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Special Report:

What the World Wants From Donald Trump Inside SPECIAL REPORT

WHAT THE WORLD WANTS FROM

VOLUME 24, NUMBER 2

DONALD TRUMP

WWW.WASHDIPLOMAT.COM

2017

Terrorism

FEBRUARY 2017

The world wants many things from Donald Trump, America’s newly minted president. It just has no idea what to expect from

him. • By larry lUXNer That uncertainty hasn’t stopped everyone — from foreign heads of state to media outlets (ours included) — from parsing the billionaire real estate mogul’s dizzying array of proclamations, promises and tweets to try to get a read on the 45th president. As part of that process, Th e Washington Diplomat asked D.C.-based ambassadors for their thoughts on what priorities they’d like Trump to focus on as he assumes The following, in no particular office. order, are the replies of more than two dozen envoys on issues ranging from trade and terrorism to immigration and nuclear proliferation.

As It Loses Ground, Islamic State Ramps Up Lone-Wolf Attacks

EUROPE

KOSOVO’S JOURNEY

It’s been three years since the Islamic State seized vast swathes of Iraq and Syria. Since then, a U.S.-led offensive has steadily forced its fighters to retreat. But the group is nothing if not determined, so its leaders have shifted tactics, focusing less on amassing territory and more on unsophisticated but high-profile lone-wolf attacks. / PAGE 11

Tiny Kosovo has played a big part in Europe’s history, as the scars of the Balkan wars still haunt this enclave of 1.8 million that declared its independence nine years ago. Those wounds also lurk beneath the surface of Pristina’s glamorous young envoy, Vlora Çitaku, who grew up as a refugee with a front-row seat to the civil war that killed an estimated 10,000 people and shaped her destiny. / PAGE 17

Diplomacy

Refugee Official Takes Helm of United Nations Like the United States, the United Nations started the new year off with a new leader: António Guterres, a former Portuguese prime minister and top refugee official, inherits a world of problems and a potentially adversarial relationship with the U.S. / PAGE 14

Culture

Viola Uses Video to Create Moving Art “Bill Viola: The Moving Portrait” uses groundbreaking video art to capture the breadth of the human experience. / PAGE 30

United States

Diplomatic Spouses

Exxon Chief Eyes Move To Foggy Bottom

Mexican Couple Hopes To Break Down Walls

In a crowded field of Cabinet picks, Secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson stood out for the web of conflicts generated by his leadership of ExxonMobil, which spent decades cultivating ties with autocratic regimes and denying the effects of climate change. / PAGE 4

Maria Elena Vazquez, wife of Mexican Ambassador Carlos Manuel Sada Solana, is an engineer by training who hopes to tear down the proverbial walls between Mexico and the U.S. in the wake of Donald Trump’s election. / PAGE 31


Volume 24

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Issue 2

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February 2017

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ON THE COVER Photo taken at the Residence of Kosovo by Lawrence Ruggeri of Ruggerphoto.com.


Contents

THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | February 2017

17

8

30

11

34

14 NEWS 4

New Energy at State? The specter of ExxonMobil hangs over Donald Trump’s pick for secretary of state.

8

Islam and Trump The president’s tough talk on Muslims contrasts with his predecessor’s cautious tone.

11 To Catch a Wolf As the Islamic State loses territory, it embraces lone-wolf attacks.

14

New Boss at Turtle Bay

As the United States welcomes a new leader, so does the United Nations.

17 Cover Profile: kosovo Nine years after declaring independence, Kosovo still struggles for respect, and recognition.

21

24 Global Showcase Winternational draws over 3,000 visitors and 37 embassies.

MEDICAL 27

Sticker Shock

Steep bills surprise patients who venture “out-of-network.”

CULTURE 30

34

Different Kind of Runway

A Canadian artist makes the leap from fashion to politics in “Cross the Party Line.”

35

What’s Not to Like?

The Folger infuses Shakespeare’s romp in the forest with politics, love and mistaken identity.

36

Dining D.C. chefs get a firsthand taste of foreign food by traveling the world.

Kinetic Art

In a sea of moving portraits, Bill Viola captures the human experience.

31

REGULARS

Diplomatic spouses A Mexican wife and husband emphasize partnership over partisanship.

39 Film Listing

32

40 Events Listing

Timeless Sculptures

Book Review “To the Secretary” reminds us of another type of “cable” news.

Isamu Noguchi fuses the past and present in “Archaic/Modern.”

42 Diplomatic Spotlight

22

33

46 Classifieds

Welcoming Women

WCI brings together women’s clubs from around the world.

Food for Thought Baltimore’s American Visionary Art Museum serves up a visual feast of art.

47 Real Estate Classifieds THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | FEBRuary 2017 | 3


WD | United States

From CEO to Secretary Specter of ExxonMobil Hangs Over Tillerson’s Bid to Head State Department by Brendan L. Smith

I

n a crowded field of controversial Cabinet picks, Secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson stood out for the web of conflicts generated by his leadership of ExxonMobil, the world’s largest public energy company, which spent decades cultivating ties with autocratic regimes and denying the devastating effects of climate change. That questionable track record, along with Tillerson’s lack of government experience and his close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin, caught the glare of lawmakers during his nine-hour confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Jan. 11. Tillerson’s monotone voice and stony demeanor never wavered despite tough questions and outbursts from protesters. He routinely deflected some questions and seemed uninformed or unwilling to publicly address several thorny international issues. Tillerson said he wouldn’t call Putin a war criminal, and he wouldn’t say whether Russian and Syrian forces had committed war crimes in Aleppo despite widespread evidence of the slaughter of civilians and medical personnel there. He said the United States should have had a more forceful response to the Russian annexation of Crimea, but he wouldn’t say whether he favored continuing sanctions against Russia. As CEO of ExxonMobil, he opposed sanctions while the company was negotiating major oil deals there, and the company has an optimistically valued $500 billion oil exploration deal with the Russian government within the Arctic Circle that is on hold now unless sanctions are lifted. Tillerson resigned as CEO of ExxonMobil last December after more than four decades of work there beginning as a production engineer in 1975. He will receive a staggering payout of more than $180 million from the company if he is confirmed as secretary of state, with the funds placed in a blind trust that would be prohibited from investing in the energy sector. While Tillerson’s retirement may seem like a gamble, he already was required to retire in March when he reached 65 years of age under Exxon’s mandatory retirement age for his position. It’s not that surprising he was looking for something else on the horizon when Trump came knocking, and it would be difficult to find a position more prestigious than secretary of state. At his confirmation hearing, Tillerson echoed some of Trump’s oft-stated foreign policy views. On China, for instance, he criticized the communist government for its “aggressive” territorial expansionism in the South China Sea, its reluctance to rein in nuclear-

4 | THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | FEBRuary 2017

Photo: By Office of the President-elect - https://greatagain.gov/tillerson-hearing-f9ff57c038ee#.8fpa697gf / Wikimedia Commons via CC BY 4.0

Rex Tillerson, the former CEO of ExxonMobil, speaks on Capitol Hill Jan. 11 at his confirmation hearing to become Donald Trump’s secretary of state.

[H]aving a view from the C-Suite at Exxon is not at all the same as the view from the seventh floor of the Department of State. And those who suggest that anyone who can run a successful business can, of course, run a government agency do a profound disservice to both. Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.)

armed North Korea and trade practices that hurt American businesses. He also insisted that the Trump administration would hold adversaries such as Iran and Cuba accountable for their actions, whether on nuclear proliferation or human rights. On myriad other issues, however, Tillerson broke rank with some of Trump’s campaign pronouncements. Unlike Trump, he acknowledged that climate change is real, although he dodged questions about Exxon’s track record of denying climate change until recent years. Tillerson said he didn’t oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement even though Trump has called it a disaster and “a rape of our country.” (Hillary Clinton reversed course on the TPP on the campaign trail, stating that she opposed it after calling it the “gold standard” when she was secretary of state.)

He also equivocated on Trump’s calls for a national registry of Muslims; reaffirmed America’s commitment to NATO allies, regardless of their defense contributions; rejected Trump’s suggestion that South Korea and Japan acquire nuclear weapons; and promised a “comprehensive review” of the Iran nuclear agreement but wouldn’t commit to tearing it up, as his boss pledged numerous times on the campaign trail. It’s unusual that Tillerson and some other Cabinet picks have already contradicted Trump’s own public statements. If that trend continues during Trump’s administration, it could trigger strategic miscalculations with foreign governments not knowing who or what to believe about U.S. foreign policy, said Paul Musgrave, assistant professor of political science at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst.

“The U.S. government has always spent a lot of time and effort to make sure it speaks with one voice on issues,” Musgrave told The Diplomat. “That’s often the goal, and that doesn’t seem to be the way the new president and his Cabinet picks seem to be approaching their time in office.” Once he starts the job, Tillerson may be in the unenviable position of advocating for U.S. positions that could inexplicably shift with a single tweet from Trump. “Nobody knows how much to discount what Trump says,” Musgrave said. “If we’re in a world where we have to take the president seriously, do we also have to take him literally?”

Worldwide Connections, or Conflicts? Some senators weren’t sure whether to take Tillerson seriously when he revealed that he hadn’t yet talked specifics about Russia with Trump, despite the intense scrutiny of Trump and Tillerson’s relations with Moscow. The 64-year-old Texan also raised eyebrows when he fumbled over whether ExxonMobil had directly lobbied against sanctions on Moscow, even though records show the energy giant did. Tillerson later tried to clarify that the company “participated in understanding how the See T iller s on • page 6


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proving safety standards, infrastructure and rules-based operations in developing nations. Exxon’s detractors and supporters can agree COnTinUED • PagE 4 on one thing, however: The energy giant has been single-minded in its pursuit of profits and expanding oil and gas production around the sanctions are going to be constructed.” planet. Tillerson — who was awarded the Order Under Tillerson’s leadership, Exxon waded of Friendship by the Kremlin in 2013 — de- into high-risk — and at times high-reward veloped a working relationship with Putin — nations ranging from Equatorial Guinea to following the breakup of the Soviet Union in Venezuela to Yemen. While some of these venthe 1990s, when he oversaw an Exxon proj- tures paid off for Tillerson’s shareholders, they ect on Russia’s Sakhalin island. More recently, occasionally came at the expense of America’s in 2011, Exxon signed a multibillion-dollar strategic interests. joint venture with the state-controlled oil When Tillerson cut an oil deal with the company, Rosneft, to drill for oil in the Arctic autonomous Kurdistan region in Iraq over and Siberia. Baghdad’s fierce objections, for instance, he While economic sanctions on Russia for its undermined U.S. efforts to unify the war-torn NOTE: Although every effort is made to assure your ad is free of mistakes in spelling and actions in Ukraine hurt Exxon’s bottom line, nation. content is he ultimately up to theIncustomer to make the final proof. Tillerson told the Senate it that wouldn’t rule his 2012 expose of ExxonMobil titled out future sanctions to influence Russian be- “Private Empire,” Pulitzer Prize-winning aurex Tillerson The first two faxed will be that made thor at noSteve costColl to the advertiser, subsequent havior. In addition, he changes called allegations noted that the company was changes willinterfered be billedinatthe a rate of $75— per faxed alteration. ads are considered Putin U.S. election which so influentialSigned that it essentially was a corpo-approved. PHOTO: By OFFiCE OF THE PrESiDEnT-ElECT - HTTPS://grEaTagain.gOv/PrESiDEnTup until recently Trump had categorically dis- rate state that yielded more weight than U.S. ElECT-DOnalD-J-TrUMP-inTEnDS-TO-nOMinaTE-rEx-TillErSOn-aS-SECrETary-OFSTaTE-65CFF8D8D9a6#.lP64Ux92M / WikiMEDia COMMOnS via CC By 4.0 missed — “troubling. foreignMark policy any in some countries,to andyour it often Please ”check this ad carefully. changes ad. Tillerson explained that he has a pragmatic, took actions that ignored U.S. goals or initiabecause of how they affect U.S. businesses. “It is view about tives. To protect its needs overseaschanges investments, Exx- not about disadvantaging American businessIf “clear-eyed” the ad is correct signWashington’s and fax to:relation(301) 949-0065 ship with Moscow, arguing that the U.S. should onMobil created its own army of security forces. It is about putting patriotism over profit. hold Russia accountable when it violates inter- es in Chad and provided boats to the Nigerian Diplomacy isn’t the same as deal-making,” the The Washington Diplomat (301) 933-3552 national law while finding common ground on Navy to guard against pirates. In Indonesia, senator declared. issues such as global terrorism. the U.S. government stopped funding counFellow Democratic Sen. Ben Cardin of “We need to move Russia from being an ad- terinsurgency forces that tortured and killed Approved __________________________________________________________ Maryland said that “having a view from the Cversary always, to a partner at times,” he said. prisoners, but ExxonMobil kept paying them, Suite at Exxon is not at all the same as the view Changes ___________________________________________________________ Although Tillerson’s ties to Putin have gener- Coll’s book stated. from the seventh floor of the Department of ___________________________________________________________________ ated the most concern among Democrats and Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) noted that State. And those who suggest that anyone who Republican foreign policy hawks such as Sen. while Tillerson was at the helm of ExxonMobil, can run a successful business can, of course, John McCain (R-Ariz.), Tillerson established the company worked on oil deals with regimes run a government agency do a profound disan extensive network of connections beyond in Syria, Iran and Sudan through a European service to both.” Russia over his 40 years at Exxon. subsidiary to dodge U.S. sanctions on those Given his record working with checkered Over that time, the company has been criti- countries, which were listed as state sponsors regimes, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) grilled Tilcized for courting repressive, corrupt regimes of terrorism. lerson on how he would respond to human and skirting environmental and labor protecHe challenged Tillerson on his assertion that rights abuses in nations such as the Philiptions. Conversely, it has been praised for im- sanctions should be approached with caution pines and Saudi Arabia. Despite the pointed

Tillerson

exchange, Tillerson demurred on both fronts. He said that angering Saudi Arabia by labeling it a human rights violator, despite the tentative progress it has made, might be counterproductive. On the Philippines, Tillerson cited his background as an engineer to say that he needed more evidence before commenting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s bloody crackdown on drug offenders.

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Despite Rubio’s concerns, the senator did not oppose Tillerson’s nomination, all but ensuring he has enough GOP votes to be confirmed as the next secretary of state. Tillerson has stressed that he understands the “seriousness of the job” and wouldn’t view America’s foreign policy as a transactional business deal. Yet some observers say Tillerson’s managerial skills and experience maneuvering in hotspots around the world will suit him well at the State Department, whose bureaucracy could perhaps benefit from some business acumen. As Exxon’s chief executive, Tillerson oversaw a company worth $370 billion with operations in some 50 nations. “Finding and drilling oil requires elaborate modelling — both of underground geologies and messy aboveground geopolitics — to make money over the long-term,” wrote the Economist in a Dec. 17 editorial. “Reputedly his engineering background makes him a stickler for evidence-based decision-making. He is also considered ‘patient and unemotional’ on ExxonMobil’s side of the negotiating table. Such traits would make him very different from Mr. Trump, who lives by the gut,” the magazine opined. A former president of the Boy Scouts of America, Tillerson came highly recommended by foreign policy heavyweights such as former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and former Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who first

proposed the idea of Tillerson as secretary of state to Trump. Gates has described the former CEO as a “hard-eyed realist” who will put America’s interests first at the State Department. Speaking before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Gates said he considers Tillerson’s knowledge of business in general, and of Russia in particular, “both assets, not liabilities.” “I look at the world today and every significant international challenge we face has an important business component. It’s true in Ukraine. It’s true in the Middle East,” he said. “Rex Tillerson knows these crucial regions, he knows the leaders and he understands the challenges and the risks.” While Tillerson is widely seen as a tough, savvy negotiator, Republican Sen. Ted Cruz lavished praise on his fellow Texan’s lesserknown personal attributes. Cruz, noting that Tillerson “has been recognized for his humility and his altruism,” recalled the story of one of his constituents who recently served on a jury with Tillerson. “Did you know that on that jury, his natural leadership ability and charisma helped them deliver justice in a delicate and difficult case of sexual assault? Following the trial, Mr. Tillerson donated to the nonprofit that helped support and counsel the victim,” Cruz said, adding, “Mr. Tillerson understands how to separate friendships and business. He knows who he works for.” But others question whether the longtime oil executive can divorce himself from the CEO mindset. “In his career at ExxonMobil, Tillerson has no doubt honed many of the day-to-day skills that a Secretary of State must exercise: absorbing complex political analysis, evaluating foreign leaders, attending ceremonial events, and negotiating with friends and adversaries,” Coll wrote in a Dec. 11 New Yorker piece. “Yet it is hard to imagine, after four decades at ExxonMobil and a decade leading the corporation, how Tillerson will suddenly develop respect and affection for the American diplomatic service he will now lead, or embrace a vision of America’s place in the world that promotes ideals for their own sake, emphatically privileging national interests over private ones.” Indeed, Tillerson’s lack of government experience may present its own problems. Trump and other conservatives have argued that government should be run more like a business, even though many of Trump’s own businesses have failed or been mired in lawsuits. That view stems from “a real misunderstanding of why government works the way it does,” Musgrave of the University of Massachusetts argued. “Incoming administrations often think they have more room to maneuver than they really do if they want to maintain the credibility and integrity of U.S. positions,” he said. Musgrave doesn’t believe Tillerson’s tenure with ExxonMobil may be as problematic because he will be following the directives of the Trump administration, but his terse and evasive responses during his confirmation hearing didn’t alleviate concerns. “It does seem there is a disconnect between the gravity of the situation and the brevity of his responses,” Musgrave said. As secretary of state, Tillerson’s job will be to “serve the public interest of all Americans,” which will be a big change from serving the financial interests of one company, said Kathy Mulvey, climate accountability campaign manager for the Union of Concerned Scientists. “The realities of climate change and the impacts we are already experiencing really stress the urgency of continued action,” she said. “Rex Tillerson’s job as CEO of Exxon was to really maximize returns for the company’s shareholders. There are ongoing conflicts for him shifting out of that mindset. He’s been steeped in the oil and gas industry culture for his entire career, and I think we saw that in the hearing.”


Environmental Concerns Although Tillerson has said climate change does exist, environmentalists such as Mulvey are worried about his commitment to the environment. Indeed, Tillerson hedged on the issue during his hearing, questioning scientists’ ability to predict the effects of greenhouse gas emissions on the earth’s climate. Moreover, ExxonMobil’s environmental track record is less than stellar. According to internal documents, ExxonMobil and other oil companies knew about the ties between fossil fuels and climate change dating back to the 1970s but didn’t acknowledge the problem for decades. In a 2007 corporate citizenship report, ExxonMobil pledged it would stop contributing to “several public policy research groups whose position on climate change could divert attention” from the seriousness of the issue. But an investigation by the nonprofit NextGen Climate found that ExxonMobil under Tillerson’s leadership had donated more than $6 million from 2008 to 2015 to groups that denied climate change. “You tell me what those words are worth. I would say nothing,” NextGen founder Tom Steyer told The Diplomat. “I would say it’s a smart, tactical move by a smart, tactical guy.” After decades of denials about the effects of climate change, Tillerson has been lauded in some circles for belatedly admitting that climate change is detrimental and offering lukewarm support for a carbon tax. But the company’s actions have taken a decidedly different tack, said David Deese, a political science professor at Boston College who has studied energy issues since the 1970s. “There is all this talk that Tillerson steered the company in a different direction on climate change, but I really don’t see evidence of that. They are taking that line because it’s really no longer respectable to deny climate change,” Deese told The Diplomat. “If you’re looking at where their money is going, that’s probably more of an indicator of what they’re doing rather than what they say.” Attorneys general in New York and Massachusetts are pursuing fraud investigations claiming that ExxonMobil deceived the public and its shareholders about the damaging effects of climate change, but the company has fought back with countersuits claiming its free speech and other rights are being vio-

Photo: U.S. Navy / by Photographer’s Mate 2nd Class Samuel W. Shavers

Tankers stand at the Iraqi Al Basra Oil Terminal in the Persian Gulf. Under Rex Tillerson’s leadership, ExxonMobil entered into partnerships with the Iraqi government after the U.S.-led war. But he angered officials in Baghdad when he cut deals with the semiautonomous region of Kurdistan, threatening the country’s unity.

lated. On another front, ExxonMobil has actively lobbied to protect fossil fuel subsidies that cost U.S. taxpayers more than $4 billion per year. Worldwide, fossil fuel subsidies totaled $550 billion in 2013, more than four times the amount of subsidies for renewable energy, the International Energy Agency reported. While there have been some efforts worldwide to curtail subsidies, there probably will be few reforms under a Trump administration, Mulvey said. “Given the entrenched interests of the fossil fuel industry in this administration, it would be surprising to see action taken counter to those economic interests, or they may be stacked more in favor of fossil fuel companies,” she told The Diplomat. Tillerson himself has long argued that fossil fuels are a fact of life, at least until better technologies make alternatives more realistic. “Energy is fundamental to economic growth, and oil is fundamental because at this point in time, we have not found, through technology or other means, another fuel that can substitute for the role that oil plays in transportation,”

Tillerson said during a 2012 discussion at the Council on Foreign Relations. He added that fracking to release shale gas and other energy-extraction techniques are often misunderstood and demonized by the public. “Ours is an industry that is built on technology, it’s built on science, it’s built on engineering, and because we have a society that by and large is illiterate in these areas — science, math and engineering — what we do is a mystery to them and they find it scary. And because of that, it creates easy opportunities for opponents of development, activist organizations, to manufacture fear,” he told CFR. During the panel, Tillerson repeated the assertion he made at his confirmation hearing that while climate change exists, its effects — and consequences — are difficult to predict. He also said that humans will adapt to changing weather patterns. But most mainstream scientists say the threat is far more dire than Tillerson paints it out to be. Their claims are backed up by reams of evidence, most recently reports confirming that 2016 was the hottest year on record, which marked the fifth time in a dozen years that the globe has set a new annual heat record. Tillerson’s apparent lack of urgency in addressing the issue has many environmentalist worried that the fate of the groundbreaking climate change accord signed by nearly 200 countries in Paris in 2015 may be in jeopardy, although Trump has shifted from saying he would “cancel” the deal to having an “open mind” about continued U.S. support. The climate deal set a goal of limiting increases in global temperatures to “well below” 2 degrees Celsius and committing $100 billion a year by 2020 for climate change initiatives. But the accord didn’t address fossil fuel subsidies because they are a divisive political issue for many countries. If the U.S. did try to withdraw from the agreement without fulfilling its obligations, it could violate international law and possibly trigger the defection of other countries from the deal. “Without American leadership, it’s very unlikely there will be coordination and cooperation across the globe that is necessary,” Steyer said. WD Brendan L. Smith (www.brendanlsmith.com) is a freelance journalist in Washington, D.C.

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WD | United States

Islam and Terrorism Trump’s Tough Talk on Muslims Contrasts with Obama’s Cautious Tone by Karin Zeitvogel and Anna Gawel

I

n 2009, then-President Barack Obama stood before an audience of several thousand people at Cairo University and called for a new beginning between the United States and the Muslim world. “In order to move forward, we must say openly to each other the things we hold in our hearts and that too often are said only behind closed doors,” the newly minted U.S. president said. Obama did not go into detail about those things that people say in hushed tones, but he did mention many of the good things that have happened in America involving Muslims, going all the way back to the early days of the United States, when Morocco, in 1796, became the first country to recognize the new nation. Muslims are serving in the U.S. Congress and the military, starting businesses, excelling at sports, lighting the Olympic flame and winning Nobel Prizes, the president said to applause. “I consider it part of my responsibility as president of the United States to fight against negative stereotypes of Islam wherever they appear,” Obama said. But Muslims should repay the compliment and not cast the United States in the “crude stereotype of a self-interested empire,” he added. Fast forward eight years and Donald Trump is stepping into Obama’s shoes, arguably reopening the door for the critique that America is a selfinterested empire. Trump has been figuratively throwing shoes at Muslims by hurling insults at them and resurrecting the crude stereotypes that Obama fought so hard to dispel. (Throwing shoes is the height of insult to Muslims.) Mocking comments against Muslims have flowed liberally from Trump’s mouth, even if he tried to claw some of them back since he became president. When the mother of Capt. Humayun Khan, the MuslimAmerican soldier who gave his life to save the lives of his fellow service members, sat silently beside her husband as he addressed the Democratic National Convention, Trump suggested that “maybe she wasn’t allowed to have anything to say.” When CNN’s Jake Tapper asked the Republican presidential candidate if he was referring to all of the world’s Muslims when he said that “Islam hates us,” Trump replied, “I mean a lot of them.” Most famously, Trump called “for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States” after the attacks in San Bernardino, Calif., in December 2015, when a radicalized Muslim husband and wife opened fire at a Christmas party, killing 14.

