■ INSIDE: EDUCATION
A World of News and Perspective
AND TRAVEL & HOTELS SPECIAL SECTIONS
EDUCATION ■ A Special Section of The Washington Diplomat
■ VOLUME 20, NUMBER 1 UNITED STATES
Capital Gets Ready To Swear Obama Back Into Office As the nation’s capital hunkers down for the winter, the onset of seasonal depression is broken up every four years by the glittering galas and presidential pageantry of the inauguration, a historical occasion that inspires even the bitterest of partisans to momentarily put aside their differences. PAGE 14
PEOPLE OFCWORLD ourINFLUENCE se U.S. universities are known around the world for providing students with a top-flight education — and a course offered at Syracuse University in upstate New York fits that image nicely. Students who sign up for the course explore the final frontier and boldly go where no man has gone before, using Star Trek to study some of
today’s most pressing technological issues. The course filled up the first day it was advertised back in 2011.
Brzezinski Wants Bolder Obama in “Star Trek and the Information Age” is the brainchild of professor Anthony Rotolo, who said he wanted to offer Continued on next page
■ INSIDE: Working for the CIA
or another intelligence agency
has to start somewhere, and
for many it starts with a college
by Karin Zeitvogel
scholarship. PAGE 36 ■
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A key liaison to Washington’s diplomatic community, Ambassador Capricia Penavic Marshall is usually the first hand that
welcomes kings, queens,
‘Roads of Arabia’ Makes Its Way to U.S.
ters to the United States.
An outdoor class at the State University of New York
Taught in the USA: Star Trek to Springsteen, Colleges Go Where No School Has Gone Before
In 2008, Zbigniew Brzezinski, former national security advisor and perennial foreign policy wise man, praised President Obama’s “understanding of the basic dynamics of this era.” Four years later, he argues that Obama needs to reassert his credibility on the world stage to shape both his legacy and the country’s trajectory. PAGE 6
Industry Vets Talk About Strategies for Embassies to Succeed
“Roads of Arabia” makes its American debut at the Sackler Gallery, revealing a fascinating new side to Saudi Arabia.
■ JANUARY 2013
How does an ambassador get heard on Capitol Hill amid the partisan rancor? Who’s in and out of the administration? These questions and more were broached at The Washington Diplomat’s inaugural Country Promotion Strategies Conference, held one week after the U.S. presidential election. PAGE 20
■ January 2013
presidents and prime minisAs protocol chief, she’s one of the nation’s most visible diplomats — and among its most enthusiastic. PAGE 17
Ambassadors Trek To Arkansas for Southern Charm Diplomats from more than 40 nations recently trekked to Arkansas to see former President Bill Clinton, learn about the state’s segregationist past, and meet the business leaders of tomorrow in the latest Experience America excursion arranged by the State Department. PAGE 8
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A World of News & Perspective
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CONTENTS THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT
8 Diplomats in Arkansas
[ news ] 6
PEOPlE OF WOrld iNFluENCE
diPlOMaCy BBQ and Bill Clinton were just two of the adventures that awaited Washington ambassadors in Arkansas as part of the State Department’s popular Experience America trips.
Two years after the Arab Spring altered the geopolitical landscape, a major conference examined the largely ignored dynamic of U.S.-Saudi relations.
COvEr PrOFilE: u.S. PrOTOCOl CHiEF Understanding the rules of protocol goes a long way toward greasing the wheels of diplomacy — which is why Ambassador Capricia Penavic Marshall’s job is so important.
[ travel & hotels ] The robocalls and attack ads have ended. That’s cause for celebration alone. But Washington is gearing up for an even bigger party — the presidential inauguration — and for area hotels, the festivities mean big business.
The Washington Diplomat’s inaugural Country Promotion Strategies Conference brought together industry insiders to assess the political landscape one week after the elections.
dEvElOPMENT The number of development groups trying to make the world a better place is impressive — and staggering.
COvEr: Photo taken at the U.S. Department of State by Lawrence Ruggeri.
[ culture ]
Artifacts unearthed from the shifting sands of the Arabian desert have radically altered our understanding of this ancient region — and of modern-day Saudi Arabia.
THEaTEr The rise to stardom by the motley crew of musical hopefuls in “Dreamgirls” is marked by ambition, greed, backstabbing, hurt and all the other hallmarks of showbiz success.
PHOTOgraPHy “A Living Man Declared Dead” is a piercing study of the different lots that life casts on people connected only by the thread of DNA.
diNiNg After two established successes, Jeffrey Buben has finally decided to open a third venture: Woodward Table.
FilM rEviEWS “Rust and Bone” combines harsh realism with a hyperbolic sense of post-romanticism in which criminal elements become heroic figures in stark, devastating environments.
FilM FEaTurE “Reportero” tracks the valiant efforts of Mexican journalists working under the constant threat of death.
TravEl A trip to one of the cradles of mankind reveals how ecological conservation and economic development can go hand in hand.
iNTErNaTiONal laW The case of a former Somali prime minister being sued in U.S. courts for torture could reverberate around the world.
PHOTOgraPHy Images of 20th-century Mexico capture the country’s scenic landscapes and sociopolitical realities as seen through a visitor’s lens.
iNTElligENCE TraiNiNg The CIA and various other government agencies are targeting college students with generous scholarships and other perks to bring a diverse new talent pool into the U.S. intelligence community.
Oddball COurSES From Star Trek to Bruce Springsteen, U.S. colleges and universities are boldly going where no student has gone before.
POliTiCS Preparations are well under way to get the city ready for the 57th Presidential Inauguration, a quadrennial event that is both solemn and celebratory.
[ education ]
arT “Ai Weiwei: According to What?” is the Chinese dissident artist’s first survey show in North America and the Hirshhorn goes all out to give the political provocateur his due.
The myth of suicides spiking during the holiday season is a persistent one that masks the complex realities of depression and mental illness.
Two days after President Obama secured a second term, Zbigniew Brzezinski didn’t mince words about what Obama needs to do to burnish his legacy.
WOrld HOlidayS / aPPOiNTMENTS
rEal ESTaTE ClaSSiFiEdS
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PEOPLE OF WORLD INFLUENCE
Brzezinski: Obama Must ‘Regain’ Lost Ground in Foreign Policy by Larry Luxner
wo days after the election that returned President Barack Obama to the White House for a second term, one of America’s best-known former diplomats offered his take on the world — and the audience found his observations just as relevant as they were three decades ago.
Zbigniew Brzezinski, national security advisor under President Jimmy Carter from 1977 to 1981, didn’t mince words when it came to Obama. “He has to undo the excessive reliance on speeches as he acts on the world scene — that is to say, the apparent assumption that a powerful speech on this or that subject is the same as effecting change,” Brzezinski said. “The speeches all promised a great deal, but a great deal did not transpire. There was some marginal progress here and there, but by and large, his speeches remain speeches.” The Polish-American diplomat, 84, gave his own speech Nov. 8 at the Aspen Institute’s Ambassadors’ Security Roundtable luncheon at the Four Seasons hotel; moderating the discussion was CNN’s Washington-based foreign affairs correspondent Jill Dougherty. In attendance were some 75 guests, including ambassadors representing a range of countries from Afghanistan to Zambia, as well as lobbyists, consultants and various State Department officials. The event was part of the recent launch of the Ambassadors’ Security Roundtable, a quarterly convening of ambassadors from around the world to promote greater international cooperation in the critical realm of security. The luncheon followed an offthe-record gathering of European envoys at the Aspen Institute’s Wye River campus on Maryland’s Eastern Shore in October. Brzezinski, whom Dougherty introduced as a “living legend,” said that in 2008, “at a lunch of this sort,” he spoke of how impressed he was with the presidentelect’s “knowledge and understanding of the basic dynamics of this era.” Four years later, Brzezinski argued that Obama must reassert his credibility on the world stage through serious commitment and decisive action that will shape both his legacy and the country’s history. “The management of our foreign policy and the protection of our national security are interwoven, and the president has no peer,” Brzezinski said. “Congress is not a partner in the shaping of foreign policy. That is the special domain of the president, and he has to regain that territory.” It’s territory Brzezinski has traversed for decades. During his time as Carter’s national security advisor, Brzezinski oversaw the normalization of U.S. relations with China, the overthrow of the Shah in Iran, the rise
of mujahideen fighters in Afghanistan, the growth of dissent in Soviet-influenced Eastern Europe, the signing of a treaty to relinquish U.S. control over the Panama Canal, and the brokering of the Camp David peace accords between Egypt and Israel. The chairman of countless commissions, task forces and councils, Brzezinski has been in the foreign policy trenches since the 1960s. The elder statesman remains active today, teaching at universities such as Harvard, Columbia and Johns Hopkins and writing numerous widely regarded books, including his most recent: “Strategic Vision: America and the Crisis of Global Power.” In the 2012 book, Brzezinski argues that U.S. policymakers need to rethink the country’s place in an interdependent world where America is no longer the sole superpower — adapting to shifting geopolitics while reasserting American influence in order to preserve global stability. “Indeed, the ongoing changes in the distribution of global power and mounting global strife make it all the more imperative that America not retreat into an ignorant garrison-state mentality or wallow in self-righteous cultural hedonism. Such an
Photo: Larry Luxner
Congress is not a partner in the shaping of foreign policy. That is the special domain of the president, and he has to regain that territory. — Zbigniew Brzezinski former U.S. national security advisor
America could cause the geopolitical prospects of an evolving world — in which the center of gravity is shifting from West to East — to become increasingly grave,” he writes. “The world needs an America that is economically vital, socially appealing, responsibly powerful, strategically deliberate, internationally respected, and historically enlightened in its global engagement with the new East.” These were all themes Brzezinski expanded on at the Aspen Institute luncheon, where, among other things, he advised Obama “to make a special effort to put the American-Chinese relationship on an even keel. Election rhetoric contributed
to rising tensions with China. We have to be very careful how we define our role in the Far East — and it isn’t sufficient to define it in military terms. He also has to reaffirm support for Europe at a time when it’s in crisis. We need a new Atlantic Charter, which in the darkest days of World War II was a vision of the future for Europe and America. We need something like this again.” Brzezinski, who was born in Warsaw in 1928, witnessed the rise of Nazism as a child during the four years his father, a diplomat, served in Germany. Tadeusz Brzezinski was then posted to the Soviet Union for two years during Joseph Stalin’s
Great Purge. In 1938 — the year before Hitler invaded Poland — the elder Brzezinski was transferred to Canada, and after the 1945 Yalta Conference allotted Poland to the postwar Soviet sphere of influence, the family decided not to return. The Cold War deeply affected the young man, who grew up determined to help Eastern Europe counter Soviet domination and eventually came to support détente and peaceful engagement with Moscow. “If we have a strong relationship with Europe, we can also improve our relationship with the Russians,” Brzezinski said.“If we don’t, our relationship with Russia will become more difficult, and Russia may become more assertive in places like Georgia and Azerbaijan.” Yet the world is a very different place today than it was four years ago when Obama first moved into the White House. The biggest difference is not so much Russia or Europe but the Arab Spring, which has seen the fall of dictatorships in Egypt,Yemen,Tunisia, Libya and now quite possibly Syria. However, according to Brzezinski, what’s happening in the Arab world can-
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not exactly be compared to the overthrow of communism in Eastern Europe and, later, the collapse of the Soviet Union itself — despite what he called the “oversimplification” of recent events by the mass media. “Populism can lead to democracy, but is not in itself a democratic phenomenon. It takes time for populism to become permeated by democratic principles and the ability of compromise. Central Europe had that in the 1990s because there was a history, so over time it acquired democratic attributes,” he explained. “In the Middle East, it’s a much more emotional reaction against deprivation, corruption visible at the top, unfair wealth and the impact of mass communications. It’s a phenomenon of political outrage, which can go in religious, extremist directions, or it’s a gradual process. It’s really much more complicated than just a democratic uprising.” In fact, it’s the Middle East that now presents Obama’s biggest foreign policy headache, as once-reliable U.S.allies like Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak are replaced by democratically elected governments whose leaders don’t look as kindly on the United States — especially in light of Washington’s unwavering support for Israel. One way to regain America’s waning influence in the region, Brzezinski suggested, is to stand up to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, both on the issue of Jewish settlements in the West Bank and on Iran’s nuclear program. “If you look at public opinion polls in Israel and the U.S., and to some extent among Palestinians, the predominant position is still to seek a peaceful solution — but a Palestinian state has to be based on compromise,” he said. “Netanyahu is pursuing the expansion of settlements in the West Bank and Jerusalem. We are mouthing repeatedly our phrase that this is not
consistent with Israel’s legal obligations. If we’re serious, we have to make it very clear that either both [sides] desist, or they both go ahead. We can’t be more interested in peace than they are.” Brzezinski’s talk came just before the latest explosion of violence in the Gaza Strip and Israel. It also preceded the vote at the U.N. General Assembly to upgrade Palestine to a nonmember observer state by an overwhelming majority — and Israel’s retribution for the diplomatic maneuver: the announcement of plans to construct 3,000 housing units in East Jerusalem and the West Bank.Those plans include a highly sensitive area known as E1; critics say building on the strategic plot of land would destroy chances of a viable Palestinian state. The Israeli move infuriated European governments in Britain, France and Spain, which summoned Israeli ambassadors to lodge formal protests, although the United States only issued a token rebuke. Despite helping to broker the 1979 peace treaty between Egypt and Israel, Brzezinski has never been known to be particularly sympathetic toward the latter. In recent years, he’s praised Carter’s description of Israeli occupation of the West Bank as state-sanctioned apartheid and has stated publicly that Washington’s relationship with its closest Middle East ally was the result of Jewish pressure. Once slated to become an official advisor to Obama, Brzezinski was passed over for the job after lawmakers of both parties warned that his anti-Israel sentiments would damage Obama at the polls. In September 2009 — nearly 10 months after the election — he famously urged Obama to shoot down Israeli fighter jets should they attack Iran. Brzezinski still remains adamantly opposed to a military strike against Iran, whether from Israel
or the United States — even if the Islamic Republic is on the verge of obtaining a nuclear weapon. “This can be solved either by agreement or by intimidation, but not by war,” he contends. “War with Iran would be explosive and destructive for the entire region. I think the president [must] gradually move away from the notion that force is the last resort. It’s not a resort at all. Sanctions will continue and will eventually cause a change in Iran, but the U.S. should make it explicitly clear that if Iran makes a threat against any Middle Eastern state, we will react exactly the same way as if the Soviet Union had done this toward Western Europe, or if Japan is threatened by North Korea.” Brzezinski scoffed at the “red lines” demanded by Netanyahu in the Israeli leader’s speech in September — complete with cartoon-like nuclear bomb — before the United Nations General Assembly. “The less ambiguity on the subject, the better. Don’t forget that sanctions are having an enormous impact already. It’s evident from the way the Iranians are reacting,” Brzezinski said. “But if you think the threat of nuclear war recedes if we attack Iran, just think of the consequences of such a war. Pakistan is much more likely to become a radical Islamic state. Are we supposed to also disarm Pakistan as the next phase?” Brzezinski said the Obama administration should foster the emergence of moderate Israeli leaders willing to make compromises with the Palestinians to achieve a two-state solution. (As of press time, Netanyahu looked headed for an easy victory in Israel’s upcoming Jan. 22 election.) “The Israelis are moving into a period of choosing between more right-wing and semi-fascist leaders. There’s a very militant extreme, and also a left of center which still desires peace —
[Ehud] Olmert, [Tzipi] Livni, maybe [Ehud] Barak. These are options we ought to be encouraging,” Brzezinski said. “The Israelis are very aware that their long-term survival depends on America, and we haven’t made any progress in that direction. The Israelis have to realize that they must have a prime minister who can work closely with the president.” He added, ominously: “I’m really doubtful about Israel’s survival once the United States is pushed out of the region.” After his speech, Brzezinski fielded questions from several prominent people, including Paul Wolfowitz — former president of the World Bank and one of the architects of the Iraq War — who wondered how the Obama administration could be persuaded to “take the lead” in training and arming Syrian rebels. Jane Harman, director of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars (profiled in the July 2012 People of World Influence column), asked what Israel could do to build a coalition among Palestinians that would require Hamas to renounce violence against the Jewish state. And Alia Hatoug-Bouran, Jordan’s ambassador to the United States, asked how to stop the building of Jewish settlements in territory the Palestinians one day hope to incorporate into their new state. “Netanyahu can’t succeed in colonizing the West Bank,” Brzezinski responded.“What’s at stake is the future of the region, and our position because of our association with Israel.To perpetuate and deepen the existing hostility is, in the end, a prescription for historical drama that’s likely to end in tragedy. We have to have guts. We cannot do it simply by acquiescing to Netanyahu.”
Larry Luxner is news editor of The Washington Diplomat.
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Arkansas Odyssey: Ambassadors Experience the Natural State story and photos by Larry Luxner
ITTLE ROCK — It was a scene straight out of Hollywood. Under a huge tent set up in the backyard of the Arkansas governor’s mansion — a threestory Georgian Revival home reminiscent of “Gone With the Wind” — long picnic tables decorated with checkered tablecloths groaned under the weight of down-home Southern cuisine: black-eyed pea salad, roasted potatoes, barbecue chicken, dry-rub smoked beef brisket, honey and dill salmon, turnip greens and apple crisp.
As 150 or so hungry guests speaking a cacophony of languages stood on the chow line, local bluegrass band Runaway Planet entertained the crowd with “Folsom Prison Blues” and other songs made famous by native son Johnny Cash — followed by a high school dance troupe that proudly showed off its clogging skills. Presiding over the evening’s festivities was guayabera-clad Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe and his wife Ginger.The first couple stopped at each table to make sure their guests were enjoying themselves — just as fictitious Southern Gov. Jack Stanton (played by John Travolta) did with his wife Susan in the movie “Primary Colors,” which was loosely based on Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential election campaign. Only Mike Beebe isn’t running for president, and his guests weren’t wealthy donors — but rather the largest group of foreign ambassadors Arkansas has ever seen.
This gives me a chance to meet with a cross-section of the population, from government officials to business executives, educators and young people. It enhances the work I do as an ambassador.
— Deborah-Mae Lovell ambassador of Antigua and Barbuda to the United States
“This is really a treat for all of our ambassadors to get together here, and we’re certainly pleased you chose Arkansas for your Experience America tour,” Beebe told the delighted diplomats and their spouses, representing 43 countries ranging from Azerbaijan to Uruguay. The BBQ was one of many highlights of the Oct. 21-23 Arkansas adventure, which was arranged by the State Department and Capricia Penavic Marshall, the U.S. chief of
protocol (see our cover story). “The State Department does an excellent job at organizing these trips,” said Deborah-Mae Lovell of the tiny Caribbean twin-island nation of Antigua and Barbuda, who’s participated in eight of its 11 “Experience America” trips since 2008 (she missed Alaska, New York and Wyoming). “This gives me a chance to meet with a cross-section of the population, from government officials to business executives, educators and young people. It enhances the work I do as an ambassador.” That’s exactly the point of the Experience America excursions — to get ambassadors outside the Beltway, and their comfort zone, to see other parts of the country. Since 2007, ambassadors from more than 100 nations have traveled to destinations such as Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York City, Chicago, Atlanta, as well as multiple cities in Alaska, California, Florida,Texas and Wyoming (also see “Ambassadors Trek to Alaska to Experience America” in the September 2011 issue of The Washington Diplomat and “Envoys Go Beyond Beltway to See Slice of America” in the November 2008 issue). As the Office of Protocol puts it, the mission is to “foster international goodwill and cultivate the relationship between the diplomatic corps and the people and institutions of the United States through an exchange of ideas, cultures and traditions.” The goal is also to forge lucrative business connections. As such, many local dignitaries show up to greet the diplomats — leading not only to friendships and partnerships, but also to unexpected coincidences. At Gov. Beebe’s barbeque, Cathie Matthews, director of the Department of Arkansas Heritage, was overjoyed when she found herself seated next to Tanzanian Ambassador Mwanaidi Sinare Maajar. It turns out that back in the late 1990s, Matthews had spent some time inTanzania’s capital, Dar es Salaam, as marketing chief for a telecom firm.The two women hugged and even exchanged a few words in Swahili. A few tables down, Lovell was so taken with the clogging show that she jumped
Foreign ambassadors visiting the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville pose in front of a seven-foottall statue of Sen. J. William Fulbright, founder of the Fulbright scholarship program, during the latest installment of the State Department’s popular Experience America trips.
up on stage and joined the dance, to the delight of her normally staid colleagues. Foreign diplomats accredited to the United States rarely get together outside D.C. or New York. But here in Arkansas there was a whole bus full of them, representing political entities as tiny as the remote Pacific atoll of Tuvalu (population 9,800) and as powerful as the 27-member European Union (population 503 million). Claudia Fritsche, ambassador of 62-square-mile Liechtenstein — the second-tiniest country on the trip — said Arkansas was one of only six U.S. states she had not yet visited; now she can finally scratch it off her list. “I’m deeply impressed by the natural beauty and the truly entrepreneurial spirit of the people of Arkansas,” she said. “And there’s also something one expects, but I’m still humbled by it: Southern hospitality.”
Her seatmate from Luxembourg, Ambassador Jean-Louis Wolzfeld, agreed. “America is far more than its capital city, and it’s important to see how people live and think outside the Beltway.” Wolzfeld, whose prosperALSO SEE: ous duchy is about the size Cover story of Pulaski County — where on Capricia Little Rock is located — said Penavic Arkansas appealed to him Marshall, the “because it’s a small state for U.S. chief America and everybody of protocol knows each other. In that way, it’s very much like back PAGE 17 home.” There’s also one way it’s not like back home: Luxembourg is one of Europe’s most expensive countries, while Arkansas is one of the cheapest U.S. states. A gallon of gasoline costs $6.49 in
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Foreign ambassadors and their spouses pose in front of Little Rock Central High School, scene of the violent 1957 protest against school desegregation and a highlight of the diplomats’ trip to Arkansas organized by the Office of Protocol at the State Department.
Luxembourg, compared to $3.15 in Arkansas — a fact not lost on some of the world’s most powerful diplomats as they checked their BlackBerrys, smoked cigarettes and otherwise killed time (some more patiently than others) at a Valero discount gas station halfway between Little Rock and Fayetteville. That Interstate 40 potty break was perhaps the least scripted moment of a meticulously choreographed adventure that had been planned weeks and months in advance by staffers in Marshall’s office. S A Z X C C V
With only 2.9 million inhabitants and no world-class cities, majestic mountains or soaring monuments, Arkansas — a tad bigger than Greece and slightly smaller than Bangladesh — may seem a rather unlikely place for the State Department to schlep one-fourth of the entire Washington-based diplomatic corps. As Beebe noted, recalling his 12-day trade mission to China last April: “The Chinese know only two things about Arkansas: Bill Clinton and Walmart.” Yet the Natural State is much more than that, as the 42nd president himself told the visiting ambassadors during a welcome dinner at the $165 million steel-and-glass William J. Clinton Presidential Center and Park — just a few hours after their arrival at Little Rock’s newly renamed Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport. “If you want to experience Arkansas, go up to the hills where Hillary and I were married in Fayetteville,” he said following a private reception in which every diplomat and spouse on the tour posed for individual pictures with the famous ex-president. “I want you to know Walmart and Tyson Foods, but also go to the Crystal Bridges art museum, which was built by a remarkable Israeli architect, Moshe Safdie, whom I met when Israel January 2013
and Jordan signed their peace agreement.” In his speech, Clinton eulogized another icon, South Dakota Sen. George McGovern — the liberal Democrat and 1972 presidential candidate who had died that morning at the age of 90. He also noted the nastiness of the 2012 campaign that pitted President Barack Obama against his ultimately unsuccessful Republican challenger, Gov. Mitt Romney — a campaign in which Bill Clinton played an instrumental role in drumming up support for Obama, his wife’s one-time rival for the presidency. “We’re still small enough that, at least in the old days, we were actually friends with people of the other political party,” said the folksy, savvy political operator. “We find all this bitter, angry talk that’s going on now absolute insanity.” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton couldn’t meet the ambassadors personally, but warmly welcomed them to Arkansas through a video link as the diplomats dined on duck rillette salad sourced from Stuttgart, Ark., the self-proclaimed “duck hunting capital of the world.” That was followed by smoked corn bisque, Arkansas venison on bone marrow risotto, and finally lemon blueberry cake flavored with thyme grown in the Clinton Center’s own sustainable garden. “Through this program, you’re visiting places and meeting people you might otherwise miss,” the secretary of state said in her prerecorded message.“Your visit to Arkansas provides a great opportunity to build new relationships between our country and yours. You’ll travel to Fayetteville — one of the prettiest places in America — and you’ll see the famous Razorbacks. You’ll meet some of the most creative, best people the United States has to offer.Arkansas may be a small state, but it has a huge heart.”
Continued on next page
Ambassador of Denmark Peter TaksøeJensen, at left, meets former President Bill Clinton during dinner at the William J. Clinton Presidential Center and Park in Little Rock, Arkansas.
At right, Egyptian Ambassador Mohamed M. Tawfik and his wife Amani Amin watch the Razorback Marching Band during a visit to the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville.
U.S. Chief of Protocol Capricia Penavic Marshall, center, and Stephanie Streett, executive director at the William J. Clinton Foundation, right, enjoy a rousing welcome at the University of Arkansas.
Above, G. David Gearhart, chancellor of the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, welcomes the largest delegation of foreign ambassadors to ever visit the campus.
From left, U.S. Chief of Protocol Capricia Penavic Marshall presents Ginger Beebe and Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe with an official State Department cushion for the family’s German shepherd, Viper.
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From left, Ambassador of Finland Ritva KoukkuRonde; Carlotta Walls LaNier, one of the “Little Rock Nine” group of students who defied school segregation in Arkansas; Ambassador of the Netherlands Rudolf Simon Bekink; Ernest Green, also of the Little Rock Nine; Ambassador of Sweden Jonas Hafström; and Dr. Hidde Ronde, husband of Ambassador Koukku-Ronde, attend the State Department’s Experience America tour of Arkansas.
Ambassador of Tanzania Mwanaidi Sinare Maajar, above left, poses with Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe at a Southern picnic held at the governor’s mansion in Little Rock.
Continued from previous page S A Z X C C V
Before settling back to enjoy the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra’s Quapaw String Quartet and performances of “New York State of Mind” and “Jersey Boys” by the Arkansas Repertory Theatre, President Clinton invited Ambassador Akec Khoc of South Sudan — the world’s newest nation — to stand up and be recognized; a round of applause ensued. The former president also waxed nostalgic, telling his foreign guests what it was like growing up in his hometown of Hope,Ark., where he attended kindergarten and first grade, and later Hot Springs, where he graduated from high school. “I was nuts about politics and I remember watching the 1956 elections, but like Gov. Beebe and Sen. Dale Bumpers, I didn’t have a television when I was a child.We were 10 when we got a TV, and my family controlled how much TV I could watch,” he recalled.“Besides, there were only three channels. Most of us couldn’t afford to take vacations; our idea of a vacation was swimming in the lake, or fishing in the creek. So we grew up in a storytelling culture. I hope you’ll get a chance to sit down with people and listen to their stories.” Sufficiently impressed with their important new friend, the distinguished diplomats wandered around the museum after dinner, gazing at the hundreds of artifacts on display — from the bulletproof black 1993 Cadillac One limousine used during Clinton’s presidency to letters addressed to Bill and Hillary from Elton John, Arsenio Hall and Jordan’s Queen Noor. They also checked out lifesize replicas of both the Oval Office and the Cabinet Room, as well as a 110-foot-long timeline that recounts, in minute detail, every key event of the Clinton administration. Marshall served as social secretary in the Clinton White House.As she introduced the president, the protocol chief spoke with obvious pride about Experience America, a program launched by her predecessor, Nancy Brinker. “When I came to Little Rock to join a certain unknown governor in 1991, my life was changed forever. Having returned many times over the years to Arkansas, I have grown more and more fond of this amazing state,” she said. “We have come to Arkansas through a program called Experience America. This type of engagement is what we at the State Department call smart power diplomacy, which means using every diplomatic tool at our disposal to strengthen our relations with the world — and now it’s Arkansas’s turn to
Above, Ambassador of Côte d’Ivoire Daouda Diabate, left, talks with tour guide Crystal Mercer. From left, Aminatta L.R. N’gom, a Gambian judge and wife of the Gambian ambassador; Superintendent of the Little Rock School District Morris Holmes; Ernest Green of the “Little Rock Nine”; Ambassador of Antigua and Barbuda Deborah-Mae Lovell; and Carlotta Walls LaNier, the youngest member of the Little Rock Nine, visit Little Rock Central High School, a National Historic Site in Arkansas.
I’m deeply impressed by the natural beauty and the truly entrepreneurial spirit of the people of Arkansas…. And there’s also something one expects, but I’m still humbled by it: Southern hospitality.
— Claudia Fritsche, ambassador of Liechtenstein to the United States be a part of it.” The next afternoon,while taking a well-deserved break from her responsibilities as U.S. protocol chief and bus chaperone, Marshall explained how it all works. “Embassies pay their own way, and they pay for their stay. What we do is work with airlines and our host committee,” she told The Diplomat. “When President Clinton heard about what we were doing, he told me, ‘You must bring the ambassadors to Arkansas, and I want to be here when they come.’ The folks at the Clinton Presidential Center worked very hard at aligning the stars to make it happen.” It also helped that in a recent State Department survey asking Washington-based ambassadors where they wanted to go next, three states — Alaska, Arkansas and New Mexico — came out on top. “Our focus on the Experience America trips is not only to showcase the beauty of our great nation, and the diversity of culture and tradition, but also to create business relationships with people from all backgrounds,” Marshall said. “For
example, when we went to Los Angeles, the ambassadors attended a wonderful luncheon hosted by Warner Brothers. They were quite frank about how a country can prepare a package to invite a studio to go on location and film in their country. Later, the ambassador of Gabon signed a deal with them; it all came about from that luncheon.” S A Z X C C V
With dollar signs in mind, local business leaders fêted the ambassadors as if they were celebrities at not one but two lavish events — first at a lengthy Governor’s Business Roundtable Breakfast on the 30th floor of Little Rock’s tallest building, then the following day at the University of Arkansas’s sprawling campus in Fayetteville. “Even through the worst recession in my lifetime, our business leaders have persevered, maintained and have been able to expand,” Beebe said over breakfast, noting that Arkansas has gained 27,000 jobs since the economy hit bottom in 2009.
“We care deeply about your economic viability for very selfish reasons,” he told the diplomats. “When we do poorly, the rest of the states do poorly, and when the states do poorly, the globe does poorly. So it’s important for us to get together and talk about economic strategy. It’s our job to tout who we are and what we have available. And what we have available is an ever-increasingly advanced workforce.” Beebe, who’s led trade missions to China, France, Germany, Great Britain and Cuba, said Arkansas has been relatively successful in attracting investment from Western Europe and Asia, “though we’d like to have a few more companies from the Caribbean, Latin America and the Middle East.” Arkansas would also like to sell more to the world.To that end, Paul Rivera, general manager of the Caterpillar factory in North Little Rock, said his Illinois-based company — the world’s largest name in mining and construction equipment — spent $148 million to build its world-class facility in Arkansas three years ago. The factory now employs about 600 people. “We produce things every country needs,” Rivera said, noting that 45 percent of his factory’s output is shipped outside the United States.And in response to a question from Botswana’s ambassador, Tebelelo Mazile Seretse, he added: “Africa is a huge growth market for Caterpillar, served primarily from our European and Brazilian markets, but we’d like to produce machines — especially for mining and road construction — closer to the point of use.”
