Luxury Living and Hotels & Travel Special Sections INSIDE Luxury Living
A Special Section of The Washington Diplomat
VOLUME 25, NUMBER 4
President Trump’s imposition of tariffs on steel and aluminum imports as part of his “America First” agenda has ignited a worldwide firestorm of anger, frustration and confusion — and fears of a tit-for-tat trade war. / PAGE 4
Trump’s Tariffs Spark Fears of Global Trade War
Area Luxury Real Estate
Market Continues to Grow,
Though Picture Is Mixed
he luxury real estate marOverall sales increased ket in the Washington, by about D.C., 3 percent in 2017, while luxury area continues to grow, a home sales jumped 18.7 new report from Long percent, & Foster compared to 2016, according Real Estate and Christie’s to Internathe 2017 Capital Region tional Real Estate found. Market Report. But those numbers are a
PHOTO: LONG & FOSTER
REAL ESTATE / CHRISTIE’S
BY STEPHANIE KANOWITZ
little misleading, cautioned Jeff Detwiler, president and chief executive officer of Long & Foster Companies.
INTERNATIONAL REAL ESTATE
The home at 1173 Dolley Madison Boulevard in McLean, Va., sold for $4.1 million last year by Long & Foster.
SEE TRENDS • PAGE 24 THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT
| APRIL 2018 | 23
Voters Across Latin America Approach Pivotal Election Year Against the backdrop of high-profile corruption scandals, a series of unpredictable elections and transitions will take place this year, notably in Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela and Cuba. In total, nearly two-thirds of Latin Americans will elect a new president in 2018, possibly transforming the region’s politics for years to come. / PAGE 8
In May, President Trump will make history when he inaugurates the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem, cementing America’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. But the ribbon-cutting, which coincides with the 70th anniversary of Israel’s independence, will be nothing less than “catastrophic,” warns Husam Zomlot, Palestine’s man in Washington. / PAGE 13
Visitors Transported To ‘Tomb of Christ’ Virtual technology transports Washingtonians to Jerusalem and Jesus’s final resting place. / PAGE 32
Cuba Readies for Big Transition
Montenegro Couple There at the Start
Come April 19, Cuba — for the first time in nearly six decades — will be led by a man whose last name isn’t Castro. But that doesn’t mean relations with Washington will get any better. / PAGE 10
Pharmacist Mojca Kaluđerović and her husband, Ambassador of Montenegro Nebojša Kaluđerović, have been together far longer than the existence of the young country they represent, although they have both been there for the beginning of its diplomatic journey. / PAGE 33
Photo: The Umbrella Syndicate
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Photo taken at the General Delegation of the Palestine Liberation Organization to the United States by Lawrence Ruggeri of RuggeriPhoto.com.
THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | APRIL 2018
13 10 27
The president’s crackdown on steel and aluminum imports sparks fears of a trade war.
8 VOTES TO WATCH Latin America has big votes this year. Here’s why they matter.
CUBA IN TRANSITION Raúl Castro step down as his island’s relations with Washington worsen.
REGULARS 38 CINEMA LISTING 40 EVENTS LISTING 42 DIPLOMATIC SPOTLIGHT 46 CLASSIFIEDS 47 REAL ESTATE CLASSIFIEDS
COVER PROFILE: PALESTINE Palestinian Representative Husam Zomlot says the U.S. is on the wrong side of history.
NORDIC VANTAGE POINT Security cooperation is a two-way street.
Why does the U.S. spend more on health care than other countries?
LUXURY LIVING 23
The area’s luxury real estate market continues to grow, though with some caveats.
HOTELS & TRAVEL 27
SPRING IS SPECIAL
Hotels usher in the warmer weather with plenty of springtime specials.
“Tomb of Christ” uses technology to transport visitor to Jesus’s final resting place.
A veteran Montenegrin diplomat and his pharmacist wife represent their young nation.
FABRIC OF HUMANITY
“Syria: Please Don’t Forget Us” offers a poignant look at the war through one man’s journey.
“Women House” puts a clever twist on deconstructing domestic stereotypes.
MIRROR OF POWER
Iranian royalty from the Qajar dynasty sought to convey power and grandeur through self-portraits. THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | APRIL 2018 | 3
WD | United States
Trump’s Tariffs President Cracks Down on Steel and Aluminum Imports, Sparking Fears of Trade War BY JOHN BRINKLEY
resident Trump’s imposition of tariffs on steel and aluminum imports has ignited a worldwide firestorm of anger, frustration and confusion. Countries that export steel and/or aluminum to the United States have vowed to retaliate with tariffs on U.S. exports and could lodge legal challenges at the World Trade Organization. The WTO and the International Monetary Fund released statements decrying the tariffs — 25 percent on steel, 10 percent on aluminum. In the United States, congressional Republicans, business and agricultural interest groups, even White House officials tried to talk Trump out of imposing the tariffs. His chief economic adviser, Gary Cohn, resigned after refusing to support them, the latest in a string of high-profile departures. Cohn and other free trade advocates, including Defense Secretary James Mattis, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (also since gone) and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, had warned against the tariffs for months, while Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and trade advisor Peter Navarro had pushed for them. On March 1, Trump seemed to catch most of his staff off guard with his surprise announcement. A week later, the roller-coaster ride continued when the president declared that China and Mexico would be initially excluded from the tariffs pending ongoing renegotiations of the North American Free Trade Agreement. Trump also left the door open to exemptions for other security allies such as Australia on the condition that they address his trade concerns. “I’ll have a right to go up or down, depending on the country, and I’ll have a right to drop out countries or add countries,” Trump said March 8, suggesting that he’ll use the threat of tariffs as leverage in NAFTA talks and other trade disputes. “We just want fairness. Because we have not been treated fairly by other countries.” The announcements have left governments and businesses around the world struggling to figure out Trump’s next move. Despite the uncertainty, the tariffs are very much in line with one of Trump’s signature campaign promises and his long-held belief that free trade has cost American jobs. But his protectionist instincts have collided with his other economic goals, namely to keep job growth and the stock market humming along. The Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 have plunged since the announcement, driven by fears about the possibility of a trade war that could spark a global slowdown. Trump was sanguine about that. He said in a tweet on March 2: “Trade wars
4 | THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | APRIL 2018
PHOTO: PIXABAY / HOMW
President Trump has imposed a 25 percent tariff on imported steel and a 10 percent tariff on imported aluminum, above, provoking a backlash from trade partners such as the European Union, Japan and Brazil.
Trade wars are good, and easy to win. U.S. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP
Trade wars are bad and easy to lose. EUROPEAN COUNCIL PRESIDENT DONALD TUSK
are good, and easy to win.” European Council President Donald Tusk retorted that “trade wars are bad and easy to lose.” China, the 11th-largest exporter of steel to the United States, had earlier been hit with tariffs on solar panels and washing machines. Trump is also preparing other punitive measures targeting at least $50 billion in Chinese products, along with restrictions on Chinese investment, to crack down on intellectual property theft. Beijing said it would retaliate by raising tariffs on nearly 130 U.S. goods totaling $3 billion, including imports of American soybeans and sorghum. Separately, analysts fear the showdown over tariffs could endanger China’s cooperation on the North Korean nuclear crisis. “China does not want to fight a trade war, but it is absolutely not afraid of a trade war,” Beijing’s Commerce Ministry said in a statement. While the steel and aluminum tariffs are ostensibly aimed at China, which is accused of flooding the world market with cheap metals that depress prices, their impact will be limited given that China only accounts for 2 percent of U.S.
steel imports. The tariffs are more likely to hurt U.S. allies such as Canada and South Korea, which together account for about a quarter of U.S. steel imports. Canada (the largest source of U.S. steel imports) and Mexico (the fourth largest) were initially spared, although other allies such as Japan, Brazil and the European Union still found themselves in the lurch. But when Trump announced the additional tariffs on Chinese goods, he granted a brief exemption to the EU, Australia, Argentina, Brazil and South Korea, all of which now have until May 1 to negotiate trade concessions with the administration. The reprieve did little to quell the confusion over Trump’s policy agenda. Governments ranging from Japan to Germany will now try to lobby to win further exemptions or threaten the U.S. with retaliatory tariffs. A simultaneous proclamation that the administration might impose import quotas on certain countries pending negotiations only further muddied the picture. The EU has been preparing a list of American products to target — everything from cranberries, orange juice and
peanut butter to Harley-Davidson motorcycles, Levis jeans and bourbon. In a late March summit in Brussels, French President Emmanuel Macron said the EU is willing to negotiate with the U.S., but “will not talk about anything when it is with a gun to our head.” European Commission President JeanClaude Juncker was even more blunt in an earlier statement, saying, “so now we will also impose import tariffs. This is basically a stupid process, the fact that we have to do this. But we have to do it…. We can also do stupid.” Trump tweeted his response to Juncker’s statement on March 3: “If the E.U. wants to further increase their already massive tariffs and barriers on U.S. companies doing business there, we will simply apply a Tax on their Cars which freely pour into the U.S. They make it impossible for our cars (and more) to sell there. Big trade imbalance!” The EU moves are designed to hit America’s heartland — and the GOP base. Harley-Davidson is based in House Speaker Paul Ryan’s Wisconsin district. Bourbon is made in Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s home state of Kentucky. Ryan and McConnell both denounced the tariffs but have so far shied away from doing anything to block the measures, possibly in the hopes that the party can convince Trump to water down the tariffs. “There is a lot of concern among ReSEE TAR IFFS • PAGE 6
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Tariffs CONTINUED • PAGE 4
publican senators that this could sort of metastasize into a larger trade war,” McConnell said at a news conference. “Many of our members are discussing with the administration just how broad, how sweeping this might be, and there is a high level of concern about interfering with what appears to be an economy that is taking off.” Aside from the possibility of retaliation, there is the specter of higher consumer prices as industries that use steel and aluminum have to pay more for them. That could raise the cost of everything from beer cans to cars to aluminum foil to even the cost of gas because oil companies use the metals for pipelines and extraction. Tit-for-tat tariffs by other countries could also punish American farmers and other businesses that have nothing to do with steel and aluminum. More expensive products could in turn cut consumer spending, further threatening economic growth. “These are massive tariff hikes and they are going to raise costs for many of our world-class industries like autos, machinery and equipment, oil and gas, and construction. These are all huge sectors of the economy, and the negative impacts on them will surely outweigh any benefits to the steel and aluminum industries,” said Rufus Yerxa, president of the National Foreign Trade Council. Economists echo those concerns, noting that the jobs potentially gained in steel and aluminum — an industry that had already been shrinking since the 1960s — do not outweigh the job losses in downstream industries. A new report by The Trade Partnership, a consulting firm, estimated that Trump’s tariffs could increase steel and aluminum employment by 33,000 jobs, but also cost 179,000 jobs in other areas of the economy. Tori K. Whiting of the conservative Heritage Foundation noted that steel-using industries employ 17 million Americans in sectors ranging from automotive manufacturing to construction. “An increase in the price of imported steel and aluminum would put these jobs at risk,” she wrote in a March 2 brief. “This already happened in the recent past. Steel tariffs imposed in 2002 cost 200,000 hardworking Americans their jobs.” Those tariffs were lifted a year later. Republicans also warn that a trade war could jeopardize any economic gains from the recently passed GOP tax cuts — thereby endangering the party’s prospects in the 2018 midterm elections. “You’d expect a policy this bad from a leftist administration, not a supposedly Republican one,” said Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.). In a subsequent statement, Sasse added: “We’re on the verge of a painful and stupid trade war, and that’s bad. This isn’t just bad for farmers and ranchers in Nebraska who need to buy a new tractor, it’s also bad for the moms and dads who will lose their manufacturing jobs because fewer people can buy a more expensive product. Temporary excep-
CREDIT: OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE PHOTO BY JOYCE N. BOGHOSIAN
President Trump signs a proclamation slapping tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, surrounded by American workers. The U.S. steel and aluminum industry has been declining since the 1960s.
tions for Canada and Mexico are encouraging but bad policy is still bad policy, and these constant NAFTA threats are nuts.” Despite the blowback from his own party, Trump has been praised by some of his political opponents. Democratic members of Congress from steel- and aluminum-producing states said they supported the tariffs. “Regions like my own have been heavily harmed by this very unreciprocal trade across the board, almost in every sector. Steel has been particularly hard hit,” Rep. Marcy Kaptur of Ohio told CNBC. Democratic Sens. Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Bob Casey of Pennsylvania also lauded Trump. “This welcome action is long overdue for shuttered steel plants across Ohio and steelworkers who live in fear that their jobs will be the next victims of Chinese cheating,” Brown said in a statement. “People have had unfettered access for a long, long time that are able to come here on very low if any types of tariffs, but yet they still have it restricted for us to go. That’s just not right,” said Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W. Va.). “I’m glad we are finally standing up for ourselves, and I applaud President Trump’s leadership and willingness to hold places like China accountable for the damage they’ve done to our economy.” The Commerce Department has imposed least 22 anti-dumping sanctions against Chinese steel imports since 2003. That is the same amount it has imposed against the five largest sources of imported steel combined, according to Commerce Department data. Canada, the largest exporter of steel and aluminum to the United States, has had only one U.S. anti-dumping sanction imposed on it since 2003. To impose the latest steel and aluminum tariffs, Trump invoked Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962. The rarely used law allows the president to impose trade sanctions against imports that he deems threatening to national
6 | THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | APRIL 2018
PHOTO: PIXABAY / CAPRI23AUTO
security. The U.S. Commerce Department released a report on Feb. 16 recommending that he do so on the grounds that cheap metals have eroded a key American industrial base. The WTO charter allows any member country to take “any action which it considers necessary for the protection of its essential security interests.” But economists now fear that other countries will slap tariffs on American goods under the pretext of national security, bypassing longstanding international trade rules. Section 232 has been invoked at least 14 times before, but no president has applied it as broadly as Trump has done. Most previous cases have targeted specific products, such as ceramic semiconductor packaging in 1993 and plastic injector molding 1989. And, “in a lot of cases, no tariffs were proposed,” said Steve Charnovitz, a trade law professor at the George Washington University. “Import controls are not a very effective mechanism for protecting national security,” he said. The Defense Department apparently came to the same conclusion. In an undated memorandum to Commerce Secretary Ross, Defense Secretary Mattis said, “DoD believes that the systematic use of unfair trade practices to intentionally erode our innovation and manufacturing industrial base poses a risk to our national security.” However, he added that “the U.S. military requirements for steel and aluminum each only represent about 3 percent of U.S. production. Therefore, DoD does not believe that the
[Commerce Department] findings impact the ability of DoD programs to acquire the steel or aluminum necessary to meet national defense requirements.” Defense officials also point out that imports from close military partners do not pose a national security risk. Moreover, the tariffs could wind up costing the Pentagon money because it imports materials from these partners to build its fighter jets, weapons and other equipment. The temporary exemptions that Trump announced seemed to offer some wiggle room. Republicans, defense officials and businesses continue to urge the president to craft a narrower, more targeted set of tariffs to avoid alienating key allies abroad. Supporters of the tariffs, however, say fears of a trade war and higher consumer prices are overblown. Some polling also suggests that the tariffs won’t anger Trump’s blue-collar base as much as critics contend. A Feb. 28 survey by Firehouse Strategies and Optimus found that 60 percent of Republicans said they are willing to pay more for cars if that’s necessary to limit imports of steel and help the U.S. steel industry. Whether such feelings hold true if the price of a car jumps by $1,000 or people in downstream industries lose their jobs, however, remains to be seen. One silver lining may be that other countries will act more judiciously than the president has in erecting trade barriers. In a March 5 op-ed, Warwick J. McKibbin of the Brookings Institution argues that countries may move cautiously before enacting steep punitive tariffs because America remains the world’s largest
economy — and there are no winners in trade wars. “As much as countries would like to raise tariffs in response to the uninformed aggression of the Trump Administration, this would clearly lead to losses for all and it would be yet another destruction of an important institution by the Trump Administration. This time it would be the WTO, which is the glue that binds the open world trading system,” he wrote. And as The Economist pointed out in a March 8 editorial, steel and aluminum account for 2 percent of last year’s $2.4 trillion worth of goods imported to the U.S., or 0.2 percent of GDP. But with Trump threatening to walk away from landmark free trade agreements like NAFTA and protectionists gaining an edge in an already-chaotic White House, the magazine also warned that the “omens are bad.” “Unlike his predecessors, Mr. Trump is a long-standing sceptic of free trade. He has sneered at the multilateral trading system, which he sees as a bad deal for America,” it wrote. “Not since its inception at the end of the second world war has the global trading system faced such danger.” The tariffs have even drawn comparisons to the Smoot-Hawley Tariff of 1930, which raised tariffs on over 20,000 imported goods to the U.S., which in turn led to retaliatory tariffs that were considered a major factor in prolonging the Great Depression and giving rise to fascist parties in Europe. McKibbin co-wrote a paper with Andrew Stoeckel showing that even a minor global trade war where tariffs rise 10 percent would reduce the GDP of most countries between 1 percent and 4.5 percent, with the U.S. losing 1.3 percent of GDP and China losing 4.3 percent of GDP. “A 40 percent change in tariffs would cause a deep global recession. The Smoot-Hawley Tariff of 1930 comes to mind. It was driven by similar isolationists arguments that the Trump Administration now relies on,” they wrote. Meanwhile, as Trump turns America inward, other nations are moving in the opposite direction. On the day Trump announced he would exempt Canada and Mexico but press ahead with steel and aluminum tariffs for everyone else, the 11 remaining members of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) that Trump withdrew from a year earlier announced they had signed the sweeping trade deal. Members of the TPP, which include Japan, Canada and Mexico, also signaled that China could eventually join the pact. “Globally, there has been an increasing level of uncertainty, given the adoption of policies and measures by some key players that question the principles that have contributed to generating prosperity for our peoples,” outgoing President Michelle Bachelet of Chile said in a speech before the accord was signed. “We need to stay on the course of globalization, yet learning from our past mistakes.” WD John Brinkley is a freelance writer and was chief speechwriter for the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative in the Obama administration.
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WD | Latin America
The Other 2018 Elections Latin America Has Big Votes This Year. Here’s Why They Matter. BY AILEEN TORRES-BENNETT
s the world — and the Trump administration — turns its attention to hotspots such as North Korea, Israel, China, Syria and even Europe, where populists continue to tip the continent into political uncertainty, there is plenty of turmoil taking place in America’s own backyard. A string of corruption scandals has rocked Latin America, starting in Brazil and spreading to Colombia, Guatemala, Ecuador, Peru and many other governments. Against this backdrop, a series of highly unpredictable elections and transitions will take place this year, most notably in Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela and Cuba. In total, nearly twothirds of Latin Americans will elect a new president in 2018, possibly transforming the region’s politics for years to come.
CASCADE OF CORRUPTION SCANDALS What had been accepted as a routine part of governing is now being exposed as a blight throughout Brazil. In a word: corruption. In 2014, a judge sanctioned Operation Car Wash, a criminal investigation into money laundering that morphed into the biggest corruption scandal in modern history, involving the national oil company Petrobras and the construction conglomerate Odebrecht. It was suspected that the palms of executives and politicians were being greased with bribes totaling billions of dollars in exchange for inflated business contracts. Odebrecht, which has paid $2.6 billion in fines, was even accused of having a special “Department of Bribery.” Billionaires and high-profile politicians have been jailed, and the accused have been caught stashing money in everything from pantyhose to horse stables. The scandal, still under investigation, has long tentacles, reaching all the way up to the presidency and wreaking havoc on other nations such as Peru, whose president recently resigned because of corruption charges and whose economy has taken a major hit as billions of dollars’ worth of construction projects grind to a halt. Operation Car Wash’s first big victim was Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, who was impeached in 2016 for violating fiscal laws but was not officially accused of corruption. From 2003 to 2010, Rousseff was on Petrobras’s board of directors, although her supporters say her impeachment on technical grounds amounted to a coup. President Michel Temer succeeded Rousseff in office after her impeachment and has battled a slew of corruption charges himself. Temer, one of the least popular presidents in Brazilian history, was able to avoid trial by the narrowest of margins after lobbying support in congress. Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, commonly referred to as Lula, who was in office from 2003 to 2011, was put on trial in relation to Operation Car Wash for five cases of corruption, including obstruction of justice and bribery. Lula was convicted last year for accepting the bribe of a beach apartment from OAS, a construction company. He appealed, but the charge was upheld, and his sentence was increased from nine years to 12. Yet Lula is brazenly defying the charges, calling them politically motivated and insisting on running in Brazil’s presidential election later this year even 8 | THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | APRIL 2018
PHOTO: BY JOSÉ CRUZ - AGÊNCIA BRASIL, CC BY 3.0 BR / WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
Former Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, left, is sworn in as chief of staff to his successor, President Dilma Rousseff, on March 17, 2016. The move drew criticism because it shielded Lula, who faced a number of corruption charges, from arrest. Despite his popularity for slashing poverty during his presidency, Lula, along with Rousseff, became embroiled in a string of corruption scandals that have rocked Brazilian politics, although Lula insists he is still running in the October presidential race.
In total, nearly two-thirds of Latin Americans will elect a new president in 2018, possibly transforming the region’s politics for years to come.
though he faces prison time. And he is in a strong position to win despite the legal cloud hanging over him: Not only did Lula preside over unprecedented growth during his term, there is hardly a politician among Brazil’s upper echelons who hasn’t been touched by the entrenched corruption unearthed by Operation Car Wash. While the rule of law seems to be winning out, the mission to expose the seedy underbelly of Brazilian politics and business is churning up instability. The good news is that the country’s institutions are holding steady. The bad news is that the ruling class is on shaky ground, and this will not only have a negative effect on the country, which is the largest economy in Latin America, but throughout the region. The rot of corruption exposed by Operation Car Wash has fueled widespread disillusionment with the establishment, which in turn could influence a spate of consequential elections in neighboring countries this year. Venezuela in particular is a top concern because of the country’s spectacular downfall under President Nicolás Maduro, who has called for an election in May to cement his divisive rule. In just a span of four years since Maduro took office, Venezuela has devolved from a one-time global energy powerhouse into an economic basket case plagued by shortages of food and medicine. Venezuela’s main opposition parties have vowed to boycott the vote. Former soldier Henri Falcon has emerged as the sole candidate to challenge Maduro, although his odds are slim. Despite Maduro’s unpopularity, the vote is largely considered a foregone conclusion in a country where
pro-Chavista leftists maintain an iron grip on power (and on election-rigging). Meanwhile, Cuba, Venezuela’s ideological ally — and America’s longtime adversary —is undergoing a historic transition in April as Raúl Castro hands the reins to a handpicked successor, ending over 40 years of Castro control over the communist island. But Venezuela and Cuba are not the only countries to watch. Key elections that could upend politics throughout the region are taking place in Brazil, Mexico and Colombia. Brazil’s general election is slated for October and Mexico’s in July, while Colombia’s parliamentary election took place in March, with the presidential election scheduled for May. Brazil’s corruption scandal has infected those two other countries through Odebrecht’s contracts for public infrastructure projects, but Mexico and Colombia have their own internal struggles forming the backdrop of their elections.