8 | THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | FEBRuary 2017

Photo: U.S. State Department

Secretary of State John Kerry sits with Djiboutian government officials, Imam Abdi Maalim and a group of the imam’s senior councilors at the Salman Mosque in Djibouti on May 6, 2015, as he prepares to have a conversation with local Islamic youth. Former President Obama made reaching out to the Muslim community to prevent radicalization a priority over explicitly linking Islam with terrorism, as President Donald Trump has.

Trump has since taken to his preferred form of communication to tweet that attacks such as the 2016 Orlando nightclub shooting and the more recent Berlin Christmas market truck rampage — which he called a “purely religious threat” — confirm his belief that Islam and terrorism are inextricably linked. Trump usually makes his Twitter boasts before all the facts are in, however, and his 140-character declarations obscure the nuances of attacks whose motives are often convoluted. The extent to which lone-wolf attackers, for example, are inspired and helped by the Islamic State is difficult to nail down. And Trump’s sweeping ban on Muslim immigrants would not have prevented attackers such as the Orlando shooter, who was born and raised in the United States. At the same time, Obama’s critics point out that the former president was too politically correct in refusing to acknowledge the obvious connection between Islamic-inspired ideology and the wave of terrorist attacks that have struck the world, both before and after 9/11. His reticence to describe the 2012 siege of a U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi as an Islamic-driven terrorist attack drew furious condemnation and haunted Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. Obama’s sweet talk in Cairo about opening a new page in U.S.-Muslim

relations also did little to stem the rise of the Islamic State or the turmoil of the Arab Spring. On the flip side, Trump’s verbal assault on Islam has spread fear among Muslims, both at home and abroad, about what lies ahead. Indeed, the two presidents’ styles could not be any more different — a reflection of the larger dilemma officials face as they try to address the scourge of Islamic extremism without alienating the religion’s 1.6 billion followers.

Cooperation vs. Epochal Clash Most of those followers are lawabiding citizens, including America’s Muslims, who make up about 1 percent of the population — and whose cooperation with local law enforcement has at times been instrumental in thwarting terrorist attacks. “We’ve seen nativist parties and individuals come to the fore in many different countries, but it’s particularly distressing when it’s your own country and when it’s so vitally important that Muslims remain trusting of the authorities,” Daniel Benjamin, former chief counterterrorism coordinator at the State Department, told The Washington Diplomat in a May 2016 profile. In contrast to the U.S., Benjamin said that Europe is wrestling with ways to better integrate its Muslim commu-

nities, “which tend to be larger, poorer, less educated and more discriminated against, and have overall higher degrees of radicalization.” Trump has cited the spate of terrorist attacks in European cities such as Paris, Nice, Brussels and Berlin as evidence that his warnings about Islamic radicalism — and refugees from Islamic countries — are on the mark.

Once in office, I fully expect that Trump will drop his campaign shorthand and make it clear that what we are fighting is an Islamist totalitarian ideology, not Islam as a religion. James Phillips

senior research fellow for Middle Eastern affairs at the Heritage Foundation

As he assumes office, Trump shows no signs of letting up on his tough talk. He has stacked his team with officials who have framed the issue as an existential battle between Islamic radicalism and Western values, notably national security advisor Michael Flynn, who controversially tweeted that “Fear of Muslims is RATIONAL.” In his 2016


book, the retired Army lieutenant general said, “We’re in a world war against a messianic mass movement of evil people, most of them inspired by totalitarian ideology: radical Islam.” Flynn added: “I don’t believe all cultures are morally equivalent, and I think the West, and especially America, is far more civilized, far more ethical and moral, than the system our main enemies want to impose on us.” Likewise, Trump senior counselor Stephen Bannon has warned that the West “was in the beginning stages of a global war against Islamic fascism” — part of a centuries-old “JudeoChristian West struggle against Islam.” Trump’s pick for defense secretary, James Mattis, has also spoken bluntly about the dangers of radical Islam — albeit to a lesser degree than Flynn and Bannon — saying that “their views of the role of women, their views of modernity, their views of tolerance for people who think differently are fundamentally different than ours.” Democrats fear such talk could propagate the “clash of civilizations” narrative on which jihadists thrive, providing them with a recruitment bonanza. “For years we have focused on the Palestinian occupation, America’s deceitful alliance with Iran and [Syrian President] Bashar [alAssad] in the slaughter of Sunnis in Syria and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as proof that America, and Americans, are waging a war against Islam,” Abu Omar, the nom de guerre of an al-Qaeda operative in Syria, told Taylor Luck of the Christian Science Monitor. “Now all we have to do is turn to Trump’s Twitter account or turn on CNN.” Thomas Lippman, a scholar at the Middle East Institute and author of books such as “Understanding Islam,” said that Trump’s inflammatory rhetoric plays into the hands of groups such as the Islamic State (also known

as ISIS and ISIL), whose propaganda aims to convince Muslims that the West is waging a war against them. “What’s the point in contributing to ISIS’s recruitment drive by demonizing groups of people? I’m fine with demonizing ISIS, because they are demons. But they’re not Islam,” Lippman told us. Lumping the world’s Muslims together as terrorists is “woefully ignorant” and overlooks the complexities of terrorism, he added. “People who say … that all Muslims are not terrorists but all terrorists are Muslims have apparently not heard of Italy’s Red Brigade or the Japanese Red Army or Peru’s Shining Path. The phenomenon of terrorism as the tool of the disenfranchised and the powerless has been with us a long time, and does not specifically belong to Islam.”

Fighting Radicals or a Religion? Both Obama and his predecessor, George W. Bush, stressed that the United States was not fighting Islam, but radicals who had distorted the religion. “They try to portray themselves as religious leaders — holy warriors in defense of Islam. That’s why ISIL presumes to declare itself the ‘Islamic State.’ And they propagate the notion that America — and the West, generally — is at war with Islam,” Obama said at a White House Summit on Countering Violent Extremism last year. “We are not at war with Islam. We are at war with people who have perverted Islam.” His words echoed Bush’s restraint in the wake of 9/11. “Bush certainly described his War on Terror in ways that evoked a civilizational clash,

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pitting freedom-lovers against the totalitarian successors of the Nazis and communists,” Uri Friedman wrote in the Atlantic magazine in November 2016. “But he emphasized that Islam was not one of the clashing sides — that the terrorists had perverted the ‘peaceful teachings of Islam.’” Obama argued that dire predictions of an epic clash of civilizations not only overhyped the threat, but made “it harder, not easier, for our friends and allies and ordinary people to resist and push back against the worst impulses inside the Muslim world,” he told the Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg. That reticence, however, produced a backlash among critics who said Obama’s caution flew in the face of reality. “For years now, Republicans have condemned Obama’s avoidance of the term ‘radical Islam,’ arguing that it represents the president’s failure to properly assess and address the threat,” Friedman wrote. “Radical Islam, Obama’s critics contend, is what it sounds like: radicalism rooted in the religion of Islam. Where Obama sees ‘violent extremism,’ his critics see militant religiosity…. Where Obama sees a serious but manageable national-security threat, his critics see an ideological and civilizational challenge to the free world.” Even Obama acknowledged in his last major national security policy speech at MacDill Air Force Base in Florida in December that terrorists have repeatedly tried to attack the United States and have succeeded in launching deadly attacks in Europe. He also admitted that the threat of terrorism has metastasized, with the group he calls ISIL taking up the mantle of extremism from al-Qaeda in Iraq. The rise and reincarnation of such groups — and their stubborn staying power — suggests that their toxic, puritanical interpretation of Islam resonates with a sizable portion

of Muslims. For years, the Islamic State not only won territory, but also the hearts and minds of martyrs, ranging from Sunnis in Iraq to radicalized converts in Europe. And despite losing ground in recent months, the group continues to frustrate entire armies and defy predictions of its imminent demise. “The Obama administration needlessly got itself into trouble by avoiding an adult conversation about the problems in the Muslim world. Muslims aren’t children. They don’t need Western affirmative action programs,” Reuel Marc Gerecht of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies told Politico’s Michael Hirsh in a Nov. 20 article. “However, I do have a really big problem when certain individuals attempt to paint Islam, in all its 1,400-plus years of glorious complexity, as a deranged civilization and faith, whose denizens and practitioners are somehow uniquely capable of violence because they are hardwired to do so, via the Koran, the holy law, and whatever else the anti-Islam crowd thinks makes Muslims tick.”

Islam’s Compatibility with West Yet others argue that Islam’s traditions are incompatible with modern, democratic, liberal societies. Even today, many religiously conservative communities throughout the Islamic world tacitly (or legally) condone the stoning of women in so-called honor killings or marry them off as child brides. And polls have shown that many citizens of Muslim-majority nations do in fact prefer Shariah law to Western secularism. Shadi Hamid, a scholar at the Brookings InSee is lam • page 10

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Islam Continued • page 9

stitution and author of the recent book “Islamic Exceptionalism,” says Islam is unique in that it plays an outsize role in Muslim societies and its followers view politics through a religious prism. He also argues that Islam won’t necessarily follow the path of Christianity toward modernity. “I see very little reason to think secularism is going to win out in the war of ideas,” he told the Atlantic’s Emma Green last June. “It’s presumptuous and patronizing to think a different religion is going to follow the same basic trajectory as Christianity.” Hamid argues that the West needs to acknowledge Islam’s central role in politics — and its disillusionment with Western ideals. At the same time, he stresses that most people who “believe Islam or Islamic law should play a central role in political life” are not terrorists. Speaking with The Diplomat last summer, Hamid said the Islamic State “wants Muslims in the West to feel more alienated.” “Trump contributes to this narrative that Muslims don’t belong in the West, that Muslims are never going to be fully American. It’s very dangerous to feed into that rhetoric.” He also dismissed the notion that American Muslims need to be more vocal in denouncing Islamic-inspired terrorism. “We have a joke in the Muslim community that we should just come up with an ‘I condemn’ app for our phones. Every American Muslim organization and leader and imam, they’ve been very outspoken against ISIS … even to the extent that there are American Muslim leaders who are on ISIS’s kill list.” But Omar Saif Ghobash, ambassador of the United Arab Emirates to Russia, argues that Muslims can do more to ensure that

their religion isn’t hijacked by fanatics and that it adapts to 21st-century norms. “We need to speak out, but it is not enough to declare in public that Islam is not violent or radical or angry, that Islam is a religion of peace. We need to take responsibility for the Islam of peace,” he wrote in the January/February 2017 issue of Foreign Affairs. “We can make clear, to Muslims and non-Muslims, that another reading of Islam is possible and necessary.” That includes dispelling misconceptions about what it means to be “Islamic,” including the notion that women are somehow inherently inferior to men. “Treating women as inferior is not a religious duty; it is simply a practice of patriarchal societies,” he wrote. “The limits placed on women in conservative Muslim societies, such as mandatory veiling, or rules limiting their mobility, or restrictions on work and education, have their roots not in Islamic doctrine but rather in men’s fear that they will not be able to control women — and their fear that women, if left uncontrolled, will overtake men by being more disciplined, more focused, more hard-working.” It also means confronting some hard truths, according to the ambassador. “Instead of asking one another about family names and bloodlines and sects, we might decide to respect one another as individuals regardless of our backgrounds. We might begin to more deeply acknowledge the outrageous number of people killed in the Muslim world in civil wars and in terrorist attacks carried out not by outsiders but by other Muslims,” he wrote. Like many other analysts, Ghobash argues that extremists have twisted Islamic teachings, which forbid the killing of non-combatants, for instance. “But just as in other religions, moderates and fundamentalists within Islam rarely see eye-to-eye on interpretations of the Koran,”

Credit: Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama visit the main prayer hall during a tour of the Istiqlal Mosque with Grand Imam Ali Mustafa Yaqub in Jakarta, Indonesia, on Nov. 10, 2010.

wrote Lauren Carroll and Katie Sanders in a 2015 PolitiFact article. While the majority of Muslims reject the Islamic State’s brutality, the group’s vision of an Islamic caliphate has attracted tens of thousands of devotees; even Ghobash admits that “according to the minimal entry requirements for Islam, they are Muslims.”

Action, Not Words As the debate rages over how both Muslims and non-Muslims can broach the delicate subject of Islam’s role in terrorism, author

and researcher Farhana Qazi says that what’s important in the battle against extremism is not so much words, but action. “Because President Obama doesn’t use the words ‘radical,’ ‘Islamic’ and ‘terrorism’ in the same sentence, because he didn’t buy into this terminology, does not mean he has become a Muslim apologist or doesn’t acknowledge the threat of terrorism,” said Qazi, who has spent the past decade studying conflicts in the Muslim world. “The fixation by the new president that President Obama has not acknowledged the threat is unfair,” she added. “We have robust counterterrorism operations, military strikes are continuing against ISIS in Iraq and Syria, the State Department has programs that work with Muslims in the U.S. and abroad to amplify the voices of moderation. In fact, there’s so much going on to counter extremism that when someone makes these allegations, I think they must have been blinded.” As for how Trump will approach the topic now that he’s officially in the White House and off the campaign trail, James Phillips, a Middle East senior research fellow at the Heritage Foundation, said we shouldn’t read too much into Trump’s fiery anti-Muslim broadsides. “Donald Trump’s campaign rhetoric is unlikely to become a reliable guide to what his administration will do when it must grapple with the reality of fighting al-Qaeda, the Islamic State and other Islamist totalitarian movements,” Phillips told The Diplomat in an email statement. “Once in office, I fully expect that Trump will drop his campaign shorthand and make it clear that what we are fighting is an Islamist totalitarian ideology, not Islam as a religion.” WD Karin Zeitvogel (@Zeitvogel) is a contributing writer for The Washington Diplomat. Anna Gawel (@diplomatnews) is managing editor of The Washington Diplomat.

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Terrorism | WD

The Lone-Wolf Threat As Islamic State Loses Territory, It Shifts Focus to High-Profile Terrorist Attacks by Michael Coleman

I

t’s been three years since the Islamic State seized control of vast swathes of Iraq and Syria, which helped the then-emerging terrorist group convince scores of disenfranchised, young Muslim men to join in building a “historic” caliphate. Since then, a U.S.-led coalition has hammered the Islamic State with an intense bombardment campaign — which by some estimates has killed as many as 50,000 fighters — and retaken control of much of the territory the extremist Muslim group once held. The group, which is also under fire from Russian, Turkish, Iraqi and other armed forces, is clinging to its remaining strongholds of Mosul in Iraq and Raqqa in Syria, after largely being dislodged from its redoubt in Libya. But the Islamic State is nothing if not determined, so its leaders have shifted tactics, focusing less on amassing territory to plan carefully coordinated attacks involving multiple actors. The deadly organization is also increasingly relying on high-profile but relatively unsophisticated assaults that grab attention and involve lone wolves whose ties to the group are tenuous. In June 2016, Omar Mateen, a 29-year-old security guard who had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State, killed 49 people and wounded 53 others in a terrorist attack inside a gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla. A month later, a Tunisian-born French resident suspected to be affiliated with the Islamic State drove a truck into a crowd of people in Nice, France, killing 86. The deadly scenario repeated itself in Germany just before Christmas when another radicalized Tunisian killed 12 with a truck in Berlin. The Islamic State (also referred to as ISIS or ISIL) claimed responsibility for the rampages, although the degree to which it directs such assaults varies widely. The group has called on sympathizers around the world to attack the West using whatever means are available to them — whether guns or trucks or crudely assembled bombs — allowing it to take credit for attacks that are only loosely inspired by its ideology. Unlike attacks that involved meticulous planning and foreign training — such as the November 2015 series of mass shootings and suicide bombs in Paris that killed over 130 people — lone-wolf attacks require little effort from the Islamic State while boosting its prestige. Indeed, many lone-wolf recruits appear to have had little or no direct communication with the group, possess questionable understanding of Islam and could have been motivated by a variety of factors. In targeting a gay nightclub, for instance, Mateen may have been driven as much by homophobia and anger issues as he was by the Islamic State, which he seemed to confuse with other terrorist organizations. Daniel Benjamin, director of Dartmouth College’s John Sloan Dickey Center for International Understanding and the former counterterrorism coordinator at the State Department, says lone-wolf terrorism is “the new normal.” “There is no question that both jihadi groups — ISIS and al-Qaeda — have said that believers should carry out, as they say, individual acts of jihad whenever they can,” Benjamin told The Diplomat in an interview. “That has had a profound effect.” He said the U.S. and Europe, in particular, are vulnerable to these lone-wolf plots. Unlike Europe, however, the massive security infrastructure erected after the catastrophic Sept. 11 attacks of 2001 has pre-

Photo: By Andreas Trojak - https://www.flickr.com/photos/andreastrojak/31731061626 / Wikimedia Commons via CC BY 2.0

Debris litters a Christmas market in Berlin the day after a truck drove into the market on Dec. 19, killing 12 people and wounding over 50 others in a lone-wolf attack attributed to a Tunisian asylum seeker.

In general lone-wolf attacks are very hard to stop…. We must accept that risk is part of living. Daniel Byman

professor in the Security Studies Program at the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University

vented a large-scale attack on the U.S. “There hasn’t been a directed attack [inside the U.S.] from a terror organization outside our borders during the Obama administration and in fact, there really hasn’t been one of note since 9/11,” Benjamin said. The former counterterrorism coordinator said aggressive American counterterrorism efforts since 9/11 have reaped enormous domestic security advantages — at least in terms of stopping coordinated attacks. “It’s been very difficult for anyone to have a real cell in the United States because of very successful intelligence work here,” he said. “And we’ve also had excellent border security despite the denunciations of [Donald Trump]. “In Europe, there is more of a hybrid model” of terrorist strategy, he said. “We have seen ISIS operatives

coming into Europe and carrying out complex attacks, and because of their border security problems, I think Europe will have to continue to contend with that challenge.” Benjamin attributed the increase in single-actor terrorist attacks in part to the Islamic State’s meteoric rise as it rapidly seized territory throughout the Middle East and North Africa. “For a long time there was a perception that ISIS was on a roll and I think a lot of people decided to show that they, too, were part of this historic development, even if they couldn’t make it all the way to Syria,” he said. Indiana State University criminology professor Mark Hamm recently won a National Institute of Justice grant to study, in part, the roots of lone-wolf terrorism. The result of that research, described in the forthcoming May 2017 book “In the Age of Lone Wolf Terrorism,” is illuminating. Hamm and his co-author, Ramón Spaaij, effectively map the pathways of lone-wolf radicalization. The academics reviewed comprehensive data on these actors, and the particulars of more than 200 terrorist incidents. They found a striking pattern. “In single-actor attacks, it is often not just political grievances, but personal failure issues, that lead lone wolves to befriend online sympathizers — whether jihadists, white supremacists or other anti-government extremists,” the book says. “They often announce their intent to commit terror when triggered.” See Lon e- W olf • page 12 THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | FEBRuary 2017 | 11


Lone-Wolf Continued • page 11

Hamm said his research showed that lone-wolf perpetrators are “overwhelmingly young men in their late 20s,” which is older than the average age of al-Qaeda members, who tend to be in the 22- to 24-year-old age range. Yet there is no universal profile of a wouldbe terrorist, whether a foreign-trained operative or a homegrown radical. New America’s International Security Program reviewed hundreds of terrorism cases in the U.S. since 9/11 and found that motivations “are difficult to disentangle.” Experts such as David Sterman and Peter Bergen examined this data and argue that terrorists are driven by a mix of factors. These include an admiration for militant Islam and dislike for U.S. policies in the Muslim world, but also various personal reasons, from the loss of a job or problems at home, to drug and alcohol abuse, to a lack of belonging and desire to do something “heroic.” The New America study also found that “far from being foreign infiltrators, the large majority of jihadist terrorists in the United States have been American citizens or legal residents…. In addition about a quarter of the extremists are converts, further confirming that the challenge cannot be reduced to one of immigration.” The study did note that social media played an important role in connecting people to extremist groups. At the same time, social media can tip authorities off to potential plots. “In general lone-wolf attacks are very hard to stop,” said Daniel Byman, a professor in the Security Studies Program in the School

Photo: By Ted Eytan from Washington, DC, USA - 2016.06.13 From DC to Orlando Vigils 06103 / Wikimedia Commons via CC BY-SA 2.0

A vigil is held in Washington, D.C., on June 13, 2016, a day after a lone gunman walked into a gay nightclub in Orlando and killed 49 people.

of Foreign Service at Georgetown. “However, with social media many individuals broadcast their intention, which is one possible avenue [to thwarting attacks].” Max Abrahms, a political science professor at Northeastern University and a senior fellow at the George Washington University’s Center for Cyber and Homeland Security, has also studied terrorist trends closely. He said the “vast majority” of terrorist attacks historically have been committed by “groups rather than by individuals.” “But it’s common now, and it has been common for years, for senior U.S. officials to say the lone-wolf terror attack is what keeps them up at night,” Abrahms said. “It’s almost become a cliché.” He said that makes sense given recent trends.

“In the U.S., we don’t have terrorist groups running around blowing things up,” he said. “When there is an attack, it is almost always an individual or a [small] cell. Furthermore, it is harder for law enforcement to prevent lone-wolf attacks than attacks by groups because the main way to thwart them is by picking up communications and if the person is alone, it’s much harder to find a footprint.” Additionally, Abrahms said “there is no consensus, to say the least, about what a lone-wolf actor is.” “Some terror commentators and experts reject the term outright,” Abrahms said. “It’s very misleading because what the data very often show is that lone-wolf actors often have a connection to other terrorists, and certainly ideologically, they’re not operating

in a vacuum. They’re looking at right-wing websites for example.” Hamm described a lone-wolf terrorist like this: “Lone-wolf terrorism is political violence perpetrated by individuals who act alone; who do not belong to an organized terrorist group or network; who act without the direct influence of a leader or hierarchy; and whose tactics and methods are conceived and carried out by the individual without any direct outside command or direction,” he said. “The purpose of such a narrow definition is to distinguish lone-wolf terrorism from terrorist actions carried out by large terrorist networks, small terrorist groups or states.” So how can governments stop this particular type of terrorist? Hamm said the U.S. government takes a three-pronged approach to thwarting lone-wolf plots. First, federal agents use so-called “digital diplomacy,” or cultivate an active, outward presence online to create messaging that counters violent extremism. Law enforcement also goes into densely populated Muslim areas and tries to work with local community leaders to address the root causes of violent extremism and identify and reach out to those who might be susceptible. For example, the FBI employs extensive outreach and informant programs in large Arab communities such as Dearborn, Mich., to encourage residents to cooperate with law enforcement. Finally, the FBI consistently uses secretive sting operations involving covert agents to draw would-be assassins into a plot — and then arrest them. Yet law enforcement tactics have their limits. Some lone wolves radicalize quietly and quickly, flying below authorities’ radars. Even when law enforcement is tipped off, assailants can slip through the cracks of a sys-

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The exterior of the Pulse nightclub in Orlando is punctured by holes following a standoff between police and Omar Mateen, the 29-year-old security officer who killed 49 people inside the club and professed his allegiance to the islamic State in a 911 call.

tem where, at any one time, overwhelmed authorities are keeping tabs on hundreds of possible suspects. For instance, Mateen, the Orlando shooter, had been investigated by the FBI twice for possible extremist ties but officials concluded he was not a threat. Likewise, the Tunisian man behind the Berlin Christmas market attack had been under surveillance and was supposed to have been deported from Germany, but his deportation was held up by red tape and he managed to easily travel through Europe’s porous borders. FBI sting operations have also been criticized as a form of entrapment, manufacturing plots were none may have existed. Several experts interviewed by The Diplomat, however, generally said that sting operations — in which law enforcement identifies a possible lone-wolf terrorist and then tries to draw him (and it’s almost always males) into taking action — are effective. “I understand concerns about sting operations and I’m sure there have been some cases of entrapment, but we’ve broken up some terror plots and in the aggregate I think they’ve been useful,” Abrahms said. “If you were to rate our counterterrorism abroad versus our counterterrorism at home, I think our counterterrorism at home has been more successful,” he added. “I’m surprised so many terrorists have been caught [domestically] with so little bloodshed.” Matthew Harwood of the American Civil Liberties Union takes a different view. In a recent essay posted on the ACLU website, Harwood makes the case that the lone-wolf threat is overblown by law enforcement and the intelligence community. “Like all violent crime, individual terrorism represents a genuine risk, just an exceedingly rare and minimal one,” Harwood wrote. “It’s not the sort of thing that the government should be able to build whole new, intrusive surveillance programs on or use as an excuse for sending in agents to infiltrate communities. “National programs now being set up to combat lone-wolf terrorism have a way of wildly exaggerating its prevalence and dangers — and in the end are only likely to exacerbate the problem,” he added. “For Americans to concede more of their civil liberties in return for ‘security’ against lone wolves wouldn’t be a trade; it would be fraud.” Hamm and Benjamin both said law enforcement experts are starting to consider alternatives to hardline prosecution

of lone-wolf suspects, offering them “offramps” from their radical ideology. Once identified, these potential killers can sometimes be persuaded against violent action by a parent, sibling, imam or someone else important to them. “A number of different pilot programs are going on around the country to explore what kind of constructive social interventions can be made among doctors, teachers, religious leaders, community leaders and the like,” Benjamin said. “If you have that ability [to intervene], you have fewer people hiding their problems because they don’t want their kids locked up.” Hamm said the trend has potential. “By virtue of FBI agents getting to know these people, they are in a position to use the full scale of their powers,” he said. “They don’t have to encourage an alienated, lonely young man to kill others … they can give them an off-ramp from radicalization. “Why not take a soft-power approach to save a human life instead of a hard-power approach to wreck a life?” Hamm asked. Byman of Georgetown University said the U.S. public should try to keep the dangers in perspective even as the media trumpets the lone-wolf threat, and terrorist threats in general. Guns alone, for example, kill over 30,000 Americans every year. Traffic accidents accounted for another 38,000 deaths in 2015, while drug overdoses killed over 50,000 Americans that year. And as many statisticians have pointed out, an American is more likely to be struck by lightning, drown in a bathtub, be mauled to death by a cow or horse, or be killed by the police than they are to be killed by a terrorist. “We must accept that risk is part of living,” Byman said. “The actual threat from jihadist terrorism since 9/11 has been low. Only 94 Americans have died from jihadist terrorism in the U.S. homeland — not counting abroad. That’s 94 too many, but it’s far lower than anticipated and less than are killed by lightning.” WD Michael Coleman (@michaelcoleman) is a contributing writer for The Washington Diplomat.

