we think we know about Iran’s activities in the Americas is based on sketchy evidence,” such as recent newspaper reports of a jointly constructed missile base planned for Venezuela’s Paraguaná Peninsula. The Inter-American Dialogue’s Shifter agrees, writing in a recent Foreign Policy op-ed that so far, “there has been no ‘smoking gun’ — Iranian support to prospect for uranium in Venezuela or Ecuador, for example — despite what are presumably serious efforts to gather intelligence by U.S. intelligence agencies. “It is also worth asking whether supporting militant groups in Latin America would undermine Iran’s attempts to build friendships in the

region,” he adds. “There is a contradiction between, on the one hand, courting allies in a context dominated by political moderation and pragmatism and, on the other, training terrorists. Most countries would resist the installation and spread of malevolent forces, which would put at risk their hard-earned economic progress and democratic stability.” And on the economic front, Shifter argues that Iran’s promises of investment have largely fallen flat. “There have been myriad bilateral deals between Iran and Venezuela, including joint ventures to produce cars, tractors, and bicycles, and some cooperation in mining exploration and housing construction,” he wrote in “Caracas or Bust,” but he added, “With Iran’s own economy in dire straits, it has limited capacity to do much on the other side of the globe.” CSIS’s Johnson also says claims that Iranian trade with the Americas has skyrocketed are exaggerated. Not a single Latin country depends on Iran for more than 1 percent of its imports or exports, and Iran’s total trade with the region pales when compared to its business with Iran’s top five partners: the European Union, China, India, Japan and the United Arab Emirates. “Still another exaggeration is that Iran has obtained leverage through strategic investments,” Johnson said.“Though Iran has promised funding for hospitals, dams and water purification projects, not all of it has been supplied. Iran has spent billions on oil and gas exploration projects that have been questioned within Iran. Car and tractor factories in Venezuela are unprofitable and dropping off in production. A muchtouted Tehran-Caracas airline route has been suspended. And when Ahmadinejad visits Managua again, will Daniel Ortega bring up debt forgiveness for past oil shipments? The last time he visited, Ahmadinejad said he would refer the matter to Iran’s parliament.” Sabatini also noted that Ortega — for all his anti-American bluster — strongly supports Nicaragua’s free trade agreement with the United States and has pursued pro-business policies that have created thousands of factory jobs and contributed to his country’s prosperity. The fact that Iran never built a promised $350 million deep-water port on Nicaragua’s Caribbean coast hasn’t helped Tehran’s reputation in Nicaragua, which despite recent gains still has the lowest per-capita income in Central America. “The United States has correctly taken the view that Nicaragua is locked into an FTA with the U.S. as a bloc, and that the U.S. is seen as a stabilizing factor,” Sabatini said. “Nevertheless, Ortega also has his own domestic concerns. He needs Hugo Chávez for oil and patronage money, so by playing this card of sticking his finger in the eye of the United States, he continues to curry favor with Venezuela.” Shifter said Ahmadinejad’s trip to Latin America was significant not so much for the

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February 2012


countries he visited, but for one very large country he didn’t visit: Brazil. “Brazil is conspicuously absent from this tour. [President] Dilma Rousseff has been very cautious and restrained in dealing with Iran,” he pointed out. “There’s not a lot of eagerness to embrace his government. Politically, there’s a lot of turmoil in Iran, and part of the motivation for this trip is to find opportunities for alliances with countries that are basically led by Chávez — who’s been the Latin American entry point for Iran since Ahmadinejad came to power in 2005. It’s useful to recall that Ahmadinejad also attended the inauguration of [Ecuadorean President Rafael] Correa in 2007 — exactly five years ago — and in five years, there are very few signs that Iran has any influence in Ecuador.” Interestingly, another country the Iranian leader didn’t visit during his most recent Latin rendezvous was Bolivia — despite the warm ties he’s tried to cultivate with that country’s populist and unabashedly antiAmerican president, Evo Morales. In late 2011, Washington and La Paz decided to restore full diplomatic relations, three years after Morales kicked out then-U.S. Ambassador Philip Goldberg following accusations that the Drug Enforcement Administration was meddling in internal Bolivian affairs and seeking to destabilize the Morales government (see “Bolivia, U.S. Restore Ties” in the news column of the December 2011 Diplomatic Pouch online). Also last year, Bolivian authorities apologized to that country’s tiny Jewish community for having invited a top Iranian diplomat linked to the 1994 car-bombing of the AMIA Jewish community center in Buenos Aires, which killed 85 people and injured nearly 300 others. Iranian-backed Hezbollah agents are also believed to have planned the 1992

bombing of the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires, an attack that left 29 people dead. “Morales realizes that the benefits of cozying up to Ahmadinejad are less than the risks,” said Sabatini.“In fact, most people realize Ahmadinejad is visiting a rogue’s gallery of leaders. Correa, Chávez, Ortega and the Castro brothers are not the most respected leaders in the world today. But this is also domestic politics. Ahmadinejad is engaged in a battle with [Islamic] religious leaders who have tried to clip his wings. He wants to show them that he can still travel and be received. At least he’s not so isolated that he can’t leave his own country.” Given the nature of the Iranian regime, according to Shifter, it’s not unreasonable to think the worst about Ahmadinejad. However, he added, things should be kept in perspective. “It’s important to avoid alarmist conclusions without hard evidence. If Washington becomes obsessed with this, it’s not going to be helpful for improving relations with the major countries,” he told us.“A common complaint in Latin America is that the U.S. tends to take these issues out of proportion. At the same time, maybe some countries would back away from the Iranians, but they don’t want to be seen as being with the U.S. on this, so it becomes more polarized than it should be.”

Larry Luxner is news editor of The Washington Diplomat.

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A World of News & Perspective

February 2012


COVER PROFILE

Ambassador Ebrahim Rasool

ANC Turns 100, But Has South Africa Come of Age? by Larry Luxner

sk Ebrahim Rasool about growing up in South Africa, and he’ll take you back to 1966. That’s the year his country’s apartheid regime declared Cape Town’s District Six “for whites only” — and began forcibly removing the 60,000 or so colored Muslims, Xhosaspeaking blacks and Indians who had inhabited District Six for generations.

A

“All those who were not white had to leave,” Rasool recalled painfully.“One day in 1972, when I was 10 years old, I came home to find all our furniture on the pavement, and my father desperately looking for a truck to get it to another home, because our house — together with other houses — was on the verge of being demolished. We ended up going to a suburb in the Cape Flats. I think my parents’ sadness and the loss of community stayed with me throughout my life.” That sense of injustice fueled Rasool’s rapid rise through the ranks of the thenbanned African National Congress (ANC). He spent a year and a half in prison and two years under house arrest for his antiapartheid activities. In 1994, following the end of minority rule in South Africa, Rasool became minister of health and welfare for Western Cape province, and later the provincial minister of finance and economic development. He was elected premier of Western Cape in 2004 and held that post until 2008. Since August 2010, Rasool has represented South Africa as ambassador in Washington — a high-profile job that takes on special significance this year, the centennial of the ANC’s founding. “That’s what makes 2012 special. It’s not only the 100th anniversary of the ANC, but also the year in which South Africa convenes the African Diaspora Summit, and the year in which we celebrate the life and legacy of Nelson Mandela,” said Rasool, who wears a tiny lapel pin on his jacket bearing his hero’s likeness.“For us, it will be a year of intensive reflection on how we relate to the values and principles personified by Nelson Mandela — and that have heralded this renaissance Africa is now going through.” Rasool, 49, spoke to The Washington Diplomat from the glass Intelsat headquarters building on International Drive. Here, on a small second-floor office decorated with framed portraits of previous ambassadors, South Africa temporarily conducts official business while its mission along Embassy Row undergoes a long-overdue renovation. “Since 1994, our operations have expanded tremendously. It’s a symbol of South Africa’s diplomatic and strategic

February 2012

relationship with the United States that we are investing so heavily in consolidating our offices and purchasing separate residences for both the ambassador and his deputy,” said Rasool, estimating that his government has spent $30 million on the project over the last two years. “Coming in a U.S. recession, this has been quite a help to the local construction industry.” Rasool said South Africa’s Foreign Ministry now employs 120 people across the United States, both at the embassy and at consulates in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. A fourth consulate is planned for Miami. The gregarious ambassador, who speaks English, Afrikaans, German and “a smattering of Xhosa,” explained that the country’s historic residence on Massachusetts Avenue dates back to 1946, when it was commissioned by the apartheid government as a symbol of classic Dutch architecture. In the 1960s, a sec-

PHOTO: LARRY LUXNER

For us, it will be a year of intensive reflection on how we relate to the values and principles personified by Nelson Mandela — and that have heralded this renaissance Africa is now going through. — EBRAHIM RASOOL ambassador of South Africa to the United States

ond structure was built next door to be used as an embassy. South Africa’s tumultuous political history is reflected in the art displayed on the walls of its official buildings here. “A lot of the art has survived and risen in value. Our new residences have really allowed us to exhibit this art,” said Rasool. He noted, for example, works by classical painter Jacobus Hendrik Pierneef of the apartheid period “which in a sense really appreciate landscapes as an antidote to the creeping urbanization and modernization that has eroded the nation’s cultural values.” Also displayed are abstract paintings by Gregoire Boonzaaier, “whose art is really about the negative impact of apart-

heid on communities.” Boonzaaier, who died in 2005 at the age of 96, is considered one of South Africa’s leading artists. But the most important piece of art associated with the embassy’s renovation will be a statue honoring Nelson Mandela, now 93. Its size hasn’t yet been decided; Rasool hinted that it’ll be comparable to nearby statues commemorating Winston Churchill and Mahatma Gandhi, though not as tall as the new Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial. “It will be humble as befitting Mandela, but it will mark the fact that South Africa has produced an icon for the world,” he said.A fundraising event in Washington to generate money for the statue will take place Feb. 11 — which, the ambassador

noted,“is also the day 22 years ago when Nelson Mandela was released from prison.”

‘FREEDOM IN OUR LIFETIME’ Looking back at Mandela’s years of struggle reminds Rasool of that infamous prison on Robben Island, just across the harbor from Cape Town, where Mandela spent 18 of his 27 years behind bars. South Africa’s current leader, President Jacob Zuma, was jailed at Robben Island for 10 years. These days, the island is a major tourist attraction, where former guards now serve as museum guides. One of them is Christo Brand, who guarded Mandela himself before being transferred to Pollsmoor Prison, where Rasool was being held at the time. “Brand was assigned to look after the political detainees, people who were imprisoned without being charged,” said the future ambassador, who began his political career in 1980, when as an 18-year-old student representative at Livingston High School he led a 12-week school boycott to protest the apartheid system. “By 1983, I was in the mainstream of

Continued on next page The Washington Diplomat Page 15


Continued from previous page the political struggle,” he said, adding that despite the year and a half he spent at Pollsmoor — and the two years under house arrest — he was never formally charged with anything. “I was quite involved with political organizations including the Call of Islam, which mobilized Muslims against apartheid. I was in the leadership of the United Democratic Front — the internal expression of the ANC because the ANC itself was banned. All of this activism came out of high school, because I had the misfortune to enter high school in 1976, the year of the great Soweto uprising.” We asked Rasool if he ever imagined that some day he’d be South Africa’s ambassador to the United States. “The only thing we dared to imagine was staying out of prison and staying alive, because we were dealing with one of the most brutal regimes imaginable,” he responded. “There were no ambitions. There was an aspiration for freedom, but never the assurance that you’d see it. So often, to give ourselves hope, we would invoke the slogan ‘freedom in our lifetime.’” But hope was nearly impossible to maintain in the face of the complex bureaucracy the South African government created to intentionally separate blacks, whites and other races. “They created enormous physical buffer zones,” the ambassador said.“If you had to drive from the airport in Cape Town to a hotel in Sea Point or the waterfront, you would typically pass three railway lines. Between the airport and the first railway line, you had these very tough shantytown homes where poor, black working-class people or the unemployed would live. Between that railway line and the next one you’d find tenements.That would be the coloreds — poverty-stricken and hungry — but at least they lived in brick tenements. And crossing that second railway line, you’d then have

PHOTO: LARRY LUXNER

Pictured above is Nelson Mandela’s former jail cell at the Robben Island Prison, where South Africa’s iconic antiapartheid hero spent 18 of his 27 years behind bars. This year, as the country marks the 100th anniversary of the African National Congress, it also celebrates the legacy of Mandela, 93. Locally, South Africa’s embassy in Washington is working on a statue honoring the former president.

the colored and Indian middle-classes living in three-bedroom houses like the kind you’d find if you were to drive out to Virginia. “Crossing that last railway line, you’d be in the equivalent of Beverly Hills, where people had a lifestyle that would even exceed the American dream. That’s where the whites would live, with their sprawling properties and palatial mansions, all behind high security walls and with massive private security in the streets.” Rasool explained that apartheid was “not a case of simple racial discrimination as in the United States, but a very carefully planned thing in order

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to create buffers between races.What it effectively did was to replicate the physical separation with the implementation of psychological land mines in people’s heads — creating this sense that black anger does not reach whites, but is passed through all those who were oppressed. So you got tension between coloreds and blacks, rather than between whites and blacks.” Apartheid as a legal institution dates back to 1949, with passage of the Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Act. A year later, the Immorality Act of 1950 made sexual relations with a person of a different race a criminal offense.That same year, laws

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were passed forbidding whites, blacks, Indians and coloreds from living side by side, and in 1953, the Reservation of Separate Amenities Act created separate public facilities for different races, giving rise to “whites-only” signs in schools, universities and hospitals — and even on beaches and park benches. As the U.S. civil rights movement was just getting under way, South Africa’s white minority government stepped up its repression of non-whites through the 1950s and 1960s.The Black Homelands Citizenship Act of 1970 stripped black people of their South African citizenship, instead making them citizens of one of 10 autonomous territories, known as Bantustans. The objective: to ensure a demographic majority of white people within South Africa by having all 10 homelands achieve full independence, four of which were eventually declared independent by the apartheid regime. Residents of these irregularly shaped Bantustans were given their own passports, and these “countries” even issued their own stamps and currency. Not a single country besides South Africa ever recognized their existence as full-fledged countries, though Israel did business with all four and even allowed the Bantustans of Ciskei and Bophuthatswana to open commercial offices in Tel Aviv. Even so, Rasool explained, “after 1980, the government got the sense that apartheid couldn’t last. That was what gave rise to the final phase of the struggle, when the white government tried to give coloreds and Indians certain privileges, but left blacks permanently poverty-stricken.” The reason: international sanctions and a constant barrage of protests against South Africa that excluded the country from world sporting events, many United Nations agencies and even the British Commonwealth. Speaking with Rasool, it soon becomes clear

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PHOTO: LARRY LUXNER

Cape Townâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s majestic City Hall is where Nelson Mandela addressed the crowds in 1991 after his release from prison. But 17 years after the end of apartheid, inequality and poverty remain rampant. On the opposite page, a young boy walks by a sprawling township on the outskirts of Cape Town. Nearly 9 million of South Africaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s 50 million people scrape by on less than $1.25 a day and unemployment among young people is as high as 70 percent.

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that Ronald Reagan actually isnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t one of the ambassadorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s favorite presidents. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Reagan was so focused on defeating the Soviet Union that he compromised everything in the U.S. constitution that should have made the United States the champion of freedom and human rights in South Africa,â&#x20AC;? he charged. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Fortunately, there were many ordinary Americans who gave South Africans hope that the American people still had essentially a good heart. So we didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t develop a rabid anti-Americanism.We saw the government doing one thing, but citizens doing another â&#x20AC;&#x201D; for example, giving themselves up for arrest by protesting outside our embassy. We also saw universities like Georgetown divesting, and Democrats like Ron Dellums cooperating with Republicans like Richard Lugar to get an anti-apartheid vote through Congress.â&#x20AC;? Rasool recalled that a chance meeting with Mandela in 1987 â&#x20AC;&#x201D; in the waiting room of a prison hospital â&#x20AC;&#x201D; was one of the high points of his life. â&#x20AC;&#x153;You can just imagine what it meant for a young activist like me to meet the inspiration of my entire struggle in life,â&#x20AC;? he said.â&#x20AC;&#x153;One morning very early, after he came out of prison, I got a phone call and was summoned to his hotel room in Cape Town. He asked me to accompany him on a trip to Africa as his advisor.â&#x20AC;? Rasool eventually traveled with Mandela to 13 countries over a three-week period, flying in the same aircraft, staying in the same hotels and dining at the same table. On April 27, 1994 â&#x20AC;&#x201D; just four years after Mandelaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s release from prison, and one year after he won the Nobel Peace Prize â&#x20AC;&#x201D; South Africa held its first multiparty election, and the ANC won with 62.6 percent of the vote. On May 10, Mandela was sworn in as South Africaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s president, and the Government of National Unity was established. A decade later, as premier of Western Cape, Rasool said he used his roots as a nonviolent Islamic militant to prevent extremism from securing a foothold in the province, while also bolstering economic development. In a 2006 meeting with Barack Obama â&#x20AC;&#x201D; who was then a senator from Illinois â&#x20AC;&#x201D; he stressed the Capeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s model of moderate Muslim stability and the role Islam played in influencing the drafting of South Africaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s progressive constitution.

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Yet these days, progressive is not a term thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s often used to describe the Zuma administration,

or necessarily the ANC in general. Indeed, as inspirational as the partyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s struggle and perseverance has been, South Africaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s deep-seated problems havenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t inspired much optimism lately. To be sure, the ANC has made significant gains extending prosperity to more South Africans, improving access to electricity and clean water, for instance, and keeping economic growth steady despite a worldwide slump. And the governmentâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s post-apartheid reconciliation movement remains one of its most revered legacies. But Archbishop Desmond Tutuâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s dream of a â&#x20AC;&#x153;rainbow nationâ&#x20AC;? has given way to a murky future for many South Africans, millions of whom still eke out a living in dilapidated township slums, where the racial â&#x20AC;&#x201D; and wealth â&#x20AC;&#x201D; divide is as pronounced as ever. More than a quarter of the population canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t find work, and among young people, the unemployment rate stands at a staggering 70 percent. Crime is rampant, as is HIV/AIDS, while educational opportunities are scarce. The ANCâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s exalted past led to high expectations that it could lift the countryâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s long-suppressed black majority out of poverty and perpetual disadvantage.The failure to fully do so has been a major chink in the armor of this storied liberation movement, no longer able to rest on its laurels after 17 years of being in charge of the country. Moreover, many people wonder if the party known for its principled stand on human rights and democracy is losing its moral footing. The ANC has been tainted by charges of endemic corruption, cronyism, internal squabbling and downright ineptitude. Although it still enjoys widespread support, many South Africansâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; faith in the ANC has been eroded by a constant string of scandals involving top officials lining their pockets with bribes and contract payoffs. In fact, the Special Investigating Unit of South Africa estimates that some $3.8 billion, a quarter of all government spending, is siphoned off through graft and overpayments. Zuma has also been criticized for trying to muzzle dissent, with a new bill passed in November that restricts the ability of journalists to report any information deemed to be a government secret. The legislation makes it a crime â&#x20AC;&#x201D; punishable by five to 25 years in jail â&#x20AC;&#x201D; to disseminate anything that any state agency regards as classified. Archbishop Tutu told the New York Times that â&#x20AC;&#x153;it was insulting to all South Africans to be asked to stomach legislation that could be used to outlaw whistleblowing and investigative journalism.â&#x20AC;? Rasool though defended the contentious law, insisting that his country has one of the worldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s freest media establishments, because its constitution allows the media to regulate itself.

February 2012


“What is at issue in South Africa is not freedom of press,” he told us.“In the U.S. and Britain, official classified documents only see the light of day 30 years later. South Africa wants to do the same, and it’s called an attack on press freedom.” But it’s not only the press law that has sparked outrage. Rasool himself has drawn criticism from detractors — both in media and government — who say he never should have been sent to Washington in the first place. In 2010, Stevens Mokgalapa, a member of the opposition Democratic Alliance, demanded Rasool’s immediate recall as ambassador following the ANC’s admission that he had been sacked as Western Cape premier because of alleged corrupt dealings with reporters. South African media reports at the time suggested that Rasool had paid journalists at the Cape Argus newspaper to write stories that made him look good. Former Argus political reporter Ashley Smith apparently confessed to his role in the scandal in an affidavit, saying he and fellow staffer Joe Aranes were offered money in exchange for writing positive articles about Rasool. He said both men also received government contracts for their firm, Inkwenkwezi Communications. But Rasool denies the accusations, which were raised as early as 2006. “I have consistently said that if anyone believes I did anything wrong, don’t go to the media. Go to the nearest police station. [Smith] said he never received money from me, even in the affidavit. I know there have been forensic investigations into media payments by the government when I was premier, and none of them have shown illegal payments to anyone, let alone direct payments to journalists,” he told The Diplomat.“So I’ve decided that, six years later, I’m not going to respond to any continued allegations in the absence of anyone making a substantial case about it.” Rasool said his priorities as ambassador now are to help South Africa overcome its enormous economic and social challenges.Those challenges were thrust onto the front pages of the world’s newspapers Jan. 10, when one woman was trampled to death and several dozen injured after a stampede at a public university in Johannesburg. Those in the crowd had formed a line nearly a mile long, waiting for a chance to apply for one of the university’s few openings in a country where a college degree offers the possibility of a decent job. The stampede, which took place only two days after the ANC’s 100th lavish birthday bash, was yet another reminder that South Africa — even though it boasts the most developed economy in Africa — still has a long way to go before it can join the ranks of first-world countries. For one thing, nearly 9 million of its 50 million people scrape by on less than $1.25 a day. And although the country has an annual per-capita GDP of more than $10,000, this varies dramatically from one province to the next.Tiny Gauteng, which encompasses both Johannesburg and Tshwane (Pretoria), is about half the size of Maryland, accounting for only 1.4 percent of South Africa’s land area. But it’s home to 20 percent of its population and contributes 33 percent of the country’s GDP (and 10 percent of the African continent’s total GDP as well). Northern Cape, on the other hand, takes up 30.5 percent of the country’s land area but is home to barely 1 million people and contributes only 2.4 percent of total GDP. Other social problems abound, from crime to AIDS. Johannesburg is considered one of the world’s most dangerous cities, and the country consistently ranks near the top when it comes to rape, murder, assault and robbery. That’s why the rich live in posh, highly secure gated communities, far from the townships where most crime occurs. And as of 2009, an estimated 5.6 million people were living with HIV and AIDS in South Africa, more than in any other country in the world. Nearly one in three women ages 25 to 29 and one in four men ages 30 to 34 are infected — yet in 2000, former President Thabo Mbeki attributed AIDS not to a virus but to poverty. Experts say Mbeki’s policy of AIDS denial led to the early February 2012

PHOTO: LARRY LUXNER

deaths of more than 330,000 South Africans. Zuma too has been disparaged as “the shower man” for once saying that he took a shower after having unprotected sex with an HIV-positive woman to prevent infection. “South Africa seems determined these days to earn its new identity as a regional superpower — the ‘S’ recently invited to join the booming BRIC economies of Brazil, Russia, India and China. [But] by sheer numbers alone, South Africa doesn’t deserve to belong to the BRIC countries,” says Eve Fairbanks, writing in the January/ February 2012 issues of Foreign Policy. “Its GDP and rate of economic growth rank below other emerging economies like Indonesia and Argentina. It has fewer people than Thailand and Iran, fewer exports than Malaysia and Turkey, and one of the world’s highest unemployment rates.” Fairbanks added: “South Africa’s reluctance to stand firm on moral issues stems not only from a desire to curry favor with wealthy pariahs, but also from a deeper tension over what kind of country it wants to be. South Africa may be a vacillating teenager now, but sooner or later it will have to decide what it wants to be when it grows up.” This explains why South Africa has embraced China and its lure of investment — and why the Zuma government refused to grant the Dalai Lama a visa to attend Tutu’s recent 80th birthday party in Cape Town. That led the beloved archbishop to tell stunned South African journalists that the ANC — which he said disregards the right of the people of Tibet for self-determination — was worse than the white minority regime, and that he would one day pray for its downfall, too. Pressed on the issue, Rasool said quite openly that “China is a major source of capital” and that his government does not want to offend Beijing. On the other hand, the ambassador noted that when he was premier of Western Cape province, he personally hosted the Dalai Lama on two occasions and showed him around. “The mistake may have been for him to have withdrawn his visa application without letting the pressure continue,” speculated Rasool.“There was a very big debate taking place, and I think he dissipated all that pressure by withdrawing.” But the bigger debate is about morality versus interests. “The Chinese are moving in because of a vacuum created by the United States,” he said.“I always tell U.S. investors who raise the China issue with me about that song, which says, ‘If you can’t be with the one you love, love the one you’re with.’ South Africa has to weigh a lot of considerations. We’d love to have the U.S. unemployment rate of 9 percent. Instead, we’ve got a 30 percent unemployment rate.We’d love to have educated, skilled workers. What we have instead is a vast number of unemployable people because apartheid did not give them the skills.We don’t have the luxury of choosing one morality over the other.” At the end of the day, he added, all countries

have interests. “For example, U.S. interests in the Middle East have caused it to turn a blind eye to the oppression of women, or the absence of freedom of religion. Do we approach our interests from a principled basis or from a utilitarian basis? I think South Africa would argue that how we would have resolved the conflict in Libya would have been very consistent with the way Nelson Mandela resolved the conflict with apartheid. We did not take our country to the brink of destruction, civil war or bloody revolution. We averted this by reaching out to our opponents, negotiating with them and finding a compromise. That is something we did for our own conflict, and it’s the hallmark of how we see ourselves resolving conflicts elsewhere.” To that end, Rasool defended Zuma’s May 2011

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visit to Tripoli against accusations that South Africa was coddling the Libyan dictator — even though South Africa loudly criticized the NATO bombing campaign against Qaddafi and refused to release $1.5 billion in assets to the rebels fighting to oust him. “President Zuma did not go to Libya to offer his support to Qaddafi but to negotiate an exit for Qaddafi that would not have resulted in bloodshed, bombing, destruction and his wanton killing,” the ambassador said.“In much the same way, South Africa intervened in Sudan when the West essentially wanted Omar al-Bashir’s head. Two years later, the state of South Sudan was formed. We averted an enormous amount of bloodshed.” Yet when it comes to neighboring Zimbabwe, South Africa’s record is less than stellar. It has been a steadfast supporter of President Robert Mugabe despite the 87-year-old strongman’s past human rights abuses and wholesale destruction of the Zimbabwean economy. Once again, Rasool defends South Africa’s foreign policy. “The United States and Europe have a default position of regime change. But in South Africa, we first created a government of national unity, where foes worked together, and then developed a common program to reform the economy. That recipe worked for us, and it’s beginning to yield enormous results in Sudan,” he argues. “The timelines are different in Zimbabwe,” he continued. “But the fact is, had we simply had a regime change there, the opposition MDC [Movement for Democratic Change] would never have had the support of the army. They would have faced a coup within a year.What South Africa negotiated was a government of unity that divided the government of Zimbabwe fairly equally, creating the basis for the revival of the Zimbabwean economy. And we are now in a situation where Mugabe wants elections but the MDC is saying no.”