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Below, Ambassador of Botswana Tebelelo Seretse was among more than 40 ambassadors and their spouses who visited Arkansas in October as part of the State Department’s Experience America program.
From left, Ambassador of Malaysia Datuk Othman Hashim, his wife Datin Rohayazam Binti Kamaruzaman, and Ambassador of Brunei Dato Paduka Haji Yusoff bin Haji Abdul Hamid greet Ginger Beebe and Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe.
Eric Fox, plant manager for global cosmetics giant L’Oreal,told diplomats that his 900,000-squarefoot factory in North Little Rock produces 300 million units of mascara, eye shadow, face powder, nail enamel and lipstick every year under the brand names Maybelline and Lancôme. “This is the largest cosmetics plant in the world for L’Oreal,” said Fox, who manages 800 employees.“We’re now opening factories in Russia, Brazil, Egypt and Indonesia. Western Europe and the U.S. are fairly mature markets, so there’s little room for growth, but the global middle class will grow from 1 billion today to 2.7 billion by 2050, and these people are going to need quality beauty products.” As Tanzania’s Maajar told the Arkansas DemocratGazette after that meeting: “Everyone likes to do business with China, but we want a mixture, because competition is good for Africa.And I think it’s time for American business to be looking to Africa.” Ambassador Anibal de Castro of the Dominican Republic told us that he foresees future partnerships sprouting from the visit. “The trip offered a great opportunity to take in the real America,” he said. “We not only met with top representatives from industry and the higher education sector, but could appreciate the diversity, entrepreneurial spirit and deep sense of community that characterize this country.We are looking forward to establishing new trade relations between companies based in Arkansas and the Dominican Republic.”
Above, recently appointed Ambassador of Singapore Ashok Kumar Mirpuri and his wife Gouri Mirpuri enjoy a bus tour through Arkansas.
The state’s most famous corporate name is, of course, Walmart, which began in 1962 with just one store in the town of Rogers, about 20 miles north of Fayetteville. S A Z X C C V “Our goal was to bring to small, rural communities the same benefits people would have in affluIn Fayetteville, the ambassadors were enthusias- ent cities,” said Rosalind Brewer, president and tically welcomed to the University of Arkansas by CEO of retail chain Sam’s Club. “Today, Walmart Razorbacks cheerleaders, backed up by the operates under 69 banners around world, with school’s marching band.They also learned how to Sam’s Clubs in China, Brazil and Mexico.” Last year, Sam’s Club alone posted sales of $49 “call the hogs” — a rousing university tradition NO INTEREST billion — more than the annual GDP of 19 counthat dates back to the 1920sFor — 12 and posed for Months photos under a statue of Sen.SAME J. William Fulbright, tries represented by the ambassadors listening to AS CASH! With approved founder of the Fulbright program, which credit since its Brewer’s speech — and its stores cover a comand minimum purchase of inception in 1946 has given scholarships to more bined 81 million square feet, which is three times $4000 APR 23.97% than 300,000 promising students in the United the size of Monaco. Its parent company, Walmart, with well over 2 million employees and 2011 revStates and more than 150 countries worldwide. enues of $419 billion, would rank Here too, business was on the as the world’s 23rd-largest econoagenda, with presentations by To view all my — smack between oil exporttwo of the state’s most important the photos ers Norway and Saudi Arabia — if companies: Bentonville-based from the it were a country of its own. Walmart, the planet’s largest Arkansas “Many of you here today repretailer, and Springdale-based odyssey, be sure to like resent countries that Walmart Tyson Foods, one of the world’s The Washington sources from, and it’s a long list largest processors and marketers Diplomat on that includes Thailand [tables, of chicken, beef and pork. Facebook. jewelry and TVs]; Egypt [rugs and “Our rate of growth exceeds shirts]; Germany [wines]; and all other metropolitan areas in the Midwest,” said Mike Malone, president and CEO of Cambodia [gloves and dresses],” said Brewer. “One of our goals is to be a good global citizen, the Northwest Arkansas Council.“We’re adding 31 residents to this corner of Arkansas every day. and 70 percent of impoverished people are More than a quarter of a million people have women.Walmart has the size and scale to help, by moved here in the last 20 years. They come and empowering women across our supply chain. So over the next five years, we will source $20 billion stay, and they love it.”
Ambassador of South Sudan Akec Khoc, above left, poses with a craftsman dressed in 19thcentury traditional costume at the governor’s mansion in Little Rock.
Above from left, Ambassador of the Philippines Jose L. Cuisia Jr. talks with local business leaders at a Governor’s Business Roundtable Breakfast held on the 30th floor of the Regions Bank Building, the tallest building in Little Rock.
from women-owned suppliers in the U.S., and double our sourcing from women-owned suppliers internationally.” Like Brewer, Donnie Smith, president and CEO of Tyson Foods, looked out at the roomful of ambassadors and saw potential new sales to a multitude of countries. Rattling off statistics, Smith said that Tyson — with 115,000 employees and $33 billion in annual revenues — is the nation’s second-largest tortilla maker and the largest manufacturer of pizza toppings, though beef comprises 40 percent of company sales, chicken 35 percent and pork 15 percent. “Over time, chicken will continue to grow in
Among the ambassador spouses who attended the Arkansas trip were, from left, Jona Dora Karlsdottir of Iceland, Marliese Heimann Ammon of Germany, Eva Hafström of Sweden, and Maria Ana Ramos Jara De Carvalho of the European Union.
per-capita consumption. Today, we’re in countries where we see an emerging middle class and a good supply of feed grains,” he said.“Latin America is a huge growth opportunity for us, but we’re also in India, where per-capita chicken consumption is only five pounds a year.” All that farm talk resonated with Moroccan Ambassador Mohamed Rachad Bouhlal, who three months earlier visited Wyoming as part of Experience America.
See Arkansas, page 63 The Washington Diplomat Page 11
U.S.-Saudi Relationship Weathers Arab Spring by Michael Coleman
t’s been just over two years since the Arab Spring first exploded into the global consciousness with demonstrations in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen and elsewhere.
Pundits and analysts have filled hours of television airtime and spilled barrels of ink discussing the implications of U.S. relations with the countries affected directly by the uproar. But much less has been said about the Arab Spring’s impact on relations with Saudi Arabia, which has managed — at least so far — to keep widespread protests at bay. In late October, at the 21st Annual Arab-U.S. Policymakers Conference hosted by the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations, several speakers touched on this largely ignored dynamic, providing some insight into how the unrest in the Middle East could affect relations between two of the world’s richest, most influential and tightly bound countries. James B. Smith, the U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia, and Prince Turki Al-Faisal, Riyadh’s former envoy to Washington, joined dozens of officials at the annual highpowered event, held at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center.A variety of Arab and American leaders from government, military, business and academia also spoke at the conference, including Libyan Ambassador Ali Aujali, who’s slated to become Tripoli’s foreign minister, Arab League Ambassador Mohammed Al Hussaini Al Sharif, and Egyptian Ambassador Mohamed M. Tawfik (profiled on the November 2012 cover of The Washington Diplomat). Founded in 1983, the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations (NCUSAR) is an American nonprofit, nongovernmental, educational organization dedicated to improving American knowledge and understanding of the Arab world. Since 1991, NCUSAR’s annual policymakers conference has invited internationally renowned specialists to analyze, discuss and debate issues of overarching importance to the American and Arab people. Not surprisingly, at the top of this year’s agenda was the Arab Spring, which percolated in panel discussions that touched on wide-ranging developments in North Africa, Iran,Yemen and elsewhere. Though it doesn’t always grab headlines like Syria’s civil war or Egypt’s constitutional crisis, the pivotal U.S.Saudi relationship underpins much of the region’s dynamics. For decades, Washington has been bound to the conservative kingdom by oil, security and stability. The world’s largest oil exporter, Saudi Arabia is home to about one-fifth of the world’s proven petroleum reserves. It’s also a bulwark against anti-American states such as Iran and a critical defense partner in the battle against Islamic extremists and terrorists (in 2010, the U.S. approved a 10-year, $60 billion arms package for Riyadh). Yet Washington’s cozy relationship with the wealthy autocratic monarchy has long angered Arabs who cite it as a classic example of America’s strategic interests trumping its democratic principles.The Saudi ruling family’s oil money has largely insulated it from the kind of upheaval that’s rocked its neighbors, though that hasn’t quelled speculation about the future of the House of
Photo: Kaveh Sardari / National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations
We came out of the Arab Spring with a deeper understanding of ourselves and each other. The concept of mutual trust and mutual respect has paid great dividends. The U.S.-Saudi bilateral relationship is sound. — James B. Smith
U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia
Saud and its aging, opaque leadership structure. In many ways, Saudi Arabia illustrates the quandary facing President Obama, whose reaction to the Arab Spring invariably provokes backlash from one group or another. For instance, two years ago, when Obama sided with Egyptian protesters by urging longtime ruler Hosni Mubarak to step aside, he was hailed by democracy activists but denounced by Saudi Arabia (and even Israel) for abandoning a stalwart U.S. ally. Although the Obama administration spearheaded the international coalition that dislodged Libya’s dictator from power, it’s been criticized for not taking a more confrontational stand against nations such as Syria and Bahrain, where the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet is located. In March 2011, Saudi Arabia sent troops to help its tiny next door neighbor quash an uprising by the disenfranchised Shiite majority, and since then, Washington has only offered mild rebukes against Bahrain’s crackdown against the opposition.
Former Saudi Ambassador Prince Turki Al-Faisal speaks to the audience gathered at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center for the 21st Annual Arab-U.S. Policymakers Conference hosted by the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations, whose founding president and CEO, John Duke Anthony, is seated to the left.
Indeed, the prevailing narrative in the Arab world is that the United States supports democracy only when it’s useful — i.e. when Washington pushed for elections in the Palestinian territories but then recoiled when Hamas emerged as the victor. Obama’s tentative outreach to new, democratically elected leaders such as Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood sought to counter that narrative, but it has been met with leeriness by Americans who fear an Islamist takeover. It’s also viewed with suspicion by Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of Islam, which doesn’t want to cede any of its influence to unpredictable new powerbrokers. The Arab Spring has also exacerbated the Sunni-Shiite divide, with Saudi Arabia looking to prevent rivals such as Iran and Syria (whose rebels Riyadh has been arming, along with Qatar) from gaining a stronghold in the region.The Sunni monarchy also wants to keep the Shiite contagion of discontent from spreading to allies such as Bahrain, Jordan and even to its own borders (Saudi Arabia’s oilrich eastern province is home to some 2 million Shiites who call for greater political rights). Abdulkhaleq Abdulla, a political science professor at the United Arab Emirates University in Abu Dhabi and the author of seven books, told the audience at the ArabU.S. Policymakers Conference that Saudi Arabia — where two-thirds of the population is under the age of 30 — has good reason to worry. “I think the Arab Gulf states are not immune from the changes that are sweeping the Arab world.They are part and parcel of Arab history, of Arab identity, of Arab cul-
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ture,” Abdulla said.“Anything that happens there is bound to influence it.” He cited democracy and Islam as the biggest factors in that change. “Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, Libya, etc. — the Arab world probably is becoming more democratic than it used to be during the past 60 years,” Abdulla said. “It’s still in the making. Democracy is difficult, as everybody has heard, and there is no easy manual to build a democracy. But the Arab world is becoming more democratic.” Yet at the same time it is becoming more democratic, the Arab world is also becoming more Islamic.And Abdulla said he worried about what he described as America’s indulgence of the Muslim Brotherhood, for example, after it had denounced strict Islamists for most of the past decade. “A more democratic Arab world is very likely; a more Islamic Arab world is also more likely,” the scholar said.“Both of these trends are considered a huge challenge to the Arab Gulf states. The big story of the hour in the Arab world is the rise of political Islam, the rise of Muslim Brotherhood. But the real concern when it comes to the [U.S.-Gulf] relationship is the way Washington is starting to flirt with political Islam … and pushing or empowering Islamists in places like Egypt and Tunisia and throughout the region. “The concern here is not just that the United States has made a shift, but a sudden shift from old allies, the moderate regimes, to the new forces of change. And the suddenness of policy shift is raising some concern and creating mistrust,” he added. “How can you trust America when it shifts from one position to the other?” Abdulla asked. “Some call that shift … naive. Is it possible if you make that shift, are you also in America ready to support Gulf Islamists, which are rising? If you make this sudden shift from one ally to another, what guarantee is there that you will not come to bargain, to make a grand bargain with Iran, and all of a sudden there is this question that we are left out of it. So it’s sending a lot of messages — and most of it is not settling.” Prince Turki Al-Faisal, chairman of the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies, has spoken at the NCUSAR conference for the last several years about the ups and downs in U.S.-Saudi relations — the low point being 9/11, when 15 of the 19 attackers turned out to be Saudi citizens — though he insists the relationship remains on solid footing, for the most part. “Are we content in our relationship with this country? Yes and no. We are entrusting more than 70,000 of our youngsters to your universities to show our confidence in your educational system,”Al-Faisal said, referring to the number of Saudis studying in the United States this year. “We also differ with you on Palestine and wish that you would adopt the Abdullah Peace Initiative and that you are more evenhanded in promoting what is a declared policy of your government: a viable and contiguous Palestinian state,” he added, citing the dormant peace initiative first proposed by the then Saudi crown prince in 2002 that offers Israel a complete normalization of relations with the Arab world in return for its withdrawal from Palestinian lands. Al-Faisal, in fact, has been an outspoken critic of the U.S. stance toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, arguing that America’s efforts to block the Palestinians from achieving statehood at the United Nations undermine its credibility and threaten its relations with Riyadh. He’s written numerous op-eds on the subject since leaving his post in Washington, where he served as ambassador from 2005 to 2006. The fact that Al-Faisal departed so soon after taking over for Prince Bandar bin Sultan, who reigned as ambassador for more than 20 years, fueled speculation that Al-Faisal had fallen out of favor with King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud. In his book “Ghost Wars,” Steve Coll wrote that Al-Faisal, a former director of Saudi Arabia’s intelligence services, had “vast personal riches [that] January 2013
bothered some of his rivals in the royal family. They felt the Saudi intelligence department had become a financial black hole.” Interestingly, Prince Bandar, who dropped out of sight for several years and has also had his fair share of financial and personal scandals, was just appointed Saudi Arabia’s new intelligence chief over the summer. Simon Henderson, director of the Gulf and Energy Policy Program at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, speculates the shakeup has a lot to do with the turmoil in Syria. “Although the kingdom’s main obsession is Iran, its immediate preoccupation is Syria. On that issue, Bandar may indeed be the man for the moment. Over the years, he has acquired a reputation for discreet diplomacy and intrigue in both Syria and Lebanon,” Henderson wrote in a July 24 Foreign Policy article. But the scholar also said the appointment “suggests panic in Riyadh” and a “limited talent pool in the House of Saud.” “With Saudi Arabia’s most senior princes dying off, it’s time for this generation to step into a leadership role if the kingdom hopes to avoid a messy succession crisis in the near future — or at least that is probably what these men, spring chickens in Saudi royal terms but already in their fifties and sixties, think,” he wrote. Indeed, questions continue to swirl about the transition plans of the ossifying leadership. King Abdullah, 88, has had serious health problems, like many of his elder brethren. And just a month before Bandar’s appointment, the government announced the death of Abdullah’s successor, Crown Prince Nayef bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, 78, a hard-line interior minister who fought against al-Qaeda — and against democratic reforms. In his remarks, Al-Faisal didn’t broach the subject of Saudi Arabia’s perpetual royal intrigue or the chances of liberalizing the monarchy, whose rule is based on the hard-line Wahhabi interpretation of Islam (Saudi Arabia is famously the only country in the world where women can’t drive). But he did talk extensively about the tremendous strides the kingdom of nearly 27 million people has made over the last century, with the government “using the growing oil revenues to expand its economic base and provide its citizens with a better standard of living.” “At the beginning, there was high illiteracy, very few roads, and a serious lack of technology. There was also another problem. Many of the people simply didn’t want to become modern,” he said. “And in many ways, this obstacle of the people not wanting to become modern is linked very closely to the obstacle that faces the ambition to maintain the land as the beacon of Islam. There are many around who frankly state that they see so-called modernity as completely antithetical to Islam. With modernity come things like women being educated, foreigners walking on the holy soil, and technologies that are not only sinful in their view, but they bring forbidden thoughts and images into the minds of the believers,” he added. “The challenge that the kingdom faces today is the perennial one of how to reconcile the seemingly contradictory forces for reform and development with the traditional status quo beneficiaries seeing all innovation as a threat to identity and well being.” On that front, Al-Faisal said Saudi Arabia is “still a work in progress,” but suggested it will avoid the kind of impassioned, sometimes violent demonstrations that other Arab countries have seen over the past two years. “Have we achieved ‘first world’ status? Not yet. But our rankings are rising higher every year on any scale. Are we, as Saudis, satisfied with our lot? No. We always aim higher and want to be better,” he said. “Government programs to encourage employment and incentivize training of young Saudis are well in hand, including unemployment benefits tied to
enrollment in training. By the end of this year, the Saudi state will have a $600 billion economy, making for the largest economy in the Middle East-North Africa region.” However, many skeptics contend the only reason protests against the ruling family never materialized in the capital of Riyadh is because King Abdullah essentially bought the populace off with more than $130 billion in spending, which included salary hikes for government workers, easier-to-obtain home mortgages and a dramatic expansion of worker benefits. James B. Smith, who has spent the past three years as U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia, acknowledged the skepticism but said the spending made a positive difference. “Saudi Arabia took note of the Arab Spring, and the government moved quickly, first with a $138 billion package in programs, all targeted toward the needs and concerns of its population,” Smith told attendees. “Now, I realize that there was criticism in some circles that saw the Saudi response as buying off the population with increased subsidies. But I have to say that the government response was much more sophisticated than that. “At the time we in the embassy, we listed the top issues facing the Saudi population were jobs, housing, corruption, civil society and the security apparatus,” Smith continued. “After the economic package was announced, the government responded publicly on each of these key issues, and in my view they demonstrated a keen understanding of their own population and responsiveness to the concerns of that population. Indeed, they continue on a course of measured modernization.” Smith suggested that the cloistered Saudi regime realizes the days of unquestioned rule are coming to an end. “There does seem to be a genuine understanding that change is inevitable, but this is still an extremely conservative society, one steeped
in tradition and cultural constraints, and the government is attempting to manage the rate and pace of that change,” he said. “But like all governments in the region, it continues to struggle with the forces of inertia that are intrinsic in traditional governing systems.” Smith added that the Arab Spring — fanned in part by difficult-to-control social media — “produced a very real sense of accountability on the part of the leadership in the region.” “The key difference in the region is that whole populations are searching for dignity,” Smith said. “They are beginning to see themselves as citizens not subjects, and certainly are demanding that their governments be responsive. Plus, they want their governments to be transparent in the process. These populations are connected and they are engaged.” But despite all the turmoil and tensions, Smith said the United States and Saudi Arabia are poised to maintain a mutually beneficial relationship — one that goes beyond the traditional linkages between the two countries, namely billions of dollars in energy trade and military sales. “U.S. universities and colleges have professional relationships with every university in Saudi Arabia. Every Saudi medical center has some sort of partnership with an American medical center or teaching hospital. Our nondefense exports to Saudi Arabia have climbed double digits in each of the last three years. Agricultural exports alone increased 103 percent last year. Over 240 American companies have exported to Saudi Arabia for the very first time in the last two years,” Smith pointed out. “We came out of the Arab Spring with a deeper understanding of ourselves and each other,” he said.“The concept of mutual trust and mutual respect has paid great dividends. The U.S.-Saudi bilateral relationship is sound.” Michael Coleman is a contributing writer for The Washington Diplomat.
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Washington Gears Up For 2013 Inauguration by Gail Sullivan
n January, after the Christmas tree lights are taken down and menorah candles blown out, D.C. hunkers down for winter. Those cold, dreary months after the holidays can seem like forever to residents of America’s northernmost southern city (it is below the Mason-Dixon line), who are more accustomed to the swamp-like conditions of summer and early fall.
But every four years, the onset of seasonal depression is postponed by the glittering galas and presidential pageantry of the inauguration. The quadrennial festivities are both solemn and celebratory. The historical occasion inspires even the bitterest partisans to momentarily put aside their differences, and sometimes even brings people closer together. It was at President Reagan’s 1985 inaugural gala that soon-to-be House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) proposed to his wife Marie. She and her husband, then a California state senator, attended the star-studded event along with Hollywood icon Frank Sinatra, musical legends the Beach Boys and Lou Reed, and legendary ballet dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov. The once-in-a-lifetime event proved to be the perfect occasion for asking a once-in-alifetime question. But inauguration isn’t all glitz and glamour. To kick off the 57th Presidential Inauguration on Jan. 21, President Obama is continuing a tradition he started in 2009, asking citizen volunteers to give back in honor of Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy on Jan. 19, the National Day of Service. However, unlike the last inauguration, this time around Obama will allow unlimited corporate donations to help foot the bill for the big show. In 2009, the president barred any corporate money and capped donations to $50,000, though the legal limit for an inauguration contribution is $250,000. The recent change, announced in the midst of the “fiscal cliff” negotiations, could be yet another sign that Obama is working to make amends with Wall Street. It could also just reflect the exhaustion of a financially drained electorate after the costliest presidential race in U.S. history and the need to find additional donors to fund the inauguration. But even if more money flows in this year, that doesn’t necessarily mean the party will be grander. For one thing, it will be tough to top the jubilation and genuine emotion of the 2009 inauguration, which saw America’s first black president sworn into office. Some 1.8 million people converged on Washington to witness that historic event. Metro, for one, is only expecting about half the ridership levels from 2009. Indeed, Politico recently reported that the dearth of event planning as of early December, compared to the flurry of four years ago, may signal a more subdued atmosphere for this year’s festivities. For more information on “Several K Streeters and Capitol Hill the 57th Presidential aides said the slower planning pace Inauguration, visit www. makes sense, since they expect fewer inaugural.senate.gov or official galas and a more somber tone,” http://washington.org/ wrote Anna Palmer and Donovan topics/inauguration. Slack. “The economic recovery is still fragile and the fiscal cliff negotiations are at a near standstill, introducing a big unknown into planning the festivities.” Whatever the mood, the show will go on (as will the
many inaugural balls and parties) and is sure to generate excitement both in D.C. and across the nation. The theme for this year’s inauguration:“Faith in America’s Future.” Despite the different themes, moods and political fluctuations every four years, the Constitution is actually very specific about the comings and goings of Congress and the president, making for a well-choreographed transition. Per the 20th Amendment, President Obama’s first four years officially end on Jan. 20. The swearing-in ceremony is usually held that same day (at noon), but since the 20th falls on a Sunday this year, the public swearingin ceremony is scheduled for Jan. 21, Martin Luther King Jr. Day. To avoid running afoul of the Constitution and exposing ourselves as an orphaned, leaderless nation for 24 hours, a
Photo: DoD photo by Senior Airman Kathrine McDowell, U.S. Air Force
Above, first lady Michelle Obama and President Barack Obama wave to the crowd at the Commander in Chief’s Inaugural Ball at the National Building Museum during the 2009 inauguration. At left, Barack Obama, with his wife Michelle Obama, is sworn in as the 44th U.S. president by Supreme Court Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. in 2009.
Photo: DoD photo by U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Cecilio Ricardo
The quadrennial festivities are both solemn and celebratory. The historical occasion inspires even the bitterest partisans to momentarily put aside their differences, and sometimes even brings people closer together. small, private swearing-in ceremony will be held on the 20th. Similar arrangements were made for Presidents Eisenhower and Reagan, whose second-term inaugurations were also subject to the “Sunday exception.” This year’s ceremony will also enter the digital age, with its first-ever Facebook page (hat tip to Bill Clinton for bringing inaugural events into the information age with the first live Internet broadcast in 1997). The social media savvy of event organizers has come a long way since James K. Polk’s swearing in was the first to be reported by telegraph in 1845. Plans for the 2013 inauguration were already under way
as of early December, when the Presidential Inaugural Committee was launched, with actress Eva Longoria serving as one of its co-chairs alongside other big-time but lesser-known donors. Earlier, a separate Joint Congressional Committee, chaired by Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), began laying the groundwork for the inaugural activities at the U.S. Capitol. In January, congressional offices will start distributing some 250,000 free tickets, at their discretion, to the swearing-in ceremony in front of the Capitol.Ticket holders will watch the event from a reserved section in front of the podium, while the National Mall, starting at 4th St., NW, will provide standing-room only space for those not lucky enough to score a ticket. The best seats in the house are those on the inaugural platform. Currently under construction, the roughly 10,000-foot platform is where a select group, including the first family and cabinet officials, will sit during the swearing-in ceremony.Among those with an up-close view is the diplomatic corps. Ambassadors are taken to the ceremony by the State Department’s Protocol Office (see cover profile) and seated in a reserved section according to how long they’ve been credentialed here. Claudia Fritsche, ambassador of Liechtenstein, described the occasion as a “unique opportunity” for diplomats serving the usual four-year term. Having been Liechtenstein’s envoy to the United States and to the United Nations in New York before that, this
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will be Fritsche’s fourth time attending the ceremony. Four years ago, when Obama became America’s first African American president, the procession was fittingly led by Ambassador Roble Olhaye of Djibouti, the longest-serving foreign envoy in Washington and dean of the diplomatic corps. The African ambassador will lead the procession again this year. Following the ceremony, diplomats are typically invited to a reception at Blair House, the President’s guesthouse for visiting heads of state. After the swearing-in ceremony, inaugural address and luncheon, the president and vice president lead a procession of some 11,500 marchers, including military regiments, floats, marching bands and citizens’ groups, down Pennsylvania Avenue from the Capitol to the White House. Past parade participants include an Eskimo dance troupe and the Red Hot Mamas, an Idaho women’s club “dedicated to the exploitation of merriment.” The inaugural parade, which is organized by the Joint Task Force-National Capital Region, is quite a spectacle to behold.The free event attracts a large crowd, making a good vantage point hard to come by. Located beside the Newseum on Pennsylvania Avenue, the Canadian Embassy is prime real estate for taking in the parade. In years past, the Canadian ambassador hosted a small viewing party on inauguration day, but in 2009 the embassy stepped it up a notch, inviting more than 1,500 government officials, business leaders, foreign diplomats and members of the media to watch the swearing in and inaugural parade from the embassy’s elevated courtyard. A similar event in the works for 2013 is sure to be a hot ticket. At this year’s inaugural “tailgate,” guests will enjoy Canadian beer, BBQ and beaver tails — a popular Canadian fried dough pastry, not the animal — which will be served from food trucks. Obama tried a beaver tail, in fact, on a trip to Ottawa in May 2012. A jumbotron will provide an up-close view of the swearing-in ceremony, and members of the
Royal Canadian Mounted Police (affectionately known as “mounties”) in their red dress uniform will salute the president as the parade passes by the embassy.The event’s theme — “friends, neighbors, partners, allies” — captures the post-partisan atmosphere of the inauguration as differences are momentarily set aside for a day of national celebration. Of course, no inauguration would be complete without the balls, a highlight of the festivities for those who like to celebrate in style (and those who prefer to be indoors, in close proximity to a bathroom). There are a handful of official balls (there were 10 in 2009; the exact count for 2013 had yet to be determined as of press time). The president and first lady make a stop at all of the official balls. The State Department generally coordinates invites for ambassadors to attend the official balls; in 2009, many diplomats went to the Eastern Regional Inaugural Ball at Union Station. But there are also plenty of unofficial parties — galas and dinners, large and small — hosted by state societies and a hodgepodge of organizations. The National Association of Minority Government Contractors is hosting a ball, for example, as is Ford Motor Co., which is pairing with the Smithsonian for a gala at the National Air and Space Museum. There’s the annual Black Tie & Boots Inaugural Ball held by the Texas State Society at the Gaylord, the Hawai’i State Society Inaugural Ball, the Illinois Presidential Inaugural Celebration, the Clean Energy Ball, the Green Ball, the Purple Ball and practically whatever other color or state one can think of. Most are held at hotels; a few have been held at embassies. Tickets can range anywhere from $75 to $500 and up, depending on the event. Some are wellestablished galas; others ad hoc parties looking to drum up money through ticket sales and sponsorships, so do your homework before shelling out for a spot. Among this year’s crop of newcomers is the Ambassadors Inaugural Ball, to which the diplo-
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matic corps will be invited. Billed as an opportunity to promote international peace, unity and diplomacy, the black-tie affair is the brainchild of Tebelelo Seretse, Botswana’s ambassador in Washington; Detroit businessman and Honorary Consul General of Botswana Robert Shumake; and Ambassador of Trinidad and Tobago Neil Parsan, who will serve as host committee co-chair. “In addition to saluting President Obama, this historic event will recognize the critical roles that ambassadors perform every day to promote peace and diplomacy as well as garner support for humanitarian causes,” said Parsan in a press release. “With the world’s attention
focused squarely on Washington, D.C., and the inaugural activities, we hope to use the occasion to bring much needed attention to the pressing issues plaguing our world, including poverty, human trafficking, AIDS, global warming, lack of medical care and food security.” A portion of the proceeds from ticket sales will go to KENO Micro Fund, a group that supports youth entrepreneurs with micro-loans, and several yet-to-be-announced nonprofits. The international gathering, scheduled for Jan. 21, will be held in an American setting: the Mead Center for American Theater at Arena Stage.
Gail Sullivan is a contributing writer for The Washington Diplomat.
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The Washington Diplomat
U.S. Chief of Protocol Capricia Penavic Marshall
America’s Protocol Boss Masters Art of Diplomatic Dos and Don’ts by Larry Luxner
hould you shake the hand of a visiting Arab monarch or bow to him? Where do you put that business card the new Japanese trade minister just gave you? And what does the president of the United States offer the Queen of England, who presumably can have anything her royal heart fancies?
These aren’t life-or-death issues, and the occasional faux pas isn’t likely to trigger World War III. But understanding the rules of protocol goes a long way toward greasing the wheels of diplomacy — which is why Ambassador Capricia Penavic Marshall’s job is so important. Marshall, the U.S. chief of protocol at the State Department, is one of the nation’s most visible diplomats and among its most colorful. She is also a key liaison and friendly face for Washington’s local diplomatic community. And she certainly wins hands down for sheer enthusiasm on the job. Since Marshall’s swearing-in by President Barack Obama on Aug. 3, 2009, she told us, “I have been on the greatest, most joyous ride that anyone can be on in a job. It’s been extraordinary to not only represent the president but also our government, and the cultures and traditions of the United States. I love it.” Marshall, 47, is a first-generation American; her mother comes from Guadalajara, Mexico, and her father from the former Yugoslav republic of Croatia, now an independent nation. Her parents met on a blind date in Cleveland, where the future protocol chief grew up among relatives that also had roots in Italy, Germany and Russia.
I have been on the greatest, most joyous ride that anyone can be on in a job. It’s been extraordinary to not only represent the president but also our government, and the cultures and traditions of the United States. I love it.
