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■ TRAVEL& HOTELS

AND LUXURY LIVING SECTIONS INSIDE

A World of News and Perspective

LIVIN

L U X U R

HOTELS T R A V E L &

■ A Special Section of The Washington Diplomat

■ WWW.WASHDIPLOMAT.COM

■ VOLUMe 19, nUMBeR 4 UnITeD STATeS

U.S. Presidential Race Exposes Foreign Policy Rift in Republican Party Foreign policy has largely been relegated to the sidelines of the 2012 U.S. presidential race, even with a war still raging abroad. Yet there’s also a war within the Republican Party, as a new brand of isolationism butts heads with the hawkish establishment. PAGE 9

■ April 2012

■ APRIL 2012 Loggia overlooking the garden

at the Fairmont

Matching Tastes

EUROPE

FRANCE VOTEs

Individually Tailored Hotels Suit Range of Traveler Types

April 2012

by Stephanie Kanowitz Tourism in D.C. has been growing at a steady clip in the past five years. In 2010, about 17 million visitors spent $5.68 billion in the nation’s capital, according to Destination DC, the city’s tourism marketing arm. More than half of that money came from business travelers, and the rest from leisure. The bottom line: Tourism is crucial to this region’s bottom line. But with 122 hotels and 29,256 guestrooms to choose from, according to Destination DC, it can be tough for those all-important visitors to decide where to stay. To help them, we put together this guide of properties that excel at catering to certain personality types, so that Washington — an eclectic hub of politics, business, history and entertainment — provides each visitor with an individually tailored experience in the nation’s capital.

TRAVEL & HOTELS

Continued on next page

The Washington Diplomat

25

It’s been a rough presidential contest in France, in some ways mirroring the race in the U.S., as candidates promise very different visions for how to fix the economy. But the French vote also takes place against a backdrop of anti-immigrant tensions and national

UnITeD STATeS

tragedy in an election that will shape

Is the Boom in U.S. Embassy Construction Erecting Walls Abroad?

the nation’s future. PAGE 17

The State Department has been beefing up its real estate portfolio with a slew of new embassies overseas but has come under fire for erecting fortress-like compounds that critics say shield America’s diplomats from the countries they serve. PAGE 13

culture

Unmasking the Faces of Mexico “A Thousand and One Faces of Mexico” takes an in-depth look at the country’s multidimensional identity, and humor. PAGE 36

PeOPLe OF WORLD InFLUenCe

eVenTS

Peace Corps Takes Service Up a Notch

Ping-Pong Match Is Exercise In Diplomacy

After 50 years, the Peace Corps remains a magnet for Americans looking to make a difference abroad. One of those Americans was Aaron S. Williams, a former volunteer in the late 1960s who is now working to reenergize America’s pre-eminent service agency PAGE 6

Table tennis became the battleground for an unusual group of weekend warriors recently: Diplomats from Kazakhstan, China and Russia, who took up a paddle to revive Asia’s time-honored tradition of ping-pong diplomacy. PAGE 37


THE WORLD MEETS AT THE WILLARD.

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Do you live an InterContinental life?

For more details or to make a reservation, please call 202.628.9100 or visit washington.intercontinental.com

In over 170 locations across the globe including HONG KONG • LONDON • NEW YORK • PARIS

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The Washington Diplomat

April 2012


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April 2012


CONTENTS THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT

April 2012

25

15 Defense cuts

[ news ] 6

9

POliTiCS Since 9/11, foreign policy and national security chops have ranked among the top criteria for candidates in every presidential primary and general election — until now, that is.

13

St. Gregory Hotel

Ping-pong diplomacy

23

38

[ hotels & travel ] 25

diPlOMaCy

[ luxury living ] 31

dEfENSE

One house, 10,000 square feet, six weeks and 23 different designers all adds up to one fascinating makeover — and one very good cause.

As plans move forward to slash Pentagon spending and revamp America’s global security posture, U.S. allies are worried that their defense relationships and lucrative arms agreements hang in the balance.

17

COvEr PrOfilE: fraNCE France’s increased profile on the world stage has been championed by Nicolas Sarkozy, but now the president finds himself in a very different battle as he fights to keep his job in an election that will shape France’s future trajectory.

22

diPlOMaCy Going green is the way to go nowadays, and in this spirit of sustainability, dozens of embassies are teaming up with the D.C. government and pledging to help make Washington the greenest city in the country.

dESigN ShOwCaSE

36

arT

[ culture ]

More than 140 traditional masks at the Mexican Cultural Institute reflect a rich and multifaceted culture that celebrates family, religion and rites-of-passion with gusto.

37

diPlOMaCy The formal-sounding “Kazakhstan-China-Russia Table Tennis Friendship Tournament” was anything but as diplomats squared off in a fierce game of ping-pong.

COvEr: Photo taken at the Embassy of France by Lawrence Ruggeri.

arT “Snapshot” at the Phillips Collection offers an intimate look at post-impressionist painters who found inspiration, both professional and personal, through the camera lens.

40

arT One of South America’s biggest success stories is seen from a very different angle in “Contemporary Uruguayan Artists.”

41

PErSONaliTiES With more than 100 hotels in D.C., it can be tough for visitors to find the right fit, so we put together a guide of properties that offer individually tailored experiences to suit vastly different personalities.

In recent years, the State Department has worked to balance a boom in embassy construction, spurred by tougher new security requirements, with a movement to design more eco-friendly — and people-friendly — facilities.

15

MEdiCal Most older women assume they need a bone density scan every year or so to avoid osteoporosis, but research is showing that doctors may be going way overboard with osteoporosis testing.

PEOPlE Of wOrld iNfluENCE As the Peace Corps approached its 50th anniversary last year, Director Aaron S. Williams, a former volunteer himself, had the agency take a long, hard look at itself.

37

arT Pablo Picasso became an icon for his pioneering work in cubism and other 20th-century movements, but it was his drawings that quietly helped to pave his trailblazing path.

42

diNiNg An extension of the Madison hotel’s marriage of old and new, the Federalist taps 18th-century dining traditions to create a contemporary re-envisioning of early American cuisine.

44

filM rEviEwS A young New Zealander’s strength, and strange imagination, enable him to overcome the low cards dealt him at birth in the uplifting “Boy.”

45

filM fESTivalS Filmfest DC returns with more than 80 features, shorts and documentaries from the best films around the world.

46

CiNEMa liSTiNg

48

EvENTS liSTiNg

50

diPlOMaTiC SPOTlighT

53

wOrld hOlidayS / aPPOiNTMENTS

54

ClaSSifiEdS

55

rEal ESTaTE ClaSSifiEdS

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 Martin Austermuhle, Rachael Bade, Nicholas Clayton, Michael Coleman, Rachel Hunt, Stephanie Kanowitz, Kaitlin Kovach, Luke Jerod Kummer, Ky N. Nguyen, Gail Scott, Dave Seminara, Gina Shaw, Gary Tischler Photographer Jessica Latos account Managers Jerry Grant, Chris Smith, Patrick Thomas 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.

April 2012

The Washington Diplomat Page 5


PEOPLE OF WORLD INFLUENCE

Aaron S. Williams

At 50, Peace Corps Refines Its Mission But Retains Popularity by Michael Coleman

A

s the Peace Corps approached its 50th anniversary last year, Director Aaron S. Williams asked the agency to take a long, hard look at itself. The result was a 200-page comprehensive assessment that took six months to complete and included myriad suggestions to strengthen and reform the international service agency. Williams, a former Peace Corps volunteer appointed by President Obama to lead the agency in 2009, said it was odd that such a review had never been done before and the results are helping to re-energize the iconic institution. “We looked at our policies and training and every aspect of the Peace Corps,” Williams told The Diplomat in an interview at his office in mid-town Washington. “We looked at all of the programs and all of the countries we’re in. We made a decision that we were going to try to focus on those countries that actually have the highest level of poverty. “Because of our assessment and portfolio review, we are now very strategic about where we place volunteers and the kinds of programs we put in place in countries where volunteers can serve,” he added. Helping countries overcome poverty has been a hallmark of the Peace Corps since its founding in the early 1960s after then-Senator John F. Kennedy challenged students at the University of Michigan to serve their country in the cause of peace by living and working in developing countries.The future president’s challenge planted a seed that bloomed into a federal agency devoted to world peace and friendship — one that remains a magnet for Americans looking to make a difference abroad. Since the inception of the Peace Corps, more than 200,000 volunteers have served in 139 host countries working on issues ranging from AIDS education to environmental preservation. Former volunteers have gone on to work in the top echelons of government, business and other fields. Notable vets include television host Chris Matthews, former Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson, President of the University of Miami Donna Shalala, and award-winning journalist Maureen Orth, wife of the late Tim Russert who is currently producing “Peace Corps Postcards,” an interactive website created for the 50th anniversary that highlights volunteers in action today and veterans for whom the Peace Corps has profoundly influenced their lives. The popularity of the Peace Corps hasn’t waned — it regularly receives three times the number of applications than it has slots for, despite an extensive vetting process and lengthy time commitment. It’s a highly com-

Page 6

petitive selection process that attracts some of America’s brightest talent. But that isn’t to say the process is perfect. The strategic, top-to-bottom review that Williams initiated found some things the Peace Corps is doing well and some areas for improvement. Suggestions resulting from the study included improving the recruitment and selection of volunteers (the time to formally process an application can take up to a year or longer to complete, for example, discouraging potential volunteers who can’t wait that long for an answer); upgrading the training and medical care for Peace Corps volunteers and staff; adjusting volunteer placement to reflect U.S. international priorities; and reducing early termination rates among volunteers. Williams is intimately familiar with these issues having served in the Peace Corps as a volunteer from 1967 to 1970, first in a training program for rural school teachers in the small town of Monte Plata in the

Photo: U.S. Peace Corps

Even though the world’s changed a lot over the last 30 to 40 years, the passion and the commitment of the Peace Corps is the same. — Aaron S. Williams director of the Peace Corps

Dominican Republic, and later as a professor of teaching methods at the Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra in Santiago. After his stint as a volunteer, Williams became the coordinator of minority recruitment and project evaluation officer for the Peace Corps in his hometown of Chicago. Williams worked in the private sector as a vice president for international business development with RTI International. He was also a senior manager at the U.S. Agency for International Development,where he earned the rank of career minister in the U.S. Senior Foreign Service. As USAID’s mission director in South Africa, Williams led a billion-dollar foreign assistance program during President Nelson Mandela’s administration. He’s also a two-time recipient of the Presidential Award for Distinguished Service. “I understand the challenges and opportunities and the differences that a Peace

Corps volunteer can make on the ground,” Williams said.“I’ve seen it in my early career and over the course of my long career. Even though the world’s changed a lot over the last 30 to 40 years, the passion and the commitment of the Peace Corps is the same. “That’s one of the more gratifying things about being director of the Peace Corps, getting to see that,” said Williams, who is the fourth director in the agency’s history to have served as a volunteer. The Peace Corps is now in 75 countries, which represents a more tightly focused mission. It has a record number of volunteers, however, with more than 9,000 Americans serving overseas. Nearly 40 percent of those volunteers are in Africa, 24 percent in Latin America, and 18 percent in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, with the rest in Asia, the Caribbean, North Africa, the Middle East and the Pacific Islands.

“We only go where we are asked to go,” Williams noted. “We actually have to get a letter of request from a government before we serve.” Education continues to be the Peace Corps’s top priority, with 40 percent of its volunteers working in education-related jobs. The prevention of HIV/AIDS, as well as public health issues in general, also comprise a big part of the agency’s portfolio, with 23 percent of volunteers working in these roles. “We are very much involved in the battle against HIV/AIDS,”Williams said.“Our volunteers are walking the last mile to reach remote villages to give the messages of awareness and prevention regarding HIV and AIDS. “We’re doing something very similar in the case of malaria,” he added. “There has been a resurgence of malaria, especially in Africa. So now our volunteers are involved in helping train community organizations in the use of bed nets and the value of spraying, so that children can be protected at night from the malaria mosquito.” In mid-March, the Peace Corps, the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the Global Health Service

The Washington Diplomat

See Williams, page 8 April 2012


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from page 6

Williams Corps launched an innovative public-private partnership to place nurses, physicians and other health professionals as adjunct faculty in medical or nursing schools overseas.The Global Health Service Partnership hopes these professionals will augment health programs in needy communities, including worker shortages. The budget of the Peace Corps — about $375 million in 2011 — has for the most part remained stable, although budget cuts will prevent President Obama’s 2008 campaign pledge to double the number of volunteers by 2011 from being realized. Still, the corps has emerged from the paralyzing partisan gridlock in Congress relatively unscathed. “We enjoy strong bipartisan support from the U.S. Congress and it is really gratifying,” Williams said, noting proudly that four current members of Congress, including three Democrats and one Republican, are former Peace Corps volunteers. “They are strong supporters but we also have great relationships with the key committee chairmen in both houses who support the Peace Corps,” he said. “I do believe we’re getting the level of resources we need to carry out our job. We’re pretty unique.” For example, Rep. Sam Farr (D-Calif.), a member of the powerful House Appropriations Committee, has long advocated for expanding the corps. “It’s a game changer,” Farr said last year at a dinner honoring “50 Years of Peace Corps and the Power of Partnerships,” hosted by the nonprofit International Relief & Development (IRD). “Right now, it is 10 times cheaper than sending a soldier overseas, four times cheaper than sending a State Department official overseas, three times cheaper than sending an [agricultural] commissioner. It is the best bang for the buck America can have,” Farr said, adding that “in this time of cut, squeeze and trim, this is the last one we ought to cut, squeeze and trim.” Williams is grateful for that kind of enthusiastic

measures to train volunteers in the skills they can support. “When we talk to members of Congress use to reduce the likelihood of becoming victims about the Peace Corps, they recognize that we of crime.” need to be engaged globally,” he said. “This is an Williams told The Diplomat that volunteer safety outstanding way to allow Americans, and primarily is his top priority as director (the Peace Corps young Americans, to actually become global citirecently pulled more than 150 volunteers from zens, learn about a different culture, speak a foreign Honduras, for example, because of the country’s language and develop leadership skills. soaring homicide rate). “I think every member of Congress recognizes “There is nothing more important to me than that the U.S., as a sole world power, needs to have its citizens engaged externally and the Peace Corps the health, safety and security of our volunteers, is a perfect vehicle for that.” and it’s something that we monitor every day,” he The Peace Corps is, indeed, widely viewed as a said. “We’ve put in place a series of reforms and PHOTO: U.S. PeACe CORPS good place for young people to become citizens of policies and practices to make sure our volunteers After being appointed Peace Corps director in 2009, the world. But increasingly, older Americans are are safe. Aaron S. Williams visited some of the nearly 140 host joining the volunteer ranks. Many of these older “The Peace Corps has recently hired a victims nations in which more than 200,000 volunteers have volunteers served years earlier and are opting to advocate who provides support for any volunteer served since the agency’s inception 50 years ago. return after they retire from other careers. for who becomes a victim of a crime, no matter “About 7 percent of our volunteers are over the note, the agency has taken heat in recent years for what kind of crime it might be,” he noted. age of 50 now,” Williams said. “I suspect with the not doing enough to ensure the safety of its volun“We also have medical personnel and 24-7 care,” retirement of the baby boomers, people are going teers. he added. “We understand the nature of the situato be looking for an opportunity to serve a second Rape is a particularly pernicious risk. According tion for volunteers in terms of their security. We time or a first time. I think we’ll see more volun- to a 2011 story in the New York Times, from 2000 work closely with the U.S. embassy community teers who are 50-plus.” to 2009, on average, 22 Peace Corps women each and the regional security offices at each of our Recruiting older volunteers is part of a strategy year reported being the victims of rape or attempt- embassies, and we’re also in touch with the interto infuse the agency with more experience. In fact, ed rape. At the same time, more than 1,000 Peace national donor and NGO communities.We monitor one of the most consistent knocks on Peace Corps Corps volunteers reported sexual assaults, includ- it very closely.” programs is that they are NOTE: filled with idealist and Williams said Peace Corps Although everying effort is made to assure your ad is free of mistakes in spelling andvolunteers are trained 221 rapes or attempted rapes. intelligent — but inexperienced — volunteers. be aware of their surroundings, as well as the Peace up Corps has customer made great to efforts to thetofinal content it is “The ultimately to the make proof. “I talk to younger volunteers all the time and reduce the risk of sexual violence against volun- culture in which they are working. That kind of they find the older volunteers experience, is good for diplomacy, as well, with volteers,” the says, that awareness Theprovide first two faxed changes willorganization’s be made atwebsite no cost tonoting the advertiser, subsequent changes stability and a different perspective that younger staff and volunteers participate in regular safety unteers well positioned for future careers in diplobe billed at atorate of $75 per faxed alteration. Signed ads aremacy. considered approved. volunteers find, I think, to will be great assistance and security training, which is modified based on them,”Williams said. “This is a perfect launching pad,” Williams said. data from a worldwide reporting system that Please this ad carefully. Mark any changes to your are ad.a high percentage of foreign service That’s not to discount younger volunteers’ con- check “There tracks incidents. tributions, he added. The agency also has a Sexual Assault Working officers who are return Peace Corps volunteers “What are young Americans at?” Williams — a high percentage of officers in USAID.” Group works 949-0065 with staff to analyze needs agency changes If the adgood is correct sign and fax that to: (301) asked.“The ones who are passionate about public protocols and recommend strategies to reduce the He added: “As I travel the world and talk to the service, they’re good at organizing things. leading NGOs, they all have large cadres of returnincidence of sexual assault and rape, and to The Washington Diplomat (301) 933-3552 Organizational capacity is very important in the strengthen support for victims. ing Peace Corps volunteers in senior positions in globalized world and we’re very good at providing “The Peace Corps’ efforts have resulted in a sig- those organizations. It’s quite remarkable what has Approved __________________________________________________________ that.” nificant decline in the incidence of rape and major occurred in 50 years in the field of international A Peace Corps assignment shouldn’t be taken sexual assault among volunteers over the past 14 affairs.” Changes ___________________________________________________________ lightly. It requires three months of intensive train- years,” the agency states. “The Peace Corps will ___________________________________________________________________ ing and two full years of service in locales that are never be able to eliminate crimes committed Michael Coleman is a contributing writer often rudimentary and even dangerous. On that against volunteers overseas, but employs extensive for The Washington Diplomat.

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April 2012


Politics

United States

In GOP Race to the White House, Is Foreign Policy Mere Spectator? by Anna Gawel and Luke Jerod Kummer

W

hen it comes to recalling foreign policy’s role in this Republican presidential primary, one word will stand above the rest: “Ubeki-beki-beki-beki-stan-stan.”

Former frontrunner Herman Cain eschewed the notion that foreign policy knowledge would be an important factor for voters in this election, and so when the Christian Broadcasting Network asked the rising candidate in October how he would respond to a “gotcha” question about the name of Uzbekistan’s president, Cain uttered those gibberish syllables that instantly became YouTube gold. It represented a xenophobic one-upmanship in which Cain seemed to boast that not only did he not know the name of the president who was in charge of a key stop on the supply line to the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan — hell, he didn’t even care to know the name of the country itself. Since 9/11, foreign policy and national security chops have ranked among the top criteria for candidates in every presidential primary and general election — until now, that is. With a sluggish economy and stubbornly high unemployment, the 2012 race is the first in recent memory that has been overwhelmingly focused inward on domestic issues, even with a war still taking place abroad. Cain’s statement is emblematic of that. (Some will argue that Cain was merely a vanity candidate, but what he said and how it was perceived is notable because it was not completely apart from the Republican field but rather represented a trend — and most importantly because his ratings actually went up after his statement about Uzbekistan.) The shift in focus for the Republican electorate and the candidates vying for its adoration stems from outside factors such as dissatisfaction with the slow economic recovery, the nature of Obama’s historic presidency, the residual pull of the so-called “culture wars,” and other events during the past four years. But there is also a phenomenon happening within the GOP itself. No political party is static, and the modern-day Grand Old Party is no different. This evolution has been personified by the anyone-butMitt-Romney schizophrenic string of GOP presidential frontrunners claiming to embody the kind of “true” conservatism that the establishment-ordained Romney apparently lacks. And it’s been driven in large part by the game-changing entrance of the tea party that has upended GOP dynamics. Though at times their influence has been overhyped, the anti-spending tea partiers have exposed a deep rift in Republican foreign policy, with a new brand of isolationism challenging the party’s traditional hawkish posture. A segment of GOP voters is no doubt leery of military intervention in the wake of the Iraq nation-building blunder, but the tea party, in its zeal to rein in government spending, is even targeting defense budgets, once considered sacrosanct among Republicans. Most of the 2012 candidates, to one degree or another, have embraced elements of the tea party’s less-is-more mindset — none more so than Ron Paul, who would pretty much like to see the United States completely disengage from the world. Other one-time hopefuls such as Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry and Jon Huntsman have all called for a shrinking of American military investment abroad, whether it was reducing troops in Europe or staying out of Libya. Despite the enduring clout of the tea party, the rise in isolationism hasn’t drowned out the more established foreign

credit: U.S. Navy photo / Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kitt Amaritnant

Obama’s message to his Republican opponents was that he has no intention of running away from his foreign policy record. He is instead going to run on it. — James M. Lindsay

senior vice president and director of studies at the Council on Foreign Relations

policy wing of the GOP, which has re-emerged the more this protracted primary season drags on. Romney in particular has unequivocally declared America’s exceptionalism abroad, pressed for robust military spending, criticized troop withdrawals in Iraq and Afghanistan, and exhibited the streaks of hard-line ideology historically associated with the Republican Party, which for decades counted foreign policy and national security know-how among its strengths — from its anti-communist message during the Cold War to its aggressive stance against terrorism over the past decade. Today, the latest motley crew of GOP frontrunners — Romney, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich — have been practically tripping over each other in their unfailing support for Israel and determination to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, by regime change or force if necessary. Some of the rhetoric is convenient politics. Republicans smelled blood in the water when Obama’s relationship with Israel hit the rocks and three years of negotiations with Iran over its nuclear weapons program produced no results, seizing on the two issues to paint the president as weak. Romney and others have also disagreed with Obama’s decision to pull out of Iraq and seek a negotiated settlement to wind down the war in Afghanistan, although Romney has qualified his criticism, saying that any drawdown should be based on input from generals on the ground, and it’s not clear

April 2012

U.S. Navy Master-at-Arms Seaman Recruit Jessee Seaman stands by his machine gun during a watch as his ship transits through the Strait of Hormuz, a vital oil shipping artery and the site of recent tensions with Iran. Despite early isolationist rhetoric in the U.S. presidential primary, the remaining Republican candidates have adopted a hard line on Iran, vowing to support military intervention and regime change to prevent Tehran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

he would keep troops in Afghanistan past 2014 either. Yet the notion of pouring more money into the defense budget or another prolonged military conflict — the Pentagon is still spending over $2 billion a week in Afghanistan, and planning to spend $86 billion over the next year — certainly clashes with the spendthrift mood of the nation. Polls clearly indicate that after a decade of war, Americans have lost their appetite for foreign military adventures in Afghanistan and Iraq — as more voters are preoccupied with losing their jobs and livelihoods. This gets to a bigger dilemma Republicans face: On foreign policy, Obama consistently gets high marks. A Washington Post-ABC News Poll earlier this year showed that 56 percent of Americans trust Obama to handle international affairs better than Romney by a 19-point margin. The same number trust Obama more on terrorist matters by a 20-point margin over Romney. Indeed, the president has robbed Republicans of their trump card: attacking Democrats for being soft on national security. Obama has clearly proven his mettle by ordering the raid that killed Osama bin Laden and waging a successful campaign of drone strikes and special ops raids that has decapitated the bulk of al-Qaeda’s leadership. He also assembled an international coalition that dislodged the regime of Col. Muammar Qaddafi in Libya and imposed some of the stiffest sanctions to date on Iran, whose nuclear facilities and scientists have come under fire by a covert assault reportedly engineered by Israel and the United States.

Continued on next page The Washington Diplomat Page 9


Continued from previous page Obama, by virtue of having simply been president for nearly four years, also has the kind of foreign policy know-how that some of his opponents clearly lack. Gaffes like Cain’s have made excellent fodder for TV comedians but shouldn’t come as a huge surprise. Other than Huntsman, a former ambassador to China, and perhaps Gingrich, the GOP candidates simply don’t have much international experience. In fairness, most presidents (many of them former state governors) don’t come into office with foreign policy credentials under their belt — rather, like Obama and Bush before him, they learn on the job (and look how far Huntsman’s international experience got him). This time it’s all about jobs anyway. That’s precisely why Romney is banking on his business acumen to win votes.Yet just because the election will hinge on the economy, that’s not to say foreign policy won’t rear its head in the next few months. Should Israel attack Iran and oil prices surge during the busy summer travel season, Obama could have another war — and a Jimmy Carter-esque gas crisis — on his hands. Even if Israel resists the urge to bomb Iran, the region is poised for instability, from civil war in Syria, to sectarian fighting in Iraq, to possibly yet another unforeseen upheaval inspired by the Arab Spring — all of which could easily send energy prices soaring. A euro crisis in the European Union triggered by indebted countries such as Greece, Italy or Spain would also reverberate on this side of the Atlantic. Politics abroad may play a role in the U.S. election landscape as well. What if the fragile civilian government in nuclear-armed Pakistan collapses? What if violence spirals out of control in Afghanistan, testing U.S. and NATO resolve? Key leadership transitions in France, Mexico and China will all take place before November. Last but certainly not least, there has been no major terrorist attack on U.S. soil during Obama’s presidency. Of course, the administration’s foreign

policy successes could quickly become moot if another 9/11-style strike occurs before November. Regardless of what happens in the next seven months, a turbulent world awaits whoever becomes the next occupant of the White House. Once upon a time, not that long ago, most people generally knew what kind of worldview that occupant held if he or she was a Republican. But today, the party is undergoing an identity crisis of sorts. For his part, Obama is not shying away from a fight.As James M. Lindsay of the Council on Foreign Relations put it after the president’s 2012 State of the Union address, “Obama’s message to his Republican opponents was that he has no intention of running away from his foreign policy record. He is instead going to run on it.”

Unassailable Record? Republican candidates have hammered Obama for being weak on national security, for not confronting foes such as Iran and Syria more forcefully, and for generally not embracing American exceptionalism in world affairs. But the exceptionalism argument may have little resonance because Obama’s international record has been, by some measures, fairly exceptional. Indeed, a string of victories abroad has deflated this traditional line of attack. The first win came when Obama barely had taken office and became only the third sitting U.S. president to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.While it may have done little to convince the new president’s early critics, the honor seemed to solidify Obama’s claim on the campaign trail that he would help restore America’s standing in the world after eight divisive years of President George W. Bush and what many nations viewed as Bush’s cowboy unilateralism. But Obama’s most tangible foreign policy achievement of course was the U.S. raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound on May 2, 2011. By taking out the 9/11 mastermind, Obama accomplished what had been a prime — perhaps defining, even — pursuit of George W. Bush.The resulting success of that bold gambit became an awkward moment

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Photo: Spc. Roland Hale / Department of Defense

The unmanned aerial vehicle MQ-1C Gray Eagle is silhouetted by the sunrise as it prepares for a mission at Camp Taji in Baghdad in 2010. President Obama’s aggressive campaign of drone strikes has decapitated much of al-Qaeda’s leadership, while diffusing the traditional Republican line of attack that Democrats are soft on security.

when Obama’s would-be Republican challengers were forced to praise the opponent whom they had planned on attacking for shortcomings in this exact arena. To that end, when it comes to the war against al-Qaeda, the president has a track record that’s tough to beat: 22 of the terrorist group’s top 30 leaders are dead, including influential AmericanYemeni cleric Anwar Al-Awlaki. Most of the deaths are the result of an aggressive drone campaign that, while raising important questions of ethical and legal overreach, has undeniably put terrorists and insurgents from Afghanistan to Somalia on constant edge. The United States also backed a NATO-led coalition in Libya that helped rebels topple longtime dictator Muammar Qaddafi, an archenemy of the hallowed Republican icon President Ronald Reagan. Indeed, Obama’s response to the historic revolutions of the Arab Spring has revealed a cautious yet agile approach, resorting to force selectively to keep the U.S. from getting mired in yet another war against a Muslim nation. He vigorously defended this approach in a March 6 press conference, saying, “The one thing that we have not done is we have not launched a war. If some of these folks think that it’s time to launch a war, they should say so and explain to the American people why they would do that and what the consequences would be. Everything else is just talk.” While all of the Republican candidates have been united in warning against the spread of radical Islam, the party’s response to the Arab Spring has been more muddled, with some factions pressing for military intervention and others wanting to stay out of the fray. For instance, Republican heavyweights such as Sen. Lindsay Graham gave the president flak for not responding to Libya sooner, while on the flip side, Santorum said Obama should not have abandoned Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak so hastily. But Republicans seemed to have coalesced around Syria, with hawks such as Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) arguing that the president is not throwing the full weight of the United States behind the democratic uprisings in the Arab world. McCain, the ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, recently became the first senator to publicly call for U.S.-led air strikes against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to halt his assault on cities such as Homs and Hama. Yet arming the Free Syrian Army and other inchoate rebel groups — or even trying to establish humanitarian corridors — is fraught with uncertainty and could snowball into a full-blown foreign military intervention. (A Pew Research Center poll shows that nearly two-thirds of Americans say the United States does not have a responsibility to intervene in the Syrian conflict.) That’s why the Obama administration warned

against “the notion that the way to solve every one of these problems is to deploy our military” and is sticking with diplomacy to galvanize international pressure against al-Assad. In Yemen, that strategy seems to have paid off for now, with President Ali Abdullah Saleh stepping down thanks to a Gulfbrokered accord that finally eased him from power after 33 years. This has been the hallmark of Obama’s Arab Spring calculation: encouraging the revolutions without dictating their outcome, and working with other nations to help protesters but ultimately leaving them to shape their own governments. In a similar vein, the administration has gradually pushed Iraq and Afghanistan to take responsibility for their own fates. Obama campaigned and in part won on a promise to get Americans out of Iraq and refocus attention on the “real” fight in Afghanistan, and for the most part he’s delivered on that pledge. Obama ended all combat operations in Iraq last December and, after committing some 30,000 troops to Afghanistan in late 2009, he seems just as committed to winding down that conflict by 2014. While candidates such as Romney have cautioned against a precipitous troop drawdown — though they haven’t offered any specifics on what they’d do differently — polls consistently show that some two-thirds of the American public favors getting out of Afghanistan.The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press shows that overall, 53 percent say Obama is removing troops from Afghanistan at about the right pace, and 22 percent say he is not removing troops quickly enough. Just 20 percent say the president is withdrawing troops too quickly. A February Washington Post-ABC News Poll also showed that more than 80 percent of those surveyed approved of the use of unmanned “drone” aircraft. And while Obama’s decision to pull out of Iraq could be in jeopardy if a bloody civil war engulfs the country, that war too has become an afterthought for most voters — a stark contrast to 2008, when Iraq and the “war on terrorism” took center stage in the presidential debates. Moreover, by getting the support of the military brass to start reining in defense spending after a decade of explosive growth, Obama has blunted Republican warnings that he’s endangering national security by gutting the Pentagon budget. In fact, Obama is beefing up defense resources elsewhere. His highly touted “Asian pivot” has generally received praise for redirecting U.S. attention onto a critical part of the world while taking advantage of China’s missteps in the region to reassert America as a Pacific power. In addition to strengthening partnerships with Southeast Asian allies such as Vietnam and Indonesia, the administration’s patient carrot-stick diplomacy with neighboring adversaries has yielded tentative

The Washington Diplomat

April 2012


dividends, with the military junta in Burma opening up to the West and North Korea’s new leader willing to re-enter talks over Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons program. Yet these gains could easily unravel and Obama’s global outreach has not always paid off.At the start of his term, the president was derided by Republicans (and more than a few Democrats) for offering unconditional engagement — or what critics referred to as appeasement — to unsavory regimes in Iran and elsewhere. That offer, while rebuffed, also stripped Iran of excuses and allowed Obama to build an international coalition that’s slapped the harshest sanctions to date on Tehran. Obama has also instituted a raft of pro-Israel policies, vetoing the Palestinian Authority’s request for United Nations recognition and overseeing the largest-ever increase of military cooperation and aid to Israel. But these moves have been overshadowed by all-too-public spats with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Obama’s misstep early on tackling the charged issue of Israeli settlements. The interlocking issues of Israel and Iran could indeed be the administration’s biggest vulnerability heading into November. A new Washington Post-ABC News poll found that only 36 percent of Americans approve of how Obama is handling the possibility of Iran obtaining nuclear weapons, while 52 percent disapprove. Still, most campaign strategists say foreign policy and national security have generally been among Obama’s strong suits — and the real target should be the economy. In that same WashPost-ABC poll, 59 percent of Americans gave the president negative ratings on the economic front in the wake of rising gas prices. A new book — “Bending History: Barack Obama’s Foreign Policy” by policy heavyweights Martin S. Indyk, Kenneth G. Lieberthal and Michael E. O’Hanlon — points out just how unexpected this turn of events has been, asking: “Would even Obama have guessed four years ago that he would be heading into reelection with wars and foreign policy largely neutralized — at least for now — as major vulnerabilities, and that the most serious challenges to his reputation for competence would come in the arena of domestic policy?”