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New Boss at Turtle Bay As United States Welcomes New Leader, So Does United Nations by Justin Salhani and Anna Gawel

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ike the United States, the United Nations started the new year off with a new leader. António Guterres, a former Portuguese prime minister and top refugee official, inherits a world of problems — from economic inequality to mass migration to climate change — on top of a potentially adversarial relationship with a Republican administration that may thwart his efforts to address those problems. Guterres was not initially among the frontrunners for the secretary-general job to replace South Korea’s Ban Kimoon, who stepped down after 10 years. Many observers, including Ban himself, expressed hope that the position would go to a woman, which would have been a first in the world body’s 70-year history. Others thought it might go to an Eastern European, a region that has never produced a secretary-general. But after a series of anonymous straw polls, on Oct. 5, the U.N. Security Council announced it had selected Guterres for the role after being impressed at his public hearing and by his record as U.N. high commissioner for refugees. “It’s the first time we have a new U.N. secretary-general and president take office,” said Kathy Calvin, president and chief executive officer of the United Nations Foundation. “António Guterres is the first prime minister to serve as secretary-general and he has incredible skills. He led a U.N. agency for over 10 years in troubling and challenging times. He knows the institution well.” As U.N. chief, Guterres will serve a fiveyear term in which he will face a litany of pressing international challenges. The crisis in Syria has cycled through various U.N. special envoys in recent years; China’s territorial disputes in the South China Sea could exacerbate tensions with regional rivals; and Israel’s settlements and the claims by Congress that it will move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem could further spark instability in a region already plagued with turmoil and extremism, from Afghanistan to Yemen. “Guterres is a canny diplomat who wants to get stuck into managing some of the major crises on the U.N. agenda,” Richard Gowan, senior policy fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations, told The Diplomat. “He is going to be a much greater activist than Ban Ki-moon, and may well spend more time in the world’s troublespots trying to negotiate peace,” Gowan added. “U.N. officials say that they can already feel a difference at the organization’s headquarters. As a former prime minister, Guterres is a demanding boss and wants the U.N. bureaucracy to be faster and more united than it was under

António Guterres makes his way to the 71st session of the U.N. General Assembly on Oct. 13 following his appointment as the ninth secretary-general of the United Nations.

14 | THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | FEBRuary 2017

Photo: U.N. / Eskinder Debebe

The United Nations needs to be nimble, efficient and effective. It must focus more on delivery and less on process; more on people and less on bureaucracy. António Guterres, U.N. secretary-general

Ban. But he’s also got natural charisma and has made a very good impression by speaking frankly with staff in public meetings. U.N. insiders feel some new energy.” One of the biggest obstacles, though, could be the election of Donald Trump and a new bill in Congress that is threatening to take away U.S. funding to the U.N., which makes up 22 percent of the total budget. Likewise, Trump’s pick for ambassador to the U.N., former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, has questioned the U.N.’s effectiveness. At her Jan. 18 confirmation hearing, Haley said she would “leverage” U.S. funding to improve the world body and slammed it for “its bias against our close ally Israel.” At the same time, Haley dismissed the idea of outright “slashing” U.N. funding and disagreed with several key Trump positions. Unlike Trump, for instance, she accused Russia of war crimes in Syria, praised the NATO alliance and ruled out a national registry of Muslims. “Nobody knows how Guterres will handle the Trump administration,” Gowan said. “If the U.S. turns against the U.N.

in a big way, he will be on the defensive.” America’s new Republican president could start by derailing key diplomatic achievements. For example, Trump, who has called climate change a hoax perpetrated by China, could ignore the landmark agreement reached in Paris in December 2015 to curb greenhouse gas emissions. The former business mogul has also signaled his intention to severely restrict immigration to the U.S. from Muslims, Mexicans and other groups, all while the U.N. grapples with a worldwide refugee crisis. Trump has also vowed to undo Barack Obama’s rapprochement with Cuba and Iran despite widespread global support for the outreach. And Trump — who has called for a return to waterboarding and killing the families of terrorists — stands in stark contrast to Guterres, who is widely viewed as a champion of human rights. It all adds up to a possible collision course at Turtle Bay, where the U.N. Headquarters stands not far from the gilded Trump Tower. “Among the many foreign policy uncertainties created by Donald Trump’s election, there is one prediction we can

take to the bank: The United Nations is going to get hammered,” wrote Council on Foreign Relations fellow Stewart Patrick for CNN last December. “The U.S.-U.N. relationship is fraught in the best of times — during the George W. Bush administration when the U.S. imposed a unilateral vision globally, or during the 1990s, when Sen. Jesse Helms bedeviled the United Nations and created a financial crisis at the institution by withholding U.S. dues. Conservative critics, both in and outside government, regularly scapegoat the U.N. for the failures of its member states. And because it lacks a domestic constituency, it is an irresistible target for nationalist demagogues,” Patrick argued. To counter Trump’s own nationalist tendencies, Patrick suggested that Guterres pledge to make the bureaucracy leaner and more transparent while delivering a practical message to the businessman and his inner circle: “Regardless of the international organization’s many flaws, the United States will return again and again to the United Nations — just as it did under George W. Bush — to get things done,” Patrick wrote. If anybody is up to that task, it could be Guterres. As refugee commissioner, “he was able to not only work with the major powers but to nudge — sometimes push — them to go where they might otherwise have not. This is a skill that should come in very handy in his new role,” wrote Adil Najam, dean of the Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies at Boston Uni-


versity, in the Conversation. “He’s likely to focus on dialogue and not afraid to role up his sleeves,” said Calvin of the U.N. Foundation. “His style is more about engagement, and engaging leadership with a new administration to turnover in the U.S. and the U.N., there is the opportunity to strengthen the relationship.” Guterres, 67, has said he is ready to work with the new administration, while hinting that he won’t be driven by fear or demagoguery. “We want the world our children inherit to be defined by the values enshrined in the U.N. Charter: peace, justice, respect, human rights, tolerance and solidarity,” Guterres declared during his swearing-in. “But the threats to these values are most often based on fear. Our duty to the peoples we serve is to work together to move from fear of each other, to trust in each other. Trust in the values that bind us, and trust in the institutions that serve and protect us.” Born in Lisbon, Portugal, Guterres excelled in school before going into academia. He speaks four languages (English, French, Spanish and Portuguese). His early years were spent under the watchful eyes of dictatorship and he spent extended periods in the countryside, where he grew to sympathize with the struggles of poverty. He studied physics and electrical engineering before teaching systems theory and telecommunications signals. In 1974, Guterres set academia aside and began a professional career in politics with Portugal’s Socialist Party. In 1976, he became a Socialist MP in the Portuguese Parliament, where his oratory skills earned him the nickname “the talking pickaxe.” A wily political operative, he became secretary-general of his party in 1992, but unlike other traditional socialists with Marxist backgrounds, Guterres is a devout Catholic. His faith “always informed his brand of social democratic politics,” wrote Angelique Chrisafis and

vin said. “He will be a leader focused on early intervention and anticipation and building resilience.” Upon being sworn in as the ninth secretarygeneral, Guterres pledged to continue his focus on reforming the U.N. bureaucracy, in addition to promoting peace and sustainable development. “Humanitarian response, sustainable development and sustaining peace are three sides of the same triangle,” he said. He also vowed to improve staff and budgetary rules to ensure accountability and efficiency, while tackling gender disparity in the world body (a recent analysis found that women held just over 20 percent of the top jobs in the U.N. Secretariat). “The United Nations needs to be nimble, efficient and effective. It must focus more on delivery and less on process; more on people and less on bureaucracy,” he said last December before the 193-member U.N. General Assembly. “We live in a complex world. The United Nations cannot succeed alone. Partnership must continue to be at the heart of our strategy,” he added. “Our most serious shortcoming — and here I refer to the entire international community — is our inability to prevent crises. The United Nations was born from war. Today we must be here for peace.” WD

The flags of the 193 member states of the United Nations fly outside the world body’s headquarters in New York. Photo: U.N. / JC McIlwaine

Julian Borger in the Guardian on Jan. 1. As party leader, Guterres emphasized consensus and compromise, forming policy by meeting with public intellectuals, scientists and entrepreneurs from across the political spectrum. “In 2000, when Portugal took the rotating presidency of the European Union, its success was attributed to Guterres’s ability to get big leaders to agree and smaller leaders to be heard,” the Guardian noted. He served two terms as Portugal’s prime minister but resigned part way through his second term after his minority government was trounced at the polls in 2002. After resigning, Guterres visited Lisbon’s slums and gave free math lessons to children. “He never allowed a journalist to go with him or let himself be filmed or photographed, and he never let journalists talk to any of his students,” Ricardo Costa, editor-in-chief of the

Portuguese SIC News, told the Guardian. Guterres eventually turned his attention to international diplomacy and was elected U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees in 2005. He kept the position for 10 years, during which time he was confronted with the highest level of global displacement since World War II. During his tenure, he called for better treatment of refugees by European nations and worked tirelessly to secure funding for Syrian refugees in particular. He also improved UNHCR’s capacity to respond to crises while trimming overhead. In fact, he spearheaded the most significant structural reform process in the agency’s history. “The Security Council faces challenges with Russia’s veto and support for the Syria regime. But without the humanitarian agencies, we wouldn’t have as much knowledge or unified support in any of the world’s countries,” Cal-

Justin Salhani (@JustinSalhani) is a contributing writer for The Washington Diplomat. Anna Gawel (@diplomatnews) is the managing editor of The Washington Diplomat.

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Fight Not Over Nine Years After Declaring Independence, Kosovo Still Struggles for Recognition by Larry Luxner

O

verlooking Bill Clinton Boulevard in Kosovo’s capital city, Pristina, is an 11-foot-high bronze statue of the 42nd president — a show of gratitude for the man who launched a NATO bombing campaign in 1999 to force Yugoslav troops out of Serbia’s restive province. That paved the way for Kosovo’s independence nine years later. These days, maybe a golden statue of Donald Trump — or at least a Trump hotel — might prove more useful when it comes to scoring points with the White House. In fact, no one knows how the new president will deal with the Balkans or if he’ll deal with them at all, given his disdain for details, his admiration for Russian President Vladimir Putin and his well-publicized hostility toward NATO and the United Nations. Yet for Kosovo, which seeks membership in both bodies, foreign policy in the age of Trump is a matter of national survival — and few Balkan diplomats will be watching him more carefully than Vlora Çitaku, Kosovo’s glamorous, eloquent young envoy in Washington. Çitaku, 36, spoke to The Washington Diplomat about her country, its struggle for recognition and its efforts to combat violent Islamic extremism. “I belong to a generation of Europeans whose lives were saved because of the U.S. role, and we’ve been lucky that Kosovo is a bipartisan issue,” she told us in early January. “We’ve made our initial contacts with the Trump administration, and we have absolutely no reason to suspect that anything will change. We certainly believe that U.S. leadership in the world will remain intact.” Optimistic words indeed from an ambassador who warmly praises the role NATO played in liberating her country, but fears that Moscow’s meddling in southeastern Europe will persist long after Trump’s Jan. 20 inauguration as the nation’s 45th president. “The Russians were directly involved in trying to prevent Montenegro from joining NATO and have tripled their diplomatic presence in the region,” she charged. “Nonetheless, we believe that the new U.S. administration will remain committed to the Euro-Atlantic perspective — not only for Kosovo but for Montenegro, Albania and Serbia itself. We hope the next administration will consider all the facts and data. Working with Russia is not necessarily a bad thing. We just hope this relationship will convince Russia to stop its destructive role in our part of the world.” The tiny country Çitaku represents is home to 1.8 million people, about 90 percent of them Albanian-speaking

Muslims. One-third the size of Maryland, landlocked Kosovo was once an autonomous province of Serbia, which itself was one of the six republics comprising the former Yugoslavia. In fact, during the Middle Ages, Kosovo was so central to Serbia’s cultural, diplomatic and religious life that it was known as the “Serbian Jerusalem.” Following the bloodshed in the Balkans that saw the disintegration of Yugoslavia in the 1990s, Serb leader Slobodan Milosevic fought to maintain Belgrade’s hold on Kosovo during the 1998-99 war. But after NATO launched an intense aerial bombing campaign to prevent a humanitarian disaster in Kosovo, Serb forces were driven out and the area fell under U.N. administration. Over Serbian (and Russian) objections, Kosovo seceded from Belgrade in 2008. While the two Balkan neighbors have taken tentative steps toward reconciliation, the ghosts of the past continue to prevent both sides from fully moving forward. Animosity from the Balkan wars remains palpable, and while both Kosovo and Serbia want to be part of the European Union, Brussels says the two sides must normalize relations before they can join the bloc. So today, Kosovo is a sovereign republic with its own president, flag and stamps, but not its own currency. Its people use the euro, although Kosovo isn’t a member of the eurozone or even the EU. Adding to the irony is the lo-

Photo: Lawrence Ruggeri

I belong to a generation of Europeans whose lives were saved because of the U.S. role, and we’ve been lucky that Kosovo is a bipartisan issue…. We’ve made our initial contacts with the Trump administration, and we have absolutely no reason to suspect that anything will change. Vlora ÇitakU, ambassador of Kosovo to the United States

cation of Çitaku’s embassy, which occupies a small third-floor office in the same K Street building leased by the EU to which it does not belong.

Lingering Acrimony Since Kosovo declared independence nine years ago this month, on Feb. 17, 2008, 113 nations have established diplomatic relations with Pristina. The first was Costa Rica (followed by seven other countries, including the United States, on Feb. 18); the most recent were Suriname and Singapore, both of which

extended recognition in late 2016. On the other hand, dozens of countries have refused to recognize Kosovo, including Argentina, Brazil, China, Russia, Spain and Ukraine. Also on that list is South Sudan, which declared independence from Sudan in July 2011 and in so doing replaced Kosovo as the world’s newest country. Some countries have held back recognition of Kosovo in solidarity with Serbia and the Orthodox Church, others because of the precedent it would set with regard to secessionist movements in their own autonomous regions — for

example Spain’s Basque region or China’s Tibet. “It’s sometimes been a very difficult and painful journey, because we not only have strategic friends and partners but also strategic opponents — nations that fight Kosovo’s acceptance in the world,” Çitaku said. Indeed, Serbia and its friends have lobbied hard against recognition of Kosovo. “Our position on Pristina’s unilateral declaration of independence remains firm and unchanged,” said Çitaku’s counterpart in Washington, Serbian Ambassador Djerdj Matkovic, in an email to The Diplomat. “We continue to oppose it, as it represents not only a breach of principles of territorial integrity and sovereignty and international law, but also as a way of setting a dangerous precedent for other similar cases.” Matkovic said his country will continue to pursue its legitimate interests “in its southern province” of Kosovo by peaceful means. “We attach such a high priority to dialogue and compromise because we See kos ovo • page 18 THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | FEBRuary 2017 | 17


Photo: By Ardianlumi - Own work / Wikimedia Commons via CC BY-SA 3.0

Pristina, above, is the economic heart of Kosovo and home to most major Albanian and international companies operating in the country.

Kosovo

At left, Prizren was the cultural and intellectual center of Kosovo during the Ottoman period.

Continued • page 17

strongly believe that promoting and supporting unilateral moves and declarations have never led to lasting peace, stability and prosperity,” he told us. Yet dialogue and compromise seem to be sorely missing at the moment. Last month, Kosovo accused Serbia of plotting to seize a sliver of northern territory that is home to 50,000 Serbs, comparing it to Russia’s annexation of Crimea. Those accusations followed the arrest of Kosovo’s former prime minister, Ramush Haradinaj, in France on a warrant issued by Serbia. Haradinaj, who briefly served as prime minister between 2004 and 2005, was a guerilla commander in the fight against Serbian rule and has been accused by Belgrade of committing war crimes, including the kidnapping, torture and killing of Serb civilians. As of press time, France released Haradinaj from custody pending a decision on Serbia’s extradition request. “We believe that Serbia’s abuse of the Interpol Red Notice system leading to the detention of Ramush Haradinaj is outrageous,” Çitaku told us, noting that Haradinaj has twice been acquitted of war crimes charges by The Hague. “In Europe, Serbia’s accession process must be halted until it continues with its obligation to normalize relations with Kosovo.” The arrest has threatened to derail EU-brokered reconciliation talks between Serbia and Kosovo. Despite the setback, Çitaku insists that EU membership is non-negotiable for Kosovo to ensure her homeland’s future security. “For us, joining NATO and the EU is not a matter of vanity. It’s existential. First and foremost, joining NATO will mean that no neighbor will ever again use military force to attack us or deport us from our homes.”

Photo: By Bleron Çaka - Own Work / Wikimedia Commons via CC BY-SA 3.0

Above, Kosovars gather in the capital of Pristina to celebrate independence. Photo: By GentiBehramaj - Own work / Wikimedia Commons via CC BY-SA 4.0

Çitaku said Kosovo — which signed a Stabilization and Association Agreement with the EU and has a “platonic relationship” with NATO — is working to gain international recognition in tandem with nation-building at home. Although it has enjoyed economic growth in recent years, the country continues to struggle with rampant unemployment, poverty, corruption, crime, structural problems and brain drain. “Once you are free and independent, you realize that survival is not the only worry,” the ambassador said. “You have houses to build, roads to pave, electricity to provide, laws to adopt. But you also want to make sure you have a seat at the table. Independence without interaction is not sufficient, especially in today’s world where most of the challenges we face as a region are borderless.” These challenges include everything from cyber threats to terrorism to climate change. “We cannot afford black holes in the region and black holes in the world map overall,” Çitaku warned. “I am proud to announce that Kosovo has so far been successfully accepted in over 50 regional and EU organizations, but we’re struggling to get

18 | THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | FEBRuary 2017

membership in the United Nations.” That is largely because of Serbia and its allies, namely Russia. Yet the ambassador insists that Serbia’s main problem isn’t Kosovo or its declaration of independence. “It is denial,” she argued. “They refuse to accept their historical responsibilities for what has happened — not only in Kosovo but also in Bosnia and Croatia. They want to erect a statue of Milosevic because they still have not faced the past.” She continued: “They’re in a mood of self-victimization. Imagine if Germany today would commemorate D-Day as a day of mourning. So they somehow still think it’s the international community’s fault that there was a NATO airstrike against Serbia. They still blame everybody but themselves. Dealing with the past is difficult, and very often more for the perpetrators than for the victims.”

Wounds of Centuries-Old Battles Still Fresh It’s clear that Çitaku considers herself and her fellow Kosovars the victims in this ongoing, centuries-old ethnic battle between the predominantly Orthodox Christian Serbs and Kosovo’s Muslim Albanian-speaking majority.

Born in 1980, the future ambassador grew up as a refugee, with a front-row seat to the civil war that killed an estimated 10,000 people and shaped her own destiny. “In the 1980s, Mr. Milosevic used Serbs’ enormous sense of grievance that their ancestral heartland was now dominated by Muslim Albanians to come to power in Serbia,” Dan Bilefsky wrote in a 2008 New York Times article. “By 1989, he had abolished Kosovo’s autonomy, fired tens of thousands of Albanians from their jobs, suppressed Albanian language education and controlled the territory with a heavy police presence.” The ambassador says she’ll never forget the day Serbian soldiers deported Çitaku and her three sisters to neighboring Macedonia — separating them from their parents — as part of an ethnic cleansing campaign that affected millions throughout the former Yugoslavia. “It’s not like I had options growing up. Being engaged in politics was a way of survival and expressing our rebellion and dissatisfaction with the status quo. I got involved at a very young age,” she recalled. “When I was a child in the third grade, there was a wall — literally, a wall with bricks — inside our school that separated the discriminated majority and the privileged

Below, a mosque and church dot the landscape of the city of Prizren in Kosovo.

Photo: By Aljabakphoto - Own work / Wikimedia Commons via CC BY-SA 4.0

minority. I remember feeling very guilty because I thought it was our fault, and that we must be terrible. “Later I organized the students and we painted the wall with peace messages, rainbows and flowers. I saw my schoolteacher beaten in front of me by Serbian police. Shortly after that, my parents were forced out of their jobs as university professors. Every single Albanian working in the University of Pristina was fired. What we did then was quite extraordinary: We organized a parallel life. People turned their private homes into schools.” In 1998, Çitaku began working as a stringer and interpreter for Time magazine and other media, since all the Albanian-language outlets had been closed. “Every household in Koso-

vo had a satellite dish. People would cut down on food just to have money to get a dish,” she recalled. “That’s how I learned my English. We watched satellite channels broadcasting from Albania, Germany and elsewhere. It was our only window for information.” Çitaku became a spokeswoman for the self-styled Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) and eventually joined the demilitarized KLA’s political wing, the Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK). She served two terms in parliament before becoming acting foreign minister and later minister of European integration. Following a stint as Kosovo’s consul general in New York, she became ambassador to the United States in August 2015 and is especially active on social media, with nearly


65,000 followers on Twitter and 22,000 on Facebook. Among other things, Çitaku was part of the negotiating team in Brussels that reached a deal in April 2013 between Kosovo and Serbia that called for everything short of outright diplomatic recognition. “We have exchanged diplomatic liaisons. We have an office in Belgrade, and they have one in Pristina,” she explained. “We shook hands in Brussels, but when it comes to implementing what we agreed on, it becomes difficult. There’s a dichotomy in Serbia.” Çitaku says that for Serbs, the Kosovo issue is simply not that important. “Every opinion poll conducted in the last five or six years shows that Kosovo is far down the list. Their priorities are jobs, the economy and getting a better education.” Serbia’s Matkovic says the Kosovars should clean up their own house before lecturing his country on priorities. “Regardless of Pristina’s attempts to draw a picture of an ideal society, the security situation in the province is still characterized by the absence of physical and legal security for the Serbian community.” An estimated 150,000 ethnic Serbs live in Kosovo — mostly in five specific municipalities that border Serbia itself. In late August, violent protests broke out after local Serbian pilgrims attempted to visit an Orthodox church in the once-mixed village of Mushtisht. Albanian Muslims carrying KLA banners pelted the pilgrims with rocks and bottles, forcing them to turn back and leading politicians from both countries to condemn the violence. “Serbia doesn’t see anything normal in a mass manifestation of hate toward Serbs who just wanted to gather at the remains of their houses and church to pay respect,” said Marko Đurić, head of Serbia’s government office for Kosovo. “If Serbs are not allowed to do that,

kosovo at a Glance Independence: Feb. 17, 2008 (from Serbia) Location Southeast Europe, between Serbia and Macedonia Capital Pristina Population 1.8 million (July 2016 estimate) Ethnic groups albanians 92.9 percent, Bosniaks 1.6 percent, Serbs 1.5 percent, Turk 1.1 percent, ashkali 0.9 percent, Egyptian 0.7 percent, gorani 0.6 percent, roma 0.5 percent, other/unspecified 0.2 percent

GDP growth 3.3 percent (2015 estimate) Unemployment 35.3 percent (2014 estimate) (2013 estimate)

Industries Mineral mining, construction materials, base metals, leather, machinery, appliances, foodstuffs and beverages, textiles

GDP (purchasing power parity) $17.4 billion (2015 estimate)

GDP per-capita (PPP) na

PHOTO: Qiv – FliCkr / WikiMEDia COMMOnS via CC By-Sa 2.0

Population below poverty line 30 percent

NOTE:

National flag of Kosovo SOUrCE: Cia WOrlD FaCTBOOk

how can we even talk about a future perspective in Serb-Albanian relations?” Çitaku acknowledged the deep ethnic scars present in her fledgling country but insisted that the Balkan wars were never about religion, but rather about nationalism and Serbia’s attempt to force its hegemony on the region. “The Albanian population in Kosovo has historically preserved Serbian Orthodox heritage,” she said. “In fact, Milosevic did not close our mosques; he closed our schools, so our religion was never a problem for him. Our ethnicity was, although when the actual war erupted, many religious sites were destroyed as well. “Kosovo is ready to move on, but Serbia needs to be ready to let go. We cannot build a future if we live in denial,” she added. “We cannot change history and we cannot change geography. Blessed or doomed, we will be living next to each other for the rest of our lives.