— Capricia Penavic Marshall chief of protocol of the United States
“In my house, many languages were spoken — not only Spanish and Croatian — and the neighbors across the street were Lebanese,” she recalled during an January 2013
interview in her first-floor State Department office. “Christmas at my grandmother’s house was like going to the United Nations. Celebrating the cultures of the world was a part of my own upbringing.” So was an appreciation for Americanstyle individualism and democracy. “My father left Yugoslavia during the Tito regime, made his way to the United States, and became a U.S. citizen in his late 20s,” she said. “In our home, my father always talked about the responsibilities and benefits we have in this country that he certainly didn’t have back in his own.” One of Marshall’s most enduring memories on the job is going to the “Hillary” boutique in downtown Pristina, capital of newly independent Kosovo — right next to a giant gold statue of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s husband Bill, who’s revered as a hero by Kosovo’s ethnic Albanians for initiating NATO air strikes in 1999 against neighboring Serbia. In nearby Bosnia and Herzegovina, Marshall made a pilgrimage to her father’s village just outside Mostar.“Then when we went to Croatia, the secretary talked about my father,” she said.“It really brought tears to my eyes. Apparently, I’m the highestranking Croatian-American in our government.” A 1986 graduate of Indiana’s Purdue University, Marshall studied at the University of Madrid for a year before attending law school at Case Western Reserve, where she was president of the student bar association. In 1992, after getting her law degree, she joined Bill Clinton’s presidential campaign as special assistant to Hillary Rodham Clinton. Five years later — at the age of 32 — Marshall was appointed deputy assistant to the president and White House social secretary — the youngest social secretary in modern times. “During that time, I was always a bit envious of my friends here at the Office of Protocol. I had a wonderful job and managed the issues of the day with the president and the first lady, but my friends were talking to the world,” said Marshall, who continued working with the Clintons to advance their political and humanitarian agenda long after his second presidential term ended in January 2001 and Hillary Clinton won election to the U.S. Senate,
Photo: Lawrence Ruggeri
representing New York. And when Hillary eventually decided to run for president, it was only natural that Marshall would join that campaign, which came to a halt when Obama defeated her in the 2008 Democratic primaries. After his November presidential victory that year, Obama immediately offered his former rival the job of secretary of state, and Marshall landed her dream job. As chief of protocol, Marshall is often the first hand that welcomes kings, queens, presidents and prime ministers to the United States. Her office oversees visiting dignitaries meeting with the president, vice president, secretary of state and other administration officials, and it also manages protocol arrangements for presidential travel abroad. In addition, Marshall and her 81 staffers interact with the 189 foreign diplomatic missions here (though a handful of microstates, like Andorra, Nauru and the Solomon
Islands, have their U.S. embassies in New York rather in Washington). In late October, Marshall warmly introduced Bill Clinton — a man she deeply admires — before a delegation of 43 foreign ambassadors and their spouses in ALSO SEE: Little Rock, Ark., as part of Arkansas the State Department’s Odyssey: innovative Experience Ambassadors America program. That Experience the prompted the ArkansasNatural State born former president to joke that Marshall’s lavish PAGE 8 introduction “reflected Clinton’s Third Law of Politics: Whenever possible, be introduced by someone you have given a good job to.” A good job yes, but an exhausting one, too. Since her appointment as protocol
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chief, Marshall has traveled to 32 countries; she’s been to a few, such as South Korea and Indonesia, three times already. She’s also led ambassadors on seven Experience America trips to states as diverse as California, New York and Wyoming.At last count, diplomats from 106 countries have joined Experience America visits since Marshall took over the program from her predecessor, Nancy Brinker (see related feature story on page 8). In addition, 173 embassies and delegations have participated in the Diplomatic Partnership Division’s events, which include cultural presentations at Blair House as well as off-the-record “state of the administration” sessions between top administration officials and ambassadors. “One thing we’ve learned is that the greatest bridge between cultures and people is food. So we launched a new initiative called the Diplomatic Culinary Partnership,” she explained. “We’ve asked U.S. chefs to talk about American cuisine. Often, these world leaders arrive to meetings hungry, so let’s make sure we’re giving them something that’s an expression of who we are.”(Also see“Hungry to Serve:State Department Dishes Up Smart Power on a Platter” in the November 2012 issue of The Washington Diplomat.) One of the Office of Protocol’s biggest divisions is Diplomatic Affairs, which registers and accredits every diplomat who comes to the United States.That involves mundane tasks such as issuing appropriate ID cards and coordinating with the Office of Foreign Missions as well as the United Nations so that nothing falls through the cracks. Since August 2009, Marshall has also supervised 15 ceremonies at which exactly 146 ambassadors have formally presented their credentials to President Obama on the South Lawn of the White House. “We make sure all the ambassadors feel respected and welcomed along with their families as they present their credentials to the president. So we’ll set up a ceremony with a whole military cordon that greets them,” she said. “The objective is to get them credentialed as quickly as possible. Once they present the stated documents, then we try very hard to work with the White House to get a date with the president so they can begin their meetings. Otherwise, they’re operating with one hand. It’s not conducive for their daily business.” Marshall pretty much knows everyone in the Washington diplomatic corps. The dean of that club is Ambassador Roble Olhaye of Djibouti, who’s been here since 1988, followed by Palau’s Hersey Kyota. Ambassador Faida Mitifu of the Democratic Republic of Congo and then Claudia Fritsche of Liechtenstein rank as the longestserving female ambassadors, now that Chan Heng Chee — who served in Washington for 16 years — has returned to Singapore (see Chan’s cover profile in the July 2012 issue of The Diplomat). “Part of my job is to welcome our foreign dignitaries, and make them feel respected and comfortable,” Marshall said, adding that no matter how big or small they might be, “you can’t treat two countries differently.There are rules so that each are treated in the most appropriate fashion. We’re laying a foundation for diplomacy.” Marshall, who’s married to a cardiologist and has a son, usually starts her day at 4:30 a.m. with a “small shot of caffeine.” By 5:15, she’s doing P90X — an intensive commercial home exercise regimen — then makes her kid breakfast, gets ready for work, and is out the door by 8. “I work out every day, and I derive most of my energy from the love and passion I have for my job,” she told us. “If you love what you do, you will go at it 1,000 percent.” The morning we interviewed Marshall, her crammed schedule included back-to-back meetings followed by a 4 p.m.“Taste of Thanksgiving”
event for 200 ambassadors and their families at Blair House, a 6 p.m. reception hosted by Saudi Ambassador Adel A. Al-Jubeir to inaugurate the “Roads of Arabia” exhibition at the Sackler Gallery, and finally a 7 p.m. dinner honoring billionaire philanthropist David Rubenstein that was hosted by Kuwaiti Ambassador Salem Abdullah Al-Jaber Al-Sabah. “Understanding the customs and traditions of other countries is absolutely important,” she said. “For instance, the receiving of a business card in many countries is an important exchange of information. I advise everyone in our delegation to make sure you take it with two hands. But where do you put it? What do you do next? You should look at it, then wait and either put it in your front pocket or with your papers. You don’t want to put it in your back pocket.” It’s also crucial not to misspell officials’ names, mess up their titles or confuse their countries’ flags.“I’m a stickler for that,” she said. Marshall’s ease with foreign languages also comes in handy. “There are many times where we’ll be waiting in the Roosevelt Room with various leaders before they’re received. During that time, I enjoy speaking with them on a variety of subject matters, in particular with those who speak Spanish. I also speak a bit of French and I’m working on Chinese, because my son has now started taking Chinese classes.” Credentialing foreign ambassadors is one thing, but it’s quite another when the State Department declares an envoy persona non grata, as it did with Ecuador’s Luis Gallegos — who was booted out of the United States in April 2011 in retaliation for Quito’s expulsion of thenU.S. Ambassador Heather Hodges over the WikiLeaks affair. There’s a protocol for handling those cases, too. Marshall shared the tricks of her trade in July at a Global Chiefs of Protocol conference that attracted 87 colleagues from 110 countries (also see “The Power of Protocol” in the Diplomatic Pouch online at washdiplomat.com/ DPouch/2012/August2/index.html). “It was a wonderful gathering of ideas and new ways in which to do what we customarily do,” she said of the event. However, things don’t always go as planned. During a 2007 ribbon-cutting on the Caribbean island of Grenada for a $40 million stadium financed by China, the Royal Grenada Police Band mistakenly played the national anthem of Taiwan — a big no-no for Beijing. According to the Associated Press, the Chinese ambassador looked “visibly uncomfortable.” (The bandleader was immediately relieved of his duties.) Two years later, the U.S. ambassador to Poland, Lee Feinstein, publicly thanked Polish Defense Minister Bogdan Klich for agreeing to “enhance its presence” in Afghanistan — even though no such announcement had ever been made. The Polish government later said Feinstein had committed a “blunder,” while the U.S. Embassy, trying to save face in the midst of a post-gaffe media firestorm, blamed the translator. Obama too got into some hot water with the Poles earlier this year when he referred to a Nazi-run concentration camp in Poland as a “Polish death camp,” infuriating Poles at what should’ve been a proud moment: the awarding of the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Polish World War II resistance hero Jan Karski. But it’s the Jan. 8, 1992, state dinner in Tokyo that takes the cake for sheer embarrassment. That’s the infamous meal during which President George H.W. Bush — sick to his stomach — vomited into the lap of Japanese Prime Minister Kiichi Miyazawa. “Protocol really is a bridge between the visiting delegation and the U.S. delegation,” Marshall explained. “We try to be incredibly well prepared by going through each and every moment. It’s literally minute by minute. We do our homework in advance and make sure there are no surprises. If there needs to be some tweaking, we collaborate. For example, we find out if there’s anything they don’t feel comfortable January 2013
with — certain colors or food allergies. That chief, who accompanied the Obamas on their will ensure the visit goes really well.” state visit to England in May 2011. Two years Yet sometimes, even the chief of protocol earlier, Obama had given the queen a personalslips up — literally. ized iPod, raising eyebrows on both sides of the On May 19, 2010, as Marshall was escorting Atlantic. President Obama and his wife Michelle down “We had to make sure we got everything just the steps of the North Portico of the White right, so we created a book of memories,” House to greet Mexican President Felipe Marshall said of the 2011 visit. “We found oneCalderón and his wife Margarita, the protocol of-a-kind memorabilia and photos from her chief lost her balance and slipped — but quick- father’s last visit to the United States [in 1939, ly stood up again, never losing her composure. the first visit of its kind by a reigning British She later joked to the Washington Post’s Reliable monarch]. You could tell she was so pleased to Source:“As a proud Mexican-American, this his- receive it. toric day at the White House moved me in ways “For Prince Philip, we know he loved to raise I never anticipated.” carriage ponies, so we went to two American At last count, the 90-second YouTube video craftsmen.They created bits and shanks, and on of Marshall’s famous slip had been viewed the ends of the bits, we soldered in the presi224,301 times. The incident very much epito- dential seal. And for Prince Charles, we know mizes the essence of protocol — it’s a job that he’s into the environment, so we created a magAlthough every made assure ad is free of mistakes in spelling and content it is ultimately up to the customer works behind the scenes toNOTE: make everything noliaeffort woodisbox madetofrom a treeyour that had fallen make the final proof. appear seamless. It’s invisible, until something on the White House lawn, and from to plants, goes wrong. Marshall — like so many protocol seeds and honey from the grounds of Mount The first two faxed changes will be made at no cost to the advertiser, subsequent changes will be billed at a rate of $75 per faxed alteration. officers around the world — can get a million Vernon, Monticello and the White House.” Signed ads are considered approved. details right, but it’s that one-in-a-million snafu Right before our time with Marshall was up, that gets noticed. we squeezed in one morecheck question. allcarefully. the Please thisOfad Mark any changes to your ad. “When these snafus happen and if it’s you, ambassadors she’s met in Washington, we just get up andIf continue, makesign lightand of it,fax ” to: politely who was her favorite — the ad isand correct (301)inquired 949-0065 needs changes The Washington Diplomat (301) 933-3552 the easy-going yet meticulous Marshall advised though we already anticipated the answer to Approvedconstantly _____________________________________________ Changes _____________________________________________________________________ us. “Now the president whispers in that one. “I can’t pick a favorite,” she cheerfully my ear when we’re getting near. Once, we were Changes ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ with [then-Russian President Dmitry] Medvedev, replied. “Individually, I cherish my relationship walking up the North Portico steps, and he told with all of them.” Medvedev the entire story.” Outside of her famous fall, we asked Marshall Larry Luxner is news editor of The what’s been her most memorable moment on Washington Diplomat. the job. “My celebrity moment with Her Majesty,” she answered without hesitation.“To be in her presence and work with protocol officials at Buckingham Palace was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.” Follow the Diplomat Coming up with just the right gift for Queen Elizabeth II — a woman who already has everyConnect at www.washdiplomat.com. thing — was “critical,” according to the protocol
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THE Washington Diplomat
Country Promotion Strategies Conference Attracts Ambassadors, Industry Insiders
s Republicans and Demo crats duke it out over the economy, will there be any energy left for foreign policy? How does an ambassador get heard amid the partisan rancor and gridlock, especially when dozens of colleagues are all trying to do the same thing? How can a foreign government get the (positive) attention of the media — and what should it do when that spotlight turns negative? Should an embassy tweet? What messages appeal to busy congressional staffers, and which ones alienate them? Who’s in and out of the new administration? And how will America’s shifting political landscape impact its economic prospects? All these questions and many more were openly discussed by those in the know at The Washington Diplomat’s inaugural Country Promotion Strategies Conference, held at the Ritz-Carlton Washington hotel on Nov. 13 — just one week after the dust settled from the contentious U.S. presidential elections. More than 200 people — including ambassadors and representatives from over 50 embassies — turned out for the all-day event, the first of its kind in D.C. In addition to the city’s diplomatic corps, the CPS Conference brought together members of Congress, senior executives from multinational and foreign corporations, along with industry experts in law, lobbying, public relations, tourism promotion and economic development. The goal: have high-level policymakers and industry insiders offer postelection strategies for strengthening relations with Washington and cracking the U.S. market — in an off-the-record setting structured to give attendees oneon-one access to key decision-makers. Speakers included Thomas Hale Boggs Jr. of Patton Boggs, one of the city’s best-known lobbyists; Senator Richard Lugar (R-Ind.), ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee who was first elected to the Senate in 1976 and whom the New York Times called its “foreign policy conscious”; and former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, who won his first congressional seat in 1973. Guests dined on watercress salad with cabernet-poached pears, grilled beef medallions in bordelaise sauce and vanilla bean crème brûlée with lemon Madeleine cookies as Boggs and Lott
Photo: Lawrence Ruggeri
Ambassador Stuart Holliday, president and CEO of the Meridian International Center and conference moderator; Thomas Hale Boggs Jr., partner at Patton Boggs and keynote luncheon speaker; Victor Shiblie, publisher and editor in chief of The Washington Diplomat; and former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, also a keynote luncheon speaker for the Country Promotion Strategies Conference
Photo: Lawrence Ruggeri
Ambassador Stuart Holliday, president and CEO of the Meridian International Center and conference moderator; Victor Shiblie, publisher and editor in chief of The Washington Diplomat; Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.), ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee; Mark D. Cowan, senior executive vice president of international business at Cassidy & Associates; and Lance Morgan, chief communications strategist at Weber Shandwick
offered insights on what to expect in this volatile new political landscape based on their decades of experience. Guests also received a detailed guidebook with in-depth advice on issues ranging from how to boost U.S. investment and trade to managing a nation’s public profile. In addition, an expansive networking lounge throughout the day
offered conference-goers a chance to mingle in between panel discussions. Among the prominent panelists who spoke were former White House Special Counsel Lanny Davis, Rear Admiral Victor M. “Vic” Beck of the U.S. Navy, Lauri Fitz-Pegado of the Livingston
Photo: Lawrence Ruggeri
Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.), ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee
See Conference, page 22
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Photo: Lawrence Ruggeri
Lauri Fitz-Pegado of the Livingston Group
Photo: Lawrence Ruggeri
Rear Adm. Victor M. “Vic” Beck, vice chief of information for the U.S. Navy and a managing director in Burson-Marsteller’s U.S. public affairs practice
Photo: Lawrence Ruggeri Photo: Lawrence Ruggeri
David Rehr, author of the Congressional Communications Report and former president and CEO of the National Association of Broadcasters who now teaches at the George Washington University Graduate School of Political Management
Bill Black, co-chair of Fleishman-Hillard’s global public affairs practice
Photo: Lawrence Ruggeri
Lance Morgan, chief communications strategist at Weber Shandwick, and Nick Ludlum, a senior vice president at Ogilvy Public Relations
Photo: Thomas Coleman
Ambassador of Guyana Bayney Karran and Ambassador of Barbados John Beale
Photo: Thomas Coleman
Ambassador of Dominica Hubert Charles and Ambassador of Trinidad and Tobago Neil Parsan
Photo: Thomas Coleman
Photo: Lawrence Ruggeri
Jon Clifton, partner at Gallup and director of the Gallup Government Group
Ambassador of Haiti to the Organization of American States Duly Brutus and Ambassador of Dominica Hubert Charles
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Conference Group, Rory Davenport of Ogilvy Public Relations, and David Rehr of the Congressional Communications Report. Ambassador Stuart Holliday, president and CEO of the Meridian International Center, served as the event moderator. Topics included the evolution of foreign policy and bipartisanship in Congress and implications for the diplomatic community; the fundamentals of government relations; media and crisis management; what to expect from the new administration; how foreign nations can use polling and research to their benefit; the importance of social media; attracting American tourists; and lobbying 101. One of the chief responsibilities of any embassy or diplomatic mission in the United States is to promote their nation’s agenda to an American audience, strengthening economic ties and political relations. But navigating the maze of government agencies, private sector businesses, NGOs, media outlets and many competing interests Photo: Thomas Coleman in the nation’s capital can be intimidating for Matthew Keller of the Embassy of Liechtenstein, Ambassador of Monaco Gilles Noghès, Lorenzo Ravano of the Embassy of Monaco, the savviest of envoys.They must know how and Victor Shiblie, publisher and editor in chief of The Washington Diplomat to reach out to top U.S. officials, be able to engage with local media, understand the intricacies of the U.S. regulatory environment, and be intimately familiar with the labyrinth of legislation that grinds its way through Capitol Hill. After years of listening to diplomats ask how they could break through the Beltway bubble and access American centers of power, Victor Shiblie, publisher of The Washington Diplomat, decided to organize a conference that could help answer their questions. And based on the overwhelming response, chances are high that the Country Promotion Conference will become an annual tradition. NO more INTEREST Among the turnout were than 20 For 12from Months Photo: Thomas Coleman ambassadors, with envoys Egypt, AS CASH! Trinidad and Tobago,SAME Iceland, Guyana, Ambassador of Senegal Cheikh Niang and Mark Clack, senior vice With approved credit minimum purchase of Monaco, Haiti, Senegal, and Malta, Cyprus and president at Cassidy & Associates $4000 APR 23.97% others in attendance. Political counselors, Photo: Thomas Coleman trade officers and other dipBandula Somasiri of the Embassy of Sri Lanka, former Sri lomats from embassies spanLankan Ambassador Devinda Subasinghe, now with APCO Emily Barge ning the globe — from To view all Worldwide, and Mark D. Cowan, senior executive vice presiof Weber Azerbaijan, Botswana and the photos dent of international business at Cassidy & Associates Shandwick, Iraq to Finland, New Zealand from the Ambassador and Singapore — also came Country of Iceland Below, Eduardo Zaqueu, counselor at the Embassy of out. Promotion Strategies Gudmundur Mozambique; Omari Williams, minister counselor at the Corporate sponsors of the Conference, be sure to like A. Stefansson, Embassy of St. Vincent and the Grenadines; Joel Nkurabay, Country Promotion Strategies The Washington and Elizabeth second secretary at the Embassy of Burundi; Kendall Conference included Patton Diplomat on Kraushar Belisle, first secretary at the Embassy of Belize; and Ariel Boggs,Weber Shandwick and Facebook. of Weber Bowen, minister counselor at the Embassy of Jamaica Cassidy & Associates. Shandwick
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Liu Yuqing, second secretary at the Embassy of China, and András Szörényi, political and public affairs officer at the Embassy of Hungary Photo: Thomas Coleman
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The Embassy of Azerbaijan’s Mammad Talibov and Emain Ibrahimov
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Frank Samolis of Patton Boggs, Ambassador of Egypt Mohamed M. Tawfik, Andy Fisher, communications director with Sen. Richard Lugar’s office, Maia Comeau, director of congressional relations at the German Marshall Fund, and Daryl Sng, political counselor at the Embassy of Singapore
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Masego S.D. Nkgomotsang of the Embassy of Botswana
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Matthew Keller of the Embassy of Liechtenstein, Neil Brown of Sen. Richard Lugar’s office, and Maia Comeau, director of congressional relations at the German Marshall Fund Photo: Lawrence Ruggeri
Fatina Salaheddine of Cleveland-based Al-Sahafa newspaper, Omer Er of Turkish Airlines Inc. and Ambassador of Malta Joseph Cole
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Sami Humala of the Embassy of Finland, Lisa Flowers of Flowers Media Matters, and Natalia Dragan of the Embassy of Romania
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Katarina Zivanovic, political affairs officer at the Embassy of Serbia, and James Beaty of Cassidy & Associates
UPS’s Serge Eygenson, Richard McArdle and Amgad Shehata
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Gina Anderson, communications advisor at the Embassy of New Zealand, and Lauri FitzPegado, partner at the Livingston Group
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Julie Giorgadze, counselor at the Embassy of Georgia Photo: Lawrence Ruggeri
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U.S. Court Moves Against Impunity In Years-Long Somali Legal Saga by Karin Zeitvogel
early six years ago, in April 2007, a U.S. court dismissed a case against U.S. resident Mohamed Ali Samantar, a former prime minister and defense minister of Somalia who was accused of killings and torture during the failed regime of Mohamed Siad Barre. The court said Samantar’s status as a former Somali government official shielded him from prosecution under the 1976 Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA), which, with some exceptions, prevents nations (and their “political subdivisions, agencies or instrumentalities”) from being sued in U.S. courts. Two years later, an appeals court ruled that Samantar was not, in fact, protected by the FSIA, and in June 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court backed that decision, saying the 1976 law, which governs the immunity of foreign states from prosecution in U.S. courts, applied only to foreign governments and their agencies, not to officials in those governments. The case was remanded to the district court, where Samantar asked for it to be dismissed based on common law immunities given to former heads of state and other foreign officials for acts performed in their official capacity. His claims for immunity were rejected, even though he did serve as prime minister of Somalia from 1987 to 1990. At the beginning of November, the Fourth District Appeal Court affirmed the lower court’s decision. As of press time, Samantar — who since 1997 has lived in Virginia — had been ordered to pay $21 million in damages to a small group of Somali plaintiffs (some of them naturalized U.S. citizens) for ordering the killings and torture of members of a minority clan in Somalia. In doing so, the court took from the State Department the traditional mantle of decision-making in immunity cases. The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals said it would take decisions on immunity based on U.S. and international law. “We give absolute deference to the State Department’s position on status-based immunity doctrines such as head-of-state immunity,” Chief Judge William Traxler wrote, but he added that the State Department’s determination on “conductbased immunity” would not be the final word on the matter, though the court said State’s recommendation would carry “sub-
Photo: Vladimir Cetinski / bigstock
U.S. officials, and particularly former officials, could be exposed to legal proceedings for alleged war crimes and other charges everywhere in the world if this decision stands and if it’s replicated in other countries. And there’s a real danger of that. — Mark B. Feldman senior counsel at the Garvey Schubert Barer
stantial weight in our analysis of the issue.” “In this case, the court is saying: ‘We come out in the same way as the State Department but it’s our decision and the rule is absolute — there’s no immunity for torture under international law,’” explained Mark B. Feldman, senior counsel at the Garvey Schubert Barer law firm in Washington D.C., who, as deputy legal adviser at the State Department from 1974 to 1981, played a “significant role” in drafting the FSIA. This approach would override any suggestion of immunity recommended by the State Department, at least in torture cases involving former officials other than a head of state, he said. “What I would argue and a State Department lawyer would argue, if it’s not governed by the FSIA, then it’s up to the State Department and the courts should follow it,” he said. Samantar had sought protection from prosecution, citing the fact that he was
prime minister and defense minister in Somalia when the alleged acts were committed, and that he was therefore acting in an official capacity. But the court reasoned that even though “jus cogens violations may well be committed under color of law and, in that sense, constitute acts performed in the course of the foreign official’s employment by the sovereign … as a matter of international and domestic law, jus cogens violations are, by definition, acts that are not officially authorized by the sovereign.” Jus cogens means, literally,“compelling law” and refers to “certain fundamental, overriding principles of international law, from which no derogation is ever permitted,” according to Cornell University Law School. Although there is no formal definition of what does and doesn’t fall under jus cogens norms, it is widely accepted that torture does. The original 2004 lawsuit seeking financial damages against Samantar was,
The case of a former Somali prime minister, now a resident of Virginia, accused of killings and torture has wound its way through the U.S. court system for the last six years, challenging the State Department’s traditional jurisdiction of decisionmaking in diplomatic immunity cases.
in fact, filed under the Torture Victim Protection Act.The claimants all said that Samantar was not directly involved in committing the alleged torture, rape, extrajudicial killings, imprisonment and other human rights abuses that they endured, but that the violations occurred under his command. “Under the decision, if it stands, if you’re a torturer or guilty of a fundamental violation of international law which the courts regard as jus cogens, you could be sued in the United States, and you’d better not come visit, let alone come live here,” Feldman said. There are hundreds of thousands of torture victims who have resettled in the United States, along with at least several hundred serious human rights violators. The Samantar decision could still be appealed. Feldman expressed concern that the latest decision in this long-running legal saga could leave U.S. officials at risk of being sued in foreign courts. “U.S. officials, and particularly former officials, could be exposed to legal proceedings for alleged war crimes and other charges everywhere in the world if this decision stands and if it’s replicated
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in other countries. And there’s a real danger of So far, all of those legal attempts have fallen that,” he warned. flat, and Samantar’s case is unique. There is no “I don’t think the U.S. wants to see Henry functioning government in Somalia that could Kissinger or any other American officials sued in vouch for him, and he agreed earlier this year Chile or anywhere else,” Feldman added. not to contest the charges and accept liability Lawsuits have in fact been brought against for the damages (he is currently undergoing former U.S. National Security Adviser and bankruptcy proceedings). Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in the United The case has also raised a complex, murky States and abroad relating to deaths in Chile in web of legal precedents. Samantar was sued the early 1970s, when left-wing President under the 1992 Torture Victims Protection Act as The United States was the first nation place where a private lawyer and a repreSalvador Allende was elected and deposed in a well as the Alien Torts Statute, a law passed by to codify the law of foreign sovereign sentative of the foreign state’s embassy coup three years later. the first U.S. Congress — back in 1789. immunity by statute. would argue to an official at the State Indeed, governments all over the world have The United States had just come out of the Department. Prior to the Foreign Sovereign been watching the Samantar case grind its way Revolutionary War against the British, the French Immunities Act (FSIA), the United States Because that process was time-conthrough the U.S. legal system for years because Revolution was in full swing, and the Napoleonic followed a view of “absolute immunity for suming, subject to diplomatic pressure of its potentially far-reaching foreign policy Wars were around the corner. The aim of the foreign states and sovereigns.” But in from the foreign state involved, and raised ramifications. Alien Torts Statute was to “create a right of 1952, it changed tack and took the potential foreign policy problems because “[W]hen the Supreme Court took up the case action by aliens [i.e. foreigners] to redress in the approach used in Europe, called the the State Department was making deterof Somali General Mohamed Ali Samantar … an newly created U.S. federal courts for violations “restrictive principle,” which allows odd coalition of defenders emerged. Among of international law, particularly torts — bodily minations on foreign requests for immuniimmunity for purely governmental acts them were the government of Saudi Arabia, vari- injury, and so on,” Feldman said. ty, the executive branch of the U.S. govbut not for commercial acts by the foreign ous pro-Israel groups, and three former U.S. The statute was moribund until the late 20th ernment initiated the Foreign Sovereign state or its agencies. The new approach attorneys general,” wrote Daniel Schulman in century, when human rights advocates began Immunities Act. the 2010 article “The War Criminal Next Door” citing it in cases against individuals and foreign required case-by-case determination by It had three main objectives in doing for Mother Jones. corporations. the State Department, which then asked so: to transfer the burden of decision“In the past, attempts (unsuccessful thus far) FSIA was invoked by Samantar in a bid to the Department of Justice to submit a making on issues of immunity from the have been made to sue ex-Israeli officials in seek immunity from prosecution. But the issue “suggestion of immunity” to the courts. NOTE: Although effort is suits made to assure your ad is free spelling and days, content it is ultimately State up toDepartment the customer to u.S. courts; to codify American courts for their role in military cam-every of bringing against individuals within the of mistakes Theincourts, in those automatically to make proof. to the government, meaning the in statutory terms the restrictive principle paigns that caused civilian casualties. The case framework of the FSIA never arose when the the finaldeferred makes the Saudis tense because of their experi- statute was being drafted. of immunity; and to provide a comprehenState Department wasbe effectively Theoffirst two faxed changes“We willdidn’t be made at no cost the advertiser, changes will billed atadjudia rate of $75 faxed alteration. ences fending off a spate lawsuits accusing identify that as to a problem that subsequent sive per regime in the United States for litigacating cases without due process. Signed ads are considered approved. Saudi officials, nonprofits, and other entities of needs to be addressed in the statute, ” Feldman tion against foreign states and governNaturally, this stirred some controversy complicity in the September 11th attacks.These said.“The courts are going to have to sort it out ment agencies. Please check this ad carefully. Markinany to your legalchanges circles, and in thead. 1970s, a sysconcerns also hit a little closer to home, given, now.” — Karin Zeitvogel tem of administrative hearings was put in among other Ifthings, theisBush administration’s the ad correct sign and fax to: (301) 949-0065 needs changes The Washington Diplomat (301) 933-3552 controversial interrogation and rendition poli- Karin Zeitvogel is a contributing writer for The Washington Diplomat. cies,” he added.Approved _____________________________________________ Changes _____________________________________________________________________
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Not All Good Development Intentions Are Created Equal by Rachael Bade
t’s a New Year, which always brings a renewed push to make the world a better place. There are more than 966,000 public charities in the United States alone, according to the National Center for Charitable Statistics. Just imagine how many nonprofits there are worldwide. Add in development-oriented government agencies, nongovernmental organizations, anti-poverty alliances, etc., and the number of groups around the world aimed at bettering society is impressive — and staggering. But behind the numbers is a basic question: Which ones are actually working? The Washington Diplomat posed this question to a group of D.C.-based development experts. Below are three initiatives that won praise for making a tangible difference on the ground: a Mexican cash-incentive program that has become the model for many like it around the world, an American nonprofit that made donating bed nets trendy, and a global alliance that revolutionized child health through immunizations.