Tea Time Obama was in part elected riding a wave of voter allergy to war, so it’s little surprise that the Republican Party would experience an aversion to foreign intervention after George W. Bush launched two costly wars, one on the falsehood that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction. For some voters, the 2008 Republican nominee, Sen. John McCain, represented a continuum of the neoconservative thinking that dominated the Bush camp, which veered furthered to the right of oldschool GOP realists such as former National Security Advisor Brent Scowcroft and Richard Haass of the Council on Foreign Relations. The rise of the tea party represented a 180-degree turn away from the Bush administration and its global ambitions to instill democracy in the Middle East. Even some past realists began looking inward, with Haass for instance advocating retrenchment in theTime magazine piece“Bringing Our Foreign Policy Home.” The start of the 2012 election last year was clearly marked by a burst of isolationism — espoused by tea party conservatives and their unlikely breakout stars. James Traub, writing in the November 2011 issue of Foreign Policy, describes the tea party as “the faction of Less — less spending, less government, and, generally, less engagement abroad. And all the Republicans aspiring to win the 2012 nomination have responded to this powerful new voice in one way or another,” he wrote in the article “The Elephants in the Room.” “None of the candidates save Paul can genuinely be called isolationist — and perhaps not even he. But Rep. Michele Bachmann shares the Tea Party’s suspicion of foreign interventions and foreign countries more generally; former Utah governor Jon Huntsman has called for ‘nationbuilding at home’ rather than ‘nation-building in Afghanistan’ or elsewhere; and Texas Gov. Rick Perry has warned vaguely of ‘military adventurism.’ Rick Santorum … anchors the opposite end of the

foreign-policy spectrum, the pole of bristling aggression and furious denunciation (both of Obama and of Paul). And Mitt Romney falls somewhere in the middle, which seems to be where he falls whenever he is dropped.” Ron Paul’s brand of isolationism, in fact, is precisely the reason the quirky libertarian has become such an unlikely sensation, especially among younger constituents ready for a radical rethinking of how government should work (less, much less). Steeped in libertarianism and Ayn Rand’s objectivism, Paul abhors interventionism (he has said he would not act to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon), though he cannot be called isolationist inasmuch as he favors a robust free trade policy and laissez-faire economics. Although many of Paul’s policies mirror the tea party’s small-government orthodoxy, the group doesn’t have a cohesive foreign policy vision. Tea party hero Florida Rep. Allen West recently compared the movement to the 1958 horror film “The Blob.” The broad tea party label can absorb both neoconservative and isolationist leanings, which otherwise would seem opposed.And at other times it just seems to stand against whatever Obama is for — often to the right of run-of-the-mill Republicans. But in general, it is deeply suspicious of the government, including foreign affairs and foreign aid. In a straw poll taken at this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington, the most important conservative event in the country, 63 percent of attendees listed promoting “individual freedom by reducing the size and scope of government and its intrusion into the lives of its citizens” as their top priority. Only 12 percent said securing “American safety at home and abroad regardless of the cost or the size of government” was their chief concern. That runs counter to the worldview of George W. Bush, who favored what he called “compassionate conservatism” and dramatically increased funds to Africa to fight AIDS and malaria. Most tea partiers dismiss such humanitarian assistance and nation building as poor uses of taxpayer dollars. But the group is hardly monolithic — nor would it eviscerate foreign policy altogether. A 2012 survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press found that tea party Republicans favor an assertive foreign policy, are strong backers of Israel, take a hard line against illegal immigration and China, and are more likely than other Republicans or Democrats to support the Reagan-era principle of “peace through strength” (a mantra Romney has picked up as well). Tea party acolytes prize “fiscal responsibility,” above all else, which partly explains their dueling narrative on defense spending. On the one hand, the Pew poll found broad support among tea party Republicans, as well as non-tea party Republicans, for maintaining defense spending at current levels. Yet a majority (55 percent) also approve of reducing military commitments overseas to reduce the budget deficit and the size of the nation’s debt. Tea party support temporarily vaulted candidates like Cain and Perry to the top of the race last year even though their foreign policy backgrounds were extremely flimsy. This seems to suggest that the tea party places an unusually low value on traditional foreign policy credentials. But in the case of Bachmann, the picture was somewhat different. Bachmann — who helped form the Tea Party Caucus in Congress — laid the groundwork for her presidential run by seeking to boost her foreign policy credibility with an appointment to the House Intelligence Committee. As early as 2007, she joined a congressional delegation that toured Ireland, Germany, Pakistan, Kuwait and Iraq. At times, such as in Bachmann’s recent postcandidacy speech at CPAC, she won plaudits from pundits for her cogent criticisms of Obama’s foreign policy. But much more often than not she has been known for outlandish statements, such as when she quoted a false claim that Obama’s trip to India was costing taxpayers $200 million per day. One thing that unified all of the candidates in the beginning of the race was the rush to curry favor with tea party voters, who often howled

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April 2012

The Washington Diplomat Page 11


Continued from previous page loudest at town halls, egging on the candidates to produce the most extreme sound bites, which then drove the media’s coverage. Poll numbers among likely Republican voters solidified and amplified this pattern. When Cain’s numbers went up after his “beki-beki” remark, it sent a message to his fellow candidates that being too focused on foreign policy might imperil their own ratings and perhaps they too ought to lob a proverbial hand grenade at the longstanding presidential primary wisdom that if a candidate is deficient in foreign policy gravitas, he or she won’t survive to the general election. The result was an inexhaustible supply of wellcovered GOP debates in which foreign policy was reduced to tossing out slabs of red-meat policy statements to elicit a roaring response. Perry — who sometimes vied with Cain, Bachmann, Paul and occasionally Gingrich in exchanges that seemed to be competitions to see who could most quickly sever America from the rest of the world — said, for example, that Turkey’s membership in NATO should be reviewed, calling it a country run by “Islamic terrorists.” (It’s worth noting that Turkey has 1,845 service members assisting NATO in Afghanistan.) Another issue that ruffled many foreign policy observers was the contention this fall by some of the leading candidates that the U.S. should dramatically cut its distribution of foreign aid.“The foreign aid budget in my administration for every country is gonna start at zero dollars. Zero dollars,” Perry said in a debate, a sentiment shared by Paul and Gingrich. Foreign aid is not exactly a partisan issue. Under George W. Bush, America sent billions of dollars to Africa for pioneering programs. Giving foreign aid money to countries swept up by the Arab Spring is considered by many to be essential in ensuring the best possible transition for these countries to democracy. As the debates progressed, GOP elites began to express concern that the candidates were damaging the party with some of their more outrageous

The sort of median Republican primary voter right now is focused on the economy; quite conservative; wants to see Obama defeated; is actually fairly hawkish on national security; and you could say getting tired in Afghanistan — but not a Ron Paul isolationist. — Colin Dueck, associate professor in George Mason University’s Department of Public and International Affairs

statements. “This is the core of the Republican brand. You mess with it at your peril,” Peter Feaver, a national security official under President George W. Bush, told The New York Times. Interestingly, there’s been a backlash against the trend toward isolationism, with the tea party’s popularity falling as well.At the same time, most of the tea party’s candidates have fallen by the wayside — and the ones who’ve survived in the rollercoaster race are hardly outliers of the Republican brand. Rather, they adhere to the party’s hawkish roots and cast Obama as abandoning America’s allies while going soft on its adversaries.

Hawks Take Flight Romney, Santorum and Gingrich, to one degree or another, have embraced the party’s traditional belief in uncompromising national security and foreign policy. Santorum, even though he opposed U.S. intervention in Libya, is probably the most in line with George W. Bush’s neoconservatism — evidenced when he went against the pack early on and opposed slashing foreign aid or exiting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan too quickly. The verdict is still out on Gingrich’s foreign policy, and the candidate may be too mercurial to ever get a clear sense of his presidential agenda. A laggard in the polls until the end of last year, Gingrich certainly has foreign policy experience, having served as speaker of the House. He has also advised international companies and is known as a former

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professor and history buff whose interests range from World War II to colonial Africa. Gingrich is also known for espousing what he calls, sometimes generously, “big ideas,” which others have termed “grandiose.” But whether that could mean sending covert military squads to sabotage Iran’s nuclear facilities or a dramatic retooling of the U.S. military is unclear because he has talked about both. For a man who has been the subject of mockery for his unrelenting devotion to building a permanent U.S. settlement on the moon, it might be said, in both the best and worst sense of the phrase, that with Newt Gingrich, anything’s possible. Meanwhile, the bloodied but still-standing frontrunner, Romney, has for the most part hewed to traditional GOP positions on America’s role in the world. Bucking tea party calls for spending cuts, he’s argued that military spending should total 4 percent of national GDP, which would boost the annual Pentagon budget to $600 billion or more. Interestingly, Romney initially agreed with calls to completely eliminate all foreign assistance but later backtracked, saying he would only zero aid to Pakistan and other “countries that can take care of themselves or countries that oppose American interests.” Those comments on foreign assistance, in fact, drew almost immediate anger from pro-Israel groups, many of whom have long supported the Republican Party. Loyalty to Israel has become something of a litmus test for GOP presidential candidates, and this year’s roster has pounced on the generally shoddy relations that Obama has had with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Romney has accused the president of throwing a critical ally “under the bus” and promised to visit Israel before visiting any other country if he’s elected president; Gingrich said that he would move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem on the first day of his presidency. The candidates have also latched onto the heated debate over Iran to draw bright lines between their foreign policy and that of the president’s.And history shows that isolationist leanings in any political party tend to wither when external threats like Iran begin stoking fears. Even though Obama has spearheaded the harshest set of sanctions to date on Iran, whose economy is reeling and whose government recently agreed to resume face-to-face negotiations with the West over its nuclear program, Romney has argued that the administration hasn’t gone far enough in “crippling” the regime and making the threat of military options clearer, saying “they’re not just on the table. They are in our hand.” “Hope is not a foreign policy,” Romney told the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), an influential lobby group, last month. “The only thing respected by thugs and tyrants is our resolve, backed by our power and our readiness to use it. Of course, the administration’s naïve outreach to Iran gave the ayatollahs exactly what they wanted most. It gave them time. Whatever sanctions they may now belatedly impose, Iran has already gained three invaluable years.” Substance-wise, Romney’s plan to deal with Iran differs little from Obama’s strategy (sanctions, echoing an absolute commitment to Israel’s security), but his rhetorical willingness to resort to military force is certainly greater — and not out of line with public opinion.A recent Pew Research Center poll showed that nearly six in 10 Americans say they support tough measures — including the possible use of military force — to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons. Yet other surveys point to very different numbers, revealing the lack of a national consensus on the issue. A poll conducted by the University of Maryland and Program on International Policy

Attitudes in March found that only one in four Americans favors Israel conducting a military strike against Iran’s nuclear program. Seven in 10 (69 percent) favor the U.S. and other major powers continuing to pursue negotiations with Iran, a position that is supported by majorities of Republicans (58 percent), Democrats (79 percent) and Indepen­dents (67 percent). Romney’s bellicose rhetoric on Iran could also box him into a conflict if he ever does assume office. Obama has also shot back, signaling that he’s itching to do battle on the issue.“Those folks don’t have a lot of responsibilities,” Obama said the day of the Super Tuesday primary contest. “They’re not commander in chief. When I see the casualness with which some of these folks talk about war, I’m reminded of the costs involved in war. “This is not a game; there’s nothing casual about it,” he added. The verbal sparring offers a preview of the next few months, as Romney will more than likely keep trying to portray Obama as accommodating and naïve when it comes not only to Iran, but also to Russia — he called the “reset” with Russia Obama’s “worst foreign policy mistake” — and to China, which Romney said he would declare a currency manipulator his first day in office. Above all, Romney has steadfastly proclaimed America’s “exceptionalism” abroad, a centerpiece of his campaign.“I will not and I will never apologize for America. I don’t apologize for America because I believe in America,” he has said, echoing the message of his book,“No Apology:The Case for American Greatness.” Of course, Obama hasn’t exactly apologized either. Rather, he’s described the United States as “the one indispensable nation in world affairs.” But he has said that his is “a U.S. leadership that recognizes our limits.” Whether that statement simply recognizes the reality of today’s economic constraints or whether it undermines American prominence on an increasingly crowded world stage will be a question for voters to decide.

Isolationists vs. Interventionists But to say that the 2012 primary contest has pitted small-government, isolationist Republicans against the big-government, hawkish establishment oversimplifies a party with a complex genetic makeup that’s produced a field of candidates who each reveal the different DNA of the generations that preceded them. Colin Dueck, author of the 2010 volume “Hard Line: The Republican Party and U.S. Foreign Policy Since World War II,” writes that “there have always been at least three main strains or schools of thought in conservative and Republican foreign policy thinking…. nationalists, hawks and realists. “Nationalists emphasize the protection of American sovereignty,” Dueck says.“Hawks emphasize both the moral and the practical arguments for military intervention overseas. Realists emphasize the careful coordination of force and diplomacy.” Dueck sees in each Republican figure past and present some combination of these three foreign policy traits. He argues that a successful balance results in a successful figure, and an overemphasis on any of them leads to a weakened or failed foreign policy and thus a failed political figure. As Dueck sees it, Presidents Teddy Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush are all examples of the former, and George W. Bush is a case of the latter. Dueck, a professor at George Mason University, told The Diplomat that the Republican primary electorate has always attempted to strike some form of this balance, with emphasis on different attributes each year depending on the circumstances. “The sort of median Republican primary voter right now is focused on the economy; quite conservative; wants to see Obama defeated; is actually fairly hawkish on national security; and you could say getting tired in Afghanistan — but not a Ron Paul isolationist,” Dueck said of the electorate’s desires this time around, adding that he believed

The Washington Diplomat

See gop, page 14 April 2012


Diplomacy

State Department

America’s Embassy Building Boom Fortifies Diplomacy, Security Abroad by Dave Seminara

V

isiting a foreign country’s embassy here in Washington is very much like a sneak preview of that nation itself. It starts with security, or lack thereof. There are some embassies that allow visitors to stroll right in unmolested, while others require guests to go through X-ray machines or submit to pat downs. The size, location and grandeur of the building reveal how prosperous the country is and the importance of its relationship with the United States. How the staff dresses, the hours they keep, and the events they host all give visitors a feel for the culture. In recent years, the U.S. State Department has been under attack in the press for building fortress-like embassies and consulates abroad in out-of-the-way locations that offer security but allegedly shelter our diplomats from reality while projecting an unwelcoming image of our country. Last April, the State Department launched a new Design Excellence (DE) initiative as a response to the criticism.The aim of DE is to build greener missions in more accessible locations that project a more welcoming tone. But finding city center locations and incorporating security, environmental and aesthetic features doesn’t come cheap. In an era of shrinking government budgets, can the United States afford to build secure, attractive, eco-friendly and people-friendly diplomatic facilities in central locations around the world — often at a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars each? The movement to create more secure U.S. embassies and consulates overseas dates back to the 1983 bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Beirut, which killed more than 60 people and sparked congressional hearings chaired by Navy Adm. Bobby Ray Inman. The Inman Report made a number of security-related recommendations, but few were fully implemented until after the 1998 embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania, which galvanized Congress to prioritize funding for new embassy and consulate construction. “Everything changed after the bombings in East Africa,” said Jane Loeffler, author of “The Architecture of Diplomacy: Building America’s Embassies.” “Congress came through with money that they hadn’t come through with after the Inman Report. Security was the number one reason why Congress came up with the money and that’s what’s still been driving the program.” Aside from the funding commitment, Congress also issued new security requirements for diplomatic facilities, including regulations mandating a 100-foot setback from vehicular traffic and nine-foot-tall walls, among others. Since that mandate was created in 1999, the State Department’s Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations (OBO) says it has completed 88 new diplomatic facilities and moved more than 27,000 people into “safe, secure, and functional facilities.” In fiscal year 2011, OBO announced the opening of 10 new diplomatic missions in Kiev, Monrovia, Mumbai, Djibouti, Dubai,Tijuana, Riga,Valetta, Bucharest and Suva. In 2010, seven new facilities opened. OBO said it also has an additional 41 projects in design or under construction. Most recently for example, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton broke ground on a new embassy compound in

Photo: Timothy Hursley / U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy is our most important initiative and it’s so much less expensive than war. We need to make the buildings attractive and functional, but they’re also targets so they need to be secure. — Jane Loeffler

author of “The Architecture of Diplomacy: Building America’s Embassies”

Rabat, Morocco, on Feb. 26. The 8.5-acre site will house a state-of-the-art, multi-building complex that includes a chancery and Marine security guard quarters and will employ roughly 300 employees. The $187 million project will also incorporate various sustainable features, including lights that automatically dim, reduced water-use plumbing fixtures and rain gardens, with an eye on attaining the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver Certification by the Green Building Certification Institute. The State Department is actually a huge player on the international real estate scene. It owns or leases facilities in 270 cities and 189 countries and is absent only from North Korea, Iran and Somalia. Its real estate portfolio also includes more than 20,000 properties, including nearly 18,000 residences for diplomats and more than 2,000 nonresidential properties, with total square footage of more than 80 million square feet. U.S. embassies and consulates range in size from 1.6 million square feet for the Baghdad compound to 11,000 square feet for the consulate in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The

The enormous U.S. Embassy in Beijing, above, was completed in October 2008 and is among the nearly 90 new diplomatic facilities built by the State Department’s Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations since 1999, when Congress mandated tougher new security requirements for missions overseas.

Baghdad facility in particular has been held up as a model of wasteful spending. A Vanity Fair story put the construction tab at $600 million and estimated it cost an additional $1.2 billion per year to run. According to the story, the embassy has 619 blast-resistant apartments, a food court, tennis courts, a swimming pool, a bomb-resistant recreation center, a department store, a beauty salon and a movie theater, among other things. (More recently, U.S. officials announced plans to “right-size” and reduce the mission’s footprint.) And while the compound in Baghdad may be the ultimate example of a fortress embassy, it hasn’t been the only new mission to be lambasted in the press. Plans for the new embassy in London, in particular, have drawn rebukes from both sides of the Atlantic. Harvard professor Stephen Walt, writing in Foreign Policy in 2010, argued that “the ‘Fortress America’ approach to embassy design presents a public face that is an odd combination of power and paranoia.” He went on to say that the United States “ought to take all reasonable measures to ensure that our diplomats are adequately protected,” but warned that “it’s possible to go too far in the quest for perfect security.” The Economist wrote a critical piece on U.S. fortress embassies in July of last year titled “First, dig your moat,” which referred to some recent U.S. creations as “near-identical, boxy bunkers.”And the backlash hasn’t been confined to the media. Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), who heads the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said in 2009,“We are building some of the ugliest embassies I’ve ever seen … I

April 2012

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Continued from previous page cringe when I see what we’re doing.” But Thomas McCarthy — a principal at PageSoutherlandPage, an architectural firm that has designed more than 20 U.S. embassies and consulates over the last decade, including recent projects in Islamabad, Monrovia, Dakar, Rabat, Addis Ababa, Ouagadougou, Brazzaville and Khartoum — doesn’t put much stock in the criticism. “A lot of the criticism comes from people looking at a project in a place like Ouagadougou and saying, ‘That looks like a fortress,’ but oftentimes these buildings are the nicest ones in the country,” he said. “It’s a safe, modern and highly efficient work environment. I don’t place a lot of credence in the criticism; these critiques are coming from people who are very far from the realities of the situation.” McCarthy said that in designing U.S. embassies, architects’ hands are often tied by the U.S. government procurement process, which requires them to use the same windows and other construction materials around the world. The components are usually functional but look cheap. Christine Foushee, OBO’s director of external relations, said that the State Department is responding to the fortress flak. “Our intent is to address the criticism while still embracing security,” she said. “We’re mindful that lives are at stake, so the security requirements are part of Design Excellence. It’s a matter of applying creativity to the standards.” Foushee and McCarthy said that State has used perimeter greenery, water features and other measures to soften the appearance of U.S. missions. “It’s really about presenting less of a perimeterwall front door and more of a landscape with a fence or some other feature as the first thing you see when you come to an embassy,” McCarthy explained. “In the case of London, it’s a water feature. It’s something else that provides the same protection but with a less severe front door than we’ve seen in the past.”

Building U.S. embassies abroad can cost hundreds of millions of dollars in part because of difficult logistics in places like Khartoum, Sudan, right.

Foushee noted that most of the recent embassies that have opened were designed prior to the DE initiative, but still have some green technology features that weren’t in place even a few years ago. She says that within two to three years, people will begin to notice a new breed of embassies and consulates that are secure but also more centrally located with a more welcoming aesthetic appeal. Five years ago, Loeffler wrote a critical piece on the security-first U.S. construction approach in Foreign Policy, but she said that OBO has improved its approach markedly since that time. “They’re trying to bring buildings back closer to the center, closer to public transport, and making them more functional and also greener,” she told The Diplomat. “There’s been a great change. I would never say that security shouldn’t be the first priority, but design and security don’t have to be mutually exclusive. In fact, good design can enhance security and our image.” But even if State has gotten the message that embassies need to be more than just secure, how should taxpayers feel about the flurry of costly construction activity overseas? The average cost of a medium-size embassy can run over $100 million, and some, like the new embassy in Kiev, Ukraine, which totaled $247 million, can cost much more. McCarthy said that difficult logistics in places like Sudan and the Republic of Congo can drive up prices. He also noted that U.S. law requires that at least some of the construction workers at each site be cleared U.S. citizens, rather than locals, who would be paid much less in most countries. The

Photo: U.S. Department of State

number of U.S. workers required varies depending on the threat level of each country. The legislation originated after the United States found listening devices embedded all over the U.S. Embassy in Moscow in 1985, an incident that required us to completely rebuild the embassy.The law helps to create jobs for Americans but also pushes up the cost of construction, especially in countries deemed “critical threats” where a large portion of the embassy has to be completed by U.S. workers. Foushee said that OBO’s funding over the last decade has been steady, but indicated that their budget has also been cut and they’ll likely have to scrap at least one new proposed embassy over the next few years. Projects will move forward or be put on a backburner depending on priorities and what’s feasible. “A lot of it is doability,” she said. “There are

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the Ron-Paulists comprised only about a tenth of the party. Dueck also explained that he sees in the tea party movement a return to the era of President Andrew Jackson. “The Jacksonian element has been very strong in the Republican Party for many years,” he said,“but what happens is that different figures come in and direct it in different channels in different periods.” “The mentality is not looking at interventions overseas — certainly not humanitarian and nation-building projects — but at the same time there’s an unapologetic American patriotism and a determination to strike back if attacked,” Dueck said. “It’s neither isolationist strictly speaking nor is it about what George W. Bush was advocating for during the invasion of Iraq.” Dueck said that George W. Bush’s pursuits, especially as framed in his second inaugural address, represent a very idealistic side of the party, which isn’t as strong today. In fact, this year’s unpredictable nominating contest has in many ways put into full view the variant phenotypes of the Republican Party that have been overshadowed by the neoconservative policies that dominated the Bush years and, to a lesser extent, McCain’s 2008 candidacy. In that contest, primary voters selected McCain — someone of almost incomparable foreign policy and national security gravitas who said he had what it takes to navigate the “dangerous world we live in.” A retired Navy captain and prisoner of war in Vietnam, McCain was the ranking member on the Senate Armed Services Committee who had

places on the list where we can’t find a site or aren’t able to purchase a site, so it makes it impossible to move forward. We build where we can with the money we’re given.” The 2012 fiscal year budget for new construction is about $1 billion. So why should taxpayers support the construction of secure new embassies in low-threat countries like Latvia or Malta? “People shouldn’t have to work in high-risk situations doing such important work for our country,” Loeffler said. “Diplomacy is our most important initiative and it’s so much less expensive than war. We need to make the buildings attractive and functional, but they’re also targets so they need to be secure.”

Dave Seminara is a contributing writer for The Washington Diplomat and a former diplomat based in Northern Virginia.

led the charge in Congress to mount a troop “surge” in Iraq in 2007. He’d made frequent visits to the war zones in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as other geopolitical hotspots and could rightfully claim that he had developed personal relationships with world leaders over the years. One of McCain’s main selling points was that he was a “statesman in waiting” as NBC’s Kelly O’Donnell noted in 2008. But the entire dynamics of the race changed as economic conditions at home deteriorated that summer. And then, in what can either be considered an earnest attempt to aid his country or a tactical election blunder, on Sept. 24, 2008 — less than 10 days after Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy and less than two months before voters cast their ballots — McCain suspended his campaign and returned to Washington to focus on fixing the economy. It pretty much doomed him. Earlier in the year, McCain had declared that economics wasn’t something he understood as well as he should. Now it had become the top priority in the election while McCain’s main strength, foreign affairs, receded to the background — much as it has again four years later. And four years later, the man McCain beat to grab the 2008 nomination, Mitt Romney, now sees a new opening for himself precisely because of his business background, much in the way that McCain relied on his impeccable foreign policy and national security credentials — and much in the way Obama will be using his own international credentials to convince a domestic audience that he’s worthy of another term.

Luke Jerod Kummer is a contributing writer for The Washington Diplomat. Anna Gawel is managing editor of The Washington Diplomat.

