Medical and Education Special Sections Inside Education A Special Section of The Washington Diplomat
VOLUME 24, NUMBER 5 United States
Trump Seeks Massive Budget Cuts to State Department, USAID With a refugee crisis at its worst level since World War II and famines threatening millions across the globe, human rights groups say the drastic international affairs budget cuts sought by the Trump administration could lead to more death and misery for people who could have been saved. / PAGE 4
Hard Lesson in Exclusion
B Latin America Trump’s Travel Ban May
Have Chilling Effect on
International Student Enrollment
by Stephanie Kanowitz
y now, we’ve all heard the stories of students unable to return to the Donald Trump’s hastily United States after President issued Executive Order 13769 on Jan. 27 barring Muslim countries from travelers from seven entering the United largely States.
For instance, there was the Sudanese Stanford University who was detained at JFK student “We’re still unraveling exactly International Airport in New Iranian Ph.D. candidate at Yale University who was York, and an Jill Welch, deputy director for what the damage is or will be,” said Dubai. public policy at the National left stranded in ciation of International Educators AssoWe also know about the (NAFSA). “What the schools also reporting is that it’s replacement order, 13780, are not just the six or seven signed March 6 and which which Trump students countries. Other affected countries — Iran, removed Iraq from the original list of about are concerned they’ll be next, and they’re also concerned what other policies might Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria And we know about the and Yemen. Titled “Protecting the Nation be put into place.” legal actions taken against that have blocked their both travel bans the United from Foreign Terrorist enforcement. But what Entry into States,” Trump and his we don’t know is what residual effect they team say the ban is a necessary will have on American universities.
Ecuador Bucks Leftist Decline See TrAvel BAn • page 24
Ecuador has bucked the leftist political slide in Latin America by electing an ally of populist firebrand Rafael Correa as its new president. Quito’s ambassador in D.C. says Lenín Moreno will improve relations with the U.S. while continuing Correa’s “citizens’ revolution.” / PAGE 10
Hardliners Challenge Iran’s Moderate President for Power Iran’s presidential election has become a closely watched contest that will render a verdict on Hassan Rouhani’s nuclear deal with the West and whether Iran continues on the incumbent’s moderate path or reverts to the more conservative roots of its Islamic Revolution. / PAGE 6
Peruvian Lends Helping Hand For Homeland
Picasso Disciple Explores ‘Psychological Cubism’ George Condo pays homage to Pablo Picasso to an almost obsessive degree in a new Phillips Collection survey. / PAGE 40
The astonishing election of Donald Trump triggered a range of reactions from political leaders around the world. Some pulled back, others dug in and some stayed quiet. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe plunged right in, wooing the new president to ensure America’s commitment to Japan and to develop what Japanese Ambassador Kenichiro Sasae calls a “personal and official” relationship. / PAGE 17
For Consuelo Salinas-Pareja, wife of Peruvian Ambassador Carlos Pareja, volunteering is a vital commitment and a part of her informal job to help Peruvians from her perch in Washington, whether it’s raising funds for flood relief or promoting her country’s artists, fashion and cuisine. / PAGE 41
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ON THE COVER Photo taken outside the Japanese Embassy by Lawrence Ruggeri of Ruggeriphoto.com.
THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | May 2017
17 14 20 44
25 NEWS 4
Leaner Foreign Policy Critics say Trump’s “skinny” budget starves foreign aid at the worst possible time.
Iran Votes Hardliners battle to unseat Iran’s moderate president in a critical election.
Aid in Crosshairs
President Trump eyes a major reshuffling of USAID.
Environmental protests spill beyond the controversial Dakota Access, Keystone projects.
10 Leftist Survivor
Ecuador bucks Latin America’s leftist decline by electing a Correa acolyte.
Trump’s travel ban may have a chilling effect on international student enrollment.
Antiquities looting not only robs nations of their heritage, it also bankrolls their destruction.
17 Cover Profile: Japan Japan launches a charm offensive to preserve an old relationship in a new world.
Hard Lesson in Exclusion
Training America’s Diplomats The Foreign Service Institute prepares government workers for global challenges.
Acing the Application
As colleges embrace a holistic approach, students navigate a stressful process.
Research suggests countries need to prepare for more climate change-related fatalities.
CULTURE 40 Split Personalities The Phillips Collection delves into the unhinged psychological states of George Condo. 41
From disaster relief to gastronomy, Peru’s Consuelo Salinas-Pareja volunteers to help her homeland.
Two exhibits at the Mexican Cultural Institute reflect on the immigrant experience.
50 Diplomatic Spotlight
Foon Sham’s woodland tunnel takes viewers on a dual-natured journey.
55 Real Estate Classifieds
“Clouds in a Bag” captures the public mania triggered by the launch of the first hot air balloons.
48 Events Listing
Up, Up anD Away
THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | May 2017 | 3
WD | United States
Leaner Foreign Policy Critics Say Trump’s ‘Skinny’ Budget Starves U.S. Diplomacy, Aid at Time of Heightened Need by Brendan L. Smith A U.S. soldier surveys a training ground near Kandahar, Afghanistan, on March 14, 2017. The Trump administration has proposed boosting the defense budget for fiscal 2018 by $54 billion, in part to pay for an increased U.S. troop presence in places such as Iraq and Syria and, possibly, Afghanistan. At the same time, his budget would cut diplomacy and development funding (which totals roughly $50 billion a year) by 31 percent.
ith a refugee crisis at its worst level since World War II and famines threatening millions across the globe, the drastic international affairs budget cuts sought by the Trump administration could lead to more death and misery for people who could have been saved, according to humanitarian and foreign policy organizations. “These programs do keep people alive and they do save people when people are in their most trying times,” said Kate Phillips-Barrasso, director of policy and advocacy for the International Rescue Committee. “The idea of scaling back that considerable an amount [of funding] and over such a short time is unfathomable given the challenges they’re facing out there.” The proposed budget cuts for the 2018 fiscal year would slash funding for the State Department and foreign aid by 28 percent and eliminate some critical programs and emergency reserve funding for refugee assistance. If the cuts are approved by Congress, the International Rescue Committee estimates up to 1 million displaced people in the Middle East and 500,000 in Africa won’t get help, Phillips-Barrasso told The Diplomat. More than 65 million people have been forcibly displaced from their homes across the world, primarily due to war or persecution. That includes more than 5 million people fleeing from Syria after years of devastating civil war. More than 20 million people also are at risk of famine in South Sudan, Yemen, Somalia and northeastern Nigeria. So far, the United Nations has only received a tiny fraction of the $4.4 billion it’s requested to address the crisis. “I think it’s a fair statement to say there are lives on the line here,” Phillips-Barrasso said about the proposed budget cuts.
Budget by the Numbers Trump’s “skinny” or preliminary 2018 budget, called “America First: A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again,” calls for a 28 percent cut in base funding for the State Department and USAID and a 35 percent reduction for Treasury International Programs. Under the plan, climate change programs would be eliminated, as would the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) and U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP). Educational and cultural exchange programs would take a big hit as well, although the Fulbright Program would be spared. Also on the chopping block is funding to the United Nations, where Trump wants to cap peacekeeping contributions to 25 percent, down from the current 28 percent. Some for4 | THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | May 2017
Photo: U.S. Air Force / Senior Airman Jordan Castelan, www.dvidshub.net
These programs do keep people alive and they do save people when people are in their most trying times…. I think it’s a fair statement to say there are lives on the line here. Kate Phillips-Barrasso
director of policy and advocacy for the International Rescue Committee
eign military assistance would be shifted from grants to loans, although $3.1 billion in security aid to Israel would remain intact, and economic and development assistance would be redirected “to countries of greatest strategic importance to the U.S.” Overall, the international affairs budget would shrink from $52.8 billion to $37.6 billion, which includes $12 billion for war-torn areas such as Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. The entire international affairs budget totals only 1 percent of federal spending, but the proposed cuts would be used to help fund a $54 billion increase in military spending. In addition to State and USAID, the other big loser in Trump’s budget is the Environmental Protection Agency, which would see its funding slashed by 31 percent (also see story on page 21). The president has ruled out touching entitlements like Medicare and Social Security, leaving only discretionary spending to offset his defense hike, even though such spending constitutes a much smaller piece of federal outlays. It’s highly unlikely that most of
the cuts to the State Department and USAID will be enacted because of vocal bipartisan opposition in Congress and intense lobbying efforts from retired military generals, clergy, NGOs, and foreign policy organizations. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), chairman of the Senate appropriations committee overseeing international affairs, has said the proposed budget cuts will be “dead on arrival” in Congress. “This budget destroys soft power,” he said in February. “It puts our diplomats at risk and it’s going nowhere.” In addition to the fiscal 2018 cuts, Trump called for an immediate cut of $18 billion in non-defense spending in the current 2017 budget, including $2.8 billion in international affairs cuts. The 2017 budget has operated under a continuing resolution that expires April 28, when the government shuts down if a new deal isn’t reached. Lawmakers were ready for a clean funding bill until Trump imposed fresh demands. The proposed reductions would help fund a proposed $30 billion increase for the Defense Department and $3 bil-
lion for the Department of Homeland Security to help pay for the massive expense of Trump’s oft-repeated campaign promise to build a wall along the Mexican border, although his promise that Mexico would pay for it has obviously failed. Democrats have been steadfast in blocking funding for the border wall, and even some Republicans have balked at its potentially high costs. At the last minute, Trump softened his demands, saying he wanted money for border security in general, not specifically for wall construction. As a last resort, he reportedly agreed to delay the debate over his border wall until September to prevent a government shutdown that would mar his first 100 days in office. With one crisis seemingly averted, Congress moves on to an even larger battle ahead. Trump’s 2018 budget proposal is merely an opening salvo in what is likely to be a bitter partisan fight in the coming months, as lawmakers wrangle over not only the budget, but also raising the debt ceiling and passing Trump’s signature initiatives such as tax reform and infrastructure stimulus. Democrats adamantly refuse to gut domestic programs to pay for an increase in defense spending, especially when the U.S. already spends nearly as much on defense as the next 14 countries combined. Republicans themselves are sharply divided among fiscal conservatives who want even deeper cuts; foreign policy hawks like Graham See c u t s • page 22
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WD | Middle East
Iran Votes Hardliners Fight to Unseat Iran’s Moderate President in Critical Election by Ryan R. Migeed and Anna Gawel
resident Trump’s recent foray into Syria’s civil war and the lingering questions over his administration’s ties to Russia have overshadowed the Iranian presidential election set for May 19, in which President Hassan Rouhani is running for re-election. Until recently, this year’s election was widely viewed as a done deal, with opposition to Rouhani seemingly weak and incapable of gaining widespread public support. Unlike elections across the West, which have been fraught with uncertainty and roiled by right-wing antiglobalization candidates, Iran’s contest had been largely uneventful — until the entrance of two prominent conservatives upended the race and political predictions (creating some odd parallels with America’s own chaotic election). Now, the closely watched election has become a freefor-all that will render a verdict on Rouhani’s embrace of global interdependence — at least in the form of the landmark nuclear deal negotiated with the U.S. and Europe — and whether Iran continues on the incumbent’s pragmatic, moderate path or reverts to the more conservative roots of the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Compared to autocracies such as Saudi Arabia, Iran boasts a hybrid political system that allows for some semblance of democracy. But campaigns have their limits in Iran’s theocracy, where the final arbiter is Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. “The supreme leader is the ultimate decision-maker,” Haleh Esfandiari, a public policy fellow at the Wilson Center who founded its Middle East Program, told The Diplomat. Conservative hardliners strongly oppose Rouhani, who came into office in 2013 on a platform of improving ties with the West and stabilizing the economy following the controversial presidency of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Until recently, they had not been able to coalesce around one candidate strong enough to unseat Rouhani. But last month, Ebrahim Raisi, a senior cleric and close Khamenei ally, emerged as Rouhani’s main challenger. Shortly after Raisi’s entrance, Ahmadinejad — whose fiery anti-American tirades and populist policies such as food and gas subsidies contributed to Iran’s economic downfall (and his own) — shocked the establishment by entering the race. He had thrown his support behind his close friend and former vice president, Hamid Baghaei, after a meeting with Khamenei in which the supreme leader advised him against running for president again. Ahmadinejad’s re-election in 2009 sparked mass protests, and he remains a polarizing figure in the country. It was all the more surprising, therefore, when Ahmadinejad, defying the supreme leader’s wishes, escorted Baghaei through the process of registering as a candidate and then abruptly registered himself. For all the Machiavellian maneuvering, however, Ahmadinejad did not get very far. Iran’s cleric-run government, which vets all candidates, promptly disqualified him from running, along with his vice president. Now all eyes are on the conservatives and whether they rally around Raisi or another candidate, such as Tehran Mayor Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf, which could spell trouble for Rouhani and his policy of engagement with the West. “Chances are even greater now that we will be having a two-round election in Iran, with a very polarized second round,” Hossein Rassam, a former Iran adviser to Britain’s Foreign Office, told Bozorgmehr Sharafedin
6 | THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | May 2017
Photo: U.S. State Department
Secretary of State John Kerry, left, and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif meet in Vienna for the P5+1 nuclear negotiations on July 4, 2015. This month’s election in Iran is widely seen as a verdict on the landmark nuclear accord, which curbed Tehran’s nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of sanctions.
Iranians are not going to be happy with their choices. Patrick Clawson
director of the Iran Security Initiative at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy
Nuclear Accord Put to the Test The election is a test of Rouhani’s signature achievement: the nuclear accord reached in 2015 that curtailed Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief. Iran has largely stuck to the terms of the deal, allowing international inspections, relinquishing 98 percent of its nuclear material and mothballing thousands of centrifuges. In return, Iran resumed selling its oil on the global market, had tens of billions of dollars in assets unfrozen and began inking business deals with international companies. While Trump has threatened to alternately rip up and review the deal, he’s also begrudgingly accepted it for now — as have many on the U.S. side. But the pact remains highly contentious in Iran. It curbed inflation and helped stabilize the currency, but the agreement hasn’t delivered the lofty economic results people were expecting. It also didn’t fundamentally alter Iran’s relationship with the West, with many businesses still wary of investing in the country for fear of running afoul of remaining sanctions. Now, Rouhani is running for re-election using the “slogan” that there would have been a war with the U.S. if not for the nuclear deal, said Patrick Clawson, senior
fellow and director of research at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, where he directs the Iran Security Initiative. Iran’s hardliners dislike this argument, Clawson told The Diplomat, because it gives too much credit to diplomacy and hints at a rapprochement with the U.S., the hardliners’ perennial bogeyman. There was even talk that the Guardian Council, the powerful body that vets candidates, might disqualify Rouhani from running for re-election, although that would’ve sparked a major backlash among his reformist supporters.
Shadow Race for Supreme Leader Some observers have speculated that Raisi — a hardline figure in Iran’s judiciary for decades — is being groomed to take over for Khamenei, who is 77. That has led to questions about his candidacy and whether he is serious about winning or trying to raise his profile ahead of Khamenei’s succession battle. Conversely, a loss could ruin his prospects for replacing Khamenei. (Raisi is no shoo-in for the presidency: He is tainted by his involvement in the so-called “death committee” that issued verdicts to execute thousands of political prisoners in 1988.) Whoever wins the presidency will have a say over who becomes the next supreme leader — another reason this election is so critical. To be sure, Iran’s current supreme leader is no fan of Rouhani. He has said the next president should ditch engagement with the West and instead of looking for investment opportunities abroad, as Rouhani sought to do, Iran should strengthen its domestic economy. At the same time, Khamenei’s intentions are unclear. He may ultimately back Rouhani See ir an • page 8
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Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei casts his vote in iran’s 2013 presidential election. while iran’s theocracy incorporates some elements of democracy, Khamenei is the ultimate decision-maker in the country.
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to seek continuity and avoid a confrontation with the U.S., especially under an unpredictable new administration. In fact, if Rouhani loses, it would mark the first time an Iranian president did not serve a second term. It would be “very easy for Khamenei to devise a situation in which a hardliner is inserted” into the race and elected president, Clawson said. But this appears unlikely. In his annual Nowruz, or New Year’s speech, Khamenei struck an uncharacteristically cautious tone, according to Clawson. The speech was “not as fire-breathing as usual” and did not mention President Trump’s recent travel ban on Muslims. Notably, the speech did not embrace the hardliners’ position, Clawson said. And it lacked “much of the anti-American belligerence that has colored past New Year’s speeches,” wrote Mehdi Khalaji, also a fellow at the Washington Institute. Still, “Iranians are not going to be happy with their choices,” Clawson said.
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Rouhani had promised that the nuclear deal would bring economic prosperity with the lifting of sanctions, but the public has not yet seen the benefits of the deal. His supporters say it takes time to rebuild an economy wracked by international isolation and years of mismanagement, but frustration among ordinary Iranians, especially poorer voters who have seen their purchasing power drop, could leave the candidate vulnerable. Moderates, including many young voters, are also disappointed by the slow pace of reform under Rouhani. A December 2016 poll conducted by the University of Maryland and IranPoll.com found that over 70 percent of respondents reported that their living conditions had not improved as a result of the nuclear accord. Raisi could seize on this discontent to argue that Rouhani’s policy of détente with the West has failed. “People are asking why despite all our resources and human talents ... our country is in this situation,” Raisi said in a statement published by Iranian news agencies. While Iran’s GDP has risen sharply in recent months — and is projected to grow 4.8 percent in 2017 — this is due mostly to increased oil production, Clawson pointed out. “Non-oil sectors are not seeing increased economic activity, so people are not better off,” he said.
PiLiNg oN SANCTioNS Moreover, the public expected swift sanctions relief that has not yet fully materialized. 8 | THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | MAy 2017
“They did not expect sanctions would stay in place, nor did they expect new sanctions,” said Esfandiari. On March 21, the U.S. imposed sanctions on 30 Iranian companies and individuals for transferring sensitive technology to Iran for its ballistic missile program or for violating export controls on Iran. The U.S. imposed these sanctions after a round of Iranian ballistic missile tests, which Iran was expected to refrain from under the nuclear deal, although experts say the wording does not outright prohibit such testing. That’s why Congress has stepped in to target Iran for provocations that fall outside the nuclear realm. In March, a bipartisan group of senators introduced the Countering Iran’s Destabilizing Activities Act of 2017, which imposes additional sanctions on Iran for its ballistic missile program, support of terrorist groups and human rights violations. That seemingly tracks with President Trump’s tougher stance on Iran. As a candidate, Trump railed against the nuclear deal, even threatening to rip it up. Since then, however, he has toned down his rhetoric. Experts, including many of the president’s own military advisors, say that unilaterally backing out of the deal would isolate the U.S. and give Iran an excuse to restart its nuclear program. So the administration has shifted its strategy, ramping up sanctions and strictly enforcing the letter of the deal in an effort to further squeeze Tehran. (The White House recently certified that Iran has complied with the deal, but it ordered an inter-agency review to determine whether lifting sanctions would be in America’s national security interests given concerns over Tehran’s “role as a state sponsor of terrorism.”) But critics say such an approach could backfire, empowering hardliners and jeopardizing a hard-fought agreement that most experts credit with significantly delaying Iran’s “breakout” time to develop a nuclear weapon. In an op-ed in Foreign Policy magazine, seven former Obama administration officials involved in negotiating the nuclear deal came out strongly against the most recent Iran sanctions bill, arguing that the overly broad legislation could be used to impose superfluous sanctions that violate the deal. This would give Iranian hardliners a pretext to abandon Iran’s own nuclear commitments. “If our Chinese, European, or Russian negotiating partners agree that we are altering the deal, the international consensus necessary to keep pressure on Iran to abide by the deal could erode,” they warned in the March 31 article. “Non-nuclear sanctions, on matters like ballistic missiles, terrorism, and human rights violations, remain in place. And Iran essentially paid for the nuclear deal with its own money, which the international community had frozen in banks around the See ir an • PAge 12
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THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | May 2017 | 9
WD | Latin America
Leftist Survivor Ecuador Bucks Latin America’s Leftist Decline with Election of Correa Acolyte by Larry Luxner
alf a century of communist rule in Cuba gave the island’s 11 million inhabitants superb health care and wiped out illiteracy, yet it’s also decimated the private sector and crippled the Cuban economy in the long term. Nicaragua, also ruled for decades by Marxists, remains one of the poorest countries in Central America. Brazil’s leftist revolution that lifted millions from abject poverty came to a screeching halt when its president was impeached. Argentina chose a free-market businessman to replace its populist president, and Venezuela — whose vast oil reserves are larger than Saudi Arabia’s — is mired in poverty and racing toward total economic collapse under the failing leftist dictatorship of Nicolás Maduro. Yet oil-rich Ecuador, also ruled by a populist firebrand for the last 10 years, chose a different path — and bucked the leftist political slide in Latin America. On May 24, President Rafael Correa hands off power to his former vice president, Lenín Moreno, who — as his first name suggests — will rule the Colorado-size nation with a leftist bent until 2021 after narrowly defeating former banker Guillermo Lasso 51 to 49 percent in an April runoff election. Correa leaves office as one of Latin America’s most popular heads of state. He ushered in a wave of political and economic stability and slashed poverty and inequality, in part by using high commodity prices to fund social services such as health and education. Unlike Venezuela’s widely despised Maduro, whose economic mismanagement ruined his country, Correa continues to enjoy nationwide approval ratings of more than 60 percent. His popularity in the U.S. is another matter. Under Moreno, Ecuador’s often rocky relationship with the United States will definitely improve, says Francisco Borja Cevallos, Quito’s ambassador in Washington. “His personality is different from [that of Correa], but more important than that, the president-elect has specifically said he wants to refresh Ecuador’s relationship with the United States,” Borja told The Washington Diplomat in an April 13 phone interview. “This is a political decision. As always, we want the U.S. to respect our process and our country. We can agree or disagree, but as good friends.” During his decade in office, Correa — like Cuba’s Castro brothers, Venezuela’s Maduro and Maduro’s mentor, the late Hugo Chávez — did not hesitate to lash out at the United States. In
10 | THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | May 2017
Photo: By Patricio Mena Vásconez - Own work / Wikimedia Commons Public Domain
Ultimately, [Lenín] Moreno’s presidency has the potential to demonstrate the ability of his leftist party to provide for Ecuador’s citizens in a way right-wing regimes cannot, and may ultimately serve as a litmus test for the endurance of key leaders of Latin America’s left. Taylor Lewis
research associate at the Council on Hemispheric Affairs
early 2011, the State Department declared Ecuador’s then-ambassador in Washington, Luis Gallegos, persona non grata and gave him 72 hours to leave the country. That followed the expulsion of Heather Hodges, the U.S. ambassador in Quito, after WikiLeaks released a secret diplomatic cable in which Hodges accused Correa of links to police corruption. For a whole year, neither country had an ambassador. Making matters worse, in 2012, Correa further infuriated Washington by giving WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange refuge at Ecuador’s embassy in London. Five years later, Assange remains holed up there to avoid extradition to Sweden, where prosecutors want to question him about accusations of rape and sexual assault. Yet Correa — who has both a master’s degree and a doctorate in eco-
nomics from the University of Illinois — “regularly flipped between the mold of a fiery populist and the pragmatism of a studied technocrat,” wrote Nicholas Casey and Maggy Ayala in a Feb. 19 New York Times article. Among other things, Correa slashed the poverty rate by 38 percent and extreme poverty by 47 percent, according to the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR), in part by funneling government money to social programs such as cash transfers and doubling spending on education, health care and housing. New roads and bridges were built, more children enrolled in school and clinics spread to rural areas. Inequality fell substantially during Correa’s term, while annual per-capita GDP registered steady increases over the last decade. But economists point out that much of Correa’s lavish spending
Skyscrapers rise against the mountains in Quito. Ecuador has experienced an economic boon over the last decade under President Rafael Correa, although economists worry whether that prosperity can be sustained in the face of declining oil prices.