And that’s why reconciliation and mutual recognition are so important.”

MODEl OF TOlEranCE Or ExTrEMiST PiPElinE? Kosovo may be on less-than-friendly terms with its neighbor, but it’s worked diligently to cultivate ties around the world, including the United States. In fact, more Kosovars live outside their country than in it, with 300,000 in the New York metropolitan area alone; large immigrant communities also flourish in Detroit and in Germany, Switzerland and other EU member countries. “Our U.S. diaspora has played a crucial role in the process of liberation and state-building,” Çitaku said. “We organized a parallel system of education and health that was financed predominantly by supporters in the diaspora. Everybody in Kosovo has an aunt or uncle or brother or sister living somewhere in Europe

The “newborn” monument is a tourist attraction in Pristina that was unveiled Feb. 17, 2008, the day kosovo declared its independence from Serbia.

or the United States.” Çitaku said Kosovo enjoys bipartisan support on Capitol Hill. Some of its best friends are Republican Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa (curiously Kosovo has a consulate general in Des Moines, of all places) and Democrat Rep. Eliot Engel of New York, who has thousands of Kosovar immigrants in his Bronx congressional district. “Eliot Engel was our ambassador way before we had an embassy here,” she quipped. For now, remittances bring in €700 million a year, or about 30 percent of Kosovo’s GDP, which comes to about $3,700 per-capita. The country’s agriculture- and service-based economy grew by 3.7 percent in 2016 and is projected to expand by 5 percent this year, making Kosovo the fastest-growing country in Europe. Yet Kosovo is also home to the youngest population in Europe, and the rosy economic picture that the government paints belies the staggering unemployment rate among its young people, who are leaving in droves to find better opportunities abroad. Also threatening Kosovo’s official narrative of success is Islamic extremism, or at least the perception of it overseas. In May, the New York Times reported that SEE kos ovo • PagE 20

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Kosovo COnTinUED • PagE 19

Saudi money and influence had turned the once-tolerant U.S. ally into a hotbed of “Islamic extremism and a pipeline for jihadists.” The article said Kosovo now has more than 800 mosques — 240 of them built since the war — including one only yards from the Bill Clinton statue in downtown Pristina. “All around Kosovo, families are grappling with the aftermath of years of proselytizing by Saudi-trained preachers,” wrote Times correspondent Carlotta Gall. “Some daughters refuse to shake hands with or talk to male relatives. Some sons have gone off to jihad. Religious vigilantes have threatened — or committed — violence against academics, journalists and politicians.” Over the last two years, according to the article, Kosovo’s police have identified 314 Kosovars — including two suicide bombers, 44 women and 28 children — who left to join the Islamic State, the highest number per capita in Europe. Yet Çitaku says that’s simply not true. And an article in the Nation by Lydia Wilson, who interviewed fighters returning from Syria, called its findings into question, noting that in Kosovo, knowledge of Islam “is perfunctory” and “secularity a matter of pride.” “For more than a year, the number of Kosovars who have joined ISIS [Islamic State] has been zero. It is true that Kosovo was not immune to this problem, but overall we never were, and never will be, a source of destabilization,” Çitaku told us. “It is true that Kosovo was open not only to good and positive influences, but also from not very good influences. Most of the time, the local population resisted

PHOTO: By Pia “aDEM JaSHari” liMak kOSOva - OWn WOrk / WikiMEDia COMMOnS via CC By-Sa 4.0

Pristina’s international airport is named after adem Jashari, one of the founders of the kosovo liberation army.

the radical elements. In fact, Kosovo is a very secular country and we have tried to preserve this for centuries. For example, we would not only celebrate Bayram, a local Muslim holiday, but also Christmas.” Considering Kosovo’s Muslim heritage, it’s surprising that only 23 of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation’s 57 member states recognize its independence; some of its members — including Azerbaijan, Egypt and Morocco — are on record as being opposed to it. At the same time, Kosovo is cultivating close ties with Israel, with which it seems to have a lot in common. “We are both among the most pro-American nations on Earth,” Çitaku said, estimating that her government has received about $2 billion in U.S. aid since the end of the war. “We were also a nation whose people were deported from their homes. We see a lot of similarities between Kosovo and Israel, and

although the Israelis have not formally recognized Kosovo because of their own domestic reasons, they have always been very supportive.” In fact, in mid-November, authorities in Kosovo foiled a terrorist attack in the Albanian city of Shkodër. Engel, ranking member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, said the planned massacre by Islamic State extremists could have been as bad or worse than the murder of 11 Israeli athletes at the 1972 Olympics in Munich. “Kosovo has built an impressive record confronting violent terrorism,” the congressman said in a press release. “No one should doubt the commitment of leaders in Pristina to meet this challenge, and the United States is fortunate to have a partner like Kosovo in this important effort.” Çitaku said Kosovo was among Europe’s first countries to adopt legislation and strat-

egies to counter violent extremism. She also noted that her government has shut down “19 NGOs that fed radicalization and that were financed with suspicious funds.” In addition, Kosovar authorities have launched investigations against 199 people, resulting in 102 arrests. Of those, 70 were indicted and 34 have been convicted. Today, about 50 Kosovars are fighting in Iraq and Syria. But because of measures taken by authorities, in the last 12 months not a single Kosovar has joined the Islamic State. “Kosovo is an example to follow,” said Vice President Joe Biden following his visit to the region. Meanwhile, Europe’s newest country is making its mark in sports and culture. Specific sources of inspiration include “Shok,” a short film set in war-ravaged Kosovo in the 1990s that was nominated for an Oscar last year; Doruntina Sylejmani, a winner in last year’s International Mathematical Olympiad; and 22-year-old judoka Majlinda Kelmendi, who not only led Kosovo’s eight-member delegation at the opening ceremony of the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, but also took home the country’s first-ever Olympic medal — and a gold one at that. “Majlinda was offered millions to play for other countries, while Kosovo was still struggling to become a member of the International Olympic Committee. She declined these offers and waited for her chance to represent her country,” Çitaku said of Kelmendi, a double world champion who competes in the 52-kilogram weight category. “She has given all of us a lesson — especially for us working in the public sector — that not everything is for sale, and there are things money cannot buy.” WD Larry Luxner is news editor of The Washington Diplomat.

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Book Review | WD

Other Kind of Cable News ‘To the Secretary’ Illustrates Importance of Diplomats, and American Disconnect by John Shaw

A

mong President Donald Trump’s various interests, the art of diplomacy does not appear to be near the top of the list. During his 2016 presidential campaign, Trump spoke about foreign policy in broad strokes and often crude terms, focusing on personalities and brandishing sweeping, sometimes highly inaccurate generalizations. A far more complicated world than he described, or probably even imagined, awaits him. If Trump (or his future secretary of state) is interested in learning about diplomacy, he should read “To the Secretary: Leaked Embassy Cables and America’s Foreign Policy Disconnect” by Mary ThompsonJones. She was a career American diplomat for 23 years and is now the director of the global studies and international relations program at Northeastern University. The premise of her book is that the release of more than 250,000 State Department cables by WikiLeaks in 2010 was an embarrassment for the United States but unwittingly highlighted what American diplomats do and how important they are. “In some ways, the leaked cables did U.S. diplomats a favor,” she writes. “They brought to light the importance of their role and their descriptive powers and offered glimpses of the fascinating backdrop against which they work. The U.S. government may have been embarrassed by candid descriptions of world leaders, but the cables reveal diplomats who are eager to interpret people and developments on the world stage for bosses back in Washington.” Most of the cables released by WikiLeaks were written between Jan. 1, 2006, and Feb. 28, 2010, and originated from U.S. embassies and consulates. ThompsonJones has examined this trove, organized the cables thematically and uses them to describe the critical role of diplomacy and diplomats. Before plunging into the cables, Thompson-Jones provides a primer on America’s diplomatic structure. She notes that in 2015, the State Department employed about 73,000 people and of these, 7,900 were Foreign Service Officers. FSOs typically choose a career in one of five areas: administration, public diplomacy, political, consular or economic affairs. At any given time, about a third of all Foreign Service Officers are assigned to Washington and the rest are stationed overseas for tours that typically extend for two or three years. Between 65 percent and 70 percent of American ambassadors are Foreign Service Officers and the rest are political appointees. American diplomats sent almost 2.5 million cables between 2006 and 2010, and they fall into three broad categories: unclassified, confidential and secret. “Officers tend to overclassify on the theory that a secret cable will get more attention in Washington than a confidential one, and a cable marked unclassified must not say anything important,” she writes. Thompson-Jones describes several types of cables: official updates, scene setters, biographical profiles, spot reports, daily media reaction and situation reports. “Knowing by instinct when and what to com-

Cable writing is thoughtful and reflective — a cross between reporting and essay writing…. Diplomacy is still an art, as is good writing. The act of thoughtful and reflective writing about diplomacy surely ought to endure. Mary Thompson-Jones

author of ‘To the Secretary: Leaked Embassy Cables and America’s Foreign Policy Disconnect’

municate back home is what makes a good diplomat,” she writes. “Their reporting must walk a line between loyally carrying out assignments from Washington, while making essential, sometimes contradictory, points to a foreign policy establishment that does not always want to hear them.” The WikiLeaks cables showed that American diplomats are interested in a wide range of topics, some

of which were specific to the challenges of the 2006-2010 period and some of which reflect perennial issues diplomats confront. She also illustrates her argument that stakeholders in Washington, often with their own varying agendas, are disconnected from the realities on the ground that diplomats in the field encounter. Especially after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, U.S. diplomats frequently wrote about anti-Americanism and suggested ways to respond to it or, ideally, prevent it. Officials in Washington struggled to understand the reasons for these hostile feelings. Thompson-Jones points out that more than 30 task forces and special panels have been convened to study this phenomenon and offer recommendations. She says there tends to be a disagreement between those in Washington who think the solution is better communications and messaging strategies and diplomats on the ground who believe American policies are the problem. She quotes the trenchant assessment of an American diplomat, Richard Arndt, who concluded that “policy is not just A factor; it is the ONLY factor” in understanding antiAmericanism. Thompson-Jones believes one cause for anger at the United States is the raft of reports mandated by Congress in which the American government ranks other nations on such matters as human rights, religious freedom and counter-narcotics. Not surprisingly, many countries find such rankings condescending, judgmental and even hypocritical. As an example, she says the International Religious Freedom Report is a “blunt tool with a rigid format that does not allow for context.” Diplomats also sent cables that offered vivid accounts of coups, cranky leaders, natural disasters and economic crises that occurred in their host nations. She describes cables from Haiti after the 2010 earthquake; from Myanmar after Cyclone Nargis; from Honduras in the aftermath of a 2009 coup; and from Iceland in the wake of the 2008 economic crisis and the collapse of that country’s banks. Some of the cables are terse and factual while others are expansive and prescriptive, such as this one from a U.S. diplomat in Iceland: “Iceland is reaching out with increasing desperation to any available source of help as it confronts one of the most trying crises in its history. Assistance from the U.S. at this crucial time would be a prudent investment in our national security and economic well being. The Icelanders take fierce pride in their flawless history of paying back their debts. Whatever the financial turmoil and uncertainty of the moment, it’s a good bet that this economy of highly educated, imaginative and sophisticated people will take off again. And when it does, and when the competition in the High North really gets underway, it may be more important than we can yet suppose to have the Icelanders remember us as the kind of friend who stands by in fair weather and foul.” See Book r eview • page 23 THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | FEBRuary 2017 | 21


WD | Diplomacy

Welcoming Atmosphere WCI Brings Together Women’s Clubs from Around the World by Stephanie Kanowitz

T

he best way to foster world peace is through understanding, cross-cultural interaction and education, says the president of Welcome Clubs International (WCI), an association that aims to bring together international women’s clubs worldwide for just this purpose. “I think that usually it’s lack of knowledge [through which] conflicts may arise because when you get to know a culture, when you get to understand their viewpoints, when you get to know about the history, their art, their music, it’s so much that you learn and you understand,” said Maria Fernanda Arduino, WCI president. WCI was born of the Welcome to Washington International Club, founded in 1959 by Marian Adair. As the wife of a congressman — Rep. E. Ross Adair of Indiana — who attended many diplomatic functions, she realized that the diplomats’ wives would often leave Washington without having made an American friend or seeing the inside of an American home. The club changed that, and “members of Welcome to Washington not only enjoyed getting to know and befriend Americans, but they found the concept of a club very appealing and very often once these ladies returned to their own country, they’d start a club in the image of Welcome to Washington.” As the number of clubs grew, it became necessary to have an overarching organization that could facilitate communication among the independent member clubs, and that’s how WCI came to be in 1986. It is a forum for clubs and members to exchange ideas and develop relationships free from political, religious and cultural differences, Arduino said. WCI started with sister clubs in Brussels, Colorado, London and Ottawa. Today, the international nonprofit consortium represents 22 sister clubs in Brazil, the Czech Republic, Germany, Indonesia, Lebanon, Taiwan, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States, plus one associate member club, the Federation of International Women’s Associations in London. All WCI clubs throughout the world are autonomous. Some engage in charitable and civic activities in their communities, while others focus on cultural awareness. Clubs range in size from 25 to 900 members. The Welcome to Washington branch, for instance, has over 500 members from 80 nations and hosts

22 | THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | FEBRuary 2017

Photo: Welcome Clubs International

From left, Welcome Clubs International (WCI) former President Pam Bansbach, WCI Vice President Sarka de Jong, Alena Klenot and WCI President Maria Fernanda Arduino attend an international conference in Prague in May 2016.

Our clubs share a common goal of cross-cultural education, understanding and friendship. Maria Fernanda Arduino president of Welcome Clubs International

events such as behind-the-scenes tours of D.C., cooking demonstrations, language groups, docent-led art tours and other activities. WCI only requests that individual clubs share the association’s mission of friendship and understanding. “Our clubs share a common goal of cross-cultural education, understanding and friendship,” Arduino said. “Our mission is to gain understanding through friendship and to form friendships through understanding, and in this way we build personal connections with women in the belief — and I truly believe this — that this will eventually influence positive relationships between countries. We believe we can help to achieve peace as we strive to relate to one another with respect and care in our associations of international women.” Part of WCI’s role as a facilitator means it holds various meetings in locations worldwide. This year, the WCI board of directors will meet in Cyprus, the executive committee will convene in the United States in

November and there will be a formal inauguration of a new club in South Korea in the fall. WCI’s main event, the international conference, will take place May 2018 here in Washington. Although WCI is apolitical and nonreligious, members are interested in current events, Arduino said. “I think people do have an interest in getting to know about the ongoing situation in the world, and I think we cannot be blind to the fact that there are many things going on, such as the refugee [crisis], for example,” she said. “One of our speakers at our international conference in Prague specifically spoke about the refugees and immigration in Europe.” As it works to foster relationships now, WCI is also looking ahead. It is examining ways to take a more active stance on educating women, for example, Arduino said, and to better enable its communication with other international organizations. “In this globalized world, one organization cannot work alone. It is

very important to reach out to other international organizations that share our goals of fostering peace and understanding,” she said. WCI is also exploring technology as a way to help connect women globally. When members can’t travel to meetings or conferences, they can dial in through Skype, for instance. WCI is also working to have a more interactive website for members. “In five years, we see WCI growing in member clubs, strengthening the communications and relations among member clubs, promoting the education of women and establishing relations with other international organizations to work collaboratively,” Arduino said. She became involved in WCI through the club in Porto Alegre, Brazil, in 2008 and became president of WCI in 2016. Her goal is to visit all 22 sister clubs, although she doubts she will be able to pull that off before her term ends in 2018. “I think it’s very important that whenever possible … to travel to meet in person the various sister clubs. This helps maintain good relationships,” she said. So far, she has been to the clubs in Florida, Jakarta, London, Prague and San Diego. This year she plans to go to South Korea, Porto Alegre and several U.S. cities. WD Stephanie Kanowitz is a contributing writer for The Washington Diplomat.


tats. They depict the travails of lions, apes, elephants, rhinos, tigers, leopards, cheetahs and whales. This focus is new, reflecting the Continued • page 21 huge financial stakes in the trafficking and preservation of wildlife and the growing role of powerful international nongovernmental Enterprising American diplomats, Thomp- organizations that are passionate about this son-Jones says, left the comfort of their challenge. “No one worried about wildlife in embassies to explore their host nations and George Kennan’s time,” she writes wryly. Diplomats also wrote extensively about observe how cultural traditions can be more important than political ideology. People are corruption because these stories are often saoften influenced more by religion, geogra- lacious and compelling, but also because corphy and ethnicity than loyalty to their nation ruption is a serious impediment to economic Mary development and foreign investment. states. Thompson-Jones Thompson-Jones cites cables describing “On occasion, the view from the village may matter more than the view from the corruption in elections, procurement and Photo: WEBB CHAPPELL / Northeastern University corridors of power. Ignoring that view will organized crime. While embassies reported leave the United States at risk,” she writes. extensively on corruption, their colleagues tenure as secretary of state is interesting and Thompson-Jones cites the example of a in Washington did not always seem inter- also because she seemed poised to be the next diplomat who dispensed with abstract ru- ested. Evidence of graft among reliable allies U.S. president when the book went to print. Thompson-Jones reviews thousands of minations about Islam and instead went to complicates American foreign policy. What Mecca, performed the Hajj and wrote pow- should America do when steadfast support- cables during Clinton’s time as secretary of state as well as some of the 55,000 pages of NOTE: effortShe is made adshown is freetoofbemistakes spelling are also plunderingintheir own and erfullyAlthough about hisevery pilgrimage. delightstoinassure a ersyour emails found on her personal server. She people? to make the final proof. cable written by three in Suriname content it isdiplomats ultimately up to the customer Sometimes, good intentions come up says they depict Clinton as a solid diplomatic who nonchalantly mentioned that they travpractitioner, but not a strategic foreign policy American diplomats four dayschanges by dugoutwill canoe The eled firstfor two faxed be down madethe at noagainst cost tohard the realities. advertiser, subsequent changes serving in the massive U.S. Embassy in Tapanahoni and Marowijne rivers to visit a will be billed at a rate of $75 per faxed alteration. Signed ads are considered approved.thinker. Clinton worked hard, traveled extensively Baghdad between 2006 and 2010 wrote exremote village. Diplomats, of course, also write about peo- tensively about their efforts to help rebuild and was willing to engage overseas audiences this adout carefully. Mark any changes your ad. in creative ways to tell America’s story. But war-ravaged nation. to Thompson-Jones ple —Please and the check best envoys seek not only that other diplomats, but also politicians, artists, describes the diligent efforts of diplomats to Clinton did not register many high-level sucIf the ad is leaders, correct academics, sign and fax to: officials (301) 949-0065 needs changes institutions and revive cesses, Thompson-Jones concludes, arguing civic labor and help Iraqis resurrect students. They attend plays, watch films, lis- communities. She was struck by the gap be- that she focused on second-tier issues such tween the intensity of America’s effort and as Myanmar, the Asian pivot, the Internet ten to lectures, read newspapers, The Washington Diplomat (301)monitor 933-3552 social media and seek out nontraditional its scant long-term accomplishments, noting Freedom agenda, the State Department’s first voices. “People who disagree with the admin- that “few imagined that such a massive in- Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Approved __________________________________________________________ istration in Washington often are not incon- vestment could be undone so quickly and the Review and women’s issues. Changes ___________________________________________________________ Additionally, she was constrained by the earnest work of thousands of Americans and sequential, ” Thompson-Jones observes. In one of the book’s most intriguing chap- coalition partners would leave so little lasting Obama administration’s appointment of ___________________________________________________________________ more than 20 special envoys, representatives, ters, Thompson-Jones describes several thou- impact.” In her final chapter, Thompson-Jones fo- advisers and coordinators. This undermined sand cables that relate to wildlife hunting, poaching, illicit trade and endangered habi- cuses on Hillary Clinton, both because her Clinton and led to a further compartmental-

Book Review

ization of foreign policy. Thompson-Jones chides Clinton for accepting this intrusion on her turf. “It is hard to imagine some of her predecessors meekly agreeing to so many oftcalled baronies.” One of the most striking themes to emerge in “To the Secretary” is the disconnect between diplomats in the field and their bosses at home. Thompson-Jones says that while Washington’s foreign policy community held elaborate debates on the merits of soft power, smart power and transformational diplomacy, diplomats in the field were frantically scrambling to deal with a cascade of difficult problems. “In retrospect, all the speeches, articles and debates in Washington and the foreign policy think tanks about whether U.S. foreign policy should be soft, smart or transformational seem almost irrelevant when set against the incredible challenges diplomats faced in many of the countries mentioned,” she writes. Thompson-Jones concludes her book with a plea for State Department leaders to listen more closely to those overseas and for envoys to continue to write substantive, vivid and illuminating cables, even in era dominated by cable TV and and social media. “Cable writing is thoughtful and reflective — a cross between reporting and essay writing…. Diplomacy is still an art, as is good writing. The act of thoughtful and reflective writing about diplomacy surely ought to endure.” “To the Secretary” is a superb book that makes a powerful case for the role and relevance of diplomacy in a changing world. Mr. Trump: Set aside your Twitter feed for one weekend and read this book. WD John Shaw is a contributing writer for The Washington Diplomat.

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WD | Events

Embassy Showcase Fifth Annual Winternational Draws Over 3,000 Visitors to Ronald Reagan Building

T

he Ronald Reagan Building and InternaAndrew Gelfuso, vice president tional Trade Center has been buzzing with of Trade Center Management Associates, welcomes guests to the fifth celebrations of culture. On Dec. 7, over Winternational Embassy Showcase. 3,000 visitors filled the Atrium at the fifth Winternational Embassy Showcase. Held annually at the Reagan Building, the one-of-a-kind event brings together the international community and the D.C. community, allowing guests to interact with ambassadors and diplomats to learn about different cultures and traditions from around the world. This year’s Winternational drew in a record crowd and participation from 37 embassies. Last year, more than 2,500 guests and 34 embassies participated in this vibrant annual midday celebration, which is free and open to the public. According to John Drew, president and CEO of Trade Center Management Associates (TCMA), the group that manages the Reagan Building, the event has come a long way in five years. “This is a far different event than when we started five years ago with five embassies and had 200 people in attendance. There’s nothing else going on in D.C. like this. This is a cultural showcase where people from Europe, Africa and the Middle East are all talking about what’s going on in their countries. And participants have an opportunity to mix and mingle with ambassadors and diplomats to learn about different cultures and traditions.” To start off the day’s program, Andrew Gelfuso, vice president of TCMA, made opening remarks thanking each participating embassy as well as visitors for taking part in the signature event; ambassadors and officials from each embassy were invited on stage for recognition, officially kicking off the day’s festivities. Gelfuso highlighted that “one of the goals of Winternational is to bring together people from different cultures. When there is a better understanding of diverse backgrounds and perspectives, it’s a lot easier to do business, which in turn is good for the global economy, commerce and tourism.” Throughout the event, embassies showcased important aspects of their cultures through vibrant and colorful display booths. Guests had the opportunity to interact with each embassy through art, handmade crafts, food samples, traditional dress, travel and tourism information and more — all set against the backdrop of worldly music from renowned violinist Rafael Javadov. Some of the activities and goods on display included rugs from Afghanistan, a henna station at Bangladesh, scarves from the Kyrgyz Republic, pearls from the Philippines, woven baskets from Rwanda and coffee from Panama. Participating embassies included: Afghanistan, the African Union Mission, Armenia, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Bulgaria, Botswana, Costa Rica, Egypt, the European Union Delegation, Ghana, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Indonesia, Kenya, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Libya, Mozambique, Nepal, Oman, Panama, Philippines, Qatar, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, St. Kitts and Nevis, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, Uruguay and Uzbekistan. The event was developed by TCMA, the exclusive manager of the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center. TCMA provides a central platform for building connections, fostering diplomacy and advancing international commerce by offering a rich mix of signature events such as high-profile economic summits, conferences, cultural programs and business matching-making seminars. TCMA has established the Reagan Building as D.C.’s premier venue for hosting influential conferences and events and a powerful forum for international trade promotion in the heart of the nation’s capital.