Continued on next page

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2012 CENTENNIAL CELEBRATIONS Despite differing approaches to hotspots such as Sudan and Zimbabwe, Rasool says that these days, relations between Washington and Pretoria (renamed Tshwane) are quite close. “We’ve upgraded our relationship and we have strategic dialogue on an annual basis,” the ambassador said. He admitted that the fact President Obama is black “helps a lot.” “We have moved out of a very unilateral period under George W. Bush into a far more consultative multilateral period now under Obama. For example, we would have had issues with the war on terror under Bush, but we voted for U.N. Resolution 1973 — which tightened sanctions against Qaddafi — because President Obama did it through the Security Council rather than take unilateral U.S. decisions. So it’s not simply the fact that you have a black president.There’s a different way of doing things now. Maybe the U.S. has a reduced appetite and reduced resources for unilateral foreign adventures, and needs more partners in the way in which if often polices the world.” Yet a big part of Rasool’s job is maintaining bilateral ties in a way that supersedes who occupies the White House.To that end, he says his top priority as ambassador is preserving the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). The act, signed into law in May 2000, eliminates U.S. duties and tariffs on thousands of export items ranging from fabrics to footwear. “AGOA comes up for review in 2015, but we need to have assurance in 2012 that it will continue,” said Rasool. “One of our major tasks this year is to persuade Congress and the Obama administration to keep it in place, because it benefits not only Africa but the United States as well.” Thanks to AGOA, he said, South Africa exports

PHOTO: CREDIT

A rainbow appears over the Steenberg winery near Cape Town, South Africa. Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s dream of a “rainbow nation” has given way to a murky future for many South Africans. Despite the historic achievements of the African National Congress in defeating apartheid, South Africa has yet to truly conquer its lingering wealth — and racial — divide.

nearly $8 billion worth of goods to the United States annually — from wine and orange juice to nuclear isotopes and Mercedes-Benz C-class cars. The Export-Import Bank of the United States, for example, recently approved a $6 billion loan for South African power utility Eskom to build a power plant. Last February, the Ex-Im Bank also guaranteed a $100 million loan to South African rail network Transnet so that it could buy locomotives from General Electric. That deal is keeping 600 people working at a GE factory in Erie, Pennsylvania. “AGOA started off as a U.S. benefit to Africa, but in a very strange way, it could be the salvation

of the U.S. economy,” said Rasool.“Our small farmers export their products to the United States; they graduate into commercial farmers. That’s why John Deere has opened a plant just north of the airport in Johannesburg to supply them with equipment. In much the same way, entrepreneurs are able to sell goods to the U.S. duty-free thanks to AGOA. Their family businesses have become commercial businesses, and now they need computers to keep their businesses globally connected. So IBM and Dell have had major surges in the South African market.” To that end, Rasool said he’ll soon host a visiting delegation from the Eastern Cape provincial

government hoping to find U.S. investors to set up shop at the new deepwater Port of Coega (also known as Ngqura) in Port Elizabeth. “We’ll be reaching out to the automotive industry to set up plants to serve the growing African middle class,” he added. “We’re very happy that Ford has also decided to make all its pickup trucks for the African continent there.” Business will certainly be on the agenda this year as the South African Embassy celebrates the ANC’s 100th anniversary in a yearlong campaign being dubbed South Africa 2012. But so will history, philosophy, culture and jazz, with a slew of events throughout the United States honoring the ANC centennial, as well as America’s support of the liberation struggle. Among the lineup of events: a festival of ideas in Washington, D.C., a film festival in Los Angeles, an arts and culture festival in New York, and a jazz festival in Chicago. “One of the highlights of our celebration will be a teaming up with the James Madison Center in Virginia, and a festival of ideas,” Rasool said. “If James Madison, arguably the architect of the U.S. constitution, and Nelson Mandela could have a conversation today, how would they alter the 225-year-old U.S. constitution and the 16-year-old South African constitution?” In the midst of such lofty ideas, statue dedications and partying, the star of the show, Mandela himself, may not be anywhere in sight. “He’s as frail as a 93-year-old can be. He’s not traveling anymore,” said Rasool. “It’s not even certain whether he’ll attend the ANC celebrations. Tuberculosis has affected his lungs badly, and his eyes suffer from having worked in the lime quarries. But he remains remarkably strong, and has a wonderful spirit. For us, it’s a wonderful opportunity to memorialize Mr. Mandela in a country that has shown him nothing but love and respect.”

Larry Luxner is news editor of The Washington Diplomat.

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February 2012


INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

Criminal Justice

Correcting Corrections Worldwide: Best Practices Reforming Prisons by Carolyn Cosmos

W

hen Pope Benedict XVI visited one of Italy’s biggest prisons shortly before Christmas, he called its overcrowding and degradations a “double sentence,” Reuters reported. The Italian government had announced reforms to Rome’s Rebibbia Prison only two days before the pontiff’s visit. The Italian government is hardly alone in its struggle to instill order behind bars: As of January 2011, 10 million people were incarcerated worldwide, an alltime high, according to the Global Commission on Drug Policy, and overcrowding is “the biggest single problem facing prison systems” around the world, including the United States. It endangers inmate health and prevents prisons from functioning as they should, added an October 2011 report by the nonprofit Penal Reform International. In short, civilian prisons everywhere are packed and problematic — and it’s not just an issue of treating criminals humanely; it’s a larger issue of ensuring that the entire corrections system works, keeping both inmates and society safe. But even the best prisons don’t currently work that well. For example, Norway’s prisons are highly rated by the World Justice Project’s Rule of Law Index, but a fifth of those incarcerated in that country wind up behind bars again. The recidivism rate in the United States is more than double Norway’s. And one of the worst offenders is Mexico, whose jails, recently profiled in The Diplomat, are in “a state of shambles and oftentimes a haven of crime” (also see “Locked Up But Let Loose:The Sorry State of Mexican Jails” in the January 2012 issue). Fixing up the state of prisons worldwide is gaining steam on the back of rigorous science and data. These “best practices” rely on research, evidence-based operations and measurable outcomes — and while such academia-laden reforms may not sound especially exciting, they may be key to improving and strengthening criminal justice systems, an ugly but integral part of any functioning society. And the issue is a huge one for the United States, home to the most prisoners on the planet. As former President Jimmy Carter pointed out in a New York Times op-ed last summer, “At the end of 1980, just before I left office, 500,000 people were incarcerated in America; at the end of 2009 the number was nearly 2.3 million. There are 743 people in prison for every 100,000 Americans, a higher portion than in any other country and seven times as great as in Europe. Some 7.2 million people are either in prison or on probation or parole — more than 3 percent of all American adults!” The burgeoning prison population is a significant drain on taxpayer money, especially if not managed properly. So the United States has been turning to this notion of best prison practices to revamp its corrections mindset, while also reaching out to international partners and finding a unique niche for bilateral cooperation. The best practices approach is rooted in Canada, but over the last decade it has spread across the United States and been adopted by major corrections and gov-

February 2012

PHOTO: MARYLAND DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY AND CORRECTIONAL SERVICES

There are no magical pills in corrections. That said, the research is clear in showing that programs that conform to best practices achieve substantial reductions in recidivism, upward of 20 percent. — FRANCIS CULLEN

research professor at the University of Cincinnati’s School of Criminal Justice

ernment organizations, according to one of its developers, Canadian Paul Gendreau, founder of the Centre for Criminal Justice Studies and professor emeritus of psychology at the University of New Brunswick-Saint John. Gendreau told The Diplomat that best prison practices are well known in Britain and New Zealand, where he was asked to introduce the idea to corrections officials in the late 1980s.“The Scandinavian countries have always had progressive policies,” Gendreau noted. Complementing this approach are standards set by the United Nations, starting with the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the adoption of rules for the treatment of prisoners in 1955. The U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime also helps countries build and reform prison systems with a special focus on community-based “restorative justice” efforts, and since 1999, U.N. peacekeeping operations have provided support to prison systems using a best practices model. The United States has also embraced the paradigm: The National Institute of Corrections (NIC), part of the Department of Justice, provides training and technical assistance to corrections agencies throughout the

The flag from the nation of Georgia joins the lobby of Maryland’s Police and Correctional Training Commissions Public Safety Education and Training Center. After an international graduation, each country that trained with Maryland officials puts its flag on permanent display there. Says training director Gene Farmer, “Our building is starting to look like the United Nations.”

United States and since the late 1990s has incorporated “evidence-based practices” into its efforts. However, Gendreau and his longtime colleague Francis Cullen of the University of Cincinnati’s School of Criminal Justice caution that these evidence-based interventions have practical limitations. “It is important to realize that a ‘best practice’ is not a panacea,” Cullen told The Diplomat. “There are no magical pills in corrections. That said, the research is clear in showing that programs that conform to best practices achieve substantial reductions in recidivism, upward of 20 percent, and that nearly all punitively oriented corrections programs are based on no empirical evidence that they work.” Examples of punitive approaches include prison “boot camps,” humiliation strategies and the overuse of solitary confinement. While the “punitive era” in corrections that started in the 1970s in the United States “may have peaked,” Gendreau said, there is a lingering “lack of respect for scientific knowledge.” Nevertheless, best practices are generally accepted today in professional circles — but the bigger problem now is implementation: finding the funds, the political will and the managerial savvy to put proven approaches into practice. Interestingly, several local systems are doing just that, aided by the State Department and its international partners in a little-known diplomatic collaboration to improve criminal justice both at home and abroad. The State Department has teamed up with local law enforcement institutions in five states — Maryland, Colorado, Nebraska, New Mexico and California —

Continued on next page The Washington Diplomat Page 21


Continued from previous page under programs run by its Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL). The goal is two-fold: enhance state-level law enforcement capabilities through federally funded corrections training, while also helping other nations such as Mexico, Haiti and Afghanistan achieve greater security through the professionalization of their police and corrections officers. International partners tour corrections sites in the United States and learn about best practices at certain standout facilities. INL’s focus on state prisons in the United States started around 2009, when the office began examining facilities with particular strengths, in consultation with the American Correctional Association and various international partners. The training is aimed at middle and upper management, an INL corrections official told us — people who can return to their own countries, adapt what they learned to their needs, and train their own staffs. More than 20 different countries have already taken part in the INL state-prison training programs. International guests have said they found the hands-on immersion experiences valuable. Training includes facility tours, team-building exercises, and the sharing of ideas. For example, California, though recognized as having a highly troubled prison system, was nevertheless chosen by INL for its expertise in emergency preparedness and managing prison populations during manmade or natural disasters such as earthquakes, as well as its experience dealing with prison gangs. It’s already offered corrections professionals from other countries flood-simulation training exercises.

New Mexico has a prison training academy, and Colorado provides best practices in transporting prisoners securely as well as in job training. Nebraska has an innovative female offender program, while Maryland specializes in probation and parole issues, according to the State Department. Maryland’s Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services has a number of innovative programs, in fact, that attract international visitors for tours and training, reported the department’s director of public information, Mark Vernarelli.“We do a lot of training for parole and probation agents,” he said, noting recent delegations from Mexico and the country of Georgia. A new maximum-security prison in Cumberland, Md., has also hosted delegations from Saudi Arabia, Georgia, the Palestinian territories and Canada, while Baltimore’s city jail and pretrial division have hosted delegations from Russia and Ukraine. Vernarelli said a number of groups have been particularly interested in programs that give low-security inmates meaningful community work projects. “We have inmates doing oyster repopulation and tree planting, cemetery restoration, and Habitat for Humanity home building,” Vernarelli explained. “Our K-9 unit was the first in the nation to breed and train its own cell-phone sniffing dogs, and we have trained a number of foreign nations’ K-9 units,” he added, noting that one British group wanted to learn about Maryland’s special prison programs for war veterans. Gene Farmer is a Maryland instructor and the community supervision administrator for the state’s Police and Correctional Training

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Page 22

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SIDEBAR

Worst Offenders Worldwide The World Justice Project’s 2011 Rule of Law Index is a quantitative assessment tool of the American Bar Association that is put together by 2,000 experts worldwide, with a long list of funders that includes the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and LexisNexis. Part of the drive in the corrections industry to create more reliable data (see main story), the index ranks countries on eight factors, such as “absence of corruption,” “order and security,” “fundamental rights,” “open government” and — factor eight — “effective criminal justice.” According to index rankings, the criminal

Commissions. He headed a 10-day probation and pre-release training for Mexican prison officials last July that highlighted topics such as risk assessment and HIV/AIDS, as well as incorporating evidence-based practices. Maryland’s corrections system has been noted for its commitment to science-based drive to reduce recidivism and substance abuse while increasing the employability of inmates. Farmer’s training program started at 9 in the morning and ended at 10 p.m. It featured field trips to prisons where visitors could practice new skills in real-world simulations, as well as visits to notable tourist sites and some shopping stops in downtown D.C.The training is followed by a delegation’s graduation ceremony, whereby officials place the flag of the guest nation on permanent display in the training center’s lobby. To prepare for a delegation from Georgia, Farmer met with representatives in D.C. and then traveled overseas to visit Georgian prisons and “see what their needs were” in a visit funded by the State Department. Important aspects of the programs for both Georgian and Mexican delegations, he said, were methods to identify and supervise high-risk versus low-risk offenders emerging from prison and how to make “non-intrusive” home visits to someone on parole. Farmer and his team advise delegates “to take the ideas and concepts of what research shows has worked and make them yours” because “every country has its distinctive history, philosophy and traditions.” Also under INL’s aegis, a delegation of nine female corrections professionals fromAfghanistan traveled to Nebraska last October as part of a cooperative agreement between the State Department and the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services, which has also hosted groups from Costa Rica and Tunisia. The Afghan contingency studied areas of particular concern to that country’s women’s prisons, including nursery care, prisoner classification, educational and vocational programming, as well as reintegration programs. The training included ways to search visitors, setting up systems for keeping track of keys, religious activities among inmates, and women’s health and infant care.The Nebraska Correctional Center for Women in York is one of only about nine in the United States that has an infant nursery on site, a practice more common in other countries. The prison screens pregnant inmates for nursery use and babies are limited to 18-month stays, “so we try to select mothers who’ll be released by then so they won’t be separated,” explained the facility’s warden, John Dahm. The delegation also visited the city of Lincoln

justice “top 10” nations are, in order, Norway, the Chinese territory of Hong Kong, New Zealand, United Arab Emirates, Singapore, Netherlands, Sweden, Austria, Germany and Canada. The United States is number 20, behind the Czech Republic, Japan, Britain, Estonia, Australia, Italy, Poland, Belgium and Spain. (The United States is faulted for discrimination against minorities and lower-income populations.) In the bottom rung of the 66 nations ranked for criminal justice effectiveness are Kyrgyzstan and Pakistan, followed by Bolivia, Mexico, Bulgaria, Liberia and Venezuela.

for shopping and relaxation, and the local Afghan community there hosted a dinner for the group — as did, later, the warden and his wife. Dahm, a former history professor who eats lunch with inmates every day, said:“We learned a lot too, and the visit was good for our staff — an eye opener for some of them.” Meanwhile, Colorado has turned the site of a former women’s prison in the south central part of the state into a new international training center that has hosted INL-sponsored delegations from Mexico, Brazil, Honduras and Afghanistan, among others. Colorado’s new corrections director, Tom Clements, recently told The Diplomat that he hopes to make “evidence-based practices the focus of the entire Colorado prison system.We’re in transition right now, as we focus on data analysis,” he said, noting that no one-size-fits-all approach works and that best practices must be adapted to individual facilities. One of the areas of expertise for which Colorado has already earned distinction is the so-called field of prison industries, which teaches offenders work skills to find jobs after their release. Jack Laughlin, a manger with Colorado Correctional Industries, said the system aims to give jobs to 20 percent of its inmates, though it doesn’t always reach that goal. Colorado’s international visitors are typically senior corrections officials interested in the state’s job-training incentives system, Laughlin said. Programs such as the furniture shop unit offer such incentives: If an inmate-made item is returned by a customer, for example, the whole shop team loses money, but that same team can jointly earn a “production bonus” for exceptionally good work, Laughlin explained. Other programs train inmates to be fire crews or do website work.There are even a number of farm initiatives, including a large goat dairy and cheesemaking site and a water buffalo program. Another area of shared expertise is high-risk transport: getting inmates to a hospital or another prison.“We also cover case management, various custody levels and general incentives for positive behavior,” Laughlin told us in a phone interview — with everything based on best practices.

Carolyn Cosmos is a contributing writer for The Washington Diplomat.

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February 2012


BOOK REVIEW

‘The U.S. Senate’

‘From Deliberation to Dysfunction’ Probes Senate’s Debilitating Paralysis by John Shaw

W

hile the people of the United States are deeply divided on many political issues, there is one thing that unites almost all Americans: profound disappointment in, and even disgust for, the U.S. Congress. With each new poll, it seems fewer and fewer Americans believe the government’s legislative branch is doing its job responsibly and competently. Recent polls have shown the congressional approval rating has sunk to near single digits. And some political analysts — and even a few legislators themselves — have quipped that they are surprised the approval rating is even that high, given the years of partisan acrimony and perpetual gridlock. The Senate is often the target of the most withering criticism.With its arcane rules and complex procedures that befuddle many Americans, let alone the rest of the world, nearly all legislation now requires 60 votes to pass in the Senate. As a result, the upper chamber has become a legislative graveyard for many presidential initiatives as well as bills that originate in the House and are approved by overwhelming majorities in the lower chamber. “The U.S. Senate: From Deliberation to Dysfunction,” edited by Burdett Loomis, offers a dozen essays by leading congressional scholars that analyze various aspects of the modern Senate. The essays were first presented as papers at a conference hosted in March 2010 by the Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics at the University of Kansas that examined how the Senate has evolved over the past 50 years. The essays in this book are both challenging and illuminating and provide valuable insights for those willing to wade through some of the arcane details behind Senate rules and procedures. Readers will not leave this book expecting the Senate to become a more functional body any time soon, but they will better understand the historical forces that have created the modern Senate and appreciate how difficult it will be to change the body.The book is also a useful resource for politicos scrutinizing the upcoming presidential election, offering a glimpse into a less well-known but critical branch of the U.S. political system. Respected analysts of the Senate such as Ross Baker from Rutgers University, Sarah Binder of the George Washington University, Burdett Loomis from the University of Kansas and Barbara Sinclair of UCLA offer well-written, perceptive essays that, in total, offer a broad and nuanced picture of the contemporary Senate. Several themes emerge from these essays. First, many of the scholars observe that the United States is now a very politically polarized nation in which many states are either strongly Democratic (blue) or strongly Republican (red), with relatively few states likely to shift party allegiance from election to election (purple). Alan Abramowitz of Emory University, in an essay called “U.S. Senate Elections in a Polarized Era,” notes that in the 2008 presidential race between Barack Obama and John McCain, of the seven most populous states, only Florida and Ohio were decided by less than 5 percent of the vote,

February 2012

In today’s Senate, each party assumes that the other party will fully exploit its procedural options…. The minority is quick to obstruct and the majority is quick to restrict. Senators of both parties are frustrated by what has become of their institution. — STEVEN SMITH professor at Washington University

while New York, California and Illinois were all decided by more than 20 percent. He argues the nation’s political polarization is reflected in the Senate and has made bipartisan cooperation difficult. Sharp party divisions strengthen the hand of Senate leaders who appear willing to fight over almost every issue. Another theme described by several of the scholars is that the Democratic and Republican parties have become far more ideologically cohesive and thus are also more divergent from each other. Several decades ago, the two parties were broad coalitions with liberal, moderate and conservative factions. Liberal Republicans in the Senate often worked closely with liberal Democrats while conservative Republicans frequently collaborated with conservative Democrats. This cross-party cooperation has all but disappeared, largely because there are few liberal Republicans or conservative Democrats left. The

Democratic party is now a liberal party and the Republican party is now a conservative party; as a result, the two parties profoundly disagree on many fundamental issues. With American politics and the Senate sharply polarized, individual senators find it increasingly difficult and even risky to cross the aisle and work with members of the other party. Several of the scholars tell the same anecdote in which Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky forcefully admonished his fellow Republican senators in 2009 and 2010 not to work with Democrats so the GOP would be in a better position to do well in the 2010 mid-term elections. Frances Lee, a professor at the University of Maryland, argues in an essay called “Individual and Partisan Activism on the Senate Floor” that the modern Senate is a “body in which an independent-minded senator complains of feeling lonely and undervalued, unable to find a place amidst warring parties and ideologies.” Several of the scholars also observe that the modern Senate has in fact become more politically volatile than the House and as a result, it doesn’t play its intended role as the bastion of calm analysis, sober thought and considered judgment in the American political system. (Senators serve a term of six years, as opposed to members of the House who must seek re-election ever two years.) Since 1980, party control of the Senate has changed six times — in 1980, 1986, 1994, 2001, 2002 and 2006 — while control of the House has changed only three times — in 1994, 2006 and 2010. With control of the Senate in play in virtually every election cycle, there is fierce pressure on senators to tow the party line and embrace its political message so the party can secure the majority in the next election. Senate leaders in turn discourage their colleagues from seeking alliances with counterparts from the other party to solve problems. Still another theme that emerges is the prevalence and power of the filibuster in the Senate. Rooted in the Senate’s tradition of unlimited debate, senators today use the filibuster as a delaying tactic to kill legislation they don’t like. Once used sparingly and only for major legislation, filibusters are now a routine maneuver to block even the consideration of minor bills. For a diplomatic audience, several essays in “The U.S. Senate: From Deliberation to Dysfunction” are likely to be especially illuminating. James Lindsay, an expert on Congress and foreign policy at the Council on Foreign Relations, contributes a valuable essay titled “The Senate and Foreign Policy” in which he identifies several phases in the body’s involvement in foreign policy over the last 50 years. He refers to the period extending from the 1950s through the 1960s as “Consent Without Advice.” During this time, the Senate was usually willing to follow the lead of the president, and there was considerable bipartisan deference to the executive branch. Both parties were persuaded of the need for strong presidential leadership in foreign policy and encouraged the commander in chief to be assertive. “This is not to say that the Senate slavishly followed the White House’s lead. Senators could be counted on to

Continued on next page The Washington Diplomat Page 23


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quibble with the details of the annual foreign aid budget and from time to time they demanded that more be spent on defense. But much of the Senate’s activity on foreign policy addressed marginal issues,” Lindsay writes. Then came a period he labels “Reclaiming Advice” from the 1970s through the 1980s when the Senate sought to assert itself on foreign policy matters, with mixed results. Lindsay argues that Senate activism did not translate into commensurate influence over foreign policy. “Senators discovered that powers easily surrendered are not easily recaptured,” he writes. But there was an expansion of authority. For example, the Senate spearheaded passage of the War Powers Resolution in 1973 that sought to reassert the central role of Congress when it comes to taking the nation into war. The Church Committee, led by Democratic Sen. Frank Church of Idaho, conducted an aggressive probe of the U.S. intelligence community, and the Senate was at the forefront of efforts to cut off funding for the Vietnam War. Lindsay describes a third period, extending from the 1990s until now, as “Advice, But Not Necessarily Consent.” Senators today frequently clash with the White House over foreign policy. With the collapse of the Soviet Union,America’s Cold War rival, lawmakers feel less constrained about challenging the administration on virtually all aspects of foreign policy.As an example, senators butted heads with the Clinton administration over relations with China, involvement in the Balkans, assistance to Mexico, combat operations in Somalia, trade policy and missile defense. An embattled President Bill Clinton described congressional assertiveness, much of it emanating from the Senate, as “nothing less than a frontal assault on the authority of the president to conduct the foreign policy of the United States.” Lindsay argues that this tendency toward unrelenting confrontation was illustrated in the 1999 defeat of the Comprehensive NuclearTest-Ban Treaty. Lindsay says it marked only the 18th time in U.S. history that the Senate rejected a treaty — and it occurred after Clinton and 62 senators, including 24 Republicans, tried to delay the vote. But a group of conservative senators, sensing they were poised to defeat a key Clinton initiative, rejected pleas to delay the vote and forced the final rejection. Lindsay concludes by disputing those who contend that bipartisanship in Congress over foreign policy has been the historic rule rather than the exception. “Partisanship in foreign policy has been more the norm than the exception in U.S. history and the two parties’ deep divisions on America’s interests in the world and how to pursue them ensures that it will continue,” he writes. Another essay of particular interest to diplomatic readers is Bruce Oppenheimer’s “Congress and Energy Policy 1960-2010: A Long Term Evaluation.” Oppenheimer, a profes-

sor at Vanderbilt University, examines how effective 25 Congresses and 10 presidential administrations have been in developing a national energy policy over the last half century. A sound energy policy, after all, is critical to the health of the American economy and the nation’s ability to project power in the world. Oppenheimer breaks the last half century down into five distinct periods and finds that despite occasional epi sodes of purposeful action and wise policies, both the House and Senate have largely failed to produce coherent energy policies that have served the national interest. “If there is one major overall theme, it is that the successful short-term accountability provided by the American electoral system has undermined Congress’s capabilities to develop effective long-term policy solutions (or at least, policy resolutions) to the energy issues that face the country,” he writes. Put differently, he argues lawmakers have been more focused on the next election than crafting sustainable energy policies that help the country, with few political costs for maintaining the status quo. Oppenheimer expands his conclusion to similar impasses on health care, Social Security, deficit reduction and immigration reform. “Unless there is a visible crisis or the costs can be widely dispersed, deferred or remain nontraceable, significant policy change rarely occurs in the contemporary context.The focus on electoral costs is too great in a system with frequent opportunities for voters to hold officeholders accountable,” he writes. Oppenheimer adds that with control of the Senate now virtually in play every two years, it has become overly responsive to transitory shifts in public preferences.“The Senate of the last half century has grown increasingly divorced from its traditional role. Its unique ability within the institutional framework of American democracy to pursue the country’s longer-term policy interests rather than being responsive to the whims of the electorate has eroded,” he concludes. None of the essays in this volume predict significant changes in the Senate in the near term.Steven Smith,a professor from Washington University, in an essay called, “The Senate Syndrome,” says the current deadlock appears intractable as Democrats and Republicans battle for ascendancy. “In today’s Senate, each party assumes that the other party will fully exploit its procedural options — the majority party assumes the minority party will obstruct legislation and the minority assumes that the majority will restrict its opportunities,” Smith writes. “Leaders are expected to fully exploit the rules in the interests of their parties. The minority is quick to obstruct and the majority is quick to restrict. Senators of both parties are frustrated by what has become of their institution.”