Incentivizing Well Being: Oportunidades In December, Mexico’s new president, Enrique Pena Nieto, announced a series of sweeping reforms to professionalize the country’s lackluster education system, currently under the control of the 1.5-million-member National Union of Education Workers — not the federal government. The move is ambitious — and needed: The World Economic Forum recently ranked Mexico’s education system among the worst in the world; placing it 100th out of 144 nations surveyed. Despite the admittedly dismal state of education in Mexico today, the country, largely under the previous administration, has quietly made significant strides to giving its youngest citizens a better future. Last year, Mexican officials announced their country had achieved part of the U.N. Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and were inching upward on the rest. Officials were able to check off MDG No. 2: achieving universal primary education. In addition to gains in education, Rolando Rodríguez Barceló, the director of general planning and strategic agenda in former President Felipe Calderón’s office, wrote that the country was making a serious dent in extreme poverty and that “the past 10 years have seen a substantial improvement in many of the indicators used to measure the millennium goals.” But he added that the government had focused specifically on education “to break the intergenerational poverty cycle.” Barceló noted that more than 95 percent of Mexican children enrolled in primary education completed it. That was up from 87 percent in 1999, according to MDG data. He also boasted that Mexico was going beyond the MDG threshold by growing preschool enrollment from 50 percent in 2000 to 81 percent in 2010. In addition, childhood mortality and malnutrition rates have been slashed, as have maternal mortality rates. Although Mexico’s development over the past decade
Photo: GAVI / 11 / Riccardo Gangale
[Oportunidades] changed the culture of development … adding an appreciation for seriously evaluating the things we do — not by stories, but by numbers. — Maureen Lewis
visiting professor with Georgetown University’s Global Human Development Program
was likely caused by a number of factors, many experts attribute a substantial chuck of the progress to a novel social welfare program that the country pioneered 15 years ago: Oportunidades, or “opportunities,” formerly called Progresa. Launched in 1997 and based on a similar Brazil program, Oportunidades pays poor families to invest in their children’s health and education rather than simply allocating money without accountability or doling out food handouts. Academics call such programs conditional cash transfers (CCT) and Oportunidades has spawned similar CCT-based programs in more than two dozen other countries. Oportunidades, which started as a 300,000-family pilot program and ballooned to cover 6.5 million Mexican families, is not a simple cash handout. The transfers are contingent on the family meeting certain criteria: Children must be enrolled in school and maintain an attendance rate of at least 85 percent. Families must also go to the doctor for regular checkups and meet various nutrition requirements. Pregnant women, for example, must receive five prenatal checkups. The idea is to break poverty’s vicious cycle, often passed from generation to generation. Because destitute families often can’t pay for schooling — and sometimes rely on
In 2011, the GAVI Alliance, formerly known as the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization, introduced the pneumococcal vaccine into Kenya’s immunization program. Aware of the high risks of contracting pneumonia in a shanty town, Josephine Anyango, 21, with her 11-month daughter Michelle, was among hundreds of mothers who vaccinated their children at a celebratory event in Nairobi.
youngsters to work to support the family — children in poverty often grow up entering the same low-paying jobs as their forefathers.The theory behind Oportunidades is to invest in impoverished children, and not just their parents. “Stats show that people who are better educated and are healthier have a better chance of getting out of poverty,” said Eric L. Olson of the Mexico Institute at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.“That’s the best way to break the continuity of poverty.” Santiago Levy, Mexico’s former deputy minister of finance and architect of the Oportunidades program, told Public Radio International that this concept works because of the conditions attached to it. “An important component of the program is what we call co-responsibility,” he said. “It really is money that people ‘earn’ by their good behavior … so families feel differently about [these] resources … to the extent that the mothers, in particular, feel that they’ve earned the right to these resources.” Oportunidades is structured so that poor families receive payments that boost their incomes by between 20 and 30 percent.The grant amounts vary, depending on the level of education of each family member, their access to electricity and tap water, and household assets. The fixed, bimonthly stipends have two parts: one for food and the second for education, which increases as a student progresses to higher grades. Scholarships for girls tend to include more money because their attendance rates lag behind their male counterparts. In addition, the supplemental money usually goes to the
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See Development, page 28 January 2013
Suicide and the Holidays: Myths and Realities by Gina Shaw
t was a week before Christmas, 2008. I was in the checkout line at Home Goods, gathering a few last-minute holiday tchotchkes, when my husband called on my cell phone. He was crying. “Julie’s dead,” he told me. Julie was his baby cousin — a teacher, 26 and full of life, with an infectious smile and roomfuls of friends.
My husband was the oldest of six cousins who had all grown up together, more like siblings than cousins. Julie was the second youngest. And on that December day, in the house she shared with her older brother and his fiancée, she had killed herself. Five days before Christmas Eve, in a gathering blizzard, the whole family came together, not for a holiday celebration, but for Julie’s funeral. Stories like Julie’s — a suicide within just a few days of Christmas — may reinforce the idea that suicide rates are higher around the holidays, as people who are already depressed find themselves stressed by holiday pressures and feeling worse about their problems when they see the merriment around them. But suicide rates don’t peak during November and December, as is commonly thought. In fact, statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that suicides are near their lowest ebb around the holidays, and actually peak in the spring. (Could this be linked to the phenomenon of increased risk of suicide immediately after going on antidepressants? Perhaps in both cases, a severely depressed person gets just enough energy from medication, or from longer and warmer days, to act on suicidal thoughts that they had been too paralyzed to do anything but think about before.)
The problem with reinforcing the myth is that media content that makes suicide appear to be more common [during the holidays] can encourage vulnerable individuals to consider it.
— Dan Romer director of the Adolescent Communication Institute at the Annenberg Public Policy Center
content that makes suicide appear to be more common can encourage vulnerable individuals to consider it,” Romer said in a statement released with last year’s data. “Although we have no direct evidence for such an effect of the holiday myth, other evidence indicates that the media can influence vulnerable people to attempt suicide.” The myth of “holiday blues” suicides can also inadvertently diminish the reality of the kind of depression that leads someone to kill him or herself. Passing cases of the “holiday blues” don’t drive people to commit suicide — real, lasting, often untreated and unacknowledged struggles with depression and other related types of mental illness do. Instead of focusing on the idea that people are more likely to kill themselves around the holidays, experts say it’s important to be aware of the signs that someone is at risk for suicide throughout the year. According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), these signs include: • Clear signs of serious depression, such as an unrelenting low mood, hopelessness and desperation • Withdrawal from friends, family and activities • Sleep problems • Increased use of alcohol and/or drugs • Recent impulsive behavior or taking unnecessary risks • Unexpected anger or rages • Threatening suicide
Still, the myth of spiking rates of suicide around the holidays persists. Every year, Dan Romer of the Annenberg Public Policy Center tracks media coverage of this notion and releases a report comparing the percentage of stories that debunk the myth with those that support it. His report for 2012 isn’t out yet as of this writing, but in 2011, 70 percent of the stories related to holiday suicides gave credence to the myth. Only 30 percent set the record straight. What’s the big deal? After all, raising awareness about suicide is probably a good thing even if the numbers and dates aren’t exactly accurate, right? Not necessarily. “The problem with reinforcing the myth is that media January 2013
• Making a plan or taking steps toward suicide, such as giving away favorite possessions, getting a gun or hoarding medications More than half of all people who commit suicide make their plans known to someone around them. If you happen to be that someone, don’t shrug it off. Tell them you’re concerned. Ask if they have a therapist. Encourage them to seek professional help (find out more at AFSP.org). If you think they’re at immediate risk of harming themselves, don’t leave the person alone. Get them to an emergency room or walk-in psychiatric clinic, or even just a doctor’s office; or call 911 or the
Photo: Steve Jacobs / istock
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). There’s one thing about holidays and suicide that isn’t a myth, though: Holidays, anniversaries and birthdays are acutely painful for all survivors of suicide, no matter what time of year the death occurred. Some families prefer to maintain old traditions, while others want to create new ones — some TO LEARN involving rituals in celebration of the life of their MORE: loved one. AFSP.org My husband’s aunt’s family goes on a preChristmas cruise together so that they will all be FOR together in a bright, happy place during the IMMEDIATE actual anniversary of Julie’s death. Another famHELP: ily goes to Disney for the holidays after losing their 21-year-old son to suicide.A woman whose National Suicide husband killed himself after 32 years of marriage Prevention told the AFSP that she writes him a note each Lifeline at year about what’s happened in her life and puts 1-800-273-TALK it in his Christmas stocking. Yet another woman (8255). gets the ugliest tree she can find, to make herself remember her husband’s great sense of humor. The AFSP notes that there is no “right way” to handle the holidays after losing someone to suicide. If you’ve lost someone to suicide — this year or any year in the past — be gentle with yourself this holiday season and don’t be afraid yourself to ask for help.
Gina Shaw is the medical writer for The Washington Diplomat.
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from page 26
Development female head of the household because studies have shown that women are more likely than men to spend extra funds on the family. Compliance is verified by schools and clinics, though how rigidly this is enforced is questionable given that only 1 percent of participants are found noncompliant. Still, evaluation is a key component of Oportunidades, which, according to the World Bank, is the first social program in Mexico to carry out a rigorous, independent evaluation of the program’s impact, including randomly assigned treatment and control groups. Brazil, for example, started a similar education program in 1995 — which is the largest of these types of CCT programs, encompassing more than 11 million families — but it didn’t include such a strong emphasis on tracking progress. In contrast, Oportunidades sought out the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), an independent research group based in D.C., to evaluate the program. The reason, in part, was to establish the program’s effectiveness so it would survive changeovers in government — which it did. But beyond that, the rigorous oversight and data collection in Oportunidades “changed the culture of development … adding an appreciation for seriously evaluating the things we do — not by stories, but by numbers,” said Maureen Lewis, a visiting professor in Georgetown University’s Global Human Development Program. “That is a very helpful thing to have in development so you’re really questioning and trying to figure out what works.” Oportunidades has spawned a whole new way of thinking in the development world. Here in Washington, the Center for Global Development took the CCT concept one step further and created Cash on Delivery Aid (COD Aid), which links payments more directly to a single specific, measurable outcome.At the core of this approach is a contract between funders and recipients that stipulates a fixed payment for each unit of confirmed progress toward an agreed-upon goal. Once the contract is struck, the funder takes a hands-off approach, allowing recipients the freedom and responsibility to achieve the goal on their own. Payment is made only after progress toward the goal is independently verified by a third party. At all steps, a COD Aid program is transparent to the public. COD Aid programs are still in the pilot stage and will have to overcome obstacles such as technical feasibility (what constitutes a measurable outcome) and buy-in from recipient governments, who may have neither the capacity nor the will to make development a priority. But proponents of Oportunidades say it is paying dividends and has proved its worth. “The results of the evaluation of IFPRI show that after only three years, poor Mexican children living in the rural areas where Oportunidades operates have increased their school enrollment, have more balanced diets, are receiving more medical attention, and are learning that the future can be very different from the past,” said the coordinator of the Oportunidades-IFPRI evaluation, Emmanuel Skoufias, who is now a World Bank economist. But the results went beyond education and health care. Nora Lustig, a professor of Latin American economics at Tulane University, wrote in Americas Quarterly last year that the program has played a role in decreasing income inequalities in Mexico — and is well worth the .5 percent of Mexican GDP that officials spend on it annually. Oportunidades funding and spending on similar programs make up a “small share of total government social spending,” she wrote, “but go a long way in terms of redistributing income to the bottom of the income scale.”
NOTHING BUT NETS At the end of the 19th century, Calcutta-based
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U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon looks at a child’s mosquito net to protect against malaria inside his home in Ethiopia.
uN PhOTO / ESKINDEr DEBEBE
British physician Sir Ronald Ross discovered that mosquitoes were the main carriers of a deadly disease that had plagued humankind for millennia: malaria. Despite this discovery more than a century ago, a child still dies of malaria every minute.We know how to prevent it, yet according to the World Health Organization, malaria claimed 655,000 lives in 2010 alone — about 85 percent of which were children under 5 years old, mostly in Africa. But over the past decade, malaria has been on the defense. It’s a dying disease that many say will disappear altogether eventually, and much of this success can be attributed to the simple bed net. The parasite that causes malaria is transmitted by the female Anopheles mosquito, which only bites at night. So hanging bed nets over sleeping families living in vulnerable, swampy areas might sound stupidly simple, but it’s extremely effective. Studies show that the use of bed nets can reduce malaria transmission by 50 percent and lower child mortality by up to 20 percent. As a result, the number of organizations dedicated to distributing free bed nets has skyrocketed in the past decade. Perhaps the most popular is Nothing But Nets, a bed-net distribution campaign founded in 2006 by the nonprofit United Nations Foundation. The campaign exploded onto the scene six years ago when former Sports Illustrated columnist Rick Reilly, a well-known ESPN journalist, wrote a column urging Americans to donate to the UN Foundation’s anti-malaria project, which at the time didn’t have a name. Reilly had been disturbed by a documentary he saw that showed children dying every 30 seconds of easily preventable malaria. “We need nets. Not hoop nets, soccer nets or lacrosse nets. Not New Jersey Nets or dot-nets or clarinets. Mosquito nets,” he pleaded in his column, comparing the daily malaria deaths in Africa to the number of Americans who died on Sept. 11 — about 3,000.“That’s a 9/11 every day!” “Save a life by donating $10, or use the money to buy a new Beastie Boys CD?”That was how he framed the issue. The column was titled “Nothing But Nets.” Thousands responded to Reilly’s call to action, donating more than $1 million to the campaign within a month. “We became a movement overnight almost without trying, then we actually tried and became even bigger,” laughed Chris Helfrich, director of Nothing But Nets. “What we quickly realized is that by having others with tremendous reach championing the issue and asking others to get involved, you could build a movement.” The UN Foundation decided to build on Reilly’s momentum; it renamed its bed net campaign after the column and added a fundraising component. Naturally, its first supporters were sports fans and athletes. Nothing But Nets is structured so that a $10 donation pays for an insecticide-treated bed net, shipping to the country in need, installation and education for the recipients about why the nets
are needed. The campaign has raised more than $40 million so far, sending about 6.5 million nets to vulnerable areas, according to the campaign’s online “net-o-meter.” The United Nations has praised the program. A two-page fact sheet on MDG No. 4, a goal to decrease child deaths, singled out the campaign’s work in a “what has worked” column. Of course, Nothing But Nets is not alone in its bed-net fight against malaria. One of the biggest players is the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, which has distributed 270 million nets. According to the Global Fund, the percentage of households owning at least one insecticidetreated mosquito net in sub-Sahara Africa is estimated to have risen from 3 percent in 2000 to 50 percent in 2011. The World Health Organization says prevention measures like bed nets have decreased malaria mortality rates by more than 25 percent since 2000 — 33 percent in Africa alone. “It is our full intention for this campaign to be around until there are near-zero malaria deaths,” Helfrich said.“We can do this in this generation. I don’t think it’s outside the realm of possibility that we can defeat malaria in the next 10 years. It’s about getting nets on the ground.”
AMBITIOUS ALLIANCE About 1.7 million children die from vaccinepreventable diseases annually; that’s one toddler every 20 seconds who succumbs to something like measles, pneumonia or diarrhea. But usually one vaccination shot is enough to protect a child for life, and that knowledge, UNICEF says, is pushing the world to ensure that all people have greater access to immunization. In USAID’s “Frontiers in Development,” a 2012 collection of essays about development, philanthropist Bill Gates singled out one organization that is changing those numbers, whittling those death tolls down every year: the GAVI Alliance. Formerly known as the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization, the alliance is a global public-private partnership launched in 2000 that seeks to reduce child mortality rates by helping poor countries buy and deliver immunizations. Since its establishment, the GAVI Alliance has financed the immunization of 370 million children and prevented more than 5.5 million premature deaths. “Vaccines are phenomenally cost-effective,” said Gates, founder of Microsoft.“And because of GAVI, the world will bring the newest vaccine technology to almost all children right away, rather than making the poor wait, and die, for 20 years before the innovation trickles down.” The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is one of many players in the alliance, and therein lies its power: The alliance has brought together the skills of all the main specialists in immunization — the World Health Organization, UNICEF, the World Bank, the Gates Foundation, donor governments, developing countries, international devel-
opment and finance organizations and the pharmaceutical industry — under one cohesive, single-minded umbrella. By 2008, the alliance had received $3.8 billion in cash and pledges and distributed $2.7 billion to countries with a gross national per-capita income below $1,000 in the hopes of strengthening their immunization programs. Now, the alliance is seen as a funnel of immunization funds all over the world. It has committed $7.9 billion to developing nations so far, 80 percent of which goes toward purchasing vaccines, according to its website. “Vaccines can prevent much of the needless suffering caused by infectious diseases — enough to help create a space where families can busy themselves with things other than sheer survival,” UNICEF said in its latest State of the World’s Vaccines and Immunization report, published in 2009. “Considerable progress was made in routine immunization against measles worldwide, particularly in Africa, protecting millions of children against this often-fatal disease,” praised a U.N. fact sheet. Between 2000 and 2008, for instance, GAVI helped to fund 860,000 immunizations against malaria. But that just scratches the surface of GAVI’s work. Since its founding, the alliance has immunized nearly 300 million children against hepatitis B. According to WHO, hepatitis B cases have dropped by 64 percent in the past decade. “With financial support from the GAVI Alliance and other partners, more children are being immunized than ever before,” praises the UNICEF State of the World report on vaccines. “Since 2000, GAVI Alliance support for immunization enabled many low-income countries to strengthen their routine vaccine delivery systems.” The alliance has also been praised for its innovative financing strategies to provide stability in case of future cash crunches. At one point, GAVI estimated a $3 billion funding gap out of the $8.1 billion it needed to meet its goals through 2015. It took a few approaches to remedy the problem. First, it required all countries receiving funds to prepare a multiyear immunization plan that required able governments to gradually increase their share of the cost of new vaccines. By the end of 2008, 30 countries had begun to pay for part of their vacci nations. By 2011, that number increased to 59. Secondly, the alliance opened up a new avenue of funding called the International Finance Facility for Immunisation (IFFIm), which uses long-term, legally binding commitments by donors to issue bonds on international capital markets. By 2008, the sale of bonds had raised $1.2 billion from investors worldwide, money the GAVI Alliance needed immediately. “It allowed us to use capital markets to raise money,” said GAVI CEO Seth Berkley about IFFIm while addressing the Child Survival Call to Action conference in June. “It also allowed us to be much more responsive to the needs that we had.” Despite the millions of children who have received their vaccines, last year UNICEF estimated that more than 19 million children under 5 remain unimmunized and thus vulnerable to a host of preventable diseases. But pessimism no longer bogs down the issue; indeed, organizations like GAVI and its partners are more optimistic than ever that they’re on the cusp of eradicating preventable child deaths. At the Child Survival Call to Action conference in Washington, D.C., last June, governments, nonprofits and philanthropists signed pledges to end such deaths by 2035. Of course, GAVI and its partners are an integral part of that ambitious promise. “We do have an opportunity to make history here,” said UNICEF Deputy Executive Director Geeta Rao Gupta, urging attendees to follow through on their pledges. “This goal … is attainable if we believe it is attainable.”
Rachael Bade is a contributing writer for The Washington Diplomat. January 2013
EDUCATION ■ A Special Section of The Washington Diplomat
■ January 2013
Course U.S. universities are known around the world for providing students with a top-flight education — and a course offered at Syracuse University in upstate New York fits that image nicely. Students who sign up for the course explore the final frontier and boldly go where no man has gone before, using Star Trek to study some of
today’s most pressing technological issues. The course filled up the first day it was advertised back in 2011. “Star Trek and the Information Age” is the brainchild of professor Anthony Rotolo, who said he wanted to offer Continued on next page
PhoTo: STATe UNIveRSITY of New YoRk
An outdoor class at the State University of New York
Taught in the USA: Star Trek to Springsteen, Colleges Go Where No School Has Gone Before by Karin Zeitvogel
■ INSIDE: Working for the CIA or another intelligence agency has to start somewhere, and for many it starts with a college scholarship. PAGE 36 ■
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something that would help interest students in pursuing STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) careers. “Star Trek offers a wealth of science and technology topics that can be discussed in the context of current questions or challenges in these fields or in society at large,” Rotolo told The Washington Diplomat in an email. Rotolo uses examples from the iconic sci-fi TV and film series to examine 21st-century topics such as social media, nanotechnology, remote warfare, training for an information career, and dealing with a constantly
connected lifestyle. And speaking of being connected, outsiders can follow the course on Twitter at #TrekClass. Like Star Trek, Rotolo’s popular class seems certain to live long and prosper. In fact, it’s just one of scores of courses that have strayed off the beaten path of academic endeavor at U.S. universities — sometimes, it appears, way off. American universities have always been renowned for creativity and 10057_0 critical thinking, but they’re also known for costing an arm and a leg, which might leave a few parents displeased with some of the more oddball classroom choices. But parents’ displeasure might be
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“It’s pure metaphysics, illustrated by some video material from Star Trek, and fairly hard,” professor Linda wetzel said of the Star Trek course she teaches at Georgetown University.
based on superficial judgments, because even courses that focus on Star Trek or rock icon Bruce Springsteen are serious and rigorous. Some of the academics who teach these courses have won awards, and many of the students who take them have learned more about politics, physics or the information age than they might have using more traditional curriculum. They have the added benefit of watching some classic Star Trek episodes, too. Students at Georgetown University in D.C. can also take a Star Trek course, but this one is about philosophy. And contrary to first impressions, it’s not an easy three credits. “It’s pure metaphysics, illustrated
by some video material from Star Trek, and fairly hard,” said professor Linda Wetzel. Of course, you might argue, the teacher would say that.The real test of a course is what students get from it. John Massaro taught politics at the State University of New York (SUNY) at Potsdam starting in 1999 and continuing until a couple of years after he retired in 2006.There’s nothing unusual about teaching a politics course, but this one used songs by Bruce Springsteen as teaching material. “Basically, we would listen to just about all of Springsteen’s albums and the students would have lyric sheets
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John Massaro taught politics at the State University of New York (SUNY), above, using songs by bruce Springsteen as teaching material, discussing themes such as political development, patriotism and race that appeared in the rocker’s songs.
PhoToS: STATe UNIveRSITY of New YoRk
Continued from previous page in front of them because the course was about lyrics. Then we’d discuss a particular theme — political development, patriotism, race — in the songs, and I would lecture for an hour on the theme and students’ connection to it,” Massaro told The Washington Diplomat by phone from his retirement home in Maine. Massaro’s students also had to write a paper on the rocker from New Jersey and keep a journal. “What most impressed me is the sophisticated connections some students made in semester essays, in applying Springsteen’s themes and lyrics to both
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Runaway American Dream.” The last part of the title is recognizable to Springsteen fans as part of the first line of the Boss’s breakthrough song, “Born to Run,” from the album of the same name. It sounds like a class on the iconic rocker would be a not-too-tough way to spend a semester, but Massaro said that student evaluations put the course “in the middle of the easy-to-hard scale.” One or two students might even have flunked, noted Massaro, who was named a distinguished teaching professor by SUNY, an indication that his courses were not cakewalks. In fact, Springsteen — who, yes, belongs more to the generation that was going to college in the early 1980s — has been used to teach younger generations everything from creative writing to politics. The prestigious Princeton University, which consistently ranks as one of the top universities in the world, also offers a Springsteencentric course called “Sociology from E Street: Bruce Springsteen’s America.” Like the classes Massaro used to teach, the course involves listening to songs by the Boss “in order to focus on what sociology says about the questions they raise.” Most weeks, “a guest who has lived a life like one of Springsteen’s characters will be interviewed in-class,” the Princeton course description says. The University of Southern Indiana, Monmouth University and Penn State University at Altoona have held three symposia on PhoTo: bILL ebbeSeN Springsteen’s songs. At the most Bruce Springsteen has been used by universirecent one held in September, Richard ties such as Princeton and Penn State to teach Lee, a professor at New York’s St. younger generations everything from creative Bonaventure University, presented a writing to politics. paper comparing diehard Democrat Springsteen with New Jersey the traditional political world and their Republican Gov. Chris Christie. Another own personal political world,” Massaro paper, presented by Father Kevin Keelen, wrote in a chapter of the book “Bruce looked at “the Catholic spirituality of Springsteen, Cultural Studies, and the Springsteen.”
12/7/2012 4:28:10 PM
“Star Trek offers a wealth of science and technology topics that can be discussed in the context of current questions or challenges in these fields or in society at large.” — Anthony Rotolo professor at the Syracuse University iSchool
Photo: Luigioss / www.flickr.com/photos/luigioss/
A course at the University of South Carolina examines rock diva Lady Gaga and her rise as a 21st-century pop icon.
But the Boss is not the only musical learning tool in town. Rock diva Lady Gaga’s name features in the title of a course offered at the University of South Carolina, which looks at the rise of Gaga to her status as a 21st-century pop icon.The class is open only to honors students, and while they might think they’ll be whiling away the hours listen-
ing to Gaga tunes, the course synopsis specifically notes that “this is not a course in Lady Gaga but in sociology; and it is not a course about Lady Gaga as much as about the culture of the fame as exemplified by the career of Lady Gaga.” Other “celebrities” who have earned a spotlight in the classroom aren’t even real. Frostburg State University in Maryland has a course called “The Science of Harry Potter,” which is not unlike “The Science of Superheroes” course taught at the University of California at Irvine. Both analyze the supernatural capabilities of teenage wizards, Wonder Woman and Clark Kent, when he’s wearing his blue leotard, using scientific principles. An enrollment bonus at Frostburg is that the physics professor who teaches the course reportedly sometimes dresses up like Harry Potter’s headmaster at Hogwarts, Albus
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Dumbledore. Meanwhile, if your son or daughter got into the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and is spending an inordinate amount of time playing videogames, don’t go into their room and rip out the motherboard of their computer — they could be doing their homework. MIT offers a course called “Introduction to Videogame Studies,” in which students are required to “play and analyze videogames.” Sarah Lawrence, a respected small college just outside New York City, also offers a course that involves gaming. It’s called “Dungeons, Dragons and Drama: The Tabletop RPG,” and it also requires a lot of game-playing as students “create their own RPG campaign.” RPG, incidentally, stands for role-playing game, not rocket-propelled grenade. At the George Washington Photo: Quyen Nguyen University in D.C., students can At Sarah Lawrence, a respected small college just outside enroll in “Fat Studies,” a course New York City, Patrick Downs teaches “Games People Write: about body size that aims to proNarrative Design and Screenwriting for Games,” which looks mote weight awareness and at elements of the Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game. acceptance. Santa Clara University in California has a class called the “Joy of Garbage.” Students focus on “items that rot, decompose, and break down; and items that do not,” according to a course description. They also look at issues including
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[ intelligence ]
Spy School CIA, Other Government Agencies Offer Scholarships for Intelligent Intelligence
PhoTo: JASoN STITT / foToLIA
by Karin Zeitvogel
atch what you say: That young intern heading into Washington on the Metro might be training with the CIA. That’s partly because the U.S. intelligence agency offers one of the most generous scholarships for college students — $18,000 a year to successful applicants, with few strings attached. Besides the requirement of working for the CIA after graduation for one and a half years for every year of scholarship aid received, recipients have to maintain good grades while at school. But even though the CIA is best known for espionage and intelligence, that’s not all it or any other U.S. intelligence agency does — and there are quite a few of those agencies. So students with a CIA scholarship can study whatever they want. Not to be outdone, the DIA, or Defense Intelligence Agency, offers students majoring in everything from
international relations to toxicology paid internships or generous scholarships. Seniors in high school can apply for the scholarship, and then have to get their choice of university approved by the DIA. If a young man or woman thinks they might be interested in a career in military intelligence, this scholarship is well worth it. The DIA not only pays $18,000 toward tuition and fees, but it also reimburses the cost of books and supplies, pays the student an annual salary, and guarantees them a full-time summer job that’s related to what they’re studying at university. That’s not all, though.The DIA also provides health and life insurance, retirement benefits, and a guaranteed job at the DIA after graduation. And it’s not just filing papers:The job is “appropriate to their skills and abilities.” While in school, students must maintain an overall cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 2.75 for the PhoTo: foToLIA
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freshman year and 3.0 on a 4.0 scale (or its equivalent) for each semester/ quarter thereafter. CIA and DIA scholars must also be able to obtain security clearance and must be U.S. citizens. Their families have to be, too. “All members of the immediate family must be U.S. citizens. Permanent resident status is not sufficient,” the DIA says. Dual nationals have to renounce their other citizenship to be eligible for security clearance. The scholarships are aimed at bringing a more diverse, and more diversely trained and qualified talent pool into the U.S. intelligence community. Another program set up to achieve that end is the Intelligence Community Center of Academic Excellence (IC CAE), which began in 2005. The program falls under the umbrella of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), the parent company, if you like, of the
CIA, DIA and 14 other U.S. intelligence agencies, including some that might not automatically be associated with intelligence gathering, such as the Departments of the Treasury, Environment and Energy. But of course, intelligence gathering isn’t all ODNI agencies do.Around a dozen U.S. universities, from Virginia Tech to Howard and Trinity University in D.C., to Wayne State in Detroit and California State, are part of IC CAE. Schools selected to be participants in the program receive a grant from the ODNI and set up their own unique curriculum to avoid producing “cookie-cutter” intelligence officers. Virginia Tech says its CAE program is aimed at “helping to meet the intelligence community’s critical need for diverse personnel who possess the technological, analytic and critical language capabilities needed for the 21st-century world.” Students from all
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The Defense Intelligence Agency not only pays $18,000 toward tuition and fees, but it also reimburses the cost of books and supplies, pays the student an annual salary, and guarantees them a full-time summer job that’s related to what they’re studying at university. Continued from previous page
Located just two bLocks from the dupont circLe metro, Johns Hopkins University offers a variety of graduate degrees and certificate programs at its Washington, DC Center, as well as in Baltimore and Rockville, MD. Tailored for working adults continuing their education, courses are offered in the evening, on Saturdays, and online.
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majors who are interested in a career in national security are eligible for scholarships and fellowships, including “substantive study abroad experiences,” the university’s website says. The State Department, which is part of the same intelligence community as the CIA and FBI, offers language programs that have the added draw of whisking you off to places like Morocco, Indonesia, Jordan, Korea or a dozen other destinations. Students selected for the State Department’s Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Program get to take intensive classes during the summer in 13 languages deemed “critical” to the United States. Last year, 631 scholarships were awarded to students of Arabic, Azerbaijani, Bengali, Mandarin, Hindi, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Farsi, Punjabi, Russian,Turkish and Urdu. Language scholars do not all have their eyes on an intelligence career. William Zeman, who studied Turkish as a Critical Language Scholar, moved to Istanbul after he’d finished his studies and is now a copy editor for the Oxford Business Group and a freelance journalist who regularly contributes pieces to Time Out Istanbul.And scholar Damian Harris-Hernandez, who also studied Turkish, produced a short film about the Pink Bicycle Movement, which wants to get more Turkish women and girls on bikes. HarrisHernandez voiced the film in Turkish, proof that the scholarship works. Karin Zeitvogel is a contributing writer for The Washington Diplomat.
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T r A V e L &
HOTELS ■ A Special Section of The Washington Diplomat
■ January 2013
At 2013 Inauguration, Hotels Solemnly Swear to Do It Up
by Stephanie Kanowitz
he robocalls and attack ads have ended. That’s cause for celebration enough for many
of us. but January will bring to washington a party like no other when President barack obama is sworn in on the 21st for his second term at the helm of the free world. for D.c.-area hotels, the inauguration means big business. Some 1.8 million people attended obama’s 2009 inauguration, and area hotel rooms brought in more than $100 million in revenue, according to Destination Dc, a private nonprofit corporation with a membership of 850 businesses and organizations that support the washington travel and tourism sector. Since then, hotels have invested $250 million in refurbishing and renovating — and are ready to welcome guests for the 57th Presidential Inauguration. Most lodgings require a four-night minimum stay and carry hefty price tags, but all promise an experience fit for royalty (or at least a head of state), with lavish meals, personal fashion consultants, unique keepsakes and undivided attention. here are a few of the more sumptuous options. The Willard will feature patriotic bunting and hundreds of flags on its façade for the inauguration.