24 | THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | FEBRuary 2017

Photos: Kaveh Sardari

Left, this year’s Winternational drew in a record crowd and participation from 37 embassies.

Below, over 3,000 visitors fill the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center for Winternational.


Photo: Kaveh Sardari

The Sri Lankan delegation poses by its booth at Winternational.

Photo: Kaveh Sardari

Attendees wear traditional Korean dress.

Photo: James Cullum Photo: Kaveh Sardari

The Embassy of Afghanistan participated in Winternational.

The Libyan delegation poses by its booth Winternational featured handmade crafts and other displays. at Winternational. Photo: Kaveh Sardari

Photo: James Cullum

Members of Trade Center Management Associates (TCMA) for the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center who led Winternational pose in a photo. From left are: Lanna Nguyen, marketing manager; Allyson Browne McKithen, senior operations manager; John P. Drew, president and CEO; Jan Du Plain, embassy liaison; Andrew Gelfuso, vice president; and Hosai Rashid, program manager.

Photo: James Cullum

The Embassy of Indonesia participated in Winternational.

Photo: James Cullum

Winternational featured a henna station at Bangladesh.

Photo: James Cullum

Photo: James Cullum

Photo: James Cullum

Handicrafts from around the world were on display at Winternational.

Ambassador of Botswana David John Newman.

Photo: James Cullum

Ambassador of Costa Rica Romån Macaya. Ambassador of St. Kitts and Nevis Thelma Patricia Phillip-Browne, center, welcomes guests to her country’s booth at Winternational. Photo: James Cullum

Odirile Ramona of Botswana performs at the fifth annual Winternational cultural showcase. Photo: James Cullum Photo: James Cullum

From left, Miss Ghana Tourism USA Quame Paulina Clark; Kumar Shrestha of Nepal; and Miss District of Columbia Cierra Jackson attend the fifth annual Winternational cultural showcase.

Guests at Winternational pose by the British International School of Washington display. Photo: James Cullum

THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | FEBRuary 2017 | 25


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Medical A Special Section of The Washington Diplomat

February 2017

pHoTo: MonKeY BUsIness IMages / sHUTTersToCK

Surprise in Mailbox Steep Bills Shock Patients Who Go ‘Out-of-Network’ •

BY Karen paLLarITo

For example, anesthesiologists charge nearly six times the Medicare rate, study finds

P

atients using specialists outside their health plan network often receive surprise bills for services that cost far more than what Medicare considers a fair rate, a new study suggests.

Most insurers use rates set by Medicare — the publicly funded insurance program for the elderly — as the benchmark for what they’ll pay health care providers. But a look at 400,000 U.S. physicians’ charges found many doctors bill their private-paying patients two, three, even six times more than what Medicare pays for the same services, the study revealed. The highest markups — four or more times greater than

the Medicare rate — were for certain specialty services, including anesthesiology, interventional radiology, emergency medicine and pathology. Anesthesiologists had the highest markup, charging six times what Medicare considers a reasonable amount, the researchers found.

pHoTo: sanJUngTIon / sHUTTersToCK

a recent study found that many doctors bill their private-paying patients two, three, even six times more than what Medicare pays for the same services.

see MEDICAL • page 28

THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | FEbruAry 2017 | 27


You have a surgery, you never choose your anesthesiologist, and your anesthesiologist is out of network and sends you a bill. Medicare would have paid $1,000, and you get a bill for $6,000.

Medical Continued • page 27

These “excess charges” can overwhelm people who don’t get a discount on physicians’ full charges, including uninsured Americans and privately insured patients who use “out-of-network” physicians, the study authors noted. Senior author Gerard Anderson is a professor of health policy and management at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, Md. He said consumers rarely have an opportunity to select certain doctors, such as those who administer anesthesia or provide emergency treatment. And if these doctors happen to be out of network, the charges can really add up. “You have a surgery, you never choose your anesthesiologist, and your anesthesiologist is out of network and sends you a bill. Medicare would have paid $1,000, and you get a bill for $6,000,” Anderson explained. But critics of the study say it grossly misrepresents the situation by suggesting that Medicare rates are a reasonable benchmark. “My overall reaction is, I just shake my head,” said Dr. Jeffrey Plagenhoef, president of the American Society of Anesthesiologists. He cited a 2007 General Accountability Office report showing Medicare pays anesthesiologists just 33 percent of the average commercial insurance payment rate. Medicare “devalues anesthesia services,” paying lower rates than other specialties,” he said. “The root of the problem is not a surprise bill. That is a consequence of the problem,” added Plagenhoef, a Waco, Texas, anesthesiologist. “The real problem is gaps in insurance coverage.”

Gerard Anderson

professor of health policy and management at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Dr. Steven Stack, past president of the American Medical Association, echoed that sentiment. Unanticipated out-of-network medical costs “are a symptom of the way health insurers price their products, organize their provider networks and interact with non-contracted physicians,” Stack said in a statement. For the study, Anderson and co-author Ge Bai of the Carey Business School at Johns Hopkins examined physician charges by nearly 430,000 physicians across 54 medical specialties nationwide. The authors then compared charges with the rates Medicare considers reasonable. Overall, half the charges were at least 2.5 times higher than what Medicare pays, according to the analysis. General practice physicians had the lowest markup, at 1.6 times the Medicare rate. Of the more than 10,700 physicians who were the top 2.5 percent with “high excess charges,” 55 percent were anesthesiologists. Only 3 percent were in general practice, internal medicine or family practice, the study found. One-third of physicians with high markups practiced in 10 regions of the country where patients are often referred for major surgical procedures. These included New York City, Houston, Los Angeles and Atlanta. The authors acknowledged that physician charges don’t necessarily reflect what pa-

tients actually pay after discounts. If you see an in-network doctor, your health plan has negotiated a rate probably close to what Medicare pays, Anderson said. “On the other hand, if you’re going to a physician that’s out of network, you’re liable for the charge LEARN MORE: For more information that that physician sets. And lots of phy- read the report “Surprise Medical Bills” sicians are not in the from the Kaiser Family Foundation at network,” he said. http://kff.org/private-insurance/issueSo far, only a handful of states brief/surprise-medical-bills/. have taken steps to protect patients from surprise medical bills. Effective July 1, 2017, a new California law will ensure that people who use in-network facilities will never have to pay more than the in-network rate if they receive care from a non-contract physician. “The states or the federal government need to protect the consumers from very high expenditures,” Anderson said. The findings were reported Jan. 17 in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Karen Pallarito is a HealthDay reporter. Copyright © 2017 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

The International Patient Program at the George Washington University Hospital

Caring for Our Diplomats and International Community We provide a boutique concierge program that offers personalized healthcare services for diplomats, international patients, and U.S. and non-U.S. citizens. The International Patient Program can help you and your family with: • Complimentary language interpretation • Physician and hospital appointment scheduling • A complimentary personal escort to medical appointments • Medical cost estimates

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www.gwhospital.com/international Physicians are independent practitioners who are not employees or agents of the George Washington University Hospital. The hospital shall not be liable for actions or treatments provided by physicians. 160077

28 | THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | February 2017


Culture arts & entertainment art

diplomatic spouses

theater

DIPLOMATIC SPOUSES

Tearing Down Walls

photography

music

The Washington Diplomat

history

dining

|

film

February 2017

events

VIDEO

Instead of a wall, “Mexico prefers to build bridges,” said Maria Elena Vazquez, the wife of Ambassador Carlos Manuel Sada Solana who hopes to convince Americans that her homeland is not their enemy, but their friend. / PAGE 31

SCULPTURE

Ahead of His Time In “Isamu Noguchi, Archaic/Modern,” whimsical, surprising creations wrestle with ideas as epic as space and time — a collision that yields a fascinating display of sculpture for viewers to navigate at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. / PAGE 32

PHOTOGRAPHY

Crossing the Line Fashion and politics don’t seem like natural bedfellows, but Canadian artist Maxwell Burnstein is making the leap from skimpy runway dresses to weighty historical commentary in “Cross the Party Line.” / PAGE 34

‘MOVING PORTRAIT’ In the National Portrait Gallery’s first exhibition dedicated solely to media art,“Bill Viola: The Moving Portrait” examines themes of life and death, grief and redemption, spirituality and devotion in groundbreaking video art that captures the human experience. / PAGE 30 PHOTO: KIRA PEROV © BILL VIOLA

DINING

EVENTS

DIPLOMATIC SPOTLIGHT

For international inspiration, D.C. chefs go straight to the source. / PAGE 36

Art / Discussions Music / Theater / PAGE 40

Trump’s Inauguration Kerry’s Farewell / PAGE 42 THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | FEBRUARY 2017 | 29


WD | Culture | Art

Groundbreaking Video Adrift in Sea of Moving Portraits, Bill Viola Captures Human Experience •

BY BRENDAN L. SMITH

instinct was to turn away from seeing their nude bodies, marred by sagging breasts and wrinkled skin. But their shared humanity, and ours, shines THROUGH MAY 7 through while they use small flashlights like a NATIONAL PORTRAIT GALLERY doctor’s probe, slowly scanning their own bodies 8TH AND F STREETS, NW as if searching for a hidden ailment or the path (202) 633-8300 | WWW. NPG.SI.EDU to immortality. Then their figures become hazy, fading to static like a blank television channel, gone from the here and now into the hereafter. In the 1980s, Viola traveled to Japan with his wife for an artist fellowship and studied Zen Budhe crowd of strangers stands tightly todhism, which influenced his work and his views gether as if at a bus stop, not acknowledgabout spirituality. He also lived in Florence in the ing each other’s existence while lost in their 1970s and has an affinity for early Renaissance own worlds, before an inescapable deluge religious paintings, characterized by their bold of water roughly knocks them to the ground, leaving and confrontational expressions of emotion, the PHOTOS: PETER MALLET, COURTESY BLAIN|SOUTHERN, LONDON them cowering with arms raised for protection. anguish of Christ, the zealous devotion of his folThen the strangers of different ages and ethnicities stop ignoring lowers and chaotic battles between angels and dark forces. each other. Shot in slow-motion video, they embrace and help each The exhibit is the first survey of Viola’s work within the other up, sharing a moment of compassion and community after surcontext of portraiture, exploring how he employs facial and viving a faceless foe, perhaps the brutal force of nature or riot police body language to reflect on the human experience. The Naarmed with a fire hose. Called “The Raft,” the video art performance tional Portrait Gallery isn’t well known for contemporary art is the most powerful work by groundbreaking video artist Bill Viola in so the exhibition is a welcome step into the 21st century and the National Portrait Gallery’s first exhibition dedicated solely to mean exploration of portraiture that isn’t as literal as most of the dia art. Titled “Bill Viola: The Moving Portrait,” the show examines museum’s collection. themes of life and death, grief and redemption, and spirituality and The museum created some small black-box galleries for devotion. the projections that will be used in future media art exhibiViola, now 65 years old and living in Long Beach, Calif., has been tions. In “The Dreamers,” I was immersed in a room sura pioneer in video art since its inception in the late 1960s when he rounded by seven large, slow-motion projections of people first saw a clunky portable video camera as an art student at Syracuse of different ages and races holding their breaths underwater, University. After almost drowning as a child, Viola’s work frequently their eyes closed above a floor of sand and pebbles. The lapfeatures water as an elemental force of both life-giving sustenance and ping water occasionally distorts their faces and bodies like a potential destruction. carnival mirror, and the only signs of life are the occasional In “Three Women,” a mother and her two daughters appear in black PHOTO: KIRA PEROV © BILL VIOLA bubble of air escaping to the surface. My eye kept being and white behind a cascade of water. As they slowly move through the downpour, drawn back to a young girl whose long brown hair framed her head in a giant swirl they are suddenly transformed into color as their dripping bodies move forward, like a halo above her ruffled red blouse, which resembled the curving petals of a silently gazing outward before turning and passing back through the water into flower or a ridged bed of corral. the distance where they fade into static. “They look like statues that are moving!” Surrounded by these life-size figures, I began to feel like I was underwater as my 4-year-old son proclaimed while we sat on a bench watching the nine-minute well, floating silently with them. I felt both a sense of anticipation and timelessslow-motion video. And their slow, deliberate movements do impart a sculptural ness. When will these unknown people surface for air or are they lost in a state of quality to the women, who seem timeless and removed from this world in a disqui- suspended animation, caught in a world of dreams from which they may never eting limbo, a place representing the passage of life and the inevitability of death. awaken in some unseen place between life and death that may be full of joy or The theme of immortality continues in the next gallery in “Man Searching for horrors? WD Immortality/Woman Searching for Eternity,” where slow-motion videos of a nude elderly man and woman are projected onto black slabs of granite, a material of- Brendan L. Smith (www.brendanlsmith.com) is a freelance writer and mixed-media ten used for gravestones. In a society obsessed with youth and beauty, my first artist (www.dcmixedmedia.com) in Washington, D.C.

Bill Viola: The Moving Portrait

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Water is often featured as an elemental force in the video art of Bill Viola, as seen in works such as, from top, “The Dreamers,” “Surrender” and “The Raft,” as well as “Three Women,” pictured on the culture cover. PHOTO: KIRA PEROV © BILL VIOLA

30 | THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | FEBRUARY 2017


WD | Culture | Diplomatic Spouses

Breaking Down Walls Mexican Wife and Husband Emphasize Partnership over Partisanship •

BY GAIL SCOTT

I

Maria Elena Vazquez and her husband, nstead of a wall, “Mexico prefers Mexican Ambassador Carlos Manuel Sada to build bridges,” said Maria Elena Solana, visit the National Museum of African Vazquez, wife of Mexican AmbasAmerican History and Culture in D.C. sador Carlos Manuel Sada Solana. “Walls exist already where they need to But it’s the illegal crossings that exist. They are very impressive. They have prompted many Americans to throw been built over the years. I don’t remember their support behind Trump, who has it being an issue before.” said he would crack down on the esBut it became a huge issue after Donald timated 11 million undocumented imTrump pledged to build a controversial migrants in the U.S. — about half of wall spanning the U.S.- Mexico border in a whom are Mexican. bid to curb illegal immigration — all while But Vazquez also points out that milmaking Mexico pay for it. The Republican lions of Mexicans have made America president has since said that the U.S. will their home — legally — and contribpay for construction of the wall but that uted to the economy. Mexico will reimburse it (much to the cha“Some of the best people from Mexgrin of many Mexicans). ico are the ones who have the drive and Trump’s potentially contentious relaguts to leave everything and everyone tions with America’s southern neighbor behind — their family, comfort, hushas made the job of Mexico’s diplomats band or wife and children — and come all the more difficult. Perhaps that’s why to a strange land,” she said. “For many last month, the Mexican government anyears, they do whatever job they can nounced yet another diplomatic shuffle by get and are law-abiding…. After they replacing Sada with Gerónimo Gutiérrez, get their citizenship, they pay taxes. It who will become the country’s third amhurts me that so many Mexicans are so bassador to the U.S. in less than a year. successful but Americans don’t know A member of the opposition centerthat reality.” right National Action Party, Gutiérrez is Latinos, in fact, opened 86 percent the current head of the North American of all new businesses created in the U.S. Development Bank and has extensive exbetween 2007 and 2012, according to perience working on border issues and the the embassy. Mexican companies in NAFTA trade pact. America include Bimbo Bakeries USA; Meanwhile, Sada will continue to proGrupo Lala, the second-largest promote U.S.-Mexico ties in his new role as ducer of dairy products in the U.S.; deputy foreign minister responsible for América Móvil, the largest prepaid North American relations, working under wireless service in the U.S; CEMEX, recently appointed Foreign Affairs Secrethe second-largest cement maker in tary Luis Videgaray Caso. the U.S.; and Cinépolis, the fourthIn the wake of their unexpected delargest chain of movie theaters in the parture following Trump’s inauguration, world. Plus, if you’ve had a knee or hip Maria Elena Vazquez was busy finding a replacement, you likely received a medical device house for them in Mexico City. “We have a home in from Mexico — “the medical device capital of Oaxaca but that is four hours away by car to MexiNorth America,” Vazquez noted. co City,” the mother of two told us. “We are coming Beyond business, Vazquez also touted Mexico’s home little by little. Our one son is already living famed cuisine and culture, as well as the millions and working there since last July and our other son of Americans who visit the country annually. She is coming back.” is especially proud of the Mexican Cultural InstiWhile the shakeup was a surprise, Vazquez and tute on 16th Street, NW. “It’s a beautiful house, her husband plan to continue their efforts to conon all four floors. It is great for conferences and vince Americans that Mexico is not their enemy, showing the sunny side of Mexico and the Mexibut their friend. Sada has emphasized the benefits cans that people don’t know.” of NAFTA — which Trump threatened to tear up Since its establishment in 1990, the Beaux Arts — and cross-border trade, while adamantly remansion has hosted hundreds of concerts, exhibijecting the notion that Mexico would ever pay for MARIA ELENA VAZQUEZ tions, discussions, tastings and other events. One erecting a massive barrier along the nearly 2,000of the most outstanding features of the building mile border. During a trip to Arizona late last year, wife of Mexican Ambassador Carlos Manuel Sada Solana is the dramatic mural along its graceful staircase the ambassador pointed out that while Mexico is open to “modernizing” NAFTA, he credited the sweeping trade agreement with cre- created by Mexican painter Roberto Cueva del Río. Another famous import with which many Americans are familiar is tequila. ating 5 million to 6 million jobs in the U.S. and boosting two-way trade to over $530 Vazquez proudly showed off the lighted shelves in the residence foyer, which were billion in 2015. His wife, an engineer by training, is also trying to spread the word about the im- lined with various bottles of tequila. “We have 1,300 different brands of tequila being portance of relations with Mexico, which is America’s third-largest trading partner. produced in Mexico,” she said, noting that the residence also showcases mezcal, an Speaking to us before the announcement of their departure, Vazquez said that agave plant-based spirit from her home state of Oaxaca. “Oaxaca is the most beautiful state with its indigenous cultures. There are still 16 a good example of this interdependence is the busy border crossing between San Diego and Tijuana. “You park your car and take the stairs, go across a bridge and go different groups with their own customs who speak 16 different languages. We have through customs at the gate,” Vazquez said. “There are great projects on the border good musicians and great painters. Ninety percent of the paintings we brought with us we borrowed from Oaxaca,” said Vazquez, a graduate of the Universidad de las to control the movement of people.” Tijuana shares a 15-mile border with the U.S. on the Gold Coast of Baja, Calif., Américas in Puebla, Mexico, who worked in Oaxaca for several years before she got at San Diego. According to the Mexican Embassy, there are 300,000 vehicle border married. “I could have lived my whole life in Oaxaca,” she told us. “People would go away crossings every day and 50 million crossings every year between the people of the to school and come back to Oaxaca. It’s a small place. The families all know each two countries. “There are 58 important crossing [stations],” Vazquez said. Around 70 percent of bilateral trade crosses the border by land, along with 1 million people who cross it legally on a daily basis. SEE SPOUSES • PAGE 38

Some of the best people from Mexico are the ones who have the drive and guts to leave everything and everyone behind — their family, comfort, husband or wife and children — and come to a strange land.

THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | FEBRUARY 2017 | 31


WD | Culture | Sculpture

Ahead of His Time Isamu Noguchi Fuses Past and Present in ‘Archaic/Modern’ •

BY MACKENZIE WEINGER

Isamu Noguchi, Archaic/Modern THROUGH MARCH 19 SMITHSONIAN AMERICAN ART MUSEUM 8TH AND F STREETS, NW

(202) 633-7970 | WWW. AMERICANART.SI.EDU

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n “Isamu Noguchi, Archaic/Modern,” viewers are met with whimsical, surprising sculptures that wrestle with ideas as epic as space and time. Noguchi — who was born in 1904 and died in 1988 — was an innovative artist whose work is often looked at through the lens of how he traversed concepts of East and West. But a recently opened exhibition instead focuses on the way Noguchi fused his deep interest in past cultures with his thoughts on the future, a collision that yields a fascinating display of sculpture to navigate at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. The museum has the largest collection of American sculpture in the world and Noguchi is one of the major American sculptors with an international reputation, curator of sculpture Karen Lemmey noted. “Yet we only had one work by him in the collection,” she said. Noguchi gave “Grey Sun” to the collection in 1967, and the piece is undeniably a highlight of the show. The museum partnered with the Noguchi Museum in New York for this exhibition, which seeks to “present Noguchi beyond the narrative that has become rather familiar of him as a biPHOTO: BY GENE YOUNG / ©THE ISAMU NOGUCHI FOUNDATION AND GARDEN MUSEUM, NY racial artist and a man with a foot in the East and the Sculptor Isamu Noguchi, seen in a 1968 photograph at left, creWest,” Lemmey said. Here, the curators sought to exated works that melded ancient and futuristic influences such as plore other dichotomies related to the artist. “Grey Sun,” above, “Red Lunar Fist,” below, and “Pregnant Bird.” “‘Archaic/Modern’ emerged quite early on,” Lemmey said, referring to his melding of past and present. For instance, the influence of ancient structures — such as is both an electric wall lamp and a bioluminescent chunk the Egyptian pyramids, Buddhist temples of crystal-bearing cave rock — and a perfect example of and American Indian burial grounds — can Noguchi’s playful but stark vision of the future. seen throughout his primordial, abstract During his six-decade career, Noguchi did not just fosculptures. Yet his works were also ahead of cus on sculpting, but on inventing, too. He thought the their time, including 1947’s “Sculpture to Be separation between art and design, in perception and Seen from Mars,” which presages the space practice, was ridiculous, the curators note. The show age by several decades. makes a point of drawing attention to his patented dePHOTO: RUSSELL LYNES / ARCHIVES OF AMERICAN ART, SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION By the time he hit the middle of his casigns, from a baby monitor to his Akari reer, Noguchi had lived, worked and traveled in so lanterns, electrified variations of Japanese many places that he was “really a global contemporary craft lanterns. Lemmey noted that the before we have the term,” Lemmey said. He was born U.S. Patent and Trademark Office offered in Los Angeles and raised in Japan before coming back a great deal of support for this part of the to the U.S. to attend high school in the Midwest, and exhibition, which showcases his impreshe traveled widely as an adult. sive accomplishments as an innovator. “There’s this kind of accretion, identity by accretion,” Another way his designs did not stay she said. “Every place he goes, he absorbs something static was through the theater. Dancer else and also broadly sources from the world over. He’s Martha Graham first wore his piece “Spijust pulling it all together into his unique vision, and so der Dress” as she danced on his sculpture much of what he’s looking at is the future.” “Serpent” in 1946. On March 3 at 7 p.m., PHOTO: BY KEVIN NOBLE / The exhibition is home to what may very well be the the Martha Graham Dance Company ©THE ISAMU NOGUCHI FOUNDATION AND GARDEN MUSEUM, NY calmest corner of Washington, D.C., with “The Well,” a will perform that one-act ballet, “Cave basalt and water fountain sculpture, offering a meditative moment of the Heart,” in the museum’s McEvoy for visitors. As water cascades down the stone, creating lines and Auditorium. PHOTO: BY KEVIN NOBLE / ©THE ISAMU NOGUCHI FOUNDATION AND GARDEN MUSEUM, NY shadows, it invites reflection on the natural elements, Japanese “Noguchi and Martha Graham were stonework and modernism — or just a minute of simple, tranquil appreciation. kind of creative soul mates in a way,” Lemmey said. “They were friends for 40 It’s an exquisite, lovely piece. years, and she often called upon him to design costumes and sets for her dance There are plenty of surprises here, with blocks of granite and marble cut out to company. She was very ahead of her time, and so was he. make staircases or slides and a flat piece of aluminum meant to represent a cloud. “The collaboration of Noguchi and Graham lives on in these live performances,” The exhibition itself is refreshingly free of captions, which seems to encourage a Lemmey added. “And when else does a sculpture curator get to make one of their more immersive approach for museumgoers as they navigate artworks that dot sculptures dance?” the floor and walls. Throughout his career, Noguchi took on big subjects — space, time, creation Noguchi sought to bring together the past and the present by making art that he — and it is remarkable that an exhibition exploring all of those elements leaves called “ever new and ever old,” and the pieces on view show he lived up to his adage visitors feeling so serene. WD with elements that evoke ancient art and architecture while embracing forwardthinking modernism. His interest in science, particularly the atomic age and space, Mackenzie Weinger (@mweinger) is a contributing writer is also a major focus within this show. Here a highlight is “Red Lunar Fist,” which for The Washington Diplomat. 32 | THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | FEBRUARY 2017


Art | Culture | WD

Food for Thought Visual Feast of Art Fills Baltimore’s American Visionary Art Museum •

BY BRENDAN L. SMITH

“YUMMM!” The History, Fantasy, and Future of Food THROUGH SEPT. 3 AMERICAN VISIONARY ART MUSEUM 800 KEY HIGHWAY, BALTIMORE, MD.