BRAZIL: DISENCHANTMENT AND ECONOMIC WOES Brazil’s upcoming election will be nothing short of unpredictable, given the volatile nature of the candidate field. Lula is the big story. At the start of the year, he still had strong popular support of more than 30 percent. In the fragmented political landscape of Brazil, that likely would’ve been enough to get the former leftist president — widely revered by the masses for slashing poverty — back into office. The upholding of Lula’s corruption conviction was a big blow to the politician’s chances of return-
ing to lead the country. According to Brazilian law, it means he of the population increased, on average, by 7.1 percent in that strongly, growing primarily in part-time jobs and jobs in the cannot run for office for eight years. This ban would take effect period, compared to 4.4 percent income growth for the popula- informal sector. if Lula puts himself in the playing field as an official candidate. tion as a whole. This achievement is what people remember — Whoever is elected the next president will have to deal with At the moment, he seems to be biding his time. Lula left office with a nearly 90 percent approval rating — and the economy immediately when he or she enters office, and that “What is likely—it’s already happening—is he and his cam- it’s what makes him still popular with voters. person will have a hard time working with what is likely to be a paign people will try to keep his campaign alive as much as Adding to the aura of Lula’s success was the improving econ- continually fragmented congress, de Bolle predicted. The counpossible without making him an official candidate until Aug. omy, which was partly a factor of luck that the upturn coincided try could grow at 3 percent this year, she said, but “the bigger 15,” the cutoff date for registering, Monica de Bolle, a senior with his leadership. A commodity boom, as well as credit-fueled question is what happens in 2019. Brazil can’t sustain growth fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, consumption and labor expansion, drove economic growth in anywhere near 3 percent.” She expects a slowdown. “The state of the Brazilian economy told The Diplomat. The supreme electoral court in Brazil will the last decade, according to the World Bank. then have to rule whether his candidacy is legitimate, and it is Brazil’s rate of reduction of poverty and inequality has stag- concerns me the most. Right now, policies are not sustainable, widely expected to rule against Lula. The election is in Octo- nated since 2015, however, and the country underwent a deep so there has to be a big correction,” said de Bolle. The big unber, and the field of candidates won’t really take on a definite recession in 2015 and 2016. A global collapse in commodity known is whether the new president will understand that polishape, if it ever does, until a month before the election, de- prices and the exposure of systemic corruption spurred the cies need to be corrected to help the economy and whether he or she will be able to get things done with a divided congress. pending on what Lula does. Even if Lula is barred from run- downturn. ning, he may be able to garner enough blank ballot votes to Yet Rousseff pushed ahead with Lula’s social spending once upend the race. in office despite the commodities bust, mounting public debt MEXICO: IMPLICATIONS Corruption is the major theme of Brazil’s election, but the and falling tax revenues. When her stimulus backfired, she imway the populace sees the issue is not cut and dry. In general, plemented unpopular austerity measures (and clever account- FOR U.S. RELATIONS there has been growing opposition to the establishment in gen- ing to cover up how bad the government’s finances were), which Mexico follows on the heels of Brazil as Latin America’s seceral. Rousseff came into the presidency with popular support, in turn led to her downfall. ond-largest economy. In 2017, its GDP grew at 2.3 percent, acbut voters turned against her when the economy tanked, as did Temer announced his government would implement fiscal cording to the World Bank. Contributing to economic growth her own government, forcing her out of power. With Lula, the reforms to deal with the ailing economy, rein in spending and has been the strengthening of Mexico’s exports, which is tied to trajectory has been different, and although a significant por- regain investor confidence. But with a fragmented congress and U.S. industrial production. This whole scenario is pegged to the tion of the population said it would not vote for him because of abysmal approval ratings, he does not have the backing to get North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), a trade pact the corruption scandal, that is counterbalanced by people who anything done. One of the trickiest issues has been pension re- between the U.S., Canada and Mexico that created a powerful continue to support him despite the corruption charges. form. The current bloated pension system threatens to bank- regional economic bloc now threatened by President Trump’s Lula’s base is the poor and the lower middle class. They ben- rupt subnational governments, and Temer failed to pass tough insistence on renegotiating NAFTA. efitted the most from the social programs he put in place that pension reform because he was politically weakened from fightSince NAFTA went into effect in 1994, it has deeply integratraised the minimum wage and increased access to health care ing corruption charges. ed the economies of the three countries. Trilateral trade tripled and education, de Bolle told The Diplomat. “He did corrupt Another wildcard in the election is congressman Jair Bolso- to $1.2 trillion in 2016 since the start of NAFTA, according to things and good things. He’s a force to be reckoned with,” she naro, a former military officer who has likened himself to Don- the Peterson Institute for International Economics. NAFTA said. ald Trump. The antiestablishment candidate has courted con- has created highly interconnected supply chains, particularly ANOTE: savvy political operative who also is supported theassure businessyourtroversy for praising torturein and bashingand gay rights, butitheishas in the auto that maketothe final the products Although every effort made to ad is free of mistakes spelling content ultimately up toindustry, the customer make final more proof.comelite, Lula was able to manage the economy pretty well when found key support among voters, including Brazil’s influential petitive on the global market. If there is no more NAFTA, those The firsthetwo changes will be made no cost to the atadvertiser, subsequent changes billed atviolence a rateand of $75 per faxed SignedTariff adss are considered approved. wasfaxed in office, De Bolle explained at aatpanel in February evangelicals, for pledging to stampwill outbe corruption, products won’talteration. be as competitive. would also be raised, the Inter-American Dialogue on “Brazil’s election and Latin illegal immigration. hurting exporters such as American farmers and Mexican Please check this carefully. any changes to your ad. America’s volatile politics.” Despite thead political volatility, Mark one bright spot is that Brazil’s car part manufactures, who in turn could pass the costs onto Lula lifted people out offax poverty in a society that is extremely economy has begun to recover. Economic activity increased consumers (also see “NAFTA 2.0: Prodded by Trump, U.S., If the ad is correct sign and to: (301) 949-0065 needs changes unequal in wealth and plagued by violence. Between 2003 and about 1 percent in 2017. Unemployment was almost 14 percent Canada and Mexico Prepare to Renegotiate Trade Deal” in the 2014, 29 million people rose out(301) of poverty in Brazil, according during the recession, and it is now down to nearly 12 percent, The Washington Diplomat 933-3552 Approved __________________________________________________ SEE LATIN AMERICA • PAGE 12 the World Bank. The income level of the poorest 40 percent a number that is still high. The labor market is not rebounding Changesto ______________________________________________________________________________________________________
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THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | APRIL 2018 | 9
WD | Caribbean
End of an Era Cuba’s Raúl Castro to Step Down as Island’s Relations with Washington Worsen BY LARRY LUXNER
ome April 19, Cuba — for the first time in nearly six decades — will be led by a man whose last name isn’t Castro. The historic transition, in which 86-year-old Raúl Castro is expected to turn the reins of power over to Miguel Mario Díaz-Canel Bermudez, 57, comes as no surprise. It’s been in the works ever since 2013, when Raúl announced upon his re-election as president that his second five-year term would be his last. In fact, Raúl was supposed to have stepped down on Feb. 24, when elections to Cuba’s rubber-stamp National Assembly were scheduled. But parliament delayed the move until mid-April to allow Cuba to recover from Hurricane Irma, which devastated much of the island last September. Raúl, the younger brother of Fidel Castro, has led Cuba since 2006 and is to remain head of the country’s ruling Communist Party even after he steps down. Díaz-Canel, now Cuba’s first vice president, will likely assume power as the island’s relations with the United States under the Trump administration deteriorate to their lowest level in more than 40 years. A mysterious “sonic attack” last year that allegedly sickened at least 20 U.S. diplomats stationed in Havana led to the expulsion of 15 officials at the Cuban Embassy in Washington — even though no evidence or details about the alleged acoustic incidents were ever revealed, and the entire affair remains shrouded in mystery. Published reports indicate that investigators believed sonic devices that produce non-audible sound were placed in or near the residences of several U.S. Embassy officials with the intent of deafening them. Some observers believe the devices may have been installed by a third country such as Russia. On March 2, former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson announced that the staffing cutbacks at the U.S. Embassy in Havana and the closing of the embassy’s consular section would be made permanent. William LeoGrande, a professor of government at American University, said this “downward spiral” has damaged the interests of both countries. “Going forward, the U.S. diplomatic presence in Cuba will be weaker than at any time since former President Jimmy Carter opened the U.S. Interests Section in 1977. With these actions, Cuban officials have begun to see the whole acoustic episode as an excuse manufactured by the Trump administration to reverse President Obama’s normalization policy.”
STATE DEPARTMENT CLAIMS CUBA ‘UNSAFE’ FOR AMERICANS LeoGrande, one of Washington’s most respected Cuba watchers, warned that as time goes on, the chances of solving these sonic attacks shrink, boding ill for U.S.-Cuba ties that were finally beginning to bloom during Obama’s last two years in the White House. “Next month, Raúl Castro, the principal patron of normalization on the Cuban side, will retire from the presidency, raising the question whether his successor will persist in trying to improve relations where there appears to be so little interest in Washington,” he wrote. “Both U.S. and Cuban diplomats seem sincere about finding a way out of this impasse, get their embassies back up to full strength and resume 10 | THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | APRIL 2018
PHOTO: PIXABAY / ALINE DASSEL
“Viva Fidel” is scrawled on the side of a building in Cuba. Come April 19, the communist island — for the first time in nearly six decades — will be led by a man whose last name isn’t Castro, as Raúl Castro is expected to turn the reins of power over to Miguel Mario Díaz-Canel Bermudez, below.
Next month, Raúl Castro, the principal patron of normalization on the Cuban side, will retire from the presidency, raising the question whether his successor will persist in trying to improve relations where there appears to be so little interest in Washington. WILLIAM LEOGRANDE, professor of government at American University
the dialogues that were underway.” situation regarding U.S. diplomats in Havana has But the longer the two missions operate with only been grossly mismanaged by the State Department skeletal staff, the more damage will be done. Without and highly politicized by the White House and meman operating consulate in Havana, the United States bers of Congress against normalizing relations with won’t be able to meet its commitment under a 1994 our neighbor.” accord to issue 20,000 immigrant visas to Laverty added that the State Department’s Cubans annually. announcement “completely discredits the Meanwhile, said LeoGrande, “the abintegrity” of its travel warning system, and sence of diplomatic boots on the ground that “the harm caused to Cuban families that means fewer cultural, educational and are separated because they can’t obtain visas business exchanges; slower progress on isis inexcusable, and the damage it’s doing to sues of mutual interest; less help for U.S. Cuban entrepreneurs cut off from U.S. visivisitors who need consular services; and tors is a tragedy.” new hardships for Cubans seeking to emiIn fact, a new survey of recent U.S. citizens grate to the United States, who now have to Cuba’s Miguel Mario who visited Cuba in 2017 and early 2018 travel abroad to get a visa.” found it is among the world’s safest destinaDíaz-Canel Bermudez As if to add insult to injury, the State Detions, with 83 percent of respondents describpartment — referring to the unidentified injured U.S. ing Cuba as “very safe” and 16 percent saying Cuba is diplomats — has issued a travel warning that “we be- “safe.” Fewer than 1 percent of travelers believe Cuba lieve U.S. citizens may also be at risk and warn them is “unsafe” — and none of the respondents describe not to travel to Cuba.” Cuba as “very unsafe.” That is total nonsense, says Collin Laverty, presiAnd despite all the ranting from the White House, dent of Cuba Educational Travel. direct commercial flights continue to link Miami “It’s clear that Cuba is among the safest countries and other U.S. gateway cities to Havana, Santiago de in the world for Americans to visit,” he insists. “The Cuba, Camagüey and Holguín. In addition, cruise
ships still bring American passengers to Cuba. Things began changing on Dec. 17, 2014, when Obama announced that he and Raúl would restore diplomatic relations, even with the U.S. trade embargo, which only Congress can lift, still in effect. The following year, the Cuban Interests Section in Washington was upgraded to an embassy, as was the U.S. Interests Section in Havana. And in March 2016, Obama spent three days in Havana as the first sitting U.S. president to visit Cuba in 88 years.
DÍAZ-CANEL WILL HAVE TO ‘ESTABLISH HIS LEGITIMACY’ José Ramón Cabañas, Cuba’s ambassador to the United States, couldn’t be reached for comment on either the coming leadership transition in Havana or U.S. policy toward his island. But Michael Shifter, president of the InterAmerican Dialogue, said Raúl’s impending departure won’t soften the Trump administration’s hostility against Cuba in any way. He also said the new leader will be taking the reins of power in Havana in the midst of continuing economic chaos in Venezuela, Cuba’s biggest supporter. “There’ll be a new generation in power, and it looks very likely that Díaz-Canel will be president. The question is how much authority he’ll have,” Shifter said. “Raúl will continue to be head of the Cuban Communist Party, and Díaz-Canel has not really been tested as to what extent he’s committed to continuing the revolution. He will have to establish his legitimacy, which doesn’t come from the revolution — and his margin for maneuver, at least at the outset, will be fairly limited.”
CREDIT: OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE PHOTO BY PETE SOUZA
Cuban President Raúl Castro shakes hands with President Obama at the Summit of the Americas in Panama on April 11, 2015. Since President Trump took office, relations between Washington and Havana have deteriorated rapidly.
Raúl isn’t the only aging revolutionary saying goodbye. On Feb. 24, the octogenarian leader awarded “Heroes of Labor” medals to three prominent revolutionaries: José Ramón Machado Ventura, 87; Ramiro Valdés Menéndez, 85; and Guillermo García Frías, 90. According to a recent analysis by Nora Gámez Torres in the Miami Herald, “Machado and Valdés are believed to be part of a conservative faction within the government that views with suspicion the reforms Castro
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launched after he replaced his ailing brother Fidel in 2006, such as improved relations. Their departure might help to clear the way for Castro’s successor as well as a reformist agenda to try to fix the island’s grave problems: an economy stalled by the crisis in Venezuela, the dual-currency system, an aged population, little foreign investments, tense relations with Washington and younger generations who want more change.” At the same time, while Raúl made tenta-
tive steps to open up small-scale private entrepreneurship, the Cuban military — through a conglomerate known as Gaesa — controls most major trade-related businesses on the island, from hotels to ports. As such, the military, which is committed to one-party rule, is unlikely to give up its vast economic holdings in favor of change or improved relations with Washington. “Whoever the new president is — and I assume it will be Miguel Díaz-Canel — isn’t likely to make a radical shift in domestic policy. Not least, such intent will be constrained by the military’s own vested economic and political position,” said Christopher Baker, a Cuba travel expert and frequent visitor to the island. “Assuredly, Cuba will continue to pursue Raúl’s desire for respectful dialogue and engagement with the U.S., but his successor is guaranteed to protect Cuba’s sovereign interest foremost — no less than the Castros — rather than accede to U.S. ‘demands.’” Meanwhile, entrenched interests on the U.S. side are likely to thwart any rapprochement with Cuba, regardless of who sits in the White House. Baker says current U.S. policy is unlikely to waver as long as the conservative Cuban-American lobby wields influence in Washington and Miami. “The Cuban exiles are not interested in engagement with Cuba. That’s anathema to them, as is U.S. acceptance of homegrown reform within Cuba,” he said. “They want the government out of power so they can return as — in their eyes — long-exiled legitimate rulers.” WD Tel Aviv-based journalist Larry Luxner is news editor of The Washington Diplomat.
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face of any aggression coming from the U.S. administration. He’s going to talk just as loudly if he has to. That puts the whole U.S.-Mexico relations issue on a very delicate balancing act. That’s where I see the biggest risk — these tensions escalate and spill over into NAFTA negotiations in a bad way.” An AMLO administration may be proNAFTA, but complications in the negotiations would deepen if AMLO starts going toe to toe with Trump’s heated rhetoric.
Latin America CONTINUED • PAGE 9
August 2017 issue). Mexico, which is far more dependent on trade with the U.S. than vice versa, would be particularly hard hit by the demise of NAFTA, which modernized Mexico’s economy and transformed it into an automotive hub. Talks have plodded along with little progress, as Mexico and Canada resist White House demands such as requiring more U.S. content in final NAFTA products. But NAFTA is not necessarily the central issue in Mexico’s election. As in Brazil, the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) has been tainted by corruption scandals, in addition to a rise in gang violence. Trump’s repeated attacks against Mexicans, denigrating them as rapists and drug dealers while demanding that they foot the bill for a multibillion-dollar border wall, have also infuriated voters (see “Divided Neighbors: Mexican Envoy Says Break Down Bilateral Walls, Don’t Build Them” in the January 2018 issue). The souring of relations under Trump has hurt the PRI’s electoral chances and benefited Andrés Manuel López Obrador, commonly referred to as AMLO, who is leading in Mexico’s polls. His chances have been bolstered by a fight for second place between his opponents, including the PRI’s Jose Antonio Meade, who have also been accused of corruption. AMLO, a fiery left-wing populist who is often compared to Bernie Sanders, has failed to win two past presidential elections but is likely to win the election in July. He has railed against Trump, saying he would put the U.S.
COLOMBIA: FARC AND THE VENEZUELAN CRISIS
PHOTO: GOBIERNO DE CHILE - JEFA DE ESTADO PARTICIPA EN CEREMONIA DE LA FIRMA DE LA PAZ ENTRE EL GOBIERNO DE COLOMBIA Y LAS FARC E.P., CC BY 2.0 / WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos signs a historic peace accord with FARC rebels in 2016. While the peace deal earned Santos a Nobel Prize and ended over 50 years of violence that displaced millions of people, it has also inspired a backlash among Colombians who are angry that FARC rebels can now participate in politics.
president “in his place if elected” — tough talk that has experts concerned that bilateral relations could deteriorate even further under an AMLO presidency. AMLO embraces populist proposals such as giving people free internet access and higher pensions, but as president, many observers say his administration would likely be pro-NAFTA. In general, Mexico’s presidents support the agreement, recognizing that the country’s economy depends on strong relations with the U.S., its largest trading partner (80 percent of Mexican exports go north of the border). Mexico, whose economy is projected to only
grow by 2 percent in 2018, also relies heavily on U.S. investment. So while Mexico’s current president, Enrique Peña Nieto, isn’t thrilled with Trump, he keeps his opinion relatively low key. Peña Nieto declined to go through with what would’ve been his first visit to the Trump White House earlier this year because Trump kept insisting on a border wall that Mexico has no intention of funding. If AMLO becomes president, “There may be change as it relates to the Mexico-U.S. relationship,” said de Bolle. “AMLO is not known to be someone who’s going to moderate in the
Media FORUM 3 National Press Club April 20th, 2018
12:00 PM - 5:00 PM
12 | THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | APRIL 2018
After over 50 years of violence between the government and FARC guerillas, the nation has begun to heal. The armed rebel group emerged in the 1960s in response to socio-economic inequalities and wanted to transform Colombia into a Marxist state, but it eventually became notorious for killing, kidnapping and drug trafficking. The conflict — the longest in Latin American history — resulted in the deaths of 260,000 people and the displacement of millions (also see “Bogotá on Verge of Clinching Historic Reconciliation with FARC Rebels” in the August 2016 issue). A peace agreement between Colombia’s government and FARC was finally reached in 2016, only to be rejected by a slim margin via referendum, but President Juan Manuel Santos successfully pushed a revised peace deal through congress. In exchange for laying down their weapons, the agreement allows FARC to be a legitimate part of the government. The integration of former rebels into civil society has been rough. FARC has switched from the aggressor position to a place of vulnerability. Now a political party, FARC has SEE LATIN AMERICA • PAGE 45
Cover Prof ile | WD
Palestinian Disillusionment PLO’s Husam Zomlot: With Trump’s Jerusalem Recognition, U.S. Is on Wrong Side of History BY LARRY LUXNER
n six weeks, President Donald Trump will make history when he inaugurates the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem, cementing Washington’s recognition of Jerusalem rather than Tel Aviv as Israel’s capital. But the planned May 14 ribbon-cutting — which coincides with the Jewish state’s 70th anniversary of independence — won’t spark any celebrations among Palestinians. On the contrary, it’ll be nothing less than “catastrophic,” warns Palestinian Ambassador Husam Zomlot. “This is a bullet fired at the heart of the two-state solution. We see Netanyahu’s fingers all over this,” charged Zomlot, referring to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who on March 31 completes nine years in office (not counting a previous threeyear term in the late 1990s). “If you look at the way President Trump announced the embassy move to Jerusalem, it was the total negation of a nation.” Like Israelis, Palestinians see Jerusalem as their eternal capital. The final status of the holy city is considered a core issue in any two-state solution, among other contentious disputes such as the right of return for Palestinian refugees, Jewish settlements in occupied territory and security guarantees for Israelis. While Trump campaigned on a pledge to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, largely to appease his evangelical base, many longtime foreign policy watchers were baffled by his announcement. For someone who has prided himself as a master negotiator, Trump appeared to be giving away one of America’s biggest bargaining chips for seemingly nothing in return. Nine of 11 former U.S. ambassadors to Israel contacted by The New York Times in the wake of the announcement disagreed with Trump’s decision, describing it as “wrongheaded, dangerous or deeply flawed.” They argued that the U.S. should have at least demanded concessions from Israel, such as recognizing East Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state or slowing settlement construction. Trump countered that the move was simply a “recognition of reality.” In a Dec. 6 statement, he pointed out that for two decades, U.S. presidents have avoided calling Jerusalem the capital of
ALSO SEE: Former U.S. Treasury Official Sees Gulf States Warming to Israel PAGE 14
Israel, yet “we are no closer to a lasting peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. It would be folly to assume that repeating the exact same formula would now produce a different or better result.” While Trump added that the U.S. is not taking a position on any finalstatus issues, including how Jerusalem is divided, many analysts say the president missed a key opportunity to couple his decision with the release of a comprehensive Mideast peace plan. “One of the things that is most confounding to me is how easy it would have been for [President Trump] to translate this into a creative push in the peace process,” said Daniel Kurtzer, former U.S. ambassador to Israel from 2001 to 2005, during a Dec. 11 program on the Jerusalem decision held at the Wilson Center. But Trump has yet to lay out his much-vaunted “ultimate deal” to end the conflict, a plan that is now essentially considered dead on arrival. The Palestinians, predictably, saw Trump’s Jerusalem declaration as a betrayal and have since refused to come back to the negotiating table. Kurtzer is not surprised, arguing that Trump has thrown his lot in with Netanyahu. “The reality is that the United States has been trying to ride two different horses for much of the last 50 years, if not for the entire 70 years. One of those is to act as a thirdparty mediator and honest broker to
PHOTO: LAWRENCE RUGGERI
If you look at the way President Trump announced the embassy move to Jerusalem, it was the total negation of a nation. HUSAM ZOMLOT head of the PLO General Delegation to the United States
the peace process,” he said at the Wilson Center event. “The second horse we’ve been trying to ride is to expand the relationship with Israel…. What President Trump has effectively done here is that he is going to ride only one horse … and that is Bibi-sitting, rather than babysitting. He’s decided that it’s more important for the United States to expand, enhance, deepen and strengthen its relationship with Israel than it is to enhance the very peace process that he has raised expectations about with regards to the United States’s role.” Zomlot, speaking at the same conference, said he was initially optimistic that Trump would tackle the IsraeliPalestinian conflict with a fresh mind-
set. “I was on record to be one of the first to say that President Trump does present a historical opportunity, and with me are many people in Palestine [who] thought that he had respect on this issue very early on — and that was a very good sign. That he dedicated a special team for it — another good sign,” he said. But then the announcement dropped, “and I don’t need to prove the point that he has injected anxiety, anger and resentment.”