The Washington Diplomat

April 2012


Defense

United States

Obama’s Defense Cuts Send Ripples Beyond U.S. Shores by Nicholas Clayton

A

s details continue to emerge about the Obama administration’s plans to slash defense spending and revamp America’s global security posture, U.S. allies are worried that their defense relationships and armstrade agreements now hang in the balance. In January, President Barack Obama announced $487 billion in cuts to the Pentagon’s budget over the next decade, which will include layoffs and limiting pay raises for personnel, redeployments of U.S. military assets, and cancellations or suspensions of several arms procurement programs. Among the major changes abroad will be the pullout of two brigades from Europe, where they have served since the end of World War II. Currently, the U.S. military has about 80,000 troops based in Europe from all branches of the military. Cutting two Army brigades and the noncombat units that support them will result in a reduction of about 10,000 to 15,000 soldiers, according to the Washington Post. However, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told the Post in January that as the U.S. Army transitions to having battalions rotate around the world for trainings and temporary force increases, Europe may actually see more American boots on the ground. “As a matter of fact, they will probably see more of the Americans under the new strategy because the brigades that were there were actually fighting in Afghanistan and weren’t even there…. What you are going to have is two [brigades] plus this large rotational presence that is going to be there,” he explained. In fact, despite the “cuts,” Pentagon spending will actually stay fairly stable when adjusting for inflation, climbing to $567 billion by 2017 (for reference, the fiscal 2011 base budget is $531 billion). And despite troop reductions, the size of the Army and Marine Corps will still be slightly larger than it was in 2001. But after a decade of almost unlimited defense growth, the trend is clearly reversing. Overall, the Pentagon is expected to cut the Army from its current 560,000 active soldiers to about 490,000 as it repositions the military as a leaner, more agile force geared toward special ops, cyberwarfare, surveillance and intelligence, while being focused more on the Middle East and Asia than Europe. In November, Obama announced that the United States would deploy 2,500 Marines to Australia, with more Pacific deployments likely to come. However, U.S. allies may be more impacted by changes to the Pentagon’s procurement plans than its soldier deployments. Though critics questioned the need, the Navy will keep its prized 11 aircraft carriers for now, but it will lose 16 new vessels from its 30-year shipbuilding plan, retire seven cruisers and cut production of two littoral combat ships. Most of the ships excluded in the cuts will likely be the high-speed HSV-2 “Swift” vessels that defense analysts say are key to supporting the U.S. naval presence defending Taiwan from a potential Chinese strike. Still, some critics say the Pentagon plans to cut its naval presence counteract its new Asia-centric strategic posture. Meanwhile, in the skies, the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) project to produce a series of next-generation F-35 fighter

Credit: DoD photo / Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class John Grandin, U.S. Navy

The Joint Strike Fighter project to produce a series of next-generation F-35 fighter variants is currently poised to be the most expensive arms deal in history, with a total operating cost estimated at around $1 trillion. Therefore, it has also become the biggest target of those hoping to trim the U.S. defense budget. variants is currently poised to be the most expensive arms deal in history, with a total operating cost estimated at around $1 trillion (that includes the purchase price tag of $382 billion and $650 billion to operate and maintain the aircraft). Therefore, it has also become the biggest target of those hoping to trim the U.S. defense budget. A commission formed by Obama to study ways to cut the nation’s debt recommended that the Pentagon save $9.5 billon by replacing half of the 2,443 planned F-35 purchases with upgrades to the existing fleet. As officials begin to write up the Pentagon budget for the fiscal year 2013, Defense Secretary Panetta emphasized in January that the administration remains “committed” to the JSF project, but that it would have to be slowed “to complete more testing and make developmental changes … before buying in significant quantities,” according to Defense News. The F-35 program, run by Lockheed Martin, has been plagued by a string of technical setbacks and delays, although Lockheed executives say they’re making progress on overcoming the various development problems. “The F-35 is intended to be the primary fighter-attack

April 2012

The aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson, right, conducts a replenishment at sea with the fast combat support ship USNS Bridge in the Pacific Ocean on Jan. 2, 2012. Despite steep cuts to the defense budget, the Navy will keep its prized 11 aircraft carriers, in part to maintain a military presence in the Pacific.

aircraft for the Air Force and the Marine Corps and a major part of the Navy’s future carrier air wings,” wrote AOL Defense’s Otto Kreisher.“The three services are expected to buy 2,443 F-35s, and at least 10 other nations are partners in the program or have expressed interest in buying the fighter.” In fact, although the United States is footing the majority of the $40 billion bill to develop the F-35 fighter, a number of American allies are also heavily invested in the project. Together, the United Kingdom, Italy, the Netherlands, Canada, Turkey, Australia, Norway and Denmark have agreed to contribute $4.375 billion to the project’s development. Furthermore, they and others are set to produce components for the 3,100 F-35s currently envisioned to be built. Turkish company Kale Aero has already agreed to invest $150 million to upgrade one of its factories as part of a contract to build about 300 parts for the F-35 in a joint venture with American company Pratt & Whitney. At the deal-signing ceremony, Murad Bayar,Turkey’s chief defense procurement official, said the country’s aviation industry had already won $7 billion to $8 billion in JSF subcontracts. Although Italy is among the few contract partners that has not purchased test aircraft for the development phase, its airbase in Cameri has been named as an assembly and maintenance facility for F-35 variants employed by allies — a potentially lucrative arrangement for the country. Japan has also bought into the program to make the F-35 the Western allies’ standard-issue fighter moving into the 21st century. Although its domestic arms export ban officially made it unable to participate in the development of the F-35,Tokyo agreed in December to buy 42 F-35 jets

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Continued from previous page for around $8 billion. Canada in particular is keen to see the F-35 development stay on track, without any major cuts.America’s northern neighbor has invested heavily in the project, with plans to buy 65 of the next-generation stealth fighter jets for $9 billion as part of its effort to maintain an integrated air defense with the United States under the joint North American Aerospace Defense Command. “Let me make very clear that the United States is committed to the development of the F-35 and to a cooperative relationship with the F-35 with our Canadian friends,” Defense Secretary Panetta said at a joint news conference with his Canadian counterpart, Peter MacKay. “We need to have this. It’s true for us. It’s true for our partners — and not only Canadians but others who are going to work with us and participate with us in the development of the … F-35.” The F-35 fighter has been under development since the early 2000s and boasts advanced fifth-generation stealth technology, which makes it virtually undetectable by most modern radars. However, the project has come under intense controversy in Washington and among U.S. allies for its soaring costs, now expected to top $150 million per unit. At a time when European governments have been squeezed to reduce spending, many U.S. allies have wavered in their commitment to the costly project.However, diplomatic cables made public by WikiLeaks revealed that Washington has utilized significant diplomatic pressure to keep them on board. Mackenzie Eaglen, a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, defends the F-35,

Page 16

Credit: U.S. Marine Corps photo/ Gunnery Sgt. Rusty Baker

At left, the U.S. Navy variant of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft conducts a test flight over the Chesapeake Bay in 2011. Above, Lockheed Martin’s F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter aircraft is unveiled in dramatic fashion at its production facility in Texas in 2006.

Credit: U.S. Navy photo / Lockheed Martin Corp.

pointing out in a recent article that over the last decade, the Pentagon has spent $38 billion to produce just 220 fighters, while during the Reagan administration’s military buildup, $68 billion was spent on 2,063 fighters. He contends that the JSF program is “by far the most important program to the health of the American industrial base and many small businesses around the country.” Furthermore, he argued, cost overruns and squeamish legislators combined to prevent the U.S. Air Force from modernizing at all over the last two decades, instead forcing it to rely on a small num-

ber of expensive aircraft and a motley of older models. In the end, he said the F-35 and other military modernization plans may go the way of the F-22 — 750 of which were originally planned to be built, with that number gradually shrinking to 187 by the time Obama put an end to the program. However, Dominic Tierney, author of “How We Fight: Crusades, Quagmires, and the American Way of War,” says the F-35’s exorbitant costs outweigh its benefits, which don’t amount to much in a world of complex asymmetric conflicts against weaker opponents, where manpower and intelligence are more critical. In an article for the Atlantic last year, he wrote that the lifetime costs of the F-35 amount to more than the entire GDP of Australia. He also noted that within the next decade, the United States hopes to have 15 times as many modern fighters as China has, and 20 times as many as Russia. “The F-35 is the most expensive defense program in history, and reveals massive cost overruns, a lack of clear strategic thought, and a culture in Washington that encourages incredible waste,” Tierney argued. “Money is pouring into the F-35 vortex. In 2010, Pentagon officials found that the cost of each plane had soared by over 50 percent above the original projections. The program has fallen years behind schedule, causing billions of dollars of additional expense, and won’t be ready until 2016. An internal Pentagon report concluded that: ‘affordability is no longer embraced as a core pillar.’” Meanwhile, America’s European allies also face a cash crunch — and an even more vexing dilemma. Last April, after the Netherlands announced extensive defense cuts despite a $144 million renewed commitment to the second phase of the F-35’s development, defense analyst Daniel Darling wrote in the Faster Times that regulations are pulling the budgets of NATO-EU countries in opposite directions. NATO members are required to allocate at least 2 percent of their GDP toward defense, while the European Union requires its members to keep their budget deficits below 3 percent and their national debt below 60 percent of GDP. “Juggling the two (albeit toothless) requirements has proven difficult for virtually every dual EU-NATO member in the best of times; coming off a banking crisis, an economic recession and government stimulus measures, such a task is rendered that much more difficult,” Darling wrote. He said these high costs and economic pressures mean fewer overall aircraft for NATO countries, and a reduction in the bloc’s capability to engage in several small missions at once — as the alliance members did in 2011, with several fielding aircraft in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and against

Somali pirates in the Gulf of Aden. NATO’s European members have long been criticized by U.S. officials for not carrying their weight. Shortly before stepping down as defense secretary, Robert Gates described the security bloc’s future as “dim” and “dismal” if members did not shoulder more of the financial burden. “The blunt reality,” Gates warned, “is that there will be dwindling appetite and patience in the U.S. Congress — and in the American body politic writ large — to expend increasingly precious funds on behalf of nations that are apparently unwilling to devote the necessary resources or make the necessary changes to be serious and capable partners in their own defense — nations apparently willing and eager for American taxpayers to assume the growing security burden left by reductions in European defense budgets.” NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said at the Munich Security Conference last month that defense cuts on both sides of the Atlantic call for closer cooperation and increases in joint training. Rasmussen also made an increased push for the Smart Defense concept, which calls on NATO member states to focus on developing their militaries in ways that complement each other’s capabilities rather than building expensive redundancies within the alliance. For example, he explained at a press briefing previewing the Munich talks that small countries like the Baltic states, which do not have the budgetary means to invest in high-tech jets or antimissile platforms, could instead count on coverage in those areas from NATO allies, while specializing in building effective ground forces for the alliance’s collective defense. A NATO official told Defense News that the long-term Smart Defense approach will be “at the heart” of a joint NATO declaration at the alliance’s May summit in Chicago, saying he expects “20 to 30 projects on which groups of nations will have committed to go forward.” Meanwhile, in a press release, Lockheed Martin, the primary defense contractor involved in the JSF project,said it will work closely with the Pentagon’s customers “to understand the details of recommendations and the impacts on our business” in the changes to the Defense Department’s 2013 budget. Eaglen of the American Enterprise Institute though was much less hopeful for what the economically restrained future might bring, saying the new budget “will surely kill what little is left of the U.S.’s modernization agenda.”

Nicholas Clayton is a contributing writer for The Washington Diplomat.

The Washington Diplomat

Your Source for Diplomatic News. www.washdiplomat.com

April 2012


COVER PROFILE

Ambassador François Delattre

As French, U.S. Elections Loom, Envoy Lauds ‘Win-Win’ Relations by Larry Luxner

H

anging on the wall of François Delattre’s office is an enormous aerial color photograph depicting thousands of volunteers standing on Omaha Beach, arranged in a pattern that spells out the words FRANCE WILL NEVER FORGET.

The annual extravaganza is an Independence Day show of gratitude for the sacrifices of American soldiers during World War II — and for Delattre, a highly personal reminder of the warm ties between two countries that haven’t always seen eye to eye, especially when it comes to military intervention in the Middle East. “France and the United States have never been closer than they are today,” says Delattre, who presented his credentials to President Obama as French ambassador just over a year ago. “We are each other’s closest ally in the fight against terrorism — in Afghanistan but also in Yemen and in the Sahel, on every front. We prevailed together against Muammar Qaddafi in Libya, bringing 42 years of bloody dictatorship to an end. “In the same vein, our two countries have taken the lead in the fight against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear weapons state,” he said.“We are in the forefront of international efforts to promote democratic movements in the Arab world, and we’re fighting together in the mountains of Afghanistan not only to track down the remaining al-Qaeda affiliates, but also to ensure a peaceful and democratic transition there.” Yet amid all the turbulence around the world, the French have endured their fair share of tragedy at home. Delattre, 48, spoke to The Washington Diplomat less than two weeks before a gunman on a motorbike opened fire outside of a Jewish school in Toulouse on March 19, killing a rabbi and three children in a cold-blooded crime that stunned the nation. It followed similar shootings that killed three French paratroopers of Arab descent who belonged to a unit that fought in Afghanistan. After a nationwide manhunt, police closed in on the shooter, Mohammed Merah, a 23-year-old French citizen of Algerian origin who readily admitted to negotiators that he had committed the killings to “avenge Palestinian children” and to protest France’s foreign military interventions, as well as a law banning women from wearing a full Islamic veil in public. After a dramatic 30-hour standoff, security forces killed Merah in his apartment. The second-generation radicalized

Frenchman, who described himself as a freedom fighter allied with al-Qaeda, had traveled to Pakistan and Afghanistan and had apparently been under police surveillance for several years. “Words are not enough to describe the horrific and tragic attacks that struck this Jewish school in Toulouse,” said Delattre, whose embassy on Reservoir Road opened a book of condolences in memory of the latest victims, all of whom had dual FrenchIsraeli citizenship. “The French nation is united by this national tragedy. We especially value the international community’s solidarity; I have been very moved by the many messages of sympathy that I’ve received.” But whether the shootings will result in solidarity at home remains to be seen — coming in the midst of a heated presidential contest already filled with anti-immigrant vitriol, mostly emanating from President Nicolas Sarkozy, a skilled crisis manager who has clawed his way back from what looked like certain defeat just a

Photo: Lawrence Ruggeri

France and the United States have never been closer than they are today…. The overall context today is very different compared to the environment my predecessors had to live with. — François Delattre ambassador of France to the United States

few months ago. The killings could mark a decisive turning point in the election. If they had been the work of a far-right neo-Nazi fanatic like Norway’s Anders Behring Breivik, Sarkozy could have faced a backlash for stirring up anti-immigrant sentiment. But with news that it was an unapologetic Muslim alQaeda sympathizer who methodically shot children at point-blank range, the president’s hard line against immigration could very well resonate among voters and propel him to a second term. So far, Sarkozy has appealed for unity and calm — unlike Marine Le Pen, the farright presidential candidate who said France should wage war on Islamic fundamentalism. “I have brought the Jewish and Muslim communities together to show that terror-

ism will not manage to break our nation’s feeling of community,” Sarkozy said after a meeting with religious leaders. “We must stand together. We must not cede to discrimination or vengeance.” “This is a national tragedy,” Delattre told us. “It is a cowardly attack on children, in their school, and the whole nation is behind the families and the community that was struck. But it is also an attack on the French Republic’s values that we will confront and overcome.” Those values will be put to the test in the next few weeks as voters choose their next leader, who will not only have to grapple with the fallout from the Toulouse shootings (Merah led a relatively carefree life in France despite being under surveillance for years after reportedly training with Islamic militants abroad), but also

April 2012

longstanding tensions over immigration, the mission in Afghanistan, homegrown Islamic radicalization and terrorism — not to mention a euro crisis that threatens to further drag down France’s stagnant economy. Delattre, a career diplomat, declined to discuss the particulars of the upcoming election,but as Paris’s envoy in Washington, he spoke at great length about something he’s confident will remain stable for some time to come: France-U.S. ties. Incidentally, Delattre’s interview with us took place just as violence began rocking Afghanistan in the wake of an accidental burning of Korans at a U.S. army base, which was followed by news that a U.S. soldier reportedly went on a nighttime rampage and massacred 16 sleeping civilians — most of them children — at a village just outside his base in Kandahar province. Despite the continuing bloodletting in Afghanistan, Delattre says relations between Paris and Washington are lightyears better than they were 10 years ago, at the height of French opposition to the U.S.-led war in Iraq under then-President George W. Bush.The anti-French sentiment prevalent in Washington back then led to

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Continued from previous page hysterical demands by Republican lawmakers to boycott French wine and to rename french fries “freedom fries” on menus displayed at the House of Representatives cafeteria. “The overall context today is very different compared to the environment my predecessors had to live with. For example, it was much more difficult for Jean-David Levitte, who did an incredible job at the heart of the Iraq crisis,” said Delattre of the former ambassador who is now diplomatic advisor to the president. “Today, the environment is much more favorable, and I don’t have to be on the defensive. It’s a good time to build longer-term partnerships — economic, scientific, university partnerships — between our two countries and to bring the Franco-American relationship to a new level for the years to come. “Just one example:The largest event ever to commemorate 9/11 outside the United States was organized at Place du Trocadéro [in Paris] on the 10th anniversary. It was so moving. They formed two columns in front of the Eiffel Tower: one with the names of all the victims, and the other with hundreds of messages from people simply wanting to say,‘I love America.’” One indication of that closeness, according to the ambassador, is the two countries’ common front against Iran’s reported pursuit of nuclear weapons. Both the United States and France strongly oppose President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s efforts to acquire nuclear technology — though Delattre declined to comment on whether Israel should launch a military strike against Iranian nuclear facilities. “We continue to believe that the sanctions are seriously biting the Iranian regime. We believe the sanctions can have the desired effect and force Iran to change course. We only approved the EU oil embargo a few weeks ago, so we need a bit of time to see how they will work,” he said.“We’re also trying to convince the other main oil importers like

Japan, South Korea, China and India to do their part, along with freezing the assets of Iran’s Central Bank. These two sanctions, which really brought the international regime of sanctions to an unprecedented level, were put in place on France’s initiative.” An even more urgent problem is Syria, where the death toll in President Bashar al-Assad’s yearlong crackdown against rebels opposed to his authoritarian government is approaching the 10,000 mark. “This is totally unacceptable,” Delattre said. “We are on the same page as the Obama administration. We, the Americans and the Arab countries are trying to do three things: first, to support the Arab League proposals to initiate peaceful democratic transition in Syria…. The second front is humanitarian. Here again, we are working with the U.S. and other countries to bring humanitarian aid to the populations in need. “The third front is about supporting the opposition in Syria, in particular recognizing the Syrian National Council as a legitimate body to represent the Syrian opposition, to enhance its credibility and ability to prepare the transition.” France, in fact, has been one of al-Assad’s most

Muslim women enjoy a conversation on the beach in Nice. Right, the vibrant district of Montmartre in Paris is a melting pot of African and Arab immigrants. In the 2012 presidential election, incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy has tapped into anti-immigrant sentiment by railing against foreigners in France.

outspoken critics on the U.N. Security Council, along with the United States and Britain, insisting that any resolution go beyond just calling for a truce, but also put into place a political transition that leads to al-Assad’s departure. The tough stance contrasts with France’s initial, widely panned reaction to the Arab Spring uprisings inTunisia,where then-Foreign Minister Michèle Alliot-Marie offered Tunisian President Zine elAbidine Ben Ali the use of French riot police to help control the protesters, who swiftly toppled the dictator. (Alliot-Marie, who vacationed in Tunisia at the start of the unrest, later resigned.) Libya though marked a turning point for Paris and its support of the Arab Spring, in many ways cementing France’s re-emergence on the world stage as a pivotal regional player. French fighter jets were the first to enter Libyan airspace to implement a no-fly zone, as Paris took a leadership role in the NATO military intervention that helped rebels crush the Qaddafi regime. Last spring, French troops and helicopters also joined a U.N. campaign in Côte d’Ivoire to dislodge Laurent Gbagbo from power, after the strongman refused to recognize his defeat in the presidential elections, sparking a political crisis. France’s newfound military muscle dovetailed the country’s return to NATO’s military command after a four-decade-long absence from the security bloc’s decision-making apparatus. The country’s increased international profile has been championed by President Nicolas Sarkozy, never one to shy away from the limelight. “France has decided to assume its role, its role before history,” he declared at the onset of the Libya mission. Sarkozy, along with his German counterpart,

Photos: Larry Luxner

Angela Merkel, has also assumed an integral role in navigating the euro crisis that’s gripped the European Union for the last year. Today, however, Sarkozy finds himself in the midst of a very different battle as he fights to keep his job in an election that will very much shape France’s national and international trajectory. On April 22, French voters will cast ballots in the first round of presidential elections that pit the conservative Sarkozy against his formidable Socialist rival, François Hollande, who just months ago looked like he would coast to victory against the embattled incumbent, who at one point was down in the polls by more than 15 percentage points. Hollande was nominated as the Socialist candidate after the frontrunner, former International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn, was arrested in New York on suspicion of sexual assault. A relative unknown outside of France who’s never held public office before, Hollande seized on voter anxiety over widening income disparities to propel himself in the polls. He unnerved investors but also struck a chord with middle-class voters by supporting a 75 percent tax on anyone earning more than 1 million euro ($1.3 million). In contrast, Sarkozy had regularly come under fire for pushing to liberalize France’s stale labor market, raising the retirement age and cutting taxes on the wealthy, among other unpopular measures. But Hollande lacks Sarkozy’s forceful bulldog persona, and Sarko steadily came back from behind by unleashing a strident nationalist tone — in

PRIVATE AND GROUP CLASSES FOR BUSINESS, CORPORATE, AND GOVERNMENT AGENCIES

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The Washington Diplomat

See france, page 20 French factory and transport workers demanding higher salaries stage a noisy anti-government demonstration at Place Bellecour in downtown Lyon. Up until the shootings in Toulouse, the economy was the top issue in France’s 2012 presidential election.

April 2012


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France particular targeting France’s immigrant population. Even before he showed his mettle during the Toulouse shootings, the president declared that there were too many foreigners in France and reiterated calls to cut the annual number of legal immigrants by nearly half.A poll conducted March 13 — five days before the Jewish school attack — indicated that the two candidates were running virtually neck and neck. And while Hollande has vowed to withdraw all French troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2012, the economy — not security — had been the centerpiece of his campaign. He also warned against stoking a climate of intolerance following the Toulouse rampage. Sarkozy, on the other hand, has consistently put national security high on his agenda, and he has navigated the most recent crisis with commanding authority — which could put him at a distinct advantage over the next few weeks. But some fear that the Toulouse shootings — and a Sarkozy victory — will only incite more unfounded paranoia about foreigners, even though the tragedy appears to be an isolated incident and, despite frequent rhetoric to the contrary, there’s no evidence linking immigration to crime in France. James Traub, writing in the Foreign Policy article “Pandering in Paris,” denounced “Sarkozy’s utterly shameless courtship of France’s xenophobic voters,” while also criticizing Hollande for “playing to French resentment of capitalism and wealth as cynically as Sarkozy was with the immigrant issue.” The domestic politicking has also forced the president, an ardent supporter of France’s primacy in the European Union, to alienate the bloc. On March 11, for example, he threatened to withdraw from Europe’s open border zone known as the Schengen Agreement, which allows passport-free travel among 23 European nations, unless more is done to stop illegal immigration. “Aside from being near-impossible to do, it sym-

Page 20

Photos: Larry Luxner

With iconic attractions such as the Eiffel Tower and the Basilique du Sacré Coeur in the Montmartre district of Paris, France remains one of the world’s top tourist attractions. But domestically, the country has been wracked by economic crisis and anti-immigrant tensions.

bolizes the extent to which Sarkozy has soured on the European Union, despite defining himself as its savior,” writes Martin Michelot, a Paris-based program assistant with the German Marshall Fund of the United States. “Such a position is unheard of in France, one of the founding states and still today one of the driving forces of European cooperation.” The ambassador, not surprisingly, tried to be more diplomatic in his reflections on the raging immigration debate in France. “It’s very important to put things in perspective,”

Delattre advised, noting that unlike many other European nations where large portions of the population emigrated, France has regularly absorbed waves of foreigners. “Decades before the Second World War, the immigration rate in France was almost the same as it is today. This has to do with the fact that in the 1960s and ’70s, there was an acceleration in immigration, and today we have a large population of immigrants living in the suburbs. One of our challenges is to better integrate them.” Integration has indeed long been a sore spot for France, with Arab and African immigrants often shoved into poorer conclaves on the outskirts of Paris, riots periodically breaking out in recent years, and right-wing anger over the surge in foreigners, especially Muslims, growing ever louder. In mid-February, for example, the country was consumed by an artificially manufactured controversy when far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen falsely claimed that all meat eaten in the Paris region was now halal, meaning it’s slaughtered according to Islamic ritual. She went on to call the ritual “a barbaric practice that spreads bacteria” to nonbelievers. Sarkozy, jumping on the bandwagon, threw his support behind the National Front’s proposal to label all halal meat, telling reporters that the meat scandal was the “number one issue” on the minds of French voters (never mind the country’s moribund economy and recent credit downgrade). The ambassador agreed that immigration is a politically charged issue, especially in France, where Muslims (mainly from Algeria, Morocco,Tunisia and Turkey) make up between 5 and 10 percent of the population. “We have the problem of these impoverished neighborhoods, but I would not say that the French people are upset with immigrants. Many of them are grateful for what immigrants have brought to the country,” he said, adding that despite France’s current unemployment rate of 9.3 percent, “I profoundly believe the French people welcome immigrants. It’s up to us to be able to give them the jobs they need, so they’ll feel properly integrated.This is not a religious problem.” Delattre was born in a small town close to Grenoble and grew up in Paris. He says that “at an early stage, I knew I wanted to become a diplomat, because I used to play with the globe. This globe was a source of dreams, and when I grew up, the globe reminded me what a French diplomat could do.” Delattre’s dream came true 24 years ago, when he won his first posting to the French Embassy in Bonn. There, he headed up an office dealing with the economic impact of Germany’s reunification and the environment. A member of President

Jacques Chirac’s foreign policy team from 1995 to 1998, he was responsible for European and transatlantic defense and security matters, as well as managing the Bosnian crisis. He also spent four years as communications director at the French Embassy in Washington, and another four years as consul-general in New York before being named in 2008 to his first ambassadorial post as French envoy to Canada. During his time in New York, Delattre recalled, he’d often bring visiting ministers to Harlem or the Bronx and show them how municipal authorities were attracting private investment in poor neighborhoods. “This is where we have to draw on lessons from the American experience,” he said. Today, the ambassador regularly travels to states such as Georgia and North Carolina in part to promote business ties. Delattre agreed that joblessness, rising gas prices and economic uncertainty are dominating the upcoming presidential elections in both the United States and France. “The truth is that with the economic crisis, the level of discontent is quite high in every democracy today,” he said. “We are no exceptions to this rule. We have to deal with that.” Even so, he took pains to downplay the eurozone crisis, insisting the euro has been an unparalleled success ever since it replaced the franc in his country 13 years ago. In February, Banque de France declared that some 50 million old franc notes still in circulation are no longer transferable into euro; banknotes already converted will be sent to a cement factory and recycled into material used to construct tennis courts. “Since the establishment of the euro, we’ve created 14 million jobs in Europe; over the same time, 8 million jobs were created in the United States. So the euro has been a great success story for Europe but also for America. Back then, the American press was full of fears about ‘Fortress Europe.’ But exactly the opposite has happened, and the euro helped promote American exports and investments to Europe,” Delattre told us. “People keep saying the euro is a weak currency, but it’s much stronger than when it was founded — 20 or 30 percent higher, in fact, which is a problem for our exports,” he explained. “When we founded the euro, we established a very strong monetary union but a weaker economic union. So our key objective today is to reinforce the economic leg of this union and establish a decisionmaking process for the eurozone and promote a better coordination of economic policies between the eurozone member states.” Delattre said the United States and France are

The Washington Diplomat

See france, page 24 April 2012


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Diplomacy

Environment

Embassies Pledge to Go Green As Part of D.C. Sustainability Push by Martin Austermuhle

T

he Dutch have long been at the mercy of Mother Earth. A country largely at or below sea level, as early as the 12th century the Dutch began constructing dikes, dams and levies to hold the waters of the North Sea at bay. This grudging respect for the power of nature has also helped the Netherlands embrace the value of sustainability and environmental stewardship — anyone would want to slow the melting of global ice caps if it meant the difference between countrywide flooding and not, after all. In early 2010, that spirit of sustainability was brought to a Dutch outpost across the Atlantic, as the country’s ambassador to the United States, Renée Jones-Bos, outlined a plan for the embassy in upper Northwest Washington to become more eco-friendly. (The plan was titled “Orange Goes Green” in honor of the Netherlands’ historic national color.) Two years later, the 50-year-old structure was awarded LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver Certification by the U.S. Green Building Council, making it only the second embassy in Washington to get that recognition for its efforts to make its operation less taxing on the environment. (The Embassy of Finland was the first, having received LEED Gold Certification in 2010.) With that recognition under their belts, the Dutch could be forgiven for having boasted a little during a ceremony in late January, when 47 embassies and three international organizations came together at the Royal Netherlands Embassy to sign the “District of Columbia Diplomatic Missions and International Institutions Environmental Performance, Climate, and Sustainability Pledge,” a list of eight environmental indicators from energy to eco-purchasing that the foreign missions pledged to work on in concert with D.C.’s local government (also see “Embassies Go Green” in the lifestyle column of the February 2012 Diplomatic Pouch online). The pledge-signing ceremony was part of the Greening Embassies Forum, which was established as a central component of the Greening Diplomacy Initiative launched by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Earth Day 2009 to improve the environmental performance and sustainability of the State Department’s facilities and operations abroad. The forum has a more local focus, bringing together the State Department and the 175 foreign missions in Washington to discuss sustainability initiatives and exchange ideas, with the goal of making D.C. the greenest city in the country. Over the last year and a half, the forum has organized a variety of quarterly workshops and discussions on everything from water use to retrofitting embassies to be more energy efficient. “We wanted to see if [embassies] were interested in cooperating on any sort of environmental projects that had to do not just with the city, but with greening their own operations, greening their buildings. It was supposed to be a place where we can come together and share best practices,” explained Katie G. Kirkpatrick, a program analyst in the office of the State Department’s Special Advisor for Environmental Performance.

Page 22

Photo: Royal Netherlands Embassy

Dozens of ambassadors, diplomats and D.C. and U.S. government officials came out to sign a “Neighbors in Sustainability” pledge — coordinated by the State Department’s DC Greening Embassies Forum — the first collaborative initiative of its kind to help make D.C. the greenest city in the country.

You’re not an island. You’re part of a community, you’re part of a neighborhood.... It’s also, of course, practice what you preach. We talk on sustainability in all kinds of international conferences … but in the end it’s also the question to what extent can you make a difference yourself? — Stephan Raes minister for economics at the Royal Netherlands Embassy

But in a step forward for the forum, January’s pledgesigning included the participation of D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray, who has made sustainability one of his administration’s key priorities. More than ever before, the forum would serve as a means to better connect embassies and the city they occupy on sustainability projects that could benefit both. “This pledge is extremely special because it wraps the aspirations of our institutions with that of the local community,” noted Undersecretary of State for Management Patrick Kennedy at the signing.“Recognizing that we not only work in the District but leave an impact and foot-

print means we must work in parallel with the city and join forces to a common goal. By doing so, we are not only international organizations but local contributors and sponsors to the community from whom we gain so much.” According to Stephan Raes, the Dutch Embassy’s minister for economics and point person on the sustainability initiatives, this spirit of local engagement helped to motivate the mission’s own efforts to green its operations. “You’re not an island. You’re part of a community, you’re part of a neighborhood,” he said. “It’s also, of course, practice what you preach.We talk on sustainability in all kinds of international conferences … but in the end it’s also the question to what extent can you make a difference yourself?” The forum is doing more than just talking. The State Department is helping to coordinate various projects that will make an impact locally, said Kirkpatrick. One of the most important tackles storm water runoff, which has long been a vexing problem for Washington. During heavy storms, the city’s aging sewers overflow, dumping sewage into both the Potomac and Anacostia rivers. While city officials recently broke ground on a massive infrastructure project below the Anacostia that will keep runoff out of the rivers, they are also providing incentives to institutions that turn impervious surfaces like roofs and parking lots into gardens that can absorb excess water. In come the embassies. According to Kirkpatrick, the Diplomatic Gardens project that her office is helping to coordinate is identifying plots of land around the city that embassies can help turn into rain-absorbing gardens.