(410) 244-1900 | WWW.AVAM.ORG

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ood has always been more than just fuel, but that’s easy to forget in our supersized society where we stuff ourselves into early graves, gorging on Big Macs, chili cheese fries and tanker-size soft drinks. Our greasy fingers keep reaching for some unholy abomination that has been deep-fried, flash-frozen, individually packaged and artificially flavored beyond recognition. Entire civilizations have been born — or destroyed — by the abundance or scarcity of food. Food has started wars and ended them, with soldiers starving to death in godforsaken wastelands across the scorched earth of their enemies. Food also serves as sin or sacrament, whether in the form of bread and wine representing Christ’s body and blood, or the enduring fasts of Ramadan or the tangled web of kosher rules. The American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, Md., tackles these themes with humor and candor in YUMMM! The History, Fantasy, and Future of Food, on view until Sept. 3. Since its debut in 1995, the American Visionary Art Museum has prided itself on its antimuseum approach, showcasing a wide array of unconventional works by self-taught artists of varying backgrounds. The 1.1-acre campus in the historic Federal Hill neighborhood — built on a former paint company and whiskey warehouse — is home to a permanent collection of over 4,000 pieces of “intuitive” art. “YUMMM!” embodies the museum’s focus on outsider art with a visual feast of paintings, sculptures, embroideries, installations and films. Over 30 artists join forces with scientists, farmers, nutritionists, environmental activists, psychologists, poets and humorists to explore our complex relationship with food. In the first gallery, Wendy Brackman’s 10-foot spinning sculpture titled “Brackman’s Botanical Bonanza!” immediately catches your eye with its hypnotic whirl. A cornucopia of food created from hand-painted and folded paper plates revolve in opposite directions in a kaleidoscopic rainbow of colors. Bright green heads of lettuce spin past bright yellow ears of corn as a swarm of bumblebees land for a visit. Brackman artfully transforms a lowly material associated with picnics or pre-school macaroni projects into a whimsical sculpture that celebrates the bounty of food with both humor and gratitude. Much smaller in scale, Gil Batle’s intricately carved ostrich eggs amaze with their minute and brutal details of prison life that he witnessed during more than 20 years in California prisons, which were triggered by a trail of forgery and fraud to fuel his drug addiction. Batle, who inked tattoos and drew portraits of other prisoners to survive life behind bars, later moved back to his native Philippines. When his brother gave him an ostrich shell, he began using a dental drill to carve chilling prison scenes on the surpris-

PHOTO: COURTESY RICH SHAPERO; EGG PHOTO: BY STAN NARTEN PHOTOGRAPHY / RICCO MARESCA GALLERY

“YUMMM! The History, Fantasy, and Future of Food” features work by over 30 artists, including, from top, Ramon Alejandro’s “La mécanisme de la multiplication des désirs,” Gil Batle’s “51/50 Dreams” and Wendy Brackman’s “Brackman’s Botanical Bonanza!”

ingly sturdy shells that resemble miniature marble sculptures. In “51/50 Dreams,” a sleeping inmate holds his head on a cot framed by prison bars. Alternating rows of negative space cut through the egg shell and highlight a line of grim-faced prisoners, ominous hands wielding shanks and a circle of snakes swallowing each other by the tail. The sculptures really need to be displayed in the round to truly appreciate them, but they have been shoved against a wall in a crowded corner. Bread has been called the staff of life, but it’s also inspiration for the Community Bread Art Wall Project, which was created by artist Jerry Beck with help from more than 200 youth from a Boys and Girls Club and community college in Massachusetts. Baking sheets with charred bread are transformed with pithy phrases or groan-worthy puns (“Money Is Not The Only Dough”). The most impressive work is a mandala resembling a doughnut with a bright red hole of negative space showing the painted wall behind it. Created from bagels, pretzels and goldfish crackers, the piece conjures a spiritual connection between the simplicity of bread and the eternal spinning wheel of life. Rocker-artist Wayne Coyne, front-man of the Flaming Lips, has created a life-size gummy-bear statue of himself that looks tastier than burnt bread, but it was encased in Plexiglass so I couldn’t lick it, although pint-size versions were being hawked in the gift shop. PHOTO: JILL RIBICH Coyne’s nude statue, with spiky serpentine hair and the weird missing genitalia of a Ken doll, stands at attention before a psychedelic crowd cheering at a Flaming Lips concert. The exhibition really shines with its humor and whimsy. While there are some more challenging works, they are organized in an arbitrary, scattershot manner through the exhibition. A few pieces delve into the links between food and starvation and the depredations of war. There are some SEE FOOD • PAGE 38 THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | FEBRUARY 2017 | 33


WD | Culture | Photography

Outsider Looking In Canadian Artist Switches Gears from Fashion to Politics in ‘Cross the Party Line’ •

BY KATE OCZYPOK

Cross the Party Line THROUGH FEB. 28TH W WASHINGTON D.C. 515 15TH ST., NW

(202) 661-2400 | WWW.WWASHINGTONDC.COM

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ashion and politics don’t seem like natural bedfellows, but Canadian artist Maxwell Burnstein is making the leap from skimpy runway dresses to weighty historical commentary in “Cross the Party Line,” a photography show on display at the W hotel to coincide with the inauguration. In so doing, Burnstein — who has been hailed as “the fashion industry’s latest creative darling” by the Globe and Mail — is offering an outsider’s take on the politically charged themes that have divided the U.S. since Donald Trump’s election. “Canadians, through our media, absorb the popular culture and political tensions that have come to proliferate the American climate,” Burnstein told The Diplomat. “As the northern neighbor to the United States, we feel the impact alongside Americans, despite feeling like the outsiders looking in.” At only 25 years old, Burnstein designed the cover of Elle Mexico’s spring collections issue. Using an exacto knife, glue and tape, the Torontobased mixed media artist intertwined red-and-blue-striped snakes with the image of a model wearing designs from Gucci’s spring-summer 2016 line. The multilayered composition is a refreshing change of pace from conventional fashion magazine covers featuring a posed model. Burnstein’s handmade works blend digital collage art with traditional analog collage techniques. This irreverent approach has landed him gigs with international magazines such as Elle, Harper’s Bazaar and Women’s Wear Daily. Burnstein applied this layering technique to “Cross the Party Line,” combining the modern D.C. landscapes of local D.C. photographer Joy Asico with historical images of presidential figures. The result is a striking fusion of quintessential D.C. backdrops with iconic personalities ranging from Theodore Roosevelt to Richard Nixon (shaking hands with Elvis) to a pensive Barack Obama overlooking the Washington Monument lined with people. Given the polarization that the 2016 presidential campaign inspired, some artists have shied away from commenting on Trump’s controversial victory — let alone creating an entire show around it. Burnstein, however, said he was moved to offer “an unbiased perspective of the current dialogue,” as he called it. “The exhibit, in partnership with the W Washington D.C., is about showing a bipartisan view on America’s presidential history,” he said. “Canadians have strong social, economic and political ties to America so while I’m an outsider, I’m also an active participant.” Burnstein stressed that it’s important to emphasize unity over division during this critical juncture in U.S. history. “I’m not one to shy away from making that statement,” he added. Burnstein said he has always been drawn to fashion, seeing it as a way to define and express himself when he was younger. He attended Ryerson University, home to one of Canada’s top fashion programs. “I was able to acquire a diverse skillset and in turn pursue a path in the industry,” he said. Among his inspirations, he counts Scottish collage artist Portis Wasp, who often sets beefy, bare-chested male fashion models against animated backdrops peppered with Disney characters from films such as “The Little Mermaid.” Burnstein also called Demna Gvasalia, a Georgian designer in charge of the Balenciaga fashion house, “the most important figure in the world of fashion today.” While Burnstein’s background lies in fashion not politics, his focus on innovative art fits well with the swanky W hotel brand and its Beaux Arts lobby. “We are thrilled to welcome Maxwell to W Washington D.C. as an extension of W’s artist-in-residence program,” said the hotel’s general manager, Meade Atkeson. “As the hotel closest to the White House, W is no stranger to being at the center of the city’s political conversation, and with

34 | THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | FEBRUARY 2017

PHOTOS: MAXWELL BURNSTEIN

the cutting-edge, contemporary lens we approach art, we couldn’t imagine a better fit than Maxwell to bring these two elements together and we couldn’t imagine a better time than during inauguration.” WD Kate Oczypok (@OczyKate) is a contributing writer for The Washington Diplomat. Canadian fashion photographer Maxwell Burnstein turned his attention to politics in “Cross the Party Line,” which uses his signature handmade collage technique to blend landscapes of D.C. with presidential figures.


Theater | Culture | WD

We Still ‘Like It’ Shakespeare’s Romp in Forest Mixes Politics, Love and Mistaken Identity •

BY LISA TROSHINSKY

As You Like It THROUGH MARCH 5 FOLGER THEATRE 201 EAST CAPITOL ST., SE TICKETS ARE $35 TO $75.

(202) 544-4600 | WWW.FOLGER.EDU

S

hakespeare fans can look forward to a fun but meaningful romp in the forest with “As You Like It,” one of the Bard’s most beloved comedies, at the Folger

Theatre. The tale weaves together a complex political theme, love story and, of course, mistaken identity, couched in poetic language as only the Bard can do, with Folger’s expected finesse. A quickie refresher: Rosalind is banished from the court by her uncle, Frederick, who has usurped the Duchy and exiled his older brother, Duke Senior. Rosalind, the Duke Senior’s daughter, flees with her cousin, Celia, to the Forest of Arden. There she discovers and explores young love with the charmer, Orlando, while disguised as a man. Meanwhile, the exiled Duke Senior also retreats to the forest where he lives with some of his supporters. “This play works on many different levels,” director Gaye Taylor Upchurch told The Washington Diplomat. “On a political level, we’ve made the court a fascist-type place where art and culture have been replaced with wrestling matches and courtly dances, which amount to vain pomp. “Duke Frederick is narcissistic and demanding of praise and performances from his subjects, which is in great contrast to life in the forest with Duke Senior,” Upchurch said. “I’ve turned the place of the court into New Orleans — a city of great art and culture that also has corruption in its ranks.” Upchurch stressed that although the play is set in a contemporary time period, “it’s not cellphone contemporary and the characters are not speaking in southern dialect. It’s more of an aesthetic idea.” Lindsay Alexandra Carter, who plays Rosalind, says that despite being set in the southern United States, the play is “classic in nature and true to its text.” “Gaye finds a way to make all the scenes intimate, while maintaining the comedic elements, but it comes from a truthful place,” Carter said. “For example, the use of language is so strong that Gaye lets the actors rely solely on the words for their meaning. Touchstone, the fool, is a complicated character to play, since his language is so dense and his jokes so archaic, that many actors layer on physical comedy to compensate for the audience possibly not understanding the text. Our Touchstone, played by Aaron Krohn, makes us laugh with just the text. Gaye doesn’t layer on top of the language to make it funnier than it was written to be.” This production features original songs composed by Heather Christian, who fleshes out the southern theme with gospel, blues and folk songs, Upchurch said. “This works out perfectly as the foresters sing the blues to get through the unforgiving, hungry winter,” she said. The play also ties into present-day issues such as refugees and immigration. “For the past 400 years, this play has been thought of as a refugee play, since the foresters that gather have left their homeland and are no longer living with the reigning government,” Upchurch said. The plot begs questions for the audience to ponder, such as: What does

PHOTOS: T. CHARLES ERICKSON

The Folger Theatre’s “As You Like It” weaves together a complex tale of politics, love and mistaken identity, couched in Shakespeare’s poetic mastery of the English language.

it mean to leave home and start again? What does it mean to be civilized and work together as a community? What does it mean to be a leader of that community? “These are great questions to ask ourselves now, given what’s going on all over the world,” Upchurch said. At the same time, the love story between Rosalind and Orlando is equally as complex and meaningful, she said. “Rosalind and Orlando each end up as they do because of relationships they have in the community. The play explores love from many angles — love of community, romantic love, brotherly love, love in friendships and the love a leader has for his people,” Upchurch said. Carter, who is making her Folger Theatre debut, refers to playing Rosalind as her “dream role.” “Rosalind is one of the best in Shakespeare’s canon in terms of leading ladies,” she said. “She’s a quintessential delicious person. She’s also dual in nature and has been compared to Hamlet in this way. Both characters have a peaceful and harmonious side and are both kind but tough. The difference is that Rosalind lives in the world of harmony, while Hamlet lives in tragedy and can’t handle the dual nature of his soul, which leads to his demise. “Rosalind is smart, witty and intellectual, but helpless in the affairs of love and is overtaken by her emotion,” Carter said. “She’s an interesting balance of head and heart; that’s where her beauty lies.” The fact that the Folger Theatre spends year after year producing mostly plays penned by Bard doesn’t seem to be too tough of a challenge for Artistic Director Janet Alexander Griffin. Griffin has produced 85 plays, including 30 written by Shakespeare, for which Folger has been recognized with 140 nominations and 24 awards from Washington’s Helen Hayes Awards. “Shakespeare’s 36 plays are all different, each presenting their own unique opportunities, challenges and pleasures,” Griffin said. “There are so many aspects to each play and lines of thinking and meaning in each play; people can see nine productions of ‘Hamlet’ and get something different out of each one of them. It’s a very rich field and we love plowing the field differently for each production. “‘As You Like It’ is not a slam-dunk easy play,” she added. “It has its challenges with a couple of story lines, but it’s full of passion and poetics. It’s bawdy and celestial, which plays both ends of the spectrum, and at the same time enjoyable and understandable to all who come to watch it. Actors on stage send out balls of energy that the audience must kick back onstage. We make sure that happens.” WD Lisa Troshinsky is the theater reviewer for The Washington Diplomat. THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | FEBRUARY 2017 | 35


WD | Culture | Dining

Globe-Trekking Chefs To Bring International Inspiration to D.C., Chefs Go Straight to the Source •

W

BY STEPHANIE KANOWITZ

ith more than 2,200 do certain techniques because restaurants inside of climates. Out there, you’re the D.C. border really absorbing the culture of alone, it’s easy to what goes on in these countries travel the world by way of your that you can’t absorb here in stomach. Cuisine available in the States.” the metro area ranges from His dream destination is classic American to Afghan, El Southeast Asia, although he Salvadoran, Ethiopian, Indian, said he doesn’t expect to get Japanese, Laotian, Lebanese and there for another few years. Russian. To stand out in this Travel purely for pleasure is foodie world, the chefs behind rare, Isabella said. “I would these international restaurants say 50 to 60 percent is vacahave to know their stuff. And tion time, but when it comes to they do that in part by traveldinner or lunch, I usually have ing. places to go that I have to check Mike Isabella, who has nine out.” area restaurants — so far — spent more than two weeks in CUBAN CUISINE Portugal, Morocco and southTwo-time James Beard ern Spain in preparation for his Award-winning chef Guillernext venture: Arroz, a Spanmo Pernot opened Cuba Libre ish concept restaurant inside Restaurant and Rum Bar’s D.C. the Marriott Marquis. During location in 2010, the same year that time, he visited wineries, he first traveled to the Caribbeattended olive oil tastings and an island nation. His goal was PHOTO: COURTESY MIKE ISABELLA ate at top restaurants as well as to make the food at the restaumom-and-pop shops. D.C. restaurateur Mike Isabella, center, visits Morocco as part of a trip he took to the North African country, as rant’s four U.S. locations more “We eat all day long,” said well as Portugal and Spain, to prepare for his latest venture, a Spanish concept restaurant named Arroz. authentic and current. Isabella, who travels with his “Everybody knows Cuban culinary team. “Sometimes we’ll food because of … certain restaurants in Miami eat at four or five restaurants in a night, just that are very popular, but that is food is 50, 60 ordering food, taking a bite or two, taking years old,” Pernot said. “After the [Cuban Revopictures of it, taking notes about it. The next lution in the 1950s], everybody left and they day, we’ll grab breakfast or lunch and review never kept up to date. Cuba was closed until 10 what we saw and start coming up with, ‘What years ago, basically. Nobody ever changed” the would you do, how would you do it, how can food. we sort this out, how could we get it?’ And MIKE ISABELLA During his visits, Pernot found that Cubans that’s how it kind of starts.” local chef and restaurateur frequently cook with charcoal, sometimes beHe returned from the trip and began writcause there is no natural gas or elecing the menu for Arroz (Spanish for “rice”), tricity. They also eat locally grown which is slated to open this year. food and produce, but use, very little Isabella traveled before opening his other restaurants, dairy. too. For example, before launching Kapnos in 2013, he “It’s still intriguing me. Every time went to northern Greece and Turkey. For the almost twoI travel, I learn something new,” said year-old Kapnos Taverna, a Virginia sibling of the D.C. Pernot, who visits Cuba twice a year. restaurant, he island-hopped through Greece, stopping at (His next trip is in March 2017.) places such as Crete, Santorini and Mykonos, paying close He spends two weeks there, with attention to the seafood there. the first week devoted to Pop-Up Pal“The toughest restaurant is going to be Arroz because adar, which he and Cuba Libre started I’ve never cooked this professionally — Spanish food. I’ve in 2012 as a culinary exchange series just eaten it and traveled it a lot. It’s always been a huge inwith Cuban chefs, who are invited to spiration since I’ve been a young cook,” said Isabella, who cook in Cuba Libre’s kitchens. The competed on Bravo’s “Top Chef.” Argentine native, whose wife is CuTravel is the main reason he started cooking. “The first ban, takes 24 people for a culinary country I ever went to was Brazil in South America, and I PHOTO: COURTESY GUILLERMO PERNOT tour of Havana for six days. They went with one of my chefs and we were cooking out there, Chef Guillermo Pernot of Cuba Libre Restaurant and Rum Bar have lunch and dinner in different resand I just kept it going,” he said. Since then, he has trav- (standing) regularly organizes trips to Cuba, where he hosts lunch taurants where Pernot knows the chefs eled with other chefs, including another local celebrity, and dinner in different restaurants where Pernot knows the chefs and sometimes cooks alongside them. and sometimes cooks alongside them. José Andrés. During the second week, Pernot Isabella, in fact, worked for Andrés as executive chef of Zaytinya before opening his own venture, the Italian-inspired Graffiato. Isa- shadows a chef, going to the markets, watching them cook and traveling with bella has since opened restaurants that specialize in Greek, Mexican, Japanese them around the island. He applies what he learns to Cuba Libre’s menu carefully. and French Mediterranean food. “When I come back, I may use one technique or one vegetable that I’ve never This fall, Isabella visited Cuba. Last year, he was in Milan. He visits Greece every other year. And in December, Isabella was headed to Italy’s Tuscany re- used before, or a different combination or a different approach to what I’m dogion because one of the 10 concepts he plans for Isabella Eatery, coming next ing, but I try not to come in and shake everybody’s world by saying, ‘OK, I just came back from Cuba. Let’s change everything,’” Pernot explained. summer to Tysons Galleria, will be a Mediterranean-style steakhouse. Traveling makes him a better chef by constantly challenging him, he told us. “You see the culture, you see the people, you see the food, you see the history. It’s just constantly learning,” Isabella said. “I always say that what inspires “The day that you say, ‘I know everything. I have nothing to learn,’ that’s the me is every chef out there in America working hard and putting out cool food day you should just quit,” Pernot said. “Every time you walk into the kitchen, and good food. It’s the same thing when you travel abroad. You can’t get certain you find something new.” With four restaurants and two trips to Cuba, he doesn’t have much time fruits from South America or Asia. You can’t get certain products. You can’t

You see the culture, you see the people, you see the food, you see the history. It’s just constantly learning.

36 | THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | FEBRUARY 2017


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for leisure travel, but he’s got his eye on Peru. “I’m trying to talk my family into maybe next year spending a few weeks down there,” he said. “The cuisine of Peru is just fascinating. They have over 1,000 types of potatoes and I don’t know how many kinds of chilis, different peppers, and [with the] influence of the Incas and the Japanese people, they have created a new cuisine that is just amazing.” Does that mean it’s impossible to separate business and pleasure? “You have to eat so might as well combine both,” Pernot said.

BALKAN BITES Traveling never topped the to-do list for Chris Hawkins until he started working for Ambar, a Balkan restaurant in D.C., and found himself being sent to

the Serbian capital of Belgrade. Hawkins, who recently left Ambar’s Clarendon, Va., location, took his third trip to Serbia this summer, spending the entire month of July at Ambar’s restaurant in Belgrade. “I was just working in the kitchen … with the chefs there all day, just seeing what they do from morning until night — not a lot of time at all to go out, but the point was to … learn certain techniques, especially the rotisserie and the charcoal grill setup they have over there,” Hawkins said. Heavy on small plates, everything at the Clarendon location is cooked on a charcoal grill, with rotisserie chicken, lamb and suckling pig also available. Hawkins changed about 80 percent of the Capitol Hill location’s menu before opening in the trendy Arlington neighborhood. Staples that remain include

the stuffed sour cabbage and meat and cheese pies, although Hawkins added spinach to the latter — “something I saw in Belgrade and thought was a neat addition.” Another thing he saw there was the pride people take in preparing food, oohing and aahing over the finished product and telling stories about how their mothers used to make the same dish. “Every time something comes out of the oven or is finished, they’ll gather around and look at it,” Hawkins said. “You could really tell that everyone that works in the kitchen is just very passionate about what they do, and it’s not just a job. That’s really one of the best parts about going to Serbia — was experiencing the hospitality. Everyone is trying to give you SEE DINING • PAGE 38

PHOTO: BY PETAR MILOŠEVIĆ - OWN WORK / WIKIMEDIA COMMONS VIA CC BY-SA 4.0

Česnica is part of a Serbian Christmas-New Year tradition whereby a coin is put inside the load of bread. Whoever gets the coin in their slice will have a blessed year. THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | FEBRUARY 2017 | 37


Spouses CONTINUED • Page 31

other. For the past 60 years, my grandmother and her friends have been getting together every Tuesday. My mother and my mother-in-law go too. These women talked and organized parties for the holidays. After all those years, though, they have never been successful matchmakers,” she quipped. So how did she and the ambassador meet? “Since Oaxaca is so small, we all go to the same places. I had seen Carlos all my life, but we were never really introduced. His sister was my age so we went to the same birthday parties together. After college, I had a job offer in Mexico City. The first weekend I came home, I went to the tennis club. Everyone was talking about going to a concert or dance that night. I didn’t have anything else to do so I went with everyone to dinner. I saw Carlos. One of my friends said, ‘This is the third time he’s seen you. He’s after you!’ I said, ‘Of course not. He’s just a friend,’” she recalled. But the ambassador clearly had other intentions, and eventually the two were married in a large ceremony that included 750 guests. Sada, who studied industrial engineering, began his government service in 1980 and has served various postings in his home state of Oaxaca, where he was responsible for everything from urban development and fisheries to education and tourism. “The first time we left Mexico as a family to go to Canada, the boys were 2 years and 10 months,” Vazquez recalled of her

husband’s first overseas posting as consul general in Toronto. “Now they are 29 and 28. Andres is in Mexico City after getting his MBA from Columbia University and his undergraduate from the University of Texas in Austin. He is working at Anheuser-Busch in acquisitions. Manuel, one year younger, is studying international relations at the University of Chicago. One day maybe he will go into the diplomatic corps. He likes the subject but he doesn’t like moving around,” said Vazquez, noting that she also dislikes moving. Except for the posting in Toronto, however, Sada and Vazquez have largely remained in the United States. Most recently, he served as Mexico’s consul general in Los Angeles; before that, Sada was Mexico’s consul general in New York (2011-13); minister at the Mexican Embassy in Washington, D.C. (2007-11); consul general in Chicago (2000-07); and consul general in San Antonio (1995-2000). Vazquez, whose accent is barely discernable, also had prior experience living in the United States. “When I was 17, my parents sent me to the U.S. to learn English. I was in an exchange program at Wissahickon High School, a historic area northwest of Philadelphia. Wherever I was, I always took English classes, thank God,” she said. “It was wonderful. I finished high school there. I was a good student, a responsible person. I was so happy to choose the classes I wanted: French, German, English lit, gym and history.” But Vazquez was dismayed that many Americans were unfamiliar with Mexico and harbored certain stereotypes of her homeland. “That’s improved a lot. Now our countries are good partners.” WD Gail Scott is a contributing writer for The Washington Diplomat.

maria elena Vazquez poses with her two sons, manuel, who is studying international relations at the university of Chicago, and andres, who works in mexico City at anheuser-busch.