was financed by booming oil prices. Now that those prices have crashed, it remains to be seen if the new president can continue his predecessor’s largesse. But a February 2017 report by CEPR, a leftist think tank, argues that Correa deserves credit for deftly managing Ecuador’s economy. The paper notes that his achievements were not driven by a “commodities boom,” but from deliberate policy choices and reforms that the Correa government enacted, including ending central bank independence, defaulting on illegitimate debt and taxing capital leaving the country, among other measures. “Ecuador’s experience over the last 10 years indicates that a relatively small, lower-middle income developing country is less restricted in its policy choices by ‘globalization’ than is commonly believed,” said co-author and CEPR Co-Director Mark Weisbrot. “The Correa government renegotiated contracts with foreign oil companies, and used the increased earnings to start transforming education and health,” wrote James North in The Nation. “The government is reducing tax evasion among the rich, which is a pervasive problem throughout Latin America. Correa played hardball with
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Photo: By MunicipioPinas from Piñas, Ecuador - Presidente Correa vino a constatar catástrofe minera en PortoveloUploaded by Ralgis / Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 2.0
President Rafael Correa steps into a helicopter in Piñas, Ecuador, in 2010. Correa leaves office with approval ratings of more than 60 percent as he hands the presidency to Lenín Moreno.
foreign creditors, and forced significant reductions in Ecuador’s onerous debts.” Correa also brought stability to a country that had seen seven presidents in the space of only 10 years. His administration “ended neoliberalism in Ecuador, strengthened the state, inflated the bureaucracy, increased social spending and redistributed income in the context of a boom in the price of oil, a commodity that represents 58 percent of the country’s total exports,” noted Carlos de la Torre, a sociology professor at the University of Kentucky. But the former Wilson Center scholar worries that the end of the Correa era could lead Ecuador into a new phase of political turmoil, and is even concerned that Moreno — who will govern under a cloud of corrup-
tion and who clearly lacks Correa’s charisma — could be tempted to follow Maduro’s example in using repression to cling to power. Taylor Lewis, a research associate at the left-leaning Council on Hemispheric Affairs (COHA), disagrees, arguing that for Latin America, the election of Moreno presents an “interesting spark” in the region’s leftist movement. “Moreno’s presidency and his ruling party’s authority in the National Assembly will now provide a continuity of leftist rule at a time when prominent leftist figures of the region are falling from their positions of power,” wrote Lewis, noting the end of the presidency of Argentina’s Cristina Fernán-
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Iran Continued • page 8
A panoramic view shows the Iranian capital of Tehran. While President Hassan Rouhani maintains strong support among urbanites and the middle class, many poorer Iranians are frustrated with his outreach to the West and the nuclear deal, which they say hasn’t helped them economically.
world, to increase pressure on Iranian leaders to make a deal. In short, President Donald Trump has inherited an Iran policy that leaves us significantly safer than when his predecessor took office.” In January, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif appeared to make a threat of his own in response to Trump’s promise to “rip up” the Iran deal. “If he does, Iran too will have options at its disposal in its reaction,” Zarif said at the World Economic Forum. “President-elect Trump likes to be surprised, and we will surprise him.”
Sticking to the Deal For all the political bluster and public dissatisfaction with additional sanctions, Iran is unlikely to abrogate the nuclear accord. “My sense is that Iranians will continue to implement the deal meticulously,” Esfandiari said. Their motivation, according to Esfandiari, is the European companies that want to invest in Iran. Indeed, European government officials and business leaders rushed to Iran as soon as the nuclear deal was signed, in an effort to court business partners and cut bargains as the first dealmakers in line to access a market of nearly 80 million people. German officials brought top executives from companies including Siemens, the Guardian reported at the time. France and Italy followed suit, and the United Kingdom reopened its embassy in Tehran shortly after the Iran deal
Ecuador Continued • page 11
dez de Kirchner in 2015, the ouster of Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff in 2016 and the death last year of Cuba’s Fidel Castro. “In Ecuador, much of Moreno’s leftist presidency will be shaped by Correa’s influence and whether the former president attempts to rule once-removed, or grants his successor the freedom to pursue his own agenda for the benefit of all Ecuadorian people. Ultimately, Moreno’s presidency has the potential to demonstrate the ability of his leftist party to provide for Ecuador’s citizens in a way right-wing regimes cannot, and may ultimately serve as a litmus test for the endurance of key leaders of Latin America’s left.” On the other hand, Michael Shifter, president of the Inter-American Dialogue, says it would be a mistake to over-interpret Ecuador’s elections in a regional context. “There’s always a strong temptation to say this was a shift to the left. But this election had more to do with Correa and the two candidates, Moreno and Lasso,” Shifter told The Washington Diplomat in a phone interview. “Correa made a shrewd move in picking someone like Moreno. He’s radically different in temperament and style than Correa. He’s much more conciliatory and low-key. He continues Correa’s citizens’ revolution but with a much softer, gentler approach. Correa is extremely confrontational and aggressive. Ecuadorians got tired of that. But they also liked some of the benefits.” For one thing, the standard of living for many of Ecuador’s 15 million inhabitants
12 | THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | May 2017
Photo: By Saman Marzban - Own work / Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 4.0
was signed. But Rouhani will have to continue defending the deal while producing tangible economic results. “Any time someone wants to criticize Rouhani and his cabinet, they will bring up the deal,” Esfandiari said. Moreover, the second term is usually harder than the first. Khamenei “has traditionally distanced himself from the president in the second term,” Esfandiari said. He did so with Ahmadinejad and he will continue talking about economic weaknesses and will point out Rouhani’s failures, she said.
Final Word: Khamenei Khamenei has not wasted any time. In the run-up to the election, he publicly lambasted Rouhani’s economic record. In his Nowruz speech, he directed his ire not at the U.S. but
has improved substantially in the 10 years Correa was in charge — and the idea of going back to a market-driven economy under a banker made many voters nervous about Lasso (who, among other things, had promised if elected that he’d boot Assange from the country’s embassy in London). Moreno, who was Correa’s vice president from 2007 to 2013, left office with an approval rating above 90 percent, said COHA’s Lewis, “largely as a result of his widely recognized efforts to create government support programs for the disabled, increase government funding for health care and create housing subsidies for low-income citizens.” Moreno is himself a paraplegic, having been confined to a wheelchair since 1998, when he was shot in the back as gunmen stole his car from a Quito parking lot. However, world oil prices have dropped substantially since 2014, and Ecuador — the smallest of OPEC’s 13 members — is now in trouble. The country’s GDP shrank by 1.7 percent last year after growing only 0.2 percent in 2015, and the IMF forecasts a similar decline this year. Additionally, the government’s rising deficit has led to an increase in public debt, which now represents nearly 40 percent of GDP after a low of 15 percent in 2009. The Guardian’s Jonathan Watts added: “Indigenous groups and environmentalists accuse the government of putting Chinese oil and mining interests above local people and protected areas in the Yasuni national park,” he wrote in a Feb. 15 article. “And the middle class complain of high taxes, excessive bureaucracy, clampdowns on NGOs and attacks on the media.” While Lasso’s failed campaign promised to cut taxes and reduce public spending to encourage foreign investment and
at the state of the Iranian economy, calling for a “resistance economy” that would create more jobs. To be sure, Khamenei still regularly spouts off the anti-American rants that have become de rigueur for any Iranian leader. Yet for all of his anti-American vitriol over the years, Khamenei may not want a hardliner returning to the presidency as long as Trump is in the White House, Clawson observed. “It’s too early to tell if Khamenei is backing off in the face of Trump,” Clawson said. “But for now, he’s biting his tongue.” Yet even if the West gets a moderate as Iran’s next president, it’s wishful thinking to hope for the same scenario when Khamenei exits the scene and the real leadership scramble begins, according to Hossein Rassam and Sanam Vakil of Chatham House. Writing in the May/ June issue of Foreign Affairs, they argue that the next supreme leader is likely to be one of three contenders, with Raisi as their top pick.
Photo: By Agencia de Noticias ANDES - CENA LENIN MORENO / Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 2.0
Newly elected Ecuadorian President Lenín Moreno is a leftist like his predecessor and a former vice president who will become the world’s only head of state to use a wheelchair.
growth, Moreno did exactly the opposite: he vowed to expand public credit and investment, which includes an ambitious housing scheme and the “Plan for a Lifetime” social program, which will ultimately cost more than $2 billion. Borja, who replaced Nathalie Cely Suárez as ambassador to the United States in May 2015, acknowledged that Ecuador indeed faces a crisis, but that it will pull through. “Ecuador is much stronger than it used to be. Our GDP has grown from $50 billion to more than $100 billion in the last 10 years,” he told us. “We have much better infrastructure — roads, ports, airports, hydroelectric power, communications — so we are better prepared than we were
Regardless who wins, they warn that, “Those hoping for a kinder, gentler Iran are likely to be disappointed.” “Since he took power in 1989, Khamenei has steadily built an intricate security, intelligence, and economic superstructure composed of underlings who are fiercely loyal to him and his definition of the Islamic Republic, a network that can be called Iran’s ‘deep state.’ When Khamenei dies, the deep state will ensure that whoever replaces him shares its hardline views and is committed to protecting its interests,” the authors write. “It is foolish to hope that pressure from the Trump administration will bring about political change in Iran. Khamenei wants a stable transition, and he is counting on the deep state to ensure it.” WD Ryan R. Migeed (@RyanMigeed) is a freelance writer based in Boston. Anna Gawel (@diplomatnews), managing editor of The Washington Diplomat, contributed to this report.
before to face the crisis.” Borja added that there’s also better communications between Ecuador and the U.S. than before the turmoil that erupted with the mutual expulsions of ambassadors from each other’s capitals. He said that Todd Chapman, the U.S. ambassador to Ecuador, has “a very good relationship” with his counterparts at Ecuador’s Foreign Affairs Ministry. “Those moments of tension of years ago have passed, and we’re on a much better path now,” he said. “There are areas in which we have a very good relationship, such as security and fighting drug trafficking. We’re a little bit worried about our immigrants, but we hope we can talk frankly about this, too.” Borja expects change on the domestic front as well, noting that “President-elect Moreno has said he wants a dialogue with the opposition, with civil society. There’s great support for the citizens’ revolution in Ecuador, and the majority of Ecuadorians still support this process — but at the same time, they wanted a change, especially in the way the government interacts with the rest of the country.” Whether the low-key Moreno — following in Correa’s thunderous footsteps — actually meets voters’ political and economic expectations remains to be seen. “Ecuador hasn’t had a real history of political violence and turmoil,” says InterAmerican Dialogue’s Shifter. “But there’s a lot of tension and polarization, and the new president will have to reach out to the business community, which Correa had a hard time doing, if they want to get the economy back on track.” WD Tel Aviv-based journalist Larry Luxner is news editor of The Washington Diplomat.
THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | May 2017 | 13
WD | Middle East
Erasing History Destruction, Looting of Antiquities Robs Nations of Their Heritage, Bankrolls Terrorism by Karin Zeitvogel
n August 2015, Islamic State militants dragged an octogenarian, bespectacled man into a public square in the ancient city of Palmyra in Syria and beheaded him. The crimes for which Khaled al-Asaad paid with his life were listed on a placard that the group bound to his bloodied body, which they hung by the wrists from a traffic light, his severed head on the ground beneath his feet. He had attended “infidel conferences” and served for years as the “director of idolatry” in Palmyra, the Guardian newspaper reported. Asaad, who had served for 40 years as director of antiquities for his native Palmyra, was also murdered because he refused to tell his captors where Palmyra’s centuries-old treasures were hidden, according to the Guardian and other newspapers. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Palmyra “contains the monumental ruins of a great city that was one of the most important cultural centers,” UNESCO writes on its website. “From the 1st to the 2nd century, the art and architecture of Palmyra, standing at the crossroads of several civilizations, married Graeco-Roman techniques with local traditions and Persian influences.” Palmyra was — and still is to many — one of the world’s most cherished heritage sites, in spite of two occupations by the Islamic State, during which numerous structures and artifacts were destroyed for propaganda, while others were looted for profit. A few days after Asaad was brutally slain, the Islamic State blew up the nearly 2,000-year-old Temple of Baalshamin in Palmyra. Dedicated to the Phoenician god of storms and fertilizing rains, the temple had welcomed Christian and Muslim worshippers during its 2 millennia of existence. To Syrians, it symbolized the inclusivity and diversity of their culture. The temple was the first edifice in Palmyra to be set upon by Islamic State militants wielding jackhammers, pickaxes and explosives. Many of the lawless acts of destruction were filmed — part of the group’s well-honed communications effort. Other ancient sites in Iraq and Syria that have been destroyed or ransacked by the Islamic State include the Mar Elian Christian monastery near Palmyra; the town of Dura-Europos, near Syria’s border with Iraq, which housed the oldest-known Christian church; the museum in the Iraqi city of Mosul; the Assyrian city of Nineveh, dating from centuries before the birth of Christ; and the ancient city of Nimrud in Iraq. That list is far from complete. The two war-weary neighboring countries in the volatile Middle East
14 | THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | May 2017
Photo: By James Gordon from Los Angeles, California, USA - Palmyra, Syria / Wikimedia Commons CC BY 2.0
The northern mountain belt of Palmyra, Syria, is seen against the city’s ancient ruins prior to the Islamic State invasion in 2015.
I hear a lot, ‘Why are you focusing on stones, on rocks, on the past? You should be focusing on the humanitarian disaster’.... But the people and the culture are totally intertwined. The stones and objects without the people they represent are dead; the Syrian people, without their long and rich history, are lost. Amr Al Azm
an associate professor of history and anthropology at Shawnee State University
are not the only ones to have witnessed the wanton and senseless destruction of historic sites and the looting of national treasures. The same is happening in Afghanistan, Yemen and Libya, and has happened over millennia on every continent, usually as a byproduct of war or conquest in which thousands, if not millions, of human lives were lost. Today, headlines from warzones tend to be weighted more heavily toward the impact on civilians, not the destruction of historical sites and artifacts. At a gut level, that makes perfect sense: Lives are more important than stone. Particularly with the latest revelations that a chemical weapons at-
tack in a rebel-held area of Syria killed scores of people, including children, it is difficult to ignore the staggering human suffering in that country after six years of war, which has left an estimated 400,000 people dead. Images of children writhing and choking from toxic poison naturally take precedence over those of dilapidated ruins and relics. But British philosopher Julian Baggini argues that it’s alright to be equally upset by the destruction of history. “We know that people matter much more than things and yet it seems we can be more moved by cultural vandalism than cold-blooded murder,” he wrote in a 2015 commentary for the Guardian.
“Caring about humanity is about more than wanting as many hearts to keep beating as possible. What matters is not just how many people live, but how we live,” he said, adding that certain ideals are worth dying for. “If al-Asaad believed Palmyra’s heritage mattered more than his own life, then we are not so monstrous if we find our own reactions imply we feel the same.”
Compassion for Both It’s not an either-or choice, argues Amr Al Azm, an associate professor of history and anthropology at Shawnee State University in Ohio and cofounder of The Day After, an NGO that seeks to cut down on the looting of treasured artifacts from Syria. “I hear a lot, ‘Why are ALSO SEE: you focusing on stones, on rocks, on the past? You Tasoula Hadjitofi: should be focusing on the “The Icon Hunter” humanitarian disaster,’” Al PAGE 16 Azm told The Washington Diplomat. “It’s as if there’s a binary — you can either care about culture and stones or you can care about people, but you can’t care about both. But the people and the culture are totally intertwined. The stones and objects without the people they represent are dead; the Syrian
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Two women walk past the huge cavity where one of the ancient Buddhas of Bamiyan, Afghanistan, used to stand on June 17, 2012. The monumental statues were built in A.D. 507 and 554 and were the largest statues of a standing Buddha on Earth until the Taliban dynamited them in 2001.
people, without their long and rich history, are lost.” On that note, Deborah Lehr, founder of the Antiquities Coalition, and Wendy Chamberlin, president of the Middle East Institute, argue that the Islamic State is continuing a long tradition of using heritage as a weapon of war. “The connection between the erasure of heritage and human atrocities is long-standing, as oppressors obliterate the past by erasing symbols of conquered cultures. From Caesar’s arson of the Library of Alexandria to the Nazis’ destruction of synagogues to the Taliban’s demolition of the Bamiyan Buddhas, eliminating cultural identity is a strike against the spirit of a people,” they wrote in a Huffington Post commentary. The Islamic State, also known as ISIS, has fought viciously to control people’s past, present and future, seizing vast tracts of territory in Iraq and Syria before finally losing ground last year. The group was forced out of Palmyra in March 2016 but recaptured the city in December that same year, when the Syrian Army and its Russian allies were focused on other parts of Syria. The second occupation was much shorter-lived, but the group again attacked the city’s cultural heritage, demolishing much of the Tetrapylon monument and destroying the façade of a Roman theater. Again they captured their violence on memory cards and posted videos to social media. But this was just the visible part of their destructive rampage. “You see a tower or tomb being blown up, but you don’t see that ISIS has stripped it clean before they blew it up,” Al Azm said. “The blowing-up part, they use for propaganda, to send a message — similar to what the Taliban did in Afghanistan to the Bamiyan Buddhas, for instance — that, ‘We have the ability to act with impunity and the international community is essentially impotent to respond.’ Looted artifacts, on the other hand, are an income stream for ISIS. They didn’t invent looting, but they’ve taken it and put it on steroids.”
Heritage for Sale This, of course, runs contrary to the official Islamic State line on selling looted goods — or at least contrary to the propaganda spiel the radical group puts out. It supposedly destroys ancient artifacts because pre-Islamic works of art are considered heretical. But the sale of looted antiquities has helped finance the group’s destructive campaign — against both history and humans — on an unprecedented scale. Beyond extortion, oil profits and taxes, the group’s fighters have reaped untold millions of dollars from smuggling the artifacts they stole. In fact, as the Washington Post noted in a
2015 report, plundering became not only a lucrative business, but a well-organized one. “The Islamic State grants licenses for the excavation of ancient sites through its ‘Diwan al-Rikaz’ — a governing body for overseeing resources in the ‘caliphate.’ The body has a department for oil and gas, as well as antiquities,” wrote Loveday Morris. “They steal everything that they can sell, and what they can’t sell, they destroy,” Qais Hussein Rasheed, Iraq’s deputy minister for antiquities and heritage, told Morris. After capturing the Iraqi city of Mosul in 2014, for example, the Islamic State released a video showing fighters smashing artifacts in the city’s museum with sledgehammers and drilling into them with power tools. A voice on the video said the ancient statues were worthless bits of idolatry and deserved their fate. But when U.S.-backed Iraqi troops recaptured part of Mosul early this year, they found a tunnel underneath parts of the city, full of (thankfully) untouched artifacts. Similar stashes of ancient artifacts and artwork have been found in other Islamic State strongholds after earlier victories and raids against the terrorist group, such as when U.S. soldiers killed one of its top leaders, Abu Sayyaf, in May 2015. They found in his eastern Syria home not only a collection of real and fake artifacts, including electronic records of gold coins dating from Roman times, but also receipts on his computer for more than a quarter of a million dollars in taxes paid to the Islamic State for the sale of ancient artifacts. Sayyaf used to issue looting permits to locals who paid him a tax for the privilege. In a lawsuit filed in December 2015, the U.S. government sought forfeiture of some of the artifacts found in Sayyaf ’s home. Up until then, the conventional thinking about the Islamic State and antiquities trafficking was that the two didn’t mix. But experts soon learned that the group — like so many before it — made huge profits from plundering history. “Cultural racketeering — the global trade in looted antiquities — is a multibilliondollar industry that funds organized crime and terrorists like Daesh (also known as ISIS),” wrote the #CultureUnderThreat Task Force in an April 2016 report for the Middle East Institute. “Cultural cleansing — the systematic destruction of a targeted group and its heritage — has been used by Daesh, al Nusra, and other terrorist organizations to terrorize populations under their control.”