The Washington Diplomat

See Green, page 24 April 2012


MEDICAL

Osteoporosis

Researchers Say Some Women Overdoing Osteoporosis Screening by Gina Shaw

H

ow often should women be screened for osteoporosis? Most women assume that they need a bone density scan every year, or at least every other year, once they reach menopause. After all, that’s the magical life stage at which our hormone levels start tanking and all kinds of health risks start skyrocketing, right? Actually, for women in otherwise normal health — meaning you don’t have significant risk factors (such as a family history of osteoporosis, personal history of unexplained fractures, premature menopause, regular use of corticosteroids, and the like) — the usual recommendation is that you don’t need to start getting BMD (bone mineral density) testing, which measures the strength of your bones, until age 65. At that point, though, many doctors have recommended that women get BMD testing on a regular basis, every year or every other year. These recommendations have been based as much on clinical guesswork and advocacy as they have on solid, research-based evidence. But now, a new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine shows that if you test normal on a BMD scan, you can probably wait as long as 15 years before getting your next one. The researchers followed a group of nearly 5,000 women ages 67 or older who did not have osteoporosis at the beginning of the study. Some had totally normal bone density; others had mild, moderate or advanced osteopenia, a condition involving lowerthan-normal bone mineral density that isn’t yet low enough to be called osteoporosis, but is considered by many doctors to be a precursor to the disease. Bone mineral density levels are classified using something called a T-score — the lower your T-score, the less dense your bone is and the closer you are to osteoporosis.A T-score of -1.00 or above is considered normal BMD; mild osteopenia is -1.01 to -1.49; moderate osteopenia is -1.50 to -1.99; and severe osteopenia is -2.00 and lower.A score below -2.5 is considered to point to actual osteoporosis. Over the course of the 15-year study, less than 1 percent of the women who started out with normal BMD developed osteoporosis. Even among those with mild osteopenia, only 4.6 percent developed the disease during that time frame. (Remember, by the end of the study, all women participating were at least 82 years old.) Moderate and advanced osteopenia at the outset were the big predictors of osteoporosis: 20.9 percent of the moderate group and 62.3 percent of the advanced group went on to full-blown osteoporosis. Based on these findings, the investigators — a team led by Dr. Margaret Gourlay of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill — say that women with normal BMD or mild osteopenia at their first scan can wait at least 15 years for the next one, without risk of developing osteoporosis so significant that they will

Photo: Costas Gerakis / iStock

Many doctors have recommended that women get bone mineral density (BMD) testing on a regular basis, every year or every other year. But now, a new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine shows that if you test normal on a BMD scan, you can probably wait as long as 15 years before getting your next one. break a bone. (The same researchers published a study in 2010 indicating that a 10-year interval between scans was fine for women with normal bone density to mild osteopenia; their more recent findings appear to open that window even further.) Even women with moderate cases of osteopenia probably don’t need the every-other-year screening that some doctors have been recommending for women over 65, according to the study. Gourlay and

her team recommend BMD tests about every four years for this group, and annual testing only for those with the most severe cases of osteopenia. There are limitations here, of course.The researchers didn’t look at premenopausal women or those in the early stages of menopause (usually by the time you’re 67 or above, menopause is well in the rearview mirror). It’s quite possible that osteoporosis behaves differently in younger women. For example, if even mild osteopenia is already present in a woman who’s just turned 50 and has only recently gone through menopause, might it progress more quickly to osteoporosis (and the risk of breaking a bone) than in a woman who only has mild osteopenia in her late 60s? The study doesn’t consider that question. And the researchers do point out that BMD scores aren’t the only predictor of how long it will take a woman to develop real osteoporosis (and a heightened risk of fracture).The older women in the study took less time to progress from osteopenia to full osteoporosis than did the younger women. So, for example, if you’re 85 with moderate osteopenia, you might want to get scanned again in three years, rather than the five years they say is OK for a woman in her 60s or 70s.

Gina Shaw is the medical writer for The Washington Diplomat.

April 2012

The Washington Diplomat Page 23


from page 22

Green Three locations have been found, including a median in an embassy campus on Van Ness Street, NW. Different embassies will be invited to plant native, non-invasive species on the median, turning it from a concrete eyesore to a natural rainwater sponge. “The focus [of the project] is to reduce runoff and beautify the city,” she said. Another project is geared toward getting diplomats out of their cars. Kirkpatrick said that her office is working with Capital Bikeshare, the city’s increasingly popular bike-sharing system, to offer a class on defensive cycling and maps of local cycling trails and routes for embassies and their workers.The hope is that the classes will coincide with National Bike to Work Day, which takes place on May 18. Raes said the Dutch Embassy has transported the country’s notorious love of cycling stateside, and offers its employees a number of shared bikes to get to and from the Van Ness Red Line Metro Photos: Royal Netherlands Embassy station.“We’re not too far from the Metro, and these bicycles just make a difference between people Chargé d’Affaires of the Croatian Embassy Vice Skraĉiĉ, left, and Ambassador of Bulgaria Elena Poptodorova getting in their car andeffort gettingisonmade the bike and —your NOTE: Although every to assure free of40mistakes andorganizations — sign a pledge to make their buildings joinedad by is more than embassies in andspelling international using the content Metro to go to ultimately appointmentsup and and operations more sustainable. it is tomeetthe customer to make the final proof. ings in the city,” he said. The sustainability drive can also involve actions States, with close to 19 million square feet — their home countries and serve as pilots for us.” The first two faxed changes will be madedown at no roughly cost to31 the advertiser, subsequent changes Of course, sustainability for the sake of sustainsquare feet per resident. The city also as simple as dimming the lights, shutting willcomputers be billedatat a rate of $75 Signed ads are considered of the world’s highest densities approved. of foreign ability might not go very far on its own — espenight, or printing onper bothfaxed sides ofalteration. the has one missions within its jurisdiction, so the fact that cially in an era of budget cutbacks across the world. paper. embassies are slowly curtailing ForPlease Christophe Tulou,this director the city’s Mark check ad of carefully. any changes toenergy yourusage ad.boosts But Raes plays the fiscal conservative when he notes that the Dutch embassy looks to save Department of the Environment and a native of the city’s efforts to cut down on waste. Additionally, the exchange of information and $50,000 a year on energy expenses; other embasSwitzerland, the various programs and initiatives If the ad is correct sign and fax to: (301) 949-0065 needs changes undertaken by the forum’s members both help and best practices between embassies and the city that sies have seen similar budgetary benefits to going complement work that he’s already doing. Beyond hosts them goes both ways, said Tulou. “To the green. The Washington Diplomat 933-3552 “By simply looking at your own energy conthe storm water runoff,Tulou notes(301) that energy use extent that we’re able to engage them in an effort is a big priority for him. More than 75 percent of to make their facilities more energy efficient and sumption, you can look for opportunities to save the city’s energy use comes from office buildings, deploy renewable energy, it creates an opportunity money,” Raes said, adding that the Dutch didn’t do Approved __________________________________________________________ to advertise their good performance with folks anything that any other foreign mission couldn’t including embassies. Changes In ___________________________________________________________ January, the U.S. Green Building Council rec- who would naturally be coming to visit, and in replicate. Tulou agrees, and thinks that talking in terms of ___________________________________________________________________ ognized the District as having the most LEED- some cases for them to deploy technologies and certified office space per capita in the United practices that are new to us that they import from cost savings could be appealing to a wider range of

from page 20

RichaRd G. LuGaR,

France

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working within the G8 and the G20 “to tackle the roots of the crisis, and to restore confidence through the Deauville Partnership” established in May 2011. “Within the G20, we’ve seen some real results in terms of fighting against tax havens. We are working hard to get the emerging powers on board and be aware of their global responsibilities on every front.” Delattre adds that Standard & Poor’s Jan. 12 downgrade of France and eight other eurozone countries (in France’s case, from AAA+ to AA+) has had “zero impact” on his country’s economy.“The only impact it could have would have been on interest rates, and it had none,” he said.“There was no impact at all, for one simple reason: The markets had already anticipated it.” Many eurozone countries are, of course, in far worse shape than France. On March 14, EU finance ministers gave the green light to the €130 billion ($170 billion) second rescue package for Greece. Commentators said this was a pure formality after a satisfyingly large proportion of creditors agreed to a debt cut for Greece, though Delattre insists that “we cannot accept a default, because that would likely spin out of control.” On a much brighter note, Delattre says France and Ireland are the only two countries in the 27-member European Union whose populations are growing thanks to natural increases rather than immigration. More important, he said, France is in the midst of a “booming entrepreneurship” with more than 600,000 new businesses having been started in the past year alone. “This is a spectacular increase compared to previous years, and a record high for

D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray, left, and Ambassador of the Netherlands Renée Jones-Bos host a pledgesigning ceremony at the Dutch Embassy.

embassies and institutions. “If you think about countries and their foreign embassies, some countries are present in a lot of different countries, and if you take that cost savings and multiply that over a multiplicity of facilities around the world, you really are talking about something quite significant,” he said. And though he fully celebrates the notion of cooperation, Tulou brings a typically American perspective to the sustainability initiatives: competition. “This also creates, within that community, this sense of competition. And it came out during the course of the pledge-signing ceremony. Embassies and their ambassadors sort of said, ‘Hahaha, we’re doing this in our facility,’ and others made note of that and are trying to emulate and, perhaps, sort of surpass the environmental or sustainability performance of that facility.” That competitive streak could also propel Washington as it moves toward a greener future. “We’re not beyond stealing great ideas, that’s for sure,” he said with a laugh.

Martin Austermuhle is a contributing writer for The Washington Diplomat and editor in chief of DCist.com.

Europe,” Delattre told The Diplomat.“It says a lot about the vitality of the French economy, and the fact that the younger generation in my country — instead of knocking on the government’s door like they used to — now roll up their sleeves, start a business, fail, start again, and at the end of the day, they succeed. The French government has been able to seriously cut red tape. One example of that is today, you can start a businwess online in 15 minutes. “Innovation is our number one, number two and number three priorities without any hesitation,” he continued.“We are investing in France in an unprecedented way in higher education and research. A few years ago, we established 71 innovative clusters all over the country, bringing together the private sector, the universities, research centers — and it works. We draw lessons from the American experience.” To that end, the ambassador says the two countries are cooperating across the Atlantic like never before. “The backbone of the French-American partnership is cross-investment. We are among the top five foreign investors in the United States; 4,000 French companies support more than 650,000 American jobs. Conversely, the U.S. is the top foreign investor in France, and U.S. investment in my country increased by more than 30 percent last year, so the dynamics are huge.” Delattre added: “The fundamentals of the Franco-American friendship are stronger than ever. I’m very confident for the coming years and decades. What we must try to do now is build on this favorable context to bring the Franco-American partnership to a new level.”

Larry Luxner is news editor of The Washington Diplomat.

The Washington Diplomat

April 2012


HOTELS T R A V E L &

■ A Special Section of The Washington Diplomat

■ April 2012

Loggia overlooking the garden at the Fairmont

Matching Tastes PhoTo: The FaIrMonT WashIngTon, D.C.

Individually Tailored Hotels Suit Range of Traveler Types

April 2012

by Stephanie Kanowitz Tourism in D.C. has been growing at a steady clip in the past five years. In 2010, about 17 million visitors spent $5.68 billion in the nation’s capital, according to Destination DC, the city’s tourism marketing arm. More than half of that money came from business travelers, and the rest from leisure. The bottom line: Tourism is crucial to this region’s bottom line. But with 122 hotels and 29,256 guestrooms to choose from, according to Destination DC, it can be tough for those all-important visitors to decide where to stay. To help them, we put together this guide of properties that excel at catering to certain personality types, so that Washington — an eclectic hub of politics, business, history and entertainment — provides each visitor with an individually tailored experience in the nation’s capital.

TRAVEL & HOTELS

Continued on next page

The Washington Diplomat

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The St. Gregory Luxury Hotel & Suites offers affordable luxury in a central location.

sometimes even the most media-friendly folks need a break from the public eye. For that, they turn to the Four Seasons in Georgetown. To find out who exactly graces the hotel with their presence, you’ll have to check the news. Mum’s the word when it comes to talking about the hotel’s guest list, said Liliana Baldassari, director of public relations for the Four Seasons. “Every time you see the black cars, you know that there’s somebody,” she said. “Sometimes the flag is hanging if they specifically request it. Sometimes they’re very discreet and nothing is hung.” Political delegations in town to see the president stay a maximum of three days and Photo: Capital Hotels & Suites said. “I don’t have to check with anyone. I’m usually take 25 to 50 rooms and five suites. Continued from previous page the president of the company and if one day Royal families often stay as long as 10 days I get a group that has been using me for years, and take 10 to 15 rooms and two to four Best for Value-Minded and one year pays me X amount of money suites. The crème de la crème of suites is the Royal, a 4,000-square-foot space encased in and the nextadyear has a of budget, I will never Travelers: NOTE: Although every effort is made to assure your is free mistakes in spelling and bullet-resistant glass. It’s in a wing added in say no to them.” it is &ultimately up to the customer to make the final proof. St. Gregorycontent Luxury Hotel Suites 2009 as part of a $40 million renovation, and Amenities such as a business center, build2033 M St., NW ing-wide Wi-Fi and use of a nearby gym have it has its own entrance for people wanting to The www.stgregoryhotelwdc.com first two faxed changes will be made atkept no cost the returning advertiser, subsequent someto guests as often as every changes will be billed a rate of$199 $75 toper faxed ads are considered approved. week sinceSigned the hotel opened, Haddock said. Rates mayatrange from $249 per alteration. Besides attracting budget-minded travelers night at this 12-year-old, locally owned and tight any economic times, thetoconvenientPlease thisand adamenities carefully.during Mark changes your ad. managed hotel,check but the staff will have you double-checking your receipt ly located St. Gregory also plays host to delegations from Mexico, El Salvador, Peru, Chile, (diplomatic available). If the ad is correctdiscounts sign andarefaxalso to: (301) 949-0065 needs changes With 154 rooms, 100 of which are suites, Costa Rica, Chad, and Trinidad and Tobago. spread acrossDiplomat nine floors, the hotel is smaller The Washington (301) 933-3552 than some of its big-name competitors. But Best for Discreet Travelers: that’s part of the appeal — and a way to man- Four Seasons Hotel Approved __________________________________________________________ age costs, said Jay Haddock, president of 2800 Pennsylvania Ave., NW Photo: Michael Kleinberg / Four Seasons Capital Hotels & Suites, which also owns the Changes ___________________________________________________________ www.fourseasons.com/washington/ The Four Seasons Royal Suite boasts 4,000 Beacon Hotel & Corporate Headquarters. ___________________________________________________________________ D.C. is no stranger to the spotlight, but square feet of space and top-notch security. “We can make quick changes,” Haddock

avoid the glare of passersby in the downstairs lobby. Just as important as privacy is security at D.C.’s only five-star, five-diamond hotel, Baldassari said. “Secret Service knows the hotel very well,” she said. “It’s very easy for them when a delegation chooses this hotel because of the relationships we already have.They know the hotel very well; they can maneuver throughout.”

Best for History Buffs: The Hay-Adams 800 16th St., NW www.hayadams.com Channel the ghosts of politicians past by sleeping at the former site of the home of John Hay, private assistant to President Abraham Lincoln and later secretary of state, as well as Henry Adams, a descendant of Presidents John Adams and John Quincy Adams. The Romanesque homes that once stood at 16th and H Streets were frequented by many famous names of the time, including sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens, authors Henry James and Mark Twain, and President Theodore Roosevelt. “The hotel hosted many prominent guests back in the day that included Charles Lindbergh, Amelia Earhart, Sinclair Lewis and Ethel Barrymore,” said Colette Marquez, director of operations at the 145-room uber-elegant hotel. Presidents such as Jimmy Carter, the Bushes (father and son) and Bill Clinton all visited the hotel, as did foreign heads of state such as Britain’s Tony Blair and Israel’s Shimon Peres. It makes perfect sense — the Hay-Adams is located directly across from the White House overlooking Lafayette Square.

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TRAVEL & HOTELS

The Washington Diplomat

April 2012


The HayAdams hotel has retained many of the building’s original design elements, such as walnut wainscoting.

“Most recently, we were the residence for the Obama family when they moved toWashington, D.C., before the inauguration,” Marquez said. The homes at the site were razed in 1927 and a luxury hotel was born. Many of the original building’s design elements are still intact, including walnut wainscoting and ceiling treatments with Tudor, Elizabethan and Italian motifs. The John Hay Room is accented with wood paneling from the Hay residence. “The hotel is always very concerned with the preservation of its historical significance,” Marquez said. “The room that of course is most requested and attractive if you are a history buff is our Photo: Hay-Adams Presidential Suite. That is where most of the notable guests have stayed.… There is just something very remarkable and special about staying in a room where a president has stayed, and overlooking the sitting president’s home at the same time.”

Best for Young Urbanites: Kimpton Hotels Seven locations in the District www.kimptonhotels.com/hotels/ hotels-washingtondc.aspx Aside from the “Kimpton Hotels” sign outside, you’d be hard pressed to link the chain’s seven boutique properties in D.C. Each is intended to be unique, said Barry Pollard, regional vice president of operations for Mid-Atlantic Kimpton Hotels. “We don’t have the cookie-cutter approach that

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“The Willard is a destination unto itself…. It’s really in a way like a small country. There’s so much going on here.” — Barbara Bahny director of public relations at the Willard InterContinental Washington

some of the larger hotel brands do where everything is the same,” Pollard said. “Our hotels are highly designed and they’re whimsical and fun but at the same time they’re comfortable.” When the first Kimpton — Hotel Topaz — opened in 2001, the concept was new in D.C. “We were worried whether they would be successful, but they were pretty much right from the get-go,” Pollard said.The city’s evolution toward a more cultural and less buttoned-up persona may be to thank for that. The hotels dot the Northwest quadrant, with locations in hotspots such as Dupont Circle, Capitol Hill and Penn Quarter. Noticeably missing is the traditional, European style and opulence of many of D.C.’s lodgings. For instance, the 183-room Hotel Monaco in Penn Quarter sits in the original General Post Office Building, a National Historic Landmark, and is within a block of the Verizon Center and International Spy Museum. Its design draws on its history by preserving the original Roman Photo: Ron Blunt / Kimpton Corinthian white marble The Mills Suite at the Hotel Monaco columns outside, while playfeatures the whimsical décor for which ing up its location inside with the Kimpton brand is known. busts of Thomas Jefferson

TRAVEL & HOTELS

overlooking each guestroom. Crimson and periwinkle make up the modern color palette in the rooms, which start at $299 a night. By contrast, the 335-room Hotel Palomar blends 1930s French Moderne style and bold European flair. Here, rooms start at $350 a night.“The theme for the D.C. Palomar is ‘art in motion’ and features a lot of original artwork in the hotel,” Pollard noted. Another draw: Kimpton properties are paired with chefdriven restaurants such as Poste Moderne Brasserie, which are popular with locals as well as out-of-towners. “That makes it attractive to hotel guests whenever they can go into a restaurant and bar frequented by local people,” Pollard said. Even the original Kimpton in the area, the Topaz, hasn’t lost its flair for fun — something the city desperately needs in this heated election year. So local Kimpton mixologist Rico Wisner has concocted a new 2012 Campaign Cocktail Menu for the Topaz Bar with drinks inspired by each of the four Republican candidates, such as the non-alcoholic Romney Float made with Old Dominion Root Beer, with President Obama represented by Home Sweet Home, a play on D.C.’s signature cocktail, the Rickey.

Best for Staycationers: The Willard InterContinental Washington 1401 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W. www.washington.intercontinental.com If you live in the D.C. metro area, it’s easy to take for granted all that the region offers. Soaring gas prices and a

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3/16/12 6:01 PM

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Know Concierge” program can help. The service has developed relationships with cultural and historic organizations throughout the city to provide even longtime Washingtonians with insider knowledge and new experiences.

Best for Foodies:

nesses, trade groups and all kinds of companies under the sun. Indeed, more than 50 percent of visitors to Washington come here on business, according to Destination DC.To make their stays more comfortable, the St. Regis, located in the business-heavy K Street corridor, turns to its hallmark round-theclock butler service.

The Mandarin Oriental 1330 Maryland Ave., SW www.mandarinoriental.com/washington

Photo: Willard InterContinental Washington

Continued from previous page still-iffy economy are reinforcing the appeal of the staycation.TheWillard InterContinental Washington could certainly have fit in the history buff category (Ulysses S. Grant is famously said to have coined the term lobbyist in the hotel’s ornate lobby), but the Beaux-Arts property’s reputation for luxury and pampering all in one place situated between the White House and Capitol also make it an ideal place to become reacquainted with D.C.’s greatness. “The Willard is a destination unto itself,” said Barbara Bahny, director of public relations at the Willard, which has 335 rooms, 41

The Jefferson Parlor at the Willard InterContinental Washington reflects the hotel’s opulent style and historic roots.

Thanks to the growing nationwide popularity of local chefs, attention in D.C. is turning to what’s cooking beyond Congress and the Oval Office. The array of internationally driven restaurants is fast replacing the traditional D.C. powerbroker steakhouses (although plenty of those still thrive), and nowhere is this culinary evolution more evident than at CityZen in the Mandarin Oriental. It is the only restaurant here to have both a AAA Five-Diamond and FourStar rating — and an executive chef, Eric Ziebold, with a James Beard Award. Sou’Wester, the hotel’s other restaurant, has a 2.5 star rating. Photo: St. Regis

suites and 12 floors.“It’s really in a way like a small country. There’s so much going on here.” The hotel’s history gallery offers more than a glimpse into the building’s storied past. It’s a time capsule for D.C., too. The display dates to 1818, when the building was erected, and includes photographs of the area from 1850, when the Willard brothers bought the property. If some of the area’s lesser-known treasures are more interesting to you, the “In the

The St. Regis offers butler service for frazzled business travelers. Another wind-down option: the sleek bar, above.

Photo: Mandarin Oriental

In addition to the renowned AAA Five-Diamond restaurant CityZen, the Mandarin Oriental also has Sou’Wester, above, specializing in upscale comfort food.

“Many D.C. hotels may have a ‘celebrity chef’ and/or a notable chef affiliation, but executive chef Eric Ziebold not only calls the D.C. area his home, he is also working ‘on the line’ every evening,” said Mandarin general manager Amanda Hyndman. Not-to-miss dishes at CityZen include the Parker House Rolls, although you can’t go wrong with the chef’s tasting menu — also available in a vegetarian version — or a fourcourse meal for $90 that offers puree of savoy cabbage soup made with Maine lobster, black trumpet mushroom and pickled mustard seeds; lamb shortrib pot au feu; and Valrhona chocolate and coffee brioche. At the more casual Sou’Wester, the hush puppies are a must. It’s “American comfort food at its best,” Hyndman said. Salads range from $9 to $14, while entrées such as blackened bluefish go for $22 to $35. Once sufficiently satiated (or stuffed, whichever the case may be), head up to one of the hotel’s 347 rooms, which go for $595 on weekdays and $295 on weekends.

Best for Business Travelers: St. Regis 923 16th and K Streets, NW www.starwoodhotels.com/stregis/ Aside from being the seat of American politics, D.C. is home to thousands of busi-

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TRAVEL & HOTELS

“We feel that the butler gives the luxury to the business traveler and that’s the luxury of time,” general manager Laura Schofield said. “We really look at the butler as the guest’s assistant while they’re here in Washington. Our butlers can do anything from packing and unpacking to bringing your coffee in the morning to making reservations for you.” The butlers each have their own e-mail addresses for easy remote access, too. “The idea is you can be at your meeting on Capitol Hill or anywhere in Washington and something can come to mind. You might want to suddenly arrange a meeting back in your suite, and you can just e-mail the butler and everything will be taken care of for you, really saving you a lot of phone calls, a lot of extra work,” Schofield said. Because the hotel receives many guests from China, it has room service menus and brochures in Chinese and an associate who speaks Mandarin. The 182-room hotel with 25 suites also offers a business center, secretarial and translation services, and wireless Internet in all guestrooms. Rates go from $350 for a standard room to $10,000 a night for the Presidential Suite.

Best for Movie Fans: The Fairmont 2401 M St., NW www.fairmont.com/washington Washington can be a veritable Hollywood on the East Coast, and when it comes to welcoming film crews and actors, the Fairmont has done its fair share. Parts of the hotel such as the lobby meeting spaces and the courtyard have all made cameos in movies such as “Enemy of the State.” Film crews from “The Pelican Brief,” “Hollow Man,” “Contact,” “Broadcast News” and “Nixon” stayed at the hotel. Famous faces such as boxer Muhammad Ali, violinist Itzhak Perlman, actor-former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, and actress Lauren Bacall have all laid their heads to rest in one of the hotel’s 415 guestrooms and 38 suites. “When a movie company is filming in Washington, D.C., or any location, they really want the stars or the actors to have a place that they can really call home and that cre-

The Washington Diplomat

April 2012


When Welcoming the Diplomatic Community The Choices Are Clear

Photo: The Fairmont Washington, D.C.

Film crews from “The Pelican Brief,” “Hollow Man,” “Contact,” “Broadcast News” and “Nixon” have all stayed at the Fairmont.

ates a comfort zone because so much of acting is getting into character and perhaps being somebody they normally aren’t,” said Mark Andrew, Fairmont regional vice president and general manager. “They want a place they can get away to and be themselves.” Catering to actors can bring some pretty specific requests, Andrew said. He’s been asked to provide only red M&M’s or certain types of water, plants or laundry detergent. Some high-end musical groups have rented out the health club to work out at 2 a.m. after a show. All of it means that the odds of rubbing elbows with a star are pretty high, Andrew said. “The chance of people coming into the hotels in the Northwest corner of Washington, D.C., and finding somebody [famous] are pretty good.”

Best for Jet-Setters with a Fear of Flying: The Fairfax at Embassy Row 2100 Massachusetts Ave., NW www.fairfaxhoteldc.com D.C. is home to more embassies than any other city in the world, making it easy to become a world traveler without setting foot inside an airliner. Guests at the four-star, four-diamond Fairfax can literally walk out the door and onto the soil of another country within moments. “Within a 15-minute walk, there are probably 40 to 50 of them,” said general manager Stephen Johnston, who sees four embassies when he looks out his office window.“We are probably the hotel that is in the densest part of the embassy district.” Because of its location on Embassy Row, the hotel attracts many foreigners looking to do business with the city’s 175 foreign missions. But it also gets Photo: The Fairfax at Embassy Row plenty of leisure travelers lookThe Fairfax at Embassy Row is located in the midst ing for the atypical D.C. experiof dozens of embassies along Massachusetts Avenue. ence slightly away from the monuments and Mall madness (a visit to the Phillips Collection, for example, is just a block away). “I’m absolutely amazed at the amount of business that comes to us year-round simply because of the embassies,” Johnston observed.“The embassy market is an important one for us.” For example, to accommodate Chinese guests, the 259-room hotel, which charges anywhere from $189 to $449 per night depending on the season, is working to translate in-room menus and information into Mandarin.

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Best for Families: The Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner 1700 Tysons Blvd., McLean, Va. www.ritzcarlton.com/tysons Traveling in high style isn’t just for the 18 and up crowd. Little ones know opulence when they see it, and there’s plenty to keep them busy at the 398-

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April 2012

TRAVEL & HOTELS

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The Washington Diplomat

29


Continued from previous page room Ritz in Tysons Corner,Va. For instance, through Dec. 31, the American Girl Store Package, starting at $259 per night, includes an overnight stay, American breakfast for two, valet parking, entrance to win an American Girl doll,American Girl doll-size travel bed to take home, and a special sweet turndown in the evening. The hotel is attached to the Tysons Galleria shopping mall, which has anchor stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus. Tysons Corner Center just across the way has children’s concerts and a play area. Easter celebrants can enjoy an Easter Sunday brunch in the Old Dominion restaurant from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. for $120 per adult and $40 per child ages 4 to 12. The feast includes breakfast staples like eggs benedict, custom-made omelets, and waffles, plus more exotic fare such as caviar, a carving station and seafood bar. On April 7, kids can decorate their own chocolate Easter eggs with executive pastry chef Frederic Barasse for $65.

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With Easter egg decorating classes and special children’s packages, the ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner has plenty to keep kids occupied.

Washington Hilton 1919 Connecticut ave., nW www.thewashingtonhilton.com

The Washington Hilton hosts almost 80 large conferences and social events each year in its 110,000 square feet of function space, including big affairs such as the First Lady’s Luncheon. The White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner has been held in the International Ballroom — D.C.’s largest hotel ballroom — annually since the mid-1970s and the National Prayer Breakfast has taken place here every winter since 1966. “Since Washington Hilton opened in 1965, our legendary hotel has been linked to nota-

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With 110,000 square feet of function space, the Washington hilton regularly hosts some 80 large-scale conferences and social events a year.

ble moments in American history, hosting countless noteworthy guests, from U.S. presidents and foreign dignitaries to business leaders and celebrities from around the world,” general manager Steve Cowan said. “Hosting these notable meetings and events gives Washington Hilton a special distinction among leisure guests that Washington Hilton is a place to see and be seen in Washington.” Indeed, the hotel hosts nearly half a million people in its 1,070 rooms each year who typically pay between $179 and $299 per night. Highlights of the hotel include the Heights Executive Meeting Center with nine rooms of meeting space at the lobby level; the 30,000-square-foot Columbia Hall multipurpose room with movable walls; the Presidents Walk that heads of state use to get to the ballroom; and a presidential holding area where leaders can relax before making their appearance. Stephanie Kanowitz is a contributing writer for The Washington Diplomat.

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LIVING Designwith Heart L U X U R Y

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■ April 2012

by Stephanie Kanowitz

Redecorating for a Good Cause In DC Design House Challenge redesigning a house in six weeks is a challenge. add to it that the house is more than 10,000 square feet and 23 of its rooms and spaces will each be remodeled by a different designer, and it sounds like pure chaos. But it’s more like controlled madness, if you ask the decorators involved in the fifth annual DC Design house, which benefits Children’s national Medical Center. “It’s a significant challenge, but it will be fun,” Lorna gross, owner of savant Interior Design in Bethesda, Md., said of the annual design showcase and fundraiser. This year’s house is a seven-bedroom, seven-bathroom estate in spring Valley that was built in 1956 for media magnates Francisco and gladys aguirre. Continued on next page Allie Mann of Case Design/Remodeling Inc. is creating a nursery bathroom for the fifth annual DC Design House.

LUXURY LIVING April 2012

The Washington Diplomat Page 31


Ballroom Photo: Robert Radifera Photography

Kelley Proxmire of Kelley Interior Design in Bethesda stands by her design board, which details her plans to transform a ballroom, above, into a l’orangerie, or a French-inspired space infused with orange and palm trees.

Continued from previous page Francisco Aguirre, a native of Nicaragua, was an international consultant and a cofounder of the Diario Las Americas newspaper, still run by the family in Miami. Well connected through their business to Latin American movers and shakers, the Aguirres entertained prominent political and business figures at their home, including heads of state from Argentina, Bolivia, Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Panama. Situated on a one-halfacre site, the home is still owned by the family through three trusts, and Gladys Aguirre, 90, lives in the District. Dubbed the Blue House for the family’s 40-year tradition of covering the exterior in blue lights during the winter holidays, the estate will go on the market for sale after the Design House event ends May 13. Although mostly well maintained, the appointments that worked 56 years ago don’t translate so well today. Only the master bathroom and one other bathroom will go

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untouched, and some rooms will completely change in function. For example, Shazalynn Cavin-Winfrey of SCW Interiors in Alexandria, Va., is turning the living room, a few steps from the grand winding staircase at the entrance, into the formal dining room. Currently adorned with rose-pink shimmery patterned wallpaper and three painted portraits of Gladys and her parents on Photos: DC Design House one wall, the only things Cavin-Winfrey will leave intact are four Roman columns and the ornate crown molding. “This is actually a much better utilization because this is a much grander room and has access to the patio for entertaining, and it’s a little bit more removed from the kitchen noise,” said Cavin-Winfrey, who is participating in Design House for the second time. “If you are entertaining dignitaries, you want to have a space that is private and quiet.” She plans to cover the ceiling with marbleized wallpaper and the walls with a coraldominated wallpaper.Those changes will be permanent; the $60,000 dining room table, however, will be on loan from Jessup, Md.-based Spectrum Limited. Veteran designer Kelley Proxmire of Kelley Interior Design in Bethesda is tackling the ballroom, which she is transforming into a l’orangerie, or French-inspired space infused with orange and palm trees. Her muses were a book on French country homes and pictures from Versailles. “This space is awkward. When I walked into this space, I thought it needs help,” Proxmire said of the rectangular room that culminates in a curved alcove. With large windows and lots of natural light, her goal is to brighten it even further. “It will be colorful.” She chose a new orange chinoiserie toile pattern by French fabric designer Manuel Canovas to serve as the table skirt and pillows on a white sofa. The walls are going to be white, and orange drapes will run the lengths of the high walls. A large rug will cover the honey-colored hardwood found throughout the home. Two staircases on the main level lead to the second-floor bedrooms and a study, which Gross is taking on. A veritable log cabin inside the house, Gross says the study is the ultimate man cave. Covered in knotty pine paneling from ceiling to floor, including built-in bookcases and a desk, the room screams monochromatic.“This room would work if it were in the mountains of Colorado,” Gross said.“In D.C., it just doesn’t work. It’s very dated now.” She’s taking out the bookcases and desk, painting the walls an off-white color and adding drapery. She’ll also put a new desk on the back wall of the room.