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PhoTo: wILLARD INTeRcoNTINeNTAL wAShINGToN
TRAVEL & HOTELS The Washington Diplomat
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Park Hyatt Washington 1201 24th St., NW parkwashington.hyatt.com Celebrate the American tradition with the “American Style” package, which at $57,000 buys you a fournight stay — Jan. 18 to 22 — in the hotel’s 1,632-square-foot Presidential Suite complete with personal butler service. Besides a bedroom and livPhoto: Len Depas ing room with sitting area, the suite has a baby grand piano and a traver- A piano sits in the dining room of the Park Hyatt’s tine-carved-stone tub with a dedi- Presidential Suite, available for $57,000 as part of the hotel’s “American Style” inauguration package. cated bath butler. Daily turndown amenities include the Blue Duck Tavern’s award-winning apple pie and hardcover books highlighting American crafts, heritage and art. To keep up with the Obamas, the package also offers a meeting with a stylist from Saks Fifth Avenue at Tysons Galleria, who will provide options for gala-worthy attire. Other package perks include a dinner for up to 12 at the chef’s table in Blue Duck Tavern and a five-course menu featuring the president-elect’s favorite foods, as well as a backstage tour of the John F. Kennedy Center followed by a performance by the National Symphony Orchestra, viewed from box seats. Upon arrival, a signed, magnum bottle of the hotel’s signature wine awaits guests in their suite. And as a souvenir, the hotel will send guests a handmade timber rocking chair engraved with their initials and an inaugural seal. Lastly, the hotel will contribute at least $500 to the United Service Organizations (USO), which provides morale, welfare and recreational activities to U.S. troops and their families worldwide.
Ritz-Carlton, Washington, D.C. 1150 22nd St., NW ritzcarlton.com The $100,000 “Access Washington” package at the Ritz is as thorough as the Secret Service. It includes two first-class roundtrip domestic airline tickets; four nights in a luxury suite; an afternoon of behind-the-scenes private tours of Washington led by Ismail Naskai, named best tour guide by the Washington Area Concierge Association; access to the Capitol, National Archives, Library of Congress, Treasury and Arlington Cemetery; and a viewing of the inaugural parade from a party at the Newseum.
There’s also a three-course dinner on Jan. 18 prepared by executive chef Yves Samake and students from DC Central Kitchen, with the value of the dinner donated to the nonprofit, which not only feeds low-income city residents but also offers job training and school partnerships. And for some presidential pampering, there’s an afternoon of styling at the Fifth Avenue Club with a Saks Fifth Avenue fashion director who will outfit you in a designer dress and tuxedo; a Saks fashion concierge to consult Photo: Ritz-Carlton at any time; and a unique diamond and The $100,000 “Access Washington” package at the Ritzruby pin by jeweler Ann Hand. But the Carlton, Washington, includes four nights in a luxury suite, real icing on the cake? A private cup- first-class roundtrip domestic airline tickets, and three-course cake-decorating party in Georgetown dinner prepared by executive chef Yves Samake. Cupcake’s lab for up to 10 people. The flavor you create will be the shop’s “secret” flavor of the day during the inauguration.
Ritz-Carlton, Georgetown 3100 South St., NW ritzcarlton.com/georgetown The Ritz’s Georgetown property is offering its own inauguration package from Jan. 17 to 22. For $201,300, a group can reserve a block of guest rooms, one-bedroom and luxury suites in the West Wing of the Five Diamond boutique hotel, along with Photo: Ritz-Carlton 24-hour butler service and direct Degrees Bistro forms a swanky backdrop to the Ritzaccess to the wing that lets you Carlton in Georgetown, where a $201,300 inauguration bypass the lobby.Among the other package allows guests to throw their own inaugural for up goodies: a custom-designed neckto 75 people. lace by Dina Mackney and a $20,000 shopping spree at Bloomingdale’s. You can also host your very own inaugural ball at the hotel’s Fahrenheit Ballroom for up to 75 guests, including cocktail reception, fivecourse dinner with wine pairings, live entertainment and a photographer to capture the presidential moments.
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1401 Pennsylvania Ave., NW washington.intercontinental.com Situated on the inaugural parade route and between the White House and the Capitol, this stately hotel has been at the epicenter of presidential inaugurations for more than 150 years, as evidenced by photographs in the Willard’s history gallery.Among the notable guests were the Lincolns, who held his inaugural luncheon at the Willard and stayed there before Abraham Lincoln took the oath of office. In fact, Lincoln’s first presidential paycheck went to paying his bill at the Willard — for $773.75. During this inauguration, rooms are selling for a four-night minimum at a starting rate of $1,149 for a deluxe room. Suites such as the Oval Suites — based on the White House Oval Office décor — cost $5,700 per night plus a $27,000 catering minimum. To welcome Obama back to office, the beaux-arts hotel will be festooned with patriotic bunting and hundreds of outdoor flags. The concierge can assist ball-goers by procuring a Lear Jet or helping with wardrobe needs. Each of the four nights, guests will receive a different amenity. For Obama’s 2009 inauguration, these included silver American flag pins from Tiffany & Co., white chocolate White Houses, and handcrafted, numbered Retro DC picture frames from Keith Lipert Gallery.This year’s theme will be “Sustainably Made in America.”
Four Seasons Hotel Washington 2800 Pennsylvania Ave., NW fourseasons.com/washington
Milton Ridge is a unique all-inclusive site for your wedding— from chapel to reception hall. Intimate. Elegant. Perfect. Clarksburg, MD • 301 607 4999 • www.miltonridge.com Page 40
The president isn’t the only one with bulletproof protection in Washington. The 4,000-square-foot Royal Suite at the Four Seasons has bullet-resistant glass windows, its own private entrance and exit, and a closed-circuit security system. It also boasts a 1,000-square-foot outdoor terrace for watching inauguration goings-on. Photo: Michael Kleinberg The cost is $20,000 per night if the suite is configured into a one-bedroom The 4,000-square-foot Royal Suite at the Four Seasons space. For those traveling with an boasts a 1,000-square-foot outdoor terrace that’s ideal for entourage, however, it can be converted inauguration watching. to accommodate two and three bedrooms ($23,090 per night), or eight and 11 bedrooms ($40,050 per night). In addition to special gifts each night of their stay, guests can enjoy lunch or dinner at Michael Mina’s Bourbon Steak. The hotel will also host a presidential Sunday brunch ($80 per person) on Jan. 20 with dishes inspired by Obama’s hometown and favorite foods, such as a Chicago hot dog cart serving Vienna Beef hot dogs with kosher pickles, neon relish and sport peppers. So the ladies don’t feel left out, starting Jan. 1, the hotel is also offering a “First Lady” pack-
TRAVEL & HOTELS The Washington Diplomat
For D.C.-area hotels, the inauguration means big business. More than 1 million people attended President Obama’s 2009 inauguration, and area hotel rooms brought in more than $100 million in revenue. age inspired by Michelle Obama and priced at $525. A chauffeur-driven car will take guests from any D.C. location to the Four Seasons, where they’ll receive a customized iPod for a one-hour workout with Mrs. Obama’s favorite play list, including music by Beyoncé, Stevie Wonder, Jennifer Lopez and Michael Jackson. Next up: an 80-minute full-body massage with Amala’s organic rose oil, in honor of the first lady’s favorite flower, a 50-minute facial, and a wash and blow dry at George’s Salon.
When Welcoming the Diplomatic Community The Choices Are Clear
tion date; all meals from the Grille at Morrison House; and an evening performance by former White House pianist Robert Smith, who played for every president from Nixon through Clinton.
Photo: Len Depas
Pets don’t want to miss the presidential pomp either. At Hotel Madera, they’re welcome guests. Photo: Mandarin Oriental
For $15,000 a night, the Mandarin Oriental’s P.O.T.U.S. Package includes four nights in the 3,500-square-foot Presidential Suite.
Kimpton - Hotel Madera
If only getting part of the Morrison House is not enough, then get the whole thing at Hotel Madera, also a Kimpton property. For $320,000, you can rent all 82 rooms in the boutique lodging. The hotel will also provide a keepsake animal print robe embroidered with the inauguration date; etched Riedel wine glasses with a Democratic donkey; an inauguration “survival kit” that includes bottled water, hand warmers and ponchos; and a four-course dinner with wine pairings at Firefly Restaurant.
1330 Maryland Ave., SW mandarinoriental.com/washington Available from Jan. 17 to 22 for $15,000 per night, the Mandarin’s P.O.T.U.S. Package features four nights in the 3,500-square-foot Presidential Suite, round-the-clock butler service, use of the house car and a keepsake.The acronym stands for “Presiding Over the Ultimate Suite” because the Presidential has three bedrooms, a gym, study and dining room. If you don’t need a hotel stay but would like a warm meal, you can host a private dinner for up to 80 people at CityZen,Washington’s only AAA Five-Diamond restaurant, inside the hotel.
1310 New Hampshire Ave., NW hotelmadera.com
“A Superb Central Location On Embassy Row” Superior Service and Newly Renovated Accommodation Welcoming Hospitality, Multilingual Staff Call 202-296-2100 1615 Rhode Island Avenue, NW • Washington, D.C. 20036 www.beaconhotelwdc.com
W 515 15th St., NW wwashingtondc.com Just a block away from the White House, the W offers pristine views of the inauguration route. Room prices start at $1,000 a night with a four-night minimum stay. If simply staying in one of the hotel’s 317 rooms isn’t enough, you can rent out the rooftop terrace, P.O.V., for the inauguration for $200,000. J&G Steakhouse inside the hotel and situated on the parade route is available for $100,000.
The Hay-Adams Photo: Ron Blunt
The Morrison House is offering a $200,000 buyout package that covers accommodations for up to 90 guests.
Kimpton - Morrison House 116 Alfred St., Alexandria, Va. morrisonhouse.com Named one of the “Top 50 Hotels in the World” by readers of Travel + Leisure magazine, the Morrison House, a Kimpton hotel, is offering a $200,000 buyout package that covers accommodations for up to 90 guests in the hotel’s 45 rooms for four nights. Other perks include 24-hour butler service; a house car; keepsake pillowcases and silk pajamas monogrammed with your initials and the inaugura-
800 16th St., NW hayadams.com Situated across from the White House, the Hay-Adams is about as close as you can get to actually celebrating in the Oval Office. In fact, before moving into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in 2009, the Obamas stayed at the Hay-Adams. Rooms start at $1,050 per night with a fournight minimum. The largest suite, the 1,400-square-foot Federal Suite, which can also be reserved as an 1,800-square-foot space, starts at $7,900 during the inauguration. Gifts for guests in all rooms will be produced by Mottahedeh fine china, and Neiman Marcus will set up a boutique at the hotel for guests’ shopping needs.
A Welcoming Home For The Diplomatic Community Centrally Located In The Heart Of the City Contemporary Flair with Unique Suite Accommodations
See inauguration, page 44
Call 202-530-3600 2033 M Street, NW • Washington, D.C. 20036 www.stgregoryhotelwdc.com
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[ travel ]
Africa Awe Visiting Cradle of Mankind Gives Birth to Newfound Respect by Kathy Kemper
ast summer, my lifelong pursuit of responsible world citizenship continued with a family trip to one of the cradles of mankind: Southern Africa. Gaining a better understanding of the world and an appreciation for different cultures starts with leaving your comfort zone — which is why, every two years, we head overseas for six weeks of adventure travel, alternating between camps and castles, between roughing it and luxuriating in five-star hotels. We started nearly 10 years ago in 2002 when our daughters Kelsey and Christina were 10 and 12 with a trip to England, Ireland and Belgium. In 2004, we trekked to South America; in 2006, India; in 2008, China and Southeast Asia; and in 2010, Egypt and the Middle East. This year, we decided to go to Botswana, South Africa and Zambia. If you have never been to a country or region before, it’s best to find a tour operator who understands what you want to experience. For our Southern Africa excursion we found Craig Pieters (firstname.lastname@example.org), who was patient, professional, informed and eager to assist us. He immediately “got” what we wanted — adventure — and worked with us to organize an itinerary around “extreme” activities including shark diving, bungee jumping, sand surfing and biking in wine country, as well as educational experiences highlighting South Africa’s townships and the region’s various tribes, languages and ecotourism industry. Our daughter Kelsey was doing a junior semester at the University of Cape Town, and so our home base was the Cape Grace Hotel in Cape Town, South Africa (www.capegrace.com). The Cape Grace was a luxurious boutique retreat on its own private quay with bright views of the renowned V&A Waterfront, where boats and seals alike are docked. Hoon, the hotel’s longtime concierge (email@example.com), made us feel like we were coming home every day. He organized cocktail parties for college kids and private South African dinners in our suite cooked by the hotel’s award-winning chef. When we were not relaxing at the hotel, we were out exploring with our local guide and knowledgeable point person, John Dunn (firstname.lastname@example.org), aka “JD.” South Africa instantly awed us. Everything people say about Cape Town’s natural beauty could be amplified 10 times and it would still be true. JD was, moreover, the perfect guide for us — enthusiastic and intimately familiar with life in the bush, where we would be going on safari. Our first adventure was shark-cage diving in Gansbaai, the great white shark capital of the world. JD took us on the two-and-a-half-hour drive to Gansbaai, where we were put in a cage and submerged into murky, cold, shark-infested waters. Seeing such terrifying yet magnificent creatures up close with only a metal rod separating us from their razor sharp teeth was exhilarating, scary and completely over the top! We swam with nine great whites that day — certainly one of the top five thrills I have ever experienced. The rest of the day was packed with learning about conservation and the unique marine life that inhabits the Gansbaai area. Our hosts at Marine
Gaining a better understanding of the world and an appreciation for different cultures starts with leaving your comfort zone.
Photo: Kathy Kemper
A mokoro, or dugout canoe, glides over the reeds and papyrus lining Botswana’s Okavango Delta in the heart of the Moremi Game Reserve.
Dynamics (www.sharkwatchsa.com) study great whites and explained the role that sharks play in their ecosystem and how human activities are altering the ocean’s natural cycles. Marine Dynamics, in conjunction with the Dyer Island Conservation Trust (www.dict. org.za), is involved with various research and conservation projects concerning the marine “big five” — penguins, whales, dolphins, seals and sharks. Our hosts highlighted the importance of being Photo: Nicola Stelluto / sharkwatchsa.com aware of the links between ecosystems and educated us on ways to look after the environment. Other adventures included sand boarding down the longest dune in South The Kemper Africa, bungee jumping off the highest bungee bridge in the world, and biking family — from through wine valleys in Stellenbosch and Franschhoek. JD arranged it all, taking left, Christina, pictures of us as we landed face-first into the sand and screamed for our lives Kelsey, Kathy and Jim Valentine — as we fell from the bridge. The exhilaration was mixed with sobering history lessons offered by JD and enjoy shark-cage an ex-political prisoner of Robben Island. This is where former South African diving in President Nelson Mandela spent 18 of his 27 years of incarceration — and Gansbaai, South where indigenous slaves and political and religious leaders who opposed Africa, the great British expansion in South Africa, and most recently opponents of the apart- white shark capiheid regime in South Africa and Namibia, were imprisoned as well. Some free- tal of the world. dom fighters spent a quarter of a century in prison. JD also arranged a visit for us to the District 6 Museum in Cape Town (www. districtsix.co.za) and a tour of Langa, Bonteheuwel and Gugulethu, three town-
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ships located around Cape Town. Our guide,Thando, was a black man born in a prison after his mother was raped by a security guard but raised in a colored township after he was given to an 82-year-old woman.Thando himself spent several years in prison, labeled a “terrorist” for actions against the government’s policy of apartheid, which segregated whites, Indians, Asians and blacks. He spoke frankly and passionately about his life and dreams for his country and took us to places that guests are allowed to visit only when accompanied by an inhabitant of the township.This experience was one disturbing yet powerful, and proved critical to understanding South Africa’s past and future. NOTE: Although every is made to assure adweisflew freetoofthemistakes Aftereffort immersing ourselves in Southyour Africa, Okavangoin spelling and content it is ultimatelytaking up to the ride customer makedazzling the final proof. Delta in Botswana, a boat throughto pristine, wilderness to Xigera Camp, run by Wilderness Safaris (www.wildernessin the of the Moremi Remote does The first two faxedsafaris.com) changes will beheart made at no cost Game to theReserve. advertiser, subsequent changes not even begin to describe this wetland paradise. Otherworldly comes will be billed at a rate of $75 per faxed alteration. Signed ads are considered approved. closer — deep channels, lush vegetation and water so clear you can NOTE: Although every effort is made to assure your ad is free of mistakes in spelling an see through to the white Kalahari sands at the bottom. content it is ultimately up to the customer to make the final proof. Please check this ad carefully. Mark any changes to your ad. At Xigera Camp, we had close-up views of lions and leopards using the footbridge. At night, our guide Barodi had to walk us back and The first two faxed changes will be made at no cost to the advertiser, subsequent chang If the ad is correct sign fax to:cocktails, (301) 949-0065 changes forthand to dinner, lectures and even theneeds bathroom, keeping a will be billed at a rate of $75 per faxed alteration. SignedPhoTo: ads are considered approved watchful eye out for predators, which share space with an abundant kAThY keMPeR variety of wildlife. Bird watching was a constant pastime, as we looked The Washington Diplomat (301) 933-3552 Kemper,check founder and ceo ad of thecarefully. Institute for education, her daughters for species such as Pel’s Fishing Owl, African Skimmer and Lilac Blue Rollers. The tennis coach Kathy Please this Markandany changes to your ad. delta in fact is an incredibly diverse region: Islands, river bends, tree lines, termite stand where the four corners of zimbabwe, botswana, Angola and zambia come together. Approved __________________________________________________________ mounds and water holes reflect the evolution of this dynamic ecosystem. If the ad is correct sign and fax to: (301) 949-0065 needs changes Changes ___________________________________________________________ In the camp, we traveled by mokoro, a dugout canoe. The only sound we heard and Botswana are democracies with bourgeoning tourism sectors, they are leaders in adopting and pioneering sustainable policies to protect their environment and natuwas that of the reeds and papyrus lining the river quietly bending as we glided over ___________________________________________________________________ The Washington Diplomat (301) 933-3552 them.The sky was mirrored in the crystalline water, dotted with round lily pads cov- ral resources. Our next camp was Kings Pool, which we reached by taking a boat, a jeep and ered in brilliant pink and white flowers. a plane. We veered off course on the boat to avoid a hippopotamus pod, our In the delta, conservation is a way of life. Setswana is the native language, while thenApproved __________________________________________________________ English is the official language. There are eight major Tswana tribes who live here; jeep was stopped by three giraffes crossing the road, and our plane was forced back Changes ___________________________________________________________ each maintains communal ownership over its lands. They cooperate and are proud Continued on next page ___________________________________________________________________ of their stewardship in Africa’s growing ecotourism industry. Because South Africa
NOTE: Although every effort is made to assure your ad is free of mistakes in spelling and content it is ultimately up to the customer to make the final proof.
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The Washington (301) 933-3552 “NestledDiplomat in the heart of the Georgetown and featuring the Daily Grill Restaurant” Winter Embassy rates Approved __________________________________________________________ UNTIL FEBRUARY 15, 2013 Changes ___________________________________________________________ * *Based on availability, black-out dates may apply, taxes not included ___________________________________________________________________
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Continued from previous page into the air because of an elephant blocking the landing strip. But we got there! Our luxurious tented rooms overlooked a hippo-filled lagoon just 10 feet from our wooden-pole terrace. Elephants were also everywhere, as the area has the largest population, and the game drives were full of kudu and lechwe antelope, zebras, giraffes, waterbuck, wild dogs and cheetahs. The guides taught us all about these amazing creatures. Groups of owls are called a parliament, hippos a pod, baboons a troupe, frogs a chorus, rhinos a crush, and giraffes a tower — this all becomes part of your lexicon in the bush. We learned about the birth, life and death cycles of all the species we saw, and about how fundamental human nature is to the nature of the bush. Early one morning as we were heading out for a drive, the camp was buzzing with excitement. A lion had given birth to some cubs. In the bush this is akin to Kate Middleton giving birth. The guides knew the area but not the precise location of the birth. We headed out in eager anticipation.After two hours of careful searching, we found the mother nestled behind a huge fallen tree trunk and jungle foliage. We could even hear the babies. But we were not allowed out of the jeep and could only catch glimpses of the mother as she would lift her majestic head, look around, yawn, and settle back to rest. We learned that if the mother lion felt threatened, she would relocate. This could be fatal, as she could only move one cub at a time, leaving the others vulnerable. Male lions are happy to eat cubs, even their own. Such is life in the bush. Our next stop was equally breathtaking, but on a grander scale: Zambia and Victoria Falls, which, I have to say, makes Niagara Falls look like a kitchen faucet. Getting there was again an adventure. Our Wilderness Safaris guide and his driver picked us up after flying from Kings Pool to Kasane, Botswana. We drove through Kasane and witnessed the rich colors, sounds and scenes of daily
PhoTo: kAThY keMPeR
A rainbow appears over victoria falls, which zambians call “Mosi-oa-Tunya,” meaning “the smoke that thunders.”
village life. The guide handled passport control for us (otherwise we would have been in line for days), then drove us to a small motorboat that would transport us over the Zambezi River.We stood, just the four of us, at a spot where we could see the four corners of Zimbabwe, Botswana, Angola and Zambia come together. Motorboat is the best way to enter the country, we learned, because there is only one two-lane bridge connecting Botswana and Zambia, and it usually takes three to five days waiting in line to get over. That offered a larger-than-life perspective on how great the need is for funding infrastructure and cross-border cooperation in the region. Victoria Falls (or “Mosi-oa-Tunya,” as Zambians say, meaning “the smoke that thunders”) was just as exhilarating as shark diving and bungee jumping. The night we arrived, we learned that a lunar rainbow would be appearing. With some doggedness, we made our way on foot, in the dark, to the falls for a peek. Lunar rain-
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Kathy Kemper is founder and chief executive officer of the Institute for Education, whose mission is to encourage youth global citizenship and intercultural understanding, and to promote civility and leadership locally, nationally and in the world community.
from page 41
the ball was held at the Gaylord in 2009 and will be again this year because it’s the only place in the Washington area big enough to hold the party.
Mayflower Renaissance Washington, DC 1127 connecticut Ave., Nw marriott.com/hotels/travel/wassh-themayflower-renaissance-washington-dc-hotel Opened in 1925 four blocks from the White House, the historic Mayflower has a storied past when it comes to the inauguration. It has hosted a ball for every inaugural since Calvin Coolidge. Franklin D. Roosevelt holed up there to work on his 1933 inaugural address — which included the famous “only thing we have to fear is fear itself” line — and Harry S.Truman stayed there for the first 90 days of his term. Details of the hotel’s extravagant 2013 inauguration plans were unavailable as of press time, but for those looking for a basic package, a room at the Mayflower can be snagged for $849 per night for a minimum of four nights. It includes binoculars to watch inauguration events.
Gaylord National 201 waterfront St., National harbor, Md. gaylordhotels.com/gaylord-national/ Although the hotel itself is not offering inauguration-related specials, it will host one of the best-known inaugural balls: the Texas State Society’s Black Tie & Boots Ball. The open-bar party will feature all-you-can-eat food buffets with Texas favorites such as barbecue, enchiladas, and chips and queso. Entertainment includes various genres of music. Last year, 20 artists performed on six stages, and past performers have included Clint Black and Sara Evans. Tickets to the 12,000-person event cost $250 for society members and $300 for nonmembers. A spokeswoman for the event said
TRAVEL & HOTELS The Washington Diplomat
bows happen only 24 times a year. Zambia should advertise this phenomenon like an eclipse sighting — it was so remarkable, and yet so few folks turned out to see it. The next morning we returned to the falls, donning giant green ponchos as we trekked along a path at the edge of the rain forest. Only the brave who are prepared for the tremendous spray and confident of their balance walk forward to Danger Point. The path is wet and slippery, water thrashes you, and the guardrails are flimsy. You are flirting with being washed away moment by moment. My heart did not settle down for hours afterward — I was so wired and wet! But it was worth it. Victoria Falls creates a riot of rainbows, one on top of another. Between the slippery path, thunder-like booms, and constant slaps of water drenching us, Victoria Falls is as far out of one’s comfort zone as most of us can imagine. For our final adventure, we returned to Cape Town in South Africa to hike along the city’s natural masterpiece, Table Mountain, and bike along the Southern Peninsula to Boulders Beach to visit a colony of African penguins. When you stand on top of Table Mountain, you overlook a city and a country that has overcome an apartheid regime, but is still climbing out from underneath its aftermath.You view a country that pushes you to face your fears and embrace the unexpected, yet rewards you with extreme thrills and pride. You see a nation that, along with Botswana and Zambia, is showing how ecological conservation and economic development can go hand in hand and do not have to involve tradeoffs. Much still needs to be done in Southern Africa, but standing atop Table Mountain, you’re in awe not only of what Mother Nature can create, but also of what proud people and resilient nations can accomplish.
the texas State Society’s black Tie & boots ball is being held at Gaylord this year.
lansdowne Resort 44050 woodridge Parkway, Leesburg, va. lansdowneresort.com Although not tied specifically to the inauguration, the resort’s $17,000 “Presidential Treatment” package is geared toward making guests feel like a head of state. The package includes a three-hour ride aboard the U.S.S. Sequoia, a 104-foot yacht used by several U.S. presidents and world leaders since 1925; an overnight stay in the Presidential Suite; a private four-course dinner for two; a three-hour limousine tour of the Washington monuments; and a 75-minute couples massage at Spa Minérale. Stay a second night at the 500-acre resort, located about 40 minutes from downtown D.C., and the cost is $19,000. Stephanie Kanowitz is a contributing writer for The Washington Diplomat.
culture & ■ WWW.WASHDIPLOMAT.COM
■ JANUARY 2013
Unabashed Ai Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei is both celebrated and criticized in his homeland, but he gets an unabashed hero’s welcome in the Hirshhorn Museum’s expansive new exhibition. PAGE 47 Photo: Cathy Carver
“Roads of Arabia” is a block buster exhibit of artifacts, some dating as far back as 7,000 years ago, excavated from the Arabian desert over the past 40 years that have radi radi cally trans trans formed our understanding of this ancient region, shedding light on Saudi Arabia’s rich preIslamic heritage as a crosscultural cross trade route.
Mexican Vacation A visit to the Mexican Cultural Institute is like stepping foot inside another country — a journey enhanced by a display of photographs that capture stunning visions of 20th-century Mexico. PAGE 48
Powerhouse Divas Signature Theatre’s breakout star, Nova Payton, has a lot in common with the diva she plays in “Dreamgirls”: They’re both vocal powerhouses scaling the entertainment ladder of success. PAGE 49
PAGE 46 PA A tombstone from 9th-century Mecca Photo: NatioNal MuseuM, riyadh
Accolade-laden chef Jeffrey Buben finally spreads his wings with his third restaurant, Woodward Table. PAGE 51
An injured whale trainer and flawed drifter find symbiosis and redemption in “Rust and Bone.” PAGE 52
[ history ]
Arabian Eye-Opener ‘Roads’ Digs Up Wide-Ranging History of Ancient Arabia by Gail Sullivan
rtifacts unearthed from the shifting sands of the Arabian desert in the past 40 years have radically transformed our understanding of this ancient region. Some 300 objects now on display at the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery illuminate Saudi Arabia’s pre-Islamic heritage and its rise to prominence as a cultural and religious center. Organized in conjunction with the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities,“Roads of Arabia: Archaeology and History of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia” features objects, some dating as far back as 7,000 years ago, from more than 10 archeological sites throughout the Arabian Peninsula.The exhibit opened in the summer of 2010 at the Louvre in Paris and traveled to Barcelona, St. Petersburg and Berlin before making its American debut at the Smithsonian’s Sackler Gallery. The exhibit is organized geographically and historically in three parts, which chronicle the cross-cultural exchange of ancient trade routes, the rise of Islam as seen in the pilgrimage trails that led to Mecca, and finally the unification of the modern Saudi kingdom in 1932. Today, we know Saudi Arabia as the world’s leading producer of oil, but long before it struck black gold, it was a hub for the global incense trade. The world was a smelly place in antiquity. Before the advent of flush toilets, public waste collection and deodorant, people relied on incense to combat the malodorous byproducts of human civilization. Beyond its olfactory benefits, incense served important religious and medicinal purposes. Made from the resin of plants found only in southern Arabia and east Africa, frankincense and myrrh were the most coveted. As early as 1200 B.C., the camel revolutionized Arabian com commerce. Caravans traversed the deserts of the Arabian Peninsula, bringing incense to the temples and royal courts of the Near East and Mediterranean, returning with spices and exotic luxu luxuries. Once worth more than gold, “incense was the oil of the Photos: NatioNal MuseuM, riyadh ancient world,” observed Massumeh Farhad, the Sackler’s cura curator of Islamic art. The lucrative trade gave rise to a complex From clockwise top left, a gold funerary mask from the network of trade routes dotted with oases and flourishing 1st century, an anthropomorphic stele from the 4th millentowns.Artifacts found along these ancient roads reveal the lost nium B.C., and a door of the Ka’ba from the 16th-century history of Arabia’s pre-Islamic past. ottoman dynasty are among the wide-ranging relics in A young royal girl’s gold funerary mask and elaborately “roads of arabia” that trace not only saudi arabia’s rise decorated tomb found at an archeological site in Thaj sugas a religious Mecca, but also its rich pre-islamic history. gest it may be the lost city of Gehrra, a center of wealth and power in pre-Islamic Arabia that controlled the al-Ma’lat cemetery. The stones stand erect in rows incense trade in its Hellenistic heyday. Roads of Arabia: Archaeology and that allow visitors to walk among them as if visiting Other artifacts are evidence of thriving exchange History of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia an ancient graveyard. Translations of detailed inscripbetween Arabia and neighbors such as Egyptians, Syrians, tions bring to life the stories of those who made the Babylonians and the Greco-Romans, as seen in chlorite through Feb. 24 holy pilgrimage in antiquity, including a father and vessels from Iran, for example, and a statue with Arthur M. Sackler Gallery daughter who died on their journey together. Mesopotamian features. Decorative motifs such as a bull 1050 independence ave., sW The giant ornate doors of the Ka’ba, Islam’s holiest with a disc between its horns confirms integration of For more information, please call (202) 633-1000 or sanctuary, inspire a sense of awe that the religion’s Egyptian and Mesopotamian symbolism into local relivisit www.asia.si.edu or www.roadsofarabia.com. earliest followers surely felt upon reaching their desgious practices. tination. One of the oldest objects in the exhibit is a stone The exhibit concludes with the creation of the kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 1932, carving of a horse dating to 7000 B.C. A ridge near the horse’s mouth resembles a bridal, suggesting that horses were domesticated thousands of years earlier than exploring the country’s history of archaeology through photographs of dig sites, travel books and maps. Several objects that belonged to King Abdulaziz (1876-1953), previously thought — and in Arabia rather than Central Asia. Haunting stone steles (vertical stone slabs used for commemorative purposes) the kingdom’s first monarch, are displayed as well, including his Koran. “Roads of Arabia” is the focal point of the Sackler Gallery’s 25th anniversary celegive visitors a glimpse into the rituals of people who lived 6,000 years ago. Among the earliest known objects found in the Arabian Peninsula, these anthropomorphic bration and is accompanied by a series of special events. Julian Raby, director of the Sackler and Freer Gallery of Art, said the experience figures were probably used in burial or religious practices. Flash forward to the 7th century and another network of roads emerged, bringing offers a “window onto a country whose pre-Islamic past is little known to anyone religious pilgrims to holy sites in Mecca and Medina — and marking the rise of Islam. other than a handful of scholars today, and whose Islamic history is often misunderThe anthropomorphic forms that dominated the pre-Islamic period gradually gave stood.” way to an emphasis on the written word, inspired by the Koran. Highlights of this section include some 20 tombstones from the now-destroyed Gail Sullivan is a contributing writer for The Washington Diplomat.