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Breaking the Cycle But it takes two to tango, and if the Islamic See Looting • page 16 THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | May 2017 | 15
Looting CoNTiNUeD • PAge 15
State makes money selling artifacts, someone is buying them. “You need to cut demand for these antiquities,” said Tasoula Hadjitofi, who was forced from her home in Famagusta, Cyprus, when Turkey invaded in July 1974, and for most of her adult life has fought against antiquities trafficking. Once a thriving tourist destination, Famagusta has been a ghost town since the Turkish invasion. “I’ve spent 40 years of my life bringing back the looted artifacts of Cyprus because I, myself, cannot go home,” Hadjitofi told The Washington Diplomat. “When you buy an artifact, you are giving money to extremism but also fueling division because you’re driving the demand for artifacts and offending a fellow human being.” Stolen antiquities are extremely difficult to trace. Larger items often undergo a laundering process to conceal their source. Smaller items can be bought or sold over the internet or float on the antiquities market for years. The market itself is poorly regulated and littered with stolen goods that often wind up in the U.S. or Europe. The Antiquities Coalition, Asia Society and Middle East Institute created the #CultureUnderThreat Task Force to raise awareness of the issue and advocate for government action. It created a series of recommendations for the U.S. government — among them, designating a senior director at the National Security Council to fight against what it calls “blood antiquities” and terrorist financing, as well as bolster-
PHoTo: JerZy STrZeLeCKi - owN worK / CC By-SA 3.0
The façade of Palmyra’s roman theater was destroyed during the islamic State’s second occupation of the city.
PHoTo: THe DAy AFTer HeriTAge ProTeCTioN iNiTiATive (TDA-HPi)
Artifacts purportedly looted by the islamic State were recovered in the Syrian city of Deir ez-Zor, near the border with iraq.
ing the Immigrations and Custom Enforcement’s “seize and repatriate” strategy with investigations and prosecutions that dismantle criminal networks engaged in the antiquities black market. On that note, attorney Ricardo A. St. Hilaire wrote a recent paper for the Antiquities Coalition arguing that the Department of Justice should appoint prosecutors to specifically pursue criminal cases against smugglers, corrupt dealers and their accomplices. He noted that in the last decade alone, the Department of Homeland Security has recovered and returned more than 7,500 illicit artifacts to 30 countries as part of its fight against cultural racketeering. These restitutions, however, have rarely led to the successful prosecution or imprisonment of antiquities traffickers, allowing them to stay in business, Hilaire pointed out in his brief. By prioritizing repatriations over indictments, he says the federal government’s “seize and send” policy has failed to curb a vast black market industry, which fuels transnational crime, conflict and terrorism. “If you can imagine a world where police recover stolen cash, illegal drugs and hijacked autos but let the bank robbers, narcotics deal-
PHoTo: BerNArD gAgNoN - owN worK / CC By-SA 3.0
Palmyra’s nearly 2,000-year-old Temple of Baalshamin, above, and the Arch of Triumph have both been destroyed by the islamic State.
PHoTo: JerZy STrZeLeCKi - owN worK / CC By-SA 3.0
ers and carjackers go free, then you can understand the unrestrained business of transnational antiquities trafficking,” said St. Hilaire Deborah Lehr of the Antiquities Coalition argues that to fully address the problem, destination countries and countries of origin must both take action. “Given the level of destruction and the massive looting taking place in the Middle East and Northern Africa, these artifacts would inevitably begin to find their way to the United States — the largest art market in the world — as well as to the European Union,” she wrote in the Journal of Eastern Mediterranean Archaeology and Heritage Studies. “This potential influx of illicit heritage has raised questions about the role of the United States and Europe
‘icon Hunter’ t
asoula Hadjitofi’s life is the stuﬀ of novels, providing perfect material for her memoir, “The icon Hunter.” Her idyllic childhood in Famagusta was ripped away from her by the Turkish invasion of Cyprus when she was 14. Memories of raising silkworms gave way to the terror of watching napalm rain down on the northern part of the island. Feeling the unbridled joy of learning she was expecting twins gave way to the unbearable agony of losing a child. And feeling the pride of being named honorary consul to the Netherlands when she was only in her 20s was belied by carrying the burden of being forced out of her still-occupied homeland.
PHoToS: PegASUS BooKS
At left, part of a mosaic ripped from a church wall was found during a 1997 Munich sting. Above, author Tasoula Hadjitofi and her father prepare to face their past in the occupied area of Famagusta in northern Cyprus.
Through it all, Hadjitofi remained a fighter for her family and for Cyprus, risking her life as she hunted down precious art and artifacts that were looted from orthodox churches in the north after the Turkish invasion in 1974. “The icon Hunter” tells the story of a strong woman dealing with shadowy men as she sets out on a mission to recover some of her is-
16 | THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | MAy 2017
land’s treasures, pillaged during an invasion that has evolved into a frozen conflict. After being oﬀered the chance to buy a treasured Cypriot icon, Hadjitofi teamed up with an unsavory and fairly unreliable Dutch art dealer with a broad knowledge of Byzantine art to bust a Turkish art traﬃcker in Munich, with the help of law enforcement. The 1997 raid recovered an unexpected trove of Cypriot treasures and
became one of the largest art traﬃcking sting operations in europe since world war ii. The proceeds of her book, published by Pegasus Books, will go to walk of Truth, an Ngo Hadjitofi set up in 2011 to raise awareness about the importance of preserving cultural heritage in conflict zones and encouraging ordinary people to be part of that eﬀort. — Karin Zeitvogel
as a ‘safe harbor’ for antiquities. Our view is that the long-term solution lies, instead, in blocking access to ‘demand’ country markets, while working with local governments to help strengthen their own laws, protections, as well as raising awareness about the long-term importance of protecting heritage. In many instances, these countries are dependent upon these very artifacts for their economic well being, so protecting the past is a way of ensuring economic potential in the future.” Policymakers are taking notice. At a conference held at the Louvre Museum in Paris in March, a dozen nations and individual donors pledged some $75 million to safeguard endangered cultural heritage. Earlier the same month, France and the United Arab Emirates launched the International Alliance for the Protection of Heritage in Conflict Areas, a public-private partnership that will finance projects to protect, conserve and restore cultural property threatened by armed conflict. Also at the end of March, officials from the Group of Seven (G7) bloc of industrialized democracies signed a declaration in Florence, Italy, expressing concern about the dangers of terrorist attacks, armed conflicts, natural disasters, raids and looting on cultural heritage. As the G7 culture ministers met in Florence, Italian police thwarted an alleged plot to blow up the famed Rialto Bridge in Venice, a reminder that violence targeting cultural treasures also strikes countries at peace. In fact, the 9/11 attacks targeted iconic structures — the Pentagon in Washington and the Twin Towers in New York — that are indelible parts of those cities’ identities. Hadjitofi applauds all of the conventions and declarations that outline ways to stop the illicit trafficking of stolen heritage and the destruction of iconic structures. But she says that ordinary people need to be involved to make a real impact on the ransacking of world history. A pillaged Roman coin from Palmyra, a statue from Sana’a, a mosaic from Tripoli or a bracelet from Helmand may be coveted treasures to many buyers. But to refugees like Hadjitofi and to immigrants from
hotbeds of looting, such as Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria and Yemen, they are reminders of home — and of what has been lost. Hadjitofi says enlisting the help of these people is critical to the cause. She herself has helped to recover and repatriate nearly 200 cultural artifacts that had been plundered from areas of Cyprus under Turkish occupation, including the sixth-century Kanakaria mosaics. In 2011, Hadjitofi founded Walk of Truth, an NGO that works to recover stolen antiquities around the world. Central to Walk of Truth’s ethos is Hadjitofi’s belief in the power of ordinary people to identify stolen treasures and protect threatened heritage. Walk of Truth also advocates for more countries to sign and ratify the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in Armed Conflict and for tougher laws against art traffickers when they are caught. But it also asks people to simply keep their eyes and ears open. Al Azm has taken a slightly different tack by harnessing modernday technology to protect the past. As you read this, a team of undercover operatives and archaeologists are at work in Syria, applying a water-based forensic polymer called SmartWater to some of the country’s most treasured artifacts. SmartWater is invisible to the naked eye but glows bright yellow when a special light is shined on it. It can’t be washed off and remains on an object for years. “So let’s say a Roman gold coin shows up in an auction and you tell the seller, ‘Well, I think this was looted from Syria.’ And they say, ‘No, no. This comes from the collection of Uncle Luigi who got it from his grandfather, who had it in his collection since 1880.’ If you have a substance like SmartWater on the coin, then you can prove five, 10, 15 years later when this coin shows up in an auction that it was looted from Syria — and return it,” Al Azm explained. The aim is to sow doubt in the minds of buyers, who might hesitate to spend thousands of dollars on a dubious item. “We can plant the seed of doubt in buyers’ minds and let it grow, so that demand subsides, prices go down and it’s no longer profitable to do this kind of work,” Al Azm said. “That’s our hope.” WD Karin Zeitvogel (@Zeitvogel) is a contributing writer for The Washington Diplomat.
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Cover Profile | WD
Japan Courts Trump Tokyo’s Ambassador Works to Preserve Old Relationship in New World by John Shaw
he astonishing election last November of Donald Trump as president of the United States triggered various reactions from political leaders around the world. Some pulled back, others dug in and some stayed quiet. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe plunged ahead. The prime minister called Trump shortly after his victory to congratulate him and then arranged to stop by Trump Tower for a visit on Abe’s way to Peru. The two leaders got along well and Trump invited Abe to visit the U.S. in early February, first at the White House and then at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Vice President Mike Pence visited Japan during the first months of the Trump presidency. Kenichiro Sasae, Japan’s ambassador to the United States, said his country’s early and aggressive engagement with the Trump administration reflects basic diplomatic precepts: understand the facts on the ground, deal directly with important interlocutors and then forge a strategy based on specific insights and concrete information. “The meetings between the president of the United States and the prime minister of Japan were very successful. It was very important for the prime minister to get to know the new president. Getting to know people is an important part of diplomacy,” Sasae said in an interview with The Washington Diplomat. “When they met in February, they spent many hours together, both in Washington and also in Florida, at meetings, lunches, dinners and playing golf. They spent all this time mostly by themselves,” he said. “The official relationship is important. But when you don’t have any personal relationship, that’s quite a dry relationship, so if you combine both official and personal, that’s ideal. “Of course we hear a lot about President Trump, reading all these articles about him, but I think the fundamental idea was to go in without having any preconceived notions or perceptions,” he added, admitting that his country had concerns about Trump’s rhetoric during the campaign. “That’s why you need to go straight to the heart of person you are dealing with.” Understanding the new occupant of the White House is especially vital to the Japanese, who have had a long and positive relationship with the U.S. since the end of World War II. Sasae did not comment directly on Trump’s polarizing campaign. However, several of Trump’s themes had to be disquieting, if not alarming, to Japanese leaders. The Republican candidate often
criticized America’s trade deficit with Japan, accusing the country of blocking American automobiles from entering its market, and complained that the yen was kept artificially low. Trump’s protectionist policies also doomed the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), leaving Japan in a lurch after years of trade negotiations — and rival China to fill the economic void. Trump was also critical of America’s security relationship with Japan, arguing that Japan was not pulling its weight. He suggested the possibility of cutting military aid and even floated the idea of Tokyo developing its own nuclear weapons arsenal to protect against North Korean aggression — an idea that would go directly against Japan’s pacifist constitution, which Washington helped craft. Despite the harsh words, Japanese leaders were proactive. The prime minister took an open mind and a goldplated golf driver to his first visit with Trump. Analysts have credited Abe for deftly dealing with the unpredictable billionaire mogul/reality TV star. “Whether out of instinct or a careful reading of Trump’s personality, Abe has concluded that politics with Trump will be personal,” wrote Michael Auslin, an expert on Japan at the American Enterprise Institute, in a February essay in Foreign Affairs. “Thus, he offered with alacrity to meet Trump just days after his election, flying to New York in a bid to get Trump to look him in the eye and
Photo: Lawrence Ruggeri
The meetings between the president of the United States and the prime minister of Japan were very successful…. The official relationship is important. But when you don’t have any personal relationship, that’s quite a dry relationship, so if you combine both official and personal, that’s ideal. Kenichiro Sasae ambassador of Japan to the United States
size him up. Given the lukewarm reception that Trump received from other heads of government, Abe’s outreach was all the more welcome…. Abe understands that you have to be willing to make deals with a dealmaker.” When Trump and Abe met in Washington in February, the president lavished praise on the prime minister and the relationship between the U.S. and Japan. “The bond between our two nations, and the friendship between our
two peoples, runs very, very deep,” Trump said at a White House press conference. “This administration is committed to bringing those ties even closer. We are committed to the security of Japan and all areas under its administrative control, and to further strengthening our very crucial alliance.” He also touted his personal connection with Abe. “We have a very, very good bond — very, very good chemistry. I’ll let you know if it changes, but I
don’t think it will,” he said. For his part, Abe emphasized the importance of the bilateral relationship, noting that this was his fourth visit to the U.S. in six months. He praised Trump’s “uphill struggle” to get elected and said his victory showed the “dynamism of democracy.” Abe added that Japanese businesses are poised to contribute to Trump’s economic agenda, noting that in 2016, more than $150 billion of new investment flowed from Japan into the United States. “With President Trump taking on the leadership, I’m sure there will be major-scale infrastructure investment … including the fast-speed train.” The public back home overwhelming approved of Abe’s overtures, although some found his charm offensive — at a time when Trump seemed to be offending world leaders left and right — to be deferential. Regardless, the courtship appears successful. The two nations released a joint statement that addressed many of Japan’s concerns on security and economic matters. Sasae said the declaration contained “all the essential elements to support Asia-Pacific securiSee j apan • page 18 THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | May 2017 | 17
Photo: By 内閣官房内閣広報室 - 平成28年11月17日 トランプ次期米国大統領との会談 / CC BY 4.0
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and President Donald Trump meet at Trump Tower in New York on Nov. 17, 2016, shortly after Trump’s election victory.
Japan Continued • page 17
ty and the bilateral alliance.” The U.S. pledged “unwavering” support to defend Japan “through the full range of U.S. military capabilities, both nuclear and conventional.” It also affirmed that America’s mutual security treaty covered the Senkaku Islands, which are also claimed by China and Taiwan, and opposed “any unilateral action that seeks to undermine Japan’s administration of these islands.” The statement also urged North Korea to abandon its nuclear and ballistic missile programs and warned it not to take any further provocative actions. The ambassador called the North Korea challenge “very acute” and said “we are basically in agreement with the United States to step up deterrence.” Likewise, Sasae said Japan supports increased American military preparedness in the region to send a strong message to China that it cannot unilaterally build on disputed territory in the South China Sea. At the same time, he said that Japan welcomes “the peaceful rise of China” and wants to engage the communist leadership “because nobody is willing to make an enemy out of China.” To confront regional threats, Sasae pledged that Japan would do its part by investing in military resources and increasing cooperation with the U.S. Abe has long sought to rewrite Japan’s World War II-era constitution and expand its armed forces, which are restricted to a purely self-defensive role, into a more conventional army. To that end, Abe has been steadily boosting the country’s defense systems. Reuters also recently reported that Japan plans to send its largest warship on a three-month tour through the South China Sea beginning in May — its biggest show of naval force in the region since World War II. In addition, lawmakers have
been debating whether Japan could launch a pre-emptive missile strike on North Korea if threatened by an attack. On the economic front, the joint statement released during Abe’s visit pointed out that the U.S. and Japan represent 30 percent of the world’s gross domestic product and cited the need for “free and fair trade,” vowing to set “high trade and investment standards.” It acknowledged the U.S. withdrawal from the TPP, but said the two nations would still seek to accomplish shared objectives. “This will include discussions between the United States and Japan on a bilateral framework.” Sasae said Japan has not abandoned its support for the TPP but concedes that the Trump government views it very differently. The sweeping accord sought to remove trade barriers among 12 Pacific-Rim nations, including the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Japan and Australia, that together represent around 40 percent of global output and a third of world trade. After years of delicate negotiations, Trump withdrew from the pact shortly after taking office, making good on a campaign promise to blue-collar American workers who feared the deal would take away jobs (also see “After U.S. Withdrawal from TransPacific Partnership, Now What?” in the April 2017 issue of The Diplomat). Free trade advocates criticized the move, arguing that American businesses will lose out on tariff-free access to the fastest-growing region in the world, while China gains an opening to cement its economic dominance. But Trump counters that he can negotiate better deals one on one with nations. Sasae said Japan is ready to listen to the administration’s views on trade, although it believes the fundamentals of TPP are solid. “We believe the geostrategic thrust of TPP is relevant today and in the future,” he said. “The question is, how do you combine this strategic component of TPP together with a possible American bilateral approach, and I don’t
18 | THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | May 2017
Credit: DoD photo by Sgt. Jess Williams, U.S. Army
Above, service members speak during the opening ceremony of the Yama Sakura bilateral annual exercise between U.S. and Japanese forces in Sendai, Japan, on Dec. 6, 2012. Below, U.S. Marines jump from the back of a U.S. Air Force C-130 Hercules during jump week at Yokota Air Base in Japan on Jan. 11, 2017. Since the end of World War II, Japan and the U.S. have been close military partners — a security partnership that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is keen to preserve. Abe, seen in the bottom photo addressing the U.N. Leaders’ Summit on Peacekeeping, also wants to loosen constraints on Japan’s pacifist constitution so that the country has a more conventional army.
Credit: U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Michael Washburn / www.dvidshub.net
Photo: By NNE - 投稿者が撮影 / CC BY-SA 3.0
Mount Fuji is considered one of Japan’s most iconic landmarks.
think it’s impossible.” Japan and the U.S., in fact, account for over 75 percent of the GDP of TPP member states, and the ambassador noted that there are many bilateral components ingrained into the agreement. Japan was the last country to enter into negotiations, which forced the country to pry open its heavily tariffed agricultural and automotive markets. But those painful compromises are why some experts say a bilateral deal is easier said than done. Japan already made tough concessions to join TPP, which gave it access to 11 markets. It would be reluctant to make those same compromises to access just one market, especially because American carmakers and farmers are likely to
demand more than Japan is willing to offer. Indeed, Sasae said multilateral agreements have certain advantages, including the streamlining of rules among different countries, “because rules are stronger when you have more participants.” On that note, he said TPP could have become a standard-bearer in the region that encouraged China to adhere to a more rules-based system. “When you face the future of Asia-Pacific trade and investment, obviously you can’t exclude the presence of China,” Sasae said. “And their rules are not sufficient. We all know it. So when you have to deal with China in terms of what are the best rules, rules have to be coming from our side.” Japanese trade officials
Photo: UN / Rick Bajornas
have hinted that they hope to salvage the deal with the 11 remaining members, minus the U.S., although Sasae demurred when asked if Japan would pick up the TPP mantle. “We haven’t really come to a decision yet. We agree with the Trump administration that we will enter into an economic dialogue,” the ambassador said, explaining that the U.S.-Japan dialogue will have three pillars: macroeconomic and structural issues; specific sectors such as energy and transportation; and trade and investment. The talks will be
chaired by Japanese Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso and Vice President Pence, who visited Japan and the region in late April. According an April 14 brief by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, “Tokyo views Vice President Pence as a much friendlier figure on bilateral economic issues than other members of the Trump administration. As a U.S. congressman, Pence was supportive of free trade, and as governor of Indiana, he made two trips to Japan to court investment. Indiana has the highest Japanese investment per capita among U.S. states, and Japanese companies employ more than 50,000 workers in Indiana,” wrote scholars Matthew Goodman, Michael Green and Nicholas Szechenyi. “The economic dialogue framework was proposed by the Japanese side, and the Trump administration originally responded by proposing that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and National Trade Council
japan at a Glance Independence May 3, 1947 (current constitution adopted as amendment to Meiji Constitution) Location eastern Asia, island chain between the North Pacific ocean and the Sea of Japan, east of the Korean Peninsula
GDP growth 0.5 percent (2016 estimate) Unemployment 3.2 percent (2016 estimate) Population below poverty line 16.1 percent (2013 estimate)
Capital Tokyo Population 126 million (July 2016 estimate) Ethnic groups Japanese 98.5 percent, Koreans 0.5 percent, Chinese 0.4 percent, other 0.6 percent
Industries Among world’s largest and most technologically advanced producers of motor vehicles, electronic equipment, machine tools, steel and nonferrous metals, ships, chemicals, textiles, processed foods
GDP (purchasing power parity) $4.9 trillion
National flag of Japan
GDP per-capita (PPP) $38,900 (2016 estimate)
PHoTo: By ToSHiNori BABA - owN worK / wiKiMeDiA CoMMoNS CC0
A Japanese shinkansen (bullet train) approaches a station in Tokyo. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has proposed investing in President Trump’s infrastructure plan, including the development of high-speed trains in the U.S.