PERSONAL MISSION It’s easy to understand Zomlot’s anger. Born in the Gaza Strip, the diplomat’s family was originally from Simsim, a village 19 kilometers from Gaza. But in
May 1948, at the height of Israel’s War of Independence, he said Israeli soldiers forced out all the villagers at gunpoint, destroying it and warning Simsim’s inhabitants not to return. Several kibbutzim later sprang up in the area. “They have never built anything there until this day,” he said. “My father used to take me to Simsim every other week. The irony was that we could drive; there were no checkpoints. It was only 40 minutes by car.” Zomlot grew up in a refugee camp on the southern edge of Gaza, eventually pursuing his graduate and doctorate studies in London before moving up the ranks of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). Today, Zomlot, who is formally head of the PLO General Delegation’s mission to the United States, is the closest thing the Palestinian people have to an ambassador here. A key advisor to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, he spoke to The Washington Diplomat in early March, as 18,000 of Israel’s most ardent supSEE PALES T IN E • PAGE 15 THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | APRIL 2018 | 13
Former U.S. Treasury Official Sees Gulf States Warming to Israel T
he continuing political standoff between Qatar and its former allies in the Persian Gulf is ultimately damaging for the United States, says a Jewish counterterrorism expert who served as the first U.S. Treasury Department attaché to Qatar and Kuwait. Michael Greenwald spoke to a packed audience March 1 at American University’s Center for Israel Studies. His lecture — “The New Normal in the Middle East: Israel’s Changing Relationship with the Gulf States” — offered an interesting perspective on the region from the point of view of a 34-year-old former diplomat who never made an effort to hide his Judaism. “For me, all diplomacy is personal, extremely personal,” he said. “When I arrived in Doha in August 2015, a close Qatari friend was one of the first to welcome me into his home. It was 127 degrees that evening.” Over the ensuing two years stationed in Doha, Greenwald said he became so close with some Qataris that they became like brothers and sisters to him. “I would explain to them my religion, and they’d explain theirs. Some are even joining me for Passover in Boston this month,” he said. Greenwald, now a senior vice president at Tiedemann Wealth Management and lecturer at Boston University, said he soon realized that Jews and Muslims have quite a lot in common. “When I would go to Qatari weddings or large gatherings, it felt like I was at a Jewish country club,” he quipped. “There are lots of misperceptions, but the thing that brings us together more than anything else is family. And once those family doors were opened, the course of my personal and professional diplomacy in the Gulf changed completely. My level of access and insight took on a very personal level.” That kind of camaraderie is remarkable, considering the general hostility Gulf states have long displayed toward Jews and Israel — at least in
PHOTO: LARRY LUXNER
Michael Greenwald, former U.S. Treasury official assigned to Kuwait and Qatar, speaks March 1 at a lecture at American University on Israel’s relations with the Gulf Arab states.
public. One month before Greenwald’s posting in Doha was to end, the worst diplomatic crisis in Qatar’s history erupted. Early on the morning of June 5, 2017, the governments of Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates announced they had broken ties with Qatar. Saudi Arabia then shut its land borders with the tiny emirate and — along with the three other countries — imposed a land, sea and air embargo against Qatar. All four justified their actions on the grounds that Qatar works to support international terrorism, maintains warm relations with archrival Iran and meddles in the internal affairs of their countries. Other Arab countries have long expressed frustration with Qatar, particularly its past support for movements like Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas. Several governments including Israel’s have complained that Doha-based Al Jazeera TV incites violence. Qatar vehemently denies the charges, and many experts say the Saudi-led blockade is in fact an attempt by the Sunni powerhouse to bring Qatar to heel. The tiny yet energy-rich nation
14 | THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | APRIL 2018
plays an outsize role in world affairs and, unlike the other Arab monarchies in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), does not always toe the Saudi line. The dispute has put the United States in an awkward position as it tries to strike a delicate balance by supporting its ally Saudi Arabia without alienating Qatar, home to a major U.S. military base. Early on, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said the rupture between Qatar and its neighbors “opens possibilities for cooperation in the battle against terrorism,” and that “even in the Arab states they understand that the danger is not Zionism, but terrorism.” Israel maintains quiet but extensive business ties with the Gulf states, although Qatar has also tried to reach out to Jewish leaders following the blockade. “The U.S. has made progress in combatting terrorist financing. But with that engagement, you need continuous pressure,” Greenwald told his audience. “At Treasury, we attacked the lifeblood of terrorist organizations. And this latest blockade on Qatar has highlighted this threat more than ever. One of the core messages I drove home in
almost every meeting there was to make the environment more hostile to terrorist financiers. It’s not enough the U.S. brings you information and asks you to take action. It’s your own banks being pro-active by themselves. “The Middle East, and specifically the GCC countries, is all about relationships,” he added. “But the lack of unity in the Gulf only plays into the hands of Iran and creates more problems for the United States. There’s nothing more important than trust — being able to rely on a partner. Unfortunately, that trust between the Gulf states has been broken.” Greenwald suggested that such fractures may be longterm. For example, Algeria and Morocco closed their common border in 1984; it remains closed 34 years later. He said Qatar’s conflict with its neighbors “is all historically tribal, and it’s based on personal differences built up over many years. Each of these nations has grown tremendously over the years, but that’s caused additional political, economic and social strife between them. Qatar has transformed itself from a pearl-diving economy into a hydrocarbon metropolis with
the world’s highest per-capita income.” With fewer than 300,000 citizens and some 2 million expatriates, Qatar is a very small, yet very wealthy, country. It has invested at least $50 billion in the United States just in the last two years and has an estimated $335 billion of assets in its sovereign wealth fund. “Qatar will be the first Arab country to host the World Cup, and Qatar Airways is one of the most important airlines in the world. It’s also home to the largest U.S. military base in the Middle East,” said Greenwald. Yet since June 5, when Saudi Arabia and the UAE began their blockade of Qatar, some $34 billion has left Qatari banks —money that’s not ever coming back. As a result, Qatar has had to forge new business relationships, and this indeed may provide an opening for Israel. “The whole region knows how talented the Israelis are,” he said. “The Gulf states want the best practices Israel employs, from cybersecurity to startups. These countries know they have to move away from hydrocarbons.” Greenwald added that in his view, the Jewish state “does some of its best work behind the scenes. Some of the most sensitive areas that Israel’s had to tackle from a counterterrorism perspective don’t see the headlines.” He insisted that “tremendous cooperation” exists between the Jewish state and countries like Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Even so, the former Treasury official conceded that Gulf leaders have not hinted publicly at any of these existing business relationships — and there’s a very simple reason for that. “The people aren’t ready,” he said. “I’m not saying that’s not right, but I think it requires leaders to start building that narrative publicly and domestically. Until that happens, everything will continue to be private.” WD — Larry Luxner
solving all outstanding issues, including East Jerusalem as the capital of the state of Palestine. The two-state solution is misunderstood as a Palestinian demand, but it was a concession that President Reagan demanded from us in 1987.” He added: “In 1991, [then-Secretary of State] James Baker promised in a letter inviting us to the Madrid peace conference that the U.S. would not recognize Israel’s annexation of Jerusalem and would only consider Jerusalem to be a final-status issue.” In 1995, Congress passed the Jerusalem Embassy Act, requiring the U.S. government to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem by a set deadline. But the move could be delayed for six months at a time by the president “to protect the national security interests of the United States.” Indeed, every president since Bill Clinton has signed such waivers.
Palestine CONTINUED • PAGE 13
porters were meeting across town at the 2018 AIPAC Policy Conference. Despite the age-old hatreds, Zomlot insists he wasn’t raised in an atmosphere of anger and resentment. “Instead, [my family] invested every single penny they had left to educate me,” he said. “My grandfather taught me to look up to Jews. This is not a religious conflict.” Speaking to us under an enormous framed panorama of Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque — the world’s third-holiest site to Muslims — Zomlot called his PLO office “the most schizophrenic mission you can ever have.” Zomlot arrived here in April 2017, just four months after Trump’s inauguration. But his tenure in Washington has been rough. “This is a foreign government mission that does the normal range of diplomatic activities. We do what all other embassies do, and we’re treated as such by the U.S. and by other embassies,” he said. Yet since 1987, the office has been operating under a cloud. The PLO is still legally designated as a terrorist organization, “despite the signing of Oslo in 1993 and numerous bilateral agreements and very generous U.S. aid,” Zomlot said. “Despite that and the fact that Israel itself recognized the PLO in 1993, in America this law was never reversed. “What changed is that in 2015, U.S. legis-
‘SKY DID FALL’ CREDIT: OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE PHOTO BY SHEALAH CRAIGHEAD
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Donald Trump walk along the White House colonnade on Feb. 15, 2017.
lators introduced a new provision to the already existing PLO Terrorism Act, that if the Palestinians take steps against Israel at the ICC [International Criminal Court], their office in Washington would be closed and could only reopen after 90 days,” said Zomlot. The administration invoked this rule late last year when it threatened to shut down Zomlot’s mission in D.C. in a bid to force
Palestinians back to the negotiating table, although it later backed off the threat. Zomlot complained about the U.S. government’s heavy-handed tactics, not only by Trump but also by previous administrations. “For the last 26 years, we have been on the negotiation table led by the U.S. It was very clear: two states along the 1967 borders, U.N. Security Resolutions 242 and 338, and re-
The Palestinians accepted these “painful but significant concessions,” said Zomlot, but on Dec. 6, 2017, Trump “simply demolished that policy” by announcing he’d move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv — Israel’s largest city and financial hub — to the western part of Jerusalem, its legal capital. Guatemala quickly followed suit, and since then, the Czech Republic, Honduras and Paraguay have hinted they’ll do likewise in the near future. Later that month, 128 countries voted in the United Nations General Assembly SEE PALES T IN E • PAGE 16
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Palestine CONTINUED • PAGE 15
to support a resolution condemning Trump’s announcement. Another 35 nations abstained, and 21 didn’t participate at all. Only seven countries besides the U.S. and Israel opposed the resolution: Guatemala, Honduras, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau and Togo. Two days after that vote, Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, told the world: “The sky’s still up there. It hasn’t fallen.” She’s wrong, according to Zomlot. “The sky did fall, but Nikki didn’t see it — and she doesn’t want to see it,” he said. “In effect, the sky has fallen on the U.S. role as mediator, and on the two-state solution.” Abbas promptly appealed to the U.N. and other nations to replace the U.S. as the main interlocutor in peace talks, although no one has stepped up to the plate so far. He also threatened to cut off all contact with U.S. officials and refused to meet with Vice President Mike Pence during the latter’s January 2018 visit to the Middle East. And on March 20, Abbas called David Friedman, the U.S. ambassador to Israel, a “son of a dog” and a “settler” for saying that Israelis have a right to establish settlements in the West Bank. The White House retaliated. In January, it announced that it would withhold about half the aid it had planned on giving the U.N. agency that helps more than 5 million Palestinian refugees. The administration argued that the cuts to UNRWA, which total about $65 million, would force other nations to shoulder more of the financial burden, although so far none have picked up the slack. Critics of UNRWA also say the agency has long misused the funds to foment anti-Israel propaganda and perpetuate the refugee crisis. Supporters say U.S. contributions to the group provide much-needed food, health care, schooling and other vital services to Palestinian refugees in Gaza, the West Bank and throughout the region. Cutting those funds
PHOTO: PIXABAY / RODOLFO QUEVENCO
Palestinians have long claimed East Jerusalem as their future capital, but President Trump’s decision to recognize all of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel has endangered prospects for Mideast peace.
CREDIT: OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE PHOTO BY SHEALAH CRAIGHEAD
An Israeli Honor Guard and band are seen at the ceremony welcoming President Trump and first lady Melania Trump to Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv, Israel, on May 22, 2017.
CREDIT: U.N. PHOTO / MANUEL ELIAS
could inadvertently threaten Israel’s security if there is a mass revolt among desperate refugees, particularly those in Gaza, or if militant groups like Hamas use the cuts to attract new recruits. Yet despite the deteriorating situation, “no one has an interest in cutting the only lifeline of communications and disassemble the bilateral relationship between America and Palestine,” according to Zomlot. That, he said, is why threats to close down his mission are dangerous. “This office is the address to advance our bilateral relationship with America. It must remain unconditionally. The presence of diplomatic missions has never and should never be at the mercy of political change. Otherwise you would find no embassies here,” he said. “The whole logic that a for-
16 | THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | APRIL 2018
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas addresses the U.N. Security Council during a Feb. 20 meeting on the situation in the Middle East.
eign government mission is conditioned upon the political process that involves a third party is absolutely ridiculous.” Zomlot scoffed at the notion of a tradeoff, insisting that “this office should be here, regardless of whether we talk or not.” About 30 people work at the red-bricked mission fronting Wisconsin Avenue in Georgetown, which is decorated with photos of Abbas, Yasser Arafat and other heroes of the Palestinian revolution. “My day is the day of any normal ambassador here. I do not just represent a state. I represent a cause,” said the Ph.D. economist, adding that despite his official lack of status as an ambassador,
“I am officially received at the airport at the gate of the plane, out of respect.”
POLITICAL STALEMATE The Palestinian diaspora numbers roughly 13 million; this includes about 2.5 million in the West Bank, 380,000 in Jerusalem, 1.7 million in Gaza and another 1.5 million within Israel’s pre-1967 borders. Another 7 million live in surrounding Arab countries, the Gulf states, Europe and the Americas. Zomlot’s native Gaza is one of the most densely populated territories on Earth, with more than 5,000 inhabitants packed into every square ki-
PHOTO: BY MARIUS ARNESEN - FLICKR: WATCH TOWER, RAFA, GAZA/EGYPT, CC BY-SA 3.0 / WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
A watchtower is situated on the border between Rafah in the Gaza Strip and Egypt, which has cracked down on smuggling tunnels used by Hamas, further blockading the people of Gaza.
lometer of the Detroit-size strip. Ruled by Hamas, the territory is frequently used as a launching pad for missile attacks against Israeli civilians (Hamas and Israel have engaged in three bloody conflicts since 2007). Even so, Zomlot insists that Fatah, the secular party based in the West Bank, has more influence than the Islamist mili-
tant organization in Gaza, and that “influence is not how many guns you have on the ground. Control is about popularity.” Yet neither side seems to be in control amid a protracted political stalemate. Hamas has ruled the Gaza Strip with an iron fist since 2007, when the group seized it following an election dis-
pute with the Palestinian Authority. But Hamas is hemmed in by Israel and Egypt, creating miserable conditions for the strip’s 2 million people. Unemployment exceeds 60 percent, hospitals are shutting down for lack of electricity, beaches are contaminated with raw sewage and food is scarce. Meanwhile, there’s not much love lost for the aging Fatah party that rules the West Bank, where Palestinians are increasingly fed up with Fatah’s grip on power and its inability to deliver progress despite cooperating with Israel on security matters. A December 2017 poll by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research showed that 70 percent of Palestinians want 82-year-old Abbas to resign, although Fatah has refused to call elections in over a decade. Past attempts at reconciliation between the two warring Palestinian factions quickly fizzled out, including the most recent one that was announced with great fanfare last October. Squeezed by Abbas, who slashed the salaries of government workers and payments for fuel in Gaza, Hamas had agreed to cede control over border crossings. But it refused to disarm and missed a series of deadlines for handing governance over to the Palestinian Authority. The bitterness between Fatah and Hamas boiled over following the attempted assassination of Rami Hamdallah, the Palestinian Authority’s prime minister, during Hamdallah’s early March visit to Gaza. Abbas has publicly accused Hamas of planting the “despicable” roadside bomb that destroyed the prime minister’s convoy but did not injure him. While Zomlot does not condone acts of violence, he said he does sympathize with the underlying grievances that propel Pal-
PHOTO: PIXABAY / RAIMUND ANDREE
Israeli soldiers guard the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem. President Trump announced last year that he was moving the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in May, breaking with decades-old U.S. policy to leave the status of Jerusalem to Israelis and Palestinians as part of a two-state solution.
estinians, including those languishing in the Gaza Strip, toward desperate measures. “[Israelis] don’t see you as a national movement. They look at the symptom, not at the root,” he said. “There’s a denial of what Israel has done throughout the years. The collective Israeli psyche is to bury their heads in the sand. Are tunnels acceptable? No, because they bring mayhem, drugs and weapons, and are bad for society. But tunnels become the issue — not the siege itself, which
pushes people to create illegal alternatives.” Meanwhile, as Hamas and Fatah dig into their positions, further eroding the Palestinians’ negotiating power, Abbas’s allies haven’t been much help. Other than issuing a few critical statements, Arab states have been largely quiet over the Jerusalem controversy, perhaps because they are more preoccupied with the Islamic State, Syria’s civil war and the Saudi-Iranian rivalry that is playing out in Yemen and elsewhere.
And with Netanyahu riding a wave of unconditional support from the White House — in stark contrast to the tense relationship he had with President Obama — he has little incentive to offer concessions to the Palestinians. Further complicating the situation is Netanyahu’s own legal troubles. The prime minister is mired in multiple cases of bribery, fraud and breach of trust that could land him behind bars. The investigations, which have gained steam, could prompt him to call early elections. In that case, analysts say Netanyahu will crack down even harder on Palestinians to shore up his right-wing base. Zomlot spent much of our interview analyzing internal Israeli politics. Calling the PLO “the last remaining secular movement in the region,” he warned that the Jewish state right now needs a leader and a statesman, rather than a politician. “There is a huge difference. A politician is consumed with and obsessed with power and maneuvering. Netanyahu scores very high there, convincing his people that he’s the only one who can defend them. He inflates and exaggerates threats. We see this in other countries, where they hit on Muslim communities. That’s their ticket to popularity.” On the other hand, he says, “A statesman is a person who says what the people must hear. [Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak] Rabin tried and paid his life for it. I believe President Yasser Arafat was able to bring his people to make historic concessions for the sake of peace. That was not easy for any leader to do. And President Abbas is famous for saying everything his people don’t want to hear, but need to hear.” SEE PALES T IN E • PAGE 18
THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | APRIL 2018 | 17
together. “Netanyahu argues it’s his wall, his relationship with President Trump, his relationship with the Arab world that has kept Israel safe. But when Netanyahu disappears, Israeli society will discover the hot air,” he claimed. “Netanyahu has created a mindset in Israel that the only way to live is by the sword. This is exactly what he said in the Knesset two years ago. This is the mentality he wants to create, because this is the only way he can survive.”
Palestine CONTINUED • PAGE 17
CONSTANT THREAT OF VIOLENCE
While Abbas has sharply denounced the U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, he has refrained from urging Palestinians DEATH KNELL FOR to take matters into their own hands. Despite TWO-STATE SOLUTION? some initial clashes following Trump’s declaration, fears of another intifada uprising Many experts agree that Netanyahu — and have not materialized. But given the dire a growing number of Israelis — have little situation in Gaza and the frustrations in the incentive to make the painful compromises West Bank, Israel and the U.S. are girding for needed to reach the ever-elusive two-state fresh violence when Trump inaugurates the solution. Trump’s decision seems to have renew U.S. Embassy in May, especially if secuinforced the status quo and led to a renewed rity cooperation with Abbas’s government debate over whether Israel is by default breaks down. headed toward a one-state solution, whereby Zomlot and Netanyahu do agree that the it either absorbs 3 million West Bank Palesfrequency of terrorist attacks inside Israel tinians and gives them equal rights or segreproper has dropped sharply since the midgates them from society. The latter could lead PHOTO: PIXABAY / GIDON PICO 2000s, when suicide bombings in Tel Aviv, to the creation of an undemocratic apartheid Jerusalem and other cities seemed like a A man walks by the Western Wall in Jerusalem, which is considered sacred to Jews, Muslims and Christians. state, while the former could spell the dedaily occurrence. But the Palestinian envoy mise of Israel’s Jewish character — neither of said that’s not because of the controversial He also argued that the stabbings of Jews tinian man from a village near Nablus. Israeli which is an appealing prospect for one of the protective separation wall Netanyahu built. that have taken place recently “have all hap- police shot the assailant to death, and at the world’s most economically innovative, mili“Netanyahu takes credit for this, but the pened in Israeli-controlled areas — none of victim’s funeral the following day, Israeli tarily advanced nations. real reason the commitment of theispolitithem in ouryour areas. Agriculture MinisteritUri Ariel and JerusaNOTE:isAlthough every effort made to assure ad” is free of mistakes in spelling and content is ultimately up to the customer make thefar-right final proof. Meanwhile,tothe Israeli is presscal leadership to promote a culture of peace Nevertheless, on March 16, two Israeli lem Mayor Nir Barkat vowed to step up the ing to annex land in occupied West Bank The firstintwo faxed changes will be made at no cost to the advertiser, subsequent changes will be billed at a rate of $75 per faxed alteration. Signed ads are considered approved. Palestine to make sure any acts of violence soldiers were killed and two others injured building of settlements in response to the to create a single state between the Jordan are contained,” he contends. “This is a Pal- when a Palestinian rammed his car into man’s death. River and the Mediterranean, relegating PalPlease check this ad carefully. Mark any changes to your ad. estinian vision. It’s a policy, not just because them as they were standing along a highZomlot, denying that terrorist attacks only estinians to their current areas, which could to help way near a Jewish settlement in the north- provoke more settlement-building, says the eventually become a part of Jordan or Egypt. If the adweis want correct sign Israelis. and fax Violence to: (301)doesn’t 949-0065 needs changes work. We are against violence. Individuals ern West Bank. Two days later, a 32-year-old current violence lays squarely at the foot Anthony Cordesman of the Center for The Washington Diplomat Approved with guns are not just a threat (301) to your933-3552 enemy. Jewish father of four was__________________________________________________ stabbed to death in of Netanyahu, who depends on right-wing SEE PALES T IN E • PAGE 45 ey could be a threat to your society.” Jerusalem’s Old City by a 28-year-old Pales- Jewish support to keep his ruling coalition ChangesTh______________________________________________________________________________________________________
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Nordic Vantage Point | WD
Two-Way Street Op-Ed: Security Cooperation Must Be Mutually Beneficial, with Tangible Contributions BY NORWEGIAN AMBASSADOR KÅRE R. AAS
he meeting on March 20 between U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis and Norwegian Minister of Defense Frank Bakke-Jensen confirmed the long-standing defense relationship between the United States and Norway. It also confirmed that our security cooperation is a two-way street. As it should be. In a disrupted world, true friends are more important than ever. The United States is, no doubt, Norway’s most important ally. The relationship also benefits both sides. Norway is highly committed to international security and shows this commitment through tangible contributions. That is clear from our increased budget spending and high level of investments for defense purposes. It can also be seen through our participation in international operations and the high quality of Norwegian soldiers. Our military currently contributes significantly to both NATO’s Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan and the campaign to defeat the Islamic State. And we are proud to live up to the role of NATO’s “gatekeeper of the North.” We are significantly strengthening our ability to defend both Norway and the NATO alliance. Improved military readiness and long-term investments in strategic high-end capabilities are part of that. Included in this is the procurement of F-35 fighter jets, P-8 Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft, new submarines and air defense systems. We aim to ensure that any use of force against Norway will carry unacceptable costs and risk. Changes in the strategic environment have contributed to further strengthening the defense cooperation between Norway and the United States. In concrete terms, that includes the following: • Last November, the first three F-35 fighter aircraft arrived in Norway. I was there at that historic moment, which marks a new era for the Norwegian Armed Forces. The new combat aircraft, produced by Lockheed Martin, will be a key factor in deterring any attack on Norway, as well as ensuring that we meet our obligations to the NATO alliance. The purchase of 52 F-35 fighter aircraft is the single biggest defense investment ever by Norway. The American and Norwegian manufacturing industries both benefit from the deal. • The presence of around 330 U.S. Marines
CREDIT: DOD PHOTO BY STAFF SGT. STEVE CUSHMAN, U.S. MARINE CORPS
U.S. Marines participate in Cold Response 14 in Norway on March 17, 2014. Cold Response is a Norwegian-led exercise involving 15 NATO nations to rehearse high-intensity operations in winter conditions.