John Shaw is a contributing writer for The Washington Diplomat.

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Page 24

The Washington Diplomat

February 2012


POLITICS

Washington, D.C.

Institute for Education Courts Big Players to Revive Civility by Patrick Corcoran or the past 20 years, the Institute for Education has sought to serve as a bastion of calm and civility amid a political culture rife with polarization and partisanship.

F

This is, of course, not an easy task, and in today’s heated political climate, it’s somewhat of a novelty. But the D.C.-based nonprofit organization, which was founded by and is the brainchild of CEO and “coach” Kathy Kemper, has had success in bringing together and fostering a dialogue among diverse representatives from business, politics, diplomacy and media over the past two decades. Those 20 years in pursuit of civility was the occasion of a Dec. 7 banquet at the stately residence of Belgian Ambassador Jan Matthysen to honor the Institute for Education (IFE) and its mission of “making world affairs our business.”The event, dubbed “Looking Forward, Looking Back,” was attended by a collection of politicians, diplomats and corporate leaders emblematic of the heavyweights who have supported IFE’s signature public policy roundtables over the years. These IFE-INFO roundtables have become a staple on the Washington circuit, bringing together an eclectic range of luminaries such as Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, former White House Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton while she was a New York senator, former CIA Director Michael Hayden, Undersecretary of State for Economic, Energy and Agricultural Affairs Robert Hormats, D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier, and ambassadors from Egypt, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Kazakhstan, Monaco and Norway, among many others. “Greetings sports fans” is how Kemper — a seasoned tennis coach — welcomes her roundtable guests, and it was her opening at the Dec. 7 tribute dinner as well. “For 20 years we’ve had the privilege of asking the questions, hearing the answers, and engaging with our speakers, usually gathering for breakfast before the rest of the town has had their first cup of coffee,” she told her guests. “We’ve had more than 200 distinguished speakers promoting civility and finding common ground,” she proudly added, noting that “for the last two decades we’ve enjoyed hearing from U.S. Supreme Court justices, House and Senate leaders, Nobel Laureates, Pulitzer Prize winners, ambassadors, cabinet secretaries, governors, mayors, a vice president of the United States, and senior members of the fourth estate.” Belgium Ambassador Matthysen, an IFE diplomatic steward, chimed in, adding a Miss America to that list of speakers and praising the institute as a “wonderful network to get to know new friends in Washington” — high-powered ones at that. “IFE has been ahead of the game for some time now — stressing civility and dialogue at the expense of knee-jerk partisanship. It works,” wrote Pulitzer Prizewinning New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman of the group. “The people who attend IFE events February 2012

PHOTO: INSTITUTE FOR EDUCATION

Participants in the LearnServe Egypt student exchange program stand in front of the Qaitbay Citadel in Alexandria. LearnServe is the latest initiative of the Institute for Education, which for 20 years has worked to promote political civility and common ground.

Everything has to have an element of conviviality and friendship and fun. — KATHY KEMPER

founder of the Institute for Education

understand that they are absolutely expected to make their points without holding back, but they know that IFE is different — there is good humor, fellowship, and a spirit of collaboration. And IFE attracts the nation’s leading officials as speakers, as well as an audience of who’s who in Washington. IFE has been and continues to be at the forefront of ‘changing the way Washington works.’” In an interview with The Washington Diplomat, Kemper said that despite operating within the partisan vacuum, her guests, even the political big shots among them, virtually always respect the overarching message of civility. “Everybody it seems that has come responds to it very affirmatively, and embraces it, and thinks it’s a very important component,” Kemper said. She added that they all believe in “solving problems and collaborating and building trust” as an antidote to the prevailing lack of comity, both across the country and inside the Beltway. In addition to fighting the good fight on civility at home, the institute has also developed an international

program, seeking to build links between Washington and the rest of the world. And it’s increasingly worked to engage the next generation of leaders in its efforts. To that end, IFE hosts spinoff roundtables exploring topics such as emerging markets, media and technology, and “NextGen” talks. It also launched the Youth Global Citizenship Initiative to build a sense of international consciousness among young participants, many of whom Kemper has taken under her wing and who are often seen at her high-profile events. IFE’s most ambitious endeavor has been its LearnServe educational exchange program, which debuted last summer. For six weeks as part of LearnServe Egypt, six students from American universities and six Egyptian students and recent graduates collaborated in teams, both in person and via social media, to create entrepreneurship projects that proposed business solutions to social problems in the Arab world and beyond. The participants from U.S. institutions including Johns Hopkins University,American University,Lafayette College and the University of Pennsylvania traveled to Cairo for two weeks to meet their Egyptian counterparts and brainstorm ideas with marketing professors from the American University at Cairo, CEOs of technology start-ups, and other business leaders, including Wael Fakharany, country manager of Google Egypt.The Egyptian students likewise traveled to the United States for a two-week visit, meeting with some of IFE’s supporters, such as John Hamre, president and CEO of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (also

Continued on next page The Washington Diplomat Page 25


Continued from previous page see “LearnServe Egypt Exchange Seizes Moment of Opportunity” in the September 2011 issue of The Washington Diplomat). “We have an exchange with American and Egyptian kids and they work on social entrepreneurship,” Kemper explained, adding that the institute can serve as an alternate channel of communications for nations when needed. “If countries are having issues with each other, we will be on call, often through the back door, to try and facilitate some sort of understanding or respect and try to find some answers to problems.” The institute first began working to find solutions to world problems at an unexpected place: the tennis court — a reminder that sports can often be a unifying arena for building camaraderie and dropping partisan guards. Kemper, a longtime tennis pro who has coached various senators and officials in several presidential administrations, says it started with an idea from her husband. “My husband Jim Valentine suggested to me that I should invite some of my tennis students that I was coaching … to get together with some of his people and have breakfast. It would be small and off the record and educational and be a nice dialogue with people,” she recalled. The initial get-together seemed to be enjoyable and edifying for all involved, so Kemper repeated it. And repeated it again. And again. Eventually, her sessions developed a reputation, and people began seeking her out to request invitations. At that point, Kemper turned what had been a periodic and informal gathering into something much more enduring: the Institute for Education. After decades spent on D.C. tennis courts, Kemper has the skinny on the skills of a number of White House bigwigs. Of the current administration, she says Gene Sperling, director of the National Economic Council, is probably the most skilled player. She also singles out James Baker

A signature of the Institute for Education (IFE) has been its IFE-INFO roundtables, the 20th anniversary of which was recently fêted with a reception at the Belgian Residence featuring some of the high-profile names who’ve headlined past discussions, including former CIA Director Michael Hayden, second from right, pictured with his wife Jeanine, IFE founder and CEO Kathy Kemper and her husband Jim Valentine.

(Ronald Reagan’s White House chief of staff and secretary of the treasury and George H.W. Bush’s secretary of state), Lloyd Bentsen (Bill Clinton’s treasury secretary), and Larry Summers (also Clinton’s treasury secretary, as well as a just-departed member of the Obama administration) as the Roger Federers and Rafael Nadals of previous administrations. These men together have decades of service at the highest level of the executive branch in very different administrations, but Kemper laments that the personal relations among partisan rivals are now fraying and disappearing altogether. Kemper says she particularly noticed a change in tone around the turn of the century, when reactions to her proposed tennis matches began to change. Instead of signing up to square off against whomever Kemper had lined up, political operatives began to make sure that they didn’t have to share the court with their adversaries. That wasn’t always the case; tennis used to be just tennis, rather than another theater of partisan warfare.“Years ago when one of my students would say let’s play some doubles, no one would ever ask who was playing, because they would trust me to pull together a good doubles game,” Kemper said. She pointed to the invasion of Iraq as a possi-

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PHOTO: KYLE SAMPERTON / INSTITUTE FOR EDUCATION

ble source of the civility-eroding acrimony. Tensions were so inflamed that no one around Washington was willing to put differences of opinion aside and build personal friendships based on other activities, such as, of course, tennis. For that reason, underlying all of the institute’s events is an emphasis on sociability. “Everything has to have an element of conviviality and friendship and fun,” she said. “And I think in Washington that’s a very important component, because we have a lot of people that are very smart, very academic and intellectual, and it’s important that people remember that laughter is healthy.” But she declines to blame either party for the growing gap between the two. Her writing — she has a column for the Huffington Post and has blogged for the Hill — is decidedly nonpartisan,

and hits many of the same notes that drive the institute’s mission. “We’re not really political,” she said. “I never really take a stand on one thing or another. My stand is always that we try to look at the positive. And focus on the commonality, and embrace that.” Kemper does, however, point to structural factors in electoral politics as eroding the civility of generations past. She blames expensive campaigns and the need for legislators to constantly concentrate on fundraising as a big part of the problem. Such efforts take politicians away from their colleagues, reduce the opportunity for the sort of conviviality the institute seeks to cultivate, and instead encourages them to fire up their donor base. For her part, Kemper says she’s not a born fundraiser, and that she has struggled with that aspect of running a foundation, noting that IFE is constantly focused on making the best use of its resources and connections. Nonetheless, after 20 years, the group is clearly doing something right.While the institute remains a small operation in a sea of mammoth think tanks and foundations, Kemper says she is thrilled with the niche her organization has found. “I am especially proud of the team and the institution that IFE has grown into, to be a real integral part of public policy life and making world affairs our business. We’re a very, very small organization … and I am very proud of the positive and important footprint we have [had] over the last 20 years.”

Patrick Corcoran is a contributing writer for The Washington Diplomat.

from page 9

North Korea for imposing conditions on food aid — among them, bypassing the state’s public food distribution system, requiring on-theground nutritional surveys, and dispensing cooked food directly to school children. But he stressed that cutting off food assistance altogether because of tensions with the government would be “a preposterous idea,” because “we are running this program for the people who are the victims of the North Korean government.” Also speaking at the event, Marcus Noland, deputy director of the Peterson Institute for International Economics, said that food aid is a moral imperative and should continue regardless if it strengthens the regime. One North Korean migrant who escaped to China told reporter Peter Foster of the Telegraph that even if the military skims off the aid, it will still help average people.“It is true that hardly any of it will come to us ordinary people. It will be sold [on the black market], and the government officials and the army will make all the money,” she said. “The people will get very little — but it will be enough to help people to survive.” The moral impetus to help a volatile adversary may fall on deaf ears in a U.S. election year, though, especially one that’s overshadowed by economic problems at home and foreign policy crises like Iran. Nevertheless, Abramowitz chided President Obama for dawdling on a humanitarian matter that he says should be separated from politics. “Despite incessant pleas in the past nine months by U.N. agencies and American and international humanitarian organizations to meet the urgent food needs of numerous women and children in North Korea, the Obama administration has refused to provide help,” he wrote, arguing that the gov-

CREDIT: UN PHOTO / JAMES BU

Nursery school children in a village northwest of Pyongyang receive rations of food in 1997, a decade when a million or more North Koreans died from starvation.

ernment won’t admit the real reasons for not providing such aid, “namely that North Korea is genuinely an abhorrent country, that there is no domestic political benefit in providing aid, and that both Congress and our ally South Korea have been vehemently opposed.The United States is seeking political benefit from the North, but can we continue to insist on our commitment to humanitarianism while letting politics dominate in this case?” Yet with a food deal reportedly imminent before the dear leader’s demise, and his successor signaling some willingness to pursue the issue, Sigal told The Diplomat that he’s hopeful the Obama administration will seize the chance to right an off-track policy. “They could have moved a lot sooner. But even worse, they didn’t negotiate,” Sigal said, pointing out that the administration has engaged in fewer meetings with the North Koreans than any U.S. presidency. “But they are now on the right track. Maybe it won’t work, but I’ll tell you what certainly won’t work, which is not negotiating.”

Patrick Corcoran is a contributing writer for The Washington Diplomat. Anna Gawel is managing editor of The Washington Diplomat.

February 2012


MEDICAL ■ A Special Section of The Washington Diplomat

Targeted Progress

■ February 2012

ILLUSTRATION: ROBERT MOBLEY / FOTOLIA

Breast Cancer Research Holds Potential for Subsets of Patients

by Gina Shaw

During the month of October, everything from tennis balls to eyelash curlers to handguns is painted pink for “breast cancer awareness.” (Is there anyone left who isn’t aware of breast cancer?) Newspapers, websites and broadcast outlets run ceaseless headlines about the latest breast cancer stories.

Continued on next page

■ INSIDE: Research has not only shown the HPV vaccine to be effective in preventing the leading cause of cervical cancer, it’s also debunking fears the vaccine leads to sexual activity. PAGE 30 ■

MEDICAL February 2012

The Washington Diplomat Page 27


Continued from previous page

What appears clear from these results is that there likely is some subgroup of breast cancer patients who can benefit significantly from Avastin, but there’s not yet a test that can determine exactly who those patients are.

But the real news in breast cancer doesn’t come in October. Instead, it comes two times a year: in June, at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), and in December, when researchers converge on Texas for the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium. Let’s take a look at what exciting new findings came out of San Antonio at the end of 2011.

HERCEPTIN ONE-TWO PUNCH? In 2005, studies on a little drug called Herceptin, presented at ASCO and then in San Antonio, left often-cynical scientists and breast cancer advocates literally in tears. Applause rang through the room as scientists presented the almost unprecedented finding that the drug, which targets a subset of breast cancer that over-expresses a protein called HER2/neu, reduces cancer recurrence by approximately 50 percent in these women. Prior to Herceptin, HER2/neu positive disease — which makes up about 20 percent of all breast cancers — was the type of breast cancer you didn’t want to get. It’s nasty and aggressive. But thanks to Herceptin, today it’s good news to hear that your breast cancer is HER2-positive. And after San Antonio 2011, the picture for women with this type of cancer is even brighter. The results presented at the 2011 meeting involved a cousin-drug to Herceptin known as pertuzumab (brand name Omnitarg). Like Herceptin, Omnitarg also attacks HER2 over-expression, but comes at it in a slightly different way. The CLEOPATRA (Clinical Evaluation of Pertuzumaband and Trastuzumab), which

PHOTO: ABEJON PHOTOGRAPHY / ISTOCK

compared Herceptin plus chemotherapy alone to Herceptin plus chemotherapy and Omnitarg, found that women with metastatic breast cancer did significantly better when Omnitarg was added to their regimen. In fact, their “progression-free survival” time (how long it took for the disease to start advancing again) was extended by about 50 percent, from an average of 12.4 months to an average of 18.5 months. And all this was achieved with almost no increase in any sort of significant side effects. Of course, the Holy Grail with cancer treatment isn’t just “progression-free survival” but “overall survival.” In other words, do women who take this drug actually live lon-

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ger than those who don’t? It seems logical that keeping the disease at bay longer should translate to living longer as well, but that’s not always the case. Herceptin has repeatedly been proven to improve overall survival as well as reducing recurrence of the disease, but the new studies of the Omnitarg combination don’t have enough data yet to answer that question. However, initial results look promising: As of the conference, there were only 69 deaths among the 406 patients getting Omnitarg, compared with 96 deaths among the 402 women receiving Herceptin and chemotherapy alone. That’s pretty significant, but not a big enough difference to warrant stopping the trial altogether and switching everyone in it to the combination therapy (which is what happened with the original Herceptin trials). A planned 2013 update should reveal whether or not Omnitarg can really extend life for women with breast cancer.

THE AVASTIN CONUNDRUM In November 2011, the Food and Drug Administration took the somewhat unusual step of removing its approval for the use of bevacizumab (Avastin) to treat metastatic HER2-negative breast cancer in combination with a chemotherapy drug called docetaxel (Taxotere). This decision was made, they explained, because Avastin’s significant and sometimes life-threatening side effects (like heart damage, kidney damage and intestinal perforations) did not appear to be outweighed by improved survival. But many breast cancer specialists disagree and continue treating patients with the drug “off-label.” And now, a study presented in San Antonio suggests the drug may have benefits for women with metastatic breast cancer who are HER2-positive, not negative. Combining Avastin with Herceptin and Taxotere led to a nearly three-month improvement in progression-free survival for these patients, according to results from a 60-center trial known as AVEREL, which studied more than 400 patients. It was the first randomized trial of Avastin in HER2positive patients. Although the trial was sponsored by Roche, which makes the drug, an independent analysis performed by investigators not connected with the primary trial yielded similar findings. “Bevacizumab is alive and well,” declared Dr. Gabriel Hortobagyi, who directs the breast cancer research program at Houston’s MD Anderson Cancer Center but was not involved in this trial. “I continue to treat patients with it in my clinic. We continue to run clinical trials that include bevacizumab. I have gone public several times, criticizing the FDA decision, although I understand the challenges they face.” Avastin is also FDA-approved to treat four other types of cancer. What appears clear from these results, and those of other trials, is that there likely is some subgroup of breast cancer patients who can benefit significantly from Avastin, but there’s not yet a test that can determine exactly who those patients are.

UNEVEN ADVANCES A relatively new targeted therapy called everolimus (brand name Afinitor), which has already been approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat kidney cancer as well as certain types of brain tumors and pancreatic cancers, slows the progression of breast cancer by more than four months. That’s the finding of the Breast Cancer Trials of Oral Everolimus (BOLERO-2) presented in San Antonio. Postmenopausal women with hormone-positive metastatic breast cancer who had Afinitor added to their treatment regimen had a median 7.2 months of progression-free survival compared with just 3.2 months for women who were on only a standard treatment regimen plus placebo. “These results establish a new standard of care for this group of patients,” said Dr. Hortobagyi, the lead investigator for BOLERO-2. He declared the results “a major paradigm shift in the management of estrogen receptor-positive, HER2-negative breast cancer.” But, as with the CLEOPATRA and AVEREL trials, it’s not yet known if this approach extends overall survival. So there was good news coming out of San Antonio for both women with HER2positive breast cancers and hormone-positive breast cancers. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much promising reported for another population of women with particularly hard to treat cancers known as “triple negative.” These women make up about 15 percent of breast cancer patients. Their tumors don’t over-express HER2, and they’re not fed by the hormones estrogen and progesterone. So neither Herceptin nor hormonal therapies like tamoxifen and aromatase inhibitors can be added to their treatment regimens as a further defense against their disease. There had been great hope that an investigational drug called iniparib, part of a class of medications called PARP inhibitors (they target a particular enzyme involved in DNA repair), might be effective in triple negative breast cancer, based on phase II clinical trials. But at the ASCO meeting in June, results of a larger phase III trial were disappointing, showing no improvement in survival among women with metastatic triple negative cancer when iniparib was added to a standard medication. So while there’s much to be excited about in the news from San Antonio, the picture remains partly cloudy. Until the puzzle of triple negative breast cancer can be deciphered by finding new targets for therapy that are effective in these women, there will continue to be major roadblocks in the path of progress against breast cancer overall.

Gina Shaw is the medical writer for The Washington Diplomat.

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MEDICAL February 2012

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[ STDs ]

Protection, Not Promiscuity Research Debunking Fears That HPV Vaccine Leads to Sexual Activity

G

by Gina Shaw

ood news, parents of teenage girls: If you and your daughter make the decision that it’s a good idea for her to get the vaccine against the human papillomavirus (HPV), a sexually transmitted infection that is the leading cause of cervical cancer, she’s probably not going to turn into a raging nymphomaniac. OK, so they didn’t put it exactly like that, but that’s the basic conclusion of a new study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. Researchers involved with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG) studied 1,200 women between the ages of 15 and 24 regarding their sexual education and behaviors, and found that young women who’ve had the vaccine are no more likely to be sexually active, or to have had multiple partners, than those who didn’t get the vaccine. Most sexually active people will contract HPV at some point in their lives, though most will never realize it, according to the CDC, which also notes that HPV infection is most common in people in their late teens and early 20s. Most types of HPV cause no symptoms and go away on their own, but some can cause cervical cancer in women and other less common cancers — such as cancers of the anus, penis, vagina and vulva. Every year, about 12,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer and 4,000 die from the disease in the United States. There are two HPV vaccines currently on the market: Cervarix (by GlaxoSmithKline) and Gardasil (Merck), which target the two main types of HPV that are responsible for about 70 percent of cervical cancer cases, although they will not prevent the other 30 percent. Gardasil also protects women against other HPV strains that can cause genital warts, which, though generally harmless, aren’t exactly a pleasant experience. The HPV vaccine, which requires three doses over six months, is generally recommended for girls around the ages of 11 and 12, because it’s really only effective before people become sexually active and are exposed to the virus. The idea, however, of vaccinating girls as young as 9 in some cases against a sexually transmitted disease has some parents riled up, or at the least somewhat uncomfortable. But the latest research counters lingering fears that the HPV vaccine is somehow an acknowledgement or acceptance of sexual activity, or will lead to young girls having sex. It’s actually pretty sad though that we need a survey to tell us this. If you have car insurance, does that mean you’re more likely to drive like a maniac because you’re covered if you wrap your vehicle around a tree? If you get your baby the vaccines for rotavirus and pertussis, are you more likely to let the neighbor whose cough sounds like a barking seal hack all over your child? If you have health insurance, do you hope to get sick so you can use it? Indeed, the CDC study found that not only are young women who’ve had the HPV vaccine no more promiscuous than those who haven’t, they are actually more likely overall to practice safe sex.The research doesn’t explore why, but it makes sense to think that young women whose parents encourage them to get the vaccine, or who are determined enough to get it on their own, are probably overall better educated about safe sex practices. A few days after the CDC study was released, however, another study came out that seemed to contradict this finding. Published in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, it surveyed 339 girls ages 13 to 21 who had the HPV vaccine, and found that 23.6 percent of them thought they were now at reduced risk of contracting all types of sexually transmitted infections. (That’s incorrect:The vaccine only protects against some types of HPV infection that cause cervical cancer and genital warts.) If you only read the headlines, you’d think that this study means that HPVvaccinated girls are ill informed about the risks associated with their sexual behavior. But do the math: If 23.6 percent of the girls surveyed were wrong about how much protection the vaccine offers them, then the remaining 76.4 percent were right. Honestly, that’s actually a pretty impressive statistic, given

See HPV, page 32

PHOTO: CATHY YEULET / BIGSTOCK

The National Survey of Family Growth studied 1,200 women between the ages of 15 and 24 regarding their sexual education and behaviors and found that young women who had the HPV vaccine are no more likely to be sexually active, or to have had multiple partners, than those who didn’t get the vaccine.

MEDICAL Page 30

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February 2012


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from page 30

HPV the closed-mouthed, retro-Victorian way in which much of U.S. society still handles the discussion about teen sexuality and its risks. And where’s the control group? Let’s survey another group of teen girls, those who haven’t gotten the vaccine, and ask them about their risks for contracting a sexually transmitted infection based on their sexual behavior. I’m willing to bet that a comparable number of them will be woefully off base. In fact, organizations like the Kaiser Family Foundation have done just that. In a 2003 survey on the sexual health knowledge, attitudes and experiences of adolescents and young adults, they found that one out of every three adolescents has engaged in oral sex, but one in five is unaware that oral sex can transmit STDs; one in every five young people also believes that they would simply “know” if a potential sex partner had an STD; one of every five young people believes that condoms are not effective in preventing HIV and other STDs; and three out of 10 young people believe that STD testing is a standard part of routine medical examinations (it isn’t). An even more recent analysis by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that an astonishing 50 percent of teens were not using any method of birth control when they got pregnant, and of these, nearly one third (31.4 percent) believed they could not get pregnant at the time. In other words, the problem isn’t that young people who get the HPV vaccine overestimate how much they are protected; the problem is that young people overall still have a substantial knowledge gap when it comes to

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safe sex practices. In the same Kaiser Family Foundation study, more than three quarters of adolescents and young adults expressed a need for more information about sexual health topics, especially HIV/STD prevention. I’m the mother of three kids; my oldest, a daughter, is almost 6. HPV vaccination, along with safer sex discussions, won’t be on my radar screen for a few more years yet, but I would be naïve to think that my husband and I shouldn’t be prepared to make decisions about when and if to pursue the vaccine for our daughters (and son) by the time they reach middle school.The vaccine doesn’t treat or prevent HPV transmission once it’s contracted, so if you wait too long and try to convince yourself that your child will stay a virgin until college or later, you may have missed your window. If we had to decide today, we’d choose to have our kids vaccinated for HPV. As a science writer, the data so far are pretty convincing about its safety and efficacy. But I’d also be lying if I said I wasn’t happy that we’ll have at least five more years of accumulated data to help us make our decision when the time comes. One thing we won’t be worried about, though, is whether or not getting the vaccine will encourage them to engage in risky sexual behavior. As far as I can tell, the best way to encourage risky sexual behavior in your teens is to keep them in the dark about what risky behavior is, and how they can protect themselves. Whatever vaccines you choose for your child, one of the best ways to “immunize” against unsafe sex and its consequences is open conversation.

Gina Shaw is the medical writer for The Washington Diplomat.