director Peter Navarro lead for the United States, but Abe prevailed on the president to tap Pence since he would be Aso’s counterpart in protocol terms.” Sasae himself met Pence years ago when he addressed the Japan-America Society of Indiana’s annual gala, which was attended by the then-governor of Indiana. In his remarks, Sasae explained the Abe government’s economic reforms and linked these reforms to the thenemerging Trans-Pacific Partnership, which he called a transformational idea to establish a “21st-century economic order in the AsiaPacific region.” He described the TPP as more than a trade agreement. “TPP opens markets and opens minds. The important thing is mindset.” Sasae saw a lot of America last year. He and his wife Nobuko took a cruise to Alaska. The ambassador attended the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia and the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. These trips allowed him to gauge the electionyear sentiment that so sharply divided the country. In a September speech in St. Louis, he observed that Americans seemed to have turned inward. “This concerns me a great deal,” he said, lamenting that few were defending the importance of America’s global leadership or touting the benefits of international trade. Sasae said U.S. trade with TPP nations resulted in more than 4 million American jobs and boosted the overall economy. Moreover, during the fiveyear period following the 2008 financial crisis, exports contributed to one-third of America’s economic growth. These facts, he said, did not support the narrative that international trade is causing companies to shut factories and shed jobs. And he repeated his conviction that the TPP is not just a trade agreement but also a “strategic blueprint.” Sasae, a veteran diplomat who understands the United States, recognizes that the election of Trump and the birth of his highly unconventional administration have created a new dynamic for Japan and every other country in the world. Sasae’s instinct is to listen intently, watch closely, speak cautiously and make judgments carefully. “There is a new public mood in America and we’re trying to adjust to the new mood. We want to understand America’s role in the world and its new agenda,” he told us. Sasae joined Japan’s foreign ministry in 1974 after he completed his studies at Tokyo University. He studied for a year at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania in 1975 and served at the Japanese Embassy in Washington in the 1980s, with subsequent postings in London and Geneva. Most of his career has been spent in
Tokyo, where he steadily ascended the diplomatic ranks. He served as executive assistant to the prime minister for foreign affairs in 2000; deputy director-general in the Foreign Policy Bureau in 2001; director-general in the Economic Affairs Bureau in 2002; deputy minister for foreign affairs in 2008; and vice minister for foreign affairs in 2010. Sasae became Japan’s ambassador to the United States in 2012. During his time in the United States, he has worked with Japan’s network of 14 consulates, dozens of U.S.-Japan societies and associations, and more than 400 sister-city relationships between the two nations. He has visited communities and met scores of government officials and business leaders. For example, in 2014, when the ambassador traveled to Indiana, he conferred with local leaders and even visited the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He donned a racing suit, drove with race car legend Mario Andretti and touted the exploits of Takuma Sato, a Japanese race car driver. “Now if we could just get a Japanese horse in the Kentucky Derby,” he quipped. On a more serious note, Sasae’s time in Washington has coincided with major events in the bilateral relationship. President Barack Obama visited Hiroshima in May 2016, and Abe traveled to Pearl Harbor in December 2016. Trump has been invited to visit Japan this year. As he explains his nation to Americans, Sasae argues that Japan has made significant progress after more than two decades of stagnant economic growth and mounting debt. He believes Abe’s plan to bolster the Japanese economy through fiscal stimulus, monetary easing and structural reforms — also referred to as “Abenomics” — is bearing fruit, crediting it with, among other things, reducing unemployment and increasing corporate profits. “Everything is relative, but the important economic indicators are positive. There is positive growth but we’re not satisfied. The direction is a sound one. We are confident we will continue to grow. I’m pretty optimistic about the direction of Japan is heading. But reform is an evolving process. There is not an end point for reform,” he said. The ambassador said Japan will focus on structural changes in the economy, including making labor markets more flexible and encouraging women to participate more fully in the economy. He said Japan’s looming demographic challenge is forcing it to think hard about immigration. “There is always a debate in a society about the role of immigrants…. The policy so far is to welcome workers with skills,” he said. Sasae noted that technological advances such as robotics and automation will also prop
up an economy threatened by an aging labor force, as will “unleashing women’s power” by offering working parents better childcare and more maternity leave. “Societal changes are gradually taking shape,” said Sasae, who served in the U.S. in the 1980s at a time when Japan was viewed as America’s economic enemy. Today, the ambassador says ties are dramatically different. While the U.S. still had a nearly $70 billion trade deficit with Japan last year, Japan is the second-largest source of foreign direct investment in the United States, and Japanese auto investment alone supports an estimated 1.5 million American jobs. Speaking in St. Louis last year, the ambassador pointed out that the top five U.S.-made vehicles all come from Toyota or Honda. “I would bet that most people here in the Show Me State do not know that Missouri has a trade surplus
SoUrCe: CiA worLD FACTBooK
of over $200 million. Or that Hoosiers know that Indiana ranks eighth in manufacturing exports compared with the size of its economy,” he told the crowd. “I genuinely hope we do not see a debate in the United States in the years ahead on the question, ‘Who lost Asia?’ If so, its start will be counted from the demise of the TPP agreement.” But the ambassador is careful not to directly criticize Trump for pulling out of the trade accord or questioning the value of alliances Washington has forged over the decades. A polished diplomat, Sasae is more inclined to offer Americans encouragement than advice. When pressed, he gives both: “Keep engaged. We want to see America involved in the world. America is great. It can be even greater.” WD John Shaw is a contributing writer for The Washington Diplomat.
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THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | MAy 2017 | 19
WD | United States
Helping the Helpers Trump Administration Eyes Major Reshuffling of USAID by Anna Gawel and Joseph Hammond
rom the White House’s proposed budget cuts to recent cruise missile strikes in Syria, the Trump administration has been clear that it will place a renewed emphasis on military strength at the expense of diplomacy and development. The focus on hard power over soft power has left the two institutions traditionally responsible for much of U.S. foreign policy — the State Department and USAID — scrambling to read the tea leaves. A proposed 2018 federal budget drafted by the White House calls for as much as a 31 percent reduction in international affairs funding (also see story on page 4). At the same time, it would boost defense spending by $54 billion (roughly the entire international affairs budget for one year) in part to fund new initiatives such as fighting terrorism in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and elsewhere. Former USAID Administrator Andrew Natsios said he finds it interesting that the rationale given by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and others for the drastic cuts is that the U.S. is no longer fighting as many wars. “And then the same day the president ordered the secretary of defense to come up with a plan to destroy ISIS [Islamic State], and that’s what’s called a war plan,” he said, noting that the administration is also considering sending more troops to Afghanistan, in addition to the increased military presence in Syria and Iraq. Natsios spoke at a recent panel event held at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) that considered ways the Trump administration might reorganize U.S. soft power efforts. USAID, which operates in over 100 countries, is set to take a particularly big hit under Trump’s “America first” agenda. On April 24, Foreign Policy magazine revealed a budget document detailing proposals to fold USAID into the State Department and shuffle funds from development assistance to promote national security objectives. According to the article, the agency expects the proposal to force the elimination of 30 to 35 of USAID’s field missions, while cutting regional bureaus by 65 percent. A range of programs would be dramatically slashed in areas such as health and food security, and countries such as Ukraine and many in Central and East Africa would see their aid gutted. The plan would also divert development assistance, which funds 77 countries and regional offices, toward an economic support fund “tied to specific U.S. political or strategic objectives.” Natsios told FP reporters that the move would be “an unmitigated disaster for the longer term,” predicting that, “We will pay the price for the poorly thought-out and ill-considered organi-
20 | THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | May 2017
Photo: WorldFish Bangladesh / Balaram Mahalder
A mother dries fish in the village of Bahadurpur in Bangladesh. Traditional fish-drying techniques yielded lower prices on the market. USAID and WorldFish trained workers to produce higher-quality dried fish to earn more income.
Cuts can always be restored. In fact, they will be restored. I don’t care what anyone tells you. We will have a robust foreign aid program because we’re a great power. We are in the world whether we want to be or not. Andrew NatsioS, former USAID administrator
zation changes that we’re making, and cuts in spending as well.” At the same time, Natsios was sanguine about the potential changes that USAID faces at the CSIS talk. He pointed out that the cuts will encounter stiff resistance on the Hill, and that the agency has been a perennial source of debate over the effectiveness of foreign aid since its inception in 1961. Natsios, who is now with the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University, served as USAID administrator from 2001 to 2006, managing reconstruction programs in Afghanistan, Iraq and Sudan. He argued that Trump’s proposed cuts don’t necessarily warrant the hysteria sweeping Washington, but he disagreed with the president’s vision to dramatically upend USAID and defended his former agency against the withering criticism it routinely comes under. Natsios admitted that there is waste and inefficiency in the sprawling USAID bureaucracy, telling the CSIS audience that “frankly you could make a 10 percent cut in our aid programs and
it would not damage our aid programs and might even help in some cases.” He pointed out that budget cuts are often political decisions taken by both parties, and that aid budgets naturally fluctuate, sometimes rapidly, over time. Moreover, he doubts many of Trump’s proposed cuts will pass muster in Congress. “Cuts can always be restored. In fact, they will be restored. I don’t care what anyone tells you. We will have a robust foreign aid program because we’re a great power,” he said. “We are in the world whether we want to be or not.” He added: “A 31 percent cut is draconian to say the least, but, far more important in my view, is not the budget. It is the reorganization of the management of our aid programs.” On that note, Natsios called this a decisive moment in the history of America’s development efforts. He said change is good, but only if it is done incrementally and wisely — warning that Trump’s plans to gut USAID could have long-lasting repercussions. “There are rumors that there is a plan
afloat to close perhaps 50 percent of USAID missions abroad and cut staff in some of the central bureaus by 50 to 75 percent. We went through a similar aid reorganization exercise in the 1990s,” Natsios said, recalling when the U.S. Information Agency was scaled back and merged with the State Department. “I think about 400 senior officers retired forcibly. And we closed eight missions.” Natsios noted that 60 percent of USAID officers today have less than five years of experience under their belts. And with a slew of senior officers being pushed out the door, that leaves the agency bereft of competence and expertise. “If these cuts and reorganization decisions are made imprudently, they will be restored in later years but at great cost in institutional cohesion and effectiveness. The damage done institutionally in aid in the 1990s took many years to repair and severely hampered our early efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan reconstruction,” he argued, noting that USAID had to eventually bring in a large number of retired officials to deploy into both warzones. Natsios disagrees with the fundamental premise of Trump’s argument that centralization leads to greater effectiveness. In fact, he says Washington should loosen institutional constraints on USAID, not tighten them. Natsios says that while it would be helpful to consolidate the government’s various development functions into one independent department, he supports decentralizing power and decision-making to field offices, where See USAID • page 22
United States | WD
Divisive Pipelines Environmental Protests Spill Beyond Controversial Dakota Access, Keystone Projects by Brendan L. Smith
ven though President Trump expedited approval of the Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines as part of a larger bid to unravel Barack Obama’s environmental legacy, indigenous activists and environmentalists say their fight isn’t over, with lawsuits filed to block the Keystone XL pipeline and protests against other pipeline projects spreading across the United States and Canada. “Dakota Access has fueled a global movement of resistance against the fossil fuel economy,” Tom Goldtooth, executive director of the nonprofit Indigenous Environmental Network, told The Diplomat. “We know people are starting to make the link that the U.S. and the world needs to find real solutions to the climate crisis.” But environmentalists face a tough road ahead of them under a determined new administration that doesn’t believe a climate crisis exists — let alone that the government should tackle it. The president’s proposed fiscal 2018 budget would slash funds for the Environmental Protection Agency by 31 percent and eliminate climate change-related programs throughout the government (see story on page 4). Trump also wants to dismantle Obama’s signature climate achievement, the Clean Power Plan to cut carbon pollution from power plants, making it likely that the U.S. will fail to meet its carbon-reduction pledges as part of the landmark Paris climate deal. Above all, Trump has called for fewer regulations and more fossil fuel drilling to boost the country’s energy independence, bring back coal mining jobs and free American businesses from restrictions that conservatives say stifle economic growth. But critics point out several holes in Trump’s claims. For one thing, coal mining jobs, which now represent a small fraction of the overall energy sector, are unlikely to make a comeback, having already been lost to market forces and automation. Natural gas, which is cheaper and more abundant, now makes up about a third of the country’s electrical supply. Meanwhile, the cost of renewable energy sources such as wind and solar has dropped dramatically, also making it a more attractive investment for companies. In fact, solar energy now employs more Americans than coal, gas and oil combined. With clean energy jobs outnumbering fossil fuel jobs; a fracking boom that significantly increased America’s oil and gas production (and energy independence); and the price of oil plummeting in recent years, the economic rationale for costly pipelines has changed considerably. Beyond this bottom line, Trump is likely to encounter stiff legal resistance to his environmental plans — and perhaps nowhere is that resistance more visible than the intensely personal fight over building pipelines across America.
‘Water Protectors’ Led by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in North Dakota, thousands of “water protectors” — including Native Americans, environmentalists, veterans and celebrities — filled the Oceti Sakowin camp last year to oppose Energy Transfer Partners’ construction of the final section of the 1,172-mile Dakota Access oil pipeline beneath Lake Oahe near the Standing Rock reservation. They argued it would threaten the reservation’s water supply and sacred burial grounds. After weeks of protests, authorities urged demon-
Photo: Brendan L. Smith
In March, more than 5,000 Native Americans from across the country and their allies marched to the White House to protest the decision to complete the Dakota Access oil pipeline.
Even though the oil and gas industry now has a friend in the White House, there is an unprecedented level of opposition to these dangerous projects, and that level of engagement isn’t going away. Lena Moffitt
director of the Sierra Club’s Dirty Fuels campaign
strators to evacuate their encampments, citing flooding concerns as snow melted. The unarmed protesters faced mass arrests, water cannons and rubber bullets fired by police, and attack dogs unleashed by company security guards. They won a short-lived victory in December when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers required a more detailed environmental impact study for the $3.8 billion pipeline to cross beneath the lake. One month later, Trump squashed that victory. In one of his first acts in office, Trump expedited approval for the Dakota Access pipeline, and it was quickly built beneath Lake Oahe. Trump may have personally profited from his decision because he had invested up to $1 million in Energy Transfer Partners, and he received $103,000 in campaign contributions from its chief executive. A lawsuit filed in February by the Standing Rock Sioux and Cheyenne River Sioux tribes failed to stop the pipeline construction, with the judge saying the tribes were unlikely to succeed in their legal challenge
at this late stage. Energy Transfer Partners has stated that the pipeline should be in operation in April to move oil from North Dakota to an existing pipeline in Illinois. That has angered some North Dakotans, but made others very happy. The state’s once-booming Bakken shale region was losing out to lower-priced rivals in Texas and elsewhere because they had better access to refineries and terminals in the Gulf Coast, according to a March 27 Bloomberg article. Now, instead of shipping crude oil via costlier rail, the pipeline gives North Dakota oil companies a cheaper transport option that will help the state’s oil industry regain its competitiveness. But opponents of the pipeline remain undeterred. In the Native Nations Rise march in March, more than 5,000 Native Americans from across the country and their allies marched to the White House to protest the Dakota Access decision and demand respect for indigenous rights. Another march and rally called the Peoples Climate Movement was scheduled in D.C. on April 29, a week after the March for Science on Earth Day. Goldtooth and other Native American activists also will attend the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in New York in May where they will discuss the Dakota Access pipeline, including alleged violations of Sioux treaty rights and the violent military-style tactics used to evict protesters. The U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples states that indigenous people have the right to restitution or fair compensation for land and resources that have been taken from them without their consent, and that they have the right to conserve and protect the environment on their territory. But like many U.N. initiatives, there is no meaningful enforcement See pipelin es • page 24
THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | May 2017 | 21
geeta Devi, Sumitra Devi and Mina Devi are farmers in the Banka District of Bihar, one of the poorest districts in india. Lutheran world relief, backed by USAiD, is working with 500 women farmers to produce diversified vegetables through innovative farming practices that allow them to sell their produce for higher prices at regional markets.
USAID CoNTiNUeD • PAge 20
local workers should have the discretion to distinguish between what works and what doesn’t. Similarly, other CSIS panelists encouraged Trump to give USAID operatives on the ground more latitude. Such a move would be in keeping with the president’s directives elsewhere. For example, under Trump, the CIA has been given more leeway to conduct drone strikes and counterterrorism operations. “USAID used to be the most decentralized agency in the world, but it is now probably the most centralized,” Natsios said, citing studies showing that centralizing aid programs is often a waste of money. He also opposes folding USAID into the State Department, as many Republicans have suggested, arguing that the two entities have completely different structures. “If Secretary Tillerson proposed buying Microsoft and merging it with ExxonMobil, do you know what his board of directors would do? They would fire him,” Natsios quipped. “It is taking two cultures that could not be more unalike and merging them.” Trump’s managerial style also emphasizes getting results quickly. But as Natsios pointed out, government agencies take longer to achieve their foreign policy objectives. Demanding speed and results did not begin with Trump, however. It is a long-standing
Cuts CoNTiNUeD • PAge 4
who think the defense increases are not enough but still want to preserve funding for diplomacy; and moderates who oppose cuts to popular programs such as Pell Grants, Americorps, Meals on Wheels and PBS.
SeLF-iNTereST AND SeCUriTy Despite the bipartisan backlash it has inspired, Trump’s 2018 budget blueprint is a clear sign that he is fulfilling his campaign pledge to embrace a security-first approach that prioritizes defense over diplomacy and development. Critics say that approach is shortsighted, and that Americans get a lot of bang for their buck. They say the 1 percent they spend on diplomacy prevents conflicts from breaking out and helps other nations become stable political and economic partners of the U.S. “For more than 200 years, direct foreign assistance has served as a means to match American military might with the tangible power of our values,” Alicia Phillips Mandaville of the nonprofit InterAction wrote in a policy primer for the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “Foreign assistance is directly in America’s self-interest. We spend this money to keep American citizens safe by reducing the threats of pandemics like Ebola, preventing instability in key regions, and stopping human trafficking, among other important goals. “As the world’s only superpower, the United States benefits more than any other country from global stability,” she added. “Foreign assistance is often deployed to counteract things that we believe may destabilize this system including terrorism, health pandemics like
22 | THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | MAy 2017
PHoTo: Lwr / JAKe LyeLL
policy objective that Natsios argues weakens aid efforts. “What Washington demands is visible, rapid and demonstrable results. They want results in a year — Congress expects it, the White House expects it, State Department expects it, DoD expects it,” Natsios said. “I’m sorry to tell you this, but there’s absolutely no literature in [the field] that says development is principally visible or principally quick. Institutions are what development is about and institution-building takes a long time.” Focusing on one example, Natsios — who has spent eight years preparing a soon-to-be published book on U.S. foreign aid policy — used the history of South Korea to make his point. At the end of the Korean War (1950-53), South Korea was one of the poorest countries in the world. As late as 1958, Natsios explained, a Zika, or refugees and migration.” Mandaville noted that in addition to reducing poverty and improving health and education in developing nations, foreign assistance offers Americans a return on their investment by building the economies of potential consumers around the world. The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), for instance, rewards governments that tackle corruption by investing in large projects, while OPIC enables American businesses to invest in countries that would otherwise be too risky for them. But conservatives argue that many of these programs are wasteful and redundant — and better accomplished through the private sector. “The cut seems dramatic, but comes on the back of more than a decade of expansion during which the foreign operations budget nearly doubled,” James M. Roberts, a research fellow at the Heritage Foundation, wrote in the Daily Signal on March 17. His colleague at Heritage, Jim Carafano, argued that those increases failed to make the world safer. Instead, they funded pet projects that tackled everything from biodiversity to LGBT rights and created a proliferation of special envoys with overlapping missions. “The president’s dramatic budget cut will leave no choice but for the State Department and USAID” to consolidate and cut out the fat, Roberts wrote. Likewise, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson defended the steep cuts, saying that with the U.S. engaged in fewer wars, the current level of spending was simply unsustainable. “It acknowledges that U.S. engagement must be more efficient, that our aid be more effective, and that advocating the national interests of our country always be our primary mission,” he wrote in a letter to State employees. “Additionally, the budget is an acknowledgment that development needs are a global challenge to be met not just by contributions from See c u t s • PAge 54
third of the country was acutely malnourished. Today, South Korea is the 13th-largest economy in the world, but it took nearly two decades and millions of dollars of U.S. aid to help achieve that transformation. An emphasis on quarterly or even annual results like the kind required today would have been detrimental to South Korea’s evolution into one of the world’s most vibrant economies. “South Korea would be like North Korea today if that happened in the 1960s,” Natsios said. In fact, the former USAID administrator suggested that the agency needs to brag about its successes more often to counter the narrative that it is a bloated, impotent bureaucracy. For instance, another long-term USAID campaign was the Green Revolution, which saw global agricultural production increase in the developing world between 1930 and 1970 thanks to new technologies and high-yield crops. The term “green revolution” itself was popularized in 1968 by former USAID Director William Gaud. For all the success stories, Natsios admits that there have been plenty of failures. At the same time, he contends that USAID is held to a different standard than other government agencies. For instance, when the Defense Department loses a war or the CIA puts out inaccurate intelligence, their budgets aren’t slashed and no one talks about abolishing them altogether. “The federal government is a human institution constructed by people who are flawed,” he said. “I think we should look at aid programs as a venture capital fund which is predicated on the assumption that some investments will succeed and some fail but successes will raise the bottom line to make the fund profitable.” However, that does not mean taking on every project imaginable, Natsios cautioned. “We should give up on utopian schemes that are unachievable because when we fail, USAID will be called an ineffective agency.” Rather, Natsios said aid programs should be broadly tied to America’s national interests — an approach that would resonate with Trump’s preference for hard power. Natsios criticized the Obama administration for narrowing USAID’s mission to focus exclusively on extreme poverty reduction. He says international development should instead be geared toward combating the threats and challenges Americans face — and there are a multitude of them, from Russia and North Korea to terrorism and pandemics. “We will face a rising threat from disease and pandemics,” Natsios predicted, noting that the 1918 Spanish influenza pandemic infected one-third of the world’s population. “We’ve lost touch with that. You saw what happened with a little Ebola? [Imagine] the mass panic of a real pandemic. “The best place to combat a pandemic is not at the borders but at the source, and 75 percent of all pandemics in the last 30 years are zoonotic diseases that mutate into people,” he added, arguing that this an area where development aid is essential. Other interrelated threats that development programs tackle include deforestation, illegal narcotics, globalization, the migration crisis, terrorism, civil wars, population growth in poor countries and even changing diet patterns, in which people eat more protein, straining food supplies. “We as Americans are not worried about
this, but the fact is that we have to increase, at a minimum, the world food supply by 50 percent in the next 33 years,” he estimated. “There is no way it is going to happen.” That in turn could spark widespread conflict. “Food cannot be detached as a humanitarian issue. It is a geostrategic issue of profound importance. We may be the most powerful food-producing country in the world but that doesn’t mean our allies are, because they’re not. And countries with large land armies that cannot feed their populations, they do very bad things.” There is evidence that some in the Trump administration recognize the usefulness of development in combating global threats. While many Republicans complained that the international affairs budget unduly increased under Obama, with little to show for it, it is difficult to determine how committed Trump will be to implementing the cuts he has proposed. One example of this uncertainty is the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). The program was started by former President George W. Bush to tackle the HIV/ AIDS epidemic and has provided life-saving antiretroviral treatment to over 11.5 million HIV-infected people, mostly in Africa. According to the New York Times, the Trump team sent a questionnaire to State Department employees as part of the presidential transition asking questions such as: “Is PEPFAR worth the massive investment when there are so many security concerns in Africa?” and “Is PEPFAR becoming a massive, international entitlement program?” At the same time, Vice President Mike Pence was an early supporter of the program, and Tillerson praised PEPFAR during his confirmation hearing. So perhaps it’s no surprise that one notable exception to Trump’s proposed budget cuts was PEPFAR, which was spared the ax. Indeed, panelists agreed that some of the changes under Trump are likely to be cosmetic. Talk of “poverty reduction,” for instance, will be replaced with “economic growth.” In fact, rather than an existential crisis, some in development circles see the cuts as an opportunity. “Whenever you talk about structural reform, it’s very scary…. [But] this is something that people have been looking at for decades,” said Beth Tritter, a former vice president at the Millennium Challenge Corporation. James Kunder, another former USAID official, offered his view on how USAID should be restructured. He believes the organization should be formatted around three different bureaus. One bureau would focus on international cooperation, public-private partnerships and similar cooperative efforts. Another bureau would focus solely on crisis amelioration. This bureau would handle everything from countering violent extremism to humanitarian disasters. The third would be a sort of policy laboratory where new ideas would be tested in the field and where USAID officials would learn from facts on the ground. Whatever USAID winds up looking like under Trump, panelists agreed that reform is overdue because foreign aid itself is constantly evolving. “This may be a harsh criticism … [but] sometimes the sectorial programs of USAID operate as though it’s still 1956 and what the U.S. is doing in health or education is the only game in town,” Kunder said. But today, development is shaped by the private sector, trade and investment, NGOs, foundations, local partners and other nations such as China — dynamics that demand a re-evaluation, regardless of Trump’s budget cuts. “I know it’s threatening … but it is an opportunity for the development community and specifically USAID to take a good, hard look at itself,” he said. “If we were designing a USAID today, what would it look like?” That’s the question everyone in Washington will be grappling with very soon. WD Anna Gawel is the managing editor of The Washington Diplomat. Joseph Hammond is a freelance writer in Washington, D.C.