Dining CONTINUED • Page 37

something to try or wants to tell you something about the food, and how every single person is very intense about the quality.” “I can’t wait to go back,” he added.

meXiCan morsels Alexis Samayoa, executive chef of Espita Mezcaleria in D.C.’s Shaw neighborhood, is fascinated by Mexican food — but not the Americanized kind served at Chipotle or Taco Bell. “The draw for me is number one, it’s

not understood, and number two, it’s not defined as well as it should be,” Samayoa said. “Mexican cuisine is not expressed in the right way. There are a lot of different styles of Mexican food that you can eat, and a lot of people think Tex-Mex is it, and it is not.” Before Espita Mezcaleria opened last February, he did his homework, starting with a lot of reading and then shifting to travel to Oaxaca in southern Mexico, where he and his partner, a master mezcalier, went from farm to farm and neighborhood to neighborhood eating homecooked meals. “It’s definitely a lot of reading — reading Diana Kennedy’s cookbooks, Rick Bayless’s cookbooks, some of the people who have done this way before I have,” Samayoa said. “When you have an idea

38 | THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | FEBRuARy 2017

self-taught artists explore our complex relationship with food in a sprawling new exhibition at the american Visionary art museum in baltimore, md. Photo: ©aVam

Food CONTINUED • Page 33

conventional arguments for vegetarianism and against factory farming that will gratify vegetarians, while carnivores will shrug or feel slightly guilty about that bacon-and-egg bagel they ate for breakfast. One striking exception is a disturbing video of a woman silently knitting a long strand of raw beef into a tray of hamburgers. The coiling rope of meat is both repulsive and fascinating. Healthy eating gets a plug in a video of “big, bad Sugarman,” a double-chinned balding man wearing a pig mask who rails against allyou-can-eat buffets and popcorn with “that fake butter stuff.” The Women of York take a deeper dive with “Shared Dining,” a revolving table featuring placemats created by 10 female inmates at the York Correctional Institution in Connecticut. They created placemats that honored women who touched their lives. The rotating triangular table was inspired by Judy Chicago’s “The Dinner Party,” a seminal 1970s feminist installation featuring place settings for 39 women who made history. The female inmates use humbler materials available to them in prison, including a plate for Shakespeare’s Juliet adorned with a toy

of something and then you put chef intuition into it and you’re using these classic Oaxacan-style ingredients, that’s where you start doing the equation.” And that equation involves finding the right balance between authentic Mexican food and familiarity. “I wanted to do something that nobody’s comfortable with. The level of comfort, I just brought it up another notch,” Samayoa said. But at the same time, he added, “I have to make it easy. I can’t make it too spicy, can’t make it too weird. I have to change some names here and there so somehow you can relate and understand it. If that doesn’t work out, then the dish is probably not going to be a good one.” WD Stephanie Kanowitz is a contributing writer for The Washington Diplomat.

plastic dagger and a bottle of poison. Magazine clippings and the word “EDUCATION” spelled in Scrabble tiles honor Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani girl who survived the bullets of a Taliban gunman before becoming an impassioned female rights advocate. Audio recordings of some of the York inmates explain why they chose the women they honored with their place settings. The installation reminded me of my own circuitous steps many years ago through the monumental AIDS quilt as it was unfolded in its silent and tragic testimony around the Washington Monument. “Shared Dining” tackles a different subject on a much smaller scale, but it reveals how we lose too many people to a life behind bars because of our unrelenting demands for retribution rather than rehabilitation. The exhibition succeeds in presenting a diverse array of artwork that challenges us to think about food as more than just calories, moving beyond the sadness of Happy Meals, the unfortunate existence of “hamdogs” and pizza with cheese injected into the crust because … well, just because. There’s no good answer for that one. WD Brendan L. Smith (www.brendanlsmith. com) is a freelance writer and mixedmedia artist (www.dcmixedmedia.com) in Washington, D.C.

Photo: heather Freeman media & PubliC relations

alexis samayoa, executive chef of espita mezcaleria in d.C., traveled to oaxaca in southern mexico last year, visiting farms and neighborhoods and eating home-cooked meals.


WD | Culture | Film

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

Czech Stuck with a Perfect Woman (Bezva zenska na krku) Directed by Tomas Hoffman (Czech Republic, 2016, 97 min.) Eliska is caught off guard when her husband falls for a younger woman, leaving her to start life anew at 40. With little choice for lodging, she decides to move into a former morgue. Little does she know that a sarcastic gravedigger with a chip on his shoulder already occupies the small house, leading to a series of comical encounters that could bring them together. The Avalon Theatre Wed., Feb. 8, 8 p.m.

break who teams up with a similarly eager geologist and sets off on a journey to find gold in the uncharted jungle of Indonesia. Angelika Mosaic Atlantic Plumbing Cinema

Hidden Figures Directed by Theodore Melfi (U.S., 2016, 127 min.) In this untold true story, three brilliant African American women working at NASA serve as the brains behind one of the greatest operations in history: the launch of astronaut John Glenn into orbit, a stunning achievement that restored the nation’s confidence. AFI Silver Theatre Atlantic Plumbing

I Am Not Your Negro

Directed by Martin Zandvliet (Denmark/Germany, 2015, 100 min.) A young group of German POWs are made the enemy of a nation, where they are now forced to dig up 2 million land-mines with their bare hands (Danish, German and English). Angelika Mosaic Opens Fri., Feb. 17

Directed by Raoul Peck (France/U.S., 2017, 95 min.) In 1979, James Baldwin wrote a letter to his literary agent describing his next project, which was to be a revolutionary, personal account of three assassinated leaders who were also his close friends: Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr. At the time of Baldwin’s death in 1987, he left behind only 30 completed pages of his manuscript. Now, in his incendiary new documentary, master filmmaker Raoul Peck envisions the book James Baldwin never finished. Landmark’s E Street Cinema Opens Fri., Feb. 3

English

Jackie

Danish Land of Mine (Under sandet)

Arrival Directed by Denis Villeneuve (U.S., 2016, 116 min.) When mysterious spacecraft touch down across the globe, an elite team — led by expert linguist Louise Banks — is brought together to investigate. As mankind teeters on the verge of global war, Banks and the team race against time for answers — and to find them, she will take a chance that could threaten her life, and quite possibly humanity (English, Russian and Mandarin). AFI Silver Theatre Atlantic Plumbing Cinema

Daughters of the Dust Directed by Julie Dash (U.S., 1991, 112 min.) At the dawn of the 20th century, a multigenerational family in the Gullah community on the Sea Islands off of South Carolina — former West African slaves who adopted many of their ancestors’Yoruba traditions — struggles to maintain their cultural heritage and folklore while contemplating a migration to the mainland, even further from their roots. AFI Silver Theatre Opens Fri., Feb. 17

Gold Directed by Stephen Gaghan (U.S., 2017, 121 min.) Oscar winner Matthew McConaughey stars as a prospector desperate for a lucky

A United Kingdom

Me (aka I)

Directed by Amma Asante (U.S./U.K./Czech Republic, 2017, 111 min.) Prince Seretse Khama of Botswana causes an international stir when he marries a white woman from London in the late 1940s. Angelika Mosaic Opens Fri., Feb. 17

Directed by Soheil Beiraghi (Iran, 2016, 84 min.) Actress Leila Hatami is a force of nature as the queen of Tehran’s underground, where she plays a ruthless and enigmatic fixer, keeping one step ahead of the law as she forges passports, moves illicit booze via a bottled water company and effortlessly emasculates a musical protégé. National Gallery of Art Sat., Feb. 11, 4 p.m.

Farsi Close-Up (Nema-ye nazdik)

Directed by Babak Jalali (U.S./Iran, 2016, 91 min.) Mohsen Namjoo, a folk singer known as “Iran’s Bob Dylan,” delivers a brilliantly deadpan performance in this comedy as a put-upon program director of a Bay Area Persian-language radio station (Farsi and English). National Gallery of Art Sat., Feb. 4, 4:30 p.m.

Dingomaro

Directed by Asghar Farhadi (Iran/France, 2017, 125 min.) A young couple living in Tehran act together in an amateur production of Arthur Miller’s “Death of a Salesman.” When their flat becomes damaged, they are forced to move into a new apartment, where an intruder attacks the wife, prompting her husband to become an amateur detective in an attempt to find the assailant and soothe his wife’s addled nerves. Landmark’s Bethesda Row Cinema Opens Fri., Feb. 10 National Gallery of Art Sun., Feb. 5, 4 p.m.

Directed by Kamran Heidari (Iran, 2014, 68 min.) This documentary is a lively and pulsating portrayal of Hamid Said, one of the most successful musicians from the south Iranian province of Hormozgan. National Museum of African Art Sat., Feb. 18, 2 p.m.

Drought and Lies

Lion

Lantouri

Directed by Garth Davis (Australia, 2016, 120 min.) A 5-year-old Indian boy gets lost on the streets of Calcutta, thousands of miles from home. He survives many challenges before being adopted by a couple in Australia. Not wanting to hurt his adoptive parents’ feelings, he suppresses his past, his emotional need for reunification and his hope of ever finding his lost mother and brother for 25 years. But a chance meeting with some fellow Indians reawakens his buried yearning (English, Bengali and Hindi). Angelika Mosaic Landmark’s Bethesda Row Cinema Landmark’s E Street Cinema

Directed by Reza Dormishian (Iran, 2016, 115 min.) A member of a vicious criminal gang named Lantouri throws acid in the face of a criminal rights activist, who demands justice via the concept in Islamic law known as lex talionis: an eye for an eye. National Gallery of Art Sat., Feb. 18, 4:30 p.m.

Directed by Martin Scorsese (Mexico/Taiwan/U.S., 2017, 161 min.) Two priests travel to Japan in an attempt to locate their mentor and propagate Catholicism. Landmark’s E Street Cinema

Radio Dreams

Directed by Abbas Kiarostami (Iran, 1990, 98 min.) This fiction-documentary hybrid uses a real-life sensational event — a young man arrested on charges that he impersonated filmmaker Mohsen Makhmalbaf — as the basis for a stunning, multilayered investigation into movies, identity, artistic creation and life itself (Farsi and Azerbaijani). AFI Silver Theatre Sat., Feb. 4, 3:15 p.m.

Directed by Pablo Larraín (U.S./Chile/France, 2016, 99 min.) Following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, first lady Jacqueline Kennedy fights through grief and trauma to regain her faith, console her children and define her husband’s historic legacy. AFI Silver Theatre Angelika Mosaic Landmark’s Bethesda Row Cinema Landmark’s E Street Cinema

Silence

THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | February 2017

Directed by Pedram Alizadeh (Iran, 2016, 94 min.) During a birthday celebration at a Caspian Sea getaway, lawyer Omid receives a call from his ex-wife, inflaming the jealousy of his current wife. The call sets in motion a round-robin of betrayal and soul-searching that sends ripples through their circle of family and friends. National Gallery of Art Sun., Feb. 12, 4 p.m.

Life, and Nothing More. (Zendegi va digar hich) Directed by Abbas Kiarostami (Iran, 1992, 95 min.) In 1990, the Koker region where Abbas Kiarostami filmed a prior movie, was devastated by a massive earthquake. In this meta-fictional investigation of truth and representation, actors playing Kiarostami and his son return to Koker to track down the boys who starred in the previous film. AFI Silver Theatre Sat., Feb. 11, 1:15 p.m.

The Salesman (Forushande)

Taste of Cherry Directed by Abbas Kiarostami (Iran, 1997, 95 min.) A middle-aged man drives through a barren landscape, looking for someone to agree to bury him after he commits suicide the following morning. He is eerily calm about his decision to end his life, despite the entreaties of each of the three candidates he tries to persuade. Their conversations become an evolving philosophical argument about the value of life in the face of death in what has been called Abbas Kiarostami’s “greatest film.” National Gallery of Art Sat., Feb. 25, 4:30 p.m.

Ten (Dah) Directed by Abbas Kiarostami (Iran, 2002, 91 min.) Ten-year-old Amin Maher hops into a car in Tehran and begins an electrifying 10-minute battle with his unseen mother over her divorce and remarriage. Later, his strikingly attractive mother engages in nine other front-seat conversations — with her sister, a female friend, an elderly female pilgrim and an unseen prostitute. AFI Silver Theatre Sun., Feb. 19, 2:45 p.m.

Through the Olive Trees (Zire darakhatan zeytun) Directed by Abbas Kiarostami (France/Iran, 1994, 103 min.) The final film in Abbas Kiarostami’s Koker Trilogy is an investigation of the complex relationship between cinema and real life, as a woman who recently spurned a man’s marriage proposal is forbidden by family and tradition from speaking to him — except within the fiction of the film. AFI Silver Theatre Sun., Feb. 12, 1:15 p.m.

Where is the Friend’s Home? (Khane-ye doust kodjast?) Directed by Abbas Kiarostami (Iran, 1987, 83 min.) The first of Abbas Kiarostami’s films to gain significant attention outside of his home country, “Where is the Friend’s Home?” follows Ahmed, a young boy on a mission to return a notebook to his classmate after he takes it home by mistake. AFI Silver Theatre Sun., Feb. 5, 3:15 p.m.

The Wind Will Carry Us (Bad ma ra khahad bord) Directed by Abbas Kiarostami (Iran/France, 1999, 118 min.) A journalist posing as an engineer travels to a remote Kurdish village with a secret aim: to record an ancient mourning ritual for a dying century-old woman. When the woman stubbornly refuses to die, the “engineer” is forced to slow down and interact with the town’s inhabitants. AFI Silver Theatre Sat., Feb. 18, 1:15 p.m.

French Certified Copy (Copie conformé) Directed by Abbas Kiarostami (France/Italy/Belgium/Iran, 2010, 106 min.) British intellectual James meets French shopkeeper Elle (Juliette Binoche) after he gives a reading in a Tuscan town. Walking and talking their way through the beautiful surroundings, the pair begin to playact as lovers, a charade they carry to surprisingly great lengths (French, English and Italian). AFI Silver Theatre Sat., Feb. 25, 1:15 p.m., Mon., Feb. 27, 7:15 p.m.

Directed by Abbas Kiarostami (France/Japan, 2012, 109 min.) Abbas Kiarostami’s second feature made outside of Iran takes place in Tokyo, where Akiko, a college student moonlighting as a prostitute, is sent to the apartment of an elderly gentleman who just wants to spend the night talking. The next morning, when he drops her off at her university, Akiko’s boyfriend mistakes him for her grandfather, and the old man elects not to correct him. AFI Silver Theatre Sat., Feb. 25, 3:30 p.m., Tue., Feb. 28, 7:15 p.m.

Kazakh The Eagle Huntress Directed by Otto Bell (U.K./Mongolia/U.S., 2016, 87 min.) This spellbinding documentary follows Aisholpan, a 13-year-old nomadic Mongolian girl who is fighting to become the first female eagle hunter in twelve generations of her Kazakh family. West End Cinema

Silent The Red Turtle (La tortue rouge) Directed by Michael Dudok de Wit (France/Belgium, 2017, 81 min.) This haunting and magical tale, told wordlessly but eloquently, is a simple fable of a man shipwrecked on a tropical island, and his efforts to survive. The island is populated by birds and crabs and is one day visited by a large sea turtle that seems to have mysterious intentions. Angelika Mosaic Landmark’s E Street Cinema

Spanish Julieta Directed by Pedro Almodóvar (Spain, 2016, 99 min.) Julieta is a middle-age woman living in Madrid with her boyfriend who has been apart from her daughter for 12 years. After a casual encounter, the brokenhearted woman decides to confront her life and the events that led to her daughter’s estrangement. Landmark’s Bethesda Row Cinema

German

Turkish

Toni Erdmann

Kedi

Directed by Maren Ade (Germany/Austria/Romania, 2016, 162 min.) A father who is a divorced music teacher and an old-age hippie of sorts — with a passion for bizarre pranks involving fake personas — decides to reconnect with his adult daughter, a high-powered business consultant posted in Bucharest (German, English and Romanian). Landmark’s Bethesda Row Cinema

Japanese Like Someone in Love

Directed by Ceyda Torun (Turkey/U.S., 2017, 80 min.) Hundreds of thousands of Turkish cats roam the metropolis of Istanbul freely. For thousands of years they’ve wandered in and out of people’s lives, becoming an essential part of the communities that make the city so rich. Claiming no owners, the cats of Istanbul live between two worlds, neither wild nor tame — and they bring joy and purpose to those people they choose to adopt. Landmark Theatres Opens Fri., Feb. 24

THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | FEBRuary 2017 | 39


WD | Culture | Events

Events Listings *Unless specific times are listed, please check the venue for times. Venue locations are subject to change.

ART Through Feb. 2

Silent Room This installation by Dutch artist Simon Heijdens is a space devoid of sound or color. As such, it offers an immersive experience of silence and peace, a rare and unmediated moment of reflection in the sensory overload of the outside environment. Visitors enter the 40-foot-long room alone, excluded from any visual or audible manifestation other than themselves. Eventually, as ears and senses adapt to the silence, the visitor becomes the sound. What does this state of silence do to one’s body and mind? Is it indeed peaceful, or rather unbalancing? For registration information, please email was-rsvp@ minbuza.nl. Royal Netherlands Embassy Feb. 3 to 24

Suspicious Growths: Works by Tai Hwa Goh Tai Hwa Goh’s works start from an interpretation of personal experiences, a desire to capture the fine details and rhythm that make up one’s accumulated memories, and the natural flow of energy. Goh’s pieces use traditional printing methods on thin Korean Hanji paper, which is piled, folded and bound by hand to create forms that evoke elements of nature such as stems, cells, seeds and organs of the human body. Together these become a living organism that appears to proliferate and divide as viewers experience a totally transformed art space, before being reborn into an installation with architectural elements. Korean Cultural Center Feb. 3 to March 18

Decolonizing Alaska This exhibit explores how 31 native and non-native Alaskan artists are grappling with issues related to climate change and responding to socio-political conditions in the state. It will highlight themes related to Alaska’s history with the colonization of native lands, how Alaska is sustaining its heritage and how Alaskans are responding to climate change. Among the works are Linda Infante Lyons’“St. Katherine of Karluk,” which replaces symbolic elements of a Russian Orthodox icon with those of the native Alutiiq people of Kodiak, Alaska, an area greatly affected by Russian colonization. The George Washington University’s Corcoran School of the Arts and Design Feb. 4 to April 30

500 Years of Treasures from Oxford Founded 500 years ago in 1517, the

THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | February 2017 complete collection of works by Miró, including “The Mallorca Suite,” is on view in this intimate exhibition. The Kreeger Museum

library of Corpus Christi College, Oxford, is a repository of extraordinary treasures, few of which have ever been seen by the public. To mark the 500th anniversary, a selection of 50 manuscripts and early printed books, ranging in date from the 10th to the 17th centuries, is being brought to America for the first time. Folger Shakespeare Library

Through Feb. 26

Evolving Elections; Comparing the 1916 and 2016 Presidential Campaigns

Feb. 4 to April 30

Toulouse-Lautrec Illustrates the Belle Époque Through his lithographs and posters, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec captured the heart of Parisian nightlife in dynamic cabaret and café-concert scenes inspired by the city’s burgeoning entertainment district. This special exhibition presents, for the first time in the United States, one of the foremost collections of the artist’s prints and posters. Nearly 100 examples of incomparable quality and color celebrate daily life and the premier performers of the belle époque — Aristide Bruant, Marcelle Lender, Cha-U-Kao and others — cleverly caricatured through Toulouse-Lautrec’s perceptive skills of observation and transformation. The Phillips Collection Feb. 5 to June 4

Della Robbia: Sculpting with Color in Renaissance Florence Luca della Robbia, a master sculptor in marble and bronze, invented a glazing technique for terracotta sculpture that positioned him as one of the most innovative artists of the 15th century. Today, the sculptures created by Luca and his family workshop retain their brilliant opaque whites, deep cerulean blues, and botanical greens, purples and yellows over modeling that makes them powerful and engaging examples of Italian Renaissance art. National Gallery of Art Through Feb. 7

No Boundaries: Aboriginal Australian Contemporary Abstract Painting “No Boundaries” showcases the work of nine Aboriginal artists from remote northwest Australia, revered as community leaders and the custodians of ceremonial knowledge. They took up painting late in their lives, but quickly established themselves at the forefront of Australian contemporary art. The paintings of these nine men cannot be understood outside of the rich cultural traditions that inform them. At the same time, these artists are innovators of the highest order. Embassy of Australia Art Gallery Through Feb. 12

Notes from the Desert: Photographs by Gauri Gill Since the late 1990s, Gauri Gill (born 1970) has been photographing

40 | THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | FEBRuary 2017

Photo: Courtesy of the artist. Silent Room, Simon Heijdens 2016

“Silent Room,” an installation by Dutch artist Simon Heijdens, will be exhibited at the Netherlands Embassy until Feb. 2.

marginalized communities in western Rajasthan, India. Featuring 57 of her prints, this exhibition showcases Gill’s work in the remote desert region and draws on her extensive archive. Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Through Feb. 17

Different Dimensions – One Artlove Painting as a medium of freedom and concentration shows itself from its variable and curious side in this exhibition that presents four different takes on painting by artists from D.C., Baltimore, Vienna and Salzburg. From figuration to abstraction, this show proves once again that art transcends its boundaries, connecting beauty, craftsmanship and conceptual ideas. Embassy of Austria Feb. 17 to May 14

Border Crossing: Jami Porter Lara While visiting a remote area along the U.S.–Mexico border, Albuquerquebased artist Jami Porter Lara found the remains of ancient pottery as well as plastic bottles discarded by migrants moving through the region. Intrigued by this juxtaposition, she began to reconceptualize the plastic bottle. National Museum of Women in the Arts Feb. 17 to May 14

New Ground: The Southwest of Maria Martinez and Laura Gilpin Contemporaries and friends, potter Maria Martinez (ca. 1887–1980) and photographer Laura Gilpin (1891–1979) brought the American Southwest into focus as a culturally rich region that fostered artistic expression. Martinez’s bold adaptation of an ancient black-on-black pottery design technique reflected Pueblo artistic traditions and also appealed to the modernist sensibility. Gilpin was one of the first women to capture the landscape and peoples of the American West on film. National Museum of Women in the Arts

Feb. 18 to June 11

Friends and Fashion: An American Diplomat in 1820s Russia Focusing on 45 portraits from an album assembled by the family of politician and statesman Henry Middleton, this exhibition paints a captivating picture of diplomatic life in early 19th-century St. Petersburg. The intimate portraits, along with selected objects, images and publications, offer an exploration into a number of themes, including Middleton’s posting in St. Petersburg and the historical events surrounding his time there, the family’s social life in Russia, the artistic traditions of the period, and the elaborate fashions and hairstyles of the day. Hillwood Estate, Museum and Gardens Through Feb. 20

The Art of the Qur’an: Treasures from the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts In recognition of one of the world’s extraordinary collections of Qur’ans, the Freer|Sackler is hosting a landmark exhibition, the first of its kind in the United States, featuring some 50 of the most sumptuous manuscripts from Herat to Istanbul. Celebrated for their superb calligraphy and lavish illumination, these manuscripts — which range in date from the early 8th to the 17th century — are critical to the history of the arts of the book. They were once the prized possessions of Ottoman sultans and the ruling elite, who donated their Qur’ans to various institutions to express their personal piety and secure political power. Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Through Feb. 25

Joan Miró, from the Collection of the Kreeger Museum Joan Miró was the consummate professional artist, a perfectionist who insisted he was a “self-taught amateur” to secure for himself permission to transgress traditional techniques, especially in pursuit of printmaking as a medium for his breathtaking expressions of devotion for Catalan culture. The Kreeger’s

“Evolving Elections” attempts to make sense of presidential politics then and now, exploring the political campaign season of 100 years ago vs. the current election. The modern day complaints about primary fights, the importance of party unity, a bitterly divided party, the grueling length of campaigns and outsiders seeking nomination would have been familiar to the voter during the contentious election of 1916. More contentious than 2016? You decide. Woodrow Wilson House Feb. 26 to Aug. 6

The Urban Scene: 1920-1950 American artists of the early 20th century sought to interpret the beauty, power, and anxiety of the modern age in diverse ways. Through depictions of bustling city crowds and breathtaking metropolitan vistas, 25 black-and-white prints in this exhibition explore the spectacle of urban modernity. National Gallery of Art Through March 5

Gender Equality: We’ve come a long way - haven’t we? Sweden’s achievements in gender equality are hailed as inspiring examples. Focusing on four sub-goals of gender equality set up by the Swedish government — equal division of power and influence; economic equality; equal distribution of unpaid housework and provision of care; and men’s violence against women — this exhibition aims to inspire and reflect as well as discuss the changes that have been made and to initiate the changes still needed. House of Sweden Through March 5