Norway is highly committed to international security and shows this commitment through tangible contributions. KÅRE R. AAS ambassador of Norway to the United States
at Vaernes in mid-Norway since January 2017 has significantly enhanced opportunities for mutual exercises and improved interoperability. I have visited the U.S. Marine Corps Rotational Force myself and seen that their presence is highly welcome — also by the local community. The implications for our already strong bilateral relationship are obvious. • Abroad, Norwegian and American soldiers are standing shoulder to shoulder to combat violent extremism, in both Afghanistan and Iraq. We are also contributing to NATO’s “Enhanced Forward Presence” posture in Eastern Europe, showing that Norway is a reliable ally that will live up to our commitments wherever they may be. The meeting between Defense Minister
Bakke-Jensen and Secretary Mattis took place at a time when global security is challenged in many ways. Norway is committed to meeting challenges to European and transatlantic security with firmness and predictability, in cooperation with our allies on both sides of the Atlantic. We recognize that working together never has an endpoint. Cooperation must be constantly nurtured and developed. This is something I remind myself about every single day when I walk through the doors of the embassy. WD Nordic Vantage Point is a series of columns written by Kåre R. Aas, who has served as Norway’s ambassador to the U.S. since September 2013, prior to which he was political director at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Oslo. THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | APRIL 2018 | 19
WD | Medical
Shortchanged in America Why Does the U.S. Spend More on Health Care Than Other Countries? BY DENNIS THOMPSON
t’s well known that the United States spends a lot more for its health care than other industrialized nations do. But a new study claims that some of the purported explanations for why America’s health care bill is so huge simply do not wash. The United States does not use more health care than high-income peers like Canada, Germany, France and Japan, said study co-author Liana Woskie, assistant director of the Harvard Global Health Institute’s strategic initiative on quality. Nor does America have too many high-paid specialists. “At least compared to peers, we have a pretty similar mix of primary care to specialists,” Woskie added. Instead, it looks as though the United States pays more because it faces higher price tags for drugs, tests, office visits and administration, Woskie said. “We need to better understand why prices are so high and dive into that into much more detail, because some of the previous explanations may not actually be what’s driving the U.S.’s spending,” she said. For this study, Woskie and her colleagues pulled together comprehensive data comparing U.S. health care against that of 10 other leading countries — the United Kingdom, Canada, Germany, Australia, Japan, Sweden, France, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Denmark. The investigators found that the United States spends nearly twice as much of its wealth on health care — 17.8 percent of its gross domestic product, compared with between 9.6 percent and 12.4 percent in other countries. That money is not buying the United States better health, however. For example, America had the lowest life expectancy and the highest infant mortality when compared to the other countries. The United States has about as many doctors and nurses as the other nations, and similar rates of treatment. But cost varied widely when it came to drugs. Pharmaceutical spending was $1,443 per person in the United States, compared to a range of $466 to $939 in other countries. Americans also appear to pay more for diagnostic tests and office visits, Woskie said. “We actually seem to have about the same number of tests and visits as other countries do. It’s not necessarily that a lot of it is unnecessary, because our volume is similar. It appears we are spending more for the same stuff,” Woskie said. Doctors and nurses are also paid more generously in the United States. For example, a general physician earns an average of $218,173 in the United States, compared with between $86,607 and $154,126 in other countries. Additionally, the United States spends more on the administrative framework used to operate its health care system — about 8 percent of health care spending, compared to 1 percent to 3 percent elsewhere. That’s not just because the United States has a complicated insurance setup, either. Researchers found America spends twice as much on administration as other nations with multiple insurance systems like the Netherlands or Switzerland, Woskie said.
20 | THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | APRIL 2018
PHOTO: VALERI POTAPOVA / SHUTTERSTOCK
We actually seem to have about the same number of tests and visits as other countries do. It’s not necessarily that a lot of it is unnecessary, because our volume is similar. It appears we are spending more for the same stuff. LIANA WOSKIE assistant director of the Harvard Global Health Institute’s strategic initiative on quality
“There’s something funky about the U.S. system that’s not just about the administrative inefficiencies of having more than one payer,” Woskie said. The upshot is that reducing the amount of health care each American uses is not likely to reduce the nation’s overall health spending, she said. “This work suggests that some of the more straightforward or simple solutions that have been posed are unlikely to address it in full,” Woskie said. The findings were published March 13 in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The new analysis is “ambitious and comprehensive,” and “represents a major advance” in understanding America’s health care spending patterns, according to Katherine Baicker, who co-wrote an accompanying editorial. She is the dean of the Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago.
LEARN MORE: The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more about U.S. health expenditures at www.cdc.gov/nchs/ fastats/health-expenditures.htm.
But Baicker cautioned that even this study cannot provide a direct apples-to-apples comparison between countries, given variations in the way health care is provided between countries. “Different health systems are producing very different outcomes, but one should have a note of caution in observing those differences and jumping immediately to a policy prescription, because policy prescriptions are going to require much more information about what’s under the hood,” Baicker said. Any solution also will need to reflect the nation’s morals and priorities, something that cannot be assessed by pure economic analysis alone, she added. “Econ 101 can’t tell you as a voter or a citizen or a patient what’s important to you,” Baicker said. “It can tell you how different policies are going to affect the health care that we get, but it can’t tell us what our priorities are. “All of the conversations assessing different policy options should start with what our goals are and what’s important to us, and then we can apply the lessons from economics to achieve those goals,” she said. WD Dennis Thompson is a HealthDay reporter. Copyright © 2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.
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Luxury Living A Special Section of The Washington Diplomat
Home -Buying Trends Area Luxury Real Estate Market Continues to Grow, Though Picture Is Mixed •
he luxury real estate market in the Washington, D.C., area continues to grow, a new report from Long & Foster Real Estate and Christie’s International Real Estate found.
Overall sales increased by about 3 percent in 2017, while luxury home sales jumped 18.7 percent, compared to 2016, according to the 2017 Capital Region Market Report. But those numbers are a
PHOTO: LONG & FOSTER REAL ESTATE / CHRISTIE’S INTERNATIONAL REAL ESTATE
BY STEPHANIE KANOWITZ
The home at 1173 Dolley Madison Boulevard in McLean, Va., sold for $4.1 million last year by Long & Foster.
little misleading, cautioned Jeff Detwiler, president and chief executive officer of Long & Foster Companies. SEE TRENDS • PAGE 24
THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | APRIL 2018 | 23
reason for the leap there is likely renovation and reconstruction, Detwiler said. “There are two kinds of buyers. There’s the buyer that wants to buy the home and live in the home, and then a lot of our luxury product is being bought by individuals or groups with the intention of renovating and putting it back on the market,” he said. “The end buyer who’s going to live in the home wants new. They want all of the amenities of a new home, but they love the charm and character of the older communities and the unique look of the outside of these homes.” Missing from the list of prominent neighborhoods this year is Kalorama, which lotfree of attenNOTE: Although every effort is made to assure yourgotada is of mistakes in spelling and PHOTO: LONG & FOSTER REAL ESTATE / CHRISTIE’S INTERNATIONAL REAL ESTATE tion in 2017 as the Obamas and content it is ultimately up to the customer to make the final proof. for that may be that Washington- holding steady between 2013 and Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner area residents are not flashy about 2015 at about 240 units, inventory settled in there. In 2016, it took secfirst two faxedto changes will be made at no to the advertiser, increased in 2016 285 and again their wealth, he noted. The city also The ond place on cost the prominent luxury subsequent changes be billed a rate the of $75 alteration. Signed are considered approved. 2017 to 338.atOverall, num-per faxed doesn’t have as large a population as inwill neighborhood list with 48.7ads percent ber of units sold rose 28.4 percent of active listings. Although it’s still other urban areas. to 2016, this and the Nevertheless, luxury homes have in 2017, compared very much aMark luxuryany market, there to your ad. Please check ad carefully. changes been selling faster since 2013. That average monthly inventory grew by weren’t enough transactions in Kal18.6ad percent. year, they spent 52 days on the mar- If the orama in 2017 to earn itneeds a spotchanges on is correct sign and fax to: (301) 949-0065 Prominent D.C. neighborhoods, the list, Detwiler said. The median ket, but in 2017, they spent 33. Between 2016 and 2017, the number of based on active listings of at least $1 sale price in the neighborhood fell Washington 933-3552 million, includeDiplomat Spring Valley at 92(301) days on the market fell by more than The to $483,551 in 2017, compared to percent, Kent at 87 percent, George- $496,950 in 2016. 10 percent. __________________________________________________________ town at 65 percent, West End at 61 Meanwhile, home inventory Approved Beyond the District, prominent percent ___________________________________________________________ and Chevy Chase at 36 per- luxury neighborhoods in Virginia was relatively tight during the past Changes year and is predicted to remain low cent. are Great Falls at 65 percent of ac___________________________________________________________________ Spring Valley topped the list in tive listings priced at $1 million or throughout 2018, although it did grow from previous years. After 2016, too, but at 59.9 percent. One more; McLean at 53 percent; ViThe home at 1134 Basil Road in McLean, Va., sold for $5.5 million last year by Long & Foster.
CONTINUED • PAGE 23
The report breaks the market down into three categories: units costing $1 million to $2 million, $2 million to $5 million, and $5 million or more. Sales grew by 17.9 percent, 24.2 percent and 50 percent, respectively, for each group, the report found. It’s in those breakdowns that the percentages become tricky, however. For example, in the highest category, the number of units sold went from 18 in 2016 to 27 last year, accounting for the large jump. Today, 75 homes in the entire region are priced at more than $5 million, Detwiler said. While that means D.C. boasts a fair amount of high-end homes that are selling quite well, the city still doesn’t have the ultra-pricey real estate found in other big-city markets. “It’s known nationally as a luxury market. There are very high percentages of the homes in many areas that are of a luxury price — what we see as the price point for luxury — but D.C. doesn’t have the super high-end sales like New York does, like Miami does, like San Francisco or L.A. do,” he said. One reason
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24 | THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | APRIL 2018
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There’s a continued migration from suburban areas — the one-time aspirational destinations — and it’s moving in closer to the city. JEFF DETWILER president and chief executive officer of Long & Foster Companies
FEEL AT HOME IN AS LITTLE AS 48 HOURS
PHOTO: JOE HODGSON / LONG & FOSTER REAL ESTATE / CHRISTIE’S INTERNATIONAL REAL ESTATE
The home at 7200 Crail Drive in Bethesda, Md., sold for $3.47 million last year by Long & Foster.
enna at 34 percent; Arlington at 20 percent; and Alexandria at 11 percent. The number of luxury units sold in Northern Virginia jumped by nearly 17 percent in 2017 compared to 2016. In Maryland’s affluent Montgomery County, the neighborhoods are Potomac at 54 percent; Bethesda at 47 percent; Cabin John at 46 percent; and Chevy Chase at 45 percent. The number of luxury units sold here grew by 10.7 percent. “It’s a confirmation of some of the trends that we’ve continued to see,” Detwiler said. “There’s a continued migration from suburban areas — the onetime aspirational destinations — and it’s moving in closer to the city.” One driver of this shift is empty-nesters looking for a more walkable, convenient lifestyle. For instance, Detwiler said he’s seeing Great Falls residents relocating to McLean or the District itself. The report states that 2018 will likely mirror 2017, but Detwiler said inventory
is dropping off. “Although it’s only 70 days into it, we see the luxury market has slowed considerably from how we saw it finish at the end of the year. It’s too early to make any kind of big predictions,” he said. He cites two reasons for the change. One is that interest rates are rising, making it more expensive to own a luxury home. The other relates to the tax reform bill President Trump signed into law at the end of 2017. It “was not particularly advantageous to homeownership,” Detwiler said. “You take the demographics of the group buying in this price range, I think there’s a little pause to re-evaluate whether to move or not.” Long & Foster and Christie’s base the report on data from the Metropolitan Regional Information Systems and the National Association of Realtors. WD Stephanie Kanowitz is a contributing writer for The Washington Diplomat.
The home at 1198 Windrock Drive in McLean, Va., sole for $4.17 million last year by Long & Foster.
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26 | THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | APRIL 2018
Hotels & Travel A Special Section of The Washington Diplomat
PHOTO: ST. REGIS
The St. Regis is offering cherry blossom-inspired bites, as well as a custom cherry blossom tea blend this spring.
Washington — And Its Hotels — Usher in Warm Weather with Plenty to Do •
pring is one of the best seasons to visit Washington, D.C., and not only because of the famous cherry blossoms turning the nation’s capital pink. The weather is warming up and events
are starting to move back outside. Foodies excitedly watch for restaurants to change their menus to match the season, and Washingtonians head to the spa to slough away dry winter skin and prep for
BY STEPHANIE KANOWITZ
building heat and humidity. Locals and visitors alike have much to look forward to in Washington this spring. SEE SPRING • PAGE 28
THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | APRIL 2018 | 27
Spring CONTINUED • PAGE 27
The waterfront will be a particular draw this year, said Kate Gibbs, senior manager of domestic media relations at Destination DC, thanks to the Wharf, which officially opened in October 2017 (also see “$2.5 Billion Development Project Set to Transform Southwest Waterfront” in the December 2017 issue). For instance, it’s hosting the first Petalpalooza on April 7 from 1 to 9:30 p.m., including a fireworks display at 8:30. Formerly the Southwest Waterfront Fireworks Festival, Petalpalooza will include interactive art installations, games and activities, live music on three outdoor stages, a roller rink and a beer garden. With water taxis and jitneys between the Wharf and East Potomac Park crisscrossing the Potomac River, “I think it’s going to be that serious invitation both for visitors and Washingtonians to engage in the Wharf as a transportation hub for the first time,” Gibbs said. The Capitol Riverfront Business Improvement District is another waterfront area gaining attention. It’s home to Nationals Park, which will host the D.C. Beer Festival on April 21 from noon to 3 p.m. Not-to-miss art exhibits now on display include “Sally Mann: A Thousand Crossings” and “No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man.” The first, at the National Gallery of Art through May 28, portrays PHOTO: JOY ASICO / AP IMAGES what it’s like to be identified as a Southerner through haunting photographs of the American South. The latter, at the Renwick Gallery The Mansion on O Street has 100 one-of-a-kind rooms and suites in a restored townhouse that doubles as a museum. through Jan. 21, 2019, is “going to be a jaw-dropper,” Gibbs said. “It’s the art of Burning Man, that radical, participakind rooms and suites in a restored townhouse that doubles as a museum and tory festival in the Nevada desert.” artist’s residence. Antiques and furnishings from around the world adorn the Staycationers and vacationers also have plenty to eclectic interior spaces, including teakwood soaking tubs from Italy and a choose from when it comes to hotel options this spring. shower made from an English telephone booth. Several new properties have opened since last year, and This season, catch concerts by Eric Taylor (April 10), the Leni Stern African about 15 are in development now, Gibbs said, but the Trio (May 16) and Judith Owen (May 17). Magician Richard Bloch performs competition isn’t getting too steep. monthly through August. Or book a team-building scavenger hunt ($40) to “D.C. still has a relatively small hotel footprint com- encourage teamwork, creative thinking and better communication as you pared to our reputation as a must-see place to visit, and search themed rooms and behind secret doors. For little ones 16 and under, the more hotels we have in the District, the more people there are O’Playdates ($52), which take kids on a treasure hunt through at least will stay in the District,” she said. 60 of the mansion’s 100 rooms. Keep an eye out for its 70 secret doors. To differentiate themselves, the hotels cater to different Year-round, the hotel offers two programs. Rosa Parks stayed at the mantastes and needs. sion on and off from 1994 to 2003 as part of the Heroes Program, which gives “The hotels that are in development and those hotels eligible guests a “safe sanctuary to replenish themselves.” There’s also the artistthat just opened are addressing so many different kinds in-residence program, which gives “anyone with a creative vision to rediscover of visitors,” she said. For instance, there’s the 245-room their art and muse” a free place to stay. The Trump Hotel lounge will Pod DC in Chinatown tarserve rare Japanese whiskies geting guests “who don’t need this spring. FOUR SEASONS WASHINGTON, DC their hotel to also be their living room. These are millennials, highly engaged, 2800 Pennsylvania Ave., NW highly active travelers.” The Hyatt House Washfourseasons.com/washington ington DC/The Wharf, which opened last fall, is Spring eats and drinks abound at this Georgetown hoa better bet for long-term stays because it has intel, which recently hired its third executive chef in its room kitchenettes and sleeper sofas. 38-year history. Andrew Court now oversees Michael Hotels don’t have to work too hard to attract Mina’s Bourbon Steak, Seasons and ENO Wine Bar. visitors this time of year, Gibbs added, but many The new Seasons spring menu includes roasted fig still tout seasonal amenities. Here’s a look at some of the springtime specials: and labneh toast ($23), a raspberry green tea smoothie ($14), a French toast sandwich with Nutella and strawberry filling ($23) and an acai bowl with Greek yogurt TRUMP INTERNATIONAL HOTEL ($18). WASHINGTON, D.C. Meanwhile, Bourbon Steak Executive Chef Drew Adams is taking guests on a series of educational ur1100 Pennsylvania Ave., NW ban and rural foraging nature walks to look for wormtrumphotels.com/washington-dc woods, fiddleheads and edible flowers. His passion for foraging informs the kitchen, where he uses local In February, the 17-month-old hotel became one products, such as meat from Virginia’s Shenandoah of fewer than 200 properties worldwide to earn Valley. the Forbes Five Star award. “We are now the only ENO Wine Bar’s pop-up Tuesdays start May 1 with hotel in downtown Washington, D.C., to have this outdoor wine, champagne and bite-size snacks from 4 distinction,” hotel spokeswoman Patricia Tang to 9 p.m. The Bourbon Steak patio will open March 29. wrote in an email. Housed in the Old Post OfAnd in honor of the royal wedding of Britain’s fice Building, the hotel is offering several cherry Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on May 19, Seablossom-related specials. sons will serve London Bridges, a traditional English Through May 31, the Spa by Ivanka Trump breakfast with two eggs, baked beans, sausage, Canawill have the Blossom and Bloom Ritual ($350), The new menu at Seasons includes roasted fig dian bacon, portobello mushroom and grilled tomato a two-hour treatment inspired by Japanese relax- and labneh toast. ($30), as well as a soft-boiled egg with toast “soldiers,” ation techniques. It starts with a warm exfoliating cream followed by a cherry blossom and rice powder hydrating mask. A Thai- grilled asparagus and Virginia ham ($14). Dressed as a Welsh guard, Seasons’s manager will greet dininspired foot massage and a full-body massage round it out. The Benjamin Bar and Lounge will serve rare Japanese whiskies in cocktails ers while the wedding ceremony is streamed live. and as flights garnished with edible flowers; a cherry blossom trifle; Japanese cheesecake cubes with cherry blossom cream and coulis; and an afternoon tea SOFITEL WASHINGTON DC with cherry blossom tea, a cherry tartlet and cherry macaroons.
THE MANSION ON O STREET 2020 O St., NW • omansion.com Recently named on Booking.com’s “Book the U.S.” List featuring the most unique properties nationwide and the only U.S. property ranked as a top five historic venue to explore by the Smithsonian, this hotel offers 100 one-of-a28 | THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | APRIL 2018
806 15th St., NW • sofitel-washington-dc.com Through April 16, this 237-room hotel is welcoming cherry blossom admirers with the National Cherry Blossom Hotel Package, which starts at $279 per night. It’s partnered with Mindy Lam, a local jewelry designer, who designed a com-
The Sofitel is offering a commemorative floral pin made with Swarovski crystals this spring.
memorative floral pin made with Swarovski crystals. Guests also receive a cherry blossom candle votive by Bernardaud, a French porcelain maker since 1863, and a Blossomtini drink on arrival. The Blossomtini is made with Absolut Elyx vodka, cherry blossom green tea, fresh lemon and honey produced from the hotel’s rooftop beehives. Additionally, Opaline, a French bar and brasserie, is opening at the hotel this month and is participating in the 2018 Cherry Picks by the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington. Special dishes include beet hummus, tuna niçoise and cherry macaroons.
THE LINE DC 1770 Euclid St., NW • thelinehotel.com/dc
Japanese Koto and a selection of Japanese-inspired savories and pastries (Thursday to Sunday through April 22; 1 to 4 p.m.; $58 per adult and $25 per child ages 5 to 12). • The Lafayette dining room at the Hay-Adams hotel offers guests a Japanese-inspired three-course, prix-fixe dinner menu ($75 per person), featuring delicacies such as seared tuna loin with miso, kombu broth and spicy cucumber, as well as spiced Chilean sea bass with curried artichoke and cauliflower ginger reduction. • The Park Hyatt Washington, D.C. toasts the National Cherry Blossom Festival with a Sunday afternoon gourmet experience in its Tea Cellar. The special three-course table-side tea service menu and matcha tea pairing serves up duck confit toast, blueberry crumb cake and cherry blossom macaNOTE: Although every effort is roons, madeamong to assure your ad($55 is free of mistakes other goodies per adult and $30 in spelling and content it is ultimately up toages the6 customer to make the final proof. per child to 12).
Originally a 110-year-old neoclassical church in Adams Morgan, this architecturally striking 220-room hotel opened in December 2017 with an internet radio station called Full Service Radio broadcasting from the • Restaurants are getting in on the blossom action lobby. New during its first spring in Washington is the The first two faxed changes willwith be made at of noinventive cost to the advertiser, subsequent changes an array cocktails. At Bibiana opening of Spoken English, a Tachinomiya-style reswill be billed at a rate of $75 per faxedEnoteca alteration. Signed considered approved. taurant at which diners stand while they eat and drink. Osteria , guests can sipads on aare cherry blosFeatured dishes include hand-cut udon, tea-lacquered som concoction made with dark red cherries, lemPeking duck and tempura. and sugar, shaken rum andtotopped Please check this on adjuice carefully. Mark anywith changes your ad. To mark cherry blossom season, local D.C. artist and with Prosecco ($12). Over at MXDC Cocina activist Robin Bell has created a series of projections , the Cherry Sour isneeds made from a comIf the ad is correct sign and fax Mexicana to: (301) 949-0065 changes titled “Peak Bloom” that will be on display between 8 bination of Glenmorangie scotch whisky, Luxardo p.m. and 10 p.m. This is the second time the property cherry liqueur, house-made cherry syrup, yuzu, egg The Washington Diplomat (301) 933-3552 PHOTO: GARY WILLIAMS has partnered with the multimedia artist — the first whites and Angostura bitters ($14). And Station being a series of projections on the hotel’s façade to cel- Originally a 110-year-old neoclassical church in Adams Morgan, 4 located in the Southwest Waterfront serves up a The Line DC opened in December 2017. ___________________________________________________ Approved ebrate Gay Pride last year. Peak Bloom featuring Hendricks gin, fresh lemon The display complements a Cherry Blossom Packjuice and cherry blossom-honey syrup ($13). Changes ____________________________________________________ age (starting at $219 a night until April 15) that features a cherry blossom cake by • The Washington National Cathedral’s annual Flower Mart has been a pop____________________________________________________________ James Beard-recognized pastry chef Pichet Ong upon arrival, as well as two cherry blossom-inspired cocktails at the hotel lobby bar and restaurant, Brothers and Sis- ular stop since 1939. It offers festival foods, children’s rides, herbs and flowers (May ters, helmed by Erik Bruner-Yang. The drink, Peak Bloom, was created by mixolo- 4, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.). gist Todd Thrasher and is made with gin, cherry herring, cold-pressed cherry juice • The Arlington Fitness and Wellness Festival provides an opportunity for and lime. guests to try eight- to 10-minute classes from local fitness studios and wellness companies. In between exercises, they can try yoga and chiropractic treatments and sample health foods (April 7; 1 to 5 p.m.; Gateway Park, 1300 Lee Highway, ROSEWOOD WASHINGTON, D.C. Arlington, Va.; $40 at the door). WD
1050 31st St., NW rosewoodhotels.com/en/washington-dc
The Rye Bar at Rosewood is serving a cherry blossom-inspired Gyoiko drink.
Perched on the C&O Canal in Georgetown, this hotel is going all out for the National Cherry Blossom Festival. Through April 20, guests who stay at least two nights can get the Cherry Blossom Package ($680 a night), which includes welcome cocktails from the Rye Bar, a Segway tour around the iconic Tidal Basin, daily breakfast for two at the Grill Room, a bike excursion with a catered lunch and a custom picture frame. The Grill Room will serve blossom-inspired dishes such as red sea bream sashimi with cucumber, sakura and cherry ponzu, as well as Japanese cheesecake with cherry blossom tea ice cream. The Rye Bar’s Gyoiko drink is made with rye, cherry syrup, Benedictine and lime juice, garnished with an edible cherry blossom flower.
THE ST. REGIS WASHINGTON, D.C. 923 16th St., NW • stregiswashingtondc.com The St. Regis is offering guests two cherry blossom-themed specials: a Getaway Package (March 20 to April 15 starting at $310 a night) that includes daily breakfast for two; complimentary valet parking; cherry blossom dessert; and a selfguided morning tour of the blossoms using St. Regis Shinola bikes. Meanwhile, the Cherry Blossom Afternoon Tea (March 20 to April 15 for $55 per person) fêtes the hotel’s ornate lobby with cherry blossom-inspired bites, as well as a custom cherry blossom tea blend created exclusively for the hotel and blended in house.
THE RITZ-CARLTON, TYSONS CORNER 1700 Tysons Blvd., McLean, Va. ritzcarlton.com/en/hotels/washington-dc/tysons-corner Chefs from the Ritz-Carlton’s Osaka and Tokyo locations teamed with the chefs here to celebrate the cherry blossom season. Available dishes include clear Japanese sakura soup made with a crispy rockfish filet in a cherry blossom broth and wagyu beef striploin with pan-fried bamboo shoots and brussels sprouts. The icing on the cake, so to speak, is a chocolate bonsai tree dessert ($42) that serves two to four people. It includes sesame shortbread, cherry blossom panna cotta, fresh raspberries, espresso marshmallow, bittersweet ganache, 24-karat espresso beans and mango passionfruit truffle.