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Sleepless Nights For the past year, Naima Aujali, mother of five and wife of Libyan Ambassador Ali Aujali, has been anxiously watching and waiting for her homeland to emerge from dictatorship and civil war. PAGE 35

PHOTOGRAPHY

Unspoiled Sable

■ FEBRUARY 2012

Photographer Arthur Drooker brings the ancient relics of the Americas back to life at the Organization of American States with “Lost Worlds: Ruins of the Americas,” a stunning collection of ethereal blackand-white images shot with a special infrared camera that sheds new light on the region’s culture, conflicts and conquests. PAGE 34

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A barren, crescent-shaped strip of land 100 miles from Nova Scotia called Sable Island has become a haven for a herd of wild horses. PAGE 37

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Clusters of Culture EUNIC is bringing local European cultural heavyweights under one umbrella to help promote some of the most underappreciated sources of international art in town. PAGE 38

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“A Separation” brings together a messy web of characters trapped by life in the prison of an authoritarian state. PAGE 44


[ photography ]

Otherworldly Snapshot Ancient Ruins of the Americas Seen in Ethereal New Light by Dave Seminara

T

wo years ago, photographer Arthur Drooker was sitting beside the majestic ruins of Saint-Pierre, a city in Martinique that was devastated by a volcano in 1902, waiting for a fickle wind to blow some puffy clouds into the frame of a photo he hoped to take. Drooker was prepared to wait all day to get the shot and when his girlfriend, Ivy, agreed to wait with him, he decided that she was the woman he would marry. Visitors who venture to see “Lost Worlds: Ruins of the Americas” will experience that labor of love in this stunning collection of haunting, ethereal black-and-white photographs shot with a special infrared camera that helps capture especially dramatic contrast and light. Drooker’s photo exhibit, which is currently on display at the Organization of American States (OAS) Art Museum of the Americas, features images of 33 ruins, some familiar, others obscure, in 15 countries across the Americas. The ruins aren’t necessarily what one might expect. Aside from classic sites like Machu Picchu and Palenque, there are also images of colonial palaces, sugar mills, fortresses, churches and more relics that, according to the gallery, speak to the region’s culture, conflicts and conquests. Museum curator Fabian Goncalves, a native of Buenos Aires who has worked at the OAS for 13 years, believes that the common bond in the images is that they serve to remind people of the PHOTOS: ARTHUR DROOKER / ORGANIZATION OF AMERICAN STATES region’s fascinating history. “We look at these images as a Arthur Drooker spent three years kind of overview of us as photographing ruins, some familiar, Americans, how we are and how others obscure, in 15 countries across we came to be Americans, from the Americas — among them, from the Spaniards to the British to clockwise top, the Pyramid of the Sun the French,” he said. “In photoin Teotihuacan, Mexico; the Sans graphing these places, he helps Souci Palace in Milot, Haiti; and San us keep the memory and the hisIgnacio Mini in Misiones, Argentina; tory of them alive.” as well as San Nicolás de Bari in the Drooker, 55, has been passionDominican Republic, pictured on the ate about photography since culture cover. childhood, but majored in history in college and worked as a ‘protagonists,’ and I think that was a great observation because the way the freelance writer and director of infrared photography renders clouds, they take on a more robust prominence documentaries for the History Channel and other outlets for more than 20 years. In 2007, he decided to combine his love of history with his passion for photography, undertaking that you wouldn’t normally get,” explained Drooker, who plans to exhibit the collection a project to photograph ruins across the United States.After publishing a book document- in Sacramento and at the San Francisco International Airport after it leaves Washington. There are a number of show-stopping images in the collection, including an evocative ing the project, he decided to travel across Mexico, South America, Central America and shot of seagulls fleeing the ruins of Santo Domingo’s San Nicolás de Bari, a 16th-century the Caribbean to document more ruins. “I love ruins because of their inherent mystery,” Drooker said in a recent telephone hospital that was the first built in the New World; a classic shot of Tiwanaku Temple in interview from his home in San Francisco.“For me photographing ruins Bolivia circa the year 500; and an eerily beautiful photo depicting the ruined Sans Souci Palace, the early 19th-century home of Haiti’s King Henry is a way to commune with our ancestors I, the first black king in the New World. and to make people aware of these places Watch a Lost Worlds: Ruins of the Americas, “The Sans Souci image is a good example of history’s and their history in a poetic way.” video tour of cyclical nature,” said Goncalves, who previously worked In creating the collection, which is also Photographs by Arthur Drooker “Lost Worlds: as a curator at the Latin American Art Museum in Buenos documented in a beautiful coffee table Ruins of the through Feb. 24 Aires. “Henri was a slave; he rose against the French, he book, Drooker made 10 trips to 15 countries Americas” with curator Organization of American States Art Museum became king and turned into a tyrant. There was a revolt over three years, occasionally with his girlFabian Goncalves online at: of the Americas inside his own army who toppled him; he suffered a friend, but mostly alone, and on the cheap. bit.ly/yNV6z3 1889 F St., NW stroke and then killed himself inside this palace.” He received some support from a few of the For more information, please call (202) 458-6016, Drooker hopes that the exhibit inspires people to learn national tourism boards in the Caribbean, or visit http://museum.oas.org. about these forgotten chapters in the region’s history. but financed most of the trips on his own, thanks in large “I hope people come away with an appreciation for part to the profitable sale of a home in Los Angeles. Drooker shot the ruins with a Canon 5D Mark II, which was custom-fitted to capture the photography,” he said. “But also for the history and these stories behind the abaninfrared images that produce high contrast and an almost ghostly white sheen of light. doned sugar mills and ruined cities and all the rest, because they tell us a lot about ourOne of the most arresting themes in the collection is his use of clouds to complement selves.” the landscapes. “Pico Iyer, who wrote the foreword to the ‘Lost Worlds’ book, said that the clouds were Dave Seminara is an award-winning freelance photojournalist and former diplomat based in Northern Virginia.

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[

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February 2012


[ diplomatic spouses ]

Grueling Wait Libyan Family Takes Respite From Revolution by Gail Scott

T

he green, black and red flag of pre-Qaddafi Libya is not the only thing flying high at the country’s Kalorama residence. So is the spirit of Naima Aujali, the Arabic-speaking mother of five, grandmother of four and the wife of Ali Suleiman Aujali, once Qaddafi’s man in Washington but since September the official ambassador of the new Libya. This has been a highly emotional and exhausting year for the whole Aujali family — from the first peaceful demonstrations against the iron-fisted rule of Col. Muammar Qaddafi last February in Benghazi (the Aujalis’ hometown), to the wrenching decision and media glare surrounding her husband’s resignation shortly afterward, to his diplomatic limbo as fighting raged for months back in Libya, and finally to the transformation of Aujali as the top representative here for the National Transitional Council, the rebel-formed political body that is now trying to pick up the pieces after more than 40 years of dictatorship (also see “Qaddafi’s Man No More: Disgusted, Envoy Breaks Free of Former Boss” cover profile in the April 2011 issue of The Washington Diplomat). With two of her best fans by her side — her husband and oldest daughter Fatima — to translate Naima’s answers from Arabic to English, everyone had something to say during our interview, which evolved into a family conversation about life here in the Libyan Residence during a tumultuous year back home. Today, the family is adjusting to Ali Aujali’s new role, which will most likely be his last in a lengthy diplomatic career as he nears retirement age and looks to take a rest from the revolution of the past year. “For eight days, I didn’t go out,” Naima explained, remembering how those original peaceful protests were met with escalating bloodshed.“I was watching CNN and Al Jazeera constantly. And answering phone calls, night and day, from friends and neighbors and so many members of the Libyan community.” Libyan Ambassador Ali Suleiman Aujali and his wife Naima Aujali are seen dressed in While relieved and extremely happy with the eventual outcome, Naima recalled how for the last nail-biting year,“no one could sleep through the night; the whole native attire for a past National Day reception. After 42 years in the Libyan Foreign household was up. The TV and radio were always on. My husband would get calls in the Service, Ali Aujali resigned last February to protest Muammar Qaddafi’s crackdown on middle of the night. We only took little naps. None of us got much sleep from the 15th of protesters in the Aujalis’ hometown of Benghazi. February to the 20th of October. We watched and suffered with the people. We cried and But seeing Qaddafi’s harsh crackdown on the initial protests in Benghazi, “I became worried.” increasingly uneasy,” the ambassador said. “As long as Qaddafi was at large,” the ambassador jumped in,“Libya was not safe.” “I called and asked what was going on. [The government] told me that the problem was With pithy quotes like that, the 61-year-old career diplomat emerged as a media darling after his sudden resignation, with regular coverage from the Washington Post, New York just some kids on drugs.That’s when I knew something was wrong and I didn’t call them Times, CNN, National Journal and National Public Radio, among many other outlets. But anymore.” For about a week after the initial attacks by government forces, the ambassador and his according to him, it was his wife who turned into “the real news junkie.” “Ever since last February, she has been in front of the TV, night and day. She never even family still held out hope that further bloodshed could be avoided — until they heard the fiery words from Qaddafi’s oldest son Saif, educated in the West and once seen as a poswatched before,” he said.“Now, she’s addicted to the TV and the computer.” sibly moderate heir apparent. (Today, Saif al-Islam “It was especially hard for us because we are both Qaddafi is in rebel control awaiting trial.) from Benghazi, where it all started, but for a long time “When he opened his mouth and promised ‘a river of we couldn’t reach anyone at home,” Naima explained.“I None of us got much sleep from the blood,’ I knew it was Qaddafi’s attack on his own peowas used to talking to my brothers and sisters almost 15th of February to the 20th of October. ple,” Aujali said.“I knew then that I had to resign.” every day and checking on my 90-year-old mother. Both “Our phones went crazy after that speech,” said our families are there and we were worried about them, We watched and suffered with the Fatima.“Everyone was horrified.” but also about all the Libyan people.” Several hours later, Aujali announced his resignation, Daughter Fatima, the mother of two of their grandpeople. We cried and worried. followed by a flurry of major international broadcast children, added:“Overall, these months since the beginand print interviews. Three days later, the old flag was ning of the revolution, I hardly did anything, go any— NAIMA AUJALI raised at the residence amid public fanfare. where…. I stayed overnight in this house.We wanted to “We were very sad when he resigned,” admitted be together. It was scary,” she said. “Minute by minute, wife of Libyan Ambassador Ali Suleiman Aujali Naima,“but not because he was resigning.We were very the situation kept escalating. My eyes were on Libya and what was happening there … every [Libyan] home has lost someone, either killed or miss- sad about what was going on at home.” “We were all afraid for my dad, for his life [after he resigned],” added Fatima.“But we all ing. We were suffering with the people. We kept asking ourselves,‘How can we help from agreed that he had to do that, that he was the voice in the U.S. and if the cause of the here?’” The family was in full agreement with Ali Aujali when he decided that after 42 years in Libyan people was to be taken seriously, he had to speak out. Our lives are not more prethe Libyan Foreign Service — having joined nine months before Qaddafi, then a 27-year- cious. Why just watch when you can do something — when your voice is powerful.” “I am not afraid,” said the ambassador, who for a brief period lost his diplomatic status old army officer, led an uprising against King Idris I and subsequently abolished the monarchy — he had to resign. Aujali has always said of his long diplomatic career that he was in Washington, along with a cushy embassy, and wasn’t sure if he’d be forced to return to serving the Libyan people, not Qaddafi, “and thought I could help” open the country up Continued on next page to the West.

February 2012

The Washington Diplomat Page 35


Continued from previous page Libya, where he hadn’t lived since the late 1970s. “Hundreds of Libyans were dying every day.Why should my life be more important than theirs? “As a Muslim, I am not afraid of dying because we have faith in God and he’s the only one who knows when your time is up, when it’s your day. That day will come, even if you’re wearing bulletproof vest,” he added, admitting that he was worried about his relatives back home, although in the end, “we all had to stand up for what we believe.” Aujali recalled that throughout those months of working essentially out of a basement on behalf of rebels who seemed mired in a stalled

civil war, Naima kept telling him:“No matter how long it takes, we will win.This is the people’s will. God is taking care of his people. This revolution is from God. The people are going to win with him.” The ambassador noted, “We stayed in the residence because this is the Libyan people’s house, not Qaddafi’s.” The entire family, including the grandchildren, joined regular Saturday protests in front of the White House urging greater U.S. involvement in NATO’s air campaign. Joining other women in the local Libyan community, Naima cooked, baked and made sandwiches during the months of fundraising bazaars at different area mosques, including the Islamic Center on Massachusetts

Avenue. The ambassador said Naima is a natural diplomat whose cooking often makes friends for Libya wherever they have been posted — be it in Malaysia, Argentina, Brazil, Canada or Washington — since they married and left Libya together in 1979 to serve in their country’s Foreign Service. “Naima is great support to me,” he said. “She makes my life easy. She’s giving the Libyan ‘flavor’ of life with her warmth and delicious food. She is very likeable, very good with the Libyan community, and always very warm with everyone.” Naima and her husband both graduated from Garyounis University (now known as the University of Benghazi) but did not meet in class.

Libyan Ambassador Ali Suleiman Aujali and his wife Naima Aujali stand with one of their four grandchildren. The couple has five children living and studying in Washington, D.C., Toronto and Montreal.

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The Washington Diplomat

She had just started as a social worker with student teachers for two months before she met her future husband. “All her students liked her so much,” said Fatima. “Everyone kept coming up and saying that they had a cousin, a brother, that they wanted her to meet and marry.” Naima smiled. “One day, one of my favorite students came up to me and said her uncle, a young diplomat, was looking for a wife,” she recalled.“He came to my house and met my family. When I first met Ali I believed he was a good man. I was relaxed, as if I had known him for a long time. I agreed and we were married in 10 days…. It was all very fast. “I don’t believe in [the concept of] boyfriendgirlfriend,” Naima explained, “but just when the right person comes along, that’s right. You don’t have to be in love but learn to love after [you are married].” Less than three weeks after a traditional Muslim marriage, they were off to Malaysia where he served as deputy chief of mission and later as ambassador. Besides Fatima, the Aujalis have four other children. Faris, 30, is a George Mason University graduate who is studying for his master’s in international business. Farah, 29, studied political science and lives in Toronto with her young family. Faruk and Fairoz, the youngest, are 26-year-old twins. Faruk is studying accounting here while Fairoz lives in Montreal, working with an international design firm. Not surprisingly, Naima’s biggest joy is spending time with her grandchildren. “She is much more patient with the grandchildren than she ever was with us,” quipped Fatima. “She was a real disciplinarian with us and we had to listen. With the grandkids, she is a loving and caring grandma who loves to take her grandkids to the mall and the zoo. She spoils them a lot. They love to cook together, pretending they’re doing a cooking show.” “We make pasta and mini pizzas together,” said Naima, mentioning the Italian influence on Libyan cuisine. Proud that her family and friends rave about her cooking, Naima prefers to do the grocery shopping herself when she has time. “I love to shop at Whole Foods. They have the best vegetables, all organic, and delicious lamb and fish,” both Libyan favorites. “Nothing makes me happier than cooking for my family,” she said.“I like a homey atmosphere.” When things were at their worst in Libya, Naima said she was comforted by “good friends

See SPOUSES, page 41

February 2012


[ photography ]

Born to be Wild Canada’s Sable Island: Unspoiled Haven for Feral Horses by Rachael Bade

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ore than 100 miles southeast of Nova Scotia lies a mysterious deserted island, with no towns, no trees, and almost no humans. Windswept by harsh Atlantic breezes and speckled with sand dunes and long stringy grasses, the thin, crescent-shaped strip of land — 26 miles in length and less than a mile wide — is virtually desolate. Almost. A herd of wild horses has for centuries claimed this austere yet dramatic territory as its own — ever since their owners’ ships wrecked off the east coast of Canada, dubbed the “graveyard of the Atlantic.” It all sounds like a children’s bedtime fantasy. But this sandbar, frozen in time, is Canada’s newest national park and a very real conservation success story. Sable Island is home to an estimated 400 feral horses that have thrived in an otherwise inhospitable landscape — proof of Mother Nature’s ability to flourish on her own, in the unlikeliest of places. In return for braving the unforgiving surroundings, these majestic beasts literally live free — free from predators and, most importantly, free from human interference. Well, almost. Ever since he fell in love with this magical horse sanctuary in 1994, Canadian photographer Roberto Dutesco has returned each year to document the island, both out of sheer fascination and in PHOTO: ROBERTO DUTESCO an effort to protect this unspoiled environment. The Canadian addition to Canada’s national parks. To further protect “Fury” by photographer Roberto Embassy in Washington is celebrating his preservation campaign in “The Wild Horses of Sable Island,” featuring nine works by Dutesco that showcase this the horses, human interaction on the island is strictly Dutesco, part of “The Wild Horses regulated, and visitors need written permission from of Sable Island” exhibit at the remote land and its exotic inhabitants. “I have witnessed true peace and unquestionable love among its occupants,” said the Canadian Coast Guard to enter. Canadian Embassy, dramatically Less than 250 curious adventure-seekers are granted documents how a herd of 400 Dutesco, also a top New York fashion photographer. Indeed, Dutesco’s images capture the almost-humanlike attributes of these animals, permission to visit the island for daytrips each year. wild horses has thrived in a barren from their soulful gazes to their playful interactions with one another. Just inside the door Otherwise, the 400 horses reign over the secluded strip of land off Nova Scotia. of the embassy’s art gallery, a steed nibbles on the cheek of a dark chocolate mare in an domain — and their regal demeanor is reflected in 11-by-5-foot close-up shot. In brownish-reddish tints, the sepia photograph captures their Dutesco’s photographs. In one breathtakingly detailed photo aptly titled “Love,” two horses tenderly press their lively dark eyes and long, unruly manes whipping in the transatlantic wind. At the other end of the room, a small herd is frozen mid-gallop, their hooves kicking foreheads together. Their eyes are locked, muzzles touching, as their hair billows in the up sand as they race across a barren field. With emotional violin music playing in the constant wind. But these are more than just pretty, sentimental pictures; they reveal an impressive background, one can almost hear the rumble of their pounding feet as the muscular true-life resilience. It’s hard to believe this defiant herd has managed to survive, alone and horses call out to one another. A third shot captured from afar frames the dark silhouettes of several steeds on a sandy untouched, on a slender sandbar the length of Manhattan and the width of Central Park. peninsula. Crushing waves unfold on the shore on either side of the animals. The scene Difficult still to comprehend is that the colts and ponies have lived off just sea grass and rainwater ponds, without a single tree or other form of is almost cinematic — pure romance, pure drama. shelter amid a constant barrage of storms and wicked The images are taken from Dutesco’s more extensive The Wild Horses of Sable Island: winds. Sable Island photography gallery in New York City. His Photoworks by Roberto Dutesco Moreover, the species, foreign to the land, came to mas15-year quest to capture the island’s stunning beauty through March 24 ter it in a way humans never could. During the 1500s, was also depicted in the 2008 documentary “Chasing Marquis de la Roche Mesgouez, sent by the French to Wild Horses.” In addition, he’s planning to launch “The Embassy of Canada Art Gallery claim “new found lands,” transplanted 40 convicts to the Wild Horses of Sable Island Mobile Project,” which 501 Pennsylvania Ave., NW island, abandoning them there for five years in the hopes would allow for 80 to 100 photos and cinematic works For more information, please call (202) 682-1740 the prisoners would colonize the place, although only 11 to be displayed around the world. or visit www.canadainternational.gc.ca/washington/. survived. “I wish to bring my experience among the wild Indeed, the area surrounding the island, with its dangerhorses of Sable Island to people around the world, to show them true wilderness in its primal state, unaware and unafraid of man,” said ous ocean currents, thick fogs and shallow shoals, has swallowed up more than 475 ships since the 17th century.That’s how historians think the herd of some type of Spanish bard Dutesco in a statement displayed on the exhibit walls. Dutesco says Sable Island exists by its own rules. Indeed, the horses, sparrows and came to the dunes. Unlike the horses, the stranded sailors and likely pirates who landed seals live and breed as they will, without a guiding hand. Save for national parks, few areas on Sable Island over the centuries didn’t last long, and the place was never settled. Dutesco wants to keep it that way, hoping to use his art to advocate for continued conin North America have been so sheltered from the 21st century. Canada has for decades recognized the value of this tiny sliver of land — not its mon- servation efforts by showing what can happen when mankind allows nature to run its etary value, but its mystical power — and people in the area have supported the govern- course. “If natural locations like this are to endure,” he says,“they must be left alone.” ment’s efforts to preserve the land, according to Canadian Minister of National Defence Peter MacKay, who’s also the regional minister for Nova Scotia. Their activism paid off in October of last year when the sanctuary became the latest Rachael Bade is a contributing writer for The Washington Diplomat.

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February 2012

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The Washington Diplomat Page 37


[ events ]

Clusters of Culture EUNIC Tries to Provide Unique Umbrella for EU Arts and Music

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by Rachael Bade

ntercultural understanding, awareness, dialogue and cooperation — those are some of the ambiguous feel-good phrases we — the everobservant followers of international relations — hear, read and say on a daily basis. So it’s no surprise that such vaguely inspiring language is peppered throughout the brochures for the launch of a new local diplomatic initiative in town — one that’s European no less. The Washington, D.C., chapter of the European Union National Institutes for Culture is the latest tolerance-promoting, culturally enlightening network to emerge in the nation’s capital. This global network — EUNIC for short — is a self-described coalition of cultural institutes from the EU located around the world. The goal? Teaching folks about European culture. The full network is active in 80 cities around the world, encompassing more than 25,000 employees and 2,000 branches that work in the arts, languages, youth, education, science, intercultural dialogue and development sectors. Member institutes also come together in “clusters” to develop shared local activities and events, more than 200 of which were organized in 2009. Examples include an “Intradance” co-production between European and Russian contemporary dance companies, and “generation89,” a project spearheaded by Poland, Romania, Belgium and Czech Republic that brought together people born in 1989 in nine countries to develop their views on the future of Europe. EUNIC’s members are said to boast “an international reputation as Europe’s leading cultural relations practitioners,” according to its website. Actually, this diplo-speak glosses over the local heavyweights behind a rather smart venture, which, assuming it works, might better unite some of the disparate institutions and venues that offer some of the most innovative international cultural programming in the city. EUNIC Washington DC was created in March 2011 to promote contemporary European culture and provide an outlet for dialogue on topics such as immigration, Islam, the environment and other timely issues. Formally launched this fall, EUNIC Washington encompasses the major cultural wings of EU embassies as well as other For more European-focused arts groups around town. These include the information Austrian Cultural Forum, Goethe-Institut, Alliance Française de on EUNIC Washington, Delegation of the European Union, British Council, Washington Hellenic Foundation of Culture, Italian Cultural Institute, Instituto DC, visit www.eunic-online.eu/ Camões, Romanian Cultural Institute New York, and the embasnode/341 or www.facebook. sies of Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, Spain, Romania, Slovenia and com/EUNICDC. For more inforSweden. mation on the Austrian Cultural These venues are among the most active, accessible yet underForum, visit www.acfdc.org. appreciated sources of international art in Washington (regularly profiled in the pages of The Diplomat) and could certainly benefit from additional cross-promotion and collaboration. Andrea Schrammel is the new chapter president in 2012 and director of the Austrian Cultural Forum in Washington, a wing of the embassy whose calendar is usually chock-full of some 50 events a year ranging from exhibits to concerts to lectures. She says the D.C. chapter of EUNIC is tailoring its EU-101 programming to the contemporary, not classical, arts and music scene.

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EUNIC Spring Events

discuss European music with students. Kennedy Center

April 15 and 16: European Union Youth Orchestra with the British Council On Sunday, young musicians from all 27 European Union nations perform Aaron Copland’s “An Outdoor Overture,” Max Bruch’s “Violin Concerto No. 1 in G minor,” and Richard Strauss’s “An Alpine Symphony.” The next day, EUNIC will bring members of the orchestra to D.C. schools to conduct music workshops and

May 9: Green Architecture Exhibit Opening To celebrate Europe Day on May 9, the Goethe-Institute, a partner of EUNIC, will open a green exhibit to draw attention to environmentalism. Goethe-Institute

The Washington Diplomat

May 14: Eurovision Song Contest Party In celebration of one of Europe’s top television

European Union Ambassador João Vale de Almeida, far left, speaks at the launch of the D.C. chapter of the European Union National Institutes for Culture (EUNIC), which was celebrated with a concert at the Austrian Embassy by the group European Jazz Motion.