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The Aguirre residence, 4951 Rockwood Parkway, NW.

LUXURY LIVING The Washington Diplomat

April 2012


Sharon Kleinman, owner of Transitions in Potomac, Md., is drawing inspiration from the great outdoors to redesign a master bedroom.

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“I think in taking all of these bulky things out, the room will actually open up, but we still get the advantage of it being cozy because it’s one of the few small rooms in the house,” she said. “You kind of want to get away and have an intimate space, and this is one of the few spaces that you can do that.” The main attraction on the second floor is the master suite, comprised of a sitting room, the bedroom, a deck and the master bath. The bedroom is Sharon Kleinman’s baby. Kleinman, owner of Transitions in Potomac, Md., is drawing inspiration from the great outdoors. She’s stripping the walls of their textured aqua wallpaper and taking advantage of the removal of bars on the sliding glass doors. “This room architecturally doesn’t have much interest except for the window,” Kleinman said of the rectangular space.“My concept, since the view is pretty, is to pull the outside in with my color scheme. So I chose varying shades of green, warm earth tones and brown colors.To create a little drama in here, I’m painting the walls a deep brown color.That will be contrasted against the white mohair rug. “I chose fabrics that are lush in feel,” added Kleinman, a Design House first-timer. “What I was trying to do was to create a room that’s kind of sensuous — lots of texture. It’s layers of texture, and it’s a very transitional room and eclectic.”

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The Washington Diplomat Page 33


Continued from previous page Kleinman is also incorporating pieces that make the room feel homey.“Instead of just plopping in all new furniture, most people have things that they loved or were handed down to them, so in the corner we’re using an antique lacquered wedding chest as if that were something that may have been handed down,” she said. She’s contrasting that with modern pieces such as an acrylic-based bench at the end of the bed.“As much as possible I’m trying to have reflective surfaces to bring the light in and give the room more warmth and interest,” Kleinman said. Next door,Tricia Huntley of Huntley and Co. Interior Design in D.C. is also using contrast to update the master sitting room. “I feel like sitting rooms are those places where you can do something a little magical,” Huntley said.“It’s such a luxury to have that kind of a room, so I had a little fun with it.” The first-time Design House participant is leaving the builtin bookcases, crown molding and small fireplace alone while creating mid-century glamour using vintage furnishings to create the feel of a lounge. She’s pairing angular medal sconces above the fireplace with a curved sofa in one corner and a plush round ottoman in the middle. Chairs and a desk will take up the opposite side of the room near one of two windows. Other room projects include an overhaul of the kitchen by Nadia Subaran of Aidan Design in Bethesda. She’ll take it from a dated navy-and-white space to a softer one dominated by grays and dark wood. DC Design Skip and Debbie Singleton, principals of DC House runs Living Real Estate, founded the nonprofit from April 14 Design House in 2008 as a way for the metro to May 13 at area’s top designers to showcase their talent the Aguirre residence, while raising money for Children’s National Medical Center. Last year, 4951 Rockwood Parkway, NW. the event, at a home in Forest Hills, attracted 10,000 visitors and Admission is $20. For more brought in $200,000 for the hospital. In all, it has raised nearly $600,000 information, please visit for the center and attracted more than 30,000 people. www.dcdesignhouse.com. An all-volunteer group of 12 executive committee members works on the event year-round, including selecting the home and negotiating with the owners.They rely on suggestions of properties from area real estate agents, designers and the Child Health Center Board at Children’s. “We’re already looking for the next one,” Singleton said.

Kitchen PhoTo: DC DesIgn house

nadia Subaran and her team from aidan Design plan to revamp a navy-and-white kitchen into a softer space dominated by grays and dark wood.

want to

go?

PhoTo: roBerT raDIFera PhoTograPhy

For a house to qualify, it must be inside the Beltway and have enough rooms to accommodate 20-plus designers. Homeowners must vacate the property from March 1 to the end of May and allow the designers to make their changes. Owners do, however, get to approve structural and other permanent changes. Most items are donated by vendors, such as more than $100,000 worth of paint and wallpaper from Farrow & Ball, a British wall-covering company. Designers, also working as volunteers, pay for some of the pieces out of their pockets. For example, they purchase draperies, which the homeowner — and the public — has the option of buying, with 20 percent of those sales going to the hospital. “Nearly everything in the house is for sale,” Singleton said. “You can go through and pick out all the latest tables and chairs and sofas. It’s the coolest furniture store.” About 120 designers toured the home on Jan. 16 and 17 during the Designer Walk-Throughs. Then about 80 of them submitted proposals for layouts, and 23 were chosen by Design House’s selection committee. “It’s a process.We get far more submissions that we can select,” Singleton said.“We like to showcase the talents principally of D.C. metro area designers, but we also have Baltimore designers and folks from outside the immediate D.C. metro area.” In addition to getting their names out, the event lets designers test their skills and get to know one another.“It’s fun, a really nice group of people,” Kleinman said. Stephanie Kanowitz is a contributing writer for The Washington Diplomat.

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culture & arts

EVENTS

Sporting Chance

entertainment

■ APRIL 2012

BEHIND

ART

■ WWW.WASHDIPLOMAT.COM

THE

MASK

Ping-Pong diplomacy is back at the Kazakh Embassy, where diplomats from China, Russia a nd Kazakhstan faced off for a friendly — sometimes — game of table tennis. PAGE 37

ART

Deep Impressions The advent of photography inspired a group of postimpressionist painters who used their Kodak cameras to inform their art and document their private lives. PAGE 38

ART

Pitfalls of Progress Success and sadness go hand in hand in “Contemporary Uruguayan Artists,” which peels back the darker undercurrents of prosperity. PAGE 40

“A Thousand and One Faces of Mexico Masks” takes a serious look at the often humorous artistry of Mexicans masks — from the somber face coverings used in ritual ceremonies to the funny and occasionally freaky masks used in celebrations. PAGE 36

DININg

FILM REVIEWS

The Madison hotel returns to its historic roots with the Federalist, which revives the culinary traditions of 18th-century America. PAGE 42

An innocent lad in rural New Zealand comes of age in the heartwarming “Boy.” PAGE 44


[ art ]

Unmasking a Society ‘A Thousand and One Faces’ Profiles Mexican Expression by Michael Coleman

I

Among the 140 traditional n the realm of Washington embassies and art, few places masks on display at the have as much fun as the Mexican Cultural Institute. Mexican Cultural Institute are Housed in a magnificent mansion with a spiral stair stairdecorative masks, such as case, soaring ceilings and intricate tile and murals, this black face covering used the institute routinely puts on fascinating cul culduring a Christmas Pageant tural events from cooking demonstrations to Dance, below, as well as concerts to seminars. ones commemorating A high-tone exhibition that showcased the “Muerte (Death),” top left, lowbrow work of Mexican street artists a few “Tiempo (Time),” bottom left, years back was brilliantly whimsical. The instiand “Goliat (Goliath),” pictute’s recent partnership with National tured on the culture cover. Geographic to showcase 50 years of the magazine’s Mexican photography mesmerized viewers and made us want to jump on the first plane headed south of the border. Now, the institute has done it again. “A Thousand and One Faces of Mexico: Masks from the Collection of Ruth D. Lechuga” takes a serious look at the often humorous artistry of Mexicans masks. The masks on display here reflect multiple dimensions of the Mexican identity, from the somber face coverings used in ritual ceremonies to the funny — and occasion occasionally freaky — masks used as part of celebrations. The Mexican Cultural Institute’s exhibition features more than 140 tradi traditional masks from throughout Mexico along with a selection of figurines and photographs highlighting their ceremonial purposes. Lechuga, a prodigious collector of folk art who died in 2004, roamed the country for 50 years collecting more than 10,000 pieces, including 1,200 masks. Her mask collection is considered to be one of the most important folk art collections in Mexico. “A Thousand and One Faces” is an arresting visual display, not only of Mexican art, but of an indigenous footprint of Mexican people.The myriad masks reflect a rich and multifaceted culture that celebrates family, religion and rites-of-passion with gusto. The exhibition is divided between galleries on the first and fourth floors. It makes sense to start in the first-floor gallery, which offers a good primer, before ascending to the large-scale exhibition on the fourth. One of the initial masks on display, “Time,” is from Suchitlán, Colima, where the craftsmen are famous for their handmade wooden masks.The “Time” shown here synthesizes the essential elements of all masks: abstraction, duality, expressiveness and symbolism, according to wall text provided for viewers. A particularly multifaceted (literally) mask is a Christmas pageant dance mask that expresses the struggle between opposite emotions PhoToS: FraNz Mayer MuSeuM / ruTh D. LeChuGa CoLLeCTIoN / MICheL zabe and the intrinsic duality in humanity and nature. Here, the mascuA Thousand and One Faces of Mexico: a broad range of expressions, including human traits line complements the feminine, life is intertwined with death, that are playful or scary features that evoke the misery Masks from the Collection and day is inevitably followed by night. The artist, Herminio of hell. Candelario, represented this abstract notion by creating a visage of Ruth D. Lechuga Another type of mask that has become well known, divided into three and blended from side to side; it has one chin, through May 5 in large part because of a growing awareness of the two ears, three noses, three mouths and four eyes. The faces on Mexican Cultural Institute Mexican Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebraeach side have feminine features while the center one is mascu2829 16th St., NW tions, are death masks. line and crowned by the sun. Other masks depict natural forces Who knew death could be so whimsical? One array For more information, please call (202) 728-1628 such as sun, rain and fire. of death masks on display here looks more like a party or visit www.instituteofmexicodc.org A mask portraying the supreme deity of water — and by conthan a funeral. The arrangement’s centerpiece is a nection, farming — features two stylized feathered serpents. Their tails depict eyebrows, while their bodies intertwine and form the nose and eyes.The grinning, tan skeletal figure adorned with a too-small sombrero and long, unruly wisps of mustache hair. To his bottom right is a more feminine form cast in alabaster white. The heads are shown in profile, facing each other and forming a mouth of monstrous fangs. Before leaving the first floor to head upstairs, it’s worth watching a short video that female mask sports wide, hollowed-out eyes and a beautiful mouthful of teeth that resemgives an overview of dances from Oaxaca, Zacatecas, Puebla,Tabasco and Guerrero, areas bles gleaming white pieces of Chiclets chewing gum. To Mexican mask makers’ way of thinking, death is as much a part of life as life itself, highlighted in this exhibition. In American culture, Mexican masks depicting the devil, or Diablo, are perhaps the most and the character is celebrated rather than feared in fiestas and dances. In fact, there is ubiquitous of all the indigenous façades. Naturally, these kinds of masks get a showcase much to be celebrated among the Mexican Cultural Institute’s stunning and comprehenhere. Devils represent the concepts of good, bad and punishment. According the exhibi- sive collection of indigenous masks. tion’s curators, the devils are part of the process of Evangelization and appear in Christmas pageant dances as well as during Carnival and Holy Week.The Mexican devil masks convey Michael Coleman is a contributing writer for The Washington Diplomat.

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events

Ping-Pong Diplomacy Makes Comeback at Kazakh Embassy Z

hang Yesui was only 18 years old back in December 1971, when two daring athletes — one Chinese, one American — inadvertently ended up arranging the first-ever table tennis match between their two then-hostile countries. That led to President Richard Nixon’s historic trip to China, and ultimately to the 1979 establishment of diplomatic relations between Washington and Beijing that endures to this day. On Feb. 25, Asia’s time-honored tradition of “ping-pong diplomacy” took on a whole new meaning when Zhang and fellow diplomats representing the neighboring countries of Kazakhstan and Russia converged on the Kazakh Embassy to anoint a local ping-pong champion. The formal-sounding “Kazakhstan-China-Russia Table Tennis Friendship Tournament” was anything but. The host team donned bright yellow “Kazakhstan” T-shirts that quickly became soaked in sweat; the Chinese wore red. In between action-packed games, these weekend warriors quenched their thirst with ice-cold Stella Artois beer and snacked on Costa Rican bananas and gala apples from Washington state. Matches were played old style, with one game played to 21 winning points, with a two-point difference at the tie break. Singles and doubles matches consisted of one game each, and each match was judged by a member of the team not playing. The fast-paced tournament was held on the fifth floor of the Kazakh Embassy mansion fronting 16th Street, in a small room with vaulted ceilings that’s dominated by a double horse head sculpture donated by an artist from Alabama, of all places. On the walls surrounding the two tennis tables were large framed color photos of Kazakhstan’s historic old capital city, Almaty, and its shockingly modern new one, Astana. “A diplomat’s job is usually about meetings, officials and papers, but very little physical activity,” Kazakh Ambassador Erlan Idrissov told The Washington Diplomat in between sets. “There’s a wise saying in Chinese that says to be healthy, one should walk at least 10,000 steps a day. That’s why I think other ambassadors and diplomats in Washington should be doing more sports, and ping-pong is a fantastic game — seemingly very easy, but actually very demanding.” Zhang eagerly agreed with his Kazakh friend. “Sports is very popular in China, but thanks to economic development, more and more people can now afford expensive sports like golf and tennis. Not many young Chinese play table tennis these days because there are other choices,” Zhang told us, confiding that of the 200 or so staffers at the sprawling Chinese Embassy here, only a dozen play ping-pong regularly. “Most of us ambassadors stationed in Washington hardly have any time to mingle with other ambassadors.” On this particular Saturday afternoon, the diplomats’ attention was focused not on the war in Afghanistan, or Iran’s nuclear buildup, or the recent U.N. Security Council resolution imposing economic sanctions against Syria that was vetoed by both China and Russia — but on the fierce ping-pong battle being played out among three teams representing the world’s largest, fourth-largest and ninth-largest countries by size. Some 30 family members and other invited guests watched for several hours as China’s versatile Zhang and his four-man team crushed similarly sized teams led by Idrissov and Russia’s deputy chief of mission in Washington, Vladimir Krasavin. As Idrissov explained, “the Russian ambassador couldn’t come, and besides, he doesn’t play ping-pong.” On the contrary, said the 59-year-old Zhang, “I started playing ping-pong at the age of 12 or 13, at my middle school in Wuhan province.” The final score — China (12), Russia (4) and Kazakhstan (3) — should have surprised no one. Since 1959, Chinese players have won the men’s World Table Tennis Championships 60 percent of the time; in the women’s division, Chinese players have won all but three of the World Championships since 1971, and pingpong was a big draw during the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. Yet Kazakhstan’s Idrissov can take heart in at least one thing: Even if his country doesn’t produce the world’s best ping-pong players, it’s an undisputed champion when it comes to vodka. After the lavish Kazakh-style buffet dinner following the tournament, Idrissov handed each of his guests a goodie bag containing, among other things, a 750-ml decorative bottle of potent Snow Queen. This rare spirit, named “Top Vodka” at the 2008 San Francisco World Spirits Competition, sells for $70 a bottle and is the international winner of 10 gold, seven silver and eight bronze medals for excellence — a spirited end to a long day of hands-on diplomacy. — Larry Luxner

Photos: Larry Luxner

Above, Ambassador of Kazakhstan Erlan Idrissov, right, plays Ambassador of China Zhang Yesui in the “Kazakhstan-China-Russia Table Tennis Friendship Tournament” held at the Kazakh Embassy.

The Kazakh Embassy team wore bright yellow T-shirts during a recent game of table tennis with fellow diplomats from China and Russia.

April 2012

Chinese Ambassador Zhang Yesui, above, was only 18 years old in December 1971, when a Chinese and American athlete inadvertently ended up arranging the first-ever table tennis match between their then-hostile countries. Russian Embassy Deputy Chief of Mission Vladimir Krasavin competes for the Russian team at a pingpong tournament held at the Kazakh Embassy.

The Washington Diplomat Page 37


[ art ]

Kodak Reinvention Camera-Canvas Crossover Reveals Picture of Inspiration PhoTo: 2012 arTISTS rIGhTS SoCIeTy (arS), NeW yorK

by Gary Tischler

W

e live in a time when practically any of us, assuming we have the time, the inclination, the imagination and a bit of luck, could come up with a pretty good photograph that could even be called “art.” We live, after all, in the age of the digital camera where you can erase, edit and Photoshop images at will. It’s all part and parcel of a climate of instantaneous reinvention and re-dos. Picture-taking wasn’t quite as easy — though it may have been less bewildering technologically speaking — for the artists in “Snapshot: Painters and Photography, Bonnard to Vuillard” at the Phillips Collection.This wonderfully elastic and ambitious exhibition connects the paintings and drawings of post-impressionist artists to the often-voluminous number of photographs they took at the dawn of photography (a staggering total of more than 10,000 photos, some 200 of which are on display here). The list includes prominent artists like Pierre Bonnard and Edouard Vuillard, as well as lesser-known names such as George Hendrik Breitner, Maurice Denis, Henri Evenepoel, Henri Rivière and Félix Vallotton. Yet all of these artists embraced the new medium of photography, not only understanding that it could inspire their art, but also grasping the concept of what it was: a way to freeze and make mementos of places, people, occasions and moments in time that were essentially ephemeral. It was the invention of the Kodak handheld camera in 1888 that PhoTo: réuNIoN DeS MuSéeS NaTIoNaux / arT reSourCe, Ny spurred this creative evolution, which today may appear quaint and antiquated given Kodak’s recent bankruptcy, a victim of the rapidly changing digital times. Among the works in “Snapshot: Painters and Yet for post-impressionist painters, and pretty much everyone of the era, these new Kodak Photography, bonnard to Vuillard” are a photograph cameras were as revolutionary as trains.And artists naturally did what everyone else did with of Pierre bonnard, Ker-xavier roussel and edouard the new technology:They snapped shots of their vacations, the streets where they lived, and Vuillard in Venice in 1899, above, Vuillard’s 1902 the people with whom they lived, documenting their private routines. photo “The two sunshades,” top, and henri At the same time, these photographs are an extension of their professional passions, and evenepoel’s 1897 oil painting “The White hat,” left. when exhibited alongside their paintings, prints and drawings — 70 of which are featured here — they reveal striking parallels in cropping, borders, lighting, silhouettes and vantage seasoned artists, you’d expect that their photopoints. These artists repeated subjects and compositions to achieve certain effects, for graphs would be somehow more artistic than example, and studied light and perspective through the lens in ways that mirrored their amateurs who were just beginning to discover brushstrokes on the canvas. cameras, or even those who expressed their art Photography clearly informed certain pieces on display here.The common, almost identisolely through photography. But that’s not always cal elements in some of the photos and paintings — Vallotton’s umbrellas on the beach, for the case. example, or Rivière’s repeating vision of the Eiffel Tower — are unmistakable. Not everyone made photographs that resemOr take for instance Evenepoel with his self-portrait in a three-way mirror — a photobled paintings, nor did they necessarily try to graph that makes you curious about the man, especially when you see his sunny, energetic make photographs that served the same funcphotograph of a woman named Louise repeated in a haunting painting called “The White PhoTo: CoLLeCTIoN oF erIC aND LouISe FraNCK, LoNDoN tion as their art. Painters such as Bonnard were Hat.” Both were executed in 1897 and hint at the use of phoalso just taking pictures — though certainly the photos could tography as inspiration, or as substitute for sketchbooks. A Snapshot: Painters and Photography, be considered beautiful — and exploring the nuances of capBelgian, Evenepoel was considered an extremely gifted artist. turing a moment in their private lives. It was in a sense a The evidence suggests just that; unfortunately there isn’t Bonnard to Vuillard departure from their comfort zone, recording an exact, much of it because he died at the age of 27 from typhoid. through May 6 detailed reality, as opposed to portraying a subject through While thousands of photographs by the others remain Phillips Collection blurred dabs of color to get at the true heart of it. behind, only 20 by Vallotton survive. Rumor has it that he 1600 21st St., NW “The private photographs of these artists — especially destroyed much of his photographic work because he was, For more information, please call (202) 387-2151 Bonnard and Vuillard, whose works are pivotal to the Phillips probably unfairly, criticized for making paintings based on or visit www.phillipscollection.org. Collection — reveal their keen eye for the modern world.The photographs. unguarded snapshots of their loved ones and the city streets Vuillard seems to have made the most of photographs echoing the thrust of his paintings, with both brilliantly reflecting the otherwise modest allow us to see life as the artists saw it,” said Phillips Director Dorothy Kosinski. The exhibition is indeed a treasure trove of insights into the lives of these artists during drama of domesticity. In contrast, Breitner shot kinetic photographs of his favorite city,Amsterdam, experiment- the post-impressionist period.They emerge as actors, travelers, husbands, fathers, sojourners ing with light and infusing a kind of blurry movement into his photos to paint a picture of and citizens of time and place. In a way, they also resemble children trying to capture butterflies or fireflies in a jar, modern urban life that can be both bustling yet lonely. But there’s just not enough paintings, drawings, lithographs or “art” by the lesser-known entranced by their energy and wanting to contain it. Some of the best photography in this artists on display here, which undermines the suggestiveness of comparisons. The other exhibition appears to have been done on the fly. There’s something intimate about scenes problem with an exhibition that focuses on early photography is that the images on the wall caught by insistent accident, the desire — often tactile, eager — to capture a fleeting are minuscule, so you have to get up close, almost illegally, to see them clearly. For a more moment by artists discovering a new way in which to view their world. contrasting effect, go to the catalogue. Not all of the works lend themselves to direct comparison anyway. Because these were Gary Tischler is a contributing writer for The Washington Diplomat.

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Photo by Nick Eckert

ONE MONTH. SIXTY EMBASSIES. DOZENS OF INTERNATIONAL ACTIVITIES. ONE UNFORGETTABLE GLOBAL JOURNEY THROUGH THE NATION’S CAPITAL.

Around the World Embassy Tour More than 40 embassies open their doors so you can step in and experience their food, art, music, dance, heritage, and much more. Join Cultural Tourism DC for this once-a-year exploration of the stately mansions and exclusive buildings that house DC’s embassies. Saturday, May 5

10 am – 4 pm

schedule of events International Children’s Festival Come explore Washington, DC’s international culture and heritage. During the month of May Washington’s embassies and cultural centers open their doors for you to experience the music, art, dance, crafts, and cuisine from such faraway places as Korea, Bolivia, Ghana, and Thailand.

.org

National Museum of Women in the Arts: Global Marketplace MAY 13; 12 PM – 5 PM AND MAY 14; 10AM – 5PM

Introduce the next generation of global travelers to cultures around the world. International performances and educational activities are hosted by local embassies and cultural organizations. The festival is presented by Meridian International Center and THIS for Diplomats. Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center

Celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, National Museum of Women in the Arts continues its innovative leadership in telling the story of women and art across our country and around the world. The artistic shopping event features products created by women of emerging economies. 1250 New York Avenue, NW

Short Cut to Europe: European Union Embassies’ Open House

National Asian Heritage Festival: Fiesta Asia

MAY 12; 10 AM – 4 PM

MAY 19; 10 AM – 7 PM

The European Union Delegation and the embassies of the 27 EU Member States invite you to experience the diversity and richness of Europe. Look for authentic music, dance, food, film, and art, along with rare behind-the-scenes views of the European Union Embassies. Various Locations

The Asia Heritage Foundation presents this street festival honoring the diverse cultures of Asia. Travel the continent with outdoor craft exhibits, special performances, cooking demonstrations, and much more. Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, between Third and Sixth Streets

MAY 6; 12 PM – 4 PM

Dozens of international events and activities will take place all month long! Check the full schedule of events at www.CulturalTourismDC.org or call 202-661-7581 for more information.

PDC2012_Diplomat_FullPageAd-April.indd 1

April 2012

3/21/12 5:51 PM

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[ art ]

Nuanced Prosperity Contemporary Artists Peel Back Layers of Uruguay’s Success by Rachael Bade

I

nside the glass front door of a skyscraper in D.C.’s business district is a large photo of a woman dressed in native South American clothing.With her long dark hair gathered in a simple braid, she’s frozen with her melancholy eyes cast downward, hands pensively crossed before her midriff and toes covered in sand. At first glance, the photo seems warped in mystery.The lone woman is standing on loose sand with mirror tiles in the background reflecting a barren field. A broken wooden wheelbarrow juts out of the mud in the distance. But there’s a history to the image, simply dubbed “The Uruguayan Woman Project.” The photo has a back-story that, once told, unravels a perplexing piece of art. The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Cultural Center this spring shines a light on contemporary art from Uruguay to honor the country, whose capital of Montevideo hosted the IDB Board of PhoToS: INTer-aMerICaN DeVeLoPMeNT baNK CuLTuraL CeNTer Governors 53rd annual meeting in March. Spotlighting the bank’s host country is an From top, Santiago Velazco’s “oso skater (Skating annual tradition at the cultural center, which celebrates bear),” Cecilia Mattos’s “Quién carga con el muerto? its 20th anniversary this year. (Who Will Carry the Dead?)” and Santiago aldabalde’s The exhibit, “Contemporary Uruguayan Artists,” fea“Ferrer Serra” are among the works at the IDb Cultural tures art that challenges viewers to not only grasp the Center that question the notion of social and economic meaning behind some of the enigmatic works, but also progress in “Contemporary uruguayan artists.” contemplate what they say about Uruguay, one of South America’s most prosperous nations, economically and challenges, the values and the hopes of these socially. The country of 3.5 million people differs from regions,” according to a release. many of its neighbors in other ways as well. Marina Galvani, the World Bank Art Program’s “Uruguay is even more contemporary than most of curator, wrote that the works in the IDB gallery the rest of the region because it grew without the have more in common than just showcasing weight of the pre-Columbian and colonial traditions Uruguay and its and contemporary art scene.They found elsewhere and because the country has always also reflect a sentimiento triste, a sense of sadbeen permeable to foreign influences,” wrote Luis ness. Alberto Moreno, IDB president, in the exhibition cata“Uruguay, like the rest of Latin America, has logue. “Its art, therefore, is an art of assimilation, the reason to celebrate. In the global economy the product of a society distinguished by assimilation, in region is growing and showing signs of reverse Contemporary Uruguayan Artists which foreign currents are steadily but selectively incormigration. But artists are moral commentators and porated.” through June 1 often harsh critics,” Galvani wrote. “As such, the Take, for instance, “The Uruguayan Woman Project.” works clearly express the social and moral collapse Inter-American Development Bank Cultural Center Created by Uruguayan artist Jacqueline Lacasa (the woman of the middle and upper-middle classes, employing in 1300 New york ave., NW depicted in the photo), the work plays on the fame of some cases irony, in others, a sympathetic touch. For more information, please call (202) 623-3774 Uruguayan Juan Manuel Blanes’s painting from 1879 They also reflect delicately — even poetically — on or visit www.iadb.org/cultural. called “The Paraguayan Woman.” many global subjects, such as the environment, conThe well-known older work depicts a woman draped in sumerism, and urban decay.” identical indigenous garb and standing in the exact same pose on a similar landscape. Sometimes the artists create irony by linking two objects rarely placed side by side. That wrecked wheelbarrow also sits idly in the backdrop. But in the older image, the The dark silhouette of a bear rides a skateboard affront a sunny-yellow backdrop in one woman is surrounded by dead soldiers —casualties of the Paraguayan War, which killed painting. Uruguayan Santiago Velazco, the artist, hints at the growing proximity of wila large portion of the male population. derness and human society, as nature shrivels while cities boom. Alluding to the old painting, the contemporary image connects women of the 21st A second Velazco work depicts another social problem: homelessness. On the left century with those from that darker time through a shared sense of loss and solitude. side of an apple-red canvas is a house; on the right is a man on a bicycle, his belongings Even without the surrounding graveyard of bodies, the Uruguayan woman seems bundled in trash bags behind him. Velazco aptly calls the work “Homesweetstreet.” despondent, disoriented, and etched with a pang of vulnerability that Lacasa deftly The artists also pair old and new objects to demonstrate the corrosion of time. For captures. example, a photojournalism project by Daniel Machado details the collapse of middleThe work is one of 17 in this display — including paintings, installations, photogra- class families through a series of photographs depicting a slipshod house. phy and mixed media — which is part of the World Bank Art Program’s exhibition series One picture captures the home’s faded and chipped wallpaper. Classic books such as “About Change: Art from Latin America and the Caribbean.”The yearlong collaboration “Victor Hugo” on the dresser suggest the owner was educated; the miniature cartoon between the World Bank, IDB and Organization of American States, broken up and housed in different venues throughout the city, aims to highlight “the opportunities, the See URUGUAy, page 43

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[ art ]

Drawn to Destiny Picasso’s Sketches Forged His Pioneering Movements by Kaitlin Kovach

E

[

xhibitions featuring expansive retrospectives of an artist’s best-known work are nothing new, but it’s not as common to catch a glimpse of how artists arrived at their distinct personal styles. Pablo Picasso became an artistic icon of the 20th century for his pioneering work in cubism and other movements, but it was his drawings that quietly helped pave his trailblazing path. “Picasso’s Drawings, 1890-1921: Reinventing Tradition” at the National Gallery of Art gives a behind-the-scenes look at Picasso’s development as an artist through a medium that was not his best-known form of expression, even though he was arguably the greatest draftsman of his era. The notion that drawing would serve as a building block for Picasso’s groundbreaking modern paintings, sculpture and collages shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, given that he was PhoTo: GreTCheN aND JohN berGGrueN, SaN FraNCISCo the son of a drawing instructor. The 30-year span of the 60 works on display begins when Picasso was just 9 years old.With paper and pencil, the young artist depicted a sculpture of Hercules that was in his family home. He had not yet received any formal art training and clearly struggled with some aspects of the sketch — a raised arm is outlined twice in slightly different positions. But it’s clear he had talent from an early age and was proud of his Some 60 drawings at the National Gallery of art chronicle Pablo work — it’s hard to miss his full signature Picasso’s evolution as a draftsman during the first 30 years of his placed along the bottom of the page. career, including, from clockwise top left, “yellow Nude (Study for ‘Les Another childhood drawing, of a bullDemoiselles d’avignon’)”; “Standing Nude”; a self-portrait, done in late fight, created when Picasso was 11, shows 1901 and early 1902; and “Landscape,” done in the spring of 1908. a leap in his artistic abilities and undergressively rendered the human form more abstract. The standing of classical draftsmanship. The PhoTo: o: KKa Lar Lar arTT LLC KaLarT beginnings of Picasso’s cubism can also be found among the bull and matador in the foreground deminterlocking elements of his watercolors depicting landonstrate Picasso’s shading technique and ability to convey motion. The scapes, still lifes and figures. stadium is filled with reveling spectators who are drawn in a much simThus, the second room of the exhibit is almost exclusively pler style that is reminiscent of Picasso’s famous depiction of Don Quixote dedicated to cubist drawings. The room includes the 1910 later in his life. drawing “Standing Female Nude” that was one of the first Picasso began intensely studying art around the time that reproducPicasso works to be displayed in the United States as part of tions of drawings by old masters and 19th-century artists became widely an exhibition at Alfred Stieglitz’s gallery.The piece, radical for available, exposing him to a far wider range of works than previous genits time, was also among the first cubist works to ever be erations of artists. A few life drawings from his teenage years reveal the displayed in the United States. At first glance, the charcoal influence of Renaissance artists and their quest to accurately depict the lines and semicircles don’t seem to hold much shape, but human body. further inspection reveals the fragmented outline of a female But Picasso was also willing to experiment with styles made famous by figure. contemporary artists.A sketch titled “Female in Nude Profile (Hommage à Likewise, another female nude drawn in 1909 shows how Gauguin)” drawn around the NaTIoNaL GaLLery PhoTo: o: Na NaTI oNaLL Ga LLery oF arT r rT Picasso gradually arrived at cubism right around that time. time of Paul Gauguin’s death Picasso’s Drawings, 1890-1921: features the same simple lines and long, The pose and outline of the model are traditional, but the rest has been drawn in a dark hair as Gauguin’s Tahitian nudes. faceted manner and features an array of colors, intersecting shapes and sharp angles. Reinventing Tradition Picasso even signed it “Paul Picasso” as a It’s not quite a full abstraction, but it’s easy to see that Picasso was experimenting in through May 6 tribute to the recently departed painter. that direction, and by 1911, critics were already referring to the “cubist school of artNational Gallery of Art “Two Fashionable Women,” drawn in ists.” on the National Mall between 3rd and 9th Streets A few years later, Picasso further developed the genre by incorporating collage into 1900, just after Picasso had moved to at Constitution avenue, NW Paris, is heavily outlined and almost car- his art. There are a few cubist still lifes on display at the National Gallery, some of For more information, please call (202) 737-4215 toon-like, similar to Henri de Toulouse- which are partial collages.A newspaper clipping intersects with the image of a violin or visit www.nga.gov. Lautrec’s drawings of Montmartre and in a 1912 drawing.Turned on its side, the lines of text in the clipping look like wood the Moulin Rouge. In fact, if not for grain, giving the drawing more vitality. As a whole, the exhibit provides a fascinating look at the evolution of one of the Picasso’s signature, it would be easy to confuse these works as ones by the artists who most prolific artists of modern times, from Picasso’s childhood attempts at sketching inspired them. The exhibit also traces Picasso’s evolution as a draftsman that led to his break- to his work pioneering an artistic movement, and all the steps in between. It’s a jourthroughs in cubism and collage, the most significant achievements of his long career. ney that’s not only fascinating for fans of Picasso, but for casual art buffs as well. For example, the National Gallery notes that Picasso’s interest in ancient Iberian art led to geometric stylization in portrayals of his mistress Fernande Olivier, as he pro- Kaitlin Kovach is a freelance writer in Washington, D.C.