The Washington Diplomat
[ art ]
Ai Weiwei in America ‘According to What?’ Gives China’s Political Provocateur His Due by Michael Coleman
hinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei is both celebrated and criticized in his homeland, but he gets an unabashed hero’s welcome in the Hirshhorn Museum’s expansive and urgently contemporary new exhibition. “Ai Weiwei:According to What?” is the artist’s first survey show in North America and the Hirshhorn goes all out to give the cutting-edge political provocateur his due. The full circuit of the building’s second-level galleries, as well as some third-floor space, is devoted to Ai’s sculpture, installations, audio/video and photography. The exhibition is accompanied by “Ai Weiwei: Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads,” a monumental 12-part sculptural suite by the artist installed around the perimeter of the fountain on the museum’s plaza. Back inside the museum, the sheer number of Ai’s blackand-white photographs is a bit mind numbing, but the overall exhibition — arresting in scope and timely in subject matter — is never dull. Ai’s courage in the face of stiff Chinese government oppression is admirable and inspiring. (The artist, who designed the “Bird’s Nest” stadium for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, has routinely been harassed and detained by authorities.) He captures intimate and kinetic images with his camera and the sheer effort he puts into his installations (3,200 hand-painted ceramic crabs anyone?) burnishes his credentials as a serious contemporary artist. In a statement that accompanies the exhibition, Ai explains that the Hirshhorn exhibition is based on a 2009 show at Tokyo’s Mori Art Museum, but has been developed especially for the United States and includes new works and fresh perspectives on the old. It will all be new to many American viewers. Ai’s art doesn’t aim to please; it aims to provoke — and it succeeds. His work conjures contempt for authority and confronts established notions of class and tradition.A tendency toward belligerence is understandable given the burly, bearded 55-year-old activist’s gritty, hardscrabble history. Ai, whose poet father was banished to a Chinese labor camp when he was an infant, grew up poor and was put under house arrest by Chinese authorities for 81 days last year.The official charge was tax evasion, but Ai and many of his supporters are convinced the real reason was his government criticism. The first gallery in the exhibition is devoted to large-scale photographs of Beijing’s 2008 Olympic Stadium. Ai shows the futuristic architecture in various states of construction, during different seasons and multiple times of day. Some images include Ai Weiwei: According to What? workers milling about like ants, causing the through Feb. 24 viewer to consider if the structure is, indeed, “bigger” or more important than the indiHirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden vidual. independence avenue and 7th street, sW Ai’s choice of materials is, at times, stunFor more information, please call (202) 633-1000 ning. An installation of ironwood from disor visit www.hirshhorn.si.edu. mantled temples of the Qing Dynasty — stacked with pieces of various sizes and framed with iron parallel bars — is fascinating to look at, but at the same time a challenge. The lighting is too dim to absorb the full impact of the installation. It seems to exist in the shadows. “Map of China,” a three-dimensional look at China, also uses hardwood but instead
Photo: Cathy Carver
For “Ai Weiwei: According to What?” the hirshhorn devotes nearly two floors to the Chinese artist’s sculpture, installations, audio/video projects and photographs, including works such as, above from left, “Beijing’s 2008 olympic stadium,” “divina Proportione” and “F-size,” as well as “Map of China,” top, “Colored vases,” left, and “he Xie,” pictured on the culture cover.
of simply stacking the wood, Ai uses traditional Chinese joinery techniques. It is a monumental effort but the height of the piece makes it difficult for all but the tallest viewer to obtain full perspective — much like the abstract and murky view most outsiders have of the sprawling, complicated nation itself. Entering the second gallery, viewers begin to sense the importance of black-and-white photography to Ai’s body of work. Hundreds of small framed photos line the walls, most of them bleak and foreboding. The artist even manages to make New Photos: Courtesy oF the artist York’s Coney Island amusement park — usually depicted as a place of joy and reverie — a little sinister. Many of these photographs are more journalism than art and, not surprisingly for Ai, render authority figures as hostile and imposing. One photo shows several cops staring innocuously into the foreground while a single officer appears to glare at Ai’s camera. The artist is very interested in the meaning of artistic value, and true to form he challenges it in a photograph of himself dropping a Han Dynasty urn, venerated precisely because it was made roughly 2,000 years ago. In this and other works, such as “Coca-Cola Vase,” Ai destroys the old to create the new. The artist also finds new uses for old furniture. For “Grapes,” wooden stools from the Qing Dynasty have been rejoined by artisans into a spiky cluster — seats in, legs out — giving new utility to objects that might have outlived their usefulness. Meanwhile,“Ruyi,” a bluish-green porcelain dragon sculpture, is all fine lines and elegance, a marked contrast to some of Ai’s other works and proof that he is capable of classic tradition. Ai Weiwei — one of the few artists effectively challenging China’s authoritarianism — is one of the most important and controversial contemporary artists of the early 21st century.The Hirshhorn rightfully gives him a proper and compelling stage. Michael Coleman is a contributing writer for The Washington Diplomat.
The Washington Diplomat Page 47
[ photography ]
Eye for Mexico Travelers Offer Snapshot of Country’s People, Landscapes by Audrey Hoffer
he Mexican Cultural Institute, adjacent to the former Spanish ambassador’s residence that’s now used for cultural purposes, is a quintessential Washington mansion that’s home to a cornucopia of Latin art. Magnificent floor-to-ceiling murals — depicting bold, colorful imagery of people against traditional backdrops — ring the walls of the grand staircase inside the Beaux-Arts building, which became the Mexican ambassador’s home in 1921. Roberto Cueva del Río, a pupil of famed Mexican artist Diego Rivera, completed the murals in 1941. Stepping into the institute itself is a journey to another country — one that’s enhanced by a display of photographs that capture the scenic landscapes and sociopolitical realities of 20th-century Mexico. “The photo exhibits add to a longstanding tradition of artists visiting Mexico, which offers a lot of fertile soil to show off their talents,” said Alejandra de la Paz, executive director of the institute. “Luces y Sombras: Fourteen Travelers in Mexico,” on loan from the Bank of America Collection, showcases the work of 14 prominent 20th-century American photograPhotos: MeXiCaN Cultural iNstitute phers who regularly visited the country.A complementary Paul Strand’s “Gateway, hidalgo,” left, part of his seminal 1933 exhibit, “Visions of Mexico: The Photography of Hugo “Mexican Portfolio,” is featured in “luces y sombras: Fourteen Brehme,” presents 40 works by the German émigré and popular postcard photographer. Finally,“La Frontera,” a work-in-progress by New York-based travelers in Mexico” at the Mexican Cultural institute. a complemenphotographer Stefan Falke, chronicles modern-day artists along the U.S.tary exhibit, “visions of Mexico,” presents works by German-born Mexico border. hugo Brehme — such as “Cuernavaca, Jardin Borda, 1915-25,” “The idea of the exhibit is to take the eye of the traveler from 1933 to above, and “Guadalupe, Mexico, 1920s,” on the culture cover — 2001,” said Nathan Keegan, cultural programs and media officer for the while “la Frontera,” top, is a work-in-progress by New york-based institute. photographer stefan Falke. The journey begins with “Fourteen Travelers in Mexico,” whose images them a timeless, vintage feel. vary from stark to otherworldly, though all offer an unexpected look at Like the American photographers in “Luces y Sombras,” Brehme Mexican life — both the mundane and spectacular aspects of it. sought to elevate both the medium itself — photography as fine At the heart of “Luces y Sombras” is Paul Strand’s 1933 “Mexican art — and the stunning natural beauty and heritage of Mexico. Portfolio,” comprised of 20 photogravures — highly detailed intaglio “His color palette offers a fine hue and is interesting in its own prints produced by a laborious, sophisticated mechanical process. vibrant way,” said Keegan. “The colors aren’t true or faithful but “His pictures are exotic, culturally rich and of another land, with strikare the way he remembered them.” ing architecture that seems so different from ours.They show how won“Paricutín, Michoacán, Mexico, 1920s” shows a volcano billowderfully different this Mexico is from our United States,” said Keegan. ing smoke into a calendar-blue sky, contrasting sharply with the Mid-20th-century prints by Edward Weston, his son Brett, Aaron scene below, as a village casually goes about its business, Siskind, Harry Callahan and others offer a more contempothatched huts lining a dirt road traversed by a few lone rary take on Mexico. Luces y Sombras: figures and a lean white horse. And in the 1970s,“we transition to modernity,” said Keegan. Fourteen Travelers in Mexico In “Guadalupe, Mexico, 1920s,” Mexicans climb a wide “These images are so quotidian you can’t readily separate and sandstone staircase beside a wall bathed in golden sunlight. them from their counterparts in the U.S. but for a few differVisions of Mexico: The rays of light also glint off the men’s white pants and ences.” The Photography of Hugo Brehme long pink skirts on the women, a visual interplay of people Though still indelibly Mexican, the photographs don’t and place both basking in the sun. romanticize the landscapes or people, letting them speak for and “Cuernavaca, Jardin Borda, 1915-25” veers toward the themselves. La Frontera fantastical, as a stone structure with six arches joined overA 1981 print “Leyendo a Rulfo” by Mario Algaze depicts the through March 2 head by a red-tiled roof is perfectly mirrored in the still solitary figure of a man sitting on the front steps of a building, Mexican Cultural Institute blue waters of an adjacent river. It’s postcard as art. but the focal point is really the structure — its column-lined 2829 16th st., NW “The Brehme exhibit complements ‘Luces y Sombras’ entrance, wrought-iron balcony and tiled floor.“The architecFor more information, please call (202) 728-1628 because it also has that traveler’s vision,” said Keegan,“but ture is unfamiliar to American eyes and gives the shot a definor visit www.instituteofmexicodc.org. here the traveler stays in Mexico, unlike the other photoging Mexican quality,” said Keegan. raphers who came and went.” “Visions of Mexico” also speaks to the country’s distinct Said de la Paz: “These photographs enrich our percepcharm. German-born Hugo Brehme was an outsider when he immigrated to Mexico in the early 20th century, but he grew to love the country, became a tions of Mexico. They are a great example of the power of culture and show how art and artistic community don’t have borders. Culture builds bridges.” citizen, and ran a thriving postcard business there. But his postcards weren’t the cheap souvenir variety. They captured heartfelt images of nature and indigenous life in photographs that were hand-colored with oil paints to give Audrey Hoffer is a freelance writer in Washington, D.C.
The Washington Diplomat
[ theater ]
Show Stopper ‘Dreamgirls’ Soars With Musical Reverie at Signature by Lisa Troshinsky
ife imitates art far more than art imitates life,” wrote Oscar Wilde.This axiom comes to life while watching Signature Theatre’s raptur rapturous version of the 1980s Broadway smash “Dreamgirls.” The theater’s own breakout star, Nova Payton, has a lot in common with the diva she plays, Effie White. They’re both vocal powerhouses scaling the entertainment ladder of success. The fact that Payton, an up-andcoming local actress, portrays the fictional character of Effie, who rose to storybook stardom a few decades ago, makes it all the more poetic. Signature audiences acquired a taste for the imposing Payton when she played Motormouth Mabel in the theater’s recent production of “Hairspray,” for which she deservingly received a Helen Hayes Award. Here she exhibits the comedic and vocal chops of Mabel, and exceeds expectations in her leading role as a headstrong singer sidelined by showbiz backstabbing. After this not-to-miss production, Payton’s celebrity is sure to soar, as does Effie’s by the play’s end. Let’s just hope that Payton’s ascension will be less tormenting than Effie’s struggle in the harsh world of show business, which is brought to life in this production with believable but ruthless candor. “Dreamgirls,” inspired by the story of the Supremes and other 1960s black girl pop groups, follows the highs and lows of a trio of singers from Chicago: Effie, Deena Jones and Lorrell Robinson, who team up with used-car-salesman-turned manager Curtis Taylor Jr., Effie’s brother C.C., and soul singer Jimmy “James Thunder” Early. The rise of this motley crew of musical hopefuls to stardom is marked by ambition, greed, betrayal, bribery, cheating, deceit, misunderstanding, jealousy, insecurity, hurt and all the other hallmarks of showbiz success. Curtis lies at the heart of much of the pain, although each of the characters has their fair share of flaws — redeeming and otherwise. Signature successfully recreates the world of 1960s R&B acts, bringing the audience back to a time when women wore beehives on their heads and hip-hugging gowns while men donned lame suits — and neither feminism nor civil rights had yet to hit their stride. Image was everything. In the same way the Supremes had to groom a flawless look and sound in order to cross over from an African American audience to a white male-dominated music industry, director Dreamgirls and choreographer Matthew through Jan. 13 Gardiner crafts a seamless visual and auditory triumph. Signature Theatre The success of this produc4200 Campbell ave., arlington, va. tion is clearly a group effort. For more information, please call (703) 820-9771 Adam Koch’s dazzling, multilevel, or visit www.signature-theatre.org. movable set makes up for Signature’s lack of stage space. Characters sing and dance on platforms that rise or descend, according to their emotions and temperature. Costume designer Frank Labovitz and lighting designer Chris Lee perform what appears to be magic. In one instance, while Effie belts out “I Am Changing” — about how she’s transformed from her innocent beginnings — her dress transforms from kneelength casual to floor-touching evening gown in mid-song. Although the show is famous for its pleasing and rousing score, the
superior dancing and choreography (kudos to co-choreographer Brianne Camp) can’t be overlooked. It is simple, straightforward, polished and stylized, not unlike the script’s story line, and showcased in numbers like “Steppin’ to the Bad Side” and “Heavy.” This production thankfully doesn’t fall prey to a common mistake in musicals: The performers weren’t just cast for their singing prowess; they can also act.This is critical when a smaller theater stages such a quintessential hit like “Dreamgirls,” which will undoubtedly be compared to its stunning run on Broadway and successful 2006 movie remake. Payton’s emotional performance has many peaks, but she strikes her highest chord with the infamous showstopper and Grammywinning hit “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going.” Payton’s seemingly effortless commanding soprano voice, combined with her dexterous acting, bring down the house at the close of Act I. This is perfect timing, because it gives the audience a chance to wipe their eyes and get a fresh stash of Kleenex for the second act. While Payton is clearly incomparable, the ensemble has another star. When all eyes and ears aren’t on Effie, they are on Cedric Neal, who gives a larger-than-life, unabashed performance as the dysfunctional, but highly entertaining Jimmy “James Thunder” Early, a tragic soul singer whose dreams of making it big were crushed by his own narcissism and the cruelty of the business. Although the focus is on how females were victimized in the music industry, Neal deftly brings to life the competitiveness, deceit and disingenuous nature of “the business” that can hurt everybody. The other two women, rounding out the Dreamgirls, give solid performances. On this particular night, the role of Deena Jones, usually played Shayla Simmons, was played by Lauren Du Pree, and the role of Lorrell Robinson was played by Crystal Joy. Except for a few uneven missteps (quite understandable given the show’s quick tempo), it was hardly noticeable that Du Pree was an understudy. Sydney James Harcourt was sufficiently slimy as the underhanded Curtis Taylor and crooned smoothly in “You Are My Dream.” Signature Theatre extended this show into the New Year with good reason. For Motown aficionados to opera fans and everyone in between, Photo:s ChristoPher Mueller this cast of characters and crew are Above from left, effie White (Nova y. Payton) deena Jones bound to make you feel the gamut of emotions. Just listen to the music and (shayla simmons) and lorrell robinson (Crystal Joy) make beaulet their dream take your heart away. tiful music together in the signature production of the Broadway smash “dreamgirls” — but ambition and betrayal sideline the Lisa Troshinsky is the theater reviewer group’s headstrong lead singer in a bravura performance by for The Washington Diplomat. Payton, top right. The Washington Diplomat Page 49
[ photography ]
Trail of Bloodlines ‘A Living Man Declared Dead’ and the Thread of DNA by Gary Tischler
[ Page 50
ust try to connect the dots — or, rather, blood bloodlines — to make a coherent whole in the rows of seemingly endless faces (not to mention some mind-boggling rabbits) photographed by provocative young artist Taryn Simon for her project “A Living Man Declared Dead and Other Chapters I–XVIII.” It’s a bit like following the breadcrumbs in a trail of identity that leads all over the world. The project, which unfolds in 18 chapters done from 2008 to 2011, is a fascinating study of the different lots that life casts on people connected only by the thread of DNA. Simon’s exhibition at the Corcoran Gallery of Art is also a kind of catalogue of contemporary horrors, oddities, lingering outrages, echoes of crimes past and the hollow ghosts of survivors — chronicled using a concrete, systematic, scientific yet highly innovative approach. For four years, the young American artist traveled around the world researching and recording the descendants of a single individual, or “bloodlines,” and their related stories. These “stories” run the gamut from feuding families in Brazil, to victims of genocide in Bosnia, to people in India recorded as dead but still very much alive. Some of the resulting portraits are empty, representing those who actually did die, with the accompanying narrative of their absence — dengue fever, imprisonment, women not allowed to be photographed, etc. All of the portraits, in fact, presented in a series of grids, tell a story, with rich details methodically organized to reveal social changes driven by science, culture and chance. “In each of the 18 chapters,” the artist has explained,“you see the external forces of territory, governance, power and religion, colliding with the internal forces of psychological and physical inheritance.” “A Living Man Declared Dead” is a meticulous examination not unlike Simon’s previous exhibitions. She culled the ground before for “Contraband,” which featured photographs of thousands of items confiscated at U.S. airports. In “An American Index of the Hidden and Unfamiliar,” she captured the spaces, sites and objects that are squarely in American mythology but have never been seen by ordinary Americans: a CIA art collection, bears in hibernation during a scientific study, radioactive nuclear waste and so on. “A Living Man Declared Dead” is similar in the sense that it incorporates bits and pieces, using methodology to produce a startling effect: the rows of portraits that almost look like wanted posters, the accumulation of data, and the stark Taryn Simon: A Living Man Declared Dead representation juxtaposed with loadand Other Chapters I–XVIII ed text in a way that seems furtively dangerous. through Feb. 24 An anecdote lays out the beginning Corcoran Gallery of Art of each story, which branches out a 500 17th st., NW bizarre family tree of sorts. For more information, please call (202) 639-1700 Among the starting points for the or visit www.corcoran.org. “chapter summaries”: India, where it’s common practice, apparently, to pronounce people dead in order to acquire their land; the beginnings of Jewish settlement in Palestine at the start of the 20th century, pioneered by Arthur Ruppin; and Bosnia, where six of 21 members of one bloodline were murdered during the Srebrenica massacre. Simon also photographed all nine wives, 32 children and 63 grandchildren of an herbal healer in Kenya who treats HIV/AIDS, infertility and evil spirits; a man who
The Washington Diplomat
Photos: taryN siMoN
Taryn Simon’s “a living Man declared dead” is broken up into “chapters” that track down the descendants of a single individual, revealing striking stories, such as australian rabbits injected with a lethal disease, top, a group of ukrainian students dressed as maids, above, and leila Khaled, the first woman to hijack an aircraft, left.
claims to be the body double of Saddam Hussein’s son; various people abducted by the North Korean regime; the offspring of mothers who had ingested Thalidomide during pregnancy; young girls selected to be the bodily incarnation of the goddess Taleju in Nepal; Albinos in Tanzania who are often hunted down and killed; and children at a Ukrainian orphanage, many of whom end up in the sex slave trade. Oh, she also snapped pictures of more than 100 rabbits that had been injected with a lethal disease generated by the Australian government to control rabbit populations. I don’t exactly know how many portraits there are — they never quite blur into a mass, but neither is there time to really consider them individually. It feels like going down the rabbit hole — in the Australian case, literally so — of coincidence, tragedy and strange circumstance. Each chapter could make for a novel in itself, or at least an epic poem or Quentin Tarantino movie. The dry language of the reportage, the names of the descendants and the statistics do not totally dampen the sense of the creepy and weird. Because going through the rows of faces, you do feel a connection among all of them, even the blank spaces.Those faces are telling you their stories — not screaming them, but whispering them. You cannot help but contemplate what if you were descended from the first woman — Leila Khaled, a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine — to hijack an aircraft, or from the man who served as Hitler’s personal legal advisor and governorgeneral of occupied Poland. If you Google Taryn Simon and images for her, you get a page that feels like what could be the beginning of an autobiographical project for her — an image of Simon, an attractive woman in her 30s, mixed in with photos from her shows. All that’s absent is the kind of data that would explain it. In reflecting on the descendants of the Druze in Lebanon who believe devoutly in reincarnation, Simon’s comment also very much applies to herself as an artist and to her work:“It’s as if we become ghosts of our past and of our future.” Gary Tischler is a contributing writer for The Washington Diplomat.
[ dining ]
Buben Branches Out New Woodward Eatery Earns Well-Deserved Spot at the Table by Rachel G. Hunt
or almost two decades, chef Jeffrey Buben has helped shape the D.C. dining scene. With the opening of Vidalia, his lauded Southern-infused modern American restaurant in 1993, Buben set a high standard early on for fine dining in the District. With an almost obsessive reputation for quality, Buben led Vidalia from one accolade to another, garnering practically every major culinary award the area has to offer. Following on Vidalia’s success, Buben opened Bistro Bis in 1998 to almost equal acclaim. Located in the Hotel George, the contemporary French restaurant quickly became a Capitol Hill fixture. For the next 15 years, Buben and his staff turned in consistently superior performances at both locations, along the way training several young chefs who went on to make names for themselves, including Peter Smith of PS 7’s, Eric Ziebold of CityZen, and R.J. Cooper of Rogue 24. However, unlike many other notable D.C. chefs, Buben did not open up a spate of new restaurants — until now. The sudden closing of Potenza earlier this year presented Buben with the opportunity to open a new restaurant in an iconic downtown location. Located on the ground floor of the historic Woodward Building just a block from the White House, Buben’s Woodward Table actually encompasses three different dining experiences: a formal dining room; a bar and lounge; and Woodward Takeaway Food, a casual takeaway spot deliberately known by the somewhat unfortunate acronym WTF. While Vidalia is coolly elegant with its palette of magnolia and onionskin, and Bistro Bis almost cavernous with its high ceilings and strong vertical elements, Buben has opted for a warmer feel for Woodward Table. In redoing the space, he replaced Potenza’s dark woods and eclectic Italian touches with lighter colors and fewer decorative accents. The pumpkin, chocolate, and cream color scheme in the dining room is complemented by pale wood paneling, strong lines in the floor-to-ceiling copper piping, modern light fixtures, and whimsical dining-related murals that create an appealing, airy, contemporary feel. On the WTF side, white stone tile countertops and bold red flourishes create an almost fast-food like casualness — almost. WTF’s mission is to offer individually prepared, artisanal meals for breakfast, lunch and takeout at a routinely affordable price. Buben tapped chef Joe Harran, Woodward Table who has served in Buben’s other 1426 H St., NW two kitchens, to lead Woodward (202) 347-5353 Table. Designing the new venture to www.woodwardtable.com be more causal than his other two restaurants, Buben turned to domesLunch: Daily, 11:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. tic sources for inspiration. He characterizes Woodward Table’s menu as Dinner: Daily, 5:30 - 10:30 p.m. American cuisine derived from iconWTF: Mon.- Fri., 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. ic dishes with a seasonal emphasis. Starters: $9.75 - $13.75 The menu abounds with straightforward classics — steak, chops, brisket, Entrées: $25.50 - $29.75 crab cake, lobster — bearing a slight Dessert: $9 - 13.50 resemblance to Vidalia, though there is no Southern flair here. Bar menu: $5.50 - $15.50 For example, shrimp and grits, Reservations: Accepted and suggested available as a starter, feature creamed Anson Mills grits and Tasso ham, but Dress: Business casual Woodward Table takes the signature dish up a notch by barbequing the shrimp and serving it with smoked paprika butter for an unusual effect.The ribs at Woodward, served as an appetizer, are comprised of lamb seasoned with garlic, cilantro and toasted pumpkin seed, which introduces an almost Native Mesoamerican dimension to the dish. Buben in fact borrows from different cuisines and techniques to create contrasts that capitalize on the flavors of the season.The current trout dish, for instance, is pan roasted and dished up with trumpet mushrooms, Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes and sage butter. The flavors are pure and intense. Likewise, meaty pan-seared sea scallops partner well with smooth kabocha squash purée, crunchy spiced pumpkin seeds and grainy compressed pears — punctuated by a splash of sherry. The grilled New York
[ ] want to
Woodward Table, housed in the historic Woodward Building just a block from the White House, is more casual than chef Jeffrey Buben’s two other well-known restaurants, offering a menu of American cuisine derived from iconic dishes with a seasonal emphasis.
strip steak — prepared simply with cipollini onions, wild mushrooms and pommery mustard — is superb, though the delicate flavor of the tender, perfectly cooked duroc pork chop is almost overwhelmed by the grits, braised greens and rye jus with which it is paired. Vidalia fans will recognize the crab cakes at Woodward Table, but with fennel salad, crab-spiced mini potatoes and pommery mustard butter, the effect is less Photos: Jessica Latos Louisiana. With this emphasis on seasonality, Woodland Table is full of gustatory surprises. A skin-on filet of Arctic char is pan seared and accompanied with wilted greens, potato gnocchi dressed in a brown butter emulsion and, in a nod to fall vegetables, tender chunks of rutabaga. What a pleasure to find the lowly and much-neglected turnip given such a place of honor. Meanwhile, roasted winter squash is transformed in a side dish thanks to the addition of pecans, sage and maple butter. Even cauliflower stands out as a side, with the tiny florets caramelized and mixed with honey-roasted nuts and cranberries. Buben hung onto the pizza oven that had been a central feature of Potenza’s kitchen. As a result, chef Harran is turning out some tasty flatbreads that are available
See dining, page 57 The Washington Diplomat Page 51
[ film reviews ]
Life and Limb The Over-the-Top Romantic Symbiosis of ‘Rust and Bone’ by Ky N. Nguyen
[ Page 52
rench director-writer Guarded ‘Barbara’ Jacques Audiard’s auda“Barbara,” German writer-director cious “Rust and Bone” proves Christian Petzold’s 11th film, also marks his to be a worthy follow-up to fifth time helming his regular leading lady, his previous film, the stunGerman actress Nina Hoss. In this case, pracning masterpiece“A Prophet.” tice makes perfect (or pretty close). Petzold’s To start,Audiard and co-writintricate screenplay, co-written with Harun er Thomas Bidegain’s relaxed adaptaFarocki, is packed full of subtle details that tion of Craig Davidson’s collection of are steadily revealed. Petzold’s patient direcshort stories, also titled “Rust and tion tells the elegant story in a mannered Bone,” produced a complex screenfashion, piece by piece. In this way,“Barbara” play bursting with enticing content. plays as sort of a slow-motion thriller with an “Rust and Bone” exemplifies elusive mystery hooking the viewer as it’s Audiard’s tendency to combine harsh gradually solved. realism with a hyperbolic sense of In 1980, beautiful young East German post-romanticism in which criminal Photo: Jean-Baptiste Modino / Sony Pictures Classics physician Barbara Wolff (Hoss), a rising star, elements become heroic figures in applies for an exit visa to leave for the West. Whale trainer Stéphanie (Marion Cotillard), left, and struggling single father Ali (Matthias stark, devastating environments. It’s As punishment, she’s transferred from her not as tight and gritty as “A Prophet,” Schoenaerts) form an unlikely bond in Jacques Audiard’s “Rust and Bone.” distinguished Berlin appointment to a lesser but that doesn’t prevent Audiard’s latest film from succeeding in a more kinetic fashion. job at a modest, rural children’s hospital. Upon her arrival, Barbara already does not appear It’s like neorealism for the age of music videos. Somehow, it works far better than it to quite fit in. Coming from Berlin, she’s perfectly dressed and well-coiffed, reinforcing her sounds. striking poise. Ali (Matthias Schoenaerts) has just gained custody of his 5-year-old boy Sam (Armand She aims to maintain a cool demeanor as a means of self-preservation in a place where Verdure). Homeless, broke and hungry, they take the train to Antibes in the South of France she knows nobody. Really, she can trust no to find refuge with Ali’s sister, Anna (Corinne Masiero), a one in a country full of Stasi officers and reluctant hostess. Ali picks up a gig as a bouncer, working collaborators constantly watching her. Yet at a club where he meets and protects bloodied Stéphanie subtle bits reveal she’s not as unwavering as (Marion Cotillard) when a fight breaks out. Ali proclaims she’d like to be. Very slowly over time, the she looks like a hooker wearing her revealing miniskirt, ice princess persona melts a bit. which angers her. He learns that when the carefree beauty Without reservation, she opens her heart isn’t dancing in her nightlife, she diligently works by day as to become completely dedicated to the a capable, forceful orca whale trainer. care of her patients, gaining approval from Shortly thereafter, Stéphanie is badly injured in a freakish her colleagues. She maintains her distance work accident in which she loses her legs. She calls Ali for from others, intending to keep focused on assistance, triggering an improbable love affair marked by her scheme to save money to escape to the intense emotional and physical peaks. Stéphanie strives to West with her lover. She initially rebuffs recover from her debilitating injuries and resume her life, friendly gestures from André (Ronald which she does relatively well. Yet even fitted with prosZehrfeld), a fellow talented young doctor thetic legs, she still cannot bear to get back onto the dance Photo: Adopt Films who’s also handsome, soft-spoken and floor. Meanwhile, Ali has become a bare-knuckle street André (Ronald Zehrfeld) tries to befriend exiled East German physician Barbara ambitious. As she learns of their shared boxer involved with a dangerous gambling fight crowd. He interests, she eventually warms up to him, finds it tougher and tougher to stabilize his precarious Wolff (Nina Hoss) in Christian Petzold’s “Barbara.” developing a dangerous attraction despite financial and paternal situation. her better judgment. An entrancing no-holds-barred performance by French actress Cotillard (Oscar winner Unlike other Cold War movies set behind the Iron for “La Vie en Rose,”“The Dark Knight Rises”), perhaps her best turn ever, certainly brings Curtain, the setting of “Barbara” is not depicted as a “Rust and Bone” to life. She manages to fully completely terrible, dreadful place. In fact, director of Barbara express a wide range of emotional states from Rust and Bone photography Hans Fromm portrays East Germany as (German with English subtitles; very fragile to extremely tough. The viewers (De rouille et d’os) simply can’t keep their eyes away from her. rather attractive, at least at first glance. Yet from the 105 min.) Ditto for her character’s love interest, a sullen beginning, Petzold crafts a growing nervous tension (French and English with English subtitles; Angelika Mosaic hunk played by Schoenaerts whom the audi- that becomes clearly evident just below the surface of 120 min.; scope) the authoritarian communist state. The pervasive lack West End Cinema ence hates to like. Both performances are of trust is accentuated by a notable sense of separation, Landmark’s E Street Cinema prevented from becoming oversimplified cli★★★★✩ Angelika Mosaic chés because their characters don’t external- amplified by the camera largely avoiding close-ups to ize all their feelings to show the public; they keep a marked distance from its subjects. ★★★★✩ The director brings out appropriately soft performances, all the more powerful for not keep plenty internalized within. being over the top, from his quietly competent ensemble cast.That being said,“Barbara” is On the contrary,Audiard is known for his stylish, over-the-top direction (“The Beat That My Heart Skipped,”“Read My Lips”). Going over the top is a dangerous dance, but Audiard largely a character study of its eponymous character. Playing Barbara, Hoss appears in knows how to bring it, though maybe it’s not the taste of every viewer. Director of pho- nearly every scene, demanding a lot from the actress. Fortunately, her magnetic presence tography Stéphane Fontaine, a regular collaborator, does his bit to translate the script’s text enables her to memorably dominate the screen. into dazzling images on screen. The action is pushed along by a haunting soundtrack feaSee film reviews, page 55 turing Bon Iver and Lykke Li, with a score by Alexandre Desplat.