PHOTO: ALLIANCE FRANÇAISE DE WASHINGTON

That’s because there’s more to Viennese music PHOTOS: KARL SCHRAMMEL than Mozart, and more to Parisian art than Monet — at least’s that’s the message Schrammel wants EUNIC to pass on to Washingtonians through a series of thought-provoking exhibits, performances, dialogues and educational programs. But the mission is actually two-fold, she adds.The events not only showcase the diversity of EU contemporary art and music, but also shine the spotlight on shared 21st-century challenges. “We do have common values and also common problems,” Schrammel said, referring to similarities not only between the 27 EU member states but also between the European Union and United States.“Migration, integration, environmental protection and policy — there are so many things.” A fall blog post posted by the Alliance Française de Washington emphasized the need for such “shared” experiences between European nations. But the balance of preserving one’s own culture while opening up to intercultural dialogue, it said, can be tricky in Europe. “Today, the old continent’s ‘art of discourse’ on the EU’s self-declared missions, combined with a lack of political willingness, has clearly handicapped the collective appreciation for a European culture,” the post said.“And how could it be any different when the sum devoted to cultural cooperation in Europe represents only 0.06 percent of the total European budget, employs more than 3.6 million people, and represents 4.9 percent of its GDP?” The solution? While a budget bump for culture programs from the euro-strapped union is unlikely, on option is to pool creativity and resources through networks like EUNIC to produce those wonky “intercultural” programs geared toward dialogue and shared experiences. One such local EUNIC exhibit, which opened at the Austrian Embassy on Jan. 20, highlights universal challenges of immigration through four artists’ perspectives. “Migration_Standards” will focus on migration’s “structural conditions as a result of the redistribution of power and property.” With photography, video, architecture, painting, sculpture and multimedia installations, Schrammel said the contemporary art exhibit will speak to people from all different walks of life because migration is a worldwide phenomenon. Rachael Bade is a contributing writer for The Washington Diplomat.

shows, EUNIC will host a party to kick off the finals of the 2012 “Eurovision Song Contest.” Started in 1956, the show, which has various EU countries competing for the most popular song, is one of the longest-running TV shows. Location TBA May 16-18: American Institute of Architecture National Convention EUNIC will contribute to AIA’s annual convention, which features seminars and showcases

how service inspires architects from all over the world. Location TBA June 4-8: EuroAsia Shorts Film Festival EUNIC will participate in a festival of short films that zero in on the relationships between men and women — in friendships, romance and society in general. “EuroAsia Shorts” features videos from directors in Europe, Asia and the United States. Various embassies and cultural centers

February 2012


[ photography ]

No Small Feat Harry Callahan Elevated the Every Day to Artistic Heights by Gary Tischler

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aking your way through the “Harry Callahan at 100” exhibition at the National Gallery of Art is like walking through the neighborhood of a man’s life and work. In a way, it’s like strolling through your own neighborhood, seeing the people and places that we normally sleepwalk through in broad daylight — whether it’s Chicago or Cape Cod. But Harry Callahan (1912-99) paid attention to his surroundings, and redefined them with an inventive eye and soulful appreciation. Seeing the results of that vision in the 100 or so mostly black-and-white photographs at the National Gallery celebrating the centenary of Callahan’s birth, you have to work a little hard to fully absorb the images because many of the photos are rather small.They look, in fact, like miniatures, fragile but with remarkable toughness in them, like the hardness of a haiku. You have to squint, peer over glasses, hands behind your back, or step back, but not too far. The photographs seem elusive — they demand that you stay close to digest their full weight, as if they might bolt like a deer. That gets to the heart of Callahan’s skills — how he transformed people and places into bold, striking yet elegant compositions that played with light and dark, lines and form. Born in Detroit, Callahan took pictures of what was right in front of him: where he lived, the things in the air, on the ground or just around the corner. He produced an urban panoply of life on the streets of Detroit and then Chicago, along with personal reflections of his wife Eleanor, the subject on which Callahan frequently refined his aesthetic and technical experimentation. Interestingly, Callahan’s deftness shooting the nuances of cityscapes was matched by his ability to capture the vastness of nature, whether it was barren, lonely trees sprouting from a snowy landscape or the tranquility of an empty Cape Cod beach. Years later, he created images of his travels, when the world of color opened up to him and he would prove as versatile with colors as he was without. Callahan, who became a fine teacher himself, was self-taught and spilled into photography like a beachcomber on a lucky day when he simply decided that he was going to be a photographer. He approached the medium with a stubborn mien that he would do it his way, by way of his eyes and what he saw. He began to take photographs in 1938 with a remarkable clarity — there isn’t a single spot or shadow or idea missing from his photoHarry Callahan at 100 graphs. A telling fact: Callahan saw Ansel Adams’s black-and-white works and loved through March 4 them, but not for any snow-capped peaks or National Gallery of Art majestic grandeur. He liked close-ups, the small on the National Mall between things. Richard Lacayo of Time magazine cap3rd and 9th Streets at Constitution Avenue, NW tured what you might call the essence of what For more information, please call (202) 737-4215 he was about when he wrote that Callahan or visit www.nga.gov. “made pictures the size of an intuition.” Callahan focused on the minutiae as exquisitely as he did the expansive backdrops. Take for example his many images of tiny figures dwarfed by the enormous surroundings threatening to engulf them, whether it’s a stretch of sandy beach or the window of a large room, though his subjects always manage to hold their own in the artistic tug of war. From the beginning, Callahan thought of himself as an artist and was never put off by his lack of training. He was among a generation of talents to be sure: Dorothea Lange, Berenice Abbott, Walker Evans and the great Alfred Stieglitz. Callahan admired and took what he could from them, but he was nothing like any of them. He was raw and naïve and dogged, with a penchant for abstractions at times and double negatives at other times, the sure signs of a budding artist. The examples of his innovative spirit abound, though they’re not always his best work. It’s the more modest ideas that leave an imprint: the look of tree bark, or leaves

February 2012

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PHOTOS: NATIONAL GALLERY OF ART, THE JOYCE AND ROBERT MENSCHEL FUND, ESTATE OF HARRY CALLAHAN, PACE/MACGILL GALLERY

Harry Callahan (1912-99) turned his lens on what was right in front of him, photographing his family, neighborhood and travels, as seen in images such as, from clockwise top, “Eleanor, Chicago,” (1952) “Cape Cod” (1972) and “Morocco” (1981).

crumpled up, or a crack in the sidewalk, or the lines of a skyscraper that all echo the black-and-white elegance of Joan Miró, for instance — the kind of results that come from paying attention and loving patterns and details. It is this intimacy that provides an adoring jolt to Callahan’s work. His views of urban streets, houses and storefronts can be stark, bare yet stunning. His photographs of his wife Eleanor and later his daughter Barbara, separate and apart, are inspired and consumed by his eyes first, then his gushing heart. That’s not to say these photographs are sentimental. They’re natural, as if the formality he sometimes pours into his studies gets crushed like a milk carton in the summer. He forgets everything and makes pictures of not so much his wife, but of his own feelings. There are unadorned nudes intended not to expose his wife’s body, or even to glorify it, but to show it — and not to the world, but to himself. Eleanor can be seen at a distance, rising out of the ocean, or just a bare back obscuring what’s in front of her. In these black-and-white photos with their contrasting light and darkness, there’s a warmth that washes over the lack of colors and makes them glow. The images seem spontaneous because they’re informed by his feelings, not just his technique. But Callahan had plenty of technique and talent during his nearly six-decade career. He exposed the everyday in meticulous fashion, turning the simple into the sublime — no small feat. Gary Tischler is a contributing writer for The Washington Diplomat.

The Washington Diplomat Page 39


[ dining ]

Intoxicating Elisir Fine Dining is in the Details At Enzo Fargione’s New Eatery by Michael Coleman

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decade ago, Penn Quarter was a culinary wasteland; today, it’s pure gourmet glitz. With gentrification, cheap Chinese takeouts faded as Oya and Sei began serving up sumptuous sushi and sultry ambience. Rasika showed us Indian food could be saucy and chic. Proof seduced with upscale comfort food, bold wines and big buzz. Today, neighborhood chef Michel Richard is even trying to make meatballs cool. Penn Quarter’s ongoing evolution has sparked intense interest in the downtown restaurant scene. But unfortunately, a refined dining experience can be hard to find amid all the hype. Back in the day, a $200 dinner bill meant a dropped fork was replaced immediately and a sommelier would work hard to help pair offbeat menu selections with truly complementary wines. Sometimes at Penn Quarter’s flashier eateries, that level of effort seems quaint. Thankfully, Elisir has arrived to remind us that details still matter. The unassuming yet uniformly excellent new fine dining establishment, led by former Galileo chef Enzo Fargione in a non-descript slice of real estate at 11th Street, NW, has a promising future in Washington. Elisir’s attention to detail was evident immediately upon our arrival on a chilly January night as a hostess offered warm greetings and announced that our white linencapped table was ready. And what a table it was. Dining on a Monday meant front-andcenter seating next to the brightly lit open kitchen.The perch allowed us to peer in as Fargione and his talented assistants prepared his vision of a modern Italian feast. So, yes, the table was perfect and we had very few quibbles with Elisir overall, but let’s get one minor complaint out of the way.While the restaurant is immaculately clean and attractive, the design left us a bit cold. Bathed in cool crèmes and tans with shiny black tile floors, the dining room seemed a bit clinical, like something that might be attached to a Hyatt Regency. A splash of effervescent wallpaper along the back wall livened things up a bit, but the room doesn’t have Rasika’s warmth or Fiola’s glamour. Of course, the main attraction here is the menu.Any doubts about style were forgotten with the first glorious bite. An amuse-bouche of seared tuna topped with tiny fried capers opened the palate Elisir and then lingered with the sharp flavor 427 11th St., NW of fresh ground black pepper. On a separate plate, an array of basil, Chianti and (202) 546-0088 black olive-infused sea salts shimmered www.elisirrestaurant.com like semi-precious jewels next to tiny pools of golden olive oil. The gorgeous Bistro lunch: Mon. - Fri., 11:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. trio of salts and oils elevated the bread Dinner: Mon. - Thu., 5:30 - 10 p.m.; to something approaching royalty. Fri. and Sat., 5:30 - 11 p.m. The delicious introduction made our task of choosing from the extensive, Bar happy hour: Mon. - Fri., 4:30 - 6:30 p.m. varied and highly detailed menu more Appetizers: $16 - $22 challenging than usual. Eventually, I chose the tasting menu, leaving my culiEntrées: $26 - $38 nary adventure in the hands of the Tasting menu: $75 or $95 accomplished chef. During a brief stop Desserts: $12 at our table, Fargione explained that about 70 percent of his customers opt for the tasting menu. My dining companion was tempted by the tasting menus (offered with seven or 10 courses), but an a la carte offering of saffron-scented risotto with port wine-braised veal cheeks, roasted artichoke hearts and shaved black truffle proved too seductive to resist. My friend prefaced the risotto with a multi-colored beet salad. We’ll explore that wondrous concoction more fully in a moment.

want to

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The Washington Diplomat

PHOTOS: JESSICA LATOS

For dinner, Elisir specializes in elaborate seven- and 10-course tasting menus with clever renditions of modern Italian cuisine, while during lunchtime, the 80-seat restaurant offers patrons more of a casual bistro feel.

Our skilled, cheerful server allayed our concerns about pacing a meal that included seven courses for one diner and two for the other. I decided against the $65 wine pairings that accompanied the seven-course tasting menu. Instead, the ever-accommodating staff — clad in suits and ties — suggested four halfglasses of appropriately paired wines at half the price, an ingenious suggestion. But let’s get back to that beet salad. The words “beet salad” don’t typically conjure visions of culinary whimsy, but that’s exactly what Elisir’s version delivered. Served on a discreet bed of mache greens, the dish includes an exquisitely creamy and slightly tart goat cheese gelato, an array of purple, yellow and candy-striped beets served with crispy leeks, and a smattering of ground morel mushrooms, almonds and coffee. The salad isn’t just an explosion of flavors and textures; it’s also pure fun. The deconstructed ingredients give the diner a measure of creative control in deciding how to assemble each bite. Soon after we finished our salad (included on both the a la carte and tasting menus), my third course — a creamy winter chestnut soup — arrived. Buffalo ricotta cheese, quail sausage, roasted Hudson Valley goose liver and pickled plum tomato jam are submerged in a creamy broth that’s poured tableside. Somehow, the disparate flavors coalesced in the rich, earthy liquid, creating a sublime, sophisticated version of your grandmother’s favorite warm-the-bones winter soup. Next, baked Chilean sea bass announced its arrival with a powerfully appealing aroma.The delicate chunk of fish, perfectly plated with celery, spicy curry salt, pickled purple potatoes and charcoal oil, was a feast for the eyes and the olfactory senses.The

February 2012


wildly popular fish itself, however, was typically timid. To enliven the course, I dabbed at the charcoal oil drizzled around the plate, the flavors reminiscent of notes in a fine Islay Scotch. In Fargione’s skilled hands, even carbon and ash tastes appealing. I asked my friend about her risotto — a glistening, deeply golden bed of tender grain spiked with amber-colored veal cheeks and slivers of black truffle — but I had a hard time getting her attention. Finally, after several beats, she turned her gaze toward me and made a pronouncement. “It’s a delicious, decadent, caramelized plate of pure happiness!” After taking a bite myself, I decided I couldn’t sum it up any better. Dessert, a hazelnut tuile with candied hazelnuts and macchiato sauce, featured an espresso texture and was paired with a shot of tequilainfused cappuccino. The choice — mildly sweet, with rich undertones — was a playful end to a seriously accomplished meal. At Elisir, Fargione reminds us buzz and flash aren’t necessarily synonymous with fine dining in Penn Quarter, but an exquisite meal can still be creative and fun. Bravo.

Michael Coleman is a contributing writer for The Washington Diplomat.

PHOTO: JESSICA LATOS

Former Galileo chef Enzo Fargione has revived the lost art of fine dining in the glitzy Penn Quarter with his new restaurant Elisir.

YOU SAY “I DO”... WE DO THE REST. “Nothing makes me happier than cooking for my family,” Naima Aujali says, noting that her favorite pastime is spending time with her grandchildren. “I like a homey atmosphere.”

from page 36

Spouses who kept coming over bringing food almost every day, especially the wives of Djibouti [Amina Olhaye] and Algeria [Yasmina Baali]. My immediate next-door neighbor, Mary, an American, was so nice. She told me, ‘Don’t worry, Naima, you always have a home here with us.’” Naima is also grateful to other American friends for helping Libyan refugees. She was quick to thank the individual Libyan doctors practicing here, some of whom traveled to the North African nation to help the wounded, as well as supporters like Marjorie Scott of the Rotary Club of Washington, D.C., who initially made the public aware of the immediate needs of the Libyan refugees who’d fled to Tunisia. Because of her efforts, the Rotary Club collected sweaters, food and medicines for the displaced Libyans living in Tunisia. According to Scott, who is also the African liaison for the hospitality group

February 2012

THIS for Diplomats,“Naima is an outstanding, lovely, honest woman who sets a beautiful example of creating positive action at difficult times in our changing world and takes advantage of opportunities to explain and share the Libyan lifestyle to the rest of us.” Naima is now on the verge of seeing the fruits of her family’s efforts. She is on the eve of her first trip home since the revolution and the formation of the new government. Although she is making the 10-day trip for a sad occasion (the death of her older brother Mohammad due to cancer), she will take comfort in seeing her homeland free from autocratic rule for the first time in decades. She said she is excited “to see the free Libya for myself. I am sad because of the reason for my trip but I am really proud of being Libyan … and I can’t wait to see all those smiling faces.” Gail Scott is a contributing writer for The Washington Diplomat and lifestyle columnist for the Diplomatic Pouch.

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[ film interview ]

Jolie Behind the Camera Activist Actress Navigates Land of Fame, Foreign Policy and War by Larry Luxner

W

hen one of the world’s most beautiful actresses offers you the opportunity to quiz her about her latest movie, you don’t say no — especially when that actress is Angelina Jolie and the subject is ethnic bloodshed in Bosnia. Of course we grabbed the chance, and ended up talking not with a glitzy, shallow tabloid star but instead a Hollywood activist who sits on the Council on Foreign Relations, speaks out on behalf of Women for Women International, and actually knows a thing or two about geopolitics and world history. Our resulting Jan. 10 encounter was part of Jolie’s three-day Washington media blitz to promote her directorial debut, “In the Land of Blood and Honey.” She squeezed us into her crazy schedule — in between a well-publicized Jan. 9 screening at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, with longtime partner Brad Pitt at her side, and the couple’s surprise appearance Jan. 11 with President Obama at the White House. Several hours before our meeting at the RitzCarlton Hotel in Georgetown, Jolie’s publicist informed The Washington Diplomat that we’d have exactly 22 minutes — from 3:48 to 4:10 p.m. — to participate in a roundtable discussion with Jolie and PHOTO: LARRY LUXNER supporting actress Vanessa Glodjo, who portrays a Muslim woman named Lejla in this painful love story. Then from 4:12 to 4:28 p.m., Actress Angelina Jolie recently toured Washington to promote her directorial debut, we’d meet with the movie’s stars, Zana Marjanovic (Lejla’s younger sister Ajla) and “In the Land of Blood and Honey,” inspired by her worldwide humanitarian work as a Goran Kostic (Ajla’s Serb lover, Danijel). goodwill ambassador for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. We waited for the Oscar-winning actress and her cast, along with what seemed like half the Washington press corps, in a swanky guest suite stocked with roast-beef sandGlobe Awards. wiches, veggie dips and $10 glass bottles of Voss mineral water from Norway. In 2001, while filming “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider” in Cambodia, she developed a pasEventually, this reporter and two others — one from the Washington Post Express and the other representing the online Huffington Post — were ushered into a small sion for worldwide humanitarian work. Jolie’s appointment that year as a goodwill interview room and seated as promised at a round table, the only other prop in the ambassador for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has since taken her to several dozen countries including Iraq, Libya, Kenya, room a movie promo poster depicting bloodstains splatTurkey and Afghanistan. tered all over a map of the Balkans. In a Dec. 6 interview with the New York Times, Jolie The 36-year-old glamour girl walked in a moment I’m led simply by what I care says she decided to write, direct and co-produce (but not later with a cheerful, “Hi, I’m Angie” — as if we didn’t star in) this film because her real interest is foreign policy know — and sat down. The three of us immediately about, and I feel very grateful that issues, and that “being a part of international affairs that began peppering her and Glodjo with questions about what’s already become one of the year’s most talked- I’ve been able to travel the world and way, working toward solutions and being part of a good dialogue with good people, felt like a nice evolution to about Hollywood productions. Given our readership, we asked Jolie her opinion of meet survivors of war. So it’s not just me.” “In the Land of Blood and Honey” is the story of Ajla, a “celebrity diplomacy” and its effectiveness in bringing out of sympathy, but out of a deep carefree Bosniak girl who meets Serbian military officer positive change to the world — whether it’s Madonna in Sarajevo right before the war begins.Ajla eventufighting hunger in Africa or Sean Penn calling attention love and admiration and respect for Danijel ally ends up in the prison camp Danijel oversees; what to the plight of earthquake victims in Haiti. could have been a real romance turns into a brutal strug“Reporters can do a lot to educate us, and we can do people who survive conflict. gle for survival against a backdrop of rape, torture and with that education what we want,” replied the actresssenseless killing. At one point, Danijel, tenderly holding turned-director. “I’m led simply by what I care about, — ANGELINA JOLIE Ajla in his arms, whispers to his lover, “Why couldn’t you and I feel very grateful that I’ve been able to travel the director of “In the Land of Blood and Honey” have been born a Serb?” world and meet survivors of war. So it’s not just out of Shot in the local language with English subtitles, the sympathy, but out of a deep love and admiration and respect for people who survive conflict. If people see it that way and not as charity, film shows in graphic detail how that war — which killed some 100,000 people and left another 2 million homeless — came to define modern-day genocide, defying those they’ll understand that this is about strengthening the world we live in.” In 1992, the year fierce fighting broke out between Serbs and Muslims in the former who said that 50 years after the Holocaust, Europe would never allow such a thing Yugoslav republic of Bosnia, Jolie was a rebellious 16-year-old punk — more interested again. According to the Times, Jolie consulted a range of Washington experts for historical in tattoos and drugs than ethnic cleansing.The science-fiction flop “Cyborg 2,” released in 1993, was the first film to feature her in a starring role, but since then, she’s gone accuracy, including former NATO Commander Gen. Wesley Clark; foreign corresponon to win an Academy Award, two Screen Actors Guild Awards and three Golden dent Tom Gjelten, who covered the Balkan wars for National Public Radio; and the late

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The Washington Diplomat

February 2012


Goran Kostic, left, and Zana Marjanovic star in “In the Land of Blood and Honey” as a pair of former lovers who re-encounter each other in a Bosnian prison camp, where their loyalties are tested against a backdrop of rape, torture and senseless killing.

Richard Holbrooke, who brokered the Dayton peace accords that ended the war in 1995. “We tried really hard not to make it black and white,” she told The Diplomat when asked how Bosnians reacted to the movie. “Some Serbs were very supportive. Unfortunately, there are people who deny that it happened. Some people even deny that the Holocaust happened. But there are many moderate people too. We show the ugliness of war, but we don’t ignore the fact that there’s humanity on both sides.” The movie, budgeted at only $13 million, was shot entirely in the Hungarian cities of Budapest and Esztergom, and opened last December to generally favorable reviews. “Hungary was a wonderful place to work,” Jolie said. “We went there because Sarajevo, thankfully, does not look the same as then. It’s been rebuilt. I was very surprised with not only the technical skill but also how supportive the city [of Budapest] was, and its studios. There was a high level of professionalism. We had such a small budget, but it turned out to be high quality.The Hungarian crew was wonderful.” Jolie decided to use local actors from various parts of the former Yugoslavia, many of whom — like Glodjo — had suffered as a result of Bosnia’s civil war. “I am a non-political person, but I know what I lived through, and what I loved about this film is that it completely involved me emotionally,” said Glodjo, who was wounded by shrapnel in the head, leg and hand when a mortar hit her house during one particularly fierce battle.“It really told our story, a story that actually hasn’t been told. I recognized that the scriptwriter — even though at the time I didn’t know it was Angelina — cared about each character, and that’s what I adored.” Glodjo added: “The opening in Sarajevo was fantastic. People went out of this film completely moved, and they thanked Angelina for speaking about the war. It’s amazing how much we needed to show this to the world.” Marjanovic agreed. “The fact that Angelina is the one directing, it will definitely help put the spotlight on events that happened in Bosnia during the war,” she said. “So it’s important that she’s the one who made this film.” We asked Marjanovic what it was like to work under Jolie — who according to Forbes is tied with Sarah Jessica Parker as Hollywood’s highest-paid actress, with 2011 earnings of $30 million. “Angelina and I met the first time in Sarajevo,” recalled Marjanovic. “We said hello, and she said, ‘I feel like I know you, because I’ve been watching you.’ And I thought,‘That’s interesting, because I feel like I know you.’ We sat down, took out our notebooks and pens, and started working right

February 2012

Films International. But he refused, saying in a press release that “previously, I had great admiration and affection for Angelina Jolie both as a person and as an artist, but unfortunately she’s full of prejudice against the Serbs. I do not wish to be part of something that for the umpteenth time presents the Serbs as eternal bad guys.” More trouble ensued when erroneous reports surfaced from Sarajevo that Jolie’s movie was about a Bosniak woman falling in love with her Serbian rapist. That led to protests by the Bosnian Women Victims of War association, though Jolie disputes published reports that the Bosnian Ministry of Culture had revoked her filming permit and then later reinstated it. “We were in Budapest filming while this was hapPHOTO: LARRY LUXNER pening, but from what I’ve learned, it’s something Bosnians are not proud of because this was actually blown out of proportion,” she said.“It was a simple bureaucratic matter of a few documents that were missing. The permit was never taken away.” One of the stars of the film is Rade Serbedzija, who plays Danijel’s father, a vengeful Serbian general with a long memory of Muslim atrocities against Serbs (back in 1994, this same actor played a disillusioned war photographer in another movie about ethnic cleansing, Macedonia’s highly acclaimed film “Before the Rain.”) Kostic, whose character is torn between protecting Ajla and earning his father’s respect, said reaction to Jolie’s melodrama has been mixed back home. “Some say the film is anti-Serbian, others say it’s not pro-Bosnian PHOTO: DEAN SEMLER / FILMDISTRICT AND GK FILMS away. The whole time, we were constantly trying to figure enough. It was difficult to satisfy out what our next project should be. It’s such a motivation everyone,” he told us. “It’s a harsh and difficult film; you to see such a wonderful actress who is so concerned with know that from the very beginning. It was a very courawhere the world is going. And it’s amazing how much she geous decision for Angelina to go with a local cast.We know knows about Bosnia, how many people she spoke to from it’s going to be a commercial success in the States, but all sides of the conflict, including journalists that covered hopefully it will also initiate discussion about things that the war.” tend to be forgotten.” Jolie told The Diplomat that, contrary to some published Indeed, said Jolie, “this is one of the most complicated reports, her film was her way “to learn more about a part of places in the world. No one piece of art is going to be the the world I knew so little about” — not an attempt to make entire view. It’s just a slice of a few people’s stories — that’s a broad political statement. all it is. We hope it makes people think and broaden their “At 36, I thought, why do I know so little about this con- minds, but of course it’s unable to cover the whole Bosnian flict? This was for my education. I didn’t intend on it ever conflict because no one film or book can do that.” becoming a movie,” she explained. “As a director, I knew Nevertheless, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association that they all were extraordinary actors and had a range nominated “In the Land of Blood and Honey” for a Golden beyond my own understanding. It wasn’t for me to tell Globe — and Jolie is already thinking about her next projanybody how to do anything, just to make sure the environ- ect: a war movie about Afghanistan. She’s already been to ment was right and not get in the way.” that tortured country twice, most recently last March, when Despite her best efforts to remain objective, the filming the veiled actress spent two days visiting refugee camps of “In the Land of Blood and Honey” infuriated people on and meeting internally displaced people struggling to reinboth sides of the conflict, even though part of the underly- tegrate into society 10 years after returning from exile. ing message seems aimed at the United States and the West “A lot of actors think that if they spend time in acting for essentially turning a blind eye while atrocities took class, it’ll teach them something,” Jolie told us, just as her place only a few hundred miles from tourist centers like publicist indicated that our time was up. “But in order to Rome. recreate real situations and express real emotions, you must Early on, Jolie approached Serbian media tycoon Zeljko live a full life. You have to know what it is to be a real Mitrovic — a one-time ally of the widow of Serbian human being.” President Slobodan Milosevic — about using sound stages and studio sets owned by a company he controls, Pink Larry Luxner is news editor of The Washington Diplomat.