OTHER NOTABLE EVENTS • The Cherry Blossom Afternoon Tea at the Willard InterContinental Washington hotel features a blossom-covered Peacock Alley, sounds of the
Stephanie Kanowitz is a contributing writer for The Washington Diplomat.
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Culture arts & entertainment art
Road to Independence Pharmacist Mojca Kaluđerović and her husband, Ambassador of Montenegro Nebojša Kaluđerović, have been together far longer than the existence of the young country they represent, even though Montenegro’s history stretches back 1,000 years. / PAGE 33
The Washington Diplomat
April 2018 events
IMMERSIVE ‘TOMB’ HISTORY
‘ Don’ t Forget Us’ Five scraps of cloth with names written in ink made from blood and rust are the striking focal point of a somber, poignant exhibition on the Syrian conflict at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. / PAGE 34
A Woman’ s Place A woman’s place is in the home. Or so they say. The National Museum of Women in the Arts takes that sexist trope and turns it on its head with its latest provocative exhibition, “Women House,” which deconstructs traditional ideas about gender and domesticity. / PAGE 36
PHOTO: NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC
An ambitious work of technological innovation,“Tomb of Christ” uses virtual reality to transport Washingtonians to one of the world’s most sacred sites: the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, where Jesus Christ was purportedly crucified and buried. / PAGE 32 THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | APRIL 2018 | 31
WD | Culture | History
Immersive ‘Tomb’ Technology Transports Washingtonians to Jerusalem and Jesus’s Final Resting Place •
BY AUSTIN MISTRETTA
Tomb of Christ: The Church of the Holy Sepulchre Experience THROUGH DEC. 31 NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MUSEUM 1145 17TH ST., NW
n the Christian quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City sits a domed church. Modest in its appearance, the tasteful, ancient architecture of the cathedral’s nondescript stone walls imbues it with an air of quiet immutability. This innocuous exterior, however, belies the extraordinary history of the church, which is purportedly the site where Jesus Christ was crucified and where his body was buried. Inside is an expansive and well-appointed shrine that spans multiple stories, through which hundreds of thousands of Christian pilgrims pass every year. The church’s broad front doorway leads right into its large mezzanine area, which encircles a cavernous, multistory dome. Sunken into the heart of that dome’s rotunda floor is an ornate crypt, the marble exterior of which seems to glow softly in the dimly lit room. Through a narrow, arched entryway, one can actually squeeze inside and see the stone slab upon which Jesus’s body is said to have been laid just under 2,000 years ago. The tomb is also where Jesus is said to have risen from the dead, which is why the tomb now sits empty. It is impossible not to contemplate the tiny space’s vast cultural and religious significance. Afterward, one is guided swiftly back to the exit, at which point the virtual tour reaches a somewhat abrupt conclusion. As the screens flicker off and the lights raise, it can be a bit jarring to find oneself standing in a small, round room on the first floor of the National Geographic Museum in downtown D.C. This immersive 3-D tour is the main feature in the exhibition “Tomb of Christ,” which opened last November to rave reviews. An ambitious work of innovation, “Tomb” dexterously blends several different forms of media, including virtual reality (VR), and uses them to transport viewers to one of the world’s most sacred sites: the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. “It’s just a wonderful opportunity to be able to showcase the incredible magic of Jerusalem — this very complex city which is of such importance to really everyone in the world,” Kathryn Keane, the museum’s vice president of exhibitions, said. One obvious fact about “Tomb of Christ” is that its execution would not have been possible without recent breakthroughs in technologies like VR. Keane said such modern technology plays an integral role in National Geographic’s mission “to educate diverse audiences about the cultures of the world.” “We have a long history in photography and visual storytelling,” she explained. “I think what makes our exhibitions special is that we are able to do that kind of storytelling using all that multimedia that we’re so well known for all around the world.… There are all sorts of new tools for storytelling now, and I think we’re as fascinated as all museums are with the possibilities that things like virtual reality present, these immersive technologies and new ways to project media and new ways to experience media.” Work on the exhibit began in earnest during the summer of 2016, when the Church of the Holy Sepulchre was closed for restorations — the first such renovation in more than 200 years. The renovation revealed that bedrock from a part of the original cave still exists within the walls of the shrine. National Geographic was invited to document the restoration process, and it took the opportunity to assiduously map out the inside of the church using 3-D imaging equipment like LIDAR, which can model objects digitally by scanning them with a rapidly pulsing laser light. “To hear that [the church] was going to be restored for the first time in 200
32 | THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | APRIL 2018
PHOTOS: ODED BALILTY, AP FOR NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC
National Geographic documented the restoration of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, where Jesus Christ is said to have been crucified and buried. It then used virtual reality and other technologies to create the exhibit “Tomb of Christ.”
years, it was sort of like the chance of a lifetime for us to PHOTO: NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC cover,” said Fredrik Hiebert, archaeologist-in-residence at the National Geographic Museum, who participated in the effort. On the phone, Hiebert talked nostalgically about “the wonder of being in a place that I’d never been to and the wonder of discovering this amazing piece of history,” adding that he “wanted to bring that experience here to National Geographic, because it was absolutely unique.” They way to do that, he said, “was this unique idea of having a virtual exhibit.” “Tomb” offers a chance for people to experience a destination they might not be able to otherwise. In fact, at the end of February, the exhibit by default became the only way to tour the Holy Sepulchre, when the actual church in Jerusalem closed to protest a proposed Israeli plan to tax church-owned commercial properties. (It reopened days later after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that his government would suspend the tax plan.) The exhibition will remain open until Dec. 31st, 2018. After that, says representative Lexie de los Santos, National Geographic hopes to “bring people to even more iconic locations in the future, locations that are in need of conservation, and get people to really care about saving these incredible places.” In an increasingly globalized and interconnected world, it can still be difficult to appreciate the rich cultural histories of foreign places, even those of tremendous import to widespread religions like Christianity. Ironically, modern-day technology may be the key to preserving ancient sites threatened by manmade development or simply the passage of time. And immersive experiences like “Tomb of Christ” are an excellent venue for appreciating and inhabiting, however briefly, another time and place. WD Austin Mistretta is an editorial intern at The Washington Diplomat.
Diplomatic Spouses | Culture | WD
New Beginning in Balkans Montenegrin Diplomat, Pharmacist Wife Represent Young Nation with Long History •
BY GAIL SCOTT
ojca Kaluđerović and her husband, Ambassador of Montenegro Nebojša Kaluđerović, have been together far longer than the existence of the young country they represent. A veteran diplomat for the former nation of Yugoslavia, Nebojša Kaluđerović was serving as ambassador of Serbia and Montenegro to the United Nations when Montenegro formally declared its independence from Serbia in 2006. He promptly became ambassador of Montenegro to the U.N., temporarily running his new office from his 17-year-old son’s bedroom while he set up the mission. Today, Kaluđerović, who went on to serve as Montenegro’s state secretary for political affairs, foreign minister and minister of European integration, has set up shop in D.C. with his pharmacist wife. “I love my work,” Mojca Kaluđerović told us of being a pharmacist. “But I can’t work here. It would take two more years of school. I used to have my own pharmacy back home. I love working with people, helping people and [doing] the lab work. We make our own medications, following the doctor’s recipe. My mother is a pharmacist, too,” she said. “My father was an agricultural engineer and we lived in [the former] Yugoslavia. My mother is Slovenian and my father was Montenegrin. They met in Croatia while they were university students,” she said, noting that she also met her husband while in school. “My husband and I met at Belgrade University. My husband was studying law and I was studying pharmacy,” Mojca recalled. “Common friends introduced us. Now we have been together 31 years.” “I liked her from the beginning,” said the ambassador, who had joined us from his office for the interview. “She looked good, she had character and she was calm, stable, easygoing — the opposite of me,” he quipped. Like many Montenegrins, the Kaluđerovićs are also resilient. Nebojša Kaluđerović, who joined the Yugoslav Foreign Ministry in 1980, served a previous stint in the U.S. as third secretary in Yugoslavia’s U.N. Mission in the mid-1980s. But disillusionment with the Slobodan Milošević regime led him to leave diplomacy and work in Russia as a trade representative. Following the bloodbath of the Balkan wars and Milošević’s ouster, Kaluđerović returned to diplomacy in 2000 as assistant minister for multilateral affairs for the Republic of Montenegro. Today, he is the ambassador of a country that peacefully seceded from Serbia and now enjoys membership in NATO, the United Nations and the World Trade Organization. “Since the U.N. is multilateral, it is more dynamic on a daily basis. In Washington, it is not that easy to get in touch with other ambassadors. You need to plan a lunch or dinner or talk with people at the receptions,” he said. “Here with all the think tanks, it is a full-time job. We also try to attend programs of the international studies programs at universities in Washington.” Despite the differences and difficulties, the ambassador sees his job in simple terms: “You see, you feel, you meet. You tell different parts of the puzzle, the story of your country.” It’s a complicated story that stretches back 1,000 years. Montenegro, which means “black mountain,” sits along the Adriatic Sea in southeastern Europe. It passed through the control of several regional powers and the Ottoman Empire over the centuries, although it maintained a level of autonomy throughout much of its history. After World War I, when Montenegro fought on the side of the Allies, Montenegro was absorbed by the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, which became the Kingdom of Yugoslavia in 1929. After the breakup of Yugoslavia in 1992, the republics of Serbia and Montenegro together established the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, which later renamed itself Serbia and Montenegro in 2003. But in May 2006, Montenegro held an independence referendum and voted to split from Serbia in a peaceful, democratic transition that stood in stark contrast to the violent breakup of the Balkans over a decade earlier. Today, this tiny Balkan nation of over 620,000 people has a growing, open market economy and a multicultural population that considers itself a crossroads between East and West. Montenegro, which just joined NATO last June, also aspires to become a part of the European Union.
Mojca Kaluđerović, a former pharmacist, is pictured with her husband, Ambassador of Montenegro Nebojša Kaluđerović, above, and their son Steven, at left.
My husband and I met at Belgrade University. My husband was studying law and I was studying pharmacy…. Now we have been together 31 years. MOJCA KALUDEROVIC wife of Montenegrin Ambassador Nebojsa Kaluderovic
In fact, the country has been using the euro since 2002, although it is not a formal part of the euro zone. The European Commission has said Montenegro could join the EU in 2025. In the meantime, it will have to show the bloc that it is fighting corruption, improving the rule of law and strengthening its economy. Tourism is a key part of the economic equation. In fact, tourism accounts for roughly 20 percent of Montenegro’s GDP, bringing in three times as many visitors as the country’s total population every year. Despite its small size, Montenegro boasts a rich array of attractions and natural beauty. Besides the Adriatic seacoast and picturesque beaches, it is home to medieval cities and villages, as well as some of Europe’s most rugged mountains. It shares a deep lake, Lake Skadar, with Albania that draws adventure-seekers from around the world. Tara River Canyon is another popular site, while the Bay of Kotor has been called one of the most stunning bays in the world. SEE SPOUSES • PAGE 45 THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | APRIL 2018 | 33
WD | Culture | History
Scraps of Humanity ‘Syria: Please Don’t Forget Us’ Offers Poignant Story of War’s Missing Victims •
BY MACKENZIE WEINGER
Syria: Please Don’t Forget Us THROUGH THE END OF THE SUMMER U.S. HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL MUSEUM 100 RAOUL WALLENBERG PLACE, SW
ive scraps of cloth with names written in ink made from blood and rust are the striking focal point of a somber, poignant exhibition on the Syrian conflict at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. These artifacts serve as powerful evidence to highlight the impact on millions of Syrians who have suffered from the tragedy of seven years of brutal violence. Cameron Hudson, director of the museum’s Simon-Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide, said a goal of the museum has been to highlight the atrocities committed by the Bashar al-Assad regime, and the story of Mansour Omari provided a way to delve into one man’s journey to help elucidate the crisis to visitors. “What we’ve tried to do is tell the story of what’s happening in Syria through one individual,” Hudson told The Washington Diplomat of the exhibition, “Syria: Please Don’t Forget Us” — a reference to what Omari’s fellow prisoners whispered to him when he was finally set free. Omari had been a journalist in the early days of the revolution when he was picked up by military police, detained and held in an underground Syrian prison and torture facility. With chicken bone as a quill, Nabil Shurbaji, a fellow Syrian journalist, wrote the names of the 82 prisoners incarcerated in the small cell. A tailor then inserted the pieces into the cuffs and collars of a shirt, and a pact was made: Whoever was the first to be released would wear it out and tell the families and the world of those still detained. Omari’s was the first name called, and he shares the story of his incarceration and the creation of the cloths in a powerful video at the start of the exhibition. Tragically, Shurbaji died in prison. Of the 82 names on his list, Omari has only been able to track down what happened to about a dozen of the men. The simplicity and starkness of the exhibition is what makes it so effective. For all the destruction tied to the Syrian conflict, people’s stories — and the artifacts of their experiences — endure beyond the headlines that have numbed the world to the ongoing tragedies in the war-torn nation. Omari’s story offers personal insights into the conditions that some 100,000 detained Syrians — many of whom have disappeared without a trace — suffered through, including beatings, starvation and cells so small that men had to take shifts to sleep. The exhibition ties in with the museum’s mission to apply the lessons of the Holocaust to contemporary settings, Hudson said. “For the past seven years, we’ve been keenly interested in the situation in Syria, trying to understand what could have been done to prevent these crimes, and now that these crimes are at the level they’re at, asking the question and trying to prompt policymakers to think about what we can do to end the atrocities and mitigate the atrocities on civilians,” Hudson said. “Because we’ve really seen in this conflict in particular it’s really the civilian population that’s being explicitly targeted by the Assad regime.” As the museum does with its permanent exhibition on the Holocaust, this display focuses not on scale, but on individuals. “The numbers are just so big that the typical visitor, the typical person, would say, ‘Well, how do I impact that situ-
34 | THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | APRIL 2018
PHOTOS: UNITED STATES HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL MUSEUM
Above, journalist Mansour Omari looks at the exhibit “Syria: Don’t Forget Us,” inspired by his captivity under the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. After his release, he escaped with scraps of cloth, at left, that had the names of the 82 prisoners incarcerated in his small cell.
ation? It’s sort of hopeless,’” Hudson said. “This is a way to go past all the numbers and really go into one man’s story.” “Syria: Please Don’t Forget Us” begins across the hallway from the end of the permanent exhibition on the Holocaust. “You walk out of 1945, you walk out of a world in ruins that is seeking justice for the crimes of the Holocaust, and you walk down the hall and here you are encountering the world we live in today. You want people to ask the questions of, ‘How is the world different today than it was then? How are these crimes different today than they were then? What are my responsibilities today versus then?’” Hudson noted. People who ask the questions of what they might have done had they lived during World War II can ask the same things of themselves in the Syria exhibit, he pointed out. “The idea is many of these crimes are going on today — in a different way, a different context, a different capacity. But it’s really about just trying to talk to people about what are their responsibilities in the world that we live in today,” he said. And the museum has already had key officials come to grapple with those questions. Earlier this year, a delegation of the permanent representatives of the United Nations Security Council, led by U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley and National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster, toured the exhibition. “An exhibit like this is a way of keeping it both in the public consciousness, but also in the consciousness of policymakers who might say the conflict is too far gone for us to impact it now. The point here is that these are all individuals, human beings, behind the conflict that’s going on today,” Hudson said. “Whether or not we’ve forgotten about them or we’re prioritizing a response, there are huge communities of people in Syria that are looking to us, to the outside world, to respond in some way. This needs to be, and our hope is, that this keeps the issue as a very live policy conversation.” WD Mackenzie Weinger is a contributing writer for The Washington Diplomat.
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email@example.com THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | APRIL 2018 | 35
WD | Culture | Art
A Woman’s Place “Women House” Puts Clever Twist on Deconstructing Domestic Stereotypes •
BY KATE OCZYPOK
Women House THROUGH MAY 28 NATIONAL MUSEUM OF WOMEN IN THE ARTS 1250 NEW YORK AVE., NW
woman’s place is in the home. Or so they say. The National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA) takes that sexist trope and turns it on its head with its latest provocative exhibition, “Women House,” which challenges traditional ideas about gender and domesticity. Over 35 international artists, including Louise Bourgeois, Judy Chicago, Mona Hatoum, Zanele Muholi and Leticia Parente, use photography, sculpture, installation and video to reflect on and re-examine what “home” means to them. The museum will be the only American venue for the exhibit, organized by La Monnaie de Paris. Orin Zahra, NMWA assistant curator, said the concept for the show rose from the need to revisit the relationship between gender and architecture. Organizers realized that there were no contemporary exhibitions that examined the topic in a broader way since 1972. That’s when the exhibition “Womanhouse” was developed by Judy Chicago and Miriam Schapiro and their female students at the California Institute of the Arts. They transformed a derelict Hollywood mansion with works that upended conventional ideas about the home as a feminine space, drawing national media attention. PHOTO: PRIVATE COLLECTION “That installation serves as the inspiration for ‘Women House,’ which forms a sequel of sorts to its predecessor,” “Women House” tackles views of gender and domesticity Zahra said. “Both of these exhibitions tackle the idea of with a range of works by female artists such as Zanele Muholi, above, Louise Bourgeois, left, Laurie Simmons, below, and women reclaiming a space from one that oppressed them Laure Tixier, bottom. to one that was empowering and liberating.” This theme actually mirrors the history of the NMWA essay by Virginia Woolf to depict women melding into itself, which is housed in a former Masonic temple that their surroundings, sometimes literally. In Francesca had prohibited women from entering. Exhibition organizWoodman’s works, the women become an eerie extension ers felt it was a perfect platform for an exhibit that centered of the home, as their bodies fuse into the architecture, around women finding agency in their built environment becoming lost in the background. Zanele Muholi takes through visual arts, Zahra said. PHOTO: ART © THE EASTON FOUNDATION/LICENSED BY VAGA, NY / the opposite approach as a female couple in South Africa Zahra, who has a background in feminist art history PHOTO BY CHRISTOPHER BURKE cuddles by their stove in a picture of intimacy that speaks from American University, was familiar with “Womanto the home as a sanctuary from the judgment and chaos of the outside world. house” and its significance to the art world. “This new show enabled me to Installation artist Pia Camil, who works in Mexico City, contributed to the understand its far-reaching impact, even 45 years later,” she said. “I personally love seeing the connections between the younger generations of artists with the show with her own personal take on the notion of home by weaving together artists from the ’60s and ’70s avant-garde, as well as new ideas being explored in T-shirts to form a curtain in a piece she originally designed for an exhibit in Cologne, Germany. relation to the domestic space by emerging artists.” “The T-shirts come from secondhand markets in the suburbs of Mexico City, “Women House” recasts typical ideas about women and family through a striking, evocative and eclectic mix of media. Eight sections examine themes specifically the area of Iztapalapa,” Camil said of her cross-cultural work. Camil said she hopes that visitors are drawn not only such as “Desperate Housewives,” focusing on artists who rebel against the patriarchal system and clichés such as the housewife and the vixen; “Home is Where to content of her work, but also to the process by which it Hurts,” which portrays domestic drudgery through dark humor and meta- it was created — through a collaborative effort with a phor; “Femmes-Maisons,” which represents the maternal body as a nurturing, family of women seamstresses headed by a self-taught powerful but burden-filled haven; and “Mobile Homes,” which examines no- and fierce matriarch. “Working closely with them has made me realize the importance of generating netmadism and exile. Touching on some of these themes, Zahra noted that “Desperate House- works and systems of support with other women and wives” deals with the disillusionment of married life that women artists from how that can positively impact the work,” she said. Camil also believes that although the exhibit is made the feminist avant-garde experienced in the ’60s and ’70s. Artist Cindy Sherman PHOTO: COURTESY OF THE ARTIST AND SALON 94, NY dresses up as a bored, lonely or sultry housewife in film stills, while Birgit Jür- by women and about women, viewing art should not be genssen wears a stove-shaped apron for a play on the phrase “bun in the oven.” dictated by gender. “I think that every person has a different reaction depending “A Room of One’s Own” takes a different approach, getting its name from an on their life situation and experience,” she told us. With movements like #MeToo and Time’s Up casting a harsh light on the treatment of women and questioning their roles in society, Zahra said “Women House” will resonate with people looking for a creative twist on the timely, weighty issue of gender in the 21st century. “It’s a perfect moment for a show like this that demonstrates ongoing, persistent problems that women face in private and public spaces,” she said. “This is also a time to celebrate women, their strengths and perseverance in overcoming the obstacles they have faced in life.” WD
PHOTO: NATIONAL MUSEUM OF WOMEN IN THE ARTS
36 | THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | APRIL 2018
Kate Oczypok (@OczyKate) is a contributing writer for The Washington Diplomat.
Art | Culture | WD
Picture of Persia ‘Prince and Shah’ Offers Portrait of 19th-Century Iranian Royalty in Qajar Dynasty •
BY NICOLE SCHALLER
The Prince and the Shah: Royal Portraits from Qajar Iran THROUGH AUG. 5 ARTHUR M. SACKLER GALLERY 1050 INDEPENDENCE AVE., SW
ith today’s social media, every photo is carefully selected or edited to post the best image of how one would like to be perceived. Historical figures ranging from Queen Elizabeth of England to France’s Napoleon were no different in wanting to put their best face forward in royal portraits. Nor was Iran, whose kings and noblemen also sought to convey power and grandeur by commissioning self-portraits, which can now be seen in a rare exhibit at the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery. In an intimate gallery space, 30 paintings, studio photographs and lacquer works depict different figures from the Qajar dynasty (1779-1925). There is a self-portrait of all but the first ruler, Agha Mohammad Khan Qajar, in the exhibit, which demonstrates how royal portraiture was used in Iran during the 19th and 20th centuries at a time of political and cultural change — and how it evolved to incorporate Western innovations with traditional Persian styles. “The Prince and the Shah: Royal Portraits from Qajar Iran” is set up chronologically, with the first of the two rooms showing earlier nobility and kings. Fath-Ali Shah Qajar, the second king of the Qajar dynasty and the most memorable for having 57 sons and 46 daughters, can be seen in his selfportrait with the distinctive qualities of Persian art. This Persian style uniquely weaves together perspective and line that is purposely created to make the paintings appear flat and two-dimensional. In Fath-Ali’s portrait, he is seen sitting on what is known as a Peacock throne, covered in rubies, pearls and diamonds. The three jewels are collected from different Iranian territories to show their unity under one king. It was an intentional depiction given that under Fath-Ali’s reign, Iran lost much of its northern territories in the Caucasus to the Russians. Fath-Ali, who is flanked by six of his sons, also dons a long beard that stretches to his waist as sign of masculinity and power. Fath-Ali understood the power of image through artistic expression, which is seen in illustrations from the Shahnama, or “Book of Kings,” that is on display. The Shahnama is an epic long poem written by Persian poet Ferdowsi at the beginning of the 11th century. The poem consists of over 60 stories and nearly 1,000 chapters that intermix the history and mythology of the Persian Empire. The version of the Shahnama that is on display was scripted in 1612 but was later illustrated with colorful ink during Fath-Ali’s reign in the early 19th century. The illustrations of the legendary mythical hero Rostam strikingly, and not coincidentally, resemble Fath-Ali, with his narrow face, lean body and long black beard. Fath-Ali’s predecessors followed similar suit, controlling their image through artwork to project influence and legitimacy. Many of the pieces display a blend of Western style in content and technology, along with traditional Persian techniques and representations of wealth and hierarchy.
“Ahmad Shah (r. 1909-25) and his cabinet,” at left, and “Portrait of Jalal al-Din Mizra (ca. 1827-1872), son of Fath-Ali Shah” are among the portraits of rulers from Iran’s Qajar dynasty in “The Prince and the Shah” at the Sackler Gallery.