April 2012

]

The Washington Diplomat Page 41


[ dining ]

Madison’s Rebirth Madison’s Rebirth The Federalist Harkens by Rachel G. Hunt

W

hen the iconic Madison hotel was purchased last year by Atlanta-based real estate investment firm Jamestown Properties, the new owners set out to restore the property to its former glory as the hotel of choice for statesman, politicians and celebrities alike.The plan included a complete makeover of the interior and a new restaurant that would link the hotel to its historical referents. It was the latest reincarnation of a hotel that seemed to be experiencing an identity crisis of sorts — the type that periodically afflicts many of the city’s historic properties as they find themselves tugged by the desire to preserve their traditional appeal on the one hand, while keeping up with the changing times on the other. In particular, the Madison, opened in 1963, has sometimes struggled to balance its historic character with its modern leanings (most evident in the building’s contemporary façade), but a $20 million renovation seems to have struck the right blend of old and new. For the new look, noted New York interior designer Dominick Coyne melded the hotel’s 1960s modernist architecture and design with an 18th-century sensibility reflected in the pastoral scenes in the paper wall coverings. He relied on understated shades of gray, brown and taupe in his color palette, as well as octagonal shapes in many of the interior accents — as seen in the clean elegance of the new lobby. Coyne also redesigned the restaurant alongside the hotel — previously occupied by Palette, a sleek dining space that didn’t always mesh with the centuries-old James and Dolley Madison-inspired style of the hotel. So Coyne resurrected the name of an earlier incarnation of the restaurant, the Federalist, in a nod to the fourth U.S. president’s important role in the ratification of the Constitution, and introduced a concept intended to mirror the hotel’s marriage of contemporary themes with its historical roots. At the Federalist, chef Harper McClure brings together local foods with the culinary traditions of the 18th century to The Federalist create a contemporary re-envisioning of next to the Madison hotel early American cuisine. 1177 15th St., NW Chef McClure brings to the project unique qualifications. After graduating (202) 587-2629 from the Culinary Institute of America at www.thefederalistdc.com Hyde Park, New York, McClure spent six months at the Cobblestone Valley Farm Lunch: Mon. - Fri., 11:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. learning about heirloom produce and Dinner: Mon. - Sun., 5 - 10 p.m. source-verified meat and developing a Small plates: $9 - $16 passion for using local, seasonally appropriate ingredients in his work. With this Entrées: $15 - $36 solid beginning, McClure went on to stints Desserts: $8-9 as executive sous chef at Bacchanalia in Reservations: Accepted Atlanta, the southern-inspired Vidalia and notable French restaurant Marcel’s, the Valet parking: Available latter two in Washington, D.C. In crafting the Federalist menu, McClure focused on the Mid-Atlantic region, offering a balanced choice of the meats and fish that would have been available to cooks at public taverns several centuries ago.Among the seafood options, the crab, scallops, rockfish and cod all receive interesting treatments, though the interpretations seem more modern than historical. The rockfish filet, prepared with perfectly crisped skin, is served atop a mound of jumbo lump crabmeat and risotto-like Carolina gold rice bathed in an elegant lobster-dominated shellfish essence.Three large scallops are pan seared with brown butter until they have an

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The Washington Diplomat

Photos: Jessica Latos

The Federalist, an extension of the renovated Madison hotel, pays homage to the hotel’s historic character by incorporating elements of 18th-century American cuisine, such as the jumbo lump crab cake with celery root slaw, romesco sauce and brioche tuile, left.

almost caramelized crust, and then served on top of small slices of thick braised bacon and a sweet puree of Hubbard squash. Small chunks of compressed apple and a garnish of frisee round out the dish.The sweetish squash puree is a subtle touch, and while the same ingredients were probably around 300 years ago, this particular combination feels decidedly up to date. Meat (and a lot of it) typically formed the cornerstone of 18th-century meals, and McClure’s menu follows that tradition by offering housemade charcuterie, veal pot pie, braised beef short ribs, chicken roulade, braised duck leg, stuffed pork chops, flat iron beef steaks and hand-cut angus steaks. The charcuterie board in particular offers a broad selection of housemade items such as amazingly thin slices of cured duck, as well as bresaola, spicy sausage, pork lard, coarse pâté de campagne and smooth liver pâté with pork gel. These are laid out and dressed with perfectly maple-toasted pecans, tiny florets of pickled cauliflower and a quince jelly. While many of the items reflect a strong continental influence, the sum total very much evokes an elegant ploughman’s lunch. Also honing to the traditional, the veal pot pie is a white stew medley of veal, root vegetables and pearl onion covered with a flaky puff pastry. It’s robust but not heavily spiced. Turtle soup also makes an appearance, with barley and a sherry-tomato broth that’s strongly evocative of times gone by, perhaps simply because it is so seldom served. But as with the fish, several of the meat dishes feel distinctly contemporary, such as the Amish chicken roulade served with a black truffle mousse, baby carrots, potato puree and a Madeira jus. Others, such as the steaks, with their simpler preparations — grilled with a wild mushroom fricassee, potato sticks and an herb butter — seem more timeless. The meat dishes at the Federalist differ from their forbearers in that they are less heavily seasoned. Where clove, mace, allspice and nutmeg are now associated mostly with sweet

April 2012


dishes, in the 18th century they were dominant flavorings in many savory meat dishes, for practical reasons. Prior to refrigeration, spices were an important way of covering up the taste and smell of meats that had begun to go bad, and these heavier spices were particularly effective. Spices are no longer necessary for this reason, but we still have an expectation that dishes should carry notes of this flavor, and some dishes at the Federalist fall short on the spice front. While some of the savory dishes may seem a bit bland, desserts do not suffer from any lack of flavor. The menu offers an intriguing combination of historic and contemporary choices. Rarely seen syllabub, a whipped concoction of wine and cream paired with caramelized bananas, offers a glimpse of simpler times. The lemon verbina panna cotta melts on the tongue with a floral citrus burst. Served with bits of honeyed amaranth bar, roasted pineapple and a peppery sweet lime-espelette granita, this dish is superb — deceptively light yet rich and refreshing. In a nod to the historical importance of drinking chocolate, the Federalist features a very strong Valrhona hot chocolate. Rich and not too sweet, it shares the plate with a delightfully doughy fresh yeast doughnut and honey-sweet housemade marshmallows. For a fruity dessert, the blood orange bavarian is an excellent choice, with the semi-frozen bavarian cream served over a macaroon-like vanilla sponge cake and encircled by a passion fruit coulis and milk crumb. The reconfigured space at the Federalist evokes the era it showcases, with nice touches such as gas lamps and vintage oak woods. And some of the challenges diners experienced when the restaurant first opened seem to have been worked out. The timing works well and food arrives at the table with no undue delays or pauses.The service is excellent — and there is a lot of it, so on occasion it can feel overly attentive. Servers do a good job explaining the menu, but it would be an added benefit if they could provide more information on the historical inspiration of the dishes and the chef’s take on them. It seems a pity to miss the opportunity to learn a bit about the historical underpinnings of American cuisine. McClure’s talents are strongly in evidence at the Federalist. His visual presentation is outstanding. Each dish is thoughtfully developed and well executed without being overly staged.And many of his preparations are fascinating and unusual as well as delicious. But what seems to be lacking is clarity of vision in the restaurant’s concept.

A TASTE OF ICELAND

IN WASHINGTON, D.C. April 12-15, 2012

Iceland Inspired Dinner Chef Thrainn Freyr and Chef Sarah Biglan at RIS, April 12-15 Guest Chef Thrainn Freyr from Restaurant Kolabrautin in Reykjavik has created a special Icelandic menu with Chef Sarah Biglan of RIS. Sourcing the best ingredients straight from Iceland, dishes such as slow cooked Arctic Char, free range wood roasted Icelandic lamb and The Viking’s Skyr Tiramisu are sure to delight Washingtonian foodies. RIS 2275 L Street, NW Washington, D.C. For reservations: 202.730.2500

Chef Harper McClure previously worked in Washington at the southern-inspired Vidalia and the notable French restaurant Marcel’s.

Given the distribution system of food in the 18th century, local sourcing of ingredients is a logical step in resurrecting the era, but that alone does not create a link to the past. Some of the dishes depart so far from more traditional versions that it’s difficult to discern the connection or understand the context of the dish. So while the idea behind the Federalist is certainly appealing, its execution isn’t living up to the promise. It’s still in the early days though, and perhaps in the same way that some of the earlier glitches have been addressed to good effect, this too can change. Until then, you can expect a decent meal, but not necessarily one that transports you to a different place and time. Rachel G. Hunt is the restaurant reviewer for The Washington Diplomat.

Plan Your Entire Weekend. www.washdiplomat.com

Of Monsters and Men and Lay Low Saturday, April 14 Of Monsters and Men (OMaM) and Lay Low will finish their North American tour with a free concert at the Fillmore Silver Spring, doors open 8:00 p.m. For more information, visit www.fillmoresilverspring.com 8656 Colesville Road Silver Spring, Maryland Free Icelandic Film Screening One Day Only! Sunday, April 15 Enjoy free screenings of two Icelandic hit films. Summerland (1 p.m.) and Inni (2:30 p.m.), the famed Sigur Rós’ second live film, following 2007’s tour documentary Heima. AMC Loews Uptown 1, 3426 Connecticut Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. Free admission, first come first served

For a complete schedule of events during A Taste of Iceland in Washington, D.C., visit www.icelandnaturally.com

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from page 40

Uruguay figurine of Walt Disney’s Pluto reflects the presence of children. But the ruin and disarray of the wall, along with the dust crusted on the books and photographs, show that time was not kind to this family. In similar fashion, artist Diego Velazco captures the death of movie theaters with his lens.The series of black-and-white photos, called “The Last Cinemas,” celebrate the glory days of movie theaters, which are crumbling under new technologies such as Netflix and Redbox. The series focuses on a spacious theater that is filled with a crowd enthralled by a film in one image, but eerily empty in the next shot. These themes of globalization, alienation, shifting family values and questions of identity permeate the exhibit. Diego Villalba reflects on the strong European heritage in Uruguay and other parts of the Americas, using his travels around the world to inform his creative process and embracing the various cultures he’s encountered. From afar, his “Back to Delft” looks like a series of repeated images, but

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Diego Velazco’s photography series “Los últimos cines I (The Last Cinemas I)” mourns the death of classic movie theaters.

on closer inspection, viewers will see their subtle differences. “Nowadays, with globalization, everyone at first seems to look the same,” observed Soledad Guerra, IDB exhibitions coordinator. “But we all are a bit different when you look closer.” Rachael Bade is a contributing writer for The Washington Diplomat.

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April 2012

call (301) 933-3552. The Washington Diplomat Page 43


[ film reviews ]

Oh ‘Boy’ Long-Lost New Zealand Dad Must Live Up to Michael Jackson by Ky N. Nguyen

K

[

erawork is complemented by lively and sometimes startling elements of music, iwi writer-director-actor Taika such as joyful Jacques Demy-like musiWaititi’s (“Eagle vs Shark,” “Green cal vignettes and an eclectic soundtrack Lantern”) heartwarming feel-good infused by disparate elements such as feature “Boy” now reigns as the electronica, punk, Laurie Anderson’s “O top grossing film of all time in its Superman,” “Manhã de Carnaval” from native New Zealand. “Black Orpheus,” and Vivaldi. The immense popularity of Full of life and wrenching emotions, the film, expanded from Waititi’s Oscarthe result packs quite a wallop that will nominated short “Two Cars, One Night,” not be easily forgotten. Yet “Declaration derives from its successful depiction, of War” is no morbid movie of the week enhanced by vivid details, of the pre-teen or other typical drama brooding about a hero’s charming perspective as an innocent life-threatening disease.The raucous film lad who must inevitably come of age. The pleasantly surprises the viewer with the distinctive childhood vision is brought to life humanity of its honesty, humor and love by larger-than life animations of still drawstory. ings, enhanced dream sequences and fantasRomeo (Elkaïm) and Juliette tic musical numbers derived from Michael (Donzelli), both budding, cute actors, Jackson videos from the peak of his reign as meet at a wild party.They joke that their the King of Pop in the 1980s. destiny may be doomed. They dance In 1984, in a countryside Maori town of together in ecstasy on the streets of along Zealand’s east coast, 11-year-old Boy Paris on the way to becoming an attrac(James Rolleston) suffers being a constant tive new couple. Suddenly, they find Photo: Matt Grace and Darryl Ward target of bullying. He lives in an impover- From left, Rocky (Te Aho Aho Eketone-Whitu), Boy (James Rolleston) and their father themselves the proud parents of Adam, a ished home where Boy’s grandmother cares Alamein (Taika Waititi) play war on the beach in Waititi’s “Boy.” beautiful son. Romeo and Juliet live hapfor him, along with his younger brother and pily for the moment, if not ever after… a gaggle of young cousins.Yet his constant daydreaming — such as riding dolphins and Their whirlwind romance is challenged after 18-month-old Adam demonstrates signs dressing in tuxedos daily — provides him with an escapist outlet that helps him gener- of impaired development. Eventually, a neurologist diagnoses Adam’s malady as brain ate a reasonably positive attitude, all things considering. The lively teenager becomes cancer. Suddenly, their life is defined by a battery of doctors, hospitals, CAT scans, MRIs, fascinated with popular American culture, particularly Michael Jackson. Boy also has blood tests, emotional distress and financial worries. When they lose their jobs after wild speculations about his long absent father, Alamein (director Waititi), imagining that spending all their time on Adam’s medical care (which is at least fortunately covered by he’s an intrepid explorer traveling the world. In one France’s universal health coverage), they sell their flat to move into hospital lodgings for lavish music video scene, his father actually plays the parents, where they’re on top of each other all the time. And although they’re quickly Boy role of Jackson singing and dancing through Boy’s surrounded by the support of well-meaning friends and family, the escalating tenseness (English; 90 min.) adventures. of the situation leads Romeo and Juliet to decide they’re going deep into battle. So One day, his father’s dramatic return doesn’t disap- together they fight for the life of their child as well as the survival of their own still budLandmark’s E Street Cinema point Boy’s mythical filial vision: Alamein sports a ding relationship and individual lives. ★★★★✩ stylish hairdo, fearsome tattoos and a fine car. He’s even accompanied by his own posse, two fellow Cold War ‘Hipsters’ members of the Crazy Horses, his biker gang. He Young Soviet communists take a cue from “Rebel takes both of his sons on a grand adventure digWithout a Cause” to challenge their political system ging for buried treasure in a field and tells crazy — in style — in Russian director Valeriy Todorovskiy’s stories that are exciting at first, but are eventually vibrant Cold War romp “Hipsters,” which held the exposed as merely tall tales with no more truth honor of screening as the prestigious opening-night than Boy’s fantasies. film of Filmfest DC 2010. The enjoyable musical comAlamein turns out to be an ex-con who’s just edy was also a well-received selection in the internagotten out of seven years in prison for robbery. tional film festivals of Toronto, Seattle and Chicago Boy’s naïve beliefs could be shattered by the reali(where it won Best Art Direction). At home, “Hipsters” ties of adulthood, but his strength enables him to was awarded four Nika Awards (the Russian Oscar) for overcome the low cards dealt him at birth, willing Best Film, Production Design, Costumes, and Sound. him to strive for a better life than his father’s. In its theatrical release in D.C., audiences shouldn’t miss their lucky second chance to catch a rarely seen ‘Declaration of War’: genre, the Cold War musical. Unlike the propaganda musicals made by government-run Soviet studios that A Fight for Life Photo: IFC Films praised the glories of state and party (some of which Director-writer-actress Valérie Donzelli and co- Director-writer-actress Valérie Donzelli, left, and co-writer-actor were screened in a past series at the National Gallery of writer-actor Jérémie Elkaïm wrote the riveting Jérémie Elkaïm wrote the script for “Declaration of War” based Art), “Hipsters” takes advantage of today’s relative freescript for “Declaration of War” based on their own on their own true-life ordeal. dom of speech in Russia.Written by Yuriy Korotkov and true-life saga when their son became terribly sick. Todorovskiy (a libretto), the wild and crazy story No doubt having lived the reality adds to the total verisimilideploys sly allegories to execute sociopolitical analysis, as the highDeclaration of War tude of their story and acting. energy actors poke wicked fun at the drab conformity of the old Soviet (La Guerre Est Déclarée) The authentic plot, quirky characters and heartfelt perforpolitical system. mances are enhanced by Donzelli’s masterful direction. She (French with subtitles; 100 min.) In 1955 Moscow, a critical mass of youth is just as renegade as their adroitly leverages an array of dazzling cinematic tools that West End Cinema counterparts depicted in American films of the 1950s, such as James seem to pay homage to the Nouvelle Vague (French New ★★★★✩ Wave), including quick edits and voiceovers. The stylish camSee film reviews, page 47

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The Washington Diplomat

April 2012


[ film festivals ]

Oldie But Goodie Filmfest DC Still Going Strong After 26 Years by Ky N. Nguyen

F

ilmfest DC,theWashington, DC International Film Festival, returns April 12 to 22 with more than 80 features, documentaries and shorts culled from the best of the latest films from around the world. Now in its 26th year, Filmfest DC is the District’s oldest and largest film festival. A good number of films are sponsored by area embassies and cultural organizations, and many screenings Photo: THIERRY VALLETOUX / Allied Media will be presented by special guests, including filmmakers who will engage A strong-willed Senegalese caretaker and in discussions with audiences about a handicapped white millionaire make for their work. an unlikely pair in “The Intouchables,” In addition to the main “World Filmfest DC’s closing-night feature. Views” section,“The Lighter Side” seccomedy about overgrown adolestion shines the spotlight on cross-culPhoto: Jan Thijs / eOne Films, Toronto cent. tural humor with a slate of interna- The opening-night selection for Filmfest DC is “Starbuck,” a Canadian film about an overgrown adolescent who The closing-night party features tional comedies. Filmfest founder and learns he’s the father of more than 500 children conceived using sperm he sold to a dodgy clinic in the 1980s. Eric Toledano’s “The Intouchables.” veteran director Tony Gittens explains, “People in every culture enjoy sharing a laugh and smile, and we’re excited to provide an The French box-office hit, inspired by real events, tells the story of an unlikely friendship entertaining escape with films from all over the world to the nation’s capital. Now politics between a handicapped white millionaire and his strong-willed Senegalese caretaker. As these two men from very different worlds become close, their differences take a backseat isn’t the only funny thing in Washington.” Meanwhile, the “Caribbean Journeys” section will feature contemporary films from Cuba, as they share in the joy and pain of each other’s lives in this heartwarming crowd-pleaser. Other highlights include a free Filmmakers Salon that invites area directors and festivalthe Dominican Republic, Jamaica,Trinidad and Tobago, and more. Back by popular demand, goers to discuss the filmmaking process. Panelists the “Justice Matters” section returns to continue its examinainclude Emad Bomat, co-director of “5 Broken Cameras” tion of social justice issues, including the controversial “Pink Filmfest DC runs from April 12 to 22. (Palestine/Israel/France), Storm Saulter, director of Ribbons, Inc.” (Canada). Other sections include “Global General Admission is $11 unless otherwise “Better Mus’ Come” (Jamaica), and Larry Sheldon, direcRhythms,” “Shorts,” “Filmfest DC for Kids,” “Filmfest DC for noted, such as special events. For infortor of “Leave It on the Floor” (Canada). Seniors,”“National Gallery of Art” and “First Features.” mation, please call (202) 234-FILM (3456) Films will be screened at various area theaters, Highlights include the opening-night gala, which includes or visit www.filmfestdc.org. including the Avalon Theatre, Busboys and Poets, the a screening of the Canadian film “Starbuck” by writer-direcEmbassy of France, the Goethe-Institut, Landmark’s E tor Ken Scott about a genial screw-up, David Wosniak (Patrick Huard), who’s a constant disappointment to his Montreal family, including his Street Cinema, the National Gallery of Art, the Naval Heritage Center and Regal Gallery pregnant girlfriend. But one day a lawyer shows up with news that there’s one thing David Place. did do very right indeed: 533 children were conceived using sperm he sold to a dodgy clinic in the 1980s, and now 142 of them want to meet Daddy in Scott’s bawdy but tender Ky N. Nguyen is the film reviewer for The Washington Diplomat.

to learn

more

Repertory Notes

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 Ongoing series include: “Dickens in the Cinema: A Bicentennial Retrospective” (through April 9), “Bigger Than Life: The Films of Nicholas Ray” (through April 12), “Gene Kelly Centennial Retrospective” (through April 5), and “Things to Come: The City Imagined on Film” (through April 5). (301) 495-6700, www.afi.com/silver

National Gallery of Art

“Japanese Divas” (April 6-May 5) features films from the top actresses of Japan’s golden age of cinema in the 20th century:

Filmfest DC selections include Tanaka playing the wife in Kenji Mizoguchi’s “Sansho, the Bailiff” (April 15, 4 p.m.) and Hara’s turn as the reluctant bride honoring her father in Yasujiro Ozu’s “Late Spring.” And don’t miss Filmfest DC’s example of current Japanese film: Naomi Kawase’s “Hanezu” (April 22, 4:30 p.m.), an elegant romance from the 2011 Cannes Film Festival.

day marathon marks the National Cherry Blossom Festival’s centennial along with the National Gallery of Art, the AFI Silver Theatre, and the Japan Information and Culture Center of the Embassy of Japan. In partnership with AFI Silver, “Korean Film Festival DC 2012: The Art of the Moving Image from Korea” continues through April 26. And in collaboration with the Korean Film Festival, “Moving Perspectives” (through April 26) showcases contemporary Korean video art in the Freer’s Meyer Auditorium.

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

(202) 357-2700, www.asia.si.edu/events/films.asp

Freer Gallery of Art

Francophonie Film Festival

Setsuko Hara, Machiko Kyo, Hideko Takamine, Kinuyo Tanaka, Ayako Wakao and Isuzu Yamada.

The series “Castles in the Sky: Miyazaki, Takahata, and the Masters of Studio Ghibli” (April 15) features special guest Helen McCarthy, author of “Hayao Miyazaki: Master of Japanese Animation.” The all-

April 2012

The Francophonie Film Festival continues through April 4 with films from French-speaking countries around the globe. www.francophonieDC.org

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.

Richard Burton and major Curt Jürgens are battling not only each other, but also for the affections of Jürgens’s wife, the woman they both love.

Arabic

AFI Silver Theatre Sun., April 1, 1 p.m., Mon., April 2, 7 p.m.

5 Broken Cameras Directed by Emad Burnat and Guy David (Palestine/Israel/France/Netherlands, 2011, 90 min.)

Boy

A farmer from the Palestinian village of Bil’in becomes the peaceful archivist of an escalating struggle as olive trees are bulldozed, lives are lost, and a wall is built to segregate burgeoning Israeli settlements. (Filmfest DC; Arabic and Hebrew)

Eleven year-old Boy is a high-spirited adolescent obsessed with American pop culture — especially Michael Jackson — and prone to particularly vivid fantasies about his long-absent father.

Landmark’s E Street Cinema Sat., April 14, 3:15 p.m., Mon., April 16, 8:45 p.m.

Basque Happy New Year, Grandma! Directed by Telmo Esnal (Spain, 2011, 107 min.)

In this hilarious black comedy, a harried and highly strung Basque woman becomes exhausted by the demands of her elderly mother. (Filmfest DC) Goethe-Institut Sun., April 15, 7 p.m., Mon., April 16, 8:30 p.m.

Danish Blood in the Mobile Directed by Frank Poulsen (Denmark, 2010, 82 min.)

The mineral cassiterite is used in virtually every mobile handset on the planet, but companies that make these devices closely guard their supply chains, allowing rebel forces in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to benefit from ore mined by children in despicable conditions. (Filmfest DC) Landmark’s E Street Cinema Wed., April 18, 8:45 p.m. Naval Heritage Center Fri., April 20, 6:30 p.m.

English 55 Days at Peking Directed by Nicholas Ray (U.S., 1963, 154 min.)

Massive sets built in Spain recreated 1900 Beijing, when the trade delegations (“foreign devils”) of Great Britain, Russia, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the U.S. banded together to withstand the Boxer Rebellion. AFI Silver Theatre April 7 to 10

Better Mus’ Come Directed by Storm Saulter (Jamaica, 2010, 105 min.)

Writer-director Storm Saulter brings a lively visual style to this urban love story inspired by Jamaica’s political turmoil in the 1970s. (Filmfest DC) Regal Cinemas Gallery Place Fri., April 13, 9 p.m., Sat., April 14, 9 p.m.

Bitter Victory Directed by Nicholas Ray (U.S., 1957, 102 min.)

In WWII North Africa, British army captain

Page 46

Directed by Taika Watiti (New Zealand, 2010, 90 min.)

Landmark’s E Street Cinema

Calypso Rose: The Lioness of the Jungle Directed by Pascale Obolo (Trinidad and Tobago, 2009, 85 min.)

This biography follows the legendary “Queen of Calypso” around the world as she traces her roots from her hometown in Tobago and Trinidad to Paris, where she records a new album, and to Africa to learn about her great-grandmother. (Filmfest DC)

THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT Michelle Yeoh stars in the story of Aung San Suu Kyi, as she becomes the core of Burma’s democracy movement, and her relationship with her husband, writer Michael Aris. (English and Burmese) Landmark’s E Street Cinema Opens Fri., April 13

The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby Directed by Alberto Cavalcanti (U.K., 1947, 108 min.)

His father dead and prospects dim, young Nicholas Nickleby must rely on his wealthy but wicked Uncle Ralph in this gritty depiction of Victorian life.

Directed by Daniel Nettheim (Australia, 2011, 101 min.)

A skilled and ruthless mercenary from Europe is sent to the rugged, mysterious Tasmanian wilderness on a hunt for a tiger believed to be extinct.

Directed by Noel Langley (U.K., 1952, 109 min.)

Noel Langley’s film adaptation of Charles Dickens’s charmingly episodic first novel on the misadventures of the Pickwick Club and their travels around England is full of wit, warmth and comedy.

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen A visionary sheik believes his passion for the peaceful pastime of salmon fishing can enrich the lives of his people, so he enlists the help of a British fisheries expert and overzealous press secretary to bring the sport to the not-so-fish-friendly desert. AFI Silver Theatre Through April 5

A Tale of Two Cities Directed by Ralph Thomas (U.K., 1958, 117 min.)

The Island President

AFI Silver Theatre April 7 to 9

Landmark’s E Street Cinema Sun., April 15, 2 p.m., Mon., April 16, 6:15 p.m.

King of Kings Directed by Nicholas Ray (U.S., 1961, 168 min.)

Jokingly nicknamed “I WAS A TEENAGE JESUS” at the time of its release, Nicholas Ray’s uniquely realistic retelling of the life of Jesus Christ has aged far better than many other biblical epics in vogue at the time. AFI Silver Theatre Sun., April 8, 3 p.m., Thu., April 12, 7 p.m.

The Lady Directed by Luc Besson (France/U.S., 2011, 127 min.)

Maryse Condé, une voix singulière Directed by Jérôme Sesquin (France/Guadeloupe, 2011, 52 min.)

La Maison Française Thur., April 3, 7 p.m.

Dashing Dirk Bogarde assays the Sydney Carton role in this underrated screen adaptation of the Charles Dickens classic that boasts formidable villains.

This documentary looks at the tiny islands of the Maldives and the country’s first democratically elected president (recently ousted in a coup), Mohamed Nasheed, as he fights to sound the alarm about climate change. (Filmfest DC; English and Dhivehi)

The Avalon Theatre Fri., April 13, 6:30 p.m., Mon., April 16, 8:45 p.m.