The Washington Diplomat Page 43


[ film reviews ]

Sociopolitical ‘Separation’ Family Portrait Exposes Idiosyncrasies of Iran’s Authoritarianism

A

by Ky N. Nguyen

[

sghar Farhadi’s “A Separation” claimed four prizes at the prestigious Berlin International Film Festival, including the coveted Golden Bear Award for Best Film.The Iranian writer-director’s fifth feature deploys a fierce kinetic visual style, packed full of chaotic action, to paint a clear picture of modern life in Iran, even though one might initially imagine such a cause and effect seems contradictory. Farhadi’s smart script offers a steady stream of delicious details that reveal ever-increasing insight, as viewed through the prism of an unusual courtroom drama. Behaving in other ways like a subtle thriller, the vivid story is brought to life by the uniformly solid ensemble cast members. Their naturalistic performances lend authenticity to the underlying nervous tension inherent in people trapped in the prison of living in an authoritarian state, regardless of their differences in class, education or religion. After finally completing the lengthy process of obtaining all the proper travel documents and visas required to emigrate from Iran, Simin (Leila Hatami) finds her long-time dream of a new, better life for her middle-class family abruptly dashed. Her husband Nader (Peyman Moadi) decides he can’t abandon his elderly father (Ali-Asghar Shahbazi), who suffers dementia caused by advanced Alzheimer’s disease. In court, Nader is willing to consent to a divorce that would permit his wife to leave without him, but he declines to let her take their 11-year-old daughter Termeh (Sarina Farhadi, the director’s real-life daughter) despite purportedly enhanced education prospects abroad. After the judge denies her petition, Simin goes back to her parents’ house while their child stays with her father. PHOTO: HABIB MADJIDI / SONY PICTURES CLASSICS Without Simin at home to care for his father, Nader must quickly hire a Leila Hatami, left, and Peyman Moadi portray a middle-class couple whose divorce caregiver, Razieh (Sareh Bayat), who accepts frames a sociopolitical commentary on modern Iranian life in “A Separation.” the position without the permission of her A Separation practically paralyzed with fear that her identity will be exposed and made public, for long-jobless husband,Hodjat (Shahab Hosseini),because (Jodaeiye Nader az Simin) their family badly needs the income. But Razieh’s execu- which she would lose her job and end up in the poorhouse. Her new roommate does tion of her duties is complicated by her devout religious indeed discover Nobbs’s true sex but doesn’t expose the secret. Instead, Nobbs eventu(Farsi with subtitles; 123 min.) beliefs that make it a sin for her to clean up Nader’s ally learns Page’s own shocking secrets. Landmark’s E Street Cinema Those revelations set in motion Nobbs’s delusional courtship of hotel maid Helen father after he wets himself. Nader agrees to let her turn ★★★★✩ the job over to her husband, but the position is accept- (Mia Wasikowska).Though not a real man, Nobbs intends to wed Helen to gain a practical partner who would co-manage a tobacable as he’s a male. Plus, Hodjat is co shop Nobbs plans to open using jailed by a creditor, forcing Razieh to reluctantly return to the decades of savings. Nobbs’s pursuit of job. Helen persists despite the fact she has no But after she leaves the father unattended, Nader becomes interest and has been sleeping with anothfurious with her, forcing her out of his house with a push that er hotel worker, Joe (Aaron Johnson). After precipitates a fall, after which she has a miscarriage. Razieh’s Helen gets pregnant with Joe’s child, own mercurial spouse becomes livid when he finds out the Nobbs’s infatuation with marrying Helen work she’s been doing, which he believes to be immoral, that led only intensifies. to the accident. They file a complaint and Nader faces prison if When the movie concludes, the audifound guilty by the court’s investigation, which itself serves as a ence must face the unavoidable fact that proxy for an astute sociopolitical analysis of the inner workings “Albert Nobbs” still feels largely lifeless of contemporary Persian culture. despite flashes of acting brilliance. Yet the film may be worth seeing just for the Cross-Dressing Close In ‘Albert Nobbs’ world-class thespian turns. Its absolute Colombia-born director Rodrigo García (“Mother and Child,” highlights are a pair of astounding perfor“Nine Lives”), whose work has typically taken place in modern mances by esteemed actresses Glenn Close American society, bravely ventures into uncharted territory (for and Janet McTeer, both completely mesPHOTO: PATRICK REDMOND / ROADSIDE ATTRACTIONS him) with “Albert Nobbs,” a sedate period piece set in 19th-cenmerizing on screen as they become fully tury Ireland. Its startling screenplay was adapted from Irish An Irish woman who’s adopted the persona of a man (Glenn Close), immersed inhabiting what could well be author George Moore’s short story by actress Glenn Close, nov- right, embarks on a delusional courtship of a hotel maid (Mia the top roles of their entire careers. The elist John Banville (winner of the Man Booker Prize) and Wasikowska) in “Albert Nobbs.” dynamic duo is supplemented by an all-star Gabriella Prekop. What one might consider to be a daring international cast including Wasikowska, experiment succeeds in depicting a fascinating story Johnson, Brendan Gleeson, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Brenda Fricker and Pauline within a well-crafted motion picture — albeit with Albert Nobbs Collins. deep flaws such as tediously slow pacing and an (English; 113 min.) underwhelming directorial style. Landmark’s E Street Cinema ‘Addiction Incorporated’ For 30 years, an Irish woman has adopted the per★★★✩✩ sona of a man,Albert Nobbs (Glenn Close), in order to “Addiction Incorporated,” an information-packed documentary produced and make a living as a waiter, most recently in a hotel directed by Charles Evans Jr. (producer of “The Aviator” and “The Brave”), thorwhere she also boards. One day, the boss assigns a visiting painter, Hubert Page (Janet oughly recounts the evils of the American tobacco industry over 30 years. Eschewing a McTeer), to share a bed with Nobbs. Unable to deal with the risky situation, Nobbs is narrator, the film relies largely on a litany of talking heads who speak their own revealing

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[ film interview ]

Spying a Win Will Oscar Finally Smile Down on Gary Oldman as George Smiley?

B

by Ky N. Nguyen

[Y]ou are playing a character that actually wants to disappear. He is beige and he just becomes part of the room, which makes him forgettable. So that was an interesting challenge.

ritish actor Gary Oldman (“The Dark Knight,” “The Fifth Element,” “Immortal Beloved,” “Harry Potter”) has long been admired for his vast body of work, but he’s never been nominated for an Academy Award. Buzz has been building that his time may finally have come for an Oscar nod, honoring his powerful portrait of — GARY OLDMAN the wily spymaster George Smiley in “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy,” Swedish director Tomas Alfredson’s British film adaptaI’ve played quiet before,” Oldman said of his tion of John le Carré’s classic Cold War low-key portrayal. “The challenges are that espionage novel (also see “A Thinker’s when you play a character that is so emotionThriller” film review in the January 2012 ally closed, there are times when you ask issue of The Washington Diplomat).At the yourself if you are doing enough, and if it’s Waldorf Astoria Hotel in Manhattan, reading.That is where you have a director who Oldman talked to The Washington is the barometer of what you are doing,” he PHOTO: JACK ENGLISH / FOCUS FEATURES Diplomat about playing the brainy, anti- Buzz has been building that Gary Oldman may finally win an Academy Award for his quietly explained. Bond British spy. “The trick is that one likes to think that you powerful portrayal of Cold War spymaster George Smiley in “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.” He said the role pretty much came to have a certain charisma because we are in a him.“It was a rare occasion to me where it was an offer, and one wasn’t in the lining up with profession where you have to a certain extent believe that you are interesting and that the usual suspects where you are one in five people that they are looking at. So it just came people want to watch you [but] you are playing a character that actually wants to disappear. in. I know that Tomas [Alfredson] wanted to cast Smiley before they cast anyone else. The He is beige and he just becomes part of the room, which makes him forgettable. So that was story that he tells me is that they were going through the lists, and after five months of this an interesting challenge — you have to dial everything down. But the roles that you play in they were almost giving up.Then the casting director said,‘What about Gary?’…. So I came are what is required of you.” in fighting for that role.” He added:“I think you can get a bit typecast. I think people remember movies like ‘Leon: He also had some big shoes to fill, with his performance sure to be compared to the The Professional’ and certainly the two movies I did with Luc Besson.They are very big, but exceptionally well-received 1979 British miniseries adaptation, in which Sir Alec Guinness they are cartoonish characters. So it was great to work on a piece of material where you can set the bar with his legendary portrayal of Smiley. really play subtext.” “Obviously, Guinness made such a mark playing it and carrying the face of Smiley. He was Oldman said he based his interpretation in part on Smiley’s creator, John le Carré, who in nearly 70 when he played, and my first thought was, ‘Well, I am a bit young.’ But it was real life worked for the British MI5 and MI6 and whom Oldman got to know during filming. Tomas’s idea to cast it younger across the board. But the ghost of Guinness was large. You “He was a great inspiration, and I modeled George on John initially as a sort of springboard. could honestly say that it was almost a definitive portrayal of Smiley,” Oldman admitted. You put a character like this, and he had a certain musicality in his voice and a certain won“In the end, I sort of played a trick with my head. I sort of thought,‘Well, there have been derful quality about him. So I kind of started and stole some little mannerisms from him.You other Romeos, Hamlets and King Lears, and it is just another reinterpretation.’ So I sort of begin almost with an impersonation, and the more that you do the work, the further that approached it rather how you would approach a classical part.” See OLDMAN, page 47 But inhabiting the persona of the taciturn, middle-age spy had its distinct challenges.“Well,

words, occasionally with entertaintine was just as addictive. DeNoble’s research Addiction Incorporated ing personal anecdotes. efforts were successful, which had the unin(English; 100 min.) The range of interview subjects tended side effect of producing conclusive includes scientists, attorneys, govscientific proof that nicotine was in fact addicLandmark’s E Street Cinema ernment officials and tobacco industive.The tobacco industry and its lawyers had Opens Fri., Feb. 3 try insiders (who are given a chance long resisted such evidence going public as it to tell their side of the story, providwould increase their exposure to litigation.As ★★★★✩ ing a degree of balance to the film’s such, Philip Morris closed DeNoble’s lab, fired coverage). Evans supplements the him and his colleagues, and hid their research — though not entirely – scientific explanations by deftly focusing on the heroic per- deep in the vaults. using animation to illustrate scienUnder pressure in a congressional hearing, the president sonal saga of scientist Victor PHOTO: ACAPPELLA PICTURES tific concepts. Other documentary DeNoble, a former research- of Philip Morris released DeNoble from his confidentiality techniques used effectively include Scientists gather to observe a rather animated test agreement, and in 1994, DeNoble was the first Big Tobacco er for Philip Morris. stock footage and scene reenact- subject in a re-enactment from the documentary In 1976, DeNoble earned insider to divulge that the industry had intended to make “a ments, especially of old events lack- “Addiction Incorporated.” his doctorate in experimental maximally addictive” product. From there, DeNoble worked ing existing footage. psychology from Adelphi with mass partnering litigation attorneys to sue the tobacco Yes, similar stories about Big Bad Tobacco have now been University, followed by postdoctoral fellowships researching industry, whose previous legal record of absolutely never told repeatedly in various forms: print and broadcast journal- drug abuse. In the 1980s, DeNoble was hired by Philip losing a lawsuit eventually dropped to 50-50. DeNoble is ism, feature films like the Oscar-nominated “The Insider,” etc. Morris to make a safer version of nicotine that lowered the depicted teaching workshops to kids about how nicotine is (Indeed, Jeffrey Wigand, the real-life subject of “The Insider,” risk of heart disease so that smokers would have longer lives addictive, countering the industry’s marketing to children. is one of the tobacco industry figures interviewed.) during which time they could buy more tobacco. Of course, “Addiction Incorporated” differs in its approach by largely the money would only continue to pour in if the safer nico- Ky N. Nguyen is the film reviewer for The Washington Diplomat.

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February 2012

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The Washington Diplomat Page 45


[ film ]

CINEMA LISTING *Unless specific times are listed, please check the theater for times. Theater locations are subject to change.

an international manhunt.

Transatlantic Tunnel

(France, 2011, 100 min.)

Directed by Maurice Elvev (U.K., 1935, 94 min.)

The Iron Lady

Landmark’s E Street Cinema

The premise that a transatlantic tunnel between England and the U.S. could facilitate world peace may seem unusual today, but the videophones, big-screen TVs and streamlined cars in this film adaptation of the 1913 German novel “Der Tunnel” certainly are not.

A young couple declares war on their child’s cancer diagnosis while wrestling with the strain it puts on their marriage.

Last Tango in Paris

AFI Silver Theatre Sun., Feb. 19, 4 p.m.

Directed by Bernardo Bertolucci (France/Italy, 1972, 129 min.)

Two for the Road

Directed by Phyllida Lloyd (U.K./France, 2011, 105 min.)

In the Land of Blood and Honey

Meryl Streep stars in this surprising and intimate portrait of Margaret Thatcher, the first and only female British prime minister.

During the Bosnian War, Danijel, a soldier fighting for the Serbs, re-encounters Ajla, a Bosnian who’s now a captive in the camp he oversees, but their once-promising connection has now become ambiguous as their motives change.

The African Queen

Marlon Brando gives the last great performance of his star-crossed career as a lost soul in Paris, despairing over the recent suicide of his wife, who begins a new and unusual affair with the much younger Maria Schneider.

Directed by John Huston (U.K., 1951, 105 min.)

AFI Silver Theatre Feb. 17 to 23

Landmark’s E Street Cinema

English

Fate, in the form of World War I and an invading German army, throws Katharine Hepburn’s stiff British missionary aboard seedy Canadian Humphrey Bogart’s decrepit, titular riverboat in the African jungle. AFI Silver Theatre Feb. 10 to 13

Brazil

Oka! Directed by Lavinia Currier (U.S., 2011, 106 min.)

Ethnomusicologist Louis Sarno travels from New Jersey to the forests of Central Africa to record the music of the Bayaka Pygmies, but decides to stay after falling in love with a Bayaka girl and her forest lifestyle.

Directed by Terry Gilliam (U.K., 1985, 132 min.)

The West End Cinema

Terry Gilliam’s magnificently imaginative vision of a totalitarian future is both funny and shocking in its absurdist view of life under a shadowy but painfully inept Big Brother.

Oliver Twist

AFI Silver Theatre Sat., Feb. 25, 9:45 p.m., Tue., Feb. 28, 9 p.m.

Directed by David Lean (U.K., 1948, 116 min.)

Orphan Oliver Twist runs away from workhouse drudgery for life on the London streets, exhilarating but dangerous, and falls in with a gang of young pickpockets.

Carnage

AFI Silver Theatre Thu., Feb. 9, 7 p.m., Sun., Feb. 12, 12:15 p.m.

Directed by Roman Polanski (France/Germany/Poland, 2011, 79 min.)

A Tale of Two Cities

Two pairs of parents hold a cordial meeting after their sons are involved in a fight, though as their time together progresses, increasingly childish behavior throws the evening into chaos. Landmark’s E Street Cinema

Coriolanus Directed by Ralph Fiennes (U.K., 2011, 122 min.)

A banished hero of Rome allies with a sworn enemy to take revenge on the city.

Directed by Jack Conway (U.S., 1935, 128 min.) Directed by Ralph Thomas (U.K., 1958, 117 min.)

In these two different Charles Dickens film adaptations, devil-may-care Sydney Carton goes from rake to saint, making the most noble of self-sacrifices to help his friends caught on the wrong side of revolutionary fervor in France during the Reign of Terror.

Theater TBA Opens Fri., Feb. 17

AFI Silver Theatre Feb. 6 to 8 (1935 version) Feb. 15 to 23 (1958 version)

Great Expectations

Things to Come

Directed by David Lean (U.K., 1945, 118 min.)

Directed by William Cameron Menzies (U.K., 1936, 100 min.)

David Lean delivers arguably the finest of all Charles Dickens’ screen adaptations as orphan Pip struggles to get by until an unknown benefactor provides him a generous allowance.

William Cameron Menzies’s background as an art director shines through in this stylized tale of Everytown, as the city evolves over 100 years.

AFI Silver Theatre Tue., Feb. 7, 7 p.m., Sat., Feb. 11, 12:15 p.m.

Directed by Steven Soderbergh (U.S./Ireland, 2011, 105 min.)

After a mission to rescue a hostage in Barcelona, a freelance covert operative is quickly dispatched on another mission to Dublin, where after being double crossed, she’ll have to use all of her skills to escape

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AFI Silver Theatre Mon., Feb. 20, 4 p.m.

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy Directed by Tomas Alfredson (France/U.K./Germany, 2011, 128 min.)

Haywire

The Washington Diplomat

February 2012

Area theaters

Bosnian Directed by Angelina Jolie (U.S., 2011, 127 min.)

THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT

Gary Oldman stars as British spy George Smiley, the brainy anti-James Bond hero of John le Carré classic novel who must outmaneuver his Soviet nemesis in a game of Cold War espionage. (English, Russian, Hungarian and French) AFI Silver Theatre

Directed by Stanley Donen (U.K., 1967, 111 min.)

This road movie crisscrosses the 10-year marriage of Audrey Hepburn and Albert Finney — via flashback and flash-forward — during the couple’s five road trips to the South of France. AFI Silver Theatre Feb. 17 to 23

The Woman in Black Directed by James Watkins (U.K./Canada/Sweden, 2012, 95 min.)

A young lawyer travels to a remote village where he discovers the vengeful ghost of a scorned woman is terrorizing the locals. Area theaters Opens Fri., Feb. 3

Farsi Good Bye Directed by Mohammad Rasoulof (Iran, 2011, 104 min.)

A young disbarred lawyer whose husband has been exiled, conveys a quiet desperation as she navigates the restrictive, maledominated Tehran. Freer Gallery of Art Fri., Feb. 3, 7 p.m., Sun., Feb. 5, 2 p.m.

Here Without Me Directed by Bahram Tavakoli (Iran, 2011, 97 min.)

Bahram Tavakoli’s adaptation of the Tennessee Williams play “The Glass Menagerie” is a brilliantly acted restaging of the original’s themes within the cultural confines of contemporary Iran. Freer Gallery of Art Fri., Feb. 17, 7 p.m. Sun., Feb. 19, 2 p.m.

Mourning Directed by Morteza Farshbaf (Iran, 2011, 84 min.)

As the two main characters — who are deaf and communicate almost entirely in sign language — bicker during a road trip, the audience learns tantalizing pieces of information about their passenger, a young relative whose parents disappeared in the middle of the night.

Theater TBA Opens Fri., Feb. 3

German Young Goethe in Love Directed by Philipp Stölzl (Germany, 2010, 102 min.)

In 1772 Germany, the young and tumultuous Johann Goethe aspires to be a poet, but after failing his law exams he is sent by his father to a sleepy provincial court, where the lovely Lotte enters his life and sparks fly. Landmark’s E Street Cinema

Japanese The Secret World of Arrietty (Kari-gurashi no Arietti) Directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi and Gary Rydstrom (Japan, 2010, 95 min.)

The Clock family are four-inch-tall people who live anonymously in another family’s residence, but life changes for the Clocks when their daughter, Arrietty, is discovered. (Japanese and English) Theater TBA Opens Fri., Feb. 17

The Sound of Rio: Brasileirinho Directed by Mika Kaurismäki (Brazil/Finland/Switzerland, 2005, 90 min.)

This musical documentary chronicles choro, the first genuinely Brazilian urban music that has evolved over the last century by blending European melodies, Afro-Brazilian rhythms, and the melancholic music of Brazilian Indians. Embassy of Uruguay Thu., Feb. 16, 6:30 p.m.

The Strange Case of Angelica (Estranho Caso de Angélica) Directed by Manoel de Oliveira (Portugal/Spain/France/Brazil, 2010, 94 min.)

A young photographer is called by a wealthy family to take the last photograph of their daughter, Angelica, who died just a few days after her wedding, but every time he looks at her through the camera, the young woman appears to come back to life just for him. Embassy of Portugal Fri., Feb. 3, 6:30 p.m.

Russian Hamlet (Гамлет) Directed by Grigori Kozintsev (USSR, 1964, 140 min.)

1920. The World’s Most Important Battle (1920 Bitwa Warszawska)

Grigori Kozintsev’s renowned adaptation of “Hamlet” features evocative location shooting in the medieval Estonian village of Keila-Joa, a distinctive score, and Innokenti Smoktunovsky as the melancholy Dane, praised by no less than Laurence Olivier as the definitive screen performance of the Prince of Denmark.

Directed by Jerzy Hoffman (Poland, 2011, 110 min.)

This Polish mega production depicts one of the world’s most important battles, which saved Europe from a global communist revolution: the 1920 clash between powerful Red Army and soldiers of newly reborn Poland that resulted in the repulsion of Bolsheviks from the gates of Warsaw. (Polish and Russian) AMC Hoffman 22 Theatre Sun., Feb. 12, 3 p.m., Thu., Feb. 16, 7:30 p.m.

In Darkness (W Ciemnosci) Directed by Agnieszka Holland (Poland/Germany/France/Canada, 2011, 145 min.)

A sewer worker and petty thief in the Nazioccuped Polish city of Lvov hides a group of Jews for money in the labyrinth of the town’s sewer system, but what starts out as a cynical business arrangement turns into something unexpected. (Polish, Ukrainian, Yiddish and German) Theater TBA Opens Fri., Feb. 17

Portuguese

French

Directed by Andrucha Waddington (Brazil, 2005, 115 min.)

Directed by Valérie Donzelli

Embassy of Portugal Thu., Feb. 2, 6:30 p.m.

Polish

Freer Gallery of Art Fri., Feb. 10, 7 p.m., Sun., Feb. 12, 2 p.m.

Declaration of War (La guerre est déclarée)

his passing, must confront life in the sand dunes.

House of Sand (Casa de Areia) A pregnant woman is taken along with her elderly mother in 1910 to a faraway Brazilian desert by her husband, and after

AFI Silver Theatre Feb. 19 to 26

King Lear (Король Лир) Directed by Grigori Kozintsev (USSR, 1971, 139 min.)

According to the BBC, this spirited adaptation of Shakespeare’s classic story is elevated by “a commanding title performance by Estonian actor Jüri Järvet, some striking landscape imagery and Dmitri Shostakovich’s anguished score.” AFI Silver Theatre Feb. 19 to 26

Silent The Artist Directed by Michel Hazanavicius (France, 2011, 100 min.)

Set in 1927, silent movie star George Valentin wonders if the arrival of talking pictures will cause him to fade into oblivion, as sparks fly with Peppy Miller, a young dancer set for a big break. (Silent with limited English and French) AFI Silver Theatre

Metropolis Directed by Fritz Lang (Germany, 1927, 148 min.)

Incorporating more than 25 minutes

February 2012


(Peru, 2010, 83 min.)

of recently discovered footage, the 2010 restoration of “Metropolis” is the definitive edition of Fritz Lang’s science fiction masterpiece.

Lion’s Den (Leonera)

AFI Silver Theatre Fri., Feb. 24, 7:15 p.m.

A 25 year-old university student with no criminal record is sent to prison for murdering the father of her newborn child, whom she must now learn to raise in jail. (Spanish and French)

Spanish Artigas la Redota Directed by César Charlone (Uruguay, 2011, 118 min.)

Directed by Pablo Trapero (Argentina/South Korea/Brazil, 2008,

Embassy of Argentina Fri., Feb. 17, 6:30 p.m.

In 1884, the famous painter Juan Manuel Blanes is tasked with recovering an image of Guzmán Larra, the Spanish spy who, 70 years earlier, had tried to assassinate the leader José Artigas.

A Little Fire (Un Fueguito: La Historia de César Milstein)

Embassy of Uruguay Fri., Feb. 17, 6:30 p.m.

This documentary explores the work of Nobel Prize winner César Milstein, who produced countless benefits and practical applications in medicine, biology, immunology, and scientific knowledge in general. (Spanish, English, French and Italian)

Cell 211 (Celda 211) Directed by Daniel Monzón (Spain/France, 2009, 113 min.)

Two men find themselves on different sides of a prison riot — the inmate leading the rebellion and the brand new guard trapped in the revolt, who poses as a prisoner in an attempt to survive the ordeal. Embassy of Spain Sat., Feb. 18, 6:30 p.m.

Closed Eyes (A Ojos Cerrados)

Directed by Ana Fraile (Argentina, 2010, 70 min.)

Embassy of Argentina Thu., Feb. 9, 6:30 p.m.

Clemente, a moneylender of few words, and his devout single neighbor are brought together over a newborn baby, fruit of Clemente’s relationship with a prostitute who’s nowhere to be found. Embassy of Argentina Thu., Feb. 23, 6:30 p.m.

The Pope’s Toilet (El Baño del Papa)

Directed by Leticia Tonos (Dominican Republic, 2011, 96 min.)

After her mother dies in an accident, 18-year-old Maria decides to look for the father she’s never met.

Embassy of Venezuela Thu., Feb. 16, 6:30 p.m.

Taita Boves

Woman Without Piano (La Mujer Sin Piano)

Directed by Luis Alberto Lamata (Venezuela, 2010, 100 min.)

Jose Tomás Boves goes from seafarer to pirate, horse smuggler to prosperous merchant, and prisoner to brutal military chief during the Venezuelan War of Independence.

Embassy of Spain Fri., Feb. 17, 6:30 p.m.

The upcoming visit of the pope to a poor Uruguayan country town inspires Beto, who transports contraband on his bike, to think about building a proper lavatory and charging for its use.

Van Van Fever (Eso Que Anda)

Yasuní: Two Seconds of Life (Yasuní: Dos Segundos de Vida)

Directed by Ian Padrón (Cuba, 2010, 75 min.)

Directed by Leonardo Wild (Ecuador/Austria/U.S., 2010, 90 min.)

This documentary looks at Cuba’s most popular orquestra over the last 40 years, Juan Formell and The Van Van.

This documentary examines the Ecuadorean government’s unique proposal to leave the oil found in the Yasuní national park untouched. (Spanish and English)

Embassy of Uruguay Fri., Feb. 10, 6:30 p.m.

Red Sky (El Cielo Rojo) Bernie, Manuel, and Nestor just graduated from high school but, unsatisfied with the opportunities in Costa Rica, they have no plans for the future — until key events in the boys’ personal lives conspire to make a disinterested lifestyle difficult.

Embassy of Venezuela Thu., Feb. 2, 6:30 p.m.

Water Drums, An Ancestral Encounter (Tambores de Agua, Un Encuentro Ancestral) Framed in a contemporary cultural discourse of resistance, this documentary — shot in both Venezuela and Cameroon — researches the traditions of Venezuelan black communities that are descendants of the Maroons.

In 19th-century Venezuela, Ezequiel Zamora fights for the equal rights of peasants and farmers afflicted by the class struggle under the oligarchy’s yoke.

he does for a living, but he is a spy. It is a strange profession in as much that if you are part of law enforcement and you go off after a bad guy and you are lucky enough to catch him, he goes through the process of the justice system and is imprisoned. With a spy, you find a guy, you get him, and you try to turn him. He may have killed people, but there are no consequences in that respect. You want him now to come over to you.” But Oldman’s impressive depiction of John le Carré’s iconic Cold Warrior has already generated buzz that it won’t be the last time we see Oldman in the role. The actor muses on reprising Smiley for a sequel:“There are whispers that we may do another one. I would love to do it. I’ll love to play him again. I kind of miss him.”

The Rope (La Soga)

Directed by Trisha Ziff (Mexico, 2011, 86 min.)

Directed by Joshua Crook (Dominican Republic, 2009, 103 min.)