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Pipelines Continued • page 21
to compel governments to act, and the Dakota Access pipeline is, legally and physically speaking, a done deal at this point.
Keystone Battle Drags On Protests have shifted now to the Keystone XL pipeline, which hasn’t yet been built and still needs a crucial permit from the Nebraska Public Service Commission even though Trump expedited federal approval by the State Department. In response to Trump’s decision, the company behind Keystone, TransCanada, said it would drop a $15 billion lawsuit filed under NAFTA that claimed the Obama administration’s blocking of the pipeline was unconstitutional and “based on an arbitrary political calculation.” The Keystone XL pipeline — which would connect tar sands oil mining sites in Alberta, Canada, to an existing pipeline in Nebraska and then transport it to refineries along the Gulf Coast — did indeed become a highly charged (some say overhyped) symbol in the political debate over climate change. Obama said approving Keystone XL would have undercut America’s leadership in the fight against climate change. That’s partly because tar sands oil extraction is the “most carbonintensive source of oil on the planet” that devastates pristine lands through strip mining and toxic tailings ponds, said Lena Moffitt, director of the Sierra Club’s Dirty Fuels campaign. Transportation of heavy tar sands oil also is dangerous because it sinks in water if there is a pipeline spill, making it almost impossible to clean up, she added. “Tar sands are really the worst of the worst,” Moffitt told The Diplomat. “From a climate change perspective, science is telling us we need to reduce our reliance on conventional fossil fuels, and tar sands are incredibly dirty sources of oil.” Opponents also contend that while the Keystone project would generate thousands of temporary jobs, the amount of permanent jobs would be minimal (barely a few dozen). In addition, the pipeline was planned when America was dependent on other countries for its energy supply and the price of oil was high. Neither holds true today, with the U.S. now producing enough energy to export its own oil and gas. Industry analysts concede that because of the sharp dip in oil prices, tar sands projects are no longer as lucrative as they once were, although they point out that the price of oil is expected to rebound once Keystone becomes operational. So the seven-year debate rages on, with the embattled pipeline now facing more legal challenges. The Sierra Club, Bold Alliance and other environmental groups filed a federal lawsuit in Montana in
Photo: By Pax Ahimsa Gethen - Own work / Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 4.0
Protesters march in solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in North Dakota to fight the Dakota Access pipeline in November 2016. A lawsuit filed in February by the Standing Rock Sioux and Cheyenne River Sioux tribes failed to stop the final stretch of pipeline construction.
March claiming the State Department’s environmental impact study was incomplete and didn’t address the pipeline’s threats to the climate, water resources and local communities. In the permit review process for the Keystone XL pipeline, the Nebraska Public Service Commission has allowed the Sierra Club, Bold Alliance, other environmental groups, two Native American tribes, labor unions and 93 landowners along the proposed pipeline route to join in the litigation. A public hearing is scheduled in August with a final order expected in September. Trump has said he would call Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts, a fellow Republican who supports the pipeline, to move the project forward, but the governor doesn’t control the independent commission’s five elected members. Supporters of the project are fighting back as well, trying to dispel what they say are rampant myths and misconceptions. In a Jan. 26, 2017, editorial, Bloomberg argued that environmentalist warnings about the project are exaggerated. “Given that Keystone would be built to the latest safety requirements, it would be less spill-prone than the tens of thousands of miles of older pipelines that crisscross the U.S.,” the editorial pointed out, noting that this advantage holds true for the Dakota Access pipeline as well. Moreover, while oil sands extraction does produce more greenhouse gas emissions, technology and other environmental programs, such as Alberta’s carbon tax, are helping to offset this problem. “Finally, many environmentalists argue that pipelines such as Keystone only encourage the further extraction and use of fossil fuels, which contribute to global warming. Regardless of whether this will prove to be true, the reality is that there aren’t enough sources of clean energy to meet the world’s needs. And to protect against price
24 | THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | May 2017
Photo: Office of the President of the United States
President Donald Trump signs a presidential memorandum to advance the construction of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines on Jan. 24, 2017, keeping a longstanding campaign promise to promote the development of fossil fuels.
shocks, it is preferable for the U.S. to get its oil from domestic sources or from friendly neighbors like Canada,” Bloomberg wrote. “With or without Keystone, in any case, crude will continue to be extracted from the Alberta oil sands.” That argument, in fact, was used by the State Department in its assessment, which found that with or without Keystone, Canada would continue to exploit its tar sands for profit, so a single project like Keystone wouldn’t worsen climate change. But that review was conducted in 2014, when oil was more $100 a barrel. Today, with oil priced at half that amount, oil sands projects have become less profitable — a fact environmentalists are eager to use to make the case that Keystone will, in fact, have a sizable impact on climate change. Environmentalists are also hoping to use another tack that might appeal to conservatives: government encroachment. Bold Nebraska, part of the Bold Alliance that fights fossil fuel projects across four Midwestern states, helped organize a coalition opposing the pipeline that included landowners who could lose their property along the
pipeline route through eminent domain proceedings, Bold Nebraska state director Linda Anderson told The Diplomat. “[The protest] is able to span across the entire political spectrum,” she said. “We’re bringing in environmental hippies and scientists and people who lean a little more to the right and don’t believe their land should be taken by a private company or from the U.S.”
Moving Further Afield Inspired by the massive Dakota Access protests, Native American activists, environmentalists and ranchers also have demonstrated against the 148-mile Trans-Pecos Pipeline that would transport fracked natural gas to Mexico through the Big Bend region of Texas. Protesters chained themselves to bulldozers to block the construction, but those protests have dwindled since the pipeline has been completed and received federal approval to transport natural gas across the Mexican border. The pipeline is owned by Texasbased Energy Transfer Partners,
which also owns the Dakota Access pipeline. A much larger protest led by the First Nations tribes of Canada has coalesced over government approval last year for construction of Kinder Morgan Inc.’s Trans Mountain Expansion pipeline, which would link tar sands in Alberta to Vancouver on the Pacific Coast following the route of an existing company pipeline. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said government approval of the $5 billion pipeline was based on rigorous scientific debate and “will not be swayed by political argument, be they local or regional or national.” But protesters see hope from a past victory in the rejection of Enbridge Inc.’s similar Northern Gateway oil pipeline. After 18 lawsuits, a Canadian appellate court overturned approval for the project because it said the government’s consultation with indigenous people was “brief, hurried and inadequate.” Oil companies also face looming questions about the profitability or long-term sustainability of building so many tar sands pipelines given the low price of oil, demands to address climate change and advances in alternative energy. Some companies have decided that tar sands oil doesn’t make economic sense, with dozens of projects delayed or canceled in the Alberta region. That has put Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau in a quandary. On the one hand, the Liberal Party leader was voted into office in part with support from environmentalists. On the other hand, Canada is home to the world’s third-largest crude reserves and tumbling oil prices have hurt the nation’s economy, pressuring Trudeau to bring in new revenue streams. “I’ve said many times that there isn’t a country in the world that would find billions of barrels of oil and leave it in the ground while there is a market for it,” Trudeau said last year in justifying approval of the Kinder Morgan pipeline. But the world needs do exactly that and leave most oil reserves, especially carbon-intensive Canadian tar sands, in the ground to slow the devastating effects of climate change, according to scientific research. Even though protesters failed to stop the Dakota Access pipeline, that resistance movement has inspired action against other fossil fuel projects, said Moffitt of the Sierra Club. “Even though the oil and gas industry now has a friend in the White House, there is an unprecedented level of opposition to these dangerous projects, and that level of engagement isn’t going away,” she said. WD Brendan L. Smith (www.brendanlsmith.com) is a contributing writer for The Washington Diplomat.
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Education a Special Section of The Washington Diplomat
Students walk on the campus of Johns hopkins School of advanced international Studies in d.c. Johns hopkins is among 17 universities nationwide that filed an amicus brief in support of legal actions to stop president Trump’s executive order banning travelers from six predominantly Muslim nations. phoTo: Kaveh Sardari / JohnS hopKinS univerSiTy
Hard Lesson in Exclusion Trump’s Travel Ban May Have Chilling Effect on International Student Enrollment •
by STephanie KanoWiTz
y now, we’ve all heard the stories of students unable to return to the United States after President Donald Trump’s hastily issued Executive Order 13769 on Jan. 27 barring travelers from seven largely Muslim countries from entering the United States.
For instance, there was the Sudanese Stanford University student who was detained at JFK International Airport in New York, and an Iranian Ph.D. candidate at Yale University who was left stranded in Dubai. We also know about the replacement order, 13780, which Trump signed March 6 and which removed Iraq from the original list of affected countries — Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. And we know about the legal actions taken against both travel bans that have blocked their enforcement. But what we don’t know is what residual effect they will have on American universities.
“We’re still unraveling exactly what the damage is or will be,” said Jill Welch, deputy director for public policy at the National Association of International Educators (NAFSA). “What the schools are also reporting is that it’s not just the six or seven countries. Other students are concerned they’ll be next, and they’re also concerned about what other policies might be put into place.” Titled “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States,” Trump and his team say the ban is a necessary See Travel Ban • page 26
THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | MAy 2017 | 25
George Mason University students attend a neural engineering lab. Educators are particularly concerned that President Trump’s travel ban will harm STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) studies at U.S. universities.
Travel Ban Continued • page 25
measure to prevent terrorist attacks. “Three of these nations are state sponsors of terrorism,” U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has said in defending the controversial order. “The other three have served as safe havens for terrorists … countries where governments have lost control of their territory to terrorist groups like ISIL [Islamic State] or al-Qaeda and its affiliates.” The administration has offered scant evidence, however, as to why Photo: Creative Services / George Mason University the seven (now six) barred nations national security is of the utmost imAlthough the revised order clariposeevery a particular or why your NOTE: Although effort is threat made — to assure ad is free spelling portance, the of banmistakes presents in a threat to and fies that current visa and green card other nations whose citizens have content it is ultimately up to the customer to make the final proof. holders are exempt from the ban, it been involved in attacks on U.S. soil the U.S. higher education system. Already, the number of internastill prevents new visas for the six na(such as Saudi Arabia and Pakistan) The first two faxed changes will be made at no cost to the advertiser, subsequent changes were excluded. The White House tional students applying to Ameri- tions from being issued. Moreover, educational down the lingering air of uncertainty over will be billed also at afaces rate the of $75 per task faxed Signed ads areinstitutions consideredisapproved. difficult of alteration. proving can in court that the order does not con- by 40 percent for fall 2017, according Trump’s immigration policies is forcto aany survey by the American ing many international students to Please check this ban ad on carefully. Mark changes to yourAssociaad. stitute a blanket one religion. In addition to suspending entry of tion of Collegiate Registrars and Ad- rethink their options. Respondents to Officers (AACRAO). Not the AACRAO survey cited concerns thesign six predominantly Muslim nations missions If the ad is correct and fax to: (301) 949-0065 needs changes for 90 days, the order has put the entire surprisingly, the largest decline came that the U.S. was becoming less welU.S. refugee resettlement on from the Middle East. Researchers coming to foreigners and fears that The Washington Diplomat (301) program 933-3552 hold for 120 days until more extreme also found a dip in applicants from Trump might introduce additional India and China, which currently visa restrictions in the future. vetting can be put into place. make up nearly 50 percent of inter“The key thing here is the trickApproved __________________________________________________________ national student enrollment in the le-down effect of this ban on other Changes ___________________________________________________________ Threat to Higher U.S. (On the flip side, 35 percent of Muslim-dominant countries is quite ___________________________________________________________________ schools reported an increase in in- significant,” said Rahul Choudaha, Education ternational applications, while 26 principal researcher and chief exEducation experts say that although percent reported no change.) ecutive officer of DrEducation, a
I N T E R NAT I O NA L LEADERSHIP LEARN MORE
U.S.-based global higher education research and consulting firm. “Many students, especially at the master’s level, are driven by opportunities, opportunities like internships, [to] get some work experience before they consider going back. If the whole policy rhetoric is moving toward an anti-immigrant and antiinternational student approach, then it can raise concerns about finding those experiential opportunities.” During the 2015-16 school year, more than 15,450 students and 2,100 scholars from the six targeted countries studied and conducted research at U.S. universities, according to the Association of Public and Landgrant Universities. Iran sent more than 12,000 students to U.S. universities for the 2015-16 year — more than any other country on the list, the Institute of International Education (IIE) reports. Nationwide, international students make up only 5 percent of U.S. college enrollments, but as IIE notes, that still totals around 1 million students. Moreover, NAFSA found that these students — many of them graduate students in electrical engineering and computer science — contributed almost $33 billion to the U.S. economy last year and created or
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26 | THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | May 2017
supported more than 400,000 U.S. jobs. One more statistic to consider: Nearly a quarter of the founders of the $1 billion U.S. startup industry first came here as international students, according to the National Foundation for American Policy. That’s why in February, 17 American universities, including all eight Ivy League schools, filed a legal challenge to Trump’s order, arguing that it endangers “their goals of educating tomorrow’s leaders from around the world.” Beyond hurting their bottom line, universities fear the ban could put them at a disadvantage in the global race to attract top minds in science, technology, business, medicine and other critical fields. Indeed, other countries are becoming more competitive for international students. For instance, international student enrollment in China grew by 11 percent last year. Others are actively wooing international students. Canada offers study as a pathway to citizenship and is providing over $100 million to attract top international scientists and innovators. And still others have built an international focus into their education policies. For example, Europe’s Bologna Process allows students in 50 countries to easily cross borders to Photo: The George Washington University study. The George Washington University brought in “Knowledge is certainly not some$192.6 million from international students during thing that is contained to borders,” the 2015-16 school year. Welch said. “When these kinds of things [bans] happen and it sends a shockwave around the world of concern about whether America has lost its identity as a nation that has welcomed immigrants, it causes this effect at a very time when other countries are competing and marketing to and creating immigration policies around making sure that they attract students.”
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While the chilling effect is very real, it’s also true that there’s a part of America that’s working very, very, very hard to ensure that we remain open…. We need policies that acknowledge what kind of nation we are. Jill Welch
deputy director for public policy at the National Association of International Educators
Impact on Washington
In Washington, international students are a vital part of not only the higher education community, but also the general economy. They bring in $438 million a year, and that’s not just in tuition, but also housing and spending, and they support or create about 5,000 jobs, a NAFSA report states. The George Washington University (GWU) alone brought in $192.6 million from international students during the 2015-16 school year. This area is comparable to Boston in terms of the high concentration of top-ranked universities, Welch said, and the international student population is crucial. Many of them have schools of foreign policy that cater specifically to an international population. “Generations of foreign policy leaders have always agreed that one of the greatest foreign policy assets we have are international educational exchanges,” Welch said. “If we were to lose out on particularly a whole region of people being interested in studying in the U.S. or shrinking dramatically due to the chilling effect of the executive orders, you would see a real long-term deficit in relationship building for foreign policy. The same is true for trade. Business relationships often benefit down the road from the ties and the cultural understanding that’s built between students while they’re here at the graduate or undergraduate level.” Washington-area universities began reaching out to students shortly after Trump signed the first executive order. GWU reported in January that the first ban affected 73 of its students, while 21 American UniverSee Travel Ban • page 32
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THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | May 2017 | 27
WD | Education | Diplomacy
Training U.S. Diplomats Foreign Service Institute Prepares Government Workers for Global Careers •
by Mindy C. Reiser
triding across the grassy expanse in boots and backpacks or chatting animatedly in small groups around a cafeteria table, tomorrow’s U.S. ambassadors meet with today’s diplomats to train and prepare for their careers.
Joining these Foreign Service Officers in Arlington, Va., at the George P. Shultz National Foreign Affairs Training Center — home of the Foreign Service Institute (FSI) — are men and women from a wide array of U.S. government agencies (some 47) whose professional assignments include a foreign affairs component. This bucolic-looking enclave, roughly 10 minutes by shuttle from State Department headquarters in Foggy Bottom, is home to an array of courses touching on the many issues — from the recondite to the pragmatic — that are integral to a career in foreign affairs. FSI offers over 800 courses, with nearly 600 directly on campus and 275 available via distance-learning platforms open to government workers posted overseas. Courses range in length from one day to two years and cover topics spanning technology and crisis management to “lessons learned” from past diplomatic case studies. According to the latest State Department figures, some 1,500 to 2,000 students are at the facility daily, engaged in classroom lectures, discussions and seminars, library research and language study (some 70 languages are taught there). The combination of on-campus and distance-learning courses brings the total annual FSI enrollment to 170,000. The busy Arlington learning nexus, which debuted in October 1993, owes its existence to the determined efforts of George P. Shultz when he served as secretary of state under President Ronald Reagan. Formal training for U.S. diplomats began in 1907 with the creation of the Consular School of Application and then developed piecemeal with the establishment of the Wilson Diplomatic School in 1909. It was not until 1947 that World War II hero and then-Secretary of State George C. Marshall established the Foreign Service Institute. In its early years, the institute was housed in space leased in two office buildings in Rosslyn, Va., but the arrangement was increasingly seen as inadequate to meet the department’s training needs. Shultz, who had extensive experience in the academic and business worlds, believed that a real home for diplomatic training was essential. After a long push by Shultz and his successors, the For28 | THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | May 2017
Photo: U.S. State Department
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton holds a ribboncutting ceremony for the newly expanded George P. Shultz Center at the Foreign Service Institute on June 18, 2010. The 72-acre site in Arlington, Va., seen at left, offers over 800 courses, both on campus and online. Photos: Bill Stewart
eign Service Institute secured the resources to purchase its current 72acre site in Arlington. Today, the institute is a touchstone in the careers of America’s Foreign Service Officers, as well as thousands of government officials from all walks of life whose jobs require foreign affairs expertise. Barbara K. Bodine is an FSI alumna who served as ambassador of Yemen and is now director of the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy at Georgetown University. She said FSI embodies “campus, community and continuity,” bringing together people of all backgrounds, from security to office management to
consular services. “Everyone is wandering around … all there together,” she said, noting that Foreign Service Officers “keep going back there” throughout their careers. Former U.S. Ambassador Ruth Davis was one of those people. Over the course of her 40-year career with the State Department, she served both as director of FSI and directorgeneral of the Foreign Service (the first African American to hold both posts). She told us that she routinely returned to FSI to brush up on her language skills (French, Italian and Spanish) and take courses on subjects such as crisis management, retirement planning and computer
skills. As FSI director, Davis said she focused on making the Foreign Service more diverse, and she praised FSI’s emphasis on diversity awareness as “particularly important in encouraging Foreign and Civil Service personnel to understand and value equal opportunity and inclusion for … all races, ethnicities, ages, genders and service-disabled veterans.” Like diplomacy itself, the Foreign Service Institute has evolved over its 70 years of existence. Ambassador Nancy McEldowney, FSI’s director since 2013, calls the institute “the engine of American diplomacy.” McEldowney, who earlier served
as president of the National Defense University, said the emergence of non-state actors and the erosion of the post-World War II international architecture have complicated the work of diplomats. “In just a few short years, we have witnessed the rise of numerous regional powers (such as Brazil and Turkey) determined to extend their reach, along with the emergence of non-state actors using extraordinary wealth and influence both for philanthropic purposes (such as the Gates Foundation) and for destructive ones (global trafficking and terrorist networks),” she wrote in a prescient summer 2015 World Affairs article titled “Fast Forward: US Diplomacy in an Untethered World.” “We are also experiencing a new and wholly unprecedented capacity of individuals to use social media to shape actions by millions of others, which in turn is shifting how many perceive authority and define allegiance,” she added, referring to the ability of Facebook and Twitter to mobilize protests but also to spread misinformation. And while the threat of nuclear Armageddon receded with the end of the Cold War, the world faces a new constellation of threats. “Cyber attacks, failed states, piracy, environmental collapse, and multinational networks of traffickers and terrorists have piled on top of the more ‘traditional’ but still lethal challenges of ethnic conflict, clashes over resources, and competition for political and military dominance. And,
Photo: U.S. State Department
Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Daniel Russel listens to a question from a student attending the Foreign Service Institute during a session at the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs in Manila on Jan. 20, 2015.