Take the portrait of Fath-Ali’s 55th son, Prince Jalal al-Din Mirza, that was painted by the famous Persian artist Abu’l-Hasan Ghaffari in 1859. This painting uses the Western medium of oil on canvas, but the background uses the classic Persian backdrop of a curtain and window overlooking a landscape. There is use of the Persian emphasis on flat abstraction for the prince’s clothing and most of the background, but his face uses Western three-dimensional realism. The blending of both techniques creates a captivating, cross-cultural work when first entering the exhibit. Other examples of Western-Persian fusion came with the advancement of photography that reached Iran in the 1840s. The lacquered technique of Persian art seen on functional objects like pen and mirror cases began to incorporate the use of photographs. An example is an 1860 lacquered box with five photographs in a row. The PHOTOS: ARTHUR M. SACKLER GALLERY photograph of the fourth Qajar ruler, Naser al-Din Shah, constitutes the center photograph, with his two favorite sons’ self-portraits at his side. The last two photographs at the ends are official portraits of his sons’ tutors. While different pieces throughout the exhibit show various ways artists and nobility were influenced by Western culture, there is always a strong undercurrent of Persian culture and pride. Images of the king shown to the 19th-century Iranian public were usually in the form of painted portraits, even after photography was embraced by the Qajar dynasty. However, Naser al-Din was a photography enthusiast and was the first Qajar king to hire a royal photographer who would document his daily activities. These photos, unlike the staged portraits, were kept in albums and only passed around to fellow elites. There are several in the exhibit, including one where Naser al-Din is getting his teeth looked at by his Austrian dentist. Naser al-Din, who ruled for nearly 50 years, introduced key Western-based reforms such as postal services and roads that helped modernize Iran. He was the first modern Iranian monarch to formally visit Europe. At the same time, he was never able to fully exert his authority over Iran’s various tribes and his concessions to foreigners, which enriched him personally, cemented his unpopularity; he was assassinated in 1896. The Sackler provides an artistic appreciation for a dynasty that experienced political and cultural upheaval, as well as a complicated relationship with the West. “The sheer number and variety of portraits under the Qajars is unprecedented,” said Simon Rettig, who curated the exhibit, in a press release. “It also testifies to a tremendous — still little understood — period of artistic innovation and experimentation, one that successfully integrates Western techniques and aesthetic principles and traditional Persian pictorial language.” WD Nicole Schaller is an editorial intern for The Washington Diplomat. THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | APRIL 2018 | 37
WD | Culture | Film
THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | April 2018
*Unless specific times are listed, please check the theater for times. Theater locations are subject to change.
The Shape of Water
7 Days in Entebbe
Directed by José Padilha (U.K./U.S., 2018, 106 min.)
Directed by Guillermo del Toro (U.S., 2017, 123 min.)
Beauty and the Dogs
In July 1976, an Air France flight from Tel-Aviv to Paris via Athens was hijacked and forced to land in Entebbe, Uganda. The Jewish passengers were separated and held hostage in demand to release many terrorists held in Israeli prisons. After much debate, the Israeli government sent an elite commando unit to raid the airfield and release the hostages.
Directed by Kaouther Ben Hania (Tunisia/France/Sweden/Norway/ Lebanon/Qatar/Switzerland, 2017, 100 min.) Mariam, an attractive young Tunisian woman, starts off the evening in carefree spirits at a student party with her girlfriends, where she meets a handsome young man and goes for a walk with him on the beach in the moonlight. In the next scene, she is seen disheveled, running through the streets at night, flinching at every passing car, with her male companion trailing behind. She has been raped by police officers. But her harrowing ordeal has just begun
West End Cinema Opens Fri., April 6
CZECH Barefoot (Po strnisti bos)
Based on Jeff VanderMeer’s best-selling “Southern Reach Trilogy,”“Annihilation” stars Natalie Portman as a biologist who signs up for a dangerous, secret expedition where the laws of nature don’t apply.
Angelika Mosaic Atlantic Plumbing Cinema
T’Challa, after the death of his father, the King of Wakanda, returns home to the isolated, technologically advanced African nation to succeed to the throne and take his rightful place as king.
It is long overdue for Hannah to jump into the water and see where the current leads. One day, after picking up her grandson at school, she stops alongside the river to watch some ice swimmers. When a man named Brona waves in distress, she rushes into the water to help. Brona offers Hannah a breath of fresh air and a taste of romance when he encourages her to try ice swimming.
The Avalon Theatre Wed., April 11, 8 p.m.
Angelika Mosaic Atlantic Plumbing Cinema
Call Me By Your Name Directed by Luca Guadagnino (Italy/France/Brazil/U.S., 2017, 132 min.) In Northern Italy in 1983, 17-year-old Elio begins a relationship with visiting Oliver, his father’s research assistant, with whom he bonds over his emerging sexuality, their Jewish heritage and the beguiling Italian landscape (English, Italian, French and German).
West End Cinema
The China Hustle Directed by Jed Rothstein (U.S., 2018, 84 min.) This unsettling and eye-opening documentary follows a Wall Street web of fraud revolving Chinese companies, the American stock market, the 2008 financial crash and the opportunistic greed behind the biggest heist you’ve never heard of.
The Quartette (Kvarteto)
Landmark’s E Street Cinema
Directed by Miroslav Krobot (Czech Republic, 2017, 93 min.)
Directed by Wes Anderson (U.S., 2007, 91 min.)
Gathering around one table every evening like a family, the members of a string quartet rehearse for another concert. The somewhat incongruous foursome consists of the attractive cello player, her “mommy-dependent” boyfriend, the show-off and an aging history expert. But an awkward misunderstanding and sexual tensions put the fate of the quartet at risk.
The Avalon Theatre Thu., April 12, 5:15 p.m.
Directed by Warwick Thornton (Australia, 2018, 113 min.)
Directed by Alex Garland (U.K./U.S., 2018, 115 min.)
Set in Czechoslovakia during the Nazi occupation, a young boy opens up a world of trouble when he inadvertently reveals that his father has been listening to resistance broadcasts from London. As a result, the Nazi requisition their apartment, and they are forced into exile in the countryside. Shot from the perspective of the 8-year-old boy, he finds his own adventures and discovers a new crop of friends during the extraordinary times (post-screening Q&A with the director).
Directed by Bohdan Sláma (Czech Republic, 2017, 106 min.)
Directed by Ryan Coogler (U.S., 2018)
Ice Mother (Baba z ledu)
Landmark’s E Street Cinema Landmark’s Bethesda Row Cinema
Landmark’s E Street Cinema Landmark’s Bethesda Row Cinema
Directed by Jan Svěrák (Czech Republic, 2017, 111 min.)
The Avalon Theatre Thu., April 12, 8 p.m.
This otherworldly fairy tale, set against the backdrop of Cold War era America circa 1962, takes place in the hidden highsecurity government laboratory where lonely Elisa is trapped in a life of isolation. Elisa’s life is changed forever when she and co-worker Zelda discover a secret classified experiment.
The Darjeeling Limited
Having not spoken since the death of their father, three brothers set off on a train ride across India with a plan to find themselves and bond with each other.
PHOTO: MAGNOLIA PICTURES
“The China Hustle” offers an unsettling look at corporate greed, Chinese opportunism and the market crash of 2008.
107 min.) Moscow, 1953: when tyrannical dictator Joseph Stalin drops dead, his parasitic cronies square off in a frantic power struggle to be the next Soviet leader in this uproarious, wickedly irreverent satire.
AFI Silver Theatre April 20 to 26
a horse trainer and befriends the fading racehorse, Lean on Pete.
Angelika Pop-Up Opens Fri., April 20
Angelika Mosaic Opens Fri., April 13
Isle of Dogs
Landmark’s E Street Cinema Landmark’s Bethesda Row Cinema
Leaning into the Wind: Andy Goldsworthy
Directed by Wes Anderson (U.S./Germany, 2018, 101 min.)
Directed by Thomas Riedelsheimer (U.K./Germany, 2018, 93 min.)
The Final Portrait
This animated adventure follows Atari Kobayashi, a 12-year-old ward to corrupt Mayor Kobayashi. When, by executive decree, all the canine pets of Megasaki City are exiled to a vast garbage-dump called Trash Island, Atari sets off alone in a miniature Junior-Turbo Prop and flies across the river in search of his bodyguard-dog.
This documentary follows renowned British artist Andy Goldsworthy on his exploration of the world and himself through ephemeral and permanent workings on the landscape, cities and with his own body (English, Portuguese and French).
AFI Silver Theatre Angelika Mosaic Landmark’s E Street Cinema Landmark’s Bethesda Row Cinema
The Leisure Seeker
Directed by Stanley Tucci (U.K., 2018, 90 min.) In 1964, while on a short trip to Paris, the American writer and art-lover James Lord is asked by his friend, the worldrenowned artist Alberto Giacometti, to sit for a portrait. So begins not only the story of an offbeat friendship, but, seen through the eyes of Lord, an insight into the beauty, frustration, profundity and, at times, downright chaos of the artistic process (English, French and Italian).
Finding Your Feet
Directed by Alison Chernick (Israel/U.S., 2018, 82 min.)
Directed by Richard Loncraine (U.K., 2018, 111 min.) On the eve of her retirement, a middleclass, judgmental snob discovers her husband has been having an affair with her best friend and is forced into exile with her bohemian sister who lives on an impoverished inner-city council estate.
Angelika Mosaic Opens Fri., April 6
Ghost Stories Directed by Jeremy Dyson and Andy Nyman (U.K., 2018, 98 min.) Arch skeptic professor Phillip Goodman embarks upon a terror-filled quest when he stumbles across a long-lost file containing details of three cases of inexplicable “hauntings.”
Landmark’s Theatres Opens Fri., April 27
AFI Silver Theatre April 13 to 19
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Death of Stalin
Directed by Wes Anderson (U.S./Germany, 2014, 100 min.)
Directed by Armando Iannucci (U.K./Canada/France/Belgium, 2018,
An aged Zero Moustafa recounts the glory days of the now-faded Grand Budapest
38 | THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | APRIL 2018
Hotel, and his tutelage under the legendary concierge Monsieur Gustave H. during the Interwar Years.
Hailed as the world’s greatest living violinist, Itzhak Perlman is presented in a highly personal light in this film, revealing his appealing personality and deep passion for music.
Landmark’s Theatres Opens Fri., April 6
Journey’s End Directed by Saul Dibb (U.K., 2018, 107 min.) This suspenseful, immersive war drama is set in March of 1918, as C-company arrives to take its turn in the front-line trenches of northern France, led by warweary Captain Stanhope. With a German offensive imminently approaching, the officers and their cook use food and the memories of their lives before the war to distract themselves, while Stanhope soaks his fear in whisky, unable to deal with the dread of the inevitable.
West End Cinema Directed by Paolo Virzi (Italy/France, 2018, 112 min.) A runaway couple go on an unforgettable journey in the faithful old RV they call The Leisure Seeker, traveling from Boston to Key West. They recapture their passion for life and their love for each other on a road trip that provides revelation and surprise right up to the very end.
Lara Croft is the fiercely independent daughter of an eccentric adventurer who vanished when she was scarcely a teen. Now a young woman of 21 without any real focus or purpose, Lara leaves everything she knows behind in search of her dad’s last-known destination: a fabled tomb on a mythical island that might be somewhere off the coast of Japan (English and Cantonese).
Angelika Mosaic Atlantic Plumbing Cinema
The Watermelon Woman Directed by Cheryl Dunye (U.S., 1997, 90 min.) Cheryl Dunye’s trailblazing debut — the first feature film directed by and about an African American lesbian — centers on the protagonist’s search for information about the fictional Fae Richards, a black actress from 1930s Hollywood.
National Gallery of Art Sat., April 7, 2 p.m.
New Chefs on the Block
Women in Love
Directed by Dustin Harrison-Atlas (U.S., 2017, 96 min.)
Directed by Ken Russell (U.K., 1969, 131 min.)
This intimate, multi-year documentary portrait of two chefs and their staffs in Washington, D.C. — Aaron Silverman of Rose’s Luxury and Frank Linn of Frankly...Pizza! — who struggle to open and maintain their first restaurants.
Ken Russell’s film adaptation of the celebrated D.H. Lawrence novel features Glenda Jackson in an Oscar-winning performance in the story of passionate relationships among a well-to-do social set in a post-World War I roaring ’20s Midlands mining town.
Landmark’s E Street Cinema Landmark’s Bethesda Row Cinema Wed., April 4, 7 p.m.
Pacific Rim: Uprising Directed by Steven S. DeKnight (U.S./China, 2018, 111 min.)
Directed by Andrew Haigh (U.K., 2018, 121 min.) A teenager gets a summer job working for
Atlantic Plumbing Cinema
Lean on Pete
Directed by Roar Uthaug (U.K./U.S., 2018, 118 min.)
Landmark’s Bethesda Row Cinema
Jake Pentecost, son of Stacker Pentecost, reunites with Mako Mori to lead a new generation of Jaeger pilots, including rival Lambert and 15-year-old hacker Amara, against a new Kaiju threat (English and Mandarin).
Landmark’s Bethesda Row Cinema
In this Australian Western set on the Northern Territory frontier in the 1920s, justice itself is put on trial when an aged Aboriginal farmhand shoots a white man in self defense and goes on the run as a posse gathers to hunt him down.
AFI Silver Theatre Fri., April 6, 7:10 p.m., Sun., April 8, 11:15 a.m.
A Wrinkle in Time Directed by Ava DuVernay (U.S., 2018, 109 min.) After the disappearance of her scientist father, three peculiar beings send Meg, her brother and her friend to space in order to find him.
Angelika Mosaic Atlantic Plumbing Cinema
Film | Culture | WD
You Were Never Here Directed by Lynne Ramsay (U.K./France/U.S., 2018, 90 min.) A traumatized veteran, unafraid of violence, tracks down missing girls for a living. When a job spins out of control, Joe’s nightmares overtake him as a conspiracy is uncovered leading to what may be his death trip or his awakening.
That Most Important Thing: Love
Directed by Andrzej Żuławski (France/Italy/W. Germany, 1975, 109 min.)
Directed by Luis Buñuel (France/Italy, 1968, 100 min.) Catherine Deneuve’s porcelain perfection hides a cracked interior in one of the actress’s most iconic roles: Séverine, a seemingly virginal Paris housewife who begins secretly spending her afternoon hours working in a high-class bordello, before returning home to her new husband (French, Spanish and Mongolian).
This story of amour fou centers on a love triangle between Nadine, an actress employed in low-budget soft-core films; photographer-turned-producer Servais, who, infatuated with Nadine, plans to cast her in a production of “Richard III”; and Nadine’s husband Jacques, who’s not about to give up on his wife.
AFI Silver Theatre April 9 to 12
Landmark’s Theatres Opens Fri., April 13
The Crime of Monsieur Lange
Die Andere Heimat (Home From Home)
Directed by Jean Renoir (France, 1936, 83 min.) Jean Renoir’s breezy romantic comedy contains surprising depths of anti-fascist political awareness, as a greedy and grasping boss of a low-rent pulp publishing house, always dodging creditors and abusing his staff, disappears and is presumed dead. In his absence, the employees reorganize as a collective and love blooms, but is the boss really dead?
Directed by Edgar Reitz (Germany, 2014, 230 min.) When, in the middle of the 19th century, famine, poverty and despotism oppressed the people of Europe, hundreds of thousands immigrated to distant South America. Against the background of this unforgotten drama, Edgar Reitz chronologically unfolds the story of longing in his new feature film.
AFI Silver Theatre April 20 to 26
Goethe-Institut Fri., April 27, 6:30 p.m.
Port of Shadows
When Paul Came Over the Sea
Directed by Marcel Carné (France, 1938, 91 min.) Jean Gabin stars as an army deserter who’s hitchhiked to Le Havre intending to get on a boat and flee the country. But once there, he becomes entangled in a dispute between two disreputable locals and ends up falling for one of their mistresses.
AFI Silver Theatre Sat., April 7, 12 p.m., Tue., April 10, 7:15 p.m.
Directed by Jakob Preuss (Germany, 2017, 93 min.) Paul Nkamani is a migrant from Cameroon. He has made his way across the Sahara to the Moroccan coast where he lives in a forest, waiting for the right moment to cross the Mediterranean Sea. This is where he meets Jakob, a filmmaker from Berlin, who is researching a film about Europe’s borders (German, French, Spanish and English).
Goethe-Institut Wed., April 11, 6:30 p.m.
Séraphine Directed by Martin Provost (France/Belgium, 2008, 125 min.) “Séraphine” focuses on the true story of Séraphine Louis, a middle-aged domestic living in the nineteenth century, whose deep love of and connection to the French
HEBREW Foxtrot Directed by Samuel Maoz (Israel/Switzerland/Germany/France, 2017, 108 min.) Michael and Dafna are devastated when army officials show up at their home to announce the death of their son. While his sedated wife rests, Michael becomes increasingly frustrated by overzealous mourning relatives and well-meaning army bureaucrats. He spirals into a whirlwind of anger, only to experience one of life’s unfathomable twists — a twist that can only be rivaled by the surreal military experiences of his son.
Angelika Mosaic Landmark’s Bethesda Row Cinema
HINDI PHOTO: JANUS FILMS
Catherine Deneuve stars as a Parisian housewife who desires more in “Belle de Jour.”
Landmark’s Theatres Opens Fri., April 6
National Gallery of Art Sat., April 14, 2:30 p.m.
Angelika Mosaic Opens Fri., April 13
Belle de Jour
station with mysterious boxes labeled “fragrances.” The town clerk fears the men may be heirs of the village’s deported Jews and expects them to demand their illegally acquired property back (Hungarian and Russian).
countryside motivated her colorful paintings of flora and fauna. As her paintings garner admiration, Séraphine’s mental decline and eventual institutionalization lead to the cessation of her art until she is reunited with her beloved nature (French, German and Latin).
Bareilly Ki Barfi Directed by Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari (India, 2017, 123 min. plus
ITALIAN Il Boom Directed by Vittorio De Sica (Italy, 1963, 85 min.) PHOTO: LENKE SZILAGYI / MENEMSHA FILMS
Town clerk István Szentes (Péter Rudolf) rides into town with Officer József Iharos (Sándor Terhes) in “1945.”
15-minute intermission) In a small town in in Uttar Pradesh, Bitti, a free spirit and a bit of a bohemian misfit, works at the electricity board, is a casual smoker, watches English movies and loves to breakdance — none of which are helping her parents to find her a suitable groom. Feeling pressured to change her lifestyle and start thinking about marriage, Bitti resolves to skip town completely, but when she stumbles upon a novel at the train station, she’s surprised to find that the female protagonist is exactly like her.
AFI Silver Theatre Sat., April 7, 3 p.m.
Ittefaq Directed by Abhay Chopra (India, 2017, 105 min.) Inspired by the eponymous 1969 film, “Ittefaq” is a gripping modern whodunit. A police officer investigates a double murder case with only two witnesses — both of whom are also prime suspects and both of whose stories seem true.
AFI Silver Theatre Sun., April 8, 8:30 p.m.
Mukkabaaz Directed by Anurag Kashyap (India, 2017, 153 min. plus 15-minute intermission)
traditional Bollywood comedy, with hilarious and thought-provoking results. AFI Silver Theatre Sat., April 14, 8:15 p.m.
A punk kid tries boxing as a lark, gets the tar punched out of him and starts training for real. His manager is a former contender who sees the punk as way to realize a championship dream that he himself could never fulfill.
Freer Gallery of Art Sun., April 8, 2 p.m.
Hong Kong Nocturne
Fourteen-year-old Insia dreams of becoming a singer, but her conservative and overbearing father doesn’t see this as an apt aspiration for a young Muslim woman. When Insia’s mother surreptitiously buys her a laptop, the budding composer begins secretly recording and posting her songs online, gaining overnight internet fame.
Directed by Umetsugu Inoue (Japan, 1957, 115 min.)
In Umetsugu Inoue’s follow-up to “The Winner,” Yujiro Ishihara plays a seaman who joins the crew of a rusty cargo ship to avenge himself on his father’s enemy. Also on board is another new hand with a secret, played by a buff, shirtless Rentaro Mikuni.
AFI Silver Theatre Sun., April 8, 2:30 p.m.
Shubh Mangal Saavdhan Directed by R.S. Prasanna (India, 2017, 119 min.) Mudit is a sweet young man with a stable job who feels like he’s struck gold when he meets the no-nonsense Sugandha and they instantly hit it off. They’re soon engaged, but when a premarital rendezvous reveals that Mudit suffers from erectile dysfunction, word gets out, and the entire wedding party is spun into a panic.
Directed by Shree Narayan Singh (India, 2017, 155 min. plus 15-minute intermission)
Toilet: Ek Prem Katha
Go-getter Keshav woos liberal thinker Jaya, a woman from his neighboring village in Uttar Pradesh. They marry, but once the newlyweds cross the threshold, Jaya discovers that Keshav does not have a toilet in his home. Keshav, who submits to cultural norms, suggests that his new bride can just defecate outside when the time comes — which leads the modernminded Jaya to file for a divorce. Fearing he will lose her, Keshav desperately sets out on a mission to win back his love.
AFI Silver Theatre Sat., April 7, 8 p.m.
AFI Silver Theatre Sat., April 14, 2:30 p.m.
Directed by R. Balki (India, 2018, 140 min. plus 15-minute intermission)
Inspired by the life of Indian entrepreneur Arunachalam Muruganantham, who revolutionized the manufacture of the low-cost sanitary napkin in India, this film akes a socially conscious approach to the
Directed by Umetsugu Inoue (Japan, 1957, 98 min.)
AFI Silver Theatre Sun., April l5, 2 p.m.
As India, the world’s largest democracy, braces itself for another general election — with 9 million polling booths, more than 800 million voters and a budget of $5 billion — rookie government clerk Newton Kumar is entrusted with a deceptively simple task: conducting elections in a remote village in the jungles of central India.
The Eagle and the Hawk
AFI Silver Theatre Sun., April 15, 8 p.m.
Directed by Amit Masurkar (India, 2017, 106 min.)
AFI Silver Theatre April 17 to 19
Freer Gallery of Art Fri., April 6, 7:30 p.m.
Directed by Advait Chandan (India, 2017, 150 min. plus 15-minute intermission)
Vital, insightful and thoroughly cinematic, Anurag Kashyap’s “The Brawler” follows in the tradition of the all-time great boxing films, with a boldly Indian spin.
Italy’s postwar economy is booming, but Giovanni is drowning in debt and overspending to maintain his beloved wife Silvia’s high standard of living. Approached by the imperious Signora Bausetti with a lucrative but unusual offer, Giovanni can’t see how he can turn it down.
(Japan, 1957, 101 min.) A young drummer employs both his hands and his fists in the Ginza jazz world. His younger brother supports his ambitions and helps find him a manager in Fukushima Miyako, who is as sassy and smart as she is gorgeous. Their mother, however, is stubbornly opposed to his choice of careers — a constant source of pain for him and of annoyance for the audience.
Directed by Ferenc Török (Hungary, 2017, 91 min.) In Hungary on a sweltering day in 1945, villagers prepare for the wedding of the town clerk’s son. Meanwhile, two Orthodox Jews arrive at the village train
Freer Gallery of Art Fri., April 13, 7 p.m.
The Green Music Box Directed by Umetsugu Inoue (Japan, 1955, 90 min.) The first feature-length theatrical film shot in Konicolor, The Green Music Box is based on the eponymous novel by Makoto Hojo. A musical action film for children, the movie typifies Umetsugu Inoue’s creative use of color. It also marked the debut of fourteen-year-old Ruriko Asaoka, whose character becomes entangled with a spy trying to steal her father’s secrets.
Freer Gallery of Art Sun., April 15, 2 p.m.
Lady Snowblood Directed by Toshiya Fujita (Japan, 1973, 97 min.) A major inspiration for Quentin Tarantino’s “Kill Bill” saga, this endlessly inventive film, set in late 19th-century Japan, charts the path of vengeance taken by a young woman whose parents were the victims of brutal criminals.
Freer Gallery of Art Wed., April 4, 2 p.m.