In this hard-hitting crime story, a government enforcer/hit man’s personal code of honor causes him to question the morality of the people he works for.

from page 45

The Condemned (Los Condenados)

Three lost boxes, misplaced in the chaos at the start of World War II, are recovered in 2007 containing thousands of negatives from the Spanish Civil War by the legendary photographer Robert Capa and his fellow Eastern European exiles.

Embassy of Spain Sat., Feb. 18, 8 p.m.

Directed by Isaki Lacuesta (Spain, 2009)

Mexican Cultural Institute Sat., Feb. 4, 4 p.m.

you get away from it. But he is sort of the DNA of the whole thing. “He is 80 this year, and it is kind of like hanging out with a 30 year old. He has a prolific memory, and he is a great actor, impersonator and a wonderful raconteur. He says, ‘I’m there if you need me,’” Oldman recalled, laughing that once you get the famed author talking,“it is like putting a coin in the juke box. You just put the coin in and then the record plays. It is fantastic.You can’t shut him up!” But the actor still finds the espionage profession to be an odd one. “We showed the movie to people in MI6 who loved it and thought that it was very accurate. There was a guy there whose family believes that he is a chauffeur for diplomats and that that is what

An exiled Argentinean returns home after living in Spain for more than 30 years to help find the remains of a political activist who disappeared during the Junta dictatorship. Embassy of Spain Thu., Feb. 16, 6:30 p.m.

The Cow (La Vaca) Directed by Mendel Samayoa (Guatemala, 2011, 97 min.)

An inheritance hangs in the balance as two ladies must grant their shared lover’s last wish: Get his cow pregnant. Embassy of Guatemala Fri., Feb. 10, 6:30 p.m.

Shame (La Vergüenza)

Midnight Souls (Almas de Media Noche)

Directed by David Planell (Spain, 2009)

Directed by Juan Carlos Fanconi (Honduras, 2001, 120 min.)

A young couple, not knowing how to cope with their adopted son’s behavior, decide to give him back, but soon realize the price they’ll have to pay if they go ahead with their plan.

A journalist who was investigating the mysterious deaths of townspeople is murdered himself, and a group of journalism students, thinking it was all just a game, organize a trip to the town, where they unlock secrets hidden for 200 years by the Lencas Indians. Embassy of Guatemala Fri., Feb. 17, 6:30 p.m.

Silvestre Pantaleón

October (Octubre)

An elderly man from a Mexican village struggles to pay for a curing ceremony and provide for his family.

Directed by Roberto Olivares Ruiz (Mexico, 2011, 65 min.)

Directed by Daniel and Diego Vega

Repertory Notes

Oldman

Embassy of Venezuela Fri., Feb. 3, 6:30 p.m.

Ky N. Nguyen is the film reviewer for The Washington Diplomat.

by Washington Diplomat film reviewer Ky N. Nguyen

Please see International Film Clips or detailed listings available at press time.

AMERICAN FILM INSTITUTE (AFI) SILVER THEATRE Upcoming series include: “Soviet Shakespeare” (Feb. 19-26), “Dickens in the Cinema: A Bicentennial Retrospective” (Feb. 3-April 9), “Screen Valentines: Great Movie Romances” (Feb. 3-March 7), “Bigger Than Life: The Films of Nicholas Ray” (Feb. 3-April 12), “Gene Kelly Centennial Retrospective” (Feb. 4-April 5) and “Things to Come: The City Imagined on Film” (Feb. 11-April 5).

February 2012

Embassy of Spain Sat., Feb. 18, 4 p.m.

Zamora, Free Land and Men (Zamora, Tierra y Hombres Libres) Directed by Román Chalbaud (Venezuela, 2009, 128 min.)

The Mexican Suitcase (La Maleta Mexicana)

Embassy of Chile Thu., Feb. 16 7:15 p.m.

Embassy of Argentina Thu., Feb. 16, 6:30 p.m.

Directed by Clarissa Duque (Venezuela, 2009, 75 min.)

Embassy of Uruguay Fri., Feb. 3, 6:30 p.m.

When life brings a Costa Rican granddaughter and her grandfather to a crossroads, they travel to the eastern Caribbean coast seeking healing and renewal.

A Madrid housewife attempts to escape her mundane and tedious existence one night, when an absurd new world emerges for her.

Embassy of Venezuela Fri., Feb. 10, 6:30 p.m.

Embassy of Spain Sat., Feb. 18, 1 p.m.

Directed by Hernán Jiménez (Costa Rica, 2010, 65 min.)

Directed by Javier Rebollo (Spain, 2009, 94 min.)

Directed by Enrique Fernandez and César Charlone (Uruguay/Brazil/France, 2007, 97 min.)

Directed by Miguel Alejandro Gómez (Costa Rica, 2008, 85 min.)

Love Child (La Hija Natural)

Mexican Cultural Institute Sat., Feb. 4, 1 p.m.

(301) 495-6700, www.afi.com/silver

(202) 842-6799, www.nga.gov/programs/film

NATIONAL GALLERY OF ART

FREER GALLERY OF ART

“American Originals Now: Amie Siegel” includes the artist’s film essays: “DDR/DDR” (Feb. 11, 2:30 p.m.) and “Black Moon” (Feb. 18, 2:30 p.m.). “PhotoFilm!” (Feb. 25-March 4) presents the programs of motion pictures made from still photos, including “How Much Movement Does the Image Need?” (Feb. 25, 2:30 p.m.) and “Recall and Memory” (Feb. 26, 4:30 p.m.), both films with Gusztáv Hámos, Katja Pratschke and Thomas Tode in person.

“Iranian Film Festival 2012” (through Feb. 19) concludes with Mohammad Rasoulof’s “Good Bye” (Feb. 3, 7 p.m.; Feb. 5, 2 p.m.), Morteza Farshbaf’s “Mourning” (Feb. 10, 7 p.m.; Feb. 12, 2 p.m.), and Bahram Tavakoli’s “Here without Me” (Feb. 17, 7 p.m.; Feb. 19, 2 p.m.). (202) 357-2700, www.asia.si.edu/events/films.asp

The Washington Diplomat Page 47


[ around town ]

EVENTS LISTING **Admission is free unless otherwise noted. All information on event venues can be found on The Washington Diplomat Web site at www.washdiplomat.com. Times and locations are subject to change. Unless listed, please call venue for specific event times and hours of operation.

ART Through Feb. 1

Parallel Worlds by Marcelo Novo Argentine artist Marcelo Novo creates a series of paintings whose bold grays and strong, strange subjects coexist between two worlds of reality and subjectivity. Embassy of Argentina Through Feb. 3

New Visions: A Selection of the Latest Acquisitions from the IDB Art Collection, 2008–2011 The Inter-American Development Bank’s art collection comprises 1,722 artworks that include paintings, sculpture, photography, works on paper, ceramics and handcrafted objects. These works showcase the region’s creativity and highlight the achievements of its distinguished artists. Inter-American Development Bank Cultural Center Feb. 3 to May 20

Shakespeare’s Sisters: Voices of English and European Women Writers, 1500-1700 This exhibition explores those women who were writing during Shakespeare’s time, reimagining the “conversations” of these early women writers — with each other as members of families or groups, with the Bible, with spiritual and secular ideas, and with male writers of the time — in hopes of expanding their overshadowed voices. Folger Shakespeare Library Feb. 3 to Jan. 6

Dragons, Nagas, and Creatures of the Deep In the Spirit of the East Asian calendar’s Year of the Dragon, this exhibition highlights objects drawn from cultures as diverse as the ancient Mediterranean world, imperial China and contemporary South America, portraying dragons as everything from fire-breathing beasts to beneficent water gods. The Textile Museum Through Feb. 4

Conversación: Photo Works by Muriel Hasbun and Pablo Ortiz Monasterio In conjunction with FotoWeek DC, this exhibition represents a yearlong collaboration between two artists, one from Mexico and one in D.C., whereby a single photograph was sent by Pablo Ortiz Monasterio as a digital file to Muriel Hasbun, who replied by sending back one of her own. This exchange went on for months, the results of which reveal how photography can probe the possibilities of cultural and visual exchange in a digital age. Mexican Cultural Institute

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The Washington Diplomat

THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT

Opens Feb. 4

Through Feb. 11

Feast Your Eyes: A Taste for Luxury in Ancient Iran

Bill Dorsey: A Retrospective

In celebration of the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery’s 25th anniversary, the Freer and Sackler’s extraordinary collection of luxury metalwork from ancient Iran goes on view in the walkway between the two museums. Considered one of the largest and finest holdings of its kind, the collection comprises works dating from the first millennium B.C. to the early Islamic period. Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Feb. 4 to May 6

Shadows of History: Photographs of the Civil War from the Collection of Julia J. Norrell Inspired by the 150th anniversary of the Civil War — one of the first conflicts to be extensively documented by photography — this focused collection developed in recent years by Washington collector Julia Norrell captures a wide range of images, from soldiers and officers at rest, to the death and destruction of battle. Corcoran Gallery of Art Feb. 4 to May 6

Snapshot: Painters and Photography, Bonnard to Vuillard Approximately 200 snapshots made by renowned post-impressionist artists like Pierre Bonnard and Edouard Vuillard using the new technology of the Kodak handheld camera, most previously unpublished, are displayed with 70 paintings and works on paper that the snapshots inspired, revealing fascinating parallels in cropping, lighting and vantage point. The Phillips Collection Feb. 4 to May 6

Tim Hetherington: Sleeping Soldiers Between 2007 and 2008, photographer Tim Hetherington (1970-2011) was embedded with U.S. Army soldiers in a remote and dangerous post in northeastern Afghanistan. This exhibition includes photographs and a video installation that juxtaposes chaotic scenes of combat with still images of soldiers at rest.

This retrospective encompasses the career of Bill Dorsey (1961-2011), a longtime Washington artist whose emotive oil renderings express the beauty found in nature with depictions of landscapes and the Washington community.

February 2012

plex as the vast region of Central Nigeria, that demonstrate how the history of the area can be “unmasked” through the dynamic interrelationships of its peoples and their arts.

tion and its structural conditions as a result of redistribution of power and property.

National Museum of African Art

Picasso’s Drawings, 1890-1921: Reinventing Tradition

Through March 11

International Visions Gallery

Claire Healy and Sean Cordeiro: Are We There Yet?

Through Feb. 12

In the first U.S. exhibition of Australian artists Claire Healy and Sean Cordeiro — and the third exhibition in the “NOW at the Corcoran” series showcasing emerging and mid-career artists — a gallery-transforming installation draws on American history, literature, pop culture, current affairs and the Corcoran’s architecture to explore the symbolism of space exploration and the paradoxes of food consumption.

30 Americans Provocative and confrontational, this exhibition showcases works by many of the most important African American artists of the last three decades, focusing on issues of racial, sexual and historical identity and exploring the powerful influence of artistic legacy across generations. Corcoran Gallery of Art

Corcoran Gallery of Art Thr ough Feb. 12

Weaving Abstraction: Kuba Textiles and the Woven Art of Central Africa

Through March 16

Ingeniously woven from palm fiber, Central African textiles distinguished the wealthy and powerful. Woven art from the Kuba kingdom in particular makes playful use of a language of over 200 patterns. “Weaving Abstraction” is the most comprehensive exploration of this art form to date in the U.S., with 150 objects ranging from small, exquisite baskets to monumental skirts.

Gérard Rondeau has photographed hundreds of celebrities from all walks of life, ranging from Carla Bruni to Léo Castelli, often for the French newspaper Le Monde. This exhibit features 100 of those portraits depicting such notables as Jean Baudrillard, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Jacques Derrida, Roy Lichtenstein, Joan Mitchell, Patrick Modiano, Jean-Jacques Sempé, Richard Serra, Philippe Starck, and George Steiner. Viewings are by appointment only and can be made by calling (202) 944-6400.

The Textile Museum Feb. 14 to June 2

The Style that Ruled the Empires: Russia, Napoleon, and 1812 Paintings, porcelain, glassware, metal ware, attire, Napoleonic armor and other items commemorate the bicentennial of Russia’s triumph over the French army in 1812, which dealt an arresting blow to Napoleon and his pursuit of European conquest while also igniting a collective Russian pride and production of decorative arts that persists today.

Chronicles of a Portraitist

La Maison Française Through April 8

National Gallery of Art

Anil Revri: Faith and Liberation through Abstraction

Feb. 4 to July 29

From the Library: The Fleeting Structures of Early Modern Europe

The George Washington University Luther W. Brady Art Gallery Feb. 23 to May 13

American University Museum Katzen Arts Center

Suprasensorial: Experiments in Light, Color, and Space

Through April 15

Through July 8

The Baroque Genius of Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione (1609-64) was perhaps the most complex and farreaching interpreter of the baroque, the naturalistic style that dominated 17th-century European art. National Gallery of Art

Exposition Corps The Austrian Cultural Forum presents a performance by outstanding Austrian choreographer and dancer Saskia Hölbling, whose solo analyzes subjectivity of the body itself, investigating its dermal layers and cells of memory while reflecting on physical identity. To RSVP, visit www.acfdc.org/events-registration or call (202) 895-6776. Embassy of Austria Through Feb. 5

American Ballet Theatre American Ballet Theatre’s elegant stars continue to prove ballet’s enduring power with Petipa’s evening-length work “La Bayadère” and a mixed repertory program. Tickets are $25 to $99. Feb. 22 to 26

TwylaTharp: AllAmerican

Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden

American University Museum Katzen Arts Center

Through March 4

Through April 15

Central Nigeria Unmasked: Arts of the Benue River Valley

Migration_Standards

Embassy of Australia

Embassy of Spain

In his first D.C. exhibit, Spanish artist Cristóbal Gabarrón’s vibrantly colored sculptures are larger than life, but human in scale and effect, while his painted tondos (circular works of art) evoke archaeological and zoological mysteries.

Forces of Nature

This international exhibit features more than 148 objects used in a range of ritual contexts, with genres as varied and com-

Alberto Schommer, one of Spain’s most prominent photographers, has pioneered a path challenging conventional forms, including a series of psychological portraits, always guided under the influence of the oeuvre of Irving Penn and William Klein. Part of the “Spain arts & culture” series (www.spainculture.us).

Gabarrón’s Roots

Through Feb. 10

Investigating the intricacies of land and sea, flora and fauna, 13 acclaimed Australian artists specializing in jewelry and small sculpture reflect on the complex relationship between contemporary Australia and its unique natural environment.

Alberto Schommer: Portraits and Scenarios

Kennedy Center Opera House

“Suprasensorial” is the first exhibition to re-evaluate the evolution of the international Light and Space movement through the work of five pivotal Latin American artists. Coinciding with the show, a 360-degree projection by Doug Aitken will illuminate, animate and transform the Hirshhorn’s entire façade.

National Gallery of Art

Through July 6

Wed., Feb. 1, 7:30 p.m.

Anil Revri constructs his paintings on a grid, and the repetition of finely detailed geometric elements offers viewers numerous optical rewards. But these are also contemporary spiritual paintings analogous in their functions to tantric art, and its distant relation the Byzantine icon.

In early modern Europe, state visits, coronations and weddings were among the occasions that gave cities a chance to stage lavish productions in which artists and architects designed elaborate structures and decorations, allowing them to experiment with new ideas or encourage city officials to consider new uses of public space.

National Gallery of Art

This exhibition is the first in the United States devoted to the Mantuan sculptor and goldsmith Pier Jacopo Alari Bonacolsi (c. 1455–1528), known as Antico for his expertise in classical antiquity.

Some 30 drawings of subjects taken from ordinary life illustrate Irish-born, Britishbased artist Michael Craig-Martin’s ability to use simple tools to express complex ideas by manipulating material and scale.

Corcoran Gallery of Art

Through some 55 works, this exhibition presents the dazzling development of Pablo Picasso’s drawings over a 30-year period, from the precocious academic exercises of his youth in the 1890s to the virtuoso works of the early 1920s, including the radical innovations of cubism and collage.

DANCE

Through April 15

Michael Craig-Martin: Drawings

Through May 6

Antico: The Golden Age of Renaissance Bronzes

Hillwood Estate, Museum and Gardens Through Feb. 17

Austrian Cultural Forum

Realized in cooperation with the art collective bäckerstrasse 4 – plattform für junge kunst curated, this exhibit featuring four artists focuses on the challenges of migra-

This all-Twyla Tharp repertory program features the American dance icon’s “Nine Sinatra Songs,” “Push Comes to Shove” and the Washington Ballet premiere of “Surfer at the River Styx.” Tickets are $20 to $125. Kennedy Center Eisenhower Theater

DISCUSSIONS Thu., Feb. 2, 6:30 p.m.

Diego Rivera in New York Leah Dickerman, curator in the Department of Painting and Sculpture at the Museum of

February 2012


Modern Art in New York and the organizer of the museum’s current exhibition “Diego Rivera: Murals for the Museum of Modern Art,” discusses the pieces that Rivera made in the winter of 1931-1932 for MoMA’s wildly popular retrospective of the Mexican communist’s artwork. Reservations are recommended and can be made by emailing RSVP@instituteofmexicodc.org.

the Tschaikowski St. Petersburg State Orchestra has developed a diverse repertoire ranging from baroque through 20th-century music, with performances that often include compositions by Vivaldi, Bach, Handel Rachmaninoff, Shostakovich, Prokofiev and Tchaikovsky. Tickets are $25 to $50. George Mason University Center for the Arts GMU Hylton Performing Arts Center (Feb. 8)

Institute of Mexico

Wed., Feb. 29, 8 p.m.

Tickets start at $63.

Feb. 25 to March 15

Washington Performing Arts Society: Vienna Philharmonic

Signature Theatre

Washington National Opera: Così fan tutte

Lorin Maazel conducts the venerable Vienna Philharmonic, which for more than 160 years has been closely associated with the history and tradition of European classical music. Tickets are $65 to $250. Kennedy Center Concert Hall

Fri., Feb. 10, 7:30 p.m. Fri., Feb. 10, 6:30 p.m.

TARA Oceans Scientific Expedition

Viktoria Loukianetz and Marianna Humetska

The Embassy of France’s Office of Science and Technology, in collaboration with Tara Expeditions invites you to a presentation by Eric Karsenti, scientific director of Tara Oceans, and film screening of “The Big Bloom” to mark the near conclusion of a 30-month scientific voyage to distant seas and oceans. For reservations, visit www. france-science.org.

This joint presentation of the Washington Group Cultural Fund, the Embassy of Ukraine and the Austrian Cultural Forum features pianist Marianna Humetska with Kiev-born soprano Victoria Loukianetz, who started her musical education at the age of 5, finishing her studies at the Conservatory of Kiev in 1989. Tickets are $40. Embassy of Austria

La Maison Française Sat., Feb. 11, 2 p.m. Tue., Feb. 14, 7:30 p.m.

Catalin Florescu, Inka Parei & Erwin Uhrmann Erwin Uhrmann of Austria, Inka Parei of Germany and Catalin Dorian Florescu of Switzerland read and discuss their work in an evening dedicated to emerging authors in contemporary German literature. To RSVP, visit www.acfdc.org/events-registration or call (202) 895-6776. Embassy of Austria Sat., Feb. 18, 2 p.m.

Budapest, Prague, and Vienna: Where the Coffee House Influenced the Opera House Yvonne Caruthers examines the cultural hegemony of Budapest, Prague and Vienna in their imperial centuries as the centers of classical music and opera. Tickets are $15. Kennedy Center Terrace Gallery

MUSIC Thu., Feb. 2, 7:30 p.m.

Opéra Bouffe The ensemble of the Bel Cantanti Opera in Washington, D.C., will perform the two pieces: “The Impresario” by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and “ Mr. Cauliflower will be at home…” by Jacques Offenbach. Tickets are $38. Embassy of Austria Fri., Feb. 3, 8 p.m.

Chucho Valdés and the Afro-Cuban Messengers Legendary Cuban jazz pianist Chucho Valdés — hailed as “one of the world’s great virtuosic pianists” by the New York Times — and his band, the Afro-Cuban Messengers, perform a sublime evening of Latin jazz. Tickets are $23, $38 or $46. George Mason University Center for the Arts Fri., Feb. 3, 8 p.m.

Shanghai Chinese Orchestra The Chamber Ensemble of the Shanghai Chinese Orchestra gives audiences a chance to discover a new musical vocabulary with this concert of historical and contemporary Chinese music played on traditional Chinese instruments. Tickets are $45. University of Maryland Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center

Washington Performing Arts Society: Sol Gabetta, Cello Born of Russian-French parents in Argentina, the charismatic cellist Sol Gabetta is forging an impressive career as the director of her own chamber music festival. Tickets are $25. Kennedy Center Terrace Theater Wed., Feb. 15, 7:30 p.m.

Donatienne Michel-Dansac A musical prodigy, soprano Donatienne Michel-Dansac, performing here with pianist Vincent Leterme, has premiered numerous works by composers who include Philippe Manoury, Pascal Dusapin, Georges Aperghis, Fausto Romitelli and Philippe Leroux. Tickets are $20.

La Saint-Valentin at the Embassy of France Whether you’re single, a couple or a group of friends, celebrate Valentine’s at the Embassy of France with its fifth annual La Saint-Valentin soiree featuring open bar, pastries, live music and a silent auction, with proceeds benefiting the FrenchAmerican Cultural Foundation. Tickets are $85. La Maison Française Wed., Feb. 15, 6 p.m.

Freer Gallery of Art

A film screening of “Vinyl: Tales from the Vienna Underground” about the hidden experimental and electronic music world in Vienna if followed by a reception and performance by Austrian DJs The Happy Kids. Tickets are $60. Embassy of Austria

THEATER

Sun., Feb. 19, 4 p.m.

Feb. 3 to March 11

Soweto Gospel Choir

Civilization (all you can eat)

Experience the joy, peace and hope of this celebrated Grammy-winning choir of 26 singers performing both traditional and contemporary songs in some of South Africa’s many languages. Tickets are $22, $36 or $44.

This wicked satire follows a group of six ambitious Americans on a quest for success at the dawn of the Obama age — and the price they must pay to achieve it. Tickets start at $30. Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company

George Mason University Center for the Arts Feb. 4 to 19

Wolfgang Holzmair and Sonia Wieder-Atherton The Austrian Cultural Forum presents a recital featuring inimitable Austrian baritone Wolfgang Holzmair and renowned FrenchAmerican cellist Sonia Wieder-Atherton. To RSVP, visit www.acfdc.org/events-registration or call (202) 895-6776. Embassy of Austria Sat., Feb. 25, 7:30 p.m.

Feb. 9 to March 4

Ana en el trópico / Anna in the Tropics Dormant passions are revived with the arrival of a lector who reads chapters of “Anna Karenina” at a 1920s cigar factory in Ybor City, Florida, where cigars are still rolled by hand. Tickets are $34 or $38 (in Spanish with English surtitles). GALA Hispanic Theatre

Genesis Reboot

Kennedy Center Terrace Theater

Thu., Feb. 23, 7:30 p.m.

International Spy Museum

Feb. 9 to March 4

Vinyl: Tales from the Vienna Underground

Do you love poetry by Heinrich Heine? Then hear Austrian baritone Florian Bösch offer his beautifully rendered and deeply probing interpretations of Heine settings by Franz Schubert and Robert Schumann. Tickets are $45 (mention source code Austria25 for discounted tickets of $25).

The Alliance Française de Washington and International Spy Museum present “Poison Lecture,” which is everything a lecture is not: It’s actually a multilayered performance piece exploring the seemingly unlikely connections between legendary magician John Mulholland, the CIA, and the science of espionage. Tickets are $20.

To introduce Taiwan’s food culture and celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year, the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office welcomes local foodies and cinema lovers to savor a free “film and feast” featuring one of Taiwan’s top culinary artists, chef Hou Chun-sheng, winner of the 2011 Taipei Beef Noodle Soup Competition, as he serves his version of beef noodle soup during a reception, followed by a screening of “Eat Drink Man Woman.”

Wed., Feb. 15, 7:30 p.m.

Florian Bösch and Roger Vignoles

Poison Lecture: A Performance of Magic and Deception

Taiwan Film and Feast

Fri., Feb. 24, 7:30 p.m.

An angel and a demon retell the story of creation from their perspectives in this farcical new play. Tickets are $30.

Since its founding shortly after World War II,

La Maison Française

In Mozart’s game of love and seduction, two young men wager that their fiancées will remain faithful, even when tempted — and to prove it, they decide to do the tempting themselves. Tickets are $55 to $300. Kennedy Center Opera House Feb. 29 to April 8

Sucker Punch In 1980s London, two black teenagers try to box their way into fame, fortune and a better life, but will they become champions or sell-outs? Tickets are $35 to $60. The Studio Theatre Through March 4

The Gaming Table The thrills of the gaming table stylishly play out against the eccentricities of English manners in Susanna Centlivre’s comedy as an independent widow with a penchant for gambling leads a nightly card game, which bankrupts some and entertains all. Tickets are $30 to $65. Folger Shakespeare Library

Synetic Theater at Crystal City

Through March 4

Through Feb. 12

At the height of his career, Mark Rothko is struggling with a series of grand-scale paintings for the elite Four Seasons restaurant, and when his new assistant challenges his artistic integrity, Rothko must confront his own demons. Please call for ticket information.

La Cage aux Folles Georges (George Hamilton), the owner of a glitzy nightclub in lovely Saint-Tropez, and his partner Albin, who moonlights as the glamorous chanteuse Zaza, are put to the test when their son brings his fiancée’s conservative parents home to meet the flashy pair. Tickets are $65 to $130. Kennedy Center Eisenhower Theater

Red

Arena Stage Through March 4

The Two Gentlemen of Verona

Through Feb. 12

Necessary Sacrifices Playwright Richard Hellesen explores the two documented encounters between Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln during a period of national crisis, as Lincoln searches for a way to end slavery, while Douglass’s rhetoric and conviction challenges the president to envision a postemancipation world. Please call for ticket information. Ford’s Theatre

In perhaps Shakespeare’s earliest play, lifelong friends Valentine and Proteus are unexpectedly thrust into the rivalries and complications of adolescence when they both fall in love with the Duke of Milan’s daughter, Silvia. Tickets are $37 to $90. The Shakespeare Theatre Through March 25

Really Really

Onstage drawing meets the 1960s dream of the future in this story of Japanese cartoonist Osamu Tezuka and his most famous creation: Astro Boy, a crime-fighting robot. Tickets are $38 to $43.