much as we might wish otherwise, we will increasingly be forced to grapple with all of these threats simultaneously,” wrote McEldowney, who served overseas in Turkey, Azerbaijan and Bulgaria. The FSI director went on to identify what she termed “four key lines of diplomatic effort that will be crucial for future success” — which she has worked to incorporate into FSI’s coursework. She called for wider coalition-building to reach out to new partners outside of government, such as civil society, faith communities and private business;
deeper expertise on issues such as corruption and post-conflict stabilization; strategic clarity to keep long-term goals in mind in the face of short-term crises; and broader resilience and risk taking, as more postings abroad are designated “high threat” environments. To adapt to this changing landscape, FSI has introduced new courses, prioritized distance learning, paid increasing attention to diversity and stepped up its focus on management and leadership skills. William Haugh, former dean of the FSI School of Language Studies, agrees
that diplomacy has become increasingly complex, as officials are forced to grasp disparate, nuanced issues such as climate change, terrorism and cybercrime. Davis said the new challenges “are more varied and intense than ever,” citing transnational threats such as nuclear proliferation, regional conflicts and public health crises that require diplomats to “have both the substantive knowledge and leadership and management tools to cope.” These demands, she said, mean that the State Department “must continue to recruit the best and the brightest and must do everything possible to cultivate their talents and grow their capacity. That also means FSI must provide continuous training, sustained across the entire careers of its Foreign and Civil Service personnel.” To do this, the Foreign Service Institute is organized into four schools and one center: the School of Language Studies; School of Professional and Area Studies; School of Applied Information Technology; the Leadership and Management School; and the Transition Center. The School of Language Studies (SLS), with more than 500 instructors and a budget that constitutes a significant percentage of the institute’s overall finances, often seeks out native speakers to serve as instructors. According to Haugh, the languages are selected based on consultations with the State DepartSee FS I • page 30
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FSI Continued • page 29
ment and diplomatic posts around the world. The largest language program at FSI is Spanish, with other popular languages being French, Russian, Arabic and Mandarin. These are the languages that the State Department has determined diplomats must be proficient in to serve in certain overseas postings. Haugh explained that while the study of French, Dutch or Swedish may take six or seven months, “difficult languages” such as Russian, Greek or Hindi may take nine months to a year, while “super hard” languages may take up to two years and include time at an overseas field school in places such as Yokohama, Japan, Seoul, Beijing or Taipei. Advanced study of Arabic, another “super hard” language, is decentralized, with students sent to various locations in North Africa and the Middle East. Language study at FSI is a rigorous endeavor, with some five hours of classroom instruction daily plus an additional five hours of independent study. Classes may be as small as one instructor with four students, and even a oneon-one courses for a less common language. Instructors work to incorporate real-life experiences that students will encounter in their postings, learning to read local newspaper articles, for exam-
phoTo: bill STeWarT
Foreign Service institute students studying the same language often congregate together in the cafeteria.
ple. In the institute’s cafeteria, students studying the same language often share lunch at a communal table, speaking German or Cambodian or Portuguese, with a small country flag or two beside them. Haugh said language ability is viewed by the department as a “strategic asset” and Foreign Service Officers are required to keep their language skills up to date. The School of Professional and Area Studies (SPAS), according to dean Michael Pelletier, is focused on defining the “overarching skills” needed to successfully navigate 21st-century diplomacy. The school provides both general
overviews of a subject and more intensive immersions. Pelletier said it is a challenge to design classes that balance the needs of students with scant knowledge of a particular area with those who have more specialized expertise. In addition to an orientation course, the school provides essential training for several professional career tracks, or “cones,” within the Foreign Service: consular; economic and commercial; management; political; and public diplomacy. More detailed specialties include administration, construction engineering, health, law enforcement and security.
Pelletier said he is particularly excited about the school’s Center for the Study of the Conduct of Diplomacy, which is now three years old. The center uses case studies of American diplomacy — based on interviews with diplomats who were directly engaged in the work, cables, newspaper reports and other sources — to offer students practical lessons learned from past experiences. Another promising new addition is the use of “holodeck” immersive, augmented reality technology, now in pilot testing as part of the institute’s Innovation Lab. FSI Director McEldowney, who launched the Innovation Lab, said the technology enables viewers to experience themselves in a foreign setting — walking, for example, on a street in Aleppo, Syria, or Paris, France. McEldowney told The Diplomat that she is committed to keeping the curriculum fresh and relevant. “We find out what people think, what they are worried about and review our offerings,” she said, and then “eliminate what is obsolete.” To that end, McEldowney launched a “Dialogue on the Diplomacy of Tomorrow,” which will examine how FSI can best incorporate new digital technology. An ongoing concern is strengthening the management and leadership abilities of America’s diplomatic corps. For Davis, it was a special concern, and under her tenure, the Leadership and Management School (LMS) was
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established in 1999. According to Ambassador Barbara Stephenson, former LMS dean and current president of the American Foreign Service Association, “a critical aspect of the school’s training is the promotion of a culture of leadership throughout the Foreign Service.” Courses in the school help develop skills such as developing a country team and organizing a press conference. Meanwhile, the School of Applied Information Technology (SAIT) works across the technological spectrum, providing various levels of computer training and coaching IT experts. The goal is to help diplomats weave technology into their daily routines, ensure they have the latest knowledge of digital trends and act as IT consultants at their respective missions. Another important component in FSI’s evolution is the Transition Center, which helps government employees and family members prepare for their return from an overseas posting. The center addresses many of the practical hurdles diplomats face with courses such as preparing young diplomats for overseas postings, traveling with pets, raising bilingual children, cross-cultural communication and information for singles and couples without children who travel abroad. As part of those efforts, the Center of Excellence in Foreign Affairs Resilience was inaugurated in October
Photo: U.S. State Department
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry drops by a course during his visit to the Foreign Service Institute in Arlington, Va., on March 15, 2013.
2016 to focus on the human side of crisis management, helping workers and their families cope when they return from particularly high-stress environments such as warzones. Despite its steady expansion, FSI faces a number of challenges common to many government agencies. For one, with diplomats in high demand, finding time to take a break from work and enroll in FSI courses is always tricky. Some observers have also called for more FSI training on navigating the byzantine U.S. government inter-
agency bureaucracy. Budget constraints are another perennial concern. Officials at FSI said it was too early to comment on President Trump’s fiscal 2018 budget, which includes deep cuts to the State Department. The budget doesn’t specifically refer to FSI, they said, and it stills needs to work its way through Congress. Asked about the future of FSI under Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, McEldowney (who used to meet weekly with former Secretary of State John Kerry) noted the importance that Exx-
onMobil, where Tillerson served as chairman and CEO, attached to education and training. With a lifetime spent in the corporate world, McEldowney said she was optimistic the new secretary would be supportive of FSI’s education and training mission. Bodine, director of the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy at Georgetown, said there is no one model for training successful diplomats. She also serves as co-chair of the International Forum on Diplomatic Training, which allows diplomatic academies from across the world to meet and compare notes. Some 60 members, including FSI, participate in forums hosted by different countries that highlight distinct themes each year. Last year’s forum in Canberra, Australia, looked at small state diplomacy. Previous forums in Poland and South Africa explored transition governments and emerging countries. Bodine told us that, “There is a little bit of an international brotherhood of diplomats,” whereby they “share a lifestyle” and similar challenges, including the universal frustrations of politics and bureaucracy. “To the extent that we collectively can improve the professionalism of all diplomats, our ability to do our job will be easier,” she said, noting that better-educated diplomats can better find “solutions to problems by raising everyone’s game.” WD Mindy C. Reiser is a freelance writer in Washington, D.C.
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dynamic source of innovative talent suffers.”
What Universities Can Do
Continued • page 27
sity students were affected, according to Washingtonian magazine. “We are an institution that values the contributions of our international students, staff and faculty, and we are deeply committed to interreligious dialogue and providing a context in which members of all faith backgrounds are welcomed and encouraged to practice their faith,” Georgetown University President John J. DeGioia said in a Jan. 29 message. The school established and regularly updates a webpage dedicated to frequently asked questions related to the travel bans to help students navigate this fluid situation. Johns Hopkins University President Ronald J. Daniels referred to his father’s escape from Nazi Germany in 1939 and his childhood in Canada in addressing the first executive order. “In this historic moment, when universities such as ours find our fundamental mission imperiled by an executive order that erodes our core values and the founding principles of the nation, we cannot stand by,” Daniels wrote. Johns Hopkins was one of the 17 universities nationwide that filed an amicus brief in support of legal actions to stop the travel bans. Ángel Cabrera, president of George Mason University in Virginia, penned an opinion piece in the Washington Post on March 21 making the case for open borders in education. “The perception of openness is just as important as the legal reality of openness,” Cabrera wrote. “Whenever the United States is seen as less open and welcoming to people and ideas, this
A lot of the potential fallout from these orders is out of universities’ control, Choudaha said, but there are two main outreach approaches they can take. First, they can get in touch with students from the affected countries — or any country — who have already applied or otherwise expressed interest. “Building confidence in those students is the most important thing a university can control and can do,” Choudaha said. “Explaining to them that whatever is happening at this point in time in the political environment, distilling it down to what’s impactful on the students, is a very important communication approach.” The other tactic is to use alumni as spokespeople for the school. “Leveraging alumni to push out that message with the larger community, which they are connected with, is very important,” he said. “International students, many of them go back [home], but if they are in the U.S., they become a very important adviser.” International students are vital to U.S. universities for three main reasons, NAFSA’s Welch explained. First, they expose American students to other cultures and viewpoints. “International students and scholars are … vitally important to making sure that our American students have exposure to the internationally connected society in which we live,” she said. “Our students are at a complete disadvantage if we don’t have international students in our classrooms.” Second, international students are often the best students in their countries, so their presence here enriches the quality of learning. “If you have U.S. students who aren’t exposed to different perspectives, it leaves the risk of growing up with the idea that America is all there is,” she said.
And third is their economic contribution, Welch added. Beyond helping the local economy, international students’ tuition, which can be three times that of domestic students, helps offset state education budgets, she noted.
Beyond the Classroom What’s more, the effect of the ban could hurt the job market, Choudaha added, because many international students use their study here as an access point to working here, particularly in the engineering and foreign policy fields. “Many students are also coming from diverse countries specifically to study those fields, and if this is happening, it can also affect their employability in the future,” he said. “Students may start questioning their return on investment if these kind of things create a lot more resistance and an unwelcoming stance for a large number of students.” But “we need that kind of global pipeline to really maximize the experience of learning in the classroom and in the workforce,” he added. There’s no doubt that the bans have put universities and both current and prospective students on edge, but there is a domino effect happening that’s only just beginning. Welch said schools will have a better grasp of the impact on enrollment in the fall, when students actually show up for class, but the full results may not be felt for a long time. She applauds the work that universities, colleges, nonprofits, associations, courts and elected officials are doing to stop the ban. “While the chilling effect is very real, it’s also true that there’s a part of America that’s working very, very, very hard to ensure that we remain open,” she said. “We need policies that acknowledge what kind of nation we are.” WD Stephanie Kanowitz is a contributing writer for The Washington Diplomat.
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Acing College Apps As Schools Embrace Holistic Approach, Students Navigate Stressful Process •
by Stephanie Kanowitz
ow do you eat a whale?” Leslie Sargent, a school counselor at D.C.’s Woodrow Wilson High School, asks students who are starting the college application process. That usually gets a lot of blank stares or looks of concern for her sanity, but when she answers herself — “You do it one bite at a time” — the teenagers get it. How do you finish a college application? A little bit at a time.
The college application process has never been easy, but it’s grown more complex in recent years as colleges and universities have shifted to looking holistically at applicants, rather than just at raw data. This means admissions officers are looking not only at test scores, transcripts and grade point averages, but also extracurricular involvement and the content of essays. The number-one way not to get overwhelmed by the task at hand is to start early, experts say. The process begins in your freshman year, said Patrice Arrington, college and career coordinator at Wilson. That’s when grades and class rigor, or level of difficulty (i.e., Advanced Placement classes or International Baccalaureate programs versus standard curricula) begin to be important. During your sophomore year, Arrington recommends visits to colleges to get a sense of what you like or dislike about particular environments. For instance, do you prefer big or small schools, diverse student bodies or a given program of study? Additionally, “we’re asking students even in their sophomore year to get involved,” said Arrington, who brings representatives from about 140 colleges and universities to Wilson each year. “Find a couple of clubs — we don’t need you to be involved in everything — that you’re passionate about and that you’re really going to dedicate your time to.” This will help with that holistic review, she said. In the 11th grade comes prepping for standardized exams such as the SAT, ACT and subject-matter tests. By senior year, often the toughest in terms of workload and rigor, students should be assuming leadership positions in their extracurricular activities to further boost their resumes.
Standing Out from the Crowd Because applications involve more moving parts, students need to make themselves stand out. One way to do that early on is by getting
Experts recommend that to avoid the stress of applying to college, students start the process early and take it one step at a time.
on schools’ radar by requesting information online, visiting campuses or meeting with admissions representatives, said Andrew Belasco, chief executive officer of College Transitions, which has locations in six states and offers remote services. “If there is no contact made, a college may treat you as something called a stealth applicant, and typically regardless of that student’s grades or test scores, if there was no prior contact with the university, the university is much less likely to admit the student because they think they’re less likely to attend if admitted,” Belasco said. And yield rates — or the percentage of accepted students who opt to attend the school — are important to colleges’ and universities’ ranking and revenue. When students are ready to start submitting applications, they must first decide where to send them. To
help students narrow down their options — there are about 5,000 colleges and universities in the United States — Arrington starts by looking at rigor, the transcript, the GPA and test scores to determine target, reach and safety schools. Target schools are places where students have a reasonable shot at acceptance; reach schools are ones that are unlikely but not outside the realm of possibility; and safety schools are those that would easily accept the applicant. Arrington also takes into consideration the kind of school a student wants, the location, their planned major and any financial concerns. “The ideal goal is to make sure that they’re comfortable, make sure they’re academically successful and just in a really great situation,” she said. It’s best to narrow down your choices to eight to 12 schools with one caveat: “You need to want to go
to those schools,” said Diana Blitz, also a school counselor at Wilson. “Every school in a relative way is looking at your transcript and how you challenged yourself. From there, it is test scores,” although some universities are starting to put less emphasis on those. “Over 600 [colleges and universities] are test optional or test flexible because there has been a push to try to get students of color into universities because often really bright, motivated, great candidates don’t necessarily test well, and our data points often to students of color, and colleges are looking to get those really bright kids in there,” Blitz said. One of those schools is the George Washington University (GWU) here in D.C. In 2015, officials decided not to require test scores from most applicants for the See applications • page 34 THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | May 2017 | 33
Applications Continued • page 33
2016-17 school year. As a result, the percentage of first-year students from underrepresented minority groups increased by 33 percent in fall 2016. In total, about 15 percent of the student body comes from abroad and represents 100 countries. “There’s a lot of anxiety associated with this idea that this one test determines where you go to school or how much merit money or scholarship money you might potentially receive,” said Costas Solomou, GWU’s dean of admissions. “We felt there was an opportunity for us to think more holistically in terms of how we evaluate students and what we’re looking for in students.” No one part of the application emerges as the most important now, Solomou added. “That’s the fantastic thing about a holistic review,” he said. “It’s not just about what you accomplish in the classroom, but it’s everything about you as an individual.” GWU’s admissions counselors are assigned to regions of the United States and abroad and work with high schools, counselors, parents and children. They might get to know students over several years before ever reading their applications. “We’re looking for students who are leaders,” Solomou said. “Think about who we are. We are the most politically active institution. We attract really passionate students that are advocating for what is important to them.”
The college application process has never been easy, but it’s grown more complex in recent years as colleges and universities have shifted to looking holistically at applicants, rather than just at raw data. This means admissions officers are looking not only at test scores, transcripts and grade point averages, but also extracurricular involvement and the content of essays. ‘Deadlines Are Deadlines’ Choosing an institution of higher education is stressful. Add to it all the moving parts of the application process, and the process can become nightmarish. A common mistake students make is procrastinating so that they’re either racing to submit materials on time or they miss application deadlines entirely. “That is the absolute kiss of death,” Blitz said. “Colleges have plenty of applicants and now with electronic submission, you can’t really blame the U.S. mail, so we tell kids from the beginning, ‘Deadlines are deadlines.’” Anxiety over acceptance to a particular school is a frequent cause of procrastination, Sargent added. “Some kids are really, really eager to get started and get going and they get frustrated that the rest of us aren’t working as fast as they are, but more kids tend to procrastinate because they’re worried about what might happen — that they might do all the work for an application and not get accepted,” she said. “You don’t know unless you submit an application and try.” Waiting until the last minute to apply has a
ripple effect that students might not fully appreciate. Counselors like Blitz and Sargent and teachers write recommendation letters and without enough lead time, those letters might not be as good as they could be, Blitz said. “Their emergency becomes our emergency,” she said. Another problem, she said, is getting stars out of the eyes of applicants and parents. “It’s challenging at Wilson and at any high school still to get kids and parents to think outside of the schools you hear about in the movies or on TV shows and know there are so many, many goodfit schools for our kids,” Blitz said. “That’s a roadblock that we try to get past.”
Parental Involvement To reduce stress — and teach time management skills — Arrington says students should make a calendar of due dates for essays, applications, tests and other application-related events. Parents could also set aside time each week to review where their children are in the application process and whether they need help. But that help has limits. For instance, Wilson offers
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essay-writing workshops for seniors once a week after school because “we don’t always recommend that parents read it,” Arrington said. “Find some other adult to read your essay, because parents can be like, ‘Oh baby, that sounds good,’ and not be the best critique of that particular essay.” Starting the application process early also helps minimize stress, said Colleen Paparella Ganjian, independent education consultant at DC College Counseling. “When families do start thinking about these things early, it ends up making it much easier in the long run and really helps prevent stress,” Ganjian said. Additionally, parents should understand that what schools look for today might be different from what they wanted when they went to college. “What they used to look for was more of a renaissance man — a student that was good at everything,” Ganjian said. Now, “when these applications just look like a mishmash of random stuff, that will end up hurting the students.” That’s because colleges care more about their overall class profiles. They’re looking for students who shine in one particular area, such as athletics, music or engineering. “The combined force of all these kids is a really impressive class as a whole rather than a bunch of people who do a lot of things but maybe don’t excel at any one of them,” she said. Ultimately, students are in control of their college decisions and should take advantage of the tools available to them to improve grades, get involved, test well and produce outstanding applications. That sense of control is the best way to combat stress. Blitz said. “We really want our students from the time they’re freshmen to really just focus on being great kids and doing well in school and working toward testing well, which is through preparation and just focusing on the things they can control,” she said. WD
Additional Considerations For International Students At Woodrow Wilson High School in Washington, D.C., counselor Diana Blitz is working with an ambassador’s son who has schools in Belgium and Germany on his target list, although his dream is to attend a university in Boston. “He recognizes that in the United States, he’s not going to get federal aid, but his scores are high so he may get merit money from schools who want him there,” Blitz said. Money is only one issue that international students applying to U.S. schools need to think about. “A lot of times, college admissions officers at U.S. universities aren’t very familiar with the curriculum of some of these high schools abroad,” said Andrew Belasco, chief executive officer of College Transitions, where about 30 percent of the clientele consists of international students. “Students could apply and have great grades, but there could still be some concerns about what those grades really mean.” That’s where test scores — Advanced Placement, SAT and ACT — become really important,
he added. They provide data to put everyone on a level playing field. Additionally, U.S. schools such as the George Washington University require international applicants to submit scores on English proficiency exams such as the TOEFL. As far as abilities, though, “we are looking for the same qualities in our international Photo: iStock students” as domestic ones, said Costas Solomou, GWU’s dean of admissions. Students studying in the United States who want to attend schools abroad need to consider that the process is often more streamlined in other countries, said Colleen Paparella Ganjian, independent education consultant at DC College Counseling. For example, the United Kingdom has a single system through which students apply. Additionally, “In schools abroad, it’s really not holistic and much of it is really, really just about numbers,” she said. — Stephanie Kanowitz
Stephanie Kanowitz is a contributing writer for The Washington Diplomat.
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Medical A Special Section of The Washington Diplomat
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Deadly Heat Expect More Warming-Related Fatalities from Climate Change, Study Suggests •
by HealthDay News
Countries need to make plans and design interventions to cope with rising temps
eaths related to extreme heat are expected to keep rising, even if most nations can contain global warming at agreed-upon levels, a new study reports. Nations supporting the 2015 Paris Agreement have pledged to limit global warming to below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above preindustrial levels.
However, extreme heat events are expected to occur ever more often as the 2 degree Celsius limit is approached, researchers said. An analysis of 44 of the 101 most populous “megacities” showed that the number of cities experiencing heat stress doubled with 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 F) of warming, researchers reported. That trend would potentially expose more than 350 mil36 | THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | May 2017
lion additional people to heat stress by 2050, if population continues to grow as expected, the study authors said. “As the climate warms, the number and intensity of heat waves increases,” said lead researcher Tom Matthews. He’s an applied climatologist at Liverpool John Moores University in the United Kingdom. “Research has shown this to be the case for the global warming experienced to date, and our research is the lat-
est to show that we can expect even larger increases as the climate continues to warm,” Matthews said. Even if global warming is halted at Paris goals, the megacities of Karachi, Pakistan, and Kolkata, India, could face annual conditions similar to the deadly heat waves that gripped those regions in 2015. During the 2015 heat waves in those areas, about 1,200 people died in Pakistan and more than 2,000 died in India. These heat waves are particularly threatening to large cities containing lots of heat-absorbing asphalt and concrete, not to mention huge populations, said Dr. Georges Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association. “Most U.S. cities have put in place response plans to address heat waves,” Benjamin explained. “That said, we still have an unacceptable number of premature deaths related to heat waves.” To examine the impact of global warming on human heat stress, the researchers used climate models and looked at how global temperature change could affect heat stress projections in the world’s largest cities. The investigators concluded that it’s likely there will be more land surface area exposed to dangerous heat stress. They also noted that areas already experiencing heat stress will have more frequent and longer heat waves. The United States will not be immune to this global phenomenon, Matthews warned. “Our research does not explicitly focus on [the United States], but in general, if the
As the climate warms, the number and intensity of heat waves increases. Tom Matthews applied climatologist at Liverpool John Moores University
climate continues to warm, North America should expect more frequent and intense heat waves,” Matthews said. “More fatalities could be expected, too,” he added. In 2015, 45 Americans died from extreme heat, according to the U.S. National Weather Service. Overall, more than 9,000 Americans have died from heat-related causes since 1979, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The National Weather Service defines “dangerous” heat as a heat index of about 105 degrees Fahrenheit, said Jennifer Li, senior director of environmental health and disability with the National Association of County and City Health Officials. Protecting people from heat waves will involve precautions that range from infrastructure to community aid, Li and Benjamin said. “Preparing for extreme heat waves includes reviewing building design and refurbishing existing buildings to increase energy efficiency and decrease internal temperatures,” Li said. “Adapting to extreme heat waves can include updating and modernizing the electrical grid to ensure it is prepared to withstand peak demand during more frequent, more intense and longer-lasting heat waves,” she said.