The Avalon Theatre Thu., April 19, 6:30 p.m., Sat., April 21, 7:15 p.m.

Directed by François Truffaut (France/Italy, 1968, 107 min.)

Landmark’s E Street Cinema Opens Fri., April 6

Directed by Jon Shenk (U.S., 2011, 101 min.)

Louise returns home to Le Havre to discover that a woman was brutally murdered in front of her building — and although 38 neighbors were in the building at the time of the murder, no one heard or saw anything. (Filmfest DC)

At a beach resort during the offseason, the comic adventures of various hearty holidaymakers result in a silly symphony of slapstick situations. (Filmfest DC)

The Pickwick Papers

Directed by Lasse Hallström (U.S., 2012, 111 min.)

The Hunter

Directed by Lucas Belvaux (France, 2012, 104 min.)

Directed by Pascal Rabate (France, 2011, 77 min.)

The Bride Wore Black (La mariée était en noir)

The Deep Blue Sea

Landmark’s E Street Cinema

38 Witnesses

Holidays by the Sea

AFI Silver Theatre Mon., April 2, 4:45 p.m., Tue., April 3, 9:05 p.m.

AFI Silver Theatre April 1 to 4

The privileged wife of a British judge is caught in a self-destructive love affair with an ex-Royal Air Force pilot.

The Avalon Theatre Sat., April 14, 6:30 p.m., Sun., April 15, 7 p.m.

This documentary retraces the life of celebrated Guadeloupe-born author Maryse Condé, who published more than over a dozen novels exploring the relationships between African peoples and the Diaspora.

Regal Cinemas Gallery Place Wed., April 18, 6:30 p.m., Thu., April 19, 6:30 p.m.

Directed by Terence Davies (U.S./U.K., 2011, 98 min.)

April 2012

Farsi Facing Mirrors

In this exciting mix of taut suspense and terse black comedy, Jeanne Moreau tracks down and extracts vengeance on the five salauds who killed her husband on their wedding day. AFI Silver Theatre April 4 to 9

Delicacy (La délicatesse) Directed by David and Stéphane Foenkinos (France, 2011, 108 min.)

Audrey Tautou is a widowed Parisian business executive who throws herself into her work until one day, inexplicably, her zest for life and love is rekindled by an unlikely source, her seemingly unexceptional, gauche office subordinate. Landmark’s E Street Cinema

Free Men Directed by Ismael Ferroukhi (France, 2011, 99 min.)

In the German-occupied Paris of 1942, an Algerian émigré who loses his factory job is drawn into the French Resistance by way of an activist cousin, undercover mosque worker, and hedonistic traditional Algerian singer. (Filmfest DC) Landmark’s E Street Cinema Sat., April 14, 9 p.m., Sun., April 15, 5:15 p.m.

The Giants

Directed by Negar Azarbayjani (Iran, 2011, 102 min.)

Directed by Bouli Lanners (Belgium/France/Luxembourg, 2011, 84 min.)

In the contemporary Tehran of this character-driven drama, a hidebound wife surreptitiously driving her jailed husband’s taxi clocks the fare of her life in a rich preop transsexual on the run from an impending arranged marriage. (Filmfest DC)

A 15-year-old boy and his younger brother are left at their late grandfather’s rickety country cottage with nothing more than an endless summer ahead of them, devising alarming ways to amuse themselves. (Filmfest DC)

Naval Heritage Center Sat., April 14, 6:30 p.m., Sun., April 15, 2:15 p.m.

Naval Heritage Center Sun., April 15, 7 p.m., Wed., April 18, 8:30 p.m.

French

The Kid with a Bike (Le Gamin au Velo)

17 Girls (17 filles) Directed by Delphine and Muriel Coulin (France, 2011, 90 min.)

In a sleepy seaside town in Brittany, popular high schooler Camille finds herself pregnant and soon all her followers decide that they, too, must become with child. (Filmfest DC)

Directed by Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne (Belgium/France/Italy, 2011, 87 min.)

A 12-year-old has only one plan: find the father who temporarily left him in a children’s home. Along the way though, he becomes the ward of a kind hairdresser who seems surprised to find herself so determined to help him. Landmark’s E Street Cinema

Monsieur Lazhar Directed by Phillipe Falardeau (Canada, 2011, 94 min.)

Following the death of a beloved teacher in the very classroom where she coached her ethnically diverse 11- and 12-year-old charges, a 55-year-old Algerian immigrant materializes as if from nowhere to assume the teaching duties. (Filmfest DC) The Avalon Theatre Fri., April 13, 8:45 p.m., Tue., April 17, 8:45 p.m.

The Sea Wall (Un barrage contre le Pacifique) Directed by Rithy Panh (France/Cambodia/Belgium, 2008, 115 min.)

In 1931 Indochina, a mother — troubled by the departure of her two grown children and deceived by the colonial administration into investing of her entire savings in a worthless, regularly flooded farmland — devises a crazy scheme to build a dam against the sea. La Maison Française Wed., April 4, 7 p.m.

The Young Girls of Rochefort (Les demoiselles de Rochefort) Directed by Jacques Demy (France, 1969, 125 min.)

In town for the fair, George Chakiris dances through Danielle Darrieux’s snack bar, while her restless daughters dream of Paris and sailor-on-leave Jacques Perrin dreams of his ideal woman. Then Gene Kelly drops in! AFI Silver Theatre April 1 to 5

German Almanya Directed by Yasemin Samdereli (Germany, 2010, 97 min.)

A Turkish-German family stumbles through two countries to ask one question: “Who am I?” (Filmfest DC) The Avalon Theatre Fri., April 20, 7 p.m., Sat., April 21, 9 p.m.

Cracks in the Shell Directed by Christian Schwochow (Germany, 2011, 113 min.)

An aspiring actress who both struggles to get noticed and wants nothing more

The Washington Diplomat

April 2012


than to remain invisible is cast in a role that is demanding, sexually charged and distorts the line between reality and fantasy. (Filmfest DC) Regal Cinemas Gallery Place Sat., April 14, 6:30 p.m., Mon., April 16, 8:45 p.m.

The System (Das System - Alles verstehen heißt alles verzeihen) Directed by Marc Bauder (Germany, 2011, 85 min.)

Mike, an attractive and intelligent young dropout, becomes involved in a parallel world of international lobbyists and former GDR secret service agents who work together for economic advantage.

Landmark’s E Street Cinema Fri., April 20, 6:30 p.m., Sat., April 21, 9 p.m.

Cheol-su joined forces for this tag-team project, with each contributing a short narrative about infidelity. (Mature audiences)

Spanish The Cat Vanishes

Goethe-Institut Fri., April 13, 8:30 p.m., Sat., April 14, 7 p.m.

Hanezu

Freer Gallery of Art Sun., April 1, 3 p.m.

Directed by Carlos Sorin (Argentina, 2011, 89 min.)

Swedish

Directed by Naomi Kawase (Japan, 2011, 91 min.)

A straightforward tale of a love triangle in the remote mountainous Nara region, this contemporary story is so tightly bound to an ancient landscape myth that the two can hardly be untangled. (Filmfest DC) National Gallery of Art Sun., April 22, 4:30 p.m.

Jiro Dreams of Sushi Directed by David Gelb (U.S., 2011, 81 min.)

The Yellow Sea (Hwanghae) Directed by Na Hong-jin (South Korea, 2010, 137 min.)

A taxi driver in the no-man’s-land where the borders of North Korea, China, and Russia meet agrees to commit a contract murder to get out of his debts, but when his plans go awry, a bloody war erupts between ruthless rival gang bosses. Freer Gallery of Art Sun., April 22, 2 p.m.

Goethe-Institut Mon., April 16, 6:30 p.m.

This quiet yet enthralling documentary chronicles the life of Jiro Ono, 85, the most famous sushi chef in Tokyo.

Greek

Landmark’s E Street Cinema

Abu, Son of Adam

Unfair World

Late Spring

Directed by Filippos Tsitos (Greece, 2011, 118 min.)

Directed by Yasujiro Ozu (Japan, 1949, 108 min.)

Directed by Salim Ahmed (India, 2011, 101 min.)

Every day, a policeman worn down by the demands of his job sits in a dreary office and listens to the sad stories of those accused of crimes. Whether guilty or not, he finds ways to offer a second chance. (Filmfest DC)

A devoted father becomes a matchmaker for his radiant daughter, who in turn reluctantly consents to an alliance when told that her widowed father might remarry. (Filmfest DC)

The Avalon Theatre Wed., April 18, 8:30 p.m., Thu., April 19, 8:45 p.m.

Hebrew Footnote (Hearat Shulayim) Directed by Joseph Cedar (Israel, 2011, 105 min.)

A father and son are rival professors in Talmudic studies whose relationship gets even more complicated when one of the men wins Israel’s most prestigious national award. Landmark’s E Street Cinema

Indonesian The Raid: Redemption (Serbuan maut) Directed by Gareth Huw Evans (Indonesia/U.S., 2011, 100 min.)

A rookie member of an elite special forces team must use every bit of his fighting strength when his team’s cover is blown during a covert mission to nab a brutal crime lord from a rundown apartment block, and the crime boss offers lifelong sanctuary to every killer, rapist and thief in the building in exchange for their heads. Landmark’s E Street Cinema

Italian Terraferma Directed by Emanuele Crialese (Italy/France, 2011, 88 min.)

Set on the island of Linosa, the film focuses on a community of struggling fishermen and a family patriarch who refuses to conform to changing times. (Filmfest DC) The Avalon Theatre Fri., April 13, 6:30 p.m., Sun., April 15, 7:30 p.m.

Japanese Ace Attorney Directed by Takashi Miike (Japan, 2011, 135 min.)

A neophyte lawyer defends his school chum on a murder charge in this stylized film that combines Victorian England and L.A. film noir. (Filmfest DC)

National Gallery of Art Sat., April 21, 2:30 p.m.

The Thousand-Year Fire Directed by Naoki Segi (Japan, 2004, 89 min.)

Mourning the loss of his parents, 11-yearold Satoshi moves to a small seaside town where he decides to participate in Hiwatashi, a ritual swim in the open sea. (Filmfest DC) National Gallery of Art Sun., April 22, 11:30 a.m.

Korean The Chaser (Chugyeogja) Directed by Na Hong-jin (South Korea, 2008, 125 min.)

When one of cop-turned-pimp Jung-ho’s girls goes missing, he thinks it’s a rival moving in on his territory, but the truth turns out to be much more sinister.

Malayalam

“Abu, Son of Adam” is a poignant, slice-of-life story about a devout shopkeeper who lives in the southern Indian state of Kerala. (Filmfest DC) The Avalon Theatre Sat., April 14, 4:30 p.m., Sun., April 15, 2:30 p.m.

Russian Baikonur Directed by Veit Helmer (Kazakhstan/Germany/Russia, 2011, 94 min.)

A young man in a small Kazakh village where space debris from Russian rockets is common stumbles on a unique find: a space tourist in the form of a young French woman. (Filmfest DC) Goethe-Institut Fri., April 20, 6:30 p.m., Sat., April 21, 9 p.m.

Elena Directed by Andrey Zvyagintsev (Russia, 2010, 109 min.)

A remarried, middle-age wife and mother is caught between the demands of her reflexively imperious new husband and the needs of her impoverished biological son. (Filmfest DC)

Freer Gallery of Art Fri., April 20, 7 p.m.

The Avalon Theatre Mon., April 16, 8:45 p.m., Tue., April 17, 6:30 p.m.

End of Animal

Seediq

Directed by Jo Sung-hee (South Korea, 2010, 110 min.)

A pregnant teenager on a taxi ride to the country is joined by a mysterious passenger who begins a countdown to the moment when “the angels will descend” in this enigmatic tale of apocalypse with dark humor. Freer Gallery of Art Sun., April 8, 2 p.m.

Invasion of Alien Bikini (Eillieon bikini) Directed by Oh Young-doo (South Korea, 2011, 75 min.)

In this ingenious micro-budget sci-fi movie, a self-appointed urban hero with a fake moustache, rescues a damsel in distress who turns out to be a space alien on a mission to be impregnated by an earthling, by any means necessary. Freer Gallery of Art Sun., April 1, 1 p.m.

Red Vacance, Black Wedding Directed by Kim Tai-sik and Park Cheol-su (South Korea, 2011, 90 min.)

Veteran directors Kim Tai-sik and Park

Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale Directed by Wei Te-Sheng (Taiwan, 2011, 150 min.)

Based on the Wushe Incident of 1930, this epic historical saga tells the story of a showdown between the aboriginal Taiwanese tribe Seediq and the Japanese village of Wushe. (Filmfest DC; Seediq and Japanese) Regal Cinemas Gallery Place Sat., April 14, 3:30 p.m., Sat., April 21, 2 p.m.

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 Through April 5

A college professor returns home to his wife after in a psychotic breakdown, but his wife isn’t sure he’s fully recovered, especially when her cat goes missing. (Filmfest DC) Naval Heritage Center Wed., April 18, 6:30 p.m., Fri., April 20, 9 p.m.

Chico & Rita Directed by Fernando Trueba, Javier Mariscal, Tono Errando (Spain/U.K., 2010, 94 min.)

This epic animated story of love and heartbreak celebrates the passionate music and culture of Cuba, set against the color and bustle of Havana, New York, Las Vegas, Hollywood and Paris in the late 1940s and early ’50s. Landmark’s E Street Cinema

Havana Eva Directed by Fina Torres (Cuba/Venezuela/France, 2010, 104 min.)

A free-spirited seamstress in contemporary Havana has grown impatient with the sameness of the wedding gowns she must create and the fiancé who can’t seem to finish building their house. (Filmfest DC) Landmark’s E Street Cinema Fri., April 20, 9:15 p.m., Sat., April 21, 4:15 p.m.

Jean Gentil Directed by Laura Amelia Guzman and Israel Cardenas (Dominican Republic/Mexico/Germany, 2010, 84 min.)

Jean, an educated and devout Christian man, maintains a remarkably dignified attitude despite being forced like many others to leave Haiti to look for work in the Dominican Republic. (Filmfest DC; Spanish and Haitian Creole)

Big Boys Gone Bananas!* Directed by Fredrik Gertten (Sweden, 2012, 88 min.)

How far will a big corporation go to protect its brand? Swedish filmmaker Fredrik Gertten found out with the release of his film “Bananas!*” which recounted the lawsuit that 12 Nicaraguan plantation workers brought against fruit giant Dole Food Co. (Filmfest DC) Regal Cinemas Gallery Place Mon., April 16, 6:15 p.m., Wed., April 18, 9 p.m.

Swiss-German The Sandman Directed by Peter Luisi (Switzerland, 2011, 88 min.)

With his elaborate red cravat, Medusan hair, and arrogant attitude, philatelist Benno is as unusual as he is unpleasant, targeting his wrath at the frustrated musician downstairs. (Filmfest DC) Naval Heritage Center Fri., April 13, 9:15 p.m., Sun., April 15, 5 p.m.

Turkish Once Upon a Time in Anatolia Directed by Nuri Bilge Ceylan (Turkey/Bosnia-Herzegovina, 2011, 157 min.)

A murder suspect leads a convoy of police to the site of the crime, but the killer cannot recall where he left the body, so the convey travels through the deserted countryside as conversations along the way reveal not only the facts of the crime but political attitudes and personal longings. (Filmfest DC) Landmark’s E Street Cinema Sun., April 15, 2 p.m.

from page 44

Film Reviews Dean’s iconoclastic role in “Rebel Without a Cause.” The young Soviet rebels call themselves nicknames borrowed from the United States. They sport carefully styled big hairdos while clad in brightly colored foreign attire smuggled into the black market. Their favorite underground clubs feature banned music like the jazz of Miles Davis and Charlie Parker as well as the rock ‘n’ roll of Elvis Presley (who was also thought rather dangerous to society when first introduced in the U.S.). As a 20-year-old young communist who’s always followed the party line, Mels (Anton Shagin) lives up to his name — an acronym for Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin. A reserved “square,” he initially finds the daring antics of the “hipsters” to be shockingly disturbing. In fact, he’s an officer serving in the fashion police, whose duty is to slice up and destroy forbidden garments while still on the body of the offender, vanquishing the trappings of forbidden culture on the spot. But then he falls for a hipster girl (Oksana Akinshina) and starts to drink the Kool-Aid himself. He also learns

April 2012

Photo: Leisure Time Features

Young Soviets take a cue from “Rebel Without a Cause” to challenge their political system in the Cold War romp “Hipsters.”

[

Hipsters (Stilyagi)

]

(Russian with subtitles; 125 min.; scope)

Landmark’s E Street Cinema Opens Fri., April 6

★★★★✩

the pleasures of rhythm, picking up dancing and the saxophone along the way, completing his transformation from a former fashion policeman into a stylish icon adorned with a pompadour and the latest Western clothing trends. Ky N. Nguyen is the film reviewer for The Washington Diplomat.

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 April 10 to July 31

Joan Miró from the Collection of the Kreeger Museum

Joan Miró was a perfectionist who insisted he was a “self-taught amateur” to transgress traditional techniques, especially in pursuit of printmaking as a medium for his breathtaking expressions of Catalan culture. This exhibition marks the first time the Kreeger’s complete collection of works by Miró will be on view, including T”he Mallorca Suite,” “Makimono,” and “El Vol de l’Alosa (The Flight of the Lark).”

Through April 15

Through May 5

Flangini & Minnelli - Il Cinema Dipinto

15

During the filming of “Lust for Life” (a 1957 Oscar winner), a movie about the life of Vincent van Gogh that director Vincent Minnelli shot in Belgium in 1955, artist Giuseppe Flangini created a wonderful storyboard for the film comprised more than 50 works, including oils and drawings. This marks the first time the American public can view this comprehensive exhibit of Flangini’s works. Italian Cultural Institute Through April 15

Gabarrón’s Roots

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.

The Kreeger Museum

American University Museum Katzen Arts Center

Through April 10

Through April 15

Costantino Nivola: 100 Years of Creativity

On the 100th anniversary of his birth, the Italian Cultural Institute is paying tribute to one of Italy’s most acclaimed sculptors, Costantino Nivola (1911-88), renowned for combining architecture with sculpture in his bas-relief and semi-abstract artwork, as well as for his technique of sand casting in cement. Italian Cultural Institute Through April 12

Another Way of Viewing the World: Le Monde Diplomatique, 1954-2012

THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT

Duva Diva: DuvTeatern’s Glorious Carmen and Photographs by Stefan Bremer

These two exhibitions feature beautiful photographs by Stefan Bremer of actors and dancers with Down syndrome and other intellectual disabilities who performed in an unusual performance of Bizet’s “Carmen” last year with the Finnish National Opera in Helsinki (supported by the Embassy of Finland). Charles Krause/Reporting Fine Art Through April 15

Migration_Standards

Realized in cooperation with the art collective bäckerstrasse 4 – plattform für junge kunst curated, this exhibit featuring four artists focuses on the challenges of migration and its structural conditions as a result of redistribution of power and property.

To celebrate 15 years as an international gallery in Washington, International Visions’ next exhibit is a group show featuring artists who have worked with at the gallery over the years, including Stanley Agbontaen, Annette Isham and Helen Zughaib. International Visions Gallery Through 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 Through 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. Corcoran Gallery of Art Through May 13

Suprasensorial: Experiments in Light, Color, and Space

Through April 13

Through April 27

“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.

Lie of the Land: New Australian Landscapes

gute aussichten: young german photography 2011/2012

Through May 20

To celebrate the release of the magazine Le Monde Diplomatique in the U.S., this exhibition showcases 58 years of front pages from the famous French monthly devoted to international relations. District Archtecture Center Sigal Gallery

More than 60 works by 12 Australian artists offer a contemporary take on traditional landscape traditions. “Images of Australian landscapes have long been celebrated internationally,” said Ambassador Kim Beazley. “However these artists re-examine the conventions of the genre to suggest the complex histories that persist beneath picturesque images of gumtrees and golden pastures.” Embassy of Australia Through April 15

Anil Revri: Faith and Liberation through Abstraction

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. American University Museum Katzen Arts Center

Page 48

Austrian Cultural Forum

Photography by seven winners of “gute aussichten 2011/2012,” the eighth annual German competition for graduate photography students, reflect highly diverse aesthetic, formal and conceptual approaches that provide insights into the multifaceted themes that form the focus of young artists’ interests today. Goethe-Institut Through April 30

Roisin Fitzpatrick – Artist of the Light

Roisin Fitzpatrick, who previously worked at the U.N., was inspired to take up art after a brain aneurysm. Now a leading contemporary Irish artist, Fitzpatrick uses the finest quality crystals and silks to maximize the reflection and refraction of light in original works that are inspired by her Celtic heritage, nature and the cosmos — and which have been critically acclaimed by Forbes, Wall Street Journal and the Boston Globe. La Luna Gallery

April 2012

in hopes of expanding their overshadowed voices. Folger Shakespeare Library Through 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.

The Textile Museum

DANCE

Through June 17

For this world premiere, Washington Ballet Artistic Director Septime Webre teams up with costume designer Liz Vandal (Cirque du Soleil’s “OVO”), composer Matthew Pierce, set designer Jim Kronzer, lighting designer Clifton Taylor and puppeteer Eric J. Van Wyk for this spectacularly re-imagined take on Lewis Carroll’s classic tale. Tickets are $50 to $155.

Hokusai: 36 Views of Mount Fuji The most acclaimed print series by Japan’s most famous artist, “Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji” by Katsushika Hokusai (1760–1849) contains images of worldwide renown, including “The Great Wave.” Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Through July 6

Alberto Schommer: Portraits and Scenarios

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). Embassy of Spain Through July 8

Masters of Mercy: Buddha’s Amazing Disciples

Kano Kazunobu’s (1816–1863) phantasmagoric paintings reflect a popular theme in Edo art: the lives and deeds of the Buddha’s legendary 500 disciples. Arthur M. Sackler Gallery

Ñew York

From the Library: The Fleeting Structures of Early Modern Europe

Works by outstanding young Latin American and Spanish artists residing in New York City pay tribute to a long-lost artistic exchange and revive innovative communication channels between Latin and Spanish plastic and visual artists, reflecting on mobility in an era of widespread displacement where both global and local barriers are broken down.

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.

Organization of American States Art Museum of the Americas

National Gallery of Art Through July 29

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 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.

April 11 to 15

Through July 29

Shakespeare’s Sisters: Voices of English and European Women Writers, 1500-1700

Dragons, Nagas, and Creatures of the Deep

Hillwood Estate, Museum and Gardens

Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden

Through May 20

Through Jan. 6

Royalists to Romantics: Women Artists from the Louvre, Versailles, and Other French National Collections

The National Museum of Women in the Arts celebrates its 25th anniversary with the first exhibition to explore the life and work of women artists in the time of the French Revolution with more than 75 rarely seen works by 35 artists. National Museum of Women in the Arts

ALICE (in wonderland)

Kennedy Center Eisenhower Theater April 12 to 14

Moscow Festival Ballet

The Moscow Festival Ballet comes to George Mason University for three special engagements: “Giselle,” the tale of a young peasant girl who falls in love with a count (April 12 at the Hylton Performing Arts Center); the magical fairytale of “The Sleeping Beauty” (April 13); and “Cinderella” featuring Prokofiev’s exuberant score (April 14). Tickets are $27 to $54. George Mason University Center for the Arts (April 13,14) Hylton Performing Arts Center (April 12)

DISCUSSIONS Tue., April 3, 8:30 a.m. to noon

Faith, Money, Power

The American Islamic Congress, Ogilvy Noor, Dinar Standard and the Pew Research Center present information and insights on the buying power, demographics and engagement of America’s Muslim consumer community. To register, visit www.aicongress.org/faith-moneypower/. Carnegie Institution for Science Thu., April 5, 7 p.m.

Literary Salon: Alexandre Najjar

Today, French literature might just as easily be composed in Africa, the Middle East or North America as in France. This literary salon examines the richness of the Francophonie world through Beirut-born author Alexandre Najjar, considered one of the best French authors of his generation. Tickets are $15. Alliance Française de Washington Mon., April 9, 6:30 p.m.

Literary Salon: Guy Régis Jr.

Guy Régis Jr., born in 1974 in Port-auPrince, Haiti, is a playwright, translator, stage and film director, and founder of the contemporary Haitian theater troupe “Nous Théâtre.” Embassy of Haiti

The Washington Diplomat

April 2012


Tue., April 10, 7 p.m.

‘Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero’

MSNBC commentator Chris Matthews joins Inter-American Development Bank President Luis Alberto Moreno to discuss Matthews´s 2011 book, “Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero.” (Photo ID required to enter.) Inter-American Development Bank Wed., April 25, 7:30 p.m.

Martin Fletcher: The List

Former NBC News Middle East correspondent and Tel Aviv bureau chief Martin Fletcher discusses his new fictional book, “The List,” which delves into the world of post-World War II England and the prestatehood years of Palestine. Tickets are $10. Washington DCJCC

FESTIVALS April 9 to 15

Songkran Thai Restaurant Week

The Royal Thai Embassy in D.C. is sponsoring a Thai Restaurant Week for the fifth year to celebrate Songkran, the Thai New Year, which falls on April 13. The embassy has partnered with local restaurants to offer a menu showcasing the vibrancy of Thai food. For information, visit www.thaiembdc.org. Various locations April 10 to 14

Small is More: Snapshots of Belgian Performing Arts

Considered among the most cutting-edge troupes in Europe today, five companies from Belgium captivate audiences with their corrosive humor, incongruous plots and experimental settings — in the first showcase of Belgian theater and dance to be held in D.C. For a full schedule, visit www.francedc.org.

and adults throughout the city, including Concerts In Schools, Enriching Experiences for Seniors, the Capitol Jazz Project and the Embassy Adoption Program. This year’s gala features NBC’s Barbara Harrison as master of ceremonies and a special performance by Tony Award winner Brian Stokes Mitchell, as well as dinner, dancing and live and silent auction. Tickets start at $600; for information, call (202) 293-9325. Marriott Wardman Park Hotel

MUSIC Wed., April 11, 8 p.m.

Cheikh Lô

One of the great mavericks of African music, Jammm Senegalese Cheikh Lô is a multi-talented singer, songwriter, guitarist and percussionist who has distilled a variety of influences from West and Central Africa to create a style that is uniquely his own. Tickets are $25 to $45. GW Lisner Auditorium Wed., April 18, 6:30 to 10 p.m.

10th Annual Winners Grand Prix Concert Under the gracious patronage French Ambassador François Delattre, the Washington International Piano Arts Council (WIPAC) presents the 10th Annual Winners Grand Prix Concert featuring the first-prize winners of the Festival of Music and Washington International Piano Artists Competitions and Le Concours de Grands Amateurs de Piano of Paris, which was WIPAC’s source of inspiration in 2001. WTOP’s Bob Madigan is master of ceremonies. Tickets start at $50; for information, visit www.wipac.org. La Maison Française

Various locations

Fri., April 20, 7:30 p.m.

Through April 27

The Embassy Series trio in residence is joined by violist Michael Stepniak for a program of Austrian chamber music, including a piano trio by Joseph Haydn, a rarely performed youthful piano quartet by Gustav Mahler and the celebrated piano trio in E flat Major by Franz Schubert. Tickets are $50, including reception; for information, visit www.embassyseries.org.

National Cherry Blossom Festival

A century after Japan’s 1912 gift of 3,000 cherry blossom trees to Washington, D.C., the National Cherry Blossom Festival presents an unprecedented citywide celebration of this enduring sign of friendship on its 100th anniversary, with five weeks of events ranging from workshops and exhibits to seminars and parties. For information, visit www.nationalcherryblossomfestival.org. Various locations

GALAS Wed., April 18, 6:30 p.m.

Folger Gala

The Folger Shakespeare Library’s annual gala is its most important fundraiser of the year, with proceeds Folger’s cultural and educational programming for the greater Washington area and beyond. The 2012 Folger Gala will mark the library’s 80th anniversary. Tickets are $600; for information, call (202) 675-0324. Folger Shakespeare Library Sat., April 21, 6 p.m.

WPAS Gala and Auction

Japanese Ambassador and Mrs. Ichiro Fujisaki are the honorary diplomatic chairs of this year’s WPAS Annual Gala and Auction to benefit the Washington Performing Arts Society, a wide-ranging nonprofit presenter of both established performers and emerging artists that also supports educational programs for children

Mendelssohn Piano Trio

Events Highlight

EU in Sync The European Union isn’t exactly always known for being unified, especially when it comes to monetary matters, but on the musical front, the bloc has struck a harmonious note with the European Union Youth Orchestra (EUYO), which makes its first visit to the U.S. since 1988 this month. EUYO features Europe’s finest young musicians, with 116 musical prodigies from all 27 member states (the only one on the continent to do so), led by renowned conductor Vladimir Ashkenazy, a six-time Grammy-winning pianist. The prestigious orchestra has toured more than 60 countries such as India, Germany, Kazakhstan, Brazil and China. “In the challenging times which Europe is living through today,” the European Commission President José Manuel Barroso wrote in a message of support, “the European Union Youth Orchestra is a reminder of the common values and shared heritage which transcends our day-to-day concerns. This orchestra symbolizes much of what is good about the European Union: It brings together members from across the EU united by the vibrancy of youth and the passion for excellence.” Open to any musician between the ages of 14 and 24 who is of conservatoire standard, EUYO was founded in 1976 by Lionel and Joy Bryer, a Boston native who came to Europe in the mid-1950s when she married and settled in London.

THEATER Through 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 Tue., April 10, 7:30 p.m.

The Burden Within Moi, fardeau inhérent

In the night, a woman waits by the window in a universe of shadows and visions, of crisp contours and soft edges that we live through each breath of her voice (in French with English subtitles). Through April 15

Fri., April 27, 7:30 p.m.

In a desolate Siberian potato field, a comically fourth-rate Russian theater troupe sets up its ratty tents and wows the local farmers with rock-fueled adaptations of great Russian figures, focusing one night on the hypnotic mystic Rasputin. Tickets start at $63.

Paulius Andersson is the winner of the Music Without Limits international competition and has performed in Germany, Poland, Ukraine, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Russia, Estonia, Latvia and at various concert halls in Lithuania. Tickets are $55, including reception; for information, visit www.embassyseries.org. Embassy of Lithuania Fri., April 27, 6:30 p.m.