Directed by Umetsugu Inoue (Hong Kong, 1967, 128 min.) Hong Kong’s mighty Shaw Brothers studio lent a new sheen to the territory’s musicals in the mid-1960s when it brought in director Umetsugu Inoue from Japan. Three sisters, the backup troupe for their musician father on Hong Kong’s nightclub circuit, become fed up with dad siphoning away their salaries and leave home to pursue ballet, screen stardom or marriage. The trio eventually overcome personal obstacles, band together and aim to hit the big time in the televised Hong Kong Music Lovers a-go-go stage show.
Freer Gallery of Art Fri., April 20, 7 p.m.
King Drummer Directed by Umetsugu Inoue (Hong Kong, 1967, 103 min.) Riding on the success of “Hong Kong Nocturne,” Umetsugu Inoue created this remake of his most successful Japanese film, “The Stormy Man.” He updated its setting from Japan’s flashy 1950s to Hong Kong’s swinging ’60s, a colorful world of glamorous nightclubs and sequin-clad jazz combos. Its plot concerns the competition between a successful but egotistical drummer and a poor hero from the sticks who threatens to take his place.
Freer Gallery of Art Sun., April 22, 2 p.m.
Directed by Koki Shigeno (Japan, 2018, 93 min.)
A Fantastic Woman (Una Mujer Fantástica)
Ramen — the perfectly slurpable combination of broth and noodles — is considered an edible embrace, comforting ephemera and an art form by master chefs and legions of fans. Japan’s reigning king of ramen, Osamu Tomita, takes us into his kitchen and deep into his world, revealing the secrets of every step of his obsessive process, sharing recipes, trade secrets and flavor philosophies.
Directed by Sebastián Lelio (Chile/Germany/Spain/U.S., 2018, 104 min.)
The Stormy Man a.k.a. The Guy Who Started a Storm
Daniela Vega shines in a wonderful performance as a transgender nightclub singer, Marina, in love with Orlando, a successful businessman 20 years her senior. He has left his disapproving family to be with her, and they are planning a happy future together when Orlando suddenly falls ill and dies, leaving Marina stunned and bereft. Instead of being able to mourn her lover, Marina is attacked and excluded.
Directed by Umetsugu Inoue
West End Cinema
Landmark’s E Street Cinema
THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | APRIL 2018 | 39
WD | Culture | Events
Events Listings *Unless specific times are listed, please check the venue for times. Venue locations are subject to change.
ART April 1 to Aug. 5
Sharing Images: Renaissance Prints into Maiolica and Bronze Inspired by the acquisition of the important William A. Clark maiolica (glazed Italian ceramics) collection from the Corcoran Gallery of Art, this exhibition brings together some 90 objects to highlight the impact of Renaissance prints on maiolica and bronze plaquettes, the two media most dramatically influenced by the new technology of image replication.
National Gallery of Art April 3 to May 27
Toledo Múltiple As Mexico’s most prolific and influential graphic artist, Francisco Toledo has been exploring the fantastical and expanding the expressive range of his printmaking over more than 50 years. This exhibition encompasses a wide range of Toledo’s work, revealing the progression and creative process evidenced in his printmaking. The exhibition also includes 21 works by both Mexican and foreign printmakers as part of Toledo’s collection for the Instituto de Artes Gráficas de Oaxaca.
based in Buenos Aires who grew up in Australia and several other countries. His art is influenced by the ideas, movement and visual interpretations of musical compositions, from jazz, soul, Motown and the American songbook, to tango and the classics. The end result is a visual idiom that borrows from the inventive and spontaneous style of jazz. His paintings show an improvisational rhythm, always based on a well-thought-out idea, while his robust use of an extended palette extracts unusual shades and gradations that have become characteristic of his bold, powerful style.
Embassy of Argentina Through May 5
A Dark and Scandalous Rockfall This collaborative installation by Perla Krauze and Barbara Liotta, artists from both sides of the Mexico-United States border, incorporates material and metaphorical qualities of stone to evoke landscape and classical sculpture. The title of the exhibit is drawn from the poem “Dry Rain” by Mexican poet Pedro Serrano, which begins: “At times the poem is a collapse/ a slow and painful landslide/ a dark and scandalous rockfall.” Given the current state of U.S.-Mexico relations, this exhibition presents a healing gesture, recognizing our shared history.
Mexican Cultural Institute
American University Museum
Through May 13
Wed., April 4, 5:30 p.m.
Brand New: Art and Commodity in the 1980s
For Your Freedom and Ours This photography exhibit reveals protests against the occupation of Czechoslovakia in 1968 within the struggle for freedom in the communist states of Europe. Adam Hradilek, a historian from the Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes, will open the exhibition followed by a talk with special guest Pavel Litvinov, grandson of Maxim Litvinov, Stalin’s foreign minister during the 1930s, at the EU Delegation. To RSVP, visit goo.gl/nftA3d.
Delegation of the European Union Through April 27
Belonging to a Place: An Exhibition by Fogo Island Artists Fogo Island Arts (FIA) is a residency-based contemporary art venue for artists, filmmakers, writers, musicians, curators, designers and thinkers from around the world. Since 2008, FIA has brought some of the most exciting emerging and renowned artists of today to Fogo Island, Newfoundland, to take part in residencies and to present solo exhibitions at the Fogo Island Gallery. “Belonging to a Place” features works by a selection of international artists who are alumni or forthcoming participants of the residency program. The exhibition departs from a consideration of the concept of “place,” seeking to examine where we come from and how we relate to multiple notions of belonging. Presenting sculpture, installation, video, painting and works on paper, the exhibition takes on a diverse, experimental and critical approach to contemporary art, its presentation and discussion.
It’s the ’80s as you’ve never seen it before. Explore the iconic decade when artwork became a commodity and the artist a brand. Razor-sharp, witty, satirical and deeply subversive, these nearly 150 works examine the origins and rise of a new generation of artists in 1980s New York who blurred the lines between art, entertainment and commerce, a shift that continues to define contemporary art today.
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden Through May 13
Michel Sittow: Estonian Painter at the Courts of Renaissance Europe Undoubtedly the greatest Renaissance artist from Estonia, Michel Sittow (c. 1469–1525) was born in Reval (now Tallinn), likely studied in Bruges with Hans Memling and worked at the courts of renowned European royals such as King Ferdinand of Aragon and Queen Isabella of Castile. Through some 20 works representing most of Sittow’s small oeuvre, the exhibition will offer an opportunity to examine his art in a broader context.
National Gallery of Art Through May 25
Evolving Traditions: Paintings of Wonder from Japan
Did You See What I Heard?
This exhibition of captivating works by modern artist Yuki Ideguchi — alongside rarely-seen masterpieces of traditional Japanese paintings from the Japanese Embassy collection — takes visitors through a history of ever-evolving paintings, dating from the 6th century to the present time, whose common threads lie in the use of traditional and unique pigments, materials and techniques.
Ignacio Alperin is an international artist
Japan Information and Culture Center
Embassy of Canada Art Gallery Through April 30
40 | THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | APRIL 2018
Through May 28
Sally Mann: A Thousand Crossings For more than 40 years, Sally Mann has made experimental, elegiac and hauntingly beautiful photographs that span a broad body of work including figure studies, still lifes and landscapes. “Sally Mann: A Thousand Crossings” explores how her relationship with the South has shaped her work.
National Gallery of Art Through June 1
Mirror, Mirror on the Wall Artist Patrizio Travagli invites audiences to turn our attention to the disturbing singularity of the mirror. How many times have mirrors deceived us? How many times, even if for a few moments, have we believed that the reflected image was a window or a door, an entrance not to Wonderland, as it was for Lewis Carroll’s “Alice,” but to our own common, everyday world? In the exhibition, Travagli asks you, the viewer, to become the piece of art. Your reflection in the mirror is the launching point for questions about identity, illusion and reality. For information, visit https:// iicwashington.esteri.it/iic_washington/it.
Embassy of Italy Through June 3
Beyond Words: Book Illustration in the Age of Shakespeare With visually interesting illustrated books and single sheet prints that have been rarely or never before displayed, this exhibition explores the production of the images in books in early modern Europe. Featuring more than 80 illustrated rare books and prints from the 15th to the 18th century from the Folger Shakespeare Library, the images include woodcuts, produced from carved woodblocks, and engravings and etchings, printed from copper plates.
Folger Shakespeare Library Through June 24
Jim Chuchu’s Invocations The museum is the first institution to acquire and display Kenyan multimedia artist Jim Chuchu’s mesmerizing suite of video projections, in which two distinct videos loop in succession and follow the structure of initiation rituals. Surrounded by Chuchu’s pulsing house beats and evocative imagery, viewers are invited to contemplate the separations and releases that shape our individual and collective identities.
National Museum of African Art Through June 24
The Creative Nation: Swedish Music and Innovation Sweden has long been ranked as one of the most creative and innovative countries in the world, with accolades for its contributions to music, design and technology. This exhibit explores the connection between Sweden’s many technological innovations and the nation’s commercial musical prowess. From video games to communication tools, a slew of innovative products has followed in the tracks of Ericsson and Skype. And given Sweden’s long history of musical excellence, it’s hardly surprising that tech companies in Sweden also excel in the world of music. Sweden offers universal music education and is among the top nations per capita
THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | April 2018 both in number of choirs and number of global stars, from dancing queens to house mafias.
House of Sweden Through June 24
Ingmar Bergman Moods: Costumes and Images Director Ingmar Bergman’s imagery continues to inspire artists of all genres today. During the 2018 Bergman Centennial Year, many new films inspired by Bergman’s legacy are being released by contemporary filmmakers. The costumes presented at House of Sweden represent a mix of new and old, including examples from Tomas Alfredsson’s newly released film as well as original Nina Sandström works used in Bergman productions and other reinterpretations. The costumes are paired with large-scale photos reimagining iconic Bergman roles as well as the milieus that shaped Bergman as a storyteller.
House of Sweden Through June 24
Still Life by Karin Broos Karin Broos is one of the most widely recognized Swedish artists of our time, and this is the second presentation of her work in an exhibition outside of Sweden. With her photorealistic portrayals of apparently everyday scenes, she expresses ambiguous sentiments and universal feelings of melancholia and gloom. The subjects in her atmospheric works are mainly from her home in Östra Ämtervik, the Värmland countryside, the Fryken lakes and her own close family. Her work also often explores different kinds of interiors and self-portraits, referring to 17th-century Dutch paintings and symbolism as well as to contemporary art.
House of Sweden Through July 1
Cézanne Portraits Bringing together some 60 examples drawn from collections around the world, this is the first exhibition devoted to the famed post-impressionist’s portraits. The revelatory exhibition provides the first full visual account of Paul Cézanne’s portrait practice, exploring the pictorial and thematic characteristics of his works in the genre, the chronological development of his style and method, and the range and influence of his sitters.
National Gallery of Art Through July 9
Vanishing Traditions: Textiles and Treasures from Southwest China For centuries, minority cultures in southwest China have donned elaborate textiles, jewelry, and accessories for community celebrations. Dazzling festival costumes new to the museum’s collections explore traditions now endangered by modernization.
The George Washington University Textile Museum Through July 29
To Dye for: Ikats from Central Asia With their brilliant designs, ikats are among the most distinct fabrics produced in Central Asia. Not surprisingly, ikats caught the attention of contemporary designers, most notably Oscar de la Renta.
This exhibition brings together about 30 of the finest historical Central Asian ikat hangings and coats from the Freer|Sackler collections, as well as seven of Oscar de la Renta’s iconic creations, to explore the original use and function of these dazzling fabrics and the enduring appeal of their extraordinary designs.
bold repertory and distinct virtuosity, Nederlands Dans Theater (NDT) is prominently imprinted with an avant-garde aesthetic. Based in The Hague, this pioneering Dutch company’s non-conformist, progressive productions have put its collective of astonishingly talented dancers on the international map. Tickets are $19 to $69.
Freer Gallery of Art
Kennedy Center Opera House
Through Aug. 5
April 11 to 15
Do Ho Suh: Almost Home
The Washington Ballet Presents Mixed Masters
Korean-born Do Ho Suh (b. 1962) is internationally renowned for his immersive, architectural fabric sculptures that explore the global nature of contemporary identity. “Do Ho Suh: Almost Home” will transform the museum’s galleries through Suh’s captivating installations, which recreate to scale several of his former homes from around the world. Through these works, Suh investigates the nature of home and memory and the impact of migration and displacement on an individual’s sense of self.
Smithsonian American Art Museum Through Nov. 12
Mark Bradford: Pickett’s Charge For his first solo exhibition in D.C., acclaimed artist Mark Bradford debuts a monumental site-specific commission inspired by Paul Philippoteaux’s 1883 cyclorama depicting the Battle of Gettysburg. Covering the curved walls of the Hirshhorn’s Third Level Inner Circle, “Pickett’s Charge” presents 360 degrees of abstracted historical narrative.
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden Through Dec. 25
Visionary: Viewpoints on Africa’s Arts More than 300 works of art from the museum’s permanent collection are on view within this exhibition. Working in media as diverse as wood, ceramics, drawing, jewelry, mixed media, sculpture, painting, photography, printmaking, and video, these works of art reflect the visionary ideas and styles developed by men and women from more than half of Africa’s 55 nations. The installation is organized around seven viewpoints, each of which serve to frame and affect the manner in which African art is experienced.
National Museum of African Art Through Jan. 21, 2019
No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man Each year in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert, a city of more than 70,000 people rises out of the dust for a single week. During that time, enormous experimental art installations are erected and many are ritually burned to the ground. Cutting-edge artwork created at Burning Man, the annual desert gathering that is one of the most influential events in contemporary art and culture, will be exhibited in the nation’s capital for the first time this spring.
Smithsonian American Art Museum
DANCE April 4 to 6
Nederlands Dans Theater Known for pushing boundaries with its
The Washington Ballet closes its Kennedy Center season with a program of ballets that includes George Balanchine’s “Serenade,” Frederick Ashton’s “Symphonic Variations” and Jerome Robbins’s “The Concert (or, The Perils of Everybody).” Tickets are $25 to $140.
Kennedy Center Eisenhower Theater April 26 to 28
Andersson Dance and Scottish Ensemble: Goldberg Variations – tenary patterns for insomnia Art forms merge and surge with sublime synergy as Stockholm-based Andersson Dance and Glasgow-based Scottish Ensemble become true partners, interacting onstage in a seamless display of talent. Tickets are $29 to $89.
Kennedy Center Eisenhower Theater
DISCUSSIONS Wed., April 4, 7 p.m.
The Citizen Artist, Between Practice and Advocacy Spanish musician Cristina Pato — a master of the Galician bagpipes (gaita), a classical pianist and a passionate educator at numerous universities — will be joined by Robert L. Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts, to talk about her practice and the importance of arts advocacy. To RSVP, visit https://www. spainculture.us/city/washington-dc/.
Former Residence of the Ambassadors of Spain Wed., April 4, 6:45 p.m.
Lidia Bastianich’s American Dream For cookbook author, television personality and restaurateur Lidia Bastianich, her story begins with an upbringing in Pula, a formerly Italian city turned Yugoslavian under Tito’s communist regime. She enjoyed a childhood surrounded by love and security—despite the family’s poverty — and learned everything about Italian cooking from her beloved grandmother, Nonna Rosa. Drawing on her new book, “My American Dream,” Bastianich shares the vivid story of the fulfillment of that dream. Tickets are $55 (includes a copy of the book); for information, visit www. smithsonianassociates.org.
National Museum of the American Indian Thu., April 5, 6:45 p.m.
The Fox Trot and the Mexican Canción with Dr. Leonora Saaverdra In the early 20th century, the fox trot and other similar dances derived from African American music made a large impact on the young people of Mexico, as they did
Events | Culture | WD
in many other parts of the world. During these years, Mexican composers, journalists, music publishers, popular musicians, the Mexican Ministry of Education and music lovers debated among themselves n the question of what the true music of Mexico could and should be. As part of its 2018 Music Series, the Mexican Cultural Institute presents a lecture by Dr. Leonora Saavedra discussing the topic. To RSVP, visit www.instituteofmexicodc.org.
Holocaust and were detained and killed in concentration camps. In commemoration, the Austrian Cultural Forum hosts a literature reading program presented by the Elysium - Between Two Continents, a nonprofit dedicated to artistic and creative dialogue and mutual friendship between the United States and Europe. To RSVP, visit http://acfdc.org.
virtuoso Wu Man tell the story of Yin Yu Tang, an elegant, 300-year-old house from a southeastern Chinese village, dismantled piece-by-piece in 2003 and rebuilt at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts. Tickets are $30 to $50.
Embassy of Austria
Mexican Cultural Institute
Tue., April 10, 6 p.m.
The Prague Spring Music Festival The Prague Spring Music Festival was founded shortly after World War II. As part of its “Conversations in Culture at the EU Delegation,” Festival Director Roman Bělor will speak about the relationship between music and politics, especially “normalization,” the dark period following the Soviet occupation. Bělor will also address how music was used and misused by the communist regime
Delegation of the European Union Thu., April 12, 6:45 p.m.
Bridal Traditions and Wedding Feasts of India: A Regional Exploration India’s rich beauty and diversity is especially evident in its wedding celebrations. Each of the country’s 29 states has its own signature wedding garments, jewelry, makeup, decorations and foods. Writer and cookbook author Monica Bhide showcases the distinctive traditions of 10 Indian states. Tickets are $90; for information, visit www.smithsonianassociates.org.
S. Dillon Ripley Center Thu., April 12, 7 p.m.
Silent Movies and Music: Women’s Suffrage and the Early Age of Filmmaking with Gerhard Gruber On Nov. 12, 1918, the Austrian Provisional National Assembly passed a law that included the right to vote for women. As part of its year-long commemoration program, the Austrian Embassy honors and addresses this landmark decision from 100 years ago in an entertaining and artistic way, namely with a selection of silent movies about the women’s suffrage movement in the 1910s. The Austrian silent movie pianist Gerhard Gruber will present these movies, accompanying them with the piano himself. To RSVP, visit http://acfdc.org.
Embassy of Austria Mon., April 16, 6:45 p.m.
La Dolce Vita: Italy’s Desserts Forget about milk and cookies: Italians love to end their meal with cookies and special dessert wines. Join Francine Segan, author of “Dolci: Italy’s Sweets,” as she introduces you to la dolce vita — the way the dessert course is enjoyed in Italy. Tickets are $55; for information, visit www.smithsonianassociates.org.
S. Dillon Ripley Center Thu., April 19, 7 p.m.
‘Hate Is a Failure of Imagination’ with Gregorij H. von Leïtis and Michael Lahr The year 2018 marks the 80th anniversary of the “Anschluss,” the annexation of Austria to Nazi-Germany. In the wake of the destructive Nazi-regime and World War II, 6 million Jews became victims of the
Through April 15
National Cherry Blossom Festival Each year, the National Cherry Blossom Festival celebrates spring in D.C., the gift of the cherry blossom trees and the enduring friendship between the people of the United States and Japan. The festival produces and coordinates daily events featuring diverse and creative programming promoting traditional and contemporary arts and culture, natural beauty, and community spirit. Events are primarily free and open to the public. Highlights include: the Blossom Kite Festival (March 31); Petalpalooza presented by FreshDirect concert and fireworks show (April 7); and the National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade (April 14). For information, visit www.nationalcherryblossomfestival.org.
MUSIC Wed., April 4, 8 p.m. Ana Moura A collaborator of both The Rolling Stones and Prince, this Portuguese fadista’s “melancholic intimacy dominates the moment it sashays out of the speakers… setting a mood of mesmerizing sorrow” (BBC). Tickets are $50 to $60.
Wolf Trap Fri., April 6, 6:30 p.m.
House of Music: New Tide Orquesta New Tide Orquesta is one of the most renowned live acts in Sweden and has been touring internationally for more than 20 years. New Tide Orquesta’s intense, genre-bending performances create a unique sound and style — an eclectic mix of modern chamber music, minimalism, baroque, free improvisation and a hint of new tango. To RSVP, visit www.eventbrite. com/e/house-of-music-new-tide-orquesta-tickets-44494651701.
House of Sweden Thu., April 12, 7:30 p.m.
Pascal Salomon, Piano Israeli-French pianist Pascal Salomon has performed intensively in France, Switzerland, Germany, Spain, Greece, Hungary, Moldova, Romania, Israel, China and the U.S., both in recitals and chamber music. “This pianist touches to all of the styles with an exceptional ease, either in chamber music or with symphonic orchestras,” according to France’s City Theater of Sens. Tickets are $70, including buffet and wine; for information, visit www.embassyseries.org.
Embassy of Hungary Thu., April 19, 8 p.m.
Washington Performing Arts: Kronos Quartet Experience a fascinating and moving perspective on Chinese cultural history as Grammy-winners Kronos and pipa
GW Lisner Auditorium Fri., April 20, 8 p.m. In 1968, the original six King’s Singers came together through their shared love of singing and quickly became renowned for their mesmerizing performances and the unique diversity of their music. In 2018, the group looks back over the last 50 years with a celebratory world tour featuring works from Renaissance polyphony to brand new commissions. Tickets are $30 to $50.
George Mason University Center for the Arts April 22 to 28
Maria and Cecilia: Zarzuela a la Cubana The InSeries presents a double bill of Cuba’s most famous zarzuelas: Lecuona’s “María la O” and Roig’s “Cecilia Valdés.” In these works, iconic characters inhabit stories of forbidden interracial romance and inevitable betrayal and tragedy. Music director and acclaimed pianist Carlos César Rodríguez brings the duality of soaring melodies and irresistible rhythms to full life with the assistance of Ivan Navas on percussion. Tickets are $22 to $45.
GALA Hispanic Theatre
Thu., April 26, 6:45 p.m.
Heegan Lee Shzen, Piano Heegan Lee Shzen is an extraordinarily talented Singaporean pianist. At only 5 years old, he was able to play back any song he heard by ear. Without any piano lessons or exposure to classical music, at the age of 14, Heegan heard Tchaikovsky’s “Piano Concerto No. 1” for the first time and immediately began playing it on the piano. This was the start of Heegan’s path into the world of classical music. Tickets are $80, including heavy hors d’oeuvres and wine; for information, visit www. embassyseries.org.
Embassy of Singapore Fri., April 27, 7:30 p.m.
An Evening of Tango from Argentina Praised by The New York Times as “outstanding” for her 2013 performance at Carnegie Hall, mezzo-soprano Malena Dayen has performed the roles of Mercedes (Carmen), Musico (Manon Lescaut), Zweite Magd (Elektra) and Myrtale (Thaïs) at the Teatro Municipal de São Paulo. Born and raised in Buenos Aires, Dayen is a Spanish music and tango specialist, performing this repertoire with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra and in venues such as Carnegie Hall and the Queen Sofia Spanish Institute. She is joined by pianist David Rosenmeyer. Tickets are $90, including buffet and wine; for information, visit www.embassyseries.org.
Embassy of Argentina
Tue., April 24, 6 p.m.
Musical Bridge: Brno/Philadelphia
April 3 to 29
Cellist Štěpán Filípek and pianist Katelyn Bouska will perform the concert “Musical Bridge: Brno/Philadelphia,” featuring the works of Czech and American masters, including Leoš Janáček’s “Pohádka (Fairy Tale)” and “Po zarostlém chodníčku (On an Overgrown Path),” Antonín Dvořák’s “Klid lesa (Silent Woods),” Miloslav Ištvan’s “Cello Sonata,” as well as Samuel Barber’s “Cello Sonata No. 2” and Jeremy Gill’s “Dos sonetos de amor (Two Love Sonnets).” To RSVP, visit https://musicalbridge. eventbrite.com.
Roz and Ray Ray is a devoted single father desperately trying to keep his hemophiliac twins alive. Roz is a brilliant doctor who offers a lifechanging new pharmaceutical treatment for Ray’s boys. The two form a close bond until the miracle goes wrong, forcing impossible choices in this gripping medical drama about intimacy, trust, and sacrifice at the onset of the AIDS crisis. Tickets are $39 to $69.
Embassy of the Czech Republic
April 4 to 29
Wed., April 25, 8 p.m.
At Hanover Middle School, two teachers get shockingly graphic with a lesson about race, sex and power. The quick-witted duo goes round after round on the mat of our nation’s history in a far-reaching, unfiltered and unflinching comedy. Tickets are $20 to $69.