The Washington Diplomat
[ film feature ]
Dying for the Truth ‘Reportero’ Honors Mexico’s Defiant Journalists by Ky N. Nguyen
ccording to the Committee to Protect Journalists, 48 reporters have been executed or disappeared in Mexico from December 2006 until December 2011, the tenure of Mexican President Felipe Calderon. After he took office, he launched a major offensive against Mexico’s notorious, powerful drug cartels. The controversial new war on drugs unleashed a bloodletting of escalating violence across the country, leaving thousands of innocent bystanders as victims. Director-writer-producer Bernardo Ruiz’s searing documentary “Reportero” tracks the valiant efforts of Mexican journalists by focusing on Sergio Haro, a senior reporter at Zeta, an investigative weekly newspaper boasting 30,000 readers that was founded in 1980. Despite considerable dangers that over the years have taken the lives of its staff and one of its co-founders, Zeta has doggedly covered corruption and the country’s burgeoning illicit drug trade, including its collusion with government, police and military officials. “Reportero” will premiere locally on PBS as part of POV (Point of View), which, in its 25th season, has become the longest-running independent documentary series on American television. The film marks Ruiz’s first documentary feature, though he’s worked on other documentary projects over the years, including exposés of the nation’s high school dropout crisis and Mexican immigrant communities in New York. Ruiz, in fact, came to “Reportero” by accident. While researching a film on deported children in Mexicali, he had a brief interview with Haro that turned into a three-hour discussion. “From that first meeting forward, I understood that all of the narrative threads I had been chasing — immigration, corruption and the rise of narco power in Mexico — converged in Sergio’s story,” the director said of the veteran
“Reportero” premieres Jan. 7 at to 10 p.m. on the PBS television network with additional screenings afterward. The film will also stream on POV’s website from Jan. 8 to Feb. 7. For more information, visit www.pbs.org/pov/reportero.
Photo: Quiet Pictures
founded Siete Días, another independent Director-writer-producer newspaper that strongly attacked local Bernardo ruiz, above, narcotic kingpins. Shortly after turning 29, chronicles the valiant Flores became another murdered journal- efforts of Mexican journalist whose assassin was freed by the courts. ists working for Zeta, an Fearlessly fighting back, Haro recalled,“We investigative weekly newsmocked [the killer’s] release, with photos paper, in the searing docuof all the kilos he was trafficking.” mentary “reportero.” As leader of Zeta, Blancornelas — who in 1997 narrowly escaped an ambush by 10 gunmen only when shrapnel from the hail of bullets ricocheted and hit the lead assassin in the eye — employed a security detail exceeding 20 guards. Haro, too, lives under the constant threat of death and, like many Mexicans today, has enlisted bodyguards for protection. Just as constant is the aura of impunity that continues to plague the country, where the murders largely go unsolved. So why keep risking your life for a critical but relatively thankless job? “It’s easier to look the other way and not cover this issue,” Haro admits in the documentary.“But in the end you would become another accomplice. For the rest of my life, I only want to be a reporter.” Ky N. Nguyen is the film reviewer for The Washington Diplomat.
by Washington Diplomat film reviewer Ky N. Nguyen
Please see Film Clips on the next page or detailed listings available at press time.
fReeR GAlleRy of ARt The two-part retrospective “The Military Eye: War, Aesthetics, and the Ethics of Aerial Surveillance” debuts with German iconoclast Werner Herzog’s 1992 documentary “Lessons of Darkness” (Fri., Jan. 11, 7 p.m.), where stark images of Kuwait’s burning oil fields and other devastation after the Gulf War contrast with classical music and Herzog’s typical soft, rhythmic voiceovers. “The Military Eye” concludes with German filmmaker Harun Farocki’s 1989 “Images of the World and the Inscription of War” (Sun., Jan. 13, 2 p.m.), which muses on the photos of the Auschwitz concentration camp accidentally snapped by World War II American spy planes and subsequently forgotten as non-military targets. After Farocki’s film essay finishes, a panel discourse is moderated by Thomas Y. Levin of Princeton University and curator of the exhibit “CTRL [SPACE], Rhetorics of Surveillance from Bentham to Big Brother.” The “Arab Shorts” series (Jan. 17-18) culls highlights from the 139 shorts compiled by the Goethe-Institut Cairo since 2009. “Arab Shorts”
journalist, who’s been reporting on Mexico’s underbelly for 25 years, despite numerous threats on his life and the deaths of three of his colleagues. “What goes through a reporter’s mind when he or she is about to break a story that is, as Sergio says in the film,‘like a grenade before you remove the pin?’” Ruiz said he wondered.“Why persist when the risks are many, the benefits few?” Haro and the reporters at Zeta have displayed such heroism since the paper’s humble beginnings in 1980. Jesús Blancornelas had been fired by five newspapers for not towing the line, so he and Héctor Félix Miranda started the journalist-owned publication to provide a different voice from the mainstream media mainly controlled by the government. Zeta was based in Tijuana, but its printing plant was placed in California for added security across the border. At first, Blancornelas also managed Zeta from the United States. With help from leads provided by readers, Miranda’s wellread columns satirized Mexico’s political and social elite to expose corruption. “My work in Zeta is proof that freedom of expression exists in Mexico,” he once proclaimed. “That others don’t practice it is their own fault.” The others had good reasons to avoid angering the establishment. On April 20, 1988, Miranda was shot dead by killers allegedly on the payroll of Jorge Hank, scion of a leading Mexican family. Hank avoided being investigated by police and later won election as the mayor of Tijuana. In 1987, Haro initially joined Zeta as a photographer. Taking a sabbatical of sorts in 1997, he and Benjamín Flores
curator and Amman-based artist Ala Younis introduces and talks about both nights. “Arab Shorts” is shown in partnership with the “Mapping Democracy in Film” retrospective (Jan. 28-Feb. 20) at the GoetheInstitute and the exhibition “Roads of Arabia” at the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery. The ever-popular 17th annual “Iranian Film Festival 2013” (Jan. 25Feb. 23) returns with Mani Haghighi’s black comedy/psychological thriller “A Modest Reception” (Fri., Jan. 25, 7 p.m.; Sun., Jan. 27, 2 p.m.).
piano’s production from the search for its wood in Alaska to Steinway Hall in Manhattan. The film starts the dual-program music series “Classics Updated,” which closes with the concert “Piano Battle: Andreas Kern vs. Paul Cibis” at the Embassy of Austria (Fri., Jan. 18, 7:30 p.m.).
(202) 357-2700, www.asia.si.edu/events/films.asp
The Mid-Atlantic Regional Showcase (MARS) premieres the 2013 documentary “Led Zeppelin Played Here” (Sun., Jan. 20, 9 p.m.) with local filmmaker Jeff Krulik in person. The special evening takes place exactly 44 years after Jan. 20, 1969, historically relevant for the inauguration of President Richard Nixon, when legendary British rock band Led Zeppelin purportedly performed for 50 perplexed adolescents in the Wheaton Youth Center’s gym on Georgia Avenue (not far from the Silver Theatre). AFI’s festive “Holiday Classics” retrospective comes to an end Jan. 2.
Goethe-iNstitut The “Mapping Democracy in Film” retrospective (Jan. 28-Feb. 20) kicks off with “Why Democracy” (Mon., Jan. 28, 6:30 p.m.), a screening and discussion of shorts about democracy by nascent filmmakers from around the world. Director-producer-cinematographer Ben Niles presents and converses about his 2007 documentary “Note by Note: The Making of Steinway L1037” (Mon., Jan. 14, 6:30 p.m.), which trails a Steinway
(202) 289-1200, www.goethe.de/ins/us/was/kue/flm/enindex.htm
AmeRiCAN film iNstitute (Afi) silveR theAtRe
(301) 495-6700, www.afi.com/silver
The Washington Diplomat Page 53
[ film ]
THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT
Frenchwoman living in Jerusalem scrawls a letter, slips it into a bottle, and throws it into the sea. Weeks later, she receives an email from the mysterious young Palestinian that begins a turbulent but tender long-distance friendship.
*Unless specific times are listed, please check the theater for times. Theater locations are subject to change.
JCC of Greater Washington Sat., Jan. 5, 7:30 p.m. Washington DCJCC
Besa: The Promise Directed by Rachel Goslins (U.S., 2012, 89 min.)
Sat., Jan. 12, 6:30 p.m.
One Albanian man’s quest brings three men together in a journey that transcends borders, time and religion (Albanian, English and Hebrew).
The Day I Saw Your Heart Directed by Jennifer Devoldere (France, 2011, 98 min.)
JCC of Greater Washington Sun., Jan. 6, 7:30 p.m. Washington DCJCC
While patriarch Eli expects a baby with his new young wife, he attempts to reconcile his tepid relationship with his adult daughter by reaching out to her ex-boyfriends.
Tue., Jan. 8, 8:45 p.m.
Photo: Petro Domenigg / Aichholzer Filmproduktion GmbH / Petro Domenigg
Sharqiya Directed by Ami Livne (Israel/France/Germany, 2012, 85 min.)
Eng. Subtitles When the destitute central bus station he shares with his family is threatened by demolition orders, young Bedouin security guard makes a curious set of fateful decisions in his attempt to act as a hero (Arabic and Hebrew). AFI Silver Theatre Mon., Jan. 7, 7 p.m.
English Born in Berlin Directed by Noemi Schory and Leora Kamenetzy (Israel, 1991, 85 min.)
This documentary looks at the lives of three Jewish women writers who grew up in pre-war Berlin until Nazi racial laws shattered their lives.
From left, Moritz Bleibtreu, Georg Friedrich and Ursula Strauss star in the World War II drama “My Best Enemy,” screening at the Austrian Embassy as part of the Washington Jewish Film Festival.
Landmark’s E Street Cinema
terrorized and their churches burned down, it is a decision of extraordinary bravery for Nigerians to declare themselves Jewish.
Washington DCJCC Tue., Jan. 8, 6:15 p.m.
Directed by Tom Hooper (U.K., 2012, 160 min.)
Roman Polanski: A Film Memoir
mayhem of one of the worst natural catastrophes of our time.
In 19th-century France, Jean Valjean, who for decades has been hunted by the ruthless Inspector Javert after he breaks parole, agrees to care for factory worker Fantine’s daughter, Cosette — a decision that forever changes their lives. Various area theaters
Lessons of Darkness (Lektionen in Finsternis) Directed by Werner Herzog (Germany, 1992, 50 min.)
Werner Herzog’s controversial documentary surveys the wreckage left in the wake of the Gulf War, lamenting the human and environmental damage caused by modern war technology (English, German and Arabic).
Directed by Quentin Tarantino (U.S., 2012, 165 min.)
Freer Gallery of Art Fri., Jan. 11, 7 p.m.
Goethe-Institut Tue., Jan. 8, 7:30 p.m.
In the South two years before the Civil War, a slave’s brutal history with his former owners lands him face-to-face with a German-born bounty hunter. Landmark’s E Street Cinema
Hyde Park on the Hudson Directed by Roger Michell (U.K., 2012, 95 min.)
The love affair between President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and his distant cousin Margaret Stuckley plays out over a weekend in 1939 when the King and Queen of Britain visit upstate New York. AFI Silver Theatre Through Jan. 17 Landmark’s E Street Cinema
The Impossible Directed by Juan Antonio Bayona (Spain, 2012, 114 min.)
In this powerful true story based on the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, a family begins their winter vacation in Thailand, looking forward to a few days in tropical paradise but instead become caught, along with tens of thousands of strangers, in the
No Place on Earth Directed by Janet Tobias (U.S./U.K./Germany, 2012, 81 min.)
Out of options, a group of families descend into underground caves in southern Ukraine to escape Nazi persecution in 1942, remaining there for 500 days. AFI Silver Theatre Sun., Jan. 6, 7:15 p.m.
Orchestra of Exiles Directed by Josh Aronson (Israel/U.S., 2011, 85 min.)
Bronislaw Huberman, the celebrated Polish violinist, rescues some of the world’s greatest musicians from Nazi Germany and then creates one of the world’s finest orchestras, the Palestine Philharmonic (later the Israeli Philharmonic).
Directed by Laurent Bouzereau (U.K., 2011, 90 min.)
Friend and colleague Andrew Braunsberg extracts an intimate, sympathetic and candid portrait of Roman Polanski’s life and work in this extraordinary series of conversations with the filmmaker. Carnegie Institute for Science Sun., Jan. 6, 3:45 p.m. JCC of Greater Washington
Sun., Jan. 13, 5 p.m.
Zero Dark Thirty Directed by Kathryn Bigelow (U.S., 2012, 157 min.)
“Zero Dark Thirty” chronicles the decadelong hunt for al-Qaeda terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden after the September 2001 attacks, and his death at the hands of the Navy SEAL Team 6 in May 2011. Various area theaters Opens Fri., Jan. 11
Farsi A Modest Reception (Paziraie sadeh) Directed by Mani Haghighi (Iran, 2012, 100 min.)
A couple from Tehran distributes large bags of money to people living in an impoverished town and then documents the reactions of the shocked recipients with their cell phone, but what seems like an act of generosity is actually something much more perverse. Freer Gallery of Art Fri., Jan. 25, 7 p.m.
Goethe-Institut Mon., Jan. 7, 7:30 p.m.
Re-Emerging: The Jews of Nigeria
Directed by Thierry Binistri (France/Canada/Israel, 2010, 99 min.)
Directed by Jeff Lieberman (Nigeria/U.S., 2012, 95 min.)
In an African country where Christians are
A Bottle in the Gaza Sea Frustrated by the hatred between Israelis and Palestinians, a 17-year-old
La Maison Française Thu., Jan. 10, 8:30 p.m. JCC of Greater Washington Sat., Jan. 12, 7:30 p.m.
Let My People Go! Directed by Mikael Buch (France, 2011, 88 min.)
A hilarious fusion of gay romantic comedy, Jewish family drama and French bedroom farce, this film follows the travails and daydreams of a French-Jewish mailman living in fairytale Finland with his gorgeous Nordic boyfriend. La Maison Française Thu., Jan. 10, 6:30 p.m. Washington DCJCC Sat., Jan. 12, 8:45 p.m.
Paris-Manhattan Directed by Sophie Lellouche (France, 2012, 77 min.)
Idealistic pharmacist Alice is completely obsessed with Woody Allen, and her increasingly concerned Jewish parents hope to cure her fixation by setting her up with a handsome French gentleman — but he quickly realizes that he’s no match for the man of her dreams. U.S. Naval Memorial Thu., Jan. 3, 6:15 and 8:45 p.m. AFI Silver Theatre Wed., Jan. 9, 7 p.m.
Rust and Bone (De rouille et d’os) Directed by Jacques Audiard (France/Belgium, 2012, 120 min.)
Put in charge of his young son, Ali leaves Belgium for France, where his bond with Stephanie, a killer whale trainer, grows deeper after Stephanie suffers a horrible accident. Landmark’s E Street Cinema
German Images of the World and the Inscription of War (Bilder der Welt und Inschrift des Krieges) Directed by Harun Farocki (Germany, 1988, 75 min.)
The discarding of American surveillance images of the Auschwitz concentration camp because the site didn’t register as a useful military target is the starting point for this wide-ranging meditation on the use
and misuse of photographic evidence. Freer Gallery of Art Sun., Jan. 13, 2 p.m.
Lore Directed by Cate Shortland (Germany/Australia/U.K., 2012, 109 min.)
Left to fend for themselves after their Nazi parents are arrested by the Allies at the end of World War II, five German children undertake a harrowing journey that exposes them to the reality of their parents’ actions. AFI Silver Theatre Sun., Jan. 6, 9:10 p.m.
My Best Enemy Directed by Wolfgang Murnberger
(Austria/Luxembourg, 2011, 100 min.) Rudi, an SS Officer, and Victor, the son of Jewish gallery owners, have their lifelong friendship tested with the outbreak of World War II. Embassy of Austria Wed., Jan. 9, 7:30 p.m.
Oma and Bella Directed by Alexa Karolinski (Germany/U.S., 2012, 76 min.)
Two friends who live together in Berlin, having survived the Holocaust, remember their childhoods through the food they cook together. Goethe-Institut Wed., Jan. 9, 7:30 p.m.
Hebrew Bridging Beit Shemesh Various Directors (Israel, 2012, 90 min.)
Two Israeli women, one secular and one Ultra-Orthodox, use filmmaking to open dialogue between members of communities that rarely interact and frequently clash. JCC of Greater Washington Thu., Jan. 10, 7:30 p.m. Washington DCJCC Sun., Jan. 13, 1 p.m.
From the Black You Make Color Directed by Judy Maltz and Richie Sherman (U.S./Israel, 2012, 77 min.)
Eight women on the margins of Israeli society are thrown together under one roof during the course of a school year at Tel Aviv’s oldest beauty academy. Carnegie Institution for Science Sun., Jan. 6, 1:45 p.m. Atlas Performing Arts Center Wed., Jan. 9, 6:30 p.m.
The Law in These Parts Directed by Ra’anan Alexandrovicz (Israel/U.S./Germany, 2012, 101 min.)
In the aftermath of the 1967 War, Israel faced a complex problem of how to properly administer the West Bank and Gaza Strip (Hebrew and Arabic). Carnegie Institute for Science Sun., Jan. 6, 11 a.m.
Off-White Lies Directed by Maya Kenig (Israel/Germany, 2011, 86 min.)
An introverted teenager from California is
The Washington Diplomat
Washington Jewish Film Festival The 23rd annual Washington Jewish Film Festival (WJFF) Dorfman’s dad. Gould will begin the night by looking back at his lifetime body of work as an actor (which includes “Bob & moves to January 2013 from its traditional calendar spot in early December, with occasional openings in late November. Carol & Ted & Alice,” ““MASH” and “Nashville”). After “Dorfman” unspools, Gould, screenwriter Wendy Kout and The shifted timing positions WJFF as the D.C. area’s first producer Len Hill will chat about their award-winning indie major film festival of the New Year. The citywide fest’s dishit with the audience. parate venues encompass the Washington DCJCC, the The WJFF Visionary Award Presentation at the American Film Institute (AFI) Silver Theatre, the DCJCC (Mon., Jan. 7, 8 p.m.) recognizes the trailblazGoethe-Institut, the Atlas Performing Arts Center, ing achievements in the Israeli film industry by Noemi the Carnegie Institution for Science, the U.S. Schory and Katriel Schory. The night’s program will Navy Memorial, the Avalon Theatre, La Maison examine their distinguished careers on stage before Française, the Embassy of Austria, Busboys & an awards ceremony, culminating with the U.S. prePoets and other locales. Call (800) 494-8497 miere of Noemi’s 2003 documentary “Slaves of the Opening night at the U.S. Navy Memorial, or visit www.wjff.org Sword: Yitzhak Rabin.” The next day, her 1991 doc also kicking off WJFF’s Spotlight on French “Born in Berlin” makes its mid-Atlantic premiere at the Jewish Cinema, features the D.C. premiere of French direcGoethe-Institut (Tue., Jan. 8, 7 p.m.), where both WJFF tor-writer Sophie Lellouche’s romantic comedy “Paris Visionary Award winners are expected to attend. Manhattan” (Thu., Jan. 3, 6:15 and 8:45 p.m.), a character On closing night at the DCJCC, the festival winds down study of a pharmacist unhealthily enamored with Woody with the D.C. premiere of American director Roberta Allen. The film is preceded by the D.C. premiere of “Woody Before Allen,” a short documentary by Russian director-writ- Grossman’s documentary “Hava Nagila (The Movie)” (Sun., Jan. 13, 7:30 p.m.), followed by a reception. The film, which er Masha Vasyukova. traces the classic Jewish song’s path originating in Eastern The WJFF Centerpiece Evening at the Avalon Theatre Europe, is also honored as the JCC of Greater Washington boasts the mid-Atlantic premiere of the eccentric comedy Centennial Birthday Party Kick-Off Screening (Sun., Jan. 6, “Dorfman” (Tue., Jan. 8, 8:30 p.m.) with a live appearance 1 p.m.). by American movie star Elliot Gould, who plays Deb
sent to live with her dad in Israel, but her arrival coincides with the outbreak of the second Lebanon war and her father, an infantile eccentric, is “in between apartments.”
Academy, but after discovering a VHS tape of Mikhail Baryshnikov, Boris becomes convinced the famed dance icon is his father.
U.S. Navy Memorial Sat., Jan. 5, 6:30 p.m. JCC of Greater Washington
Tue., Jan. 8, 7:30 p.m.
AFI Silver Theatre Tue., Jan. 8, 7 p.m. Washington DCJCC Sun., Jan. 13, 3:30 p.m.
My Dad Baryshnikov
When Day Breaks
Directed by Dmitry Povolotsky (Russia, 2011, 88 min.)
Directed by Goran Paskaljević (Serbia, 2012, 90 min.)
In 1986 Moscow, Boris Fishkin is an awkward, ballet-obsessed teenager faced with an inconvenient truth: he is the worst dancer at the Bolshoi Ballet
Recently retired Misha Brankov is entrusted with a battered box excavated from the site of a former Nazi death camp. Scanning the documents inside, Brankov makes a jarring
discovery: His real name is not Brankov, but Weiss. The Avalon Theatre Tue., Jan. 8, 6:15 p.m. Washington DCJCC Sat., Jan. 12, 3 p.m.
Give your kids a chance to succeed. Up their daily dose of art.
Royal dukes are squaresville. They have no rhythm. And they wear crowns.
Spanish All In Directed by Daniel Burman (Argentina, 2012, 86 min.)
Following a difficult divorce, Uriel discovers he’s well suited to the bachelor lifestyle — that is, until he meets his past lover. U.S. Naval Memorial Sat., Jan. 5, 8:45 p.m.
American actress-singer Amanda Seyfried as Cosette; popular British comedic actor Sacha Baron Cohen as Thénardier; and respected English actress Helena Bonham Carter as Madame Thénardier, among others. In 19th-century France, police Inspector Javert has spent years ‘Les Misérables’ Reincarnation doggedly chasing the runaway convict Jean Valjean. The escapee In the latest incarnation of the beloved story “Les Misérables,” broke his parole after his release from a Toulouse prison, where he British director Tom Hooper (Academy Award-winning director of served 19 years for stealing bread and failed escape attempts.Valjean “The King’s Speech”) brings to the big screen a crowd-pleasing seeks a normal life, even becoming mayor of a town in France. He agrees to take in and raise Cosette, the illegitimovie version of British theater producer mate daughter of the tragic heroine Fantine, an Cameron Mackintosh’s blockbuster musical, Les Misérables impoverished factory worker forced into prositself based on the classic novel by French titution. In 1932,Valjean ends up thrust into the author Victor Hugo. Now in its 27th year, the (English; 160 min.) June Rebellion in Paris. While Javert’s obsessive longest-running stage musical in the world has Angelika Mosaic pursuit of Valjean has completely dominated been attended by more than 60 million people both their lives for two decades, the country of in 42 countries (and in 21 languages). ★★★★✩ France is undergoing revolution. Hooper certainly has big shoes to fill, which The cinematic vitality of Hooper’s direction is he does admirably. His lively direction manages to keep the film from seeming too stagey, a fatal flaw of many movies enhanced by solid technical credits, as well as William Nicholson’s succinct screenplay that was adroitly adapted from the stage musibased on plays. As might be expected, the international all-star ensemble cast of cal’s book by Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg with lyrics “Les Misérables” does a strong job overall with the difficult tasks of by Herbert Kretzmer, keeping its essence intact while translating the recreating well-known characters: Australian leading man Hugh story to a cinematic form fully suitable for the movie screen. From a Jackman as Jean Valjean; Australian heartthrob Russell Crowe as music standpoint, the film does justice to familiar songs from the Inspector Javert; American leading lady Anne Hathaway as Fantine; stage musical such as “Bring Him Home” and “I Dreamed a Dream.”
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Photo: Laurie Sparham / Universal Studios
Jean Valjean (Hugh Jackman), left, embraces a very ill Fantine (Anne Hathaway) in “Les Misérables,” the motion-picture adaptation of the beloved stage sensation.
Jackman also stirringly performs “Suddenly,” a new original song written for the film. Ky N. Nguyen is the film reviewer for The Washington Diplomat.
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EVENTS LISTING **Admission is free unless otherwise noted. All information on event venues can be found on The Washington Diplomat Web site at www.washdiplomat.com. Times and locations are subject to change. Unless listed, please call venue for specific event times and hours of operation.
conversations on broad themes such as environmentalism, social justice and immigration, while providing poetic and often concrete solutions, exploring specific social issues as the environmental blight of illegal dumping, the social stratification of D.C., and the ongoing struggle against violence in Mexico.
OAS Art Museum of the Americas
Through Jan. 6
Through Jan. 13
Per Kirkeby: Paintings and Sculpture
One of Europe’s most celebrated living artists, Per Kirkeby is a Danish painter, sculptor, geologist, filmmaker, writer and poet. In the most comprehensive display of his work in the U.S. to date, 26 richly layered paintings and 11 striking bronze models reveal Kirkeby’s belief that art, like science, is constantly in flux. The Phillips Collection Through Jan. 6
Very Like a Whale
Rare books and manuscripts from the Folger collection are juxtaposed with natural objects and the contemporary photography of artist Rosamond Purcell to evoke the restless energy of Shakespeare’s language and capture the real world that shaped his imagination. Folger Shakespeare Library Through Jan. 6
Women Who Rock: Vision, Passion, Power
Organized by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, the exhibition highlights the flashpoints, the firsts, the celebrated, and the lesser-known women who have influenced the genre from its inception through today. National Museum of Women in the Arts Jan. 11 to Feb. 22
The Points That Bring Us from Here to There
The mapping-focused work of Michael Dax Iacovone and Kathryn Zazenski map spaces and experiences, with Iacovone chronicling his journey driving across the 123 bridges that span the Mississippi River, while Zazenski presents maps from time spent in Haukijärvi, Finland, Washington, D.C., and Beijing, China. Honfleur Gallery Through Jan. 13
“Dark Matters” brings together works from the Hirshhorn’s collection that draw upon the associations and implications of darkness and its notions of mortality, silence, solitude and loss. Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden Through Jan. 13
Picturing the Sublime: Photographs from the Joseph and Charlotte Lichtenberg Collection Eleven photographs document how artists use the camera to capture the sublime beauty and human destruction of the natural world. The Phillips Collection Through Jan. 13
Ripple Effect: Currents of Social Engaged Art
In this collaborative project, artists instigate
Roy Lichtenstein: A Retrospective
In the first major exhibition since Roy Lichtenstein’s death in 1997, more than 100 of the artist’s greatest paintings from all periods of his career will be presented along with a selection of related drawings and sculptures.
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Through Jan. 30
includes themes of feminism, gender, identity and the private inner lives of women while drawing on Arabic calligraphy for its decorative and communicative potential.
works of art illustrate the stylized floral designs that became synonymous with the wealth, abundance and influence of one of the world’s greatest empires.
National Museum of African Art
The Textile Museum
Through Feb. 24
Through March 16
Roads of Arabia: Archaeology and History of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Words Like Sapphires: 100 Years of Hebraica at the Library of Congress
complexity and depth. International Visions Gallery
A photographer, writer, filmmaker, book designer, and exhibitions producer, Michael Benson’s work focuses on the intersection of art and science in large-scale exhibitions of planetary landscape, mostly under the title “Beyond.” He takes raw data from NASA and European Space Agency archives and individual spacecraft frames to produce seamless, large-format digital prints of landscapes currently beyond direct human experience. Embassy of Slovenia
National Gallery of Art
Through Jan. 30
Jan. 19 to July 7
Big Bang by Franco Lippi
One Man’s Search for Ancient China: The Paul Singer Collection
New Jersey psychiatrist-turned-collector Paul Singer’s bequest to the Sackler Gallery created one of the largest Chinese archaeological collections in the United States. This exhibition looks at the collector’s contributions to Chinese art history — made largely at a time when contact between China and the West was heavily restricted — and examines how landmark archaeological discoveries have shed new light on his acquisitions and on ancient China. Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Through Jan. 27
Ivan Sigal: White Road
From 1998 to 2005, American photographer Ivan Sigal traveled in Central Asia, using his camera to record the unsettled lives of Eurasians in provincial towns and cities. Using images and text, this unconventional narrative reveals a diverse population adapting to extraordinary times.
According to chief curator Alfredo Ratinoff, “Franco Lippi’s ‘Big Bang’ is a statement through which he reveals the moment at which everything came to be, in which everything is possible, each suspended in time for us to explore the immensity of his works.” Embassy of Argentina Through Feb. 10
NOW at the Corcoran – Enoc Perez: Utopia
Enoc Perez’s lushly figured paintings of modernist buildings at once exploit and question the seductions of architecture as well as painting itself. Corcoran Gallery of Art Through Feb. 10
Shadow Sites: Recent Work by Jananne Al-Ani
Inspired by archival archaeological and aerial photographs, as well as contemporary news, Jananne Al-Ani’s video works examine enduring representations of the Middle Eastern landscape.
Corcoran Gallery of Art
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
Through Jan. 27
Through Feb. 15
Shock of the News
This exhibit traces how visual artists in Europe and America after the turn of the 20th century began to think about the newspaper more broadly — as a means of political critique, as a collection of readymade news to appropriate or manipulate, a source of language and images, a typographical grab bag, and more. National Gallery of Art Jan. 27
Color, Line, Light: French Drawings, Watercolors, and Pastels from Delacroix to Signac Some 100 drawings and watercolors from the James T. Dyke collection showcase the broad development of modern draftsmanship in France, from romanticism and realism through the impressionists, Nabis, and neo-impressionists. National Gallery of Art Through Jan. 28
Love and War
Award-winning painter Anastasia Rurikov Simes, who received the Helen Hays Award for Outstanding Costume Design in 2011 for her work with the Synetic Theater, composes rich, bold paintings that touch on her subjects of love and war with beautiful
Heavenly Jade of the Maya Rare jade jewelry and objects from recent archaeological discoveries commemorate the ending of the Maya calendar cycle (Dec. 21, 2012) and the beginning of a new era. The Mesoamerican civilization studied the movement of the stars for centuries and constructed a conceptual foundation to explain the relation between the individual and the cosmos. This exhibit displays the creative wealth worn by powerful nobles to keep their rituals and beliefs alive, since the Maya considered jade more precious than gold. Inter-American Development Bank Cultural Center Through Feb. 24
Enlightened Beings: Buddhism in Chinese Painting
Buddhism arrived in China during the first century and quickly grew in popularity, exerting a profound impact on all aspects of Chinese art and culture. Freer Gallery of Art Through Feb. 24
Lalla Essaydi: Revisions
Lalla Essaydi, a Moroccan-born, New Yorkbased artist, pushes the boundaries of Arab, Muslim and African perceptions of women’s identities with her art, which
An eye-opening look at the largely unknown ancient past of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, this exhibition draws on recently excavated archaeological material from sites throughout the Arabian Peninsula, tracing the impact of ancient trade routes and pilgrimage roads stretching from Yemen in the south to Iraq, Syria and Mediterranean cultures in the north. Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Through Feb. 24
Taryn Simon: A Living Man Declared Dead and Other Chapters I-XVIII
Taryn Simon produced this 18-chapter series over a four-year period (2008-11), during which she traveled around the world researching and recording bloodlines and their related stories. Corcoran Gallery of Art Through February 2013
Ai Weiwei: According to What?