Large cities should establish plans for “cooling centers” to which people can flee on the hottest days, much like heating centers that are provided during frigid conditions, Benjamin said. City health officials can also distribute fans to people who don’t have air conditioning, and issue reminders in the spring for people to have their cooling systems serviced, he added. Internationally, officials should take these results as a further sign that global warming needs to be confronted through resolute action, Li added. “This study reveals that the global warming limits set by the Paris Climate Agreement should not be considered a safe amount of global warming,” Li said. “Further, interventions should be prioritized to slow the rate of global warming while at the same time increasing preparedness, mitigation and adaptation efforts. Populations will be disproportionately impacted and vulnerable populations may be unprepared to manage the risks of extreme heat,” she added. The new study was published online March 27 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. WD Copyright (c) 2017 HealthDay. All rights reserved.
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SHERYL CROW LUKAS NELSON
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STEVEN REINEKE, CONDUCTOR
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Volunteering for Peru For Consuelo Salinas-Pareja of Peru, volunteering is part of her informal job to help her homeland from her perch in Washington, whether it’s raising funds for flood relief or promoting her country’s artists, fashion and cuisine. / PAGE 41
The Washington Diplomat
If Pablo Picasso had a living disciple, then George Condo would be it. While Condo is more well known as a prolific painter, the Phillips Collection has amassed approximately 200 drawings, sketches and sketchbooks in “George Condo: The Way I Think,” an expansive view of how the 59-year-old artist blurs the lines between representation and abstraction. / PAGE 40
Immigrant Experience “Bordes/Borders” and “El vuelo y su semilla” at the Mexican Cultural Institute offer distinctive takes on what it means to be an immigrant who must contend with the boundaries, both physical and personal, that the experience can present. / PAGE 43
Profound ‘Escape’ The massive wooden tunnel at the American University Museum offers a childlike escape from the outside world, but the sculpture by Foon Sham is a deeper journey into breaking boundaries, physically and spiritually. / PAGE 44
DIPLOMATIC SPOTLIGHT Country Promotion Strategies Conference 2017 Ivanka Trump at Japan, France / PAGE 50
George Condo’s “Only If Your Are”
PHOTO: SKARSTEDT GALLERY AND SPRÜTH MAGERS
THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | MAY 2017 | 39
WD | Culture | Art
Multiple Personalities Survey Ventures into the Slightly Unhinged Psychological States of George Condo •
George Condo: The Way I Think THROUGH JUNE 25 PHILLIPS COLLECTION 1600 21ST ST., NW
(202) 387-2151 | WWW.PHILLIPSCOLLECTION.ORG
f Pablo Picasso had a living disciple, then George Condo would fit the bill. “Picasso painted a violin from four different perspectives at one time,” Condo has said. “I do the same with psychological states.” While Condo is more well known as a prolific painter, the Phillips Collection has amassed approximately 200 drawings, sketches and sketchbooks along with some “drawing paintings” in “George Condo: The Way I Think.” The exhibition, on view until June 25, offers an expansive view of the 59-year-old artist’s work, which blurs the lines between representation and abstraction. Condo embraces the grotesque and comical, reveling in a distorted carnival mirror of life where his reflections confound our expectations. Condo has led a fascinating life, finding himself at the intersection of major art movements. He was a studio assistant in Andy Warhol’s factory in the 1970s, befriended fellow New York artists Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring, and moved to Paris in the 1980s. He collaborated with unconventional author William S. Burroughs in the 1990s and painted several different covers for Kanye West’s “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy” album in 2010. The final cover featured West having sex with a weird nude armless angel/phoenix/demon woman with white wings, feathered legs and a polka-dotted tail. West claimed the album was banned in Walmart, but that may have been the goal given his penchant for publicity stunts. Condo pays homage to Picasso to an almost obsessive degree, and he coined the phrases “psychological cubism” and “artificial realism” to describe his work. Several drawings in the Phillips Collection exhibition, including a series called “Double Heads Drawing,” feature Picasso-esque portraits with faces emerging from a fractured maze of Cubist planes while glaring oversized eyes angle down toward maniacal grins. They aren’t that compelling because they look too familiar. We know what to expect because we’ve seen it before, and while it was revolutionary in Picasso’s time, it just seems derivative now. Condo’s work branches out more effectively into aspects of Surrealism, Abstract Expressionism and Pop Art in his own definitively weird stew. Some portraits and swirling scenes portray conflicting desires and uneasy psychological landscapes. In “The Discarded Human,” a beautiful nude woman’s body morphs sharply at her shoulders with a dislocated and darkened head. Only one menacing eye and two sharp rows of teeth emerge from the inky shadows. Her visage is both repulsive and attractive, combining lust, fear and dread in a primordial soup of raw emotions. Some of Condo’s sketches are displayed salon style from floor to ceiling, including detailed drawings of dinosaurs inked in bright red or lime green when Condo was 7 years old in the 1960s. In the center of another room, more than 100 sketchbooks are stacked in rows under glass, creating a sense of mystery about their contents. Only a few are opened to reveal pages inside. One note dated Aug. 27 without a year includes just one cryptic sentence: “I feel better than I have ever felt in my life.” A 2009 graphite-and-colored-pencil drawing titled “Study for the Fallen Butler” is a fascinating example of how a painting can transcend its conception. The drawing shows a debauched scene with a drunk tuxedoed butler slumped on the floor while raising his champagne glass toward the nude bottom of a woman bending over in a French maid costume. Drawn curtains behind them reveal a painting of rolling green hills beneath a cloudy sky. The setting may be a stately home while the master is away or the stage of a bawdy theatrical production, but the artifice is real, as Condo would say. It’s difficult to compare the study for “The Fallen Butler” to the large painting that followed because they aren’t located near each other in the exhibition. They aren’t even on the same floor. Two rooms of Condo’s
40 | THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | MAY 2017
BY BRENDAN L. SMITH
drawings and sketches are effectively displayed on the ground floor, but visitors then have to consult a map, climb a flight of stairs and walk past other exhibitions to find six of Condo’s large paintings shoehorned into a small, claustrophobic room next to the restrooms. The inclusion of the paintings seems like an afterthought in the bifurcated exhibition or a strange curatorial decision to downplay the paintings because the exhibition’s theme focuses on Condo’s drawings. “The Fallen Butler” is worth seeing regardless of the location. The painting, on loan from the Museum of Modern Art, bears only a passing resemblance to the study as it transforms from a comical over-the-top scene into a more vivid, subtle abstraction. The butler, or part of him, is still visible hoisting a large green bottle, but most of the maid has disappeared into the jumbled background except for a disjointed head with glaring eyes perched atop an elongated neck. Other small floating faces peek out from a patchwork quilt of colors that threatens to overwhelm the main characters. While the title references only the butler, the painting is an ensemble performance. Another highlight is “Spanish Head Composition,” which combines elements of painting, drawing and collage. A central figure has a scribbled Picasso-esque face on a painted body wearing a wide-brimmed hat and a swirling shirt with a clownish collar. He is surrounded by portraits on paper that have been affixed to the canvas. The drawings vary in their style and complexity, running the gamut from more representational to abstract. Some of the small portraits appear to be studies for the large central figure, and the inclusion of the preparatory drawings in the final work offers a fascinating timeline or view of paths not taken. To his credit, Condo has resisted being pegged into one style or artistic movement. “The only way for me to feel the difference between every other artist and me is to use every artist to become me,” he said. His work pays tribute to Picasso, Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, Francis Bacon and even 17th-century Venetian and Dutch paintings, but Condo has developed a signature style that explores our panoply of psychological states, ranging from humor and sexuality to our darker impulses mired in the shadowy pits of fear and loathing. WD Brendan L. Smith (www.brendanlsmith.com) is a contributing writer for The Washington Diplomat and a mixed-media artist (www.dcmixedmedia.com) in Washington, D.C. The Phillips Collection examines George Condo’s embrace of what he termed “psychological cubism” and “artificial realism” in works such as “The Fallen Butler,” top, and “Spanish Head Composition.” The show even includes detailed drawings such as “Brachiosaurus,” left, that the artist made when he was 7 years old. PHOTO: SKARSTEDT GALLERY AND SPRÜTH MAGERS
WD | Culture | Diplomatic Spouses
Common Cause From Disaster Relief to Gastronomy, Peruvian Wife Volunteers to Help Homeland •
BY GAIL SCOTT
or many ambassador Consuelo Salinas-Pareja spends much of her time volunteering in the arts, serving on the spouses, working overseas board of the National Museum of Women in while their partner leads the Arts and helping with the Friends of the an embassy is a tricky Art Museum of the Americas. proposition. Some jobs simply don’t travel well. Other times, government restrictions and red tape prevent gastronomical and wine events for spouses from working abroad. Christie’s Auction House and orgaFor many spouses, volunteering nized the Ivy Inter-American Fountheir time to charities and causes bedation Peruvian bazaar to help youth comes their full-time job, with comin the Americas break the cycle of mensurate demands and stresses. poverty and neglect. For Consuelo Salinas-Pareja, wife “You have to believe you help for of Peruvian Ambassador Carlos the good of others,” she said. “It is Pareja, volunteering is a vital cominteresting work, but it is so differmitment and a part of her inforent here in D.C. because there are so mal job to help Peruvians from her many organizations.” perch in Washington. Most recently, At the same time, Salinas-Pareja her homeland suffered a devastating says governments should make it series of floods and mudslides that easier for ambassador spouses to killed over 100 people and left tens work in their professions. Sometimes of thousands homeless. An unusual it’s not just a matter of career goals, bout of unremitting rain washed but of practical necessity. away bridges and homes, forcing “They need to make the money. hundreds of towns to declare states Everything is much more expensive of emergency. today — you want to buy a house, “We have had a real disaster with send your children to good schools. flooding in Peru. In some homes, That can be a burden for some,” she some of the finest in town, the wapointed out. ter is up to the ceiling on the second “Sometimes, American career floor. In the poor neighborhoods, it diplomatic couples work in the same is even worse. Our oceans are too embassy. I like to see that happenwarm. We have a campaign to raise ing,” she added. “Women are expectmoney to help the victims,” Salinased to leave their careers, their jobs. Pareja told us. Sometimes they can’t get them back. “You have to do it,” she said. “You This issue is not addressed [as often have to be involved and be in touch as it should be] — the possibilities of with your own country. People are women and how useful they can be calling me from Miami to help and to your country.” I put them in touch with our camPHOTO: GAIL SCOTT Salinas-Pareja worked before she paign. The embassy has information was married. She attended boarding school in Spain, travelon Facebook, other social media and ing throughout Europe, and returned to Peru to start college. daily news. You have to believe your “I really didn’t like it so I stopped and started working in tourhelp is for good … I don’t work at ism. I was in sales in airlines,” she recalled. “Besides airlines, I the embassy, but I am in touch with also booked cruises and hotels back in Lima.” people there who can make a differWhen she met her husband, who was studying diplomacy ence. Every day I meet someone who and foreign relations in Peru, the two clicked right away. “One can help.” night I was out with some friends and one of my male friends Salinas-Pareja has worked to help said to Carlos, ‘I am going to introduce you tonight to the girl her countrymen long before the you are going to marry.’ When I met him, it was so comfortfloods, raising funds for poor children able. We talked and had fun,” she recalled. “Three years later, CONSUELO SALINAS-PAREJA and cancer patients. we married. At home we have big weddings. Our parents arwife of Peruvian Ambassador Carlos Pareja Much of her time is spent volunranged everything. You just dress and show up. We had an teering in the arts. “Before I came orchestra and 600 people!” here, I was involved in the National Museum of Women in the Arts. One Carlos Pareja, whose father was an ambassador, held various posts at home, month before coming to Washington, I held a luncheon for the museum. We including head of Peru’s Directorate General of Africa, Middle East and Gulf have our own chapter like many countries do. Veronica Ferrero, wife of for- Countries, chief of state protocol and national director of the Directorate mer Peruvian Ambassador Eduardo Ferrero, helped get it started. We have a General of Sovereignty and Border Development. He also served as ambasnetwork with Washington,” said Salinas-Pareja, who serves on the NMWA sador to Chile, Spain and Switzerland, and was posted to Washington, D.C., Board. as a political counselor from 1984 to 1990. Now she and her sister, both art aficionados, are planning an art fair and Their elder son, Juan Carlos, was born here. He is now 36 and an economist participating in the annual juried show “Women to Watch,” in which inter- in Peru. Jose, 31, is lawyer who ran for Congress when he was only 25 and is national NMWA members submit the work of five artists from their home still interested in politics. countries. Salinas-Pareja says Washington has evolved dramatically since they were She is also busy with the Friends of the Art Museum of the Americas, lo- here more than 30 years ago, praising the city’s architecture and neighborhood cated on the grounds of the Organization of American States (OAS). “It is a growth. “So many new areas have been developed and they are all related to very fine collection. We had a benefit concert here in the residence to raise each other. They were separated before, probably because we didn’t have the funds. We are planning a catalogue,” she noted. Metro then. Everyone is mixing more. There are a lot more young people goOther work in the arts includes serving on the board of the Friends of the ing to places that weren’t attractive to go to before. Now, you can go to dinner Lima Art Museum and the ArtLima festival for the past three years. Besides everywhere. It’s a very good feeling,” she said. her work in the arts, she headed two nonprofit organizations for diplomatic “In comparison, Lima was planned to be small. We had immigrants from wives during her husband’s postings in Peru and Chile, where she also promoted Peruvian fashion designers. In addition, she has planned cultural, SEE DIPLOMATIC SPOUSES • PAGE 42
You have to be involved and be in touch with your own country…. You have to believe you help for the good of others.
THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | MAY 2017 | 41
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the Highlands who came to Lima…. There weren’t enough jobs for people. In the ’80s, we had terrorism. But now, things are good and we are building a subway.” Like D.C., Peru has undergone a dramatic transformation. The country of over 30 million experienced political turmoil and a violent insurgency in the 1980s. The election of Alberto Fujimori in 1990 ushered in newfound prosperity and stability, but the president was a controversial figure who has since been convicted of corruption and human rights abuses. The country has held several successful democratic elections since then, and poverty and unemployment levels have dropped significantly, giving Peru one of the best-performing economies in Latin America. Salinas-Pareja says that one of Peru’s most colorful and best-known assets is its award-winning gastronomy. “Many people travel to Peru to go to our restaurants. We always had good food but now it is very creative. Peruvian chef Gastón Acurio created a movement. You understand Peru through its food,” she said. “We have rich ingredients and fruit and herbs.” In addition to a TV program and cookbooks, Acurio now has 33 restaurants in 12 countries. Salinas-Pareja is currently supporting the fifth annual Taste of Peru in D.C., coming up on June 4 at the University of the District of Columbia. She said she is also delighted that the gastronomic 42 | THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | MAY 2017
guide she wrote in Chile about both countries’ restaurants has resulted in garnering recognition for Peruvian cuisine. Salinas-Pareja clearly relishes being an effective promoter for Peru. “We have the Amazon, the mountains and the coast. Because of gastronomy, we have more tourists, new jobs, beautiful hotels and, of course, we have our Inca heritage,” she said, referring to Machu Picchu, the 15th-century Inca citadel that sits on a mountain ridge above Peru’s Sacred Valley and continues to be a major attraction for the country. “Peruvians may not be rich but we have a rich cultural life. The family is very important. They are a hard-working people,” she said. “Peruvians are very proud of what they have.” WD Gail Scott is a contributing writer for The Washington Diplomat.
Above, Consuelo Salinas-Pareja and her husband, Peruvian Ambassador Carlos Pareja, attend the Red Cross Ball at Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort this year. At left, they pose with their two sons, Jose and Juan Carlos, at Blair House in D.C.
Art | Culture | WD
Living Borders Two Exhibits at Mexican Cultural Institute Reflect on Immigrant Experience •
BY MACKENZIE WEINGER
Bordes/Borders THROUGH MAY 13
El vuelo y su semilla THROUGH MAY 20 MEXICAN CULTURAL INSTITUTE 2829 16TH ST., NW.
(202) 728-1628 | WWW.INSTITUTEOFMEXICODC.ORG
wo exhibitions tackling the immigrant experience and the very concept of borders are on display this month inside one of D.C.’s most remarkable, historic mansions. The two shows featured at the Mexican Cultural Institute — “Bordes/Borders” and “El vuelo y su semilla” — offer distinctive takes on what it means to be an immigrant who must contend with the boundaries, both physical and personal, that the experience can present. Borders, as highlighted by the artists in the exhibitions, can be at once two things: a very real entity, like a wall or a line on a map, as well as a broader idea that can be constantly transgressed. Executive Director Alberto Fierro Garza told The Washington Diplomat that the Mexican Cultural Institute always considers its exhibitions in light of today’s events — and these exhibitions were planned out last year following the heated campaign season when thencandidate Donald Trump made many incendiary remarks about Mexican immigrants. That meant it was critical and timely for the institute “to reflect on how important the relations between Mexico and the U.S. are,” he said. “We are convinced that art has to do with reality,” Fierro said. “Artists do not produce in a bubble, but reflect what is going on.” “Bordes/Borders” showcases nine short films by contemporary artists from Mexico, Belgium, Argentina, Puerto Rico, Italy and Israel. Borders, the films suggest, are not fixed, but instead constantly shifting constructions. Shown on loops in several rooms, viewers can watch a series of videos that deal largely with the ways technology mediates the immigrant experience. In Italian artist Cristiana De Marchi’s “Doing & Undoing,” the word “borders” is embroidered and then the white thread is removed from the black fabric over the course of the short film. Borders, the piece suggests, may be noted on maps, but just like the stitching, they can easily disappear. In Emilio Chapela’s “Matamoros-Tijuana, 2014,” the music catches visitors’ attention first. After settling in, you realize the Mexican artist has overlaid radio transmissions by a bilingual radio station over Google Street View pictures of all the roads along the Mexico-U.S. border from Matamoros City to Tijuana. It’s a compelling film that constantly challenges viewers, with images of the pre-existent fence installed along the border representing the physical boundary, constantly transgressed by the songs and hosts on the radio. “We thought using videos was an interesting way to invite in the public and reflect on the realities of what is a border, and how artists have reflected on it through their production,” Fierro said. “It’s not only Mexicans talking about borders, but artists from different parts of the world.” After wrapping up “Bordes/Borders,” visitors can take the stairs to the top floor to explore “El vuelo y su semilla.” It’s worth the walk: Along the way, you follow a magnificent three-story mural by Roberto Cueva del Río featuring images painted in the 1930s and early 1940s that depict in beautiful color and detail important aspects of Mexican history and culture.
PHOTOS: MEXICAN CULTURAL INSTITUTE
“Bordes/Borders” features work by contemporary video artists such as Argentina’s Florencia Levy, at left, while “El vuelo y su semilla” highlights the work the Mexican artist Betsabeé Romero, who examines Mexican culture and migration through food-oriented pieces such as “Mesas al aire,” above.
The top floor features “El vuelo y su semilla,” an exhibition highlighting works by Mexican artist Betsabeé Romero. Her installation pieces play with everyday objects like tires, tables and books, using them to explore the deeper Mexican immigrant experience. Several of her poems, in both Spanish and English, also accompany the works. Romero is an “artist who is also an activist for human rights, against violence against women, and against discrimination,” Fierro pointed out. “Most of her art has some activism, or a reflection on a social issue.” For her show, Romero wanted to engage with the debate that the 2016 campaign spurred about Mexico, according to Fierro. “Precisely because at the end of last year, with all the debate about who Mexicans are and about migration, she wanted to reflect on how Mexican migrants carry their culture, their food, their traditions,” he said. In one standout piece, the poem “Tables in the air / Don’t have wings but / They carry the bread on their shoulders” hangs in a room dotted with several dining tables floating on string. Books about Mexico and Mexican cuisine, in both English and Spanish, are stacked underneath these tables, which are topped by tablecloths dotted with birds, scorpions and cats. The tables twist slowly, as bowls balance atop them. One of the final installations on display is “For our bread (Por el pan nuestro),” a piece that encircles an engraved forklift tire with bread — recycling at its most creative. The memorable piece draws everything back full circle to the important factors of the Mexican immigrant experience that Romero has sought to highlight through food and movement. WD Mackenzie Weinger (@mweinger) is a contributing writer for The Washington Diplomat. THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | MAY 2017 | 43
WD | Culture | Art
Metaphysical ‘Escape’ Foon Sham’s Wood Tunnel Takes Viewers on Dual-Natured Journey •
BY KATE OCZYPOK
Foon Sham, Escape THROUGH AUG. 13 AMERICAN UNIVERSITY MUSEUM AT THE KATZEN ARTS CENTER 4400 MASSACHUSETTS AVE., NW
(202) 885-1300 | WWW.AMERICAN.EDU/CAS/MUSEUM/
he massive wood sculpture at the American University Museum offers a fun escape from the outside world, allowing visitors to wander through a fairytale-like woodland tunnel. But “Escape” by artist Foon Sham goes deeper than a lighthearted journey into Sham’s material of choice, wood. Sham, a local artist born in Macau, said he wanted “Escape” to comment on the polarizing debate over the U.S.-Mexico border, with the outdoor sculpture’s craggy ridgeline meant to represent American mountain ranges. “The upper silhouette of the sculpture was derived from the U.S.-Mexico border line on the map,” Sham said. “I am an immigrant who was legally naturalized to become a U.S. citizen of this country, and I am sympathetic to those who also wanted to escape from their unwanted governments and countries, risking their lives to chase the American dreams.” Sham, a professor at the University of Maryland known for his mastery of wood, said he hopes visitors realize that building a physical barrier is not necessarily a solution to the problem of illegal immigration — both here and in Europe — as people will find a way to escape the confines of their situation. Curator Laura Roulet first met Sham when she featured his work in the Washington Sculptors Group’s 25th anniversary exhibition at the OAS Art Museum of the Americas. Roulet also included his work in the Foggy Bottom Outdoor Sculpture Biennial and the Arlington Arts Center’s 40th anniversary show. “Each time, he has come through with more ambitious and accomplished work. I consider him one of the top sculptors working in the region,” Roulet said. Sham welcomes a political reading of his work, Roulet added. She said he is sympathetic to the plight of refugees, being an immigrant himself. Sham also built the outdoor piece at the Lorton Arts Workhouse, which was formerly a federal prison. “One artist who was there researching the imprisonment of suffragettes in the early 20th century associated ‘Escape’ and the tunnel imagery with the history of political prisoners,” Roulet noted. Of course, there are other messages Sham’s “Escape” conveys. Dualism, as seen in the Taoist yin-yang dichotomy, is a consistent theme in Sham’s work, and the two tunnels at the AU Museum — one horizontal, measuring 62 feet long, and the other vertical towering 36 feet high — hint that people can escape their surroundings both physically and spiritually. “Foon Sham also wants the interpretation of escape to be broader than just meaning physically. Escape can also be spiritually or mentally,” Roulet said.