Ana Popovic The “Serbian Scorcher” practically singes the stage when she shreds on the guitar. No wonder she’s shared the stage with blues luminaries like B.B. King, Buddy Guy, Gary Clark Jr. and Joe Bonamassa. Tickets are $30 to $35.
Wolf Trap Wed., April 25, 7 p.m.
Ziyad al Harbi, Oudist and Friends Ziyad al Harbi is an oud player, composer and singer from the Sultanate of Oman who started his music career at the age of 6 as a keyboard player, later becoming one of the lead oud players in Oman. Al Harbi has contributed in representing Omani culture and music with over 20 international shows, including the U.S. (Kennedy Center), Australia, the Netherlands, China, India, South Korea and various Arab and Gulf countries. Tickets are $65, including Middle Eastern buffet and drinks; for information, visit www.embassyseries.org. Embassy of Oman
Sultan Qaboos Cultural Center
Underground Railroad Game
Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company April 5 to 8
The Improvised Shakespeare Company In an evening of off-the-cuff comedy, this critically acclaimed Chicago-based ensemble creates a fully improvised Shakespearean masterpiece right before your eyes, based on a single audience member’s suggestion for the title of a show that’s never been written before ... until now. Tickets are $29 to $49.
Kennedy Center Family Theater Through April 7
to avoid conviction, she dupes the public, the media, and her rival cellmate Velma Kelly by hiring Chicago’s slickest criminal lawyer to transform her crime into a barrage of sensational headlines, the likes of which might just as easily be ripped from today’s tabloids. Tickets are $45 to $55.
Andrew Keegan Theatre Through April 8
Hold These Truths Jeanne Sakata’s one-man drama tells the true story of Gordon Hirabayashi, the American son of Japanese immigrants who defied an unjust court order when America placed its own citizens in internment camps during World War II. Midway through Arena Stage’s 2017/18 season, “Hold These Truths” brings an untold story to the stage that represents the diversity of our country and examines what it means to be an American. Tickets are $40 to $90.
captures the frustrations and foibles of communication in his poignant masterwork, “Translations.” Set during a time of great change as the British National Ordnance Survey comes to small-town Ireland to map the island and standardize its names into English, Friel builds a funny, complex and ultimately tragic exploration of culture, identity and language. Tickets are $20 to $69. The Studio Theatre
Through April 22
The Winter’s Tale Transporting audiences from Sicilia to Bohemia and safely home once more, Shakespeare’s spellbinding tale of jealousy, prophecy and redemption celebrates the magic of storytelling and the power of forgiveness. Directed by six-time Helen Hayes Award-winner Aaron Posner. Tickets are $35 to $79.
April 13 to May 20
Snow Child Infused with a score that combines Alaskan string band-traditions with contemporary musical theater, “Snow Child” follows a couple rebuilding their lives in the Alaskan wilderness when they meet a magical and mysterious snow child who transforms them. Tickets are $40 to $90.
Arena Stage April 17 to June 10
Girlfriend Set in small-town Nebraska in 1993, college-bound jock Mike and self-assured but aimless Will find themselves drawn to each other. This examination of first-time love is set to the songs of Mathew Sweet’s iconic alternative-rock album “Girlfriend.” Please call for ticket information.
Signature Theatre April 17 to May 20
Waiting for Godot Lingering by the side of the road, killing time with hat tricks and half-remembered stories, Estragon and Vladimir dawdle through one of the greatest dramas of the 20th century. Please call for ticket information.
Shakespeare Theatre Company April 19 to 22
After the Rehearsal & Persona: Bergman 100 Celebration Two Ingmar Bergman screenplays are brilliantly reimagined for the stage by celebrated director Ivo van Hove. This theatrical double-bill delving into the messy lives of theater artists features searing performances to match the layered psychological drama of Bergman’s texts. Tickets are $29 to $59.
Kennedy Center Eisenhower Theater Sat., April 21, 2 p.m.
The Washington Chorus: Carmen in Concert Experience the story of “Carmen” as you never have before – through the eyes of her killer’s mother. In a wickedly smart narration, Don José’s mother recounts the famous opéra comique. Tickets are $18 to $72.
Kennedy Center Concert Hall
“Chicago” is the story of Roxie Hart, a housewife and nightclub dancer who maliciously murders her on-the-side lover after he threatens to walk out on her. Desperate
Through April 22
April 25 to May 27
Titus Andronicus “Titus Andronicus,” from Synetic Theater’s visionary founding artistic director Paata Tsikurishvili, is lucky number 13 in the “Wordless Shakespeare” series. Tsikurishvili will sink his teeth into this revenge-driven tragedy and tell the bloody tale of Titus and Tamora with all of the fiery passion, energy and vengeance only Synetic can deliver. Tickets start at $35.
Synetic Theater April 28 to May 19
Washington National Opera: The Barber of Seville Can the sharp-witted barber of Seville help Count Almaviva woo the beautiful Rosina away from a bumbling doctor? A stellar cast joins this WNO revival of Rossini’s delightful comedy — one of the most beloved opera masterpieces of all time, boasting uproarious laughs and sensational music in equal measure. Tickets are $45 to $150.
Kennedy Center Opera House Through April 29
Two Trains Running Confronted with a rapidly changing world in the wake of the death of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the looming demolition of Memphis Lee’s diner as a result of Pittsburgh’s renovation project, Memphis and his regular customers struggle to maintain their solidarity and sense of pride in August Wilson’s quintessential epic drama. Tickets are $50 to $99.
Arena Stage Through May 12
The Wiz In this adaptation of L. Frank Baum’s magical novel, Dorothy is whisked away by a tornado to the fanciful land of Oz. There, she and her sidekicks encounter Munchkins, flying monkeys and a powerhungry witch named Evillene who vows to destroy them. Ease on down the road and rediscover this imaginative story celebrating community, courage, heart, brains and friendship. Please call for ticket information.
Culture arts & entertainment
Translations Treasured Irish playwright Brian Friel
Plan Your Entire Weekend. www.washdiplomat.com
THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | APRIL 2018 | 41
WD | Culture | Spotlight
New Argentine Ambassador
Washington Performing Arts Gala & Auction Washington Performing Arts (WPA) welcomed hundreds of supporters to the National Building Museum on March 10 for its Annual Gala & Auction. The event honored Lonnie G. Bunch III, director of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, with the Ambassador of the Arts Award for showcasing the role African Americans played in shaping culture in America and around the world. For more than 50 years, Washington Performing Arts has created profound opportunities for connecting the community to artists, in both education and performance.
Recently appointed Ambassador of Argentina Fernando Oris de Roa and his wife Mercedes de Campos welcomed guests to their embassy to celebrate the presentation of Oris de Roa’s credentials to the White House. PHOTOS: EMBASSY OF ARGENTINA
PHOTO: KALORAMA PHOTO
PHOTO: KALORAMA PHOTO
WPA Gala Co-Chairs Lloyd Howell and Patricia Howell, honoree Lonnie G. Bunch and Maria Marable-Bunch.
Reggie Van Lee, formerly of Booz Allen Hamilton, Lonnie G. Bunch and WPA President and CEO Jenny Bilfield.
Ambassador of Argentina Fernando Oris de Roa, Mercedes de Campos, Hilary Geary and her husband Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross.
PHOTO: GAIL SCOTT
Ambassador of Bahrain Sheikh Abdullah bin Rashid bin Abdullah Al Khalifa and his wife Sheikha Aysha Al Khalifa.
PHOTO: KALORAMA PHOTO
The WPA Gospel Choir performs.
PHOTO: KALORAMA PHOTO
Argentine Embassy Deputy Chief of Mission Sergio Perez Gunella, Ambassador of Argentina Fernando Oris de Roa and Head of Political Affairs Gerry Diaz Bartolome.
PHOTO: GAIL SCOTT
PHOTO: KALORAMA PHOTO
NPR’s Nina Totenberg and Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Ambassador of Austria Wolfgang Waldner, Ambassador of Oman PHOTO: KALORAMA PHOTO Hunaina Sultan Ahmed Al Mughairy Members of the Washington Performing Arts Junior Board. and Gudrun Faudon-Waldner.
PHOTO: GAIL SCOTT
Chris Morrison, managing director of the D.C. office of Perkins + Will Architecture; Ambassador of Kosovo Vlora Çitaku; and Michael Olding, director of the George Washington Cosmetic Surgery Center.
PHOTO: GAIL SCOTT
President of Worldwide Operations for Four Seasons Christian Clerc, Meg Clerc and Omar Karriem.
Mercedes de Campos, Ambassador of Argentina Fernando Oris de Roa, Ambassador of Paraguay Germán Rojas Irigoyen and his wife.
PHOTO: KALORAMA PHOTO
PHOTO: KALORAMA PHOTO
Bass-baritone Eric Owens performs.
D.C. Councilmember David Grosso and Serra Sippel of the Center for Health and Gender Equity.
PHOTO: KALORAMA PHOTO
Philanthropist Reggie Van Lee, Christina Co Mather, Yong Kim and Meranda Kim.
Natalia Andrada, Cecilia Marincioni, Florencia Garcia and Nadia Socoloff of the Embassy of Argentina.
Chinese Lunar New Year The Meridian International Center hosted the eighth annual Chinese Lunar New Year celebration at the Chinese Embassy on Feb. 13. To mark the year of the dog, the event highlighted Chinese art and culture with a wide array of performances, artist demonstrations and popular Chinese cuisine. Demonstrations included an ensemble of traditional dancing, singing, painting and instrumental performances of Chinese culture.
Ambassador of China Cui Tiankai welcomes guests to the Chinese Embassy.
42 | THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | APRIL 2018
President and CEO of the Meridian International Center Stuart Holliday, Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) and Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Susan Thornton.
PHOTOS: MERIDIAN INTERNATIONAL CENTER
Spotlight | Culture | WD CARE Chief Operating Officer Heather Higginbottom, who was former U.S. deputy secretary of state for management and resources, and Ambassador of Finland Kirsti Kauppi.
CARE at Finland Finnish Ambassador Kirsti Kauppi welcomed supporters of CARE to her embassy to celebrate the importance of the relief work provided by the humanitarian organization, which seeks to eradicate global poverty. The Feb. 9 event — titled “From the Arctic to Africa: Her Harvest - Our Future,” focusing on the fight against global hunger — was part of a series of quarterly embassy-based receptions presented by the CARE Global Leaders Network. In 1945, CARE began its first relief efforts, sending CARE packages full of food and essential supplies throughout recovering Europe, including Finland.
CARE Managing Director of External Affairs and Development Beth Solomon, chef Spike Mendelsohn and Lynly Boor of Splyss.
Former Ambassador of Trinidad and Tobago Neil Parsan, interior designer Barbara Hawthorn and Michelle Cross Fenty. PHOTOS: NESHAN H. NALTCHAYAN
Brett Greene and Tiffani Greene of American Management Corp., Ambassador of Finland Kirsti Kauppi and Toni Ford.
Mary Bird of The Georgetowner, Judith Terra, Toni Ford, Neil Parsan of Parsan-Cross, Christine Warnke of Hogan Lovells.
Finnish Embassy chef Jyrki Jääskeläinen and D.C.-based chef Spike Mendelsohn.
Ngozi Okoroafor, CARE Chief Operating Officer Heather Higginbottom, Ambassador of Finland Kirsti Kauppi and Michael Okoroafor of McCormick & Co. Eric Schmitt of The New York Times, Felice Berkowitz, CARE Managing Director of External Affairs and Development Beth Solomon and Ambassador of Finland Kirsti Kauppi.
Department of Homeland Security Acting Chief Accountability Officer Henry Moak, Ambassador of Finland Kirsti Kauppi and Joyce Moak.
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THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | APRIL 2018 | 43
WD | Culture | Spotlight
Opera Camerata Gala at British Residence
Britain Toasts International Students British Ambassador Sir Kim Darroch held a tribute dinner at his residence on Feb. 15 to honor the International Student House of Washington, D.C. (ISH-DC), established in 1934 to ease the transition of international students arriving in Washington for undergraduate and graduate studies. Today, the nonprofit houses about 100 international scholars at any one time in the heart of Dupont Circle and over the past 80 years, has hosted more than 15, 000 young scholars and professionals from about 140 countries. “Over the decades, it has served as a beacon of tolerance, cooperation and diplomacy,” said Darroch.
ISH-DC resident scholars Mariel Kalkach of Mexico, left, and Meghna Saha of India, right, talk with board member and alumnus Minh Dang.
Opera Camerata of Washington held a gala at the British ambassador’s residence on March 9, including a performance of Gilbert & Sullivan’s “The Pirates of Penzance.” The nonprofit offers both first-time and longtime opera fans of all ages unique, intimate opera experiences that combine world-class performers and musicians with lavish receptions and dinners held in exclusive salon settings. PHOTOS: NICOLE SCHALLER
British Ambassador Sir Kim Darroch welcomes guests to a dinner honoring the International Student House of D.C. (ISH-DC).
John Wohlstetter of the Discovery Institute and the London Center for Policy Research, British Ambassador Sir Kim Darroch and CEO of Best Marketing LLC Liz Sara.
ISH-DC resident Alex Beck, a Ph.D. student at the George Washington University, receives a gift from Vanessa Darroch, wife of the British ambassador.
ISH-DC Global Leadership Awards Co-Chair Didi Cutler talks with Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.).
PHOTOS: INTERNATIONAL STUDENT HOUSE OF WASHINGTON, D.C.
Biz Blee, General Manager at Daimler David Trebing, Liz Sara and Joey Miller. Below, Chairman and CEO of the Dorado Group LLC William Kappaz; Laura Kappaz; Bruce Maxwell; Kim Browne; and Patrick Browne.
ISH-DC Global Leadership Awards Co-Chair Susan Blumenthal Markey, British Ambassador Kim Darroch and NAFSA: Association of International Educators CEO and Executive Director Esther Brimmer.
Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), President of the ISH Board of Directors Cynthia Bunton and British Ambassador Kim Darroch.
Debbie Meadows, wife of Rep. Mark Meadows (RN.C.), greets guests.
Conference on Cultural Diplomacy
Deborah Malumed and Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-Calif.).
Former Rep. John Tanner (D-Tenn.), now of Prime Policy Group, Bill Bonstra of Bonstra Haresign Architects and Pakistani Ambassador-atLarge Ray Mahmood.
Shaista Mahmood, Anna Gawel of The Washington Diplomat and Betty Ann Tanner.
Michael Greenwald, senior vice president at Tiedemann Wealth Management and lecturer at Boston University; President of Babson College Kerry Healey; Kristen Lucan; and Kent Lucan.
ISH-DC Executive Director Tom O’Coin talks to former Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs Esther Brimmer.
44 | THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | APRIL 2018
Former U.S. Ambassador Walter Cutler, Chairman of Capital Investment Management Inc. Hani Masri and Eric Melby of the Scowcroft Group.
Frank Islam, Elias Aburdene of Rock Creek Corp. and ISH-DC Executive Director Tom O’Coin.
Lisa Barry and Lorraine Hawley of Archer Daniels Midland Co.
Ambassador of Croatia Pjer Šimunović speaks at the annual Conference on Cultural Diplomacy hosted by the Berlin-based Institute for Cultural Diplomacy at Squire Patton Boggs.
Ambassador of Albania Floreta Faber speaks at the annual Conference on Cultural Diplomacy.
Managing editor of The Washington Diplomat Anna Gawel speaks at the annual Conference on Cultural Diplomacy.
in their native country. More than 1.3 million Venezuelans have migrated to Colombia as of the end of 2017, according to the Colombian government. Santos has urged greater humanitarian assistance while tightening border controls. It’s unclear how the presidential hopefuls are positioning themselves on this issue, but it is something the new government will have to address to manage the national fallout of the huge influx of migrants. Like Brazil, Colombia enjoyed a decade of impressive growth that took a hit with the drop in commodity and oil prices, which in turn forced a decrease in government spending and an economic slowdown. Also like Brazil — and Mexico — Colombia’s political elite have been tainted by corruption scandals, further fueling the unpredictability of the upcoming elections as voters express widespread disgust with the current establishment. For these Latin American countries, the big question is: What kind of leaders will they get? Commodity prices will consistently play an external factor in the state of a country, but the quality of the person occupying the highest office is also crucial, said Brian Winter, editor-in-chief of Americas Quarterly, which co-hosted the Inter-American Dialogue panel in February. Is the person a leader, can he or she build alliances and does he or she understand math when it comes to fiscal matters? These are the basic foundation for how a country will fare in an upcoming administration — and how it will fare on the world stage. WD
Latin America CONTINUED • PAGE 12
faced the wrath of activists who say the group hasn’t paid the price for the violence it inflicted on the country. In February, it decided to suspend campaigning temporarily for the parliamentary election in March because of security concerns for its candidates. (In the 1980s, right-wing paramilitaries killed thousands of FARC fighters when they tried to form a political party.) The group’s presidential candidate, former rebel commander Rodrigo Londoño, dropped out of the race citing ill health, although he had only been polling at around 1 percent. The party had an abysmal showing in congressional primary elections in March, and although FARC is still guaranteed a small number of seats in parliament, it is considered a nonentity in the May election. Beyond FARC’s reintegration into society, voters are concerned with bread-and-butter issues such as jobs, inflation, health care, education and corruption. Both Santos and his predecessor, former President Álvaro Uribe, have been implicated in bribes tied to Odebrecht. Leftist candidate Gustavo Petro, a former mayor of Bogotá, has capitalized on the allegations by promoting himself as an anti-corruption crusader. (In 2005, he exposed ties between paramilitary drug traffickers, high-level politicians and the country’s spy agency.) Petro himself was a leftist guerilla 25 years before entering politics, but he denies being a socialist in the style of Venezuela’s Maduro. Petro’s main opponent in the race will be
Palestine CONTINUED • PAGE 18
Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) argues that such a scenario is already playing out, as Jewish-controlled areas expand to “the edge of the slopes down to the Jordan River Valley.” That’s why he doesn’t understand Trump’s Jerusalem decision, given that it needlessly alienated Arab allies and undermined America’s standing in the region. “There was no earthly reason to provoke the Arab world. All President Trump had to do to help Israel was to ignore his campaign rhetoric and Israel’s political hardliners, and do nothing. Every year since 1967, Israel has slowly created new facts on the ground in Jerusalem and on the West Bank,” he wrote in a Dec. 7 CSIS brief. “At the same time, the deep divisions within the Arab world, the lack of any Palestinian unity and effective leadership, and the fears key states like Saudi Arabia have of Iran, have led Arab objections to become steadily quieter and ineffective, and they have made outside peace efforts largely moot in limiting the expansion of Israeli areas of control.”
PHOTO: BY EMIGLEX - OWN WORK, CC BY-SA 3.0 / WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
Andrés Manuel López Obrador speaks to a crowd in 2012. The fiery left-wing populist is leading in the polls for Mexico’s presidential election this July.
Ivan Duque, an Uribe ally who represents the rightist bloc, along other possible contenders such as former Medellin Mayor Sergio Fajardo, a self-described pragmatic centrist, and Germán Vargas Lleras, who served as Santos’s vice president. The backlash over the FARC peace deal in a country that traditionally veers right could give right-wing parties an electoral boost despite the corruption allegations. Already, Uribe’s Democratic Center party, which vehemently opposes the peace deal, took the largest bloc of seats in congressional elections last month, while Santos’s coalition struggled. Although Duque seems to be in a strong position, the country of 50 million remains po-
Even Trump’s own Mideast peace plan, which has so far been kept tightly under wraps, reportedly does not explicitly endorse a two-state solution, although it suggests avenues for achieving that outcome. Alon Ben-Meir, a professor at New York University’s Center for Global Affairs, argues in a Feb. 7 op-ed that with his Jerusalem announcement, Trump has effectively ceded control of the conflict to Netanyahu. “Even though Trump wants to facilitate an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement, he neither supports nor objects to a two-state solution and has left it up to Israel and the Palestinian Authority to decide which way to go. This sent a clear signal to the Netanyahu government that the U.S. is no longer committed to a two-state solution, leaving him to gradually undermine any prospect left to that end,” he wrote. “Three more years of misguided political backing by the Trump administration could inflict a fatal blow to Israel, rendering the country neither Jewish nor democratic.” Palestinian officials have been making the same point. “The two-state solution is over,” Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat told reporters after Trump’s declaration, arguing that Palestinians should pursue one nation with equal rights.
litically fragmented. If none of the candidates in the presidential race receives more than 50 percent of the vote in May, a likely scenario, a second round of balloting will be held in June. Another issue weighing on the minds of Colombian voters is the Venezuelan migrant crisis. As a consequence of mismanaged oil wealth, poor governance and international isolation, Venezuela is a failing state beset by food riots, crime and hyperinflation. President Maduro seems bound to keep his authoritarian hold on the country regardless of the election this year. Venezuelans have been pouring into Colombia to escape the desperation of daily life
Zomlot is more reticent, although he argues that Israel wants to do just enough to keep the peace process alive, but not enough to make it thrive. “The enemy of the Israeli government is the agency capable of moving in the direction of a two-state solution. That’s us,” he said. “The existing structure for peace has been the one thing that’s kept stability and security. But they don’t want to move in the direction of why we created it in the first place. So, they just keep it barely alive, barely functioning. We don’t want them strong, but we don’t want them dead either. We want them on life support.” As for America’s role in the process, “we no longer have the standing U.S. policy of the twostate solution,” Zomlot said at the December Wilson Center event. “The most important alternative for us at this time is not to drop the two-state solution, but to look for more strategic ways to achieve it.” Despite his gloomy outlook, Zomlot insists Arabs and Jews will some day find a way to coexist. “I’m definitely hopeful in the long term,” he told us. “I believe in the goodness of the human spirit, which always bends toward justice.” WD Tel Aviv-based journalist Larry Luxner is news editor of The Washington Diplomat.
Aileen Torres-Bennett is a contributing writer for The Washington Diplomat.
Spouses CONTINUED • PAGE 33
“Yes, we have more [cruise ships] than we ever did before,” Mojca said, noting that 400 cruise ships visited last year alone. “These are the big boats coming to our coast and into the Bay of Kotor. People can swim from May to October. Since it is only 40 minutes to our coast from Podgorica [the capital], you can go for lunch by the sea. We have great summer festivals with plenty cultural events. Our open sea festival is one of the most famous in Europe. We have famous rock stars like Madonna and the Rolling Stones,” she added. “When we’re home, we meet a lot of Americans through the cruisers, especially young people,” she said. “More and more people are getting to know Montenegro; it’s getting better.” “I enjoy meeting others,” she added. “I think it’s harder to make friends here. I love New York. We were a young couple with a young son. After 10 years, we knew New York almost better than our hometown. We have our favorite restaurants, museums. It’s more dynamic than Washington. But Washington is more suitable for us now. It is smaller and easygoing. We enjoy the Kennedy Center and all the museums. We can do everything now; we are mobile.” Meanwhile, their 28-year old son, Stevan, grew up in New York but now works in Montenegro, although Mojca
PHOTO: PIXABAY / PETRUHA789
A Montenegrin flag flies over the picturesque Bay of Kotor.
still describes him as “an American guy.” “He is an energetic guy,” added his father. “We learned it is a warning sign when he says, ‘I have an idea!” his mother joked. “He knows what he wants. He’s not interested in politics,” she said. “He attended the City College of New York when we were there but last year he stayed in Montenegro when we left [for Washington]. He lives on the seacoast and is in the maritime industry. We hope he comes to see us soon. We miss him so much.” Mojca herself misses daily life in Montenegro and its close-knit hospitality, which can be harder to find in large cities such as New York and D.C. “We are very warm people and have a relaxed lifestyle. We love to join friends and talk. When we meet someone new and like them, we invite them home for a meal.” WD Gail Scott is a contributing writer for The Washington Diplomat.
THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | APRIL 2018 | 45
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The Washington Diplomat is an independent, monthly newspaper serving the Washington D.C. international and diplomatic community with regular...
Published on Mar 28, 2018
The Washington Diplomat is an independent, monthly newspaper serving the Washington D.C. international and diplomatic community with regular...