This major survey of Ai Weiwei, one of China’s most prolific and provocative artists, aims to reveal the rich and varied contexts that he has interwoven within the broad spectrum of his work, from sculpture, photography and video to site-specific architectural installations. Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
A century ago, New York philanthropist Jacob H. Schiff purchased an initial collection of nearly 10,000 Hebrew books and pamphlets for the Library of Congress. This gift formed the nucleus of what is today one of the world’s greatest collections of Hebraic materials, comprising some 200,000 items. Library of Congress Through March 31
Pissarro on Paper
French Impressionist painter Camille Pissarro first tried printmaking in his early thirties, and though he never stopped painting, printing became vital to his artistic enterprise. National Gallery of Art
DANCE Jan. 11 to 12
Inspired by the most important scroll painting in Chinese art history — “Along the River during the Qingming Festival” — the Hong Kong Dance Company’s epic dance spectacle “Qingming Riverside” animates this prosperous era of Chinese history, depicting life in the early 12th-century Northern Song dynasty. Tickets are $10 to $180. Kennedy Center Eisenhower Theater
Through March 2
Jan. 18 to 27
Luces y Sombras: Fourteen Travelers in Mexico
The National Ballet of Canada: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
The 20th century saw many internationally acclaimed photographers travel through Mexico to document the country from their unique perspectives. This exhibition focuses on 20 hand-pulled photogravures comprising Paul Strand’s seminal 1933 “Mexican Portfolio,” along with renowned photographers Edward Weston, Wayne Miller, Aaron Siskind and others who captured the sociopolitical realities, local architecture, and startling landscapes of 20thcentury Mexico through a patently American lens. And accompanying exhibit, “Visions of Mexico: The Photography of Hugo Brehme,” presents 40 works from Hugo Brehme on loan from the Throckmorton Gallery in New York City. Mexican Cultural Institute Through March 3
The presentation of the “David-Apollo,” a marble statue by Michelangelo lent to the National Gallery of Art by the Museo Nazionale del Bargello in Florence, opens the nationwide celebration “2013-The Year of Italian Culture.” National Gallery of Art Through March 10
The Sultan’s Garden: The Blossoming of Ottoman Art
More than 50 sumptuous textiles and other
The National Ballet of Canada brings an outrageous, eye-popping theatrical production of Lewis Carroll’s perpetually winsome children’s classic, choreographed by Christopher Wheeldon of Britain. Tickets are $45 to $150. Kennedy Center Opera House
DISCUSSIONS Thu., Jan. 10, 6:45 p.m.
Embroidering History: The Bayeux Tapestry and the Norman Conquest The conquest of England by Duke William of Normandy was captured in arresting imagery on a piece of linen measuring more than 270 feet long, known as the Bayeux Tapestry. This unique panel brings alive the year 1066 as it recounts the last foreign invasion of England. Tickets are $42; for information, visit www.smithsonianassociates.org. S. Dillon Ripley Center Fri., Jan. 13, 8 p.m.
Let’s Talk Hair
The Sanaa Circle presents a fundraiser panel discussion and hair show in support of the National Museum of African Art featuring a talk moderated by Constance White, editor in chief of Essence magazine, on hair and its connections with African and African American identity, African art,
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and its role as a canvas for expression, personal beauty and health. Tickets are $50 in advance and $75 at the door ($150 for VIP tickets).
as the religious and cultural center of Japanese society, to its modern-day reincarnation. Tickets are $130; for information, visit www.smithsonianassociates.org.
National Museum of African Art
S. Dillon Ripley Center
Thu., Jan. 17, 6:45 p.m.
Faith and Form: The Art and Architecture of the Synagogue
The tumultuous history of the Jewish people, often marked by exile and persecution, precluded the emergence of a distinctive style of religious architecture. Yet the myriad nations in which these communities of faith have taken root during the past two millennia have left their mark on their places of worship. Tickets are $42; for information, visit www.smithsonianassociates.org. S. Dillon Ripley Center Wed., Jan. 23, 6:45 p.m.
Ernst Herzfeld’s Archaeological Journeys: From the Ancient Near East to Washington
What must it have been like to be the first archaeologist to explore ancient Persepolis in Iran or Samarra in Iraq? German scholar Ernst Herzfeld was the first to explore these places between 1911 and 1913. Curator Alexander Nagel tells the fascinating story of Herzfeld’s early work and presents a selection of his amazing archival photos and documents. Tickets are $25; for information, visit www.smithsonianassociates.org. S. Dillon Ripley Center Thu., Jan. 24, 6:30 p.m.
Amidst the Beauty: Exploring Lalla Essaydi: Revisions
In this “Mingle at the Museum” event, the sights, sounds, and flavors of Morocco provide the atmosphere for a private viewing of “Lalla Essaydi: Revisions,” a striking collection of works that challenge stereotypes and perceptions about identity among Muslim women. Tickets are $50; for information, visit www.smithsonianassociates. org. National Museum of African Art Sat., Jan. 26, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Kyoto: Ancient Imperial Capital
Explore the rich history of Kyoto from its founding in 794 as Heiankyo, capital of Japan’s Heian emperors, through its years
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Dining in the dining room, bar and at WTF next door. Thin, chewy crusts are crowned with just a smattering of toppings in some fascinating combinations that reflect the omnipresent seasonal theme. Duck confit, butternut squash, Brussels sprouts, manchego cheese, garlic, and sage pair up in a festive flatbread that toasts the holidays. For salt lovers, the Benton’s own flatbread, with smoked ham hock, country ham, bacon marmalade and cheddar cheese, is a hearty choice. A third version, with wild mushroom, garlic confit, creamed spinach and fontina cheese, is deliciously rich yet mild. Buben rounds out the menu at Woodward Table with an impressive selection of desserts. Like the entrées, the desserts stand out because of their innovative pairing of ingredients. A homey, hearth-baked, spiced carrot
FESTIVALS Jan. 26 to 27
Hylton in the Highlands: A Festival of Scotland
This inaugural two-day festival will feature a performance by acclaimed Scottish fiddler Bonnie Rideout, a bagpipe and drumming master class, Scottish country dancing demonstrations, a showcase of authentic Scottish crafts, a children’s passport to Scotland with Mid-Atlantic Scots 4 Tots, Scottish history presentations, whisky tastings, afternoon tea and more. For information, visit HyltonCenter.org/scottish/. George Mason University Hylton Performing Arts Center
MUSIC Jan. 23 to 25
Schubert/Mozart Birthday Celebrations
The Embassy Series presents three concerts to celebrate two of Austria’s genius composers, Mozart and Schubert, featuring chamber, piano and vocal works by Mendelssohn Piano Trio, violist Michael Stepniak and more. Tickets are $55 per concert, including reception, or $150 for all three performances; for information, visit www.embassyseries.org. Embassy of Austria Sat., Jan. 26, 8 p.m.
Lark String Quarte+
The Lark String Quarte+ returns to Dumbarton Concerts to celebrate the series’ 35th anniversary with a program that includes Hagen’s concert for koto based on the Japanese Genji legend. Tickets are $33. Dumbarton Church in Georgetown Sat., Jan. 26, 2 and 8 p.m., Sun., Jan. 27, 4 p.m.
The Black Watch and the Band of the Scots Guards
esteemed military ensembles — the Black Watch and the Band of the Scots Guards — take the stage in full military regalia, showcasing the distinctive sounds of bagpipes and brass, high-spirited Scottish sword dances, energetic highland dancing and grand regimental marching. Tickets are $25 to $50.
approach to this well-loved play filled with mismatched lovers who flee to the forest outside Athens, but run into a supernatural squabble that will alter their destinies forever. Tickets are $43 to $105.
George Mason University Center for the Arts (Jan. 26) Hylton Performing Arts Center (Jan. 27)
My Fair Lady
Sun., Jan. 27, 7:30 p.m.
Washington Performing Arts Society: Vilde Frang
Norwegian violinist Vilde Frang was unanimously awarded the 2012 Credit Suisse Young Artist Award and is noted particularly for her superb musical expression as well as her well-developed virtuosity. Tickets are $35. Kennedy Center Terrace Theater
THEATER Through Jan. 6
Apples from the Desert
A young Sephardic religious teenager falls for a secular kibbutznik at a dance class in Jerusalem, triggering suspicion in her family; part of the Voices from a Changing Middle East Festival. Tickets start at $35. Washington DCJCC Through Jan. 6
Rodgers and Hammerstein’s classic musical “Cinderella” adds warmth and a touch of hilarity to the enduing fairytale. Tickets are $26 to $54. Olney Theatre Center Through Jan. 6
Irving Berlin’s ‘White Christmas’
Featuring classic Berlin hits like “Blue Skies” and “How Deep is the Ocean?,” the North American tour of the famous holiday movie tells the story of two buddies putting on a show in a magical Vermont inn and finding their perfect mates in the process. Tickets are $25 to $150. Kennedy Center Opera House Through Jan. 6
Experience the pageantry of British military tradition and history when two
A Midsummer Night’s Dream
bread pudding is set off with pineapple and candied walnuts, along with a surprising dollop of blood orange-buttermilk ice cream that perfectly balances the dense, rich pudding.A tart of caramel pears in crisp pastry is served with blue cheese ice cream (better than it sounds) and sea salt-caramel sauce. This salty sweet combination is as unusual as some of the entrées, and just as satisfying. An apple sampler features a tiny apple cupcake and apple upside-down tart paired with an icy cider sorbet and smooth white chocolate apple mousse — demonstrating just how versatile both the fruit and the pastry chef are. A more conventional dessert that will satisfy even the strongest chocolate cravings is the chocolate hazelnut layer cake, a cocoa-glazed flourless cake sandwiching bitter chocolate ganache and drizzled with dark chocolate sauce — just to make sure you get the point. For those who prefer citrus, the Meyer lemon cheesecake, served
with tiny cubes of coconut-rum pound cake, berry coulis and lemon-rosemary marmalade, is light and airy with no hint of tart aftertaste. The favorite choice, however, has been the coffee and cream dessert. It’s a heavenly combination of mocha mousse, almond chocolate crumble, coffee toffee and cappuccino cream that eliminates the need for any postmeal cup of coffee. However, the maple espresso might just be worth one more jolt of caffeine. With a 38-foot bar and plenty of booth, bar table and lounge seating, Woodward Table is a nice spot for happy hour. Picture windows overlooking H Street and big-screen TVs offer patrons an alternative to conversation, and house cocktails like the honey delight — a concoction of Dancing Pines Bourbon, honey syrup, citrus and pineapple — are tasty liquid distractions. A reasonable selection of wines and beers on tap and a separate bar menu make the lounge a destina-
Director Ethan McSweeny takes a fresh
Sidney Harman Hall Through Jan. 6
When Professor Henry Higgins wagers he can transform a Cockney flower girl into an aristocratic lady, he never guesses that Eliza Doolittle will in turn transform him. Tickets are $45 to $94. Arena Stage Through Jan. 6
Pullman Porter Blues
Jam-packed with 12 classic blues songs, “Pullman Porter Blues” is the world-premiere production that reveals the true heroes hidden within every man. Tickets are $45 to $94. Arena Stage
Jan. 12 to Feb. 3
Boged (Traitor): An Enemy of the People
Emerging from Israel’s social justice movement of the past year, “Boged (Traitor)” is an up-to-the-minute adaptation of Henrik Ibsen’s classic play of environmental whistle blowing; part of the Voices from a Changing Middle East Festival. Tickets start at $35. Washington DCJCC Jan. 29 to Feb. 10
The hit Broadway musical — presented by Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter, Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith — returns to the Shakespeare Theatre, bringing to life the true story of legendary Nigerian musician Fela Kuti, whose soulful Afro-beat rhythms ignited a generation. Tickets are $30 to $100. Sidney Harman Hall Jan. 31 to March 17
Through Jan. 6
A Trip to the Moon
Based on the 1902 silent film by Georges Méliès, “A Trip to the Moon” intertwines moon-centric stories and fantastical characters, including astronauts shot to the moon by cannon, a princess who longs to return to her home on the moon, and Soviet space dogs. Tickets are $35 to $55. Synetic Theater
Emmy Award-winning actor Richard Schiff (“The West Wing”) plays the title role in Eugene O’Neill’s powerfully focused play about a man whose illusions of a grand lifestyle waver after the death of the stranger who quietly validated his largerthan-life confidence. Please call for ticket information. Shakespeare Theatre Company
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tion in its own right. Despite the fact that it’s only been open a short while, Woodward Table already bears some of the hallmarks of a Buben establishment. He gave his existing staff a chance to switch gears and work at his new restaurant, and the service at Woodward Table demonstrates just how effective Buben’s establishments have been as training grounds.The wait staff has been excellent in several visits and the staging from the kitchen flawless. Only the front desk seems not consistently up to Buben standards. While it’s been a long time coming, this newest addition to the Buben brood is a welcome one. If these early days are an indication of things to come, Woodward Table could be well be the precocious youngster one would expect from the creator of Vidalia and Bistro Bis. Rachel G. Hunt is the restaurant reviewer for The Washington Diplomat.
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With his restaurants Vidalia and Bistro Bis, chef Jeffrey Buben has garnered practically every major culinary award the area has to offer. The Washington Diplomat Page 57
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Ambassadors’ Security Roundtable
Photo: Larry luxner
Photo: Larry luxner
From left, Ambassador of Latvia Andris Razans, Ambassador of Denmark Peter Taksoe-Jensen, and Ambassador of Cyprus Pavlos Anastasiades talk at a post-election Ambassadors’ Security Roundtable hosted by the Aspen Institute at the Four Seasons hotel in Georgetown.
Photos: aspen institute
Deputy Chief of Mission at the Embassy of Georgia David Rakviashvili talks to participants at the Ambassadors’ Security Roundtable, a new initiative by the Aspen Institute to promote greater international cooperation in the critical field of security.
Ambassador of Hungary György Szapáry, left, and recently appointed Ambassador of Poland Ryszard Schnepf attend an Ambassadors’ Security Roundtable featuring former National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski (see People of World Influence column) and CNN’s Washington-based foreign affairs correspondent Jill Dougherty.
Luis da Silva of the Portuguese Embassy participates in the first Ambassadors’ Security Roundtable, a quarterly convening of ambassadors from around the world to discuss region-specific security issues; the inaugural roundtable focused on Europe.
Photo: aspen institute Photo: Larry luxner
Ambassador of the Slovak Republic Peter Kmec, left, and Ambassador of the Czech Republic Petr Gandalovic attend an Ambassadors’ Security Roundtable, a new initiative of the Aspen Institute.
From left, former Acting and Deputy Director of Central Intelligence John McLaughlin, Director of the Aspen Institute Homeland Security Program Clark Ervin, and Time magazine’s Massimo Calabresi attend the Ambassadors’ Security Roundtable held at the Aspen Wye River Conference Centers.
Photo: aspen institute
Director of the Aspen Institute Homeland Security Program Clark Ervin, left, listens to Foreign Policy Editor in Chief Susan Glasser at the inaugural Ambassadors’ Security Roundtable, held at the Aspen Institute’s Wye River campus on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.
From left, Ambassador of Austria Hans Peter Manz, AGT International founder and CEO Mati Kochavi, Chief Portfolio Officer at AGT International Amir Pushinsky, and Ambassador of Spain Ramón Gil-Casares attend the inaugural Ambassadors’ Security Roundtable, organized by the Aspen Institute and AGT International.
The Embassy of Azerbaijan’s Mammad Talibov, left, talks with Deputy Chief of Mission at the Bulgarian Embassy Georgi Panayotov at the Ambassadors’ Security Roundtable.
Omani National Day
Olympia Neocleous, deputy chief of mission at the Embassy of Cyprus, participates in a discussion on European security threats at the Aspen Institute’s Ambassadors’ Security Roundtable.
UAE National Day Joe Scarborough, host of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” left, and co-host Mika Brzezinski, right, join United Arab Emirates Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba to celebrate the UAE’s 41st National Day at the UAE Embassy.
Ambassador of Oman Hunaina Sultan Ahmed Al Mughairy, left, and her husband, Permanent Representative of Oman to the United Nations Fuad Mubarak Al-Hinai, welcome guests to the Omani National Day reception.
Former Ambassador of Iraq Samir Sumaida’ie, left, and Ambassador of Bahrain Houda Nonoo attend the Omani National Day reception.
Ambassador of Mozambique Amélia Matos Sumbana, left, and Ambassador of St. Vincent and the Grenadines La Celia A. Prince attend the Omani National Day reception held at the Four Seasons in Georgetown.
Ambassador of Albania Gilbert Galanxhi and his wife Etleva Galanxhi attend the Omani National Day reception held at the Four Seasons.
Ambassador of Uzbekistan Ilhom Nematov, left, and Ambassador of Brazil Mauro Vieira attend a reception marking the 42nd anniversary of Oman’s National Day.
Ambassador of Cameroon Joseph Foe-Atangana and his wife Veronique Foe Biloa attend the Omani National Day reception held at the Four Seasons.
Photos: anna gawel
From left, Ambassador of Portugal Nuno Brito, Ambassador of Austria Hans Peter Manz, and Ambassador of Sweden Jonas Hafström attend the Omani National Day reception.
Honoring DR Envoy
Above from left, Angela Franco, president and CEO of the Greater Washington Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (GWHCC); Leonor Urrutia; Ambassador of Colombia Carlos Urrutia; and Bertha Saladin, wife of Roberto B. Saladín, Dominican ambassador to the Organization of American States, attend the GWHCC’s Fourth Annual Embassy Celebration, where Saladín, right, was presented with the group’s public service award. Photos: larry luxner
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Founder of the Azerbaijan America Alliance Anar Mammadov, left, and Rep. Bill Schuster (R-Penn.) attend a gala dinner hosted by the Azerbaijan America Alliance at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center.
Ambassador of Nicaragua Francisco Campbell and his wife Mariam Hooker attend “A Night in Washington with Friends from Baku,” celebrating the culture of Azerbaijan.
Ambassador of Iceland Gudmundur A. Stefansson and his wife Jóna Dóra Karlsdóttir attend a gala dinner featuring performances by Natig Rhythm Group, Eurovision star Sabina Babayeva and the National Dance Ensemble of Azerbaijan.
From left, Rep. Bill Schuster (R-Penn.), Ambassador of Georgia Temuri Yakobashvili, and Ambassador of Azerbaijan Elin Suleymanov attend the gala dinner “A Night in Washington with Friends from Baku.”
From left, wife of the Azeri ambassador Lala Abdurahimova, wife of the Turkish ambassador Talia Fugen Tan, Ambassador of Azerbaijan Elin Suleymanov, and Ambassador of Turkey Namik Tan attend a gala dinner hosted by the Azerbaijan America Alliance.
photos: national council on u.s.-arab relations
President and CEO of the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations (NCUSAR) John Duke Anthony welcomes guests to the 21st Annual Arab-U.S. Policymakers Conference at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center.
CEO of Qatar Airways Akbar Al Baker talks about the unprecedented emergence of the aviation sector in the Gulf Cooperation Council at the 21st Annual Arab-U.S. Policymakers Conference.
Ambassador of Libya Ali Aujali discusses policymaking concerns related to geopolitical dynamics in the Arab Maghreb at the two-day Arab-U.S. Policymakers Conference.
Ambassador of Qatar talks about energy sources, supply and security at the Arab-U.S. Policymakers Conference hosted by the National Council on U.S.Arab Relations.
Ambassador of Egypt Mohamed M. Tawfik talks about U.S.-Egypt relations at the Arab-U.S. Policymakers Conference, which featured the theme “Arab-U.S. Relations Amidst Transition within Constancy.”
From right, Naima Bseikri, wife of the Libyan ambassador, her daughter Fatima Aujali and Randa Elgouzery stand by the Libyan booth at a fundraiser for the victims of Hurricane Sandy organized by Rosa Rai Djalal, wife of Indonesian Ambassador Dino Patti Djalal, at their residence.
Jumana Areikat, wife of the Palestinian representative in Washington, and Mariam Obeidallah attend the “Solidarity for the Victims of Sandy” fundraiser, which featured Palestinian clothing and handicraft.
Photos: Kate Oczypok
From left, Irene Mondejar, wife of the Afghan ambassador Sultana Hakimi, and Sheila Switzer attend a Hurricane Sandy fundraiser hosted by the Muslim Women’s Association and the wives of several Washington ambassadors.
Lala Abdurahimova, wife of the ambassador of Azerbaijan, left, and Sabina Sadigli, third secretary at the Azeri Embassy, attend the “Solidarity for the Victims of Sandy” fundraiser at the Indonesian Residence.
Mamabe Suutate, left, and Raquel Mata of the American Red Cross National Capital Region attend the “Solidarity for the Victims of Sandy” fundraiser, whose proceeds benefited the American Red Cross.
Photos: Kate Oczypok
Ambassador of Indonesia Dino Patti Djalal and his wife Rosa Rai Djalal welcome guests to the Indonesian Embassy to celebrate the country’s 67th anniversary of independence.
From left, John Hughes, Counselor at the Indonesian Embassy Heru Subolo and Senior Director of International Affairs for BP Greg Saunders attend the Indonesian Independence Day reception.
First Secretary at the Embassy of Laos Thongmoon Phongphailath, left, and Deputy Chief of Mission of the Brunei Embassy Haji Haris Haji Tuah attend the Indonesian Independence Day reception.
From left, Second Secretary at the Indonesian Embassy Nur Evi Rahmawati, Government Relations Attorney W. Russell King of Jones Walker, and Dara Yusilawadi attend a reception marking the 67th anniversary of Indonesian independence.
Arnfinn Jacobsen, left, and Commercial Attaché at the Indonesian Embassy Ni Made Ayu Marthini attend the Indonesian Independence Day reception.
The Washington Diplomat Page 59
DIPLOMATIC SPOTLIGHT Latvian Independence
Ambassador of Latvia Andris Razans and his wife Gunta Razane welcome guests to the reception marking the 94th anniversary of Latvia’s proclamation of independence and its Armed Forces Day.
Defense and Air Attaché at the Turkish Embassy Brig. Gen. Fethi Alpay, left, and Defense, Military, Naval and Air Attaché at the Swiss Embassy Major Gen. Peter Egger attend the Latvian Independence and Armed Forces Day reception.
The Washington Diplomat Post-Election Analysis
From left, consultant Leonard Oberlander and Marina Oberlander join Ambassador of Uzbekistan Ilhom Nematov and his wife Gyul Nematova at the Latvian Independence and Armed Forces Day reception.
Pollster John Zogby, left, joins Ambassador of Portugal Nuno Brito at a “2012 Post-Election Analysis” held at the Swiss ambassador’s residence and hosted by the Institute for Education. photos: Cornelius Queen
From left, Counselor at the Latvian Embassy Vineta Mekone, Lloyd Knowles and Maryland State Delegate Elizabeth Bobo attend the Latvian Independence and Armed Forces Day reception held at the Latvian Embassy.
Ambassador of Malta Joseph Cole and his wife Bernadette Cole attend the Latvian Independence and Armed Forces Day reception.
From left, Ambassador of Cyprus Pavlos Anastasiades, Institute for Education founder and CEO Kathy Kemper, and Ambassador of Switzerland Manual Sager attend a public policy roundtable featuring pollster John Zogby. Kemper is holding Zogby’s 2008 book, “The Way We’ll Be: The Zogby Report on the Transformation of the American Dream.”
Photos: Kate Oczypok
From left, Marci Robinson of Robinson Communications, Christine Sager, wife of the Swiss ambassador, and Ambassador of Bulgaria Elena Poptodorova attend an Institute for Education INFO public policy roundtable held at the Swiss Residence.
Ambassador of Slovenia Roman Kirn and his wife Jovana Kirn attend the Latvian Independence and Armed Forces Day reception.
Defense Counselor at the Finnish Embassy Heikki Savola, left, and Deputy Chief of Mission of the Latvian Embassy Jurijs Pogrebnaks celebrate Latvia’s Independence Day.
Photos: Travis Vaughn
From left, Ambassador of Qatar Mohamed Bin Abdulla Al-Rumaihi, renowned Egyptian jewelry designer Azza Fahmy, SYRA ARTS Gallery co-founder Sylvia van Vliet Ragheb, and Sameh Alfonse attend a trunk show at the Four Seasons featuring pieces by Fahmy, who has been creating handcrafted jewelry for more than 40 years.
Ambassador of Egypt Mohamed M. Tawfik and his wife Amani Amin attend a trunk show featuring Azza Fahmy’s jewelry, which pays tribute to Egypt’s history with bold metal work, precious stones and decorative calligraphy.
From left, Darius Jonker, Ambassador of Liechtenstein Claudia Fritsche, and Ambassador of Luxembourg JeanLouis Wolzfeld attend an Institute for Education INFO public policy roundtable with pollster John Zogby. Ina Ginsburg, left, and Ambassador of Jordan Alia Hatoug-Bouran attend a “2012 Post-Election Analysis” at the Swiss ambassador’s residence.
Photo: Sami Inzalaco/UMDJour203
Hundreds of trick-or-treaters came to Embassy Row for Halloween, an annual tradition in which missions along Massachusetts Avenue, such as the Embassy of the Bahamas, far left, hand out candy to costumed trick-or-treaters.
Photos: Katelyn Secret/UMDJour203
A staff member at the Portuguese Embassy offers Halloween sweets to a little girl for Halloween.
Kavitha Ramichandrah trickor-treats outside the Embassy of Ireland for Halloween. Ramichandrah came to Embassy Row to hunt for candy for the first time this year.
photo: Carine Dumit
Media and Technology at Sweden From left, Ambassador of Sweden Jonas Hafström, Josh Galper, Shane Green, founder and CEO of the Institute for Education (IFE) Kathy Kemper, and Eva Hafström attend an IFE Media and Technology Roundtable with FTC Commissioner Julie Brill hosted at the Swedish Residence.
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APPOINTMENTS Japan Kenichiro sasae has been appointed to serve as ambassador of Japan to the united states, presenting his credentials to the state department on nov. 19. ambassador sasae, who succeeds ambassador ichiro Fujisaki, previously served vice minister (2010-12) and deputy minister (2008-10) Ambassador of foreign affairs for Japan. he Kenichiro sasae also served as director-general of the asian and oceania affairs Bureau of the Ministry of Foreign affairs (2005-08), director-general of the economic affairs Bureau (2002-05), and deputy director-general of the Foreign Policy Bureau (2001-02). in addition, he was the executive assistant to the prime minister for foreign affairs (2000-01) and the deputy director-general of the asian affairs Bureau (19992000). ambassador sasae, who joined the Ministry of Foreign affairs in 1974, also held postings at the Japanese embassy in the united states and in the united Kingdom, as well as at the Japanese Permanent Mission to the international organizations in Geneva.
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Arkansas may not have the Washington Monument, the Empire State Building, the Golden Gate Bridge or Mount Rushmore, but within the Natural State’s borders sits the nation’s most painful symbol of racial intolerance — and, perhaps, its proudest shrine to the U.S. civil rights movement: Little Rock Central High School. On the morning of Sept. 23, 1957, an angry, screaming mob of more than 1,000 whites — defying the 1954 U.S. Supreme Court ruling ordering integration of all public schools — refused entrance to nine promising black students who had been specifically invited to attend the all-white high school. After violence broke out, the state’s segregationist governor, Orval Faubus, ordered the nine removed. But the next day, President Dwight D. Eisenhower sent the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division to escort the brave black students back to class — under the protection of the newly federalized 10,000-man Arkansas National Guard. January 2013
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“Arkansas is an agricultural state, and agriculture is very important for Morocco.We are a big exporter of processed foods and livestock,” said Bouhlal, recalling with fondness for Bill Clinton’s 1999 visit to Morocco to attend the funeral of King Hassan II, as well as King Mohammed VI’s reciprocal visit to the United States a year later. “There’s a lot we can learn from each other, and I’m sure possibilities for partnerships exist.” Bouhlal and his esteemed colleagues got a break from the speeches and sales pitches their second night in Little Rock, when several dozen diplomats settled into the Capital Bar and Grill to watch the third and final Obama-Romney presidential debate. Interviews were strictly off-limits during the 90-minute exchange on foreign policy, which frequently erupted into partisan bickering about taxes and the budget deficit. The ambassadors remained generally quiet, sipping their drinks, though a few guffawed loudly when Romney accused the president of shrinking the size of the U.S. Navy and Obama shot back with his now-famous “horses and bayonets” sound bite. A few minutes later, the entire bar broke into applause after moderator Bob Schieffer of CBS News pleaded with the two candidates to bring the debate back to foreign policy.
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Ambassador of Albania Gilbert Galanxhi and his wife Etleva participated in the State Department’s latest Experience America trip to Arkansas, the 11th such trip since 2007.
Yet even though they had finally won their day in court, the nine faced constant verbal and physical abuse from their hostile white schoolmates (one black student, Melba Pattillo, had acid thrown into her eyes). The conflict forced a constitutional standoff between Faubus and the federal government. The following September, the governor ordered all schools in Little Rock closed in what came to be known as the “Lost Year.” Black and white students alike suffered, though the black community became the target of many vicious hate crimes. Eventually the Little Rock Nine graduated and moved on with their lives.The crisis spawned two made-for-television movies and in 1996, seven of the Little Rock Nine appeared on “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” where they confronted several white students who had tormented them so many years earlier. In 1999, President Clinton presented each of these heroes with a Congressional Gold Medal, and 10 years later, they witnessed the inauguration of Barack Obama, the nation’s first African American
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president. Two of those nine, Ernest Green and Carlotta Walls LaNier, met with the visiting ambassadors as local TV cameramen and news photographers crowded the entrance to Little Rock Central High School, which today serves 2,450 students and is the only functioning high school in the United States to be located within the boundaries of a national historic site. “Your attendance is a historic moment for Little Rock,” said Green, 71.“As President Clinton said, you listen to the stories, and we have lots of stories to tell. But as a 16-year-old trying to graduate from high school — through all the turmoil of that year — I had only one goal in mind: If I completed high school here, we would have broken an important barrier for other young African Americans to follow.” LaNier is today a real-estate broker in Denver. She’s also written a book, “A Mighty Long Way: My Journey to Justice at Little Rock Central High School.” But back in 1957, all that mattered was getting through the most difficult year of her life. “I wanted to apply to universities throughout the country, and I knew that if I had Little Rock Central High School on that transcript, it would open up a few more doors for me,” she told the VIPs.“So my focus was to maintain a good grade point average. I needed that diploma to validate all the things we had gone through.” Earlier this year, LaNier, 69, donated to Washington’s Smithsonian the dress she wore to her first two days of school. That, along with her diploma, her report card and other memorabilia will be displayed in the Smithsonian’s new National Museum of African American History and Culture when it opens in 2015. Over the next two days, the ambassadors and their spouses went on to view priceless art at the Crystal Bridges Museum in Bentonville, tour the 900,000-square-foot Dassault Falcon jet aircraft factory just outside Little Rock, and watch grad students conduct experiments at the molecular beam epitaxy lab at the University of Arkansas’s Nanotechnology Center. But when it comes to raw emotion, the visit to Little Rock Central and their meeting with Green and LaNier will probably be the enduring highlight for these 43 diplomats long after their other memories of Arkansas have faded away. Antigua’s Lovell summed it up well. “Whenever I hear your story, I burst into tears,” she told the two civil rights icons.“I’m honored to be in your presence.”
Larry Luxner, news editor of The Washington Diplomat, tagged along with the ambassadors to Arkansas for this story.
The Washington Diplomat Page 63
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