When the party of the year ends in the regret of a lifetime, one person will stop at nothing to salvage a future that is slipping away — and it is every man for himself in this contemporary drama that embraces the harsh realities of the “me” generation. Tickets are $56 to $80.

The Studio Theatre

Signature Theatre

Feb. 15 to March 11

Astro Boy and the God of Comics

Electile Dysfunction: The Kinsey Sicks for President Join the ladies of the Kinsey SIcks at the launch of their groundbreaking campaign to become the first Dragapella Beautyshop Quartet to win the Republican presidential nomination by out-pandering, out-conspiracy theorizing, and out-outlandishing the current candidates. Tickets are $35 to $60. Washington DCJCC

CULTURE GUIDE Plan Your Entire Weekend.

www.washdiplomat.com

The Saiyuki Trio

The Tschaikowski St. Petersburg State Orchestra

February 2012

Fri., Feb. 10, 8 p.m.

La Maison Française

With French-Vietnamese guitarist Nguyên Lê at the helm, along with Indian tabla player Prabhu Edouard and Japanese koto player Mieko Miyazaki, the Saiyuki Trio produces a distinctive jazz sound, also drawing on rock, funk and traditional African, Indian and Vietnamese styles. Tickets are $25.

Sat., Feb. 4, 8 p.m. Wed., Feb. 8, 8 p.m.

SHOWCASES

Tue., Feb. 8, 6:30 p.m.

Through Feb. 5

Hairspray In 1960s Baltimore, Tracy Turnblad, a big girl with big hair and an even bigger heart, wins a spot on the local TV dance program and, overnight, is transformed from outsider to irrepressible teen celebrity in the Broadway sensation “Hairspray.”

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DIPLOMATIC SPOTLIGHT

The Washington Diplomat

February 2012

Qatari National Day 2012 London Games

PHOTOS: GAIL SCOTT

PHOTO: GAIL SCOTT

From left, Ambassador of Cameroon Joseph Foe-Atangana, Ambassador of Nepal Shankar Sharma, and Mrs. and Ambassador of Bangladesh Akramul Qader attend the Qatari National Day and farewell reception at the RitzCarlton.

Ambassador of Mauritania Mohamed Lemine El Haycen, left, joins Ambassador of Qatar Ali Bin Fahad Al-Hajri at the RitzCarlton hotel to commemorate Qatar’s National Day as well as Ambassador Al-Hajri’s upcoming departure.

PHOTO: GAIL SCOTT

Undersecretary of Economic Growth, Energy and the Environment Robert Hormats, left, joins Ambassador of Singapore Chan Heng Chee at the Qatari National Day and farewell reception.

British Deputy Chief of Mission Philip Barton, center, welcomes two American athletes to the British Embassy to mark the 200-day countdown until the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games in London: Olympic fencing hopeful Tim Morehouse, a silver medalist in the 2008 Beijing Games, left, and cycler Justin Widhalm, who hopes to compete in the Paralympic Games for track cycling.

President of the American Task Force on Palestine Ziad J. Asali, left, joins Ambassador of Bahrain Houda Nonoo at the Qatari National Day and farewell reception.

PHOTO: GAIL SCOTT

PHOTO: GAIL SCOTT

From left, Special Representative for Global Intergovernmental Affairs at the State Department Reta Jo Lewis, Ambassador of St. Vincent and the Grenadines La Celia Prince, and Deputy Director of Global Intergovernmental Affairs Rhonda S. Binda attend the Qatari National Day and farewell reception.

From left, departing Ambassador of Qatar Ali Bin Fahad Al-Hajri talks with fellow departing Arab League Ambassador Hussein Hassouna and U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Jeffrey Feltman at the Qatari National Day and farewell reception.

British Deputy Chief of Mission Philip Barton cuts the cake for students from the British School of Washington during a showcase held at the British Embassy for the 2012 Summer Olympics and Paralympics in London.

Bulgarian Celebration

From left, Ambassador of the Czech Republic and Mrs. Petr Gandalovic, Ambassador of Bulgaria Elena Poptodorova Petrova, and Mrs. and Ambassador of Switzerland Manuel Sager attend a holiday reception at the Bulgarian Residence.

Malaysian National Day

From left, U.S. Chief of Protocol Capricia Marshall joins Ambassador of Malaysia and Mrs. Jamaludin Jarjis at a reception at the Malaysian Embassy celebrating the 54th National Day and 78th Armed Forces Day of Malaysia.

Page 50

The Washington Diplomat

From left, Ambassador of Slovenia Roman Kirn, recently appointed Ambassador of Austria Hans Peter Manz, and Ambassador of Portugal Nuno Brito attend a holiday reception at the Bulgarian Residence.

From left, Ambassador of Bulgaria Elena Poptodorova Petrova welcomes Ambassador of Georgia and Mrs. Temuri Yakobashvili to her residence for a holiday reception.

Director of International Affairs at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Ann Santini, left, joins Ambassador of the Netherlands Renée Jones-Bos at the Bulgarian Residence for a holiday reception.

From left, Ambassador of Laos and Mrs. Seng Soukhathivong, and Ambassador of Cambodia Hem Heng attend the Malaysian National Day and Armed Forces Day celebration.

From left, U.S. Army Foreign Liaison Dan Hartmann, Alessandra Mesini and her husband Military Attaché at the Italian Embassy Col. Pietro Tornabene attend the Malaysian National Day and Armed Forces Day celebration at the embassy.

Mrs. and Defense, Military, Naval and Air Attaché at the Malaysian Embassy Col. Othman Bin Abdullah attend the reception celebrating the 54th National Day and 78th Armed Forces Day of Malaysia.

February 2012


IFE’s 20th Anniversary

From left, the Huffington Post’s Dan Froomkin, the Washington Post’s Juliet Eilperin, and U.S. Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.) attend a reception for the Institute for Education (IFE) called “Looking Forward, Looking Back.”

Chairman of the IFE Board of Stewards Marci Robinson, left, joins wife of the Israeli ambassador Sally Oren at a reception celebrating the Institute for Education (IFE), which works to promote civility and common ground in public policy.

IFE Salon at Indonesia

IFE intern Quenton Horton, left, joins former D.C. Mayor Anthony Williams, an IFE steward, at a reception celebrating the Institute for Education’s (IFE) public policy roundtables that for 20 years have attracted high-level speakers.

PHOTOS: KYLE SAMPERTON / INSTITUTE FOR EDUCATION

From left, Charlotte Matthysen, IFE Steward Ina Ginsburg, Ambassador of Belgium and Mrs. Jan Matthysen, and Institute for Education (IFE) founder and CEO Kathy Kemper celebrate the 20th anniversary of IFE INFO public policy roundtables at a reception held at the Belgian Residence, where Ginsburg was awarded the 2011 IFE International Diplomacy Award.

PHOTOS: CARINE DUMIT / INSTITUTE FOR EDUCATION

From left, wife of the Indonesian ambassador Dr. Rosa. Djalal, CNN’s Jill Dougherty, Undersecretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy and the Environment Robert Hormats, and Ambassador of Indonesia Dino Patti Djalal attend an Institute for Education INFO Salon held at the Indonesian Embassy featuring Undersecretary Hormats.

Ambassador of Liechtenstein Claudia Fritsche, left, and IFE Emerging Markets Roundtable co-founder John Paul Farmer attend a reception at the Belgian Residence in honor of the Institute for Education.

From left, Ambassador of the Philippines Jose L. Cuisia Jr., Ambassador of Russia and Mrs. Sergey I. Kislyak, Institute for Education (IFE) founder and CEO Kathy Kemper, and former U.S. Rep. Mike Oxley (R-Ohio) attend a reception held at the Belgian Residence celebrating the 20th anniversary of IFE INFO public policy roundtables.

From left, Mrs. and Ambassador of Monaco Gilles Noghes and Susan Ginsburg attend a reception and silent auction at the Belgian Residence in honor of the Institute for Education.

From left, Mrs. and Ambassador of Belgium Jan Matthysen, Institute for Education (IFE) founder and CEO Kathy Kemper, Undersecretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy and the Environment Robert Hormats, and Defense Attaché at the Egyptian Embassy Maj. Gen. Mohamed Elkeshky attend an Institute for Education INFO Salon.

Building Bridges

PHOTOS: EDGAR BECERRA

From left, former Ambassador of Jordan and current President of Bridges of Understanding Karim Kawar, Bridges board member Samia Farouki, Gwen Holliday, President of the Meridian International Center Stuart Holliday, and Bridges board members Luma Kawar, Marlene Malek and Kathy Hubbard attend the fifth annual Bridges of Understanding Foundation Conference, which awarded Ambassador Stuart Holliday with this year’s Building Bridges Award.

New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, left, talks with recently departed Ambassador of Iraq Samir Sumaida’ie at the Meridian International Center during the fifth annual conference for Bridges of Understanding, a nonprofit that works to increase understanding between Americans and Arabs.

Ambassador of Japan and Mrs. Ichiro Fujisaki attend an Institute for Education INFO Salon featuring Undersecretary of Economic Growth, Energy and the Environment Robert Hormats, who spoke about how America’s ability to conduct foreign policy has changed, especially in light of the Arab Spring.

Noche de Pasión Kickoff

From left, Isabel Ernst, co-chair of the Washington Ballet’s 2012 Noche de Pasión gala; Carolina Fermandois, wife of the Chilean ambassador; Washington Ballet Artistic Director Septime Webre; Noche co-chair Pilar O’Leary; and Veronica Valencia-Sarukhan, wife of the Mexican ambassador and honorary diplomatic host of the Noche de Pasión in May, attend a kickoff reception for the gala at the home of Isabel and Ricardo Ernst.

February 2012

From left, Erika and Edy Gutierrez, daughter and wife of former Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez, and Lizette Corro, CEO of Linder and Associates, attend a kickoff for the Washington Ballet’s 2012 Noche de Pasión gala, which benefits TWB’s Hispanic dancers and educational programs benefitting Latino children in the D.C. area.

PHOTOS: GAIL SCOTT

Former Ambassador of Afghanistan Said Tayeb Jawad attends the kickoff reception for the Washington Ballet’s 2012 Noche de Pasión gala with his wife Shamin who had just been serenaded by other guests on her birthday.

Host Ricardo Ernst, left, and the Ambassador of Chile Arturo Fermandois, standing in front of the Ernst collection of contemporary art, attend a kickoff reception for the host committee of the Washington Ballet’s 2012 Noche de Pasión gala.

The Washington Diplomat Page 51


DIPLOMATIC SPOTLIGHT

The Washington Diplomat

February 2012

Battle of the Bulge at Belgium

Kazakh Independence

Ambassador of Belgium Jan Matthysen, center, poses with veterans of the Battle of the Bulge at the Belgian Residence to commemorate the 67th anniversary of the battle in which more than 800,000 U.S. soldiers fought to keep the Germans from advancing on Belgium and Luxembourg during World War II.

Mrs. and Ambassador of Kazakhstan Erlan Idrissov attend a concert featuring renowned violinist Marat Bisengaliev, who began his musical career at age 9, and the Kazakh National Philharmonic Orchestra at the Kennedy Center to commemorate Kazakhstan’s National Day and the 20th anniversary of its independence. PHOTO: EMBASSY OF BELGIUM

PHOTO: CARINE DUMIT / INSTITUTE FOR EDUCATION

From left, Ambassador of Cambodia Hem Heng, Ambassador of Kazakhstan Erlan Idrissov, and U.S. Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel Poneman attend a post-concert reception at the Kennedy Center Terrace Theater to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Kazakhstan’s independence.

From left, Director for International Cyber Policy on the National Security Council R. David Edelman, President at Spark Street Digital Paul Selker, and IFE Emerging Markets Roundtable co-founder John Paul Farmer John Paul Farmer attend the Kazakhstan National Day reception and concert at the Kennedy Center.

WJLA meteorologist Bob Ryan and his wife Olga prepare for a concert by violinist Marat Bisengaliev and the Kazakh National Philharmonic Orchestra at the Kennedy Center.

PHOTO: THOMAS COLEMAN

PHOTO: THOMAS COLEMAN

From left, Mrs. and Ambassador of Belgium welcome Mrs. and former National Security Advisor Gen. James Jones to their residence for the annual reception marking the anniversary of the Battle of the Bulge.

From left, wife of the Luxembourg ambassador Louise Akerblom, Ambassador of the European Union João Vale de Almeida, Ambassador of Luxembourg Jean-Paul Senninger, and Ambassador of Slovenia Roman Kirn attend a reception at the Belgian Residence in honor of the Battle of the Bulge.

Bahraini National Day Ambassador of Yemen Abdulwahab A. Al-Hajjri, left, joins Ambassador of Libya Ali Suleiman Aujali at the Bahraini National Day reception.

Ambassador of Fiji Winston Thompson and his wife Queenie enjoy the Bahraini National Day Reception at the Ritz-Carlton.

Ambassadors Honor MLK

PHOTOS: GAIL SCOTT

Ambassador of Bahrain Houda Nonoo, center, greets departing Ambassador of the Arab League Hussein Hassouna and his wife Nevine at the Bahraini National Day reception held at the Ritz-Carlton Washington hotel.

From left, Col. Hashish of the Jordanian Embassy, Staff Col. Abdelrahman Al Mazmi of the United Arab Emirates Embassy, and Military Attaché at the Saudi Embassy Col. Ahmed Ali Modhei Al Dabeis attend the Bahraini National Day reception.

From left, Executive Director of Cultural Tourism DC Linda Harper, Ambassador of Botswana Tebelelo Seretse, Martin Luther King III, and Jan Du Plain, embassy liaison for Cultural Tourism DC, enjoy “An International Salute to the Life and Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.” at the 21st annual breakfast celebration sponsored by Daimler and Federal Management Systems and held at the Willard Intercontinental Washington hotel.

Ambassador of Macedonia Zoran Jolevski, left, brought his wife and son to the Bahraini National Day reception at the Ritz-Carlton.

Hungarian Rock Concert From left, Ambassador of Montenegro Srdjan Darmanovic, Ambassador of Barbados John Beale, and Ambassador of St. Lucia Michael Louis talk at the Bahraini National Day reception.

Page 52

The Washington Diplomat

Ambassador of Sri Lanka Jaliya Wickramasuriya, left, and his embassy’s Deputy Chief of Mission Esala Weerakoon attend the Bahraini National Day reception.

PHOTO: EMBASSY OF HUNGARY

From left, Jim Townsend, Sándor Mihálkó, Ákos Veisz and David Rakviashvili perform a rock concert at the Hungarian Embassy as part of The Diplomats, a hobby band of staff members at the Hungarian Embassy and friends.

February 2012


AROUNDTHEWORLD

THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT

February 2012

APPOINTMENTS Send Us Your Holidays and Appointments Argentina Jorge Argüello became ambassador of Argentina to the United States on Jan. 18, having most recently served as Argentina’s permanent representative to the United Ambassador Nations since 2007. Jorge Argüello Prior to that, he was a national congressman from 2003 to 2007, during which time he served as president of the Foreign Relations Committee and president of the Parliamentary Observatory of the Malvinas Question. He was also vice president of the Permanent Commission on International Peace and Security with the Inter-Parliamentary Union. In addition, Ambassador Argüello served two three-year terms as a legislator of Buenos Aires (19972000 and 2000-03), becoming a member of the Constitutional Convention for the capital in 1996, and between 1991 and 1995, he served in the National Congress, organizing the first visits by British parliamentarians after the Malvinas conflict. Ambassador Argüello also represented Latin America at the Parliamentarians for Global Action (199495), a network of more than 1,300 legislators from 117 parliaments engaged in initiatives to promote democracy, peace, justice and development throughout the world. Ambassador Argüello began his government career in 1987 as a member of the City Council of Buenos Aires. He has written

numerous articles and books on political and citizen participation, and holds a master’s degree in public administration and policy from the Universidad de San Andrés.

Austria Walter Neumayer assumed the position of consul general on Oct. 3, replacing Gernot Wiedner. Sigurd Pacher assumed the position of deputy chief of mission on Nov. 10, replacing Andreas Riecken, who departed the post Aug. 31.

Cyprus Neophytos J. Constantinou assumed the position of consul on Sept. 1, having previously served as deputy head of the Crisis Management Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Cyprus during the Arab Spring protests.

Azerbaijan Elin Suleymanov became ambassador of Azerbaijan to the United States on Jan. 18. Most recently, for more than five years Ambassador Suleymanov had been the nation’s first consul general to Los Angeles and the western U.S. states leading the team that established an Azerbaijani diplomatic presence on the West Coast. Prior to that, he served as senior counselor at the Foreign Relations Department in the Office of the President in Baku, Azerbaijan, and as press officer of the Azerbaijani Embassy in Washington, D.C. Before joining the diplomatic corps, Ambassador Suleymanov worked with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Azerbaijan, as well as with the Open Media Research Institute in Prague and Glaverbel Czech, a leading manufacturing company in Central Eastern Europe. He has also authored numerous articles and is a frequent presenter at academic events. A graduate of the

Ecuador Nathalie Cely Suárez became ambassador of Ecuador to the United States on Jan. 18. Ambassador Cely previously served as president of the Council of Ambassador Production and a Nathalie Cely member of the Government Council Suárez at the Ministry of Coordination of Production, Employment and Competitiveness (2009-11), as well as president of the Council of Social Development and a member of the Government Council at the Ministry of Coordination of Social Development (2007-09). She was also president of Edúcate, an organization that works to improve the quality of education and employability of vulnerable communities

(Kenkoku Kinen No Hi)

KOSOVO

Feb. 18: Democracy Day of Nepal

NEW ZEALAND ANDORRA

ESTONIA

KUWAIT

Feb. 6: Waitangi Day

Feb. 20: Carnival Monday

Feb. 2: Anniversary of the Tartu Peace Treaty Feb. 24: Independence Day

Feb. 25: National Day Feb. 26: Liberation Day

PANAMA

BANGLADESH Feb. 21: Shaheed Dibash Day (Martyrs’/Language Day)

BOLIVIA

Feb. 21: Carnival

LEBANON GAMBIA

GRENADA

LIBERIA

Feb. 23: Defender of the Fatherland Day

Peter Boateng departed the post of counselor (economic) on Nov. 30.

ST. LUCIA

Lesotho

Feb. 22: Independence Day

Molapi Sebatane became ambassador of Lesotho to the United States on Nov. 2, replacing Ambassador Mohlomi Rantekoa, who departed the post June 2. Ambassador Sebatane has more than 35 years of experience in higher education, both as an academic and administrator, serving for 10 years as a member of the National University of Lesotho (NUL) Governing Council as well as in major committees and boards of the university, where he was also a professor of education, pro-vice chancellor and acting chancellor. In addition, Ambassador Sebatane, who was also a visiting professor at the University of Fort Hare in South Africa, has undertaken more than 50 research studies and produced 30 publications that include journals, books, book reviews and monographs. He has also taken part in several policy-related activities, such as the Business Council of Lesotho, the Lesotho National Planning Board and Education Sector Survey Task Force, as well as serving as a chairperson of the Lesotho Technical Committee for the implementation of the

Feb. 11: Armed Forces Day

LIECHTENSTEIN Feb. 2: Candlemass

SERBIA

Feb. 23: Republic Day

LITHUANIA HONDURAS

Feb. 16: Independence Day

BRAZIL

Feb. 2: Patron Virgin, Virgin of Suyapa

LUXEMBOURG

Feb. 11: Revolution Day

MALTA

SRI LANKA Feb. 4: National Day

ISRAEL

Feb. 10: Feast of St. Paul’s Shipwreck in Malta

IRAN

SURINAME

Feb. 8: Tu B’Shevat

Feb. 5: Unity Day

JAMAICA CAMEROON

SLOVENIA Feb. 8: Preseren Day, Slovene Culture Day

Feb. 23: National Day

BURUNDI

Feb. 15: National Day

Feb. 21: Carnival

Feb. 18-21: Carnival

Feb. 22: Ash Wednesday

Feb. 11: Youth Day

MEXICO

Feb. 25: Revolution Day

Feb. 5: Commemoration of Mexico’s Constitution of 1917

TAJIKISTAN

MOZAMBIQUE

TURKMENISTAN

Feb. 3: Heroes’ Day

Feb. 19: Flag Day

Feb. 23: Army Day

JAPAN DOMINICAN REPUBLIC Feb. 27: Independence Day

February 2012

Feb. 11: National Foundation Day

William Anani-Abotsi assumed the position of minster-counselor (economic) on Nov. 1, having previously served as deputy director of the Office of the President of Ghana, where he was also a foreign affairs liaison.

RUSSIA

Feb. 7: Independence Day

GUYANA

Mavis Akpabla assumed the position of vice consul, first secretary on Oct. 3, having previously worked at the Africa Desk at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Ghana.

Feb. 9: St. Maroun’s Day

Feb. 18: Independence Day

Feb. 18-21: Carnival

BRUNEI

Ghana

NEPAL

Feb. 17: Independence Day

Feb. 4: Beginning of the Armed Struggle Day Feb. 21: Carnival

through information technology, and president of Stratega, which works for the economic inclusion of micro and small businesses (2003-07). In 2002, Ambassador Cely founded Stratega BDS, a consulting firm specializing in issues related to economic development and the local development of information technologies. In addition, she was a research and teaching assistant at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard (2001-02), director of the Reform Unit of the National Council for the Modernization of the State (1999-2000), and director of the Bono Solidario program with Consejo Nacional de Modernización del Estado (1998-99), designing and implementing a cash subsidy that targeted the poorest populations in Ecuador, among other dutues. She is also the author of numerous publications that can be viewed on www.nathaliecely.com. Ambassador Cely received a bachelor’s degree in economics from the Universidad Católica de Guayaquil in Ecuador, a master’s degree in public administration from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and was a Ph.D. candidate in economics and development from the Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales (FLACSO).

Alex O. Adu departed the post of minister counselor, consul on Oct. 5, having served at the embassy as vice consul from 2007 to 2009 and head of the Consular/Welfare Section from 2009 to 2011.

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Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy in Massachusetts, Ambassador Suleymanov also holds graduate degrees from the Political Geography Department of Moscow State University in Russia and the University of Toledo in Ohio. He speaks Azerbaijani, English, Russian and Czech.

SADC Protocol on Education and Training. He is married with four children.

Morocco Rachad Bouhlal became ambassador of Morocco to the United States on Jan. 18, having previously served as Morocco’s ambassador to Germany since 2004. He has also served as secretary-general Ambassador of the Ministry of Rachad Bouhlal Foreign Affairs and Cooperation (1999-2004); ambassador to the European Union, Belgium and Luxembourg (1996-99); advisor to the prime minister for economic and financial affairs (1994-96); secretary-general of the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Investments (1991-94); and director of fisheries at the Ministry of Fisheries and Merchant Marines (1988-91). Other postings include deputy director of the Trade Division, Foreign Currency Exchange, at the Ministry of Finance (1979-88); desk officer at the Europe Bureau of the Ministry of Trade and Industry (1978-79); and civil service officer in the Office of Foreign Trade at the Ministry of Trade and Industry (1976-78). Ambassador Bouhlal is also a founding member of the Ribat Al Fath Association for Sustainable Development, pilot and president of the “Aéroclub Royal” in Rabat, Morocco, and founding member of the International Wildlife Film and Environment Festival (FIFALE). He speaks Arabic, English and French, and is married with two children.

Niger Maman S. Sidikou became ambassador of Niger to the United States on Jan. 18. Ambassador Sidikou most recently served as country director for Rwanda (2010) and the Democratic Republic of Congo Ambassador (2010-11) working Maman S. Sidikou with USAID, the United Nations, World Bank and Save the Children to coordinate programming and dialogue with development partners. He was also chief of education for UNICEF in Nigeria (2007-10); U.N. cluster coordinator for education and culture with the UNICEF Programme Irak in Amman, Jordan (2005-07); senior education specialist with the World Bank in Washington, D.C. (2002-05); team leader for the UNICEF Back-To-School Campaign in Kabul, Afghanistan (2001-02); chief of education, water and sanitation with UNICEF in Abuja, Nigeria (2000-01); and human development manager with USAID in Niamey, Niger (1994-95). Ambassador Sidikou’s government experience includes serving as minister and director of the Cabinet of the Presidency in Niger (1999); minister managing Niger’s external relations, including negotiations with international and bilateral

See APPOINTMENTS, page 55 The Washington Diplomat Page 53


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United Kingdom Sir Peter Westmacott became the United Kingdom’s 48th ambassador to the United States on Jan. 18, having most recently served as British ambassador to France since 2007. Born in the village of Edington, Somerset, in 1950, Ambassador Westmacott was educated at New College Oxford and joined the Diplomatic Service in 1972. After a

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year in the Middle East Department, and Ambassador Westmacott has been awarded Persian language training, he was posted to the Knight Commander of the Order of St. Tehran in 1974. In 1978, he was loaned to Michael and St. George (KCMG) and the European Commission in Brussels, before Lieutenant of the Victorian Order (LVO) for being posted to Paris from 1980 to 1984. services to the royal family. He is married After three years as chief of staff to succesSusie Nemazee in 2001, and between them sive ministers of state in London, they have four grown children, Oliver, Ambassador Westmacott went to Ankara in Laura, Rupert and Safieh. “It is a privilege 1987, for the first of his two diplomatic postto return to Washington to serve as British ings to Turkey, returning in 2002 to serve as ambassador,” the new envoy said. “Though ambassador. In addition, from 1990 to 1993, much has changed since my last posting in Ambassador he was deputy private secretary to the Prince Peter Westmacott Washington, the strength, closeness and of Wales, and from 1993 to 1997, he served primacy of the special relationship between as counselor for political and public affairs in the United States and United Kingdom has endured. It is Washington, D.C., before returning to the Foreign and a great honor to serve at the heart of this relationship, Commonwealth Office as Americas director, joining the and I will do all in my power to support, sustain and Board of the FCO in 2000 as deputy undersecretary. strengthen it.”

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February 2012  

The Washington Diplomat is an independent monthly newspaper with a readership of more than 120,000 that includes the 180 embassies in Washin...

February 2012  

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