Spirit of the Wild: Through the Eyes of Mattias Klum All life on earth is interconnected. Cities, societies and nations depend on healthy natural ecosystems to survive and prosper. Mattias Klum, one of the most important natural history photographer of our time, shares the stories of his journeys; from deep in the Artic to wild places like the Borneo rainforest, to the savannahs of Tanzania and the life under the sea. House of Sweden Through March 5

Sweden’s Freedom of the Press Unfolded The freedom to express oneself in

speech and writing is one of the basic human rights according to the U.N. Universal Declaration of Human Rights from 1948. Sweden’s Freedom of the Press Act was passed almost 200 years earlier, in 1766. This unique timeline exhibition reveals how Sweden’s freedom of the press came about and focuses on some of the advances and setbacks that have shaped it. House of Sweden Through March 5

Viktigt by Ingegerd Raman With love of craftsmanship and simplicity at the heart of it all, Viktigt pieces do their job in silence. Ingegerd Råman, the House of Sweden’s own designer, explores the craftsmanship behind her IKEA collection of glass, ceramic, bamboo and natural fibers. House of Sweden Through March 5

Woodland Sweden Nature is prevalent everywhere in Sweden and there is a long tradition of using nature’s raw materials in the country’s built environment. Wooden architecture and design, in fact, are becoming a new Swedish export item. This exhibition shows the rapid development of Swedish innovative contemporary architecture and examines different aspects of construction work with wood. House of Sweden Through March 12

Mehring / Wellspring: The Early Color Field Paintings of Howard Mehring This survey samples reflects on the work of Howard Mehring, a native Washingtonian who became a leading figure in the loosely defined Washington Color School movement, a form of Abstraction particular to D.C. American University Museum Through April 23

Jacob Lawrence: The Life of Toussaint L’Ouverture Featuring a series of 15 rarely seen silkscreen prints created by American artist Jacob Lawrence between 1986 and 1997, this exhibition portrays the life of Toussaint L’Ouverture (17421803), the former slave turned leader of Haiti’s independence movement. The Phillips Collection Through May 13

Bordes/Borders This contemporary video exhibit curated by Othón Castañeda features nine short films with borders as their main concept. The works were among a number of films submitted by international artists to the Bienal de las Fronteras, an artistic initiative that offers a platform to emerging artists


Events | Culture | WD

of diverse backgrounds. This selection questions the boundaries of the biennial itself, including participating artists that establish an alternative view of the border, this time “from the inside out.” Mexican Cultural Institute Through June 2

From the Desk of Simone de Beauvoir Consider the influence and intellect of feminist philosopher Simone de Beauvoir in an interpretation of her Paris studio alcove. This installation invites visitors to reflect on Beauvoir’s impact, not only in her time and not only as a feminist, but in our own time and in the areas of literature, philosophy and popular culture. National Museum of Women in the Arts Through March 5

Photography Reinvented: The Collection of Robert E. Meyerhoff and Rheda Becker The collection of Robert E. Meyerhoff and Rheda Becker brings together works of critically important artists who have changed the course of photography through their experimentation and conceptual scope. Especially rich in holdings of work by photographers of the famed Düsseldorf School, among them Struth, Candida Höfer, Andreas Gursky and Thomas Ruff, the collection also includes examples by photographers exploring the nature of the medium itself, such as Demand, Cindy Sherman and Vik Muniz. National Gallery of Art Through March 5

Stuart Davis: In Full Swing As one of the most important American modernists, Stuart Davis (1892–1964) blurred distinctions between text and image, high and low art, and abstraction and figuration, crafting a distinct style that continues to influence art being made today. National Gallery of Art Through March 26

The Great Swindle: Works by Santiago Montoya Colombian artist Santiago Montoya uses paper currency as the base for his work, re-contextualizing one of our most basic and intimate relationships: the relationship with money. Comprised of works that Montoya has made over the last 10 years, “The Great Swindle” represents a sustained examination of the complicated, fluid relationships we have with financial systems, as well as a journey through the artist’s forays into the materiality of paper bills — raising questions and taking positions on our place within the financial system. OAS Art Museum of the Americas Through Aug. 6, 2017

José Gómez-Sicre’s Eye A half-century ago, Cuban-born curator José Gómez-Sicre took the reins

of the OAS’s art program, thrusting himself into the rapidly expanding Latin American art world and bringing young, emerging talent to the OAS’s budding exhibition space. Impassioned by the arts, Gómez-Sicre planted the seeds of what is today considered among world’s finest collections of modern and contemporary Latin American and Caribbean art. The OAS will be celebrating the centennial of Gómez-Sicre’s birth throughout 2016, honoring his contribution to the legacy of the hemisphere’s art. OAS Art Museum of the Americas

DANCE Through Feb. 5

Mariinsky Ballet: Alexei Ratmansky’s ‘The Little Humpbacked Horse’ For its annual engagement, the legendary Mariinsky brings Alexei Ratmansky’s charming contemporary take on the classic Russian fairy tale in a D.C. premiere showcasing plenty of personality, humor and creativity with a score by Rodion Shchedrin. Tickets are $49 to $150. Kennedy Center Opera House

DISCUSSIONS Fri., Feb. 3, 9 to 10:30 a.m.

The Enduring Significance of Charter 77 The Czech Republic’s successful transition from communism to democracy would have been impossible without the committed activists who provided a consistent and courageous voice in favor of political and intellectual freedom and civic engagement. This is why Charter 77, a short manifes to with a few thousand signatories, had such an explosive impact within the Eastern Bloc. Not only did many members and signatories of Charter 77 go on to play important roles in Czech and Slovak national life, the manifesto has also served as an inspiration to democratic dissidents from China to Cuba. This panel will explore the enduring significance of Charter 77 for the partisans of human freedom. Registration is required and can be made at https://charter77.eventbrite.com. Embassy of the Czech Republic Thu., Feb. 9, 6 p.m.

From Tarzan to Tonto Stereotypes as Obstacles to Progress Toward a More Perfect Union Tarzan and Jane, Tonto and the Lone Ranger, Uncle Ben and Aunt Jemima—all represent familiar tropes and imagery about Native American, African, and African American people. But from where do these limiting stereotypes spring? Why have they remained so resilient? And what can we do to combat fixed cultural identities and move forward? National Museum of African Art

MUSIC Wed., Feb. 1, 6:30 p.m.

Swedish Pianist Peter Friis Johansson Award-winning and highly acclaimed Swedish pianist Peter Friis Johansson performs a solo recital with music by Schubert and Scandinavian composers. House of Sweden Thu., Feb. 2, 8 p.m.

Danish String Quartet The members of the Danish Quartet have self-effacingly described themselves as “simply your friendly neighborhood string quartet with above average amounts of beard.” But the critical press takes a more elevated view, with the Washington Post dubbing the youthful Danes “one of the best quartets before the public today.” Tickets are $47. UDC Theater of the Arts Sat., Feb. 4, 7 p.m.

Noche de Boleros (Night of Ballads) Teatro de la Luna presents an evening of romantic music showcasing the magical voices of María del Socorro and Jorge Anaya (El Salvador) and Amira Mendoza (Venezuela), will interpret unforgettable Spanishlanguage love ballads, accompanied by well-known area musicians Dani Cortaza, Alfonso Rondón and Nelson Alvarez. Tickets are $35. Rosslyn Spectrum Theater Sat., Feb. 4, 7:30 p.m.

The Trumpet Shall Sound Taking its name from the aria in Handel’s Messiah, this program by PostClassical Ensemble intermingles spirituals with classic religious arias to explore the expression of religious fervor common to both. Washington National Cathedral Thu., Feb. 9, 7 p.m.

Sound Impact: Paisajes Españoles Sound Impact is a collective of renowned musicians dedicated to serving communities and igniting positive change in the U.S. and abroad through live performance, educational programs and creative collaboration. As part of the series, this evening of Spanish music features the works of acclaimed Spanish clarinetist/composer Jose Gonzalez Granero, cellist Danielle Cho, violinist Rebecca Jackson, violinist Regino Madrid and violist Tiffany Richardson. For RSVP information, visit www. spainculture.us. Former Residence of the Spanish Ambassador Thu., Feb. 16, 8 p.m., Fri., Feb. 17, 8 p.m.

Solas Celebrating 20 years, “the finest Celtic ensemble this country has ever produced” (the Boston Globe) lights up the Barns with its melodic beacon

of Irish music. Tickets are $25 to $28. The Barns at Wolf Trap Sat., Feb. 18, 8 p.m., Sun., Feb. 19, 4 p.m.

Taj Express: The Bollywood Musical Revue Journey into the contemporary culture of India through the glitz and glamour of Bollywood with this musical review based on one of its greatest films, “Taj Express.” Tickets are $30 to $50. George Mason University Center for the Arts Sun., Feb. 19, 7 p.m.

Living the Dream … Singing the Dream For 25 years, the Washington Performing Arts Gospel Choirs have shared the inspirational gift of gospel music with audiences throughout the D.C. region and beyond. The choirs’ annual concert with the Choral Arts Chorus, honoring the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., is a joyful celebration of the power of music and the human spirit. Tickets are $25 to $70. Kennedy Center Concert Hall Sat., Feb. 25, 6 p.m.

The Root of the Root Cuban-Spanish composer Pavel Urkiza and the Cuban-inspired Congrí Ensemble present an exploration of the ancestral connections of music with songs that are part of the Latin American popular heritage, learned and transmitted from generation to generation. Tickets are $25. Atlas Performing Arts Center Mon., Feb. 27, 8 p.m.

anniversary season with Norwegian playwright Jon Fosse’s emotionally powerful drama about a strange couple who moves into an isolated, run-down house to be alone, far from the prying eyes of others. Yet, they both grow increasingly anxious that “someone is going to come” in this poetic play about passion, paranoia and jealousy. Tickets are $30 to $35. Atlas Performing Arts Center Feb. 7 to March 12

King Charles III The Queen is dead. After a lifetime of waiting, Prince Charles ascends the throne with Camilla by his side. As William, Kate and Harry look on, Charles prepares for the future of power that lies before him — but how to rule? Written primarily in Shakespearean blank verse, this modern history play explores the people underneath the crowns, the unwritten rules of Britain’s democracy and the conscience of its most famous family. Please call for ticket information. Shakespeare Theatre Harman Hall Through Feb. 11

Hamlette “Hamlette” takes the classic Shakespeare play, throws it in a blender and shakes it up into a side-splitting comedy told in under an hour with only five actors as part of the Keegan Theatre’s “Play Rah Ka” series on inspiring young people (recommended for ages 11 and up). For information, visit http://keegantheatre.com/ playrahka/. The Keegan Theatre Feb. 15 to March 19

The Taming of the Shrew

Former Baltimore Symphony Orchestra music director Yuri Temirkanov returns with his St. Petersburg Philharmonic, which Washington Performing Arts has presented since its pre-Perestroika days as the Leningrad Philharmonic. Tickets are $40 to $110. Kennedy Center Concert Hall

Come to “Paduawood” where Synetic Theater will spoof Hollywood’s famous-for-no-reason socialites in this modern-day adaptation of one of the Bard’s best-known romantic comedies. See the original battle of the sexes enacted with the dazzling choreography and physical comedy that only Synetic can deliver (no dialogue). Tickets start at $35. Synetic Theater

THEATER

Feb. 18 to April 2

Feb. 2 to 26

The Select (The Sun Also Rises)

St. Petersburg Philharmonic

Yo también hablo de la rosa/I Too Speak of the Rose In this searing look at poverty and society’s response to it, two poor teens who accidentally derail a train while skipping school become the subject of a media frenzy. As they follow the occurrence, diverse people reveal, with biting humor and wit, their socio-political views on the cause of the incident and provide insight into the complexities of Mexican life in the 1960s. Tickets are $40 to $45. GALA Hispanic Theatre Through Feb. 5

Someone is Going to Come Scena Theatre continues its 30th

A stage littered with liquor bottles and café chairs seamlessly transforms itself from the bistros of Paris to the banks of the Irati River. As the story winds its way through France and Spain and lands in Pamplona where bullfighting and the fiesta rage in the streets, Ernest Hemingway’s narrator carries the heavy burdens of a war injury and his inability to have the woman he loves. Please call for ticket information. Shakespeare Lansburgh Theatre Through Feb. 19

The Hard Problem Master dramatist Tom Stoppard’s newest play follows Hilary, a

young psychology researcher at the prestigious Krohl Institute for Brain Science. As she and her colleagues grapple with the “hard problem” of defining consciousness, a thorny decision from Hilary’s past fuels her controversial stances — and a few suspect choices. Tickets start at $52. Studio Theatre Through Feb. 19

Roe The lawyer: a young, brilliant, courageous woman arguing Roe v. Wade before the Supreme Court. The plaintiff: a complex, single woman seeking to end an unwanted pregnancy. The landmark 1973 case legalized abortion, but also began their separate journeys that would come to mirror the polarization in American culture. Tickets are $40 to $90. Arena Stage Sun., Feb. 19, 3 p.m.

Léonore, ou l’amour conjugal Revolution is in the air. A political prisoner awaits death in his cell. A woman puts herself in mortal danger to seek justice in Ludwig van Beethoven’s classic opera rich with themes that remain relevant today. Tickets are $25 to $130. GW Lisner Auditorium Feb. 24 to April 9

Intelligence Jacqueline E. Lawton’s new political thriller explores the cost of deception and the consequences of speaking truth to power. “Intelligence” is a fictionalized account inspired by true events of a covert operative who, tasked with protecting the national security of the United States post-9/11, is racing to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. With her country at war, her cover is blown and the lives of her assets are put in jeopardy. Tickets are $40 to $90. Arena Stage Through Feb. 26

Baby Screams Miracle A small house is besieged by an apocalyptic storm. Great trees crack and splinter, garbage shatters windows, a deer impales the car windshield and the wind hurls a trampoline into the living room. While their family home collapses all around them, an estranged daughter and her devout relatives try to pray their way to safety. Tickets start at $20. Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company Through March 5

As You Like It Rosalind is banished from court and flees to the Forest of Arden, where she discovers Orlando and a world of passion and possibility in one of Shakespeare’s most cherished romantic comedies. When she disguises herself as a man, enchantment abounds and blossoms into an exploration of the beauty and complexities of young love. Tickets are $35 to $75. Folger Theatre

THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | FEBRuary 2017 | 41


WD | Culture | Spotlight

Diplomatic Spotlight

February 2017

Inauguration of U.S. President Donald Trump

Café Milano Inaugural Reception

Real estate billionaire Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th U.S. president on Jan. 20. Hundreds of thousands of revelers and protesters turned out for the inauguration, and while inaugural festivities were more subdued than previous years, various balls and parties were held to mark the historic occasion. The Canadian Embassy held its popular viewing party overlooking Pennsylvania Avenue that drew over 2,000 guests. Photo: Official White House Facebook Page High-profile Republicans also came out to President Donald Trump is sworn in at the U.S. Capitol with his wife Melania Trump and children by his side. the British Residence and Café Milano. On Jan. 18, Trump held a last-minute Chairman’s Global Dinner at Andrew Mellon Auditorium for over 150 members of the diplomatic corps. Afterward, ambassadors went to the Organization of American States for Sister Cities International’s 2017 Inaugural Gala held in partnership with the Embassy of Slovenia (Melania Trump’s birthplace). On Jan. 21, millions around the world protested Trump’s election during the Women’s March. By some estimates, the D.C. march drew three times as many people as Trump’s inauguration did, a possible sign of the friction to come over the next four years.

Fox News anchor Bret Baier, former U.S. ambassador to Barbados Mary Ourisman and Amy Baier.

Photo: DoD / U.S. Army Sgt. Ashley Marble

President Trump and first lady Melania Trump — wearing an off-the-shoulder gown by Hervé Pierre — attend the Liberty Ball while the U.S. Air Force Band plays “Hail to the Chief” at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.

Café Milano owner Franco Nuschese, right, welcomes guests to his restaurant’s inaugural party.

Billionaire Wilbur Ross, President Trump’s pick for commerce secretary, shares a laugh with Ambassador of Sri Lanka Prasad Kariyawasam.

British Inauguration Reception

Photos: British Embassy

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Mary Pat Christie, British Ambassador Sir Kim Darroch and Lady Vanessa Darroch.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), center, talks with guests at the British Residence.

Kelley Paul, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), British Ambassador Sir Kim Darroch and Lady Vanessa Darroch.

Jody O’Donnell, Sterling Deason O’Donnell, millionaire businessman Darwin Deason, his wife Katerina Deason, Brande Roderick of Playboy and “Celebrity Apprentice,” British Ambassador Sir Kim Darroch and political donor Doug Deason.

42 | THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | FEBRuary 2017

Cinda Hicks, private equity investor and sports owner Thomas O. Hicks Sr., Judith Giuliani, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Thomas O Hicks Jr. of Hicks Holdings LLC and his wife Alexandra Post Cooper.

Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer and political columnist George F. Will.

Dr. Vanila Singh of Stanford Medicine, Joseph Schmitz, former inspector general of the Defense Department and executive with Blackwater International, and Corey Lewandowski, Trump’s former campaign manager.

NBC News correspondent Andrea Mitchell and Vanessa Darroch.

Brian Kilmeade and Ainsley Earhardt of Fox News Channel’s “Fox & Friends.”

Matthew Swift, co-founder and CEO of the Concordia Summit; journalist Huberta von Voss-Wittig; Ambassador of Germany Peter Wittig; Paula Dobriansky of Harvard University; and Bruce W. Friedman, deputy director of the Office of Brazilian and Southern Cone Affairs.

Marjorie Anne Brennan, former Librarian of Congress James Billington and Andrew Oros, director of international studies at Washington College.

Susan Bennett, Micaela Barbagallo, wife of the Italian ambassador, and Baba Groom.


Spotlight | Culture | WD

Sister Cities International Inaugural Gala

Canadian Inauguration Tailgate and Parade Viewing Hundreds gather in the Canadian Embassy courtyard to watch the inauguration on jumbo screens.

Sister Cities International (SCI) President and CEO Mary Kane, Ambassador of Slovenia Božo Cerar, President and Chief Executive Officer of Fort Worth Sister Cities Mae Ferguson and Matt Graves. Samira Safarova, political officer at the Embassy of Azerbaijan; former U.S. Ambassador to Bulgaria James Warlick; and wife of the Azeri ambassador Lala Abdurahimova.

Maj. Laura Batchelov of the British Embassy and Commodore Peter Leavy of the Australian Embassy.

Spectators at the Canadian Embassy watch President Trump’s speech.

Spectators at the Canadian Embassy watch President Trump’s speech.

Canadian Naval Attaché Capt. Marc Batsford and Vice Adm. Herman Shelanski of the U.S. Naval Inspector General.

Simon Gadd, Steve McCarthy, Dawn McCarthy and Alison Gadd.

Guests pose with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

Michelle Van Dyk and Jason Belanger.

Ambassador of Sri Lanka Prasad Kariyawasam, Taweel Tawil of Sahouri Insurance and Ambassador of Serbia Djerdj Matkovic.

Richard Bradley, Judi Bradley and Chandler Goule, CEO of the National Association of Wheat Growers.

Guests enjoy poutine, a Canadian dish of French fries and cheese curds topped with gravy.

Brent Lepp of the Canadian Border Services Agency, Cybele Wilson of the Conference of Defence Associations Institute and Derek Moss.

Richard Leiby of the Washington Post, senior producer Yvette Torell, writer Michele Langevine Leiby, embassy liaison Jan Du Plain, event planner Daniela Paoli and Monique Fray.

European Union Ambassador David O’Sullivan and his wife Agnes O’Hare.

Wife of the Nicaraguan ambassador Miriam Hooker and Jerome Barry of the Embassy Series.

Women’s March Protest

Max McCormick, former U.S. Ambassador to Serbia Mary Burce Warlick, Michelle Caruso-Cabrera of CNBC and Van McCormick of the International Economic Alliance. Taweel Tawil of Sahouri Insurance, former Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.), Fuad Sahouri of Sahouri Insurance and Rachael Capua, an assistant director at Texas Christian University. Jan Du Plain interviews Ambassador of Nicaragua Francisco Obadiah Campbell Hooker. Photos: James Cullum

THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | FEBRuary 2017 | 43


WD | Culture | Spotlight

Diplomatic Spotlight Belgian King’s Day

February 2017

Australian Actress in D.C. Deputy Chief of Mission of the Australian Embassy Caroline Millar toasted Australian actress Marta Dusseldorp at Millar’s residence to celebrate Dusseldorp and her three TV series, “A Place to Call Home,” “Janet King” and “Jack Irish,” which are available on the streaming service Acorn TV and syndicated on public television. Called “Netflix for the Anglophile” by NPR, RLJ Entertainment’s Acorn TV is the premier streamer of world-class TV from Britain and beyond, Photos: Embassy of Australia based in Silver Spring, Md.

Guy Martin, Grand Sénéchal Confrérie des Chevaliers de Tastevin de Washington DC, greets Ambassador of Belgium Dirk Wouters and his wife Katrin Van Bragt at the Belgian King’s Day reception held at Ambassador Wouters’s residence.

Lena Boman Schuwer, Ambassador of the Netherlands Henne Schuwer, Ambassador of Austria Wolfgang Waldner, coach Kathy Kemper of the Institute for Education, White House economic and technology advisor R. David Edelman and Joanne Ke Edelman of the Global Development Incubator.

Photos: Tomas Kloosterman

Deputy Chief of Mission of the Australian Embassy Caroline Millar, Australian actress Marta Dusseldorp and Cecilia Millar-Rakisits (Millar’s daughter).

Ambassador of the Democratic Republic of Congo François Nkuna Balumuene, Ambassador of Rwanda Mathilde Mukantabana and Ambassador of Burundi Ernest Ndabashinze.

Former IMF Executive Director Willy Kiekens, Damien Levie of the EU Delegation to the U.S. and his wife Sarah Paula de Greef.

Isabel Fezas Vital, Ambassador of Portugal Domingos Fezas Vital and coach Kathy Kemper of the Institute for Education. Mong Penella, Australian actors and husband and wife Ben Winspear and Marta Dusseldorp, and CEO of RLJ Entertainment Miguel Penella.

John Kerry’s Farewell After four years as U.S. secretary of state, John Kerry bid farewell to employees at the State Department on Jan. 19, delivering final remarks before leaving the Harry S. Truman Building. Photos: U.S. State Department

Steve Graziano of P3 Public Media; Jay Parikh, vice president of content at Maryland Public Television; and Marta Dusseldorp, a critically acclaimed Australian actress who is also an ambassador for Save the Children.

Colombia Honors Biden Above, left, Secretary of State John Kerry, second from left, is surrounded by his top officials: From left are Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Thomas Shannon, Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Undersecretary of State for Management Patrick Kennedy.

Secretary of State John Kerry has a few final moments in his State Department office.

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos honored Vice President Joe Biden Nov. 17 during a ceremony at the Colombian Residence for the outgoing vice president’s longstanding support for Colombia and bilateral relations. Photos: Embassy of Colombia

Malta Assumes EU Presidency Eurasia Center President Gerard J. Janco and Ambassador of the Czech Republic Petr Gandalovic attend a reception at the Slovak Embassy marking the transfer of the European Union Council Presidency from Slovakia to Malta.

Ambassador of the Slovak Republic Peter Kmec, a representative of American Sokol in Washington, D.C., and Milos Toth of Urban Adventures Companies.

John Robinson, Ambassador of Malta Pierre Clive Agius, Ambassador of the Netherlands Henne Schuwer, Frances G. Burwell of the Atlantic Council’s Future Europe Initiative and Pete Nonis of the Business Council for International Understanding.

TECRO Office’s 30th Anniversary On Nov. 23, friends and neighbors turned out to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the opening of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO) building in Northwest Washington. Photos: TECRO

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos honors Vice President Joe Biden.

Carolina Barco Isakson, senior advisor of the Inter-American Development Bank and former ambassador of Colombia, talks to current Ambassador Juan Carlos Pinzón.

Douglas Paal, vice president for studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and former director of the American Institute in Taiwan; TECRO Representative Stanley Kao; his wife Sherry Sung; Paul Wolfowitz, chairman of the U.S.-Taiwan Business Council and former U.S. deputy secretary of defense; and former U.S. Rep. Lester Wolff (D-N.Y.).

44 | THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | FEBRuary 2017

TECRO Representative Stanley Kao and his wife welcome members of the Lion Dance troupe.

Ambassador of Chile Juan Gabriel Valdés Soublette, right, and his wife Antonia Echenique Celis. Ambassador of Colombia to the Organization of American States Andrés González Díaz, right, and his wife Inés Elvira Shuck Aparicio.


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February 2017