Voices of Spring

The Opera Camerata of Washington, with support from the Ambassador of Belgium and Mrs. Jan. Matthysen, present a program featuring Jesús Hernández, José Sacín, Michael Ronay, Evelyn Thatcher, Joyce Lundy and maestro Stephen Czarkowski conducting the Opera Camerata of Washington Orchestral Ensemble. Tickets are $125 and include cocktails and a buffet dinner. For information, call (202) 386-6008. Belgian Residence

Jews in Babylon by King Nebuchadnezzar. Tickets start at $25. Kennedy Center Opera House Through April 29

Heartbroken over her adored fiancé’s death, Nina engages in a series of sordid affairs before marrying a man she does not love. Months later, pregnant with her husband’s child, she learns a horrifying secret about his family, setting off a chain of events that spans two decades (part of the Eugene O’Neill Festival). Tickets

April 18 to May 20

The 39 Steps

With four actors playing over 150 characters, this classic Hitchcock thriller takes a comedic turn when Richard Hannay agrees to take home a mysterious woman he meets at the theater — and unexpectedly finds himself thrown into a world of spies and adventure. Tickets start at $26. Olney Theatre Center April 28 to May 21

Nabucco

For the first time in its 56-year history, Washington National Opera (WNO) presents Giuseppe Verdi’s early masterpiece “Nabucco,” which tells the Biblical tale of the defeat, enslavement, and exile of the

The Shakespeare Theatre Through May 6

In Eugene O’Neill’s autobiographical masterwork, delusion and disenchantment have pitted the Tyrone family members against one another for decades, until they’re forced to either confront their defeated dreams or be forever doomed to a cycle of guilt and resentment. Call for ticket information. Arena Stage

CULTURE GUIDE

Brother Russia

Signature Theatre

are $20 to $100.

Long Day’s Journey Into Night

Strange Interlude

La Maison Française

Embassy of Austria

Paulius Andersson, Piano

Their first major project was the International Festival of Youth Orchestras and Performing Arts in 1969, whereby Joy organized and raised funds for 10 major festivals showcasing leading youth orchestras, ballet, folk, choral, dance, opera and visual arts groups. Joy has since been widely recognized throughout Europe for promoting Photo: WPAS intercultural understanding among young people. The latest crop of young musicians from EUYO will tour the U.S. from April 13 to 24, with performances at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, New York City’s Carnegie Hall (appearing with solo violinist Itzhak Perlman) and Boston’s Symphony Hall, among other stops. On April 15, they’ll come to the Kennedy Center in D.C., joined by solo violinist Pinchas Zukerman, in a concert sponsored by the Washington Performing Arts Society (WPAS). To celebrate the many cultural ties between the United States and Europe, the EUYO will also invite 15 young American musicians to join them as orchestral members for some of the concerts. And in D.C., EUYO musicians will conduct informal workshops with students at Thomas S. Wootton High School in Rockville and Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Spring, Md. The U.S. tour has been made possible by the European Union Delegation to the United States, EU member states, the Friends of the British Council, the British Council, Delta, KLM, Air France and Alitalia. — Anna Gawel

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DIPLOMATIC SPOTLIGHT

The Washington Diplomat

April 2012

2012 Embassy Chef Challenge

Photos: gail scott / anna gawel

Executive Director of Cultural Tourism DC Linda Donavan Harper, left, and Lars Beese, executive chef at the Danish Embassy and winner of last year’s Embassy Chef Challenge, announce the winners of the 2012 Embassy Chef Challenge, held at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center.

From left, Viktor Merényi of the Hungarian Embassy, the Judges Choice Winner; Sondre Bruvik Ellingstad of the Norwegian Embassy, the Challenge Denmark Winner; and Devin E. Johnson of the Bahamas Embassy, the People’s Choice Winner, were the chefs who took top honors at the 2012 Embassy Chef Challenge.

Political and Public Affairs Officer at the Hungarian Embassy András Szorenyi, left, poses with his embassy’s chef, Viktor Merényi (and his wife Zita), who won top honors at the fourth edition of Cultural Tourism DC’s Embassy Chef Challenge for his slowcooked beef dish served with traditional Hungarian accompaniments.

Ambassador of Kazakhstan Erlan Idrissov, left, proudly joins his embassy chef, Yerlan Abdrakhmanov, right, at the 2012 Embassy Chef Challenge, whose proceeds support Cultural Tourism DC, a nonprofit coalition of more than 230 local organizations that helps residents and visitors experience D.C.’s authentic culture and heritage.

Chef Young A. Byeon Lee of the Embassy of the Republic of Korea shows off the dish she served to more than 600 guests at the 2012 Embassy Chef Challenge. Ambassador of Sri Lanka Jaliya Wickramasuriya, left, poses with his embassy’s chef, Channa Perera, one of more than a dozen chefs competing in the 2012 Embassy Chef Challenge, cohosted by Cultural Tourism DC and the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center.

Chef Sondre Bruvik Ellingstad from the Royal Norwegian Embassy, center, stands with Ambassador of Norway Wegger Christian Strommen and his wife Rev. Cecilie J. Strommen at the 2012 Embassy Chef Challenge, in which he won the Challenge Denmark Award, a preliminary “Top Chef”-style cook-off held in February.

Among the celebrity judges in the 2012 Embassy Chef Challenge were Warren Brown, founder and owner of CakeLove, left, and Carla Hall, “Top Chef” finalist and cohost of “The Chew.”

Ambassador of Trinidad and Tobago Neil Parsan enjoys a bite at the Embassy Chef Challenge, an appetizer for Cultural Tourism DC’s Passport DC, the month-long series of embassy open houses and events in May.

Kuwaiti National Day From left, Sultana Hakimi, Rima Al-Sabah, Ambassador of Kuwait Salem Abdullah Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, and Ambassador of Afghanistan Eklil Hakimi attend the Kuwaiti National Day reception at the Four Seasons.

From left, Keith Lipert, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jim Hoagland, Ambassador of Jordan Alia Hatoug-Bouran, and Ambassador of France François Delattre attend the Kuwaiti National Day reception at the Four Seasons. From left, Swiss chef Vincent Muia, Rodrigo Geron of the Swiss Residence staff, Cultural Counselor and Spokesman at the Swiss Embassy Norbert Bärlocher, and wife of the Swiss ambassador Christine Sager stand by their culinary display for the 2012 Embassy Chef Challenge.

Ambassador of Georgia Temuri Yakobashvili, left, joins his embassy chef, Malknaz Maisashvili, along with a display of traditional Georgian dress, at the 2012 Embassy Chef Challenge.

Chef Sherene N. James of the Jamaican Embassy, left, joins Franz N. Hall, minister-counselor at the Jamaican Embassy, at the 2012 Embassy Chef Challenge, the annual culinary competition for Washington, D.C., embassy chefs.

Page 50

From left, Jan Du Plain, embassy liaison for Cultural Tourism DC, Business Development Officer at the Rwandan Embassy Setti Solomon, and Economics Counselor at the Rwandan Embassy Bonny Musefano attend the 2012 Embassy Chef Challenge.

Right, from left, former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Zalmay Khalilzad joins Rima Al-Sabah and Ambassador of Kuwait Salem Abdullah Al-Jaber Al-Sabah at a reception at the Four Seasons Hotel celebrating Kuwait’s 51st National Day and the 21st anniversary of its liberation.

From left, Wayne and Catherine Reynolds of the Catherine B. Reynolds Foundation join Café Milano’s Franco Nuschese and Adrienne Arsht at the Kuwaiti National Day reception.

The Washington Diplomat

Selwa “Lucky” Roosevelt, right, joins Alexandra de Borch­ grave at the Kuwaiti National Day reception.

April 2012


Japan Tribute

Photos: institute for education

From left, Eri Watanabe of Tohoku University, Japanese Ambassador Ichiro Fujisaki, Yuko Fujishima of Waseda University, Julia Anderson (sister of the late Taylor Anderson, who was the first U.S. victim of the March 2011 tsunami in Japan), Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy Dr. John P. Holdren, Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources Thomas Nides, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission Gregory B. Jaczko, and Yoriko Fujisaki attend a reception marking the one-year anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake.

From left, Deanie Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey, and Deputy Energy Secretary Daniel Poneman attend a reception commemorating the one-year anniversary of the March 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear catastrophe in Japan.

From left, Yoriko Fujisaki and Ambassador of Japan Ichiro Fujisaki join Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources Thomas Nides at a reception commemorating the one-year anniversary of the March 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear catastrophe in Japan.

Ambassador of Indonesia Dino Patti Djalal and his wife Rosa Djalal attend a reception commemorating the one-year anniversary of the March 2011 Japan earthquake and tsunami that killed nearly 20,000 people.

Prevent Cancer Spring Gala

Ambassador of Monaco Gilles Noghès, left, joins Swiss Ambassador Manuel Sager at the Prevent Cancer Foundation’s 18th Annual Spring Gala, with Switzerland serving as this year’s honorary diplomatic patrons, while Monaco served last year. Photos: gail scott

From left, Marie Thérèse Royce, wife of the Swiss ambassador Christine Sager, Prevent Cancer Foundation President and founder Carolyn Aldigé, and wife of the Monaco ambassador Ellen Noghès attend the Prevent Cancer Foundation’s 18th Annual Spring Gala at the National Building Museum, with the theme of “Modern+Majestic=Switzerland.”

Four Seasons General Manager and Regional Vice President Christian Clerc, a native-born Swiss, and his wife Meg enjoy the Prevent Cancer Foundation’s Annual Spring Gala, which over the years has raised more than $18.5 million in support of cancer research and direct service programs to medically underserved communities.

Turkish Fashion

Hungarian National Day

From left, U.S. Ambassador to Hungary Eleni Tsakopoulos Kounalakis, Ambassador of Hungary Gyorgy Szapary, and Ambassador of Austria Hans Peter Manz attend the Hungarian National Day reception held at the Hungarian Embassy.

From left, Prevent Cancer Foundation President and founder Carolyn Aldigé presents the foundation’s Cancer Champion Award to former Rep. Michael G. Oxley (R-Ohio) with gala chair Joann Piccolo, vice president of global government affairs for TE Connectivity. Oxley is a lung cancer survivor and advocate of cancer research and prevention.

Zoltán Fehér, deputy head of mission at the Hungarian Embassy in Turkey, left, joins János Horváth, doyen of the Hungarian National Assembly, at Hungary’s National Day reception, also marking the 164th anniversary of the 1848-49 Hungarian Revolution and Freedom Fight.

Ambassador of Slovenia Roman Kirn and his wife Jovana Kirn attend the Prevent Cancer Foundation’s Annual Spring Gala at the National Building Museum, an event that regularly attracts more than 900 guests.

Kazakh Concert

From left, Ambassador of Oman Hunaina Sultan Ahmed, Ambassador of Singapore Chan Heng Chee, and Ambassador of Bahrain Houda Nonoo enjoy the fashions on display at a the “One Rug Thousand Words” fashion show at the Turkish Embassy Residence. Ambassador of Kazakhstan Erlan Idrissov and musical director Marat Zhalbirov, center, are surrounded by members of Qulan Saz, a renowned Kazakh ethno-folk ensemble that held a recent performance at the Carnegie Institution for Science on the President’s Day in honor of the 20th anniversary of Kazakhstan’s independence and the 20th anniversary of Kazakhstan-U.S. diplomatic ties.

Photos: gail scott

Photos: gail scott

Defense, Military, Naval and Air Attaché at the Swiss Embassy Maj. Gen. Peter Friedrich Egger, left, greets Defense, Military and Air Attaché at the Hungarian Embassy Col. Zoltan Bone at the Hungarian National Day reception.

Former Hungarian Ambassador to the U.S. András Simonyi, now managing director for the Center for Transatlantic Relations at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, left, joins Hungarian-American interior designer Aniko Gaal Schott at the Hungarian National Day reception.

Turkish Ambassador Namik Tan, right, welcomes Turkish designer Nedret Taciroglu to his embassy residence for a fashion show of Taciroglu’s fall 2012 collection.

April 2012

The Washington Diplomat Page 51


DIPLOMATIC SPOTLIGHT

The Washington Diplomat

April 2012

Celebrating Women

Photo: institute for education

Photos: gail scott

From left, Suzy Shoukry, wife of the Egyptian ambassador; Gwen Holliday, wife of Meridian President Stuart Holliday; and Ambassador of Finland Ritva Koukku-Ronde attend the seminar “Empowering Women: The Way Ahead” held at the Pakistani Embassy to mark International Women’s Day.

Ambassador of Pakistan Sherry Rehman, left, joins Shaista Mahmood at an International Women’s Day seminar held at the Pakistani Embassy.

From left, Khawar Mumtaz, CEO of Shirkat Gah, a Pakistani women’s resource center, Deputy Chief of Mission at the Pakistani Embassy Iffat Imran Gardezi, and Ambassador-atLarge for Global Women’s Issues at the State Department Melanne S. Verveer attend an International Women’s Day seminar held at the Pakistani Embassy.

From left, wife of the Luxembourg ambassador Louise Åkerblom, wife of the South African ambassador Rosieda Shabodien, wife of the former Afghan ambassador Shamim Jawad, wife of the Monaco ambassador Ellen Noghès, and Institute for Education CEO Kathy Kemper attend an International Women’s Day event hosted by Rev. Cecilie Joegensen Strommen, wife of the Norwegian ambassador, featuring an “instant version” of Henrik Ibsen’s play “A Doll’s House” at the Norwegian Residence.

Photo: larry luxner

From right, Larry Sampler, principal deputy assistant administrator for USAID’s Office of Afghanistan and Pakistan Affairs; Ambassador of Afghanistan Eklil Hakimi; Melanne Verveer, ambassador-atlarge for global women’s issues at the State Department; Wendy Chamberlin, president of the Middle East Institute and former U.S. ambassador to Pakistan; and Ambassador of Slovenia participate in a panel discussion at the Slovenian Embassy titled “Afghanistan: Moving Forward” co-hosted by the Virginia-based International Relief & Development (IRD).

Photo: jan du plain

Ambassador of Sweden Jonas Hafström, left, joins Ambassador of Estonia Marina Kaljurand at a seminar on “Women, Peace and Security in Afghanistan” at the Embassy of Finland.

Ambassador of Finland Ritva Koukku-Ronde introduces speakers for a panel on “Women, Peace and Security in Afghanistan: Prospects on the Way Forward” hosted by the U.S. Institute of Peace at the Finnish Embassy.

From left, panel moderator Frederica Dunn, Ambassador of the African Union Amina Salum Ali, Sophia Ghezai, the first commercial pilot for Ethiopian Airlines, and Aoko Midiwo-Odembo, wife of the Kenyan ambassador and consultant manager of East African Programs, attend a discussion at the Meridian International Center hosted by THIS for Diplomats on “The Changing Role of Women in Africa.”

Photos: gail scott Photos: gail scott

From left, American University law professor Diane Orentlicher, Ambassador of the Netherlands Renée JonesBos, Director of the American University War Crimes Research Office Susana SaCouto, and Dean of the American University Washington College of Law Claudio Grossman attend a discussion on sexual and gender-based violence in conflict and post-conflict states at American University.

Wife of the South African ambassador Rosieda Shabodien, left, joins wife of the Gambian ambassador and Judge Aminatta N’Gum for a conference on sexual violence.

From left, Naima Aujali, wife of the Libyan ambassador; Kinza Tekaya, wife of the Tunisian ambassador; and Amina Olhaye, wife of the Djibouti ambassador, attend a meeting of the Muslim Women’s Association.

From left, Rosa Djalal, wife of the Indonesian ambassador and president of the Muslim Women’s Association; Muslim scholar Akbar Ahmed of the Brookings Institution and American University; and Suzy Shoukry, wife of the Egyptian ambassador and vice president of the Muslim Women’s Association, attend the association’s February meeting at the Indonesian Residence, where Ahmed gave a speech titled “Paradise Lies at the Feet of the Mother.”

Guatemalan Artifacts

King Peggy Book Launch

Photo: jan du plain

From left, President and CEO of Herndon & Associates (and cousin of Maya Angelou) Gloria Herndon, Chair of the International Correspondents Committee Myron Belkind, Executive Director of Cultural Tourism DC Linda Harper, King Peggy of Ghana, author Eleanor Herman, and Jan Du Plain attend a book launch at the National Press Club of “King Peggy: An American Secretary, Her Royal Destiny, and How She Changed an African Village.”

Page 52

Photos: jan du plain

From left, Guatemalan Minister of Foreign Affairs Harold Caballeros, Ambassador of Guatemala Julio Martini Herrera, and Assistant Secretary of the Office of International Affairs for U.S. Customs and Border Protection Charles Stallworth attend a press conference announcing the “Cultural Repatriation of Pre-Columbian Mayan Artifacts to the People of Guatemala” from the U.S. government.

From left, Senior Analyst of Cultural Heritage at the State Department Greg Borgstede, Cultural Attaché at the Guatemalan Embassy Maria Eugenia Alvarez, and Commercial Attaché at the Guatemalan Embassy Jose Lambour attend an event celebrating the return of pre-Columbian artifacts to the Guatemalan government.

Emerging Markets at Jordan The Institute for Education (IFE) held an IFE Emerging Markets Roundtable at the Embassy of Jordan on March 6. Posing in front of a photo of the Treasury at Petra are, from left, IFE Emerging Markets founder Aaron Sokasian, IFE CEO and founder Kathy Kemper, IFE Emerging Market founder John Farmer, Ambassador of Jordan Alia Hatoug-Bouran, K12 CEO and founder Ron Packard, and Andrew Mitchell.

The Washington Diplomat

April 2012


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APPOINTMENTS iraq Jabir habeb Jabir became ambassador of Iraq to the United states on Jan. 18, having most recently managed the “Arabic Region” Department at the ministry of Foreign Affairs. Ambassador Jabir was previously a lecturer with the Faculty of law and Political science at Baghdad University from 1991 to 2005, as well as an associate senior lecturer at the Iraqi Ambassador Justice Institution from 1998 to 1999. Jabir Habeb Jabir With a 20-year academic background specializing in political science, he supervised many postgraduate master’s and Ph.D. thesis candidates at Baghdad University and wrote various articles on international relations and politics for both academic publications and media outlets such as the middle East, published in london. In 2005, after the fall of saddam hussein, Ambassador Jabir was elected as a member of the United Iraqi Alliance to the Iraqi Parliament, where he served on the Constitution Review Committee and the Parliamentary Foreign Relations Committee. Born in Baghdad in 1955, Ambassador Jabir obtained his bachelor’s degree in political science from Baghdad University in 1980 and his doctorate from Dundee University in the United Kingdom in 1991. he is married with three sons.

Jordan Adi Ghassan mohd Khair assumed the position of first secretary handling congressional and political affairs on march 5. he previously served as a special assistant to the U.n. special envoy for libya, as well as a political expert with the Permanent mission of Jordan to the United nations. sufyan Qudah departed the post of minister-counselor (politics) in April, having previously served as political officer wit the Department of Asian, African and Australian Affairs at the minister of Foreign Affairs in Amman.

mali Al maamoun Baba lamine Keita became ambassador of mali to the United states on Jan. 18, having previously served as the secretary-general of the ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation since 2008. Before that, Ambassador

Keita was mali’s ambassador to Ethiopia with concurrent accreditation to Kenya, Uganda, tanzania and Djibouti from 2001 to 2007. During this time, he was also mali’s permanent representative to the African Union, the U.n. Economic Commission for Africa and the U.n. Environmental Program. In addition, he served various postings in the ministry of Foreign Affairs, including technical advisor (1999-2001), political affairs director (1996-99), chief of the middle East Division (1981-89) and of the organization of Islamic Cooperation Division (1987-89), as well as first counselor at the malian Embassy in Egypt (1989-96). Ambassador Keita helped to develop the curriculum for the Africa Center for strategic studies in 1999, was the founder and editor-in-chief of the news magazine la Concorde from 1985 to 1989, and was a bilingual interpreter for former malian President Gen. moussa traoré from 1980 to 1989. Born in 1955, Ambassador Keita holds a bachAmbassador elor’s degree in political science and international relations from Cairo Al maamoun Baba University. he also holds various diplomas Lamine Keita from the U.s. Department of Defense, Department of state and UsAID, as well as the Royal military Academy sandhurst in london. Ambassador is married to marié Keita and has five children.

marshall islands Charles Rudolph Paul became ambassador of the marshall Islands on sept. 9, after his predecessor, Ambassador Banny deBrum, died in march 2011. Ambassador Paul most recently served as first secretary for health and education affairs at the marshall Islands Embassy in Washington since 2007, having been appointed chargé d’affaires and deputy chief of mission in February 2008. Ambassador Paul graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in economics and a minor in business management from Washington College in Chestertown, maryland, in 2003. he also worked as an intern at the International Programs Center of the U.s. Census Bureau at the Department of Commerce in Washington, D.C. After his graduation in 2003, Ambassador Paul worked as an economic research specialist with the marshall Islands office of Compact negotiations at the ministry of Foreign Affairs. the following year, he served as chief of performance monitoring, evaluation, and aid coordination at the Economic Policy, Planning and statistics office (EPPso) in majuro. Ambassador Paul is the son of Rudolph and Irene Paul of Ebeye, Kwajalein Atoll in the Republic of the marshall Islands.

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April 8: Easter April 9: Easter monday

mACeDoNiA

April 6: Good Friday

eL sALvADor

iCeLAND April 5: maundy thursday April 6: Good Friday April 8: Easter April 9: Easter monday April 19: First Day of summer

mADAGAsCAr

April 5 to 9: holy Week

eQuAToriAL GuiNeA April 6: Good Friday April 8: Easter April 9: Easter monday

esToNiA April 8: Easter April 9: Easter monday

eTHiopiA April 8: Easter April 9: Easter monday

FiJi

April 2012

April 2012

April 6: Good Friday April 8: Easter April 9: Easter monday

FiNLAND April 6: Good Friday April 8: Easter April 9: Easter monday April 30: may Day Eve

FrANCe

iNDiA April 6: Good Friday

iNDoNesiA April 6: Good Friday

ireLAND April 8: Easter April 9: Easter monday

isrAeL April 6 to 14: Passover

iTALy April 8: Easter April 9: Easter monday April 25: liberation Day

JAmAiCA

April 8: Easter April 9: Easter monday

April 6: Good Friday April 8: Easter April 9: Easter monday

GABoN

JApAN

April 8: Easter

GAmBiA April 8: Easter

GeorGiA April 8: Easter

GermANy April 6: Good Friday April 8: Easter

GHANA April 6: Good Friday April 8: Easter April 9: Easter monday

GreeCe April 13: Good Friday (Greek orthodox) April 16: Easter monday (Greek orthodox)

GreNADA April 6: Good Friday April 8: Easter April 9: Easter monday

GuATemALA April 5: holy thursday April 6: Good Friday April 8: Easter

April 8: Easter

April 8: Easter April 9: Easter monday

mALAWi April 6: Good Friday April 8: Easter April 9: Easter monday

mALTA April 6: Good Friday

moLDovA April 8: Easter April 9: Easter monday

moZAmBiQue April 7: Women’s Day

NAmiBiA April 6: Good Friday April 8: Easter April 9: Easter monday April 22: Independence Day

NeTHerLANDs April 8: Easter April 9: Easter monday April 30: Queen’s Day

NeW ZeALAND

April 29: Greenery Day

KeNyA April 6: Good Friday April 8: Easter April 9: Easter monday

LAos April 13-15: lao new year

LATviA April 6: Good Friday April 8: Easter April 9: Easter monday

LeBANoN April 6: Good Friday April 8: Easter

LesoTHo April 6: Good Friday April 8: Easter April 9: Easter monday

LieCHTeNsTeiN April 6: Good Friday April 8: Easter April 9: Easter monday

LiTHuANiA April 8: Easter

April 6: Good Friday April 8: Easter April 9: Easter monday April 25: AnZAC Day

NiCArAGuA April 5: holy thursday April 6: Good Friday

NiGer April 8: Easter April 24: national Day

NiGeriA April 6: Good Friday April 8: Easter April 9: Easter monday

NorWAy April 1: Palm sunday April 5: maundy thursday April 6: Good Friday April 8: Easter April 9: Easter monday

pANAmA April 6: Good Friday

pApuA NeW GuiNeA April 6: Good Friday

see HoLiDAys, page 55

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April 2012


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REAL ESTATE

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FOR SALE OR RENT

emBAssy roW AreA —

emBAssy roW —

Embassy office space- DC/nyC Chancery Buildings/Residential Buildings - Embassy Row Area with parking. Ideal for embassies, law firms, foundations, etc. lease or sale. lPC (202) 491-5300. sir James the Diplomats Agent

Elegant Chancery style mansion in close proximity to Embassy Row. Adjacent to the DuPont Circle metro station. Parking. lease/sale. lPC Commercial services Inc. (202) 491-5300.

Agent has numerous other properties to show!

BeTHesDA —

Georgetown –Commercial - For sale Ideal for Chancery use Beautiful 8,500 sq. ft. office building located on Wisconsin Avenue with parking and elevator.

(301) 933-3552

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COMMERCIAL

CommerCiAL properTy —

needs changes

April 2012

PROFESSIONAL SERVICES

FOR SALE

8913 Clewerwall Dr. Bethesda, MD 20817

shoRt-tERm REntAl (June 4 – Aug.13, 2012) Elegant, 9 room Arts & Crafts-style home situated on a secluded, wooded property. the 4-BR/3.5 BA home is beautifully furnished, spacious, comfortable and ideal for entertaining. located near D.C. in Bethesda; large, modern living room, open dining room seats 10; comfortable tV/family room and attractive, country kitchen. Cable tV and wireless Internet. Close to downtown Bethesda on Rt36 bus line / 20-min. metro train into D.C from Bethesda or 30-min. drive by car. Rental Rates: A) minimum 6-weeks of 10-week period ($1,750/week) for a total=$10,500. oR B) All 10-weeks ($1,390/week) for a total=$13,390. security deposit required. Phone: (240) 499-8510.

SELL - BUY - RENT: 301-933-3552

Beautifully renovated

SELL? BUY? RENT? Call (301) 933-3552 to place your classified ad in the real estate section.

$1,995,000

summit Commercial Real Estate (202) 289-5400

Mary ellen o’Brien & Hans Wydler agents: long & foster

T: 7.625 in

240.497.1700

Foreclosure af fects more than just you. It af fects your whole family. A million families will face losing their homes this year. Call today for help. Because nothing is worse than doing nothing.

placing your Classifieds Ad rates: Rates start at $20. Classified ad is $20 for 25 words, 35¢ each additional word. Add photo for $20. real estate ads: Rates start at $20. 25 words with a photo is $40, without photo, $20. Additional words, 35¢. Deadline: the deadline for ads is the 15th of each month at the close of business.

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call (301) 933-3552 The Diplomat reserves the right to refuse any classified ads for any reason.

from page 53

Holidays April 23: Easter saturday April 8: Easter

pArAGuAy April 5: holy thursday April 6: Good Friday

peru April 5: holy thursday April 6: Good Friday

pHiLippiNes April 5: holy thursday April 6: Good Friday April 9: Araw ng Kagitingan

poLAND April 8: Easter

April 2012

April 9: Easter monday

porTuGAL April 6: Good Friday April 8: Easter April 25: liberty Day

romANiA April 8: Easter April 9: Easter monday RWAnDA April 7: national mourning Day

sT. KiTTs and Nevis April 6: Good Friday April 7: Easter saturday April 8: Easter

sT. LuCiA

siNGApore

sWAZiLAND

April 6: Good Friday April 7: Easter saturday April 8: Easter

April 6: Good Friday

April 19: King’s Birthday April 25: national Flag Day

sT. viNCeNT and THe GreNADiNes April 6: Good Friday April 7: Easter saturday April 8: Easter

seNeGAL April 8: Easter April 24: Independence Day

seyCHeLLes April 6: Good Friday April 8: Easter

let me find the house for you! Honesty, Integrity and Experience with the International Community sarah G. Thomas, W.C. & A.n. miller Realtors A Long and Foster Company sarah.thomas@longandfoster.com (240) 330-9048.

Mediterranean-style residence on 2 acres in sought-after Bethesda neighborhood, steps to Congressional Country Club. Grand entertaining spaces, 2-story foyer w/curved stair, gourmet SS & granite kit, b-fast room, window-wrapped sunroom, family rm w/stone fp, living rm w/ vaulted ceiling, main level master w/ sitting rm, wine tasting room & more! 6BR/5.5BA, 7,900 sq ft of living.

We specialize in working with embassies. Please call Guy d’Amecourt for further information. (202) 415-7800 or (202) 682-6261

moNTGomery CouNTy LiFesTyLe speCiALisT —

sLovAKiA April 6: Good Friday April 8: Easter April 9: Easter monday

sLoveNiA April 8: Easter April 9: Easter monday April 27: national Uprising Day

souTH AFriCA April 6: Good Friday April 25: Family Day April 27: Freedom Day

sierrA LeoNe

spAiN

April 27: Independence Day

April 5: holy thursday April 6: Good Friday

sWeDeN April 6: Good Friday April 7: Easter saturday April 8: Easter

sWiTZerLAND

April 26: Union Day (national Day)

THAiLAND April 6: Chakri memorial Day April 13-15: songkran Festival Day

ToGo

April 6: Good Friday April 7: Easter saturday April 8: Easter

April 8: Easter April 9: Easter monday April 27: Independence Day

syriA

ToNGA

April 17: Independence Day

TANZANiA April 6: Good Friday April 8: Easter April 9: Easter monday

April 6: Good Friday April 8: Easter April 9: Easter monday

TriNiDAD and ToBAGo April 6: Good Friday April 8: Easter

reAL esTATe CApiTAL — Private real estate capital available. Up to 100% ltV. no upfront costs. We are the lender … not a broker. Call today at (240) 552-3346. Ask for Walter lyons.

FOR RENT BeTHesDA — Available April 1st - stunning contemporary rambler with full-length windows, cathedral ceilings, garden view; open living and dining room ideal for entertaining; quiet residential neighborhood, within walking distance to Ashburton Elementary, tilden middle and Walter Johnson high schools. Easy access to public transportation and metro (Red line - medical Center). over 2,000 square feet of living space - 4 BRs, 3 BAs, spacious, fully equipped kitchen, large family room and laundry area for $2,800 per month. Contact evemarie301@gmail.com or (301) 530-7429.

Diplomat Classifieds Sell - 301.933.3552

LAND/LOTS mAssACHuseTTs Ave. HeiGHTs — Estate land Assemblage. unique Diplomatic Church school Compound-style property. Can build. Approximately 30,000 sq. ft. with parking. metro 2 blocks. lPC (202) 513-6708.

April 9: Easter monday

TuNisiA April 9: martyrs’ Day

TurKey

April 8: Easter April 19: Declaration of Independence

vieTNAm

April 23: Children’s Day

April 30: national Reunification Day

uGANDA

ZAmBiA

April 6: Good Friday April 8: Easter April 9: Easter monday

April 6: Good Friday April 7: holy saturday April 8: Easter April 9: Easter monday

uNiTeD KiNGDom April 6: Good Friday April 8: Easter April 9: Easter monday

uruGuAy April 5 to 9: holy Week

veNeZueLA April 6: Good Friday

ZimBABWe April 6: Good Friday April 7: holy saturday April 8: Easter April 9: Easter monday April 18: Independence Day April 19: Public holiday

The Washington Diplomat Page 55


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The Washington Diplomat

April 2012

April 2012  

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

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