44 | THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | MAY 2017
PHOTOS: GALLERY NEPTUNE AND BROWN
Foon Sham’s “Escape” at the American University Museum references the complexities of immigration and demonstrates the Macau-born artist’s mastery of wood.
Sham has been building participatory, large-scale vessel forms since 1997. His work offers visitors an immersive experience that plays on the senses, using sight, temperature and even smell. Almost all of his previous pieces were constructed upward and have an opening to the sky. “When I first saw the outdoor sculpture courtyard at Katzen [Arts Center] at night, the row of lights on the ground inspired me to make a horizontal structure that would enclose both the lights and the people walking through it,” Sham explained. “I was also inspired by Gaudi’s architecture [seen in] the Sagrada Familia [Basilica] in Barcelona from a recent visit in 2015, and the landscape and rock structure in Utah and Colorado on a cross-county trip to the West in 2014.” Building a sculpture of this scale has been in the back of Sham’s mind for a while. It wasn’t until the past two years that he received the necessary resources and support from vendors to create the project. The Workhouse Arts Center in Lorton allowed Sham to build the sculpture on its grounds while the Katzen Arts Center provided the space he needed for the site-specific sculpture he envisioned. Beyond its political undercurrents, “Escape” promises to be a hit among children. Going into one of the majestic vessels feels as if you are entering a wooded forest. “One thing that we noticed at the opening was that both the interior and exterior sculptures, which can be entered, were very popular with children,” Sham said. “I do think they have a magical, imaginative appeal, especially for children, because they have the feeling of a tree house, or secret hideaway that is child-scale.” Roulet calls the exhibit a “selfie magnet.” Once inside, visitors can stroll through the museum’s other current exhibitions, including “Green Machine: The Art of Carlos Luna,” which features over 65 works from one of Cuba’s leading contemporary artists, including his experimentation in Jacquard tapestries, works on metal sheets with patina and aluminum leaf, and layers of natural materials rubbed into French paper. WD Kate Oczypok (@OczyKate) is a contributing writer for The Washington Diplomat.
History | Culture | WD
Balloonomania ‘Clouds in a Bag’ Captures Excitement of First Hot Air Balloons •
BY MACKENZIE WEINGER
Clouds in a Bag: The Evelyn Way Kendall Ballooning and Early Aviation Collection THROUGH 2018 NATIONAL AIR AND SPACE MUSEUM STEVEN F. UDVAR-HAZY CENTER 14390 AIR AND SPACE MUSEUM PARKWAY, CHANTILLY, VA.
(703) 572-4118 WWW. AIRANDSPACE.SI.EDU/EXHIBITIONS/CLOUDS-BAG
hen early balloons rose into the sky — the first flight carried a sheep, a duck and a rooster before adventurous aeronauts took to the air — people went wild. The thrill of seeing these strange, giant balloons floating above their heads sparked a wave of “balloonomania” in the 18th and 19th centuries, and an impressive new exhibition captures the excitement surrounding the wonders of early flight. “Clouds in a Bag: The Evelyn Way Kendall Ballooning and Early Aviation Collection” at the Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Va., showcases remarkable prints, paintings and memorabilia exploring the fascination with hot air ballooning and giving visitors a vivid sense of the way balloonomania swept across Europe and beyond. Tom Crouch, senior curator of aeronautics at the National Air and Space Museum, told The Washington Diplomat that he wanted to “tell the story of the invention of the balloon and its impact on the public.” Notably, the Montgolfier brothers launched a large, unmanned paper balloon in the countryside near Annonay, France, in June 1783. Then they sent a wicker-basket cage of the animals up over Versailles in September 1783. A few months later, the first balloon rose over the rooftops of Paris. After these initial balloons went aloft, everyone “just went crazy,” Crouch said. “People waited and waited for a millennia for flight to arrive,” Crouch said. “And suddenly, just overnight, there is the first little balloon on June 4, 1783, and then human beings are flying by the fall. People just become wildly excited.” The show features dozens of wonderful pieces depicting the early efforts in the air. The oldest painting in the show, “Le Suffren” by Etienne Chevalier de Lorimier, illustrates a large balloon taking off from the city of Nantes in 1784. The oil painting dazzles in its opulent frame, highlighting the flight of the hydrogen balloon along with another treat for viewers. “If you know what you’re looking at, and I hope we tell visitors enough so they can see all this, you can see the equipment for inflating the balloon in the painting,” Crouch pointed out. “It’s really lovely.” In one fantastic print that shows the first free flight by humans made on Nov. 21, 1783, museumgoers should take a moment to read the writing on the piece. It notes that it’s an etching of the view of the Montgolfier balloon as it goes by none other than Benjamin Franklin’s terrace in Paris. “Just as the Europeans were getting excited about all this stuff, the Americans, from their point of view, had thrown off the chains of British tyranny. And here were these guys who are throwing off the chains of gravity — and the connection was not lost on these folks. Americans were just fascinated and delighted by the balloon,” Crouch noted. Fantastical images are also peppered throughout the collection, with one print imagining a future balloon voyage to the moon and another suggesting what a massive aerial invasion of Great Britain might look like. Bal-
PHOTOS: NATIONAL AIR AND SPACE MUSEUM, SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION
Above, an enthusiastic crowd gathers for George Graham’s balloon launch in London on July 2, 1833. Other artifacts that show the balloonomania that gripped the world in the 18th and 19th centuries include a bandbox celebrating the flight of Richard Clayton from Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1835, at left, and a fan that shows ascents by J.B. Blanchard and J.A.C. Charles, with fashionable ladies and gentlemen watching a passing balloon through a mica window.
loons were indeed used in war, and the show features one of the great American aeronauts of the 19th century, Thaddeus S.C. Lowe, who created the Balloon Corps for the Union Army in the U.S. Civil War. “Throughout the show, we’re just trying to give visitors a sense of the excitement balloons engendered, and the various uses to which they were put — everything from public spectacles to spying on your enemy,” Crouch said. English balloonomania is also well documented throughout the exhibition. One print shows George III, Queen Charlotte and their children witnessing a balloon demonstration at Windsor Castle, while several others emphasize the popularity with which balloons were greeted by people throughout the country. “You couldn’t open a bridge or have a holiday celebration or anything in the 19th century without a balloon to go with,” Crouch noted. Early aeronauts were explorers and adventurers, bravely taking to the air, and sometimes things went wrong — disastrously wrong. For every impressive scientific breakthrough or record-breaking flight, the history of hot air ballooning is also dotted with accidents that range from the absurd to the truly devastating. A would-be inventor’s parachute design failed during a test as he dangled below a balloon, becoming one of the most famous aeronautical tragedies of the era and the star of a series of English prints. Wannabe French aeronauts who claimed they would fly above Paris were still on the ground SEE BALLOONING PAGE 47 THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | MAY 2017 | 45
WD | Culture | Film
Cinema Listings *Unless specific times are listed, please check the theater for times. Theater locations are subject to change.
Sat., May 20, 12:15 p.m. AFI Silver Theatre Mon., May 22, 7 p.m.
AFI Silver Theatre May 19 to 25
Directed by James Gray (U.S., 2017, 141 min.)
Murder in Polna (Parts 1 and 2) Directed by Viktor Polesny and Vaclav Jester (Czech Republic, 2016, 180 min.) This riveting, timely and chilling historical drama explores the Hilsner affair, a criminal investigation that veered dangerously off course due to simmering anti-Semitism in 1899 Czechoslovakia (part of the Washington Jewish Film Festival).
Edlavitch DCJCC Sat., May 20, 12:15 p.m. Landmark’s Bethesda Row Cinema Tue., May 23, 6:30 p.m.
Danish The Commune (Denmark/Sweden/Netherlands, 2017, 111 min.) Personal desires, solidarity and tolerance clash in a Danish commune in the 1970s.
Landmark’s Theatres Opens Fri., May 26
Dutch Moos Directed by Job Gosschalk (Netherlands, 2016, 91 min.) In this charming, Amsterdam-ready comedy, Moos is young girl who’s put her life on hold long enough—she’s finally ready to pursue her dream of going to acting school. Not actually having been accepted is only a minor hiccup, and she won’t let that, her offbeat family or a distracting newfound crush get in the way (part of the Washington Jewish Film Festival).
Landmark’s E Street Cinema Thu., May 18, 6:30 p.m. Landmark’s Bethesda Row Cinema Sat., May 20, 8:45 p.m.
English Angkor Awakens: A Portrait of Cambodia Directed by Robert H. Lieberman (U.S./Cambodia/France, 2017, 90 min.) This eye-opening documentary is a snapshot of a nation poised at a political and cultural tipping point. Viewing the present through the lens of the country’s tangled history, the film follows the people of Cambodia as they fight to recover their culture and history in the wake of the Khmer Rouge genocide (1975-1979).
Landmark’s Theatres Opens Fri., May 5
Doing Jewish: A Story from Ghana Directed by Gabrielle Zilkha (Canada/Ghana/U.S., 2016, 84 min.) When Gabrielle Zilkha, a Canadian filmmaker working in Accra, Ghana, gets a call from her mother telling her that she’s found Jewish people to celebrate Rosh Hashanah with, Zilkha sets off to find the tiny but vibrant Sefwi Jewish community (part of the Washington Jewish Film Festival).
Landmark’s E Street Cinema
Directed by David Leveaux (U.K., 2016, 107 min.) A riveting World War II thriller filled with espionage and romance in equal measure, “The Exception” follows German soldier Stefan Brandt as he investigates exiled German Monarch Kaiser Wilhelm II, who lives in a secluded mansion in the Netherlands (part of the Washington Jewish Film Festival).
AFI Silver Theatre Sat., May 20, 7 p.m. Landmark’s E Street Cinema Sun., May 21, 8:45 p.m.
Finding Oscar Directed by Ryan Suffern (U.S./Canada/Guatemala, 2017, 100 min.) In a forgotten massacre during Guatemala’s decades-long civil war, a young boy was spared, only to be raised by one of the very soldiers who killed his family. Nearly 30 years after the tragedy, it will take a dedicated team—from a forensic scientist to a young Guatemalan prosecutor—to uncover the truth and bring justice to those responsible — by finding the missing boy named Oscar (English and Spanish).
West End Cinema
Their Finest Directed by Lone Scherfig (U.K., 2017, 117 min.) A British film crew attempts to boost morale during World War II by making a propaganda film after the Blitzkrieg.
AFI Silver Theatre Angelika Mosaic Angelika Pop-Up at Union Market Landmark’s Bethesda Row Cinema
The Lost City of Z
In this incredible true story, British explorer Percy Fawcett journeys into the Amazon at the dawn of the 20th century and discovers evidence of a previously unknown, advanced civilization that may have once inhabited the region. Despite being ridiculed by the scientific establishment, he returns time and again to his beloved jungle in an attempt to prove his case, culminating in his mysterious disappearance in 1925 (English, Spanish, Portuguese and German).
AFI Silver Theatre Angelika Mosaic Atlantic Plumbing Cinema
Love is Thicker than Water Directed by Ate de Jong and Emily Harris (U.K., 2016, 105 min.) Opposites attract when Vida, an urbane Jewish cellist from London, falls in love with Arthur, a working-class bike courier from Wales (part of the Washington Jewish Film Festival).
Edlavitch DCJCC Sat., May 20, 3:45 p.m. Landmark’s Bethesda Row Cinema Sun., May 21, 8:15 p.m.
Obit Directed by Vanessa Gould (U.S., 2016, 93 min.) This delightfully entertaining documentary takes us behind the scenes in the fascinating world of The New York Times obituary section, where a handful of dedicated writers craft stories celebrating remarkable lives with in-depth historical research and rigorous fact checking, all on a tight deadline.
Landmark’s Theatres Opens Fri., May 12
Directed by Ben Wheatley (U.K./France, 2017, 90 min.)
Paris Can Wait (Bonjour Anne)
Set in Boston in 1978, a meeting in a deserted warehouse between two gangs turns into a shootout and a game of survival.
Directed by Eleanor Coppola (U.S., 2016, 92 min.)
The History of Love Directed by Radu Mihăileanu (Canada/France, 2016, 134 min.) Spanning decades and continents, the film begins in pre-war Poland and follows Leo and Alma, neighbors and sweethearts whose romance is thwarted by the rise of fascism (part of the Washington Jewish Film Festival).
AFI Silver Theatre Sat., May 20, 4:30 p.m. Edlavitch DCJCC Sun., May 28, 2:45 p.m.
The Lion in Winter Directed by Anthony Harvey (U.K., 1968, 134 min.) Christmas, 1183: Intrigue abounds at the court of England’s Henry II (Peter O’Toole). With an eye toward succession, Henry backs his younger son, Prince John (Nigel Terry), while his estranged wife, Eleanor of Aquitaine (Katharine Hepburn) backs their eldest son, Richard the Lionheart (Anthony Hopkins, in his screen debut).
46 | THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | May 2017
Anne is at a crossroads in her life. Long married to a successful, driven but inattentive movie producer, she unexpectedly finds herself taking a car trip from Cannes to Paris with a business associate of her husband. What should be a seven-hour drive turns into a carefree two-day adventure replete with diversions that reawaken her lust for life.
THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | May 2017 there was a betrayal. Twenty years have gone by since the events of “Trainspotting.” Much has changed but just as much remains the same as Mark (Ewan McGregor) returns to the only place he can ever call home, where his friends and a litany of emotions are waiting for him (English and Bulgarian).
Landmark’s E Street Cinema
Voice from the Stone Directed by Eric D. Howell (U.S./Italy, 2017, 94 min.) Set in 1950s Tuscany, “Voice from the Stone” is the haunting and suspenseful story of Verena, a solemn nurse drawn to aid a young boy who has fallen silent since the sudden passing of his mother.
Angelika Pop-Up at Union Market
The Wall Directed by Doug Liman (U.S., 2017, 81 min.) Two American Soldiers are trapped by a lethal sniper, with only an unsteady wall between them.
Angelika Mosaic Opens Fri., May 12
French Cézanne et Moi Directed by Danièle Thompson (France, 2017, 117 min.) Cézanne et Moi is the compelling and moving chronicle of the surprising lifelong love/hate relationship between two of the creative geniuses of the 19th century, postimpressionist painter Paul Cézanne and novelist Émile Zola. They met as schoolboys in Aix-en-Provence, both outcasts, and became best friends; both sought the bright lights of Paris as young men, living life to the fullest. Rebellion and curiosity, hopes and doubts, girls and dreams of glory — they shared it all; yet rivalry and hurt feelings drove them apart.
West End Cinema
Dad in Training Directed by Cyril Gelblat (France, 2015, 98 min.) Obsessed with producing a hit album, Antoine takes for granted his marriage to Alice, a beautiful, accomplished magistrate and loving mother to their daughters, until she throws him out, files for divorce, and leaves the girls on his doorstep for two weeks! (Part of the Washington Jewish Film Festival).
Angelika Mosaic Opens Fri., May 19
Landmark’s Bethesda Row Cinema Sat., May 20, 6:30 p.m. Landmark’s E Street Cinema Mon., May 22, 8:30 p.m.
Directed by Terry George (Spain/U.S., 2017, 132 min.)
Directed by Lola Doillon (Belgium/France, 2016, 94 min.)
Landmark’s Bethesda Row Cinema
In 1943, 13-year-old Fanny and her younger sisters were sent from their home in France to a foster home for Jewish children in Italy. When the Nazis arrive, their caretakers desperately organize the departure of the children to Switzerland. Suddenly left on their own, these 11 children will do the impossible to reach the Swiss border to survive (closing night of the Washington Jewish Film Festival).
Edlavitch DCJCC Sun., May 28, 7:15 p.m.
Set during the last days of the Ottoman Empire, “The Promise” follows a love triangle between Michael, a brilliant Armenian medical student, the beautiful and sophisticated Ana and Chris, a renowned American photojournalist dedicated to exposing the truth (English, German and French).
Directed by Danny Boyle (U.K., 2017, 117 min.) First there was an opportunity — then
Frantz Directed by François Ozon
(France/Germany, 2017, 113 min.) In this intense romantic drama set in the aftermath of World War I, a young German who grieves the death of her fiancé in France meets a mysterious Frenchman who visits the fiancé’s grave to lay flowers. While other townsfolk revile him as a murderer of Germans, the dead soldier’s parents, at first suspicious, welcome him into their home and treasure his stories about their son. But there are hidden secrets that eventually surface as the relationship deepens.
Landmark’s E Street Cinema
Paradise Directed by Andrei Konchalovsky (Germany/Russia, 2016, 131 min.) Shot with a classic film elegance in luminous black-and-white, Russia’s Oscar submission follows the lives of three souls that intertwine in Nazi Europe: a Russian member of the French resistance arrested for hiding Jews; the French collaborator who entraps her; and an idealistic, if naïve, SS officer assigned to root out corruption in the concentration camps (French, German and Russian; part of the Washington Jewish Film Festival).
Landmark’s Bethesda Row Cinema Sat., May 20, 8:30 p.m. AFI Silver Theatre Tue., May 23, 7 p.m.
German The Bloom of Yesterday Directed by Chris Kraus (Austria/Germany, 2016, 125 min.) A self-serious, dour, German Holocaust researcher — and grandson of a prominent Nazi war criminal — is struggling with his family history, career, and a general state of misanthropy. At the height of his personal and professional crisis, he’s assigned a new intern who might be his exact opposite (part of the Washington Jewish Film Festival).
AFI Silver Theatre Thu., May 25, 7 p.m.
Greek Cloudy Sunday Directed by Manoussos Manoussakis (Greece, 2016, 118 min.) A smash box-office hit in Greece, “Cloudy Sunday” tracks a tumultuous wartime romance between a Jewish girl and Christian resistance fighter (part of the Washington Jewish Film Festival).
AFI Silver Theatre Sat., May 20, 2 p.m. Landmark’s Bethesda Row Cinema Mon., May 22, 8:15 p.m.
Hebrew Between Worlds Directed by Miya Hatav (Israel, 2016, 84 min.) Visiting their son in a Jerusalem hospital in the aftermath of a terrorist attack, Orthodox couple Bina and Meir form a surprising bond with Amal, a beautiful young Arab woman seemingly there to attend to her dying father (Hebrew and Arabic; part of the Washington Jewish Film Festival).
Landmark’s Bethesda Row Cinema Sat., May 20, 6:15 p.m. Landmark’s E Street Cinema Sun., May 21, 2:45 p.m.
In Between Directed by Maysaloun Hamoud (France/Israel, 2016, 102 min.) In Maysaloun Hamoud’s remarkable feature debut, three Palestinian women sharing an apartment in the vibrant heart of Tel Aviv find themselves in a complicated balancing act between tradition and modernity, citizenship and culture, fealty and freedom (part of the Washington Jewish Film Festival).
AFI Silver Theatre Wed., May 24, 7 p.m. Edlavitch DCJCC Sat., May 27, 8:30 p.m.
Landmark’s E Street Cinema Wed., May 24, 8:15 p.m. AFI Silver Theatre Sun., May 28, 1:45 p.m.
Directed by Hanno Olderdissen (Germany, 2015, 85 min.)
Directed by Michal Aviad (Israel, 2016, 70 min.)
After two blissful years of dating, David pops the question, and Khaled’s answer is an unequivocal yes. Tying the knot proves just a touch challenging, however, courtesy of a homophobic Arab father and a pseudo-orthodox, overbearing Jewish mother, as well as a 19-year-old girl who shows up pregnant, claiming the baby is David (part of the Washington Jewish Film Festival).
Michal Aviad follows the lives of seven North African and Polish women who arrive by boat in the 1950s and 1960s and are sent straight to Dimona, a newly formed desert town, where they open up about the pain of leaving home, their newfound poverty and the stark adjustment to their new homeland (part of the Washington Jewish Film Festival).
Landmark’s E Street Cinema Sat., May 20, 8:45 p.m. Edlavitch DCJCC Sat., May 27, 6:30 p.m.
Fog in August Directed by Kai Wessel (Austria/Germany, 2016, 126 min.) A 13-year-old boy who is committed to a mental hospital in 1942 because of his Roma origins (and not due to actual illness) soon discovers the truth behind the hospital’s façade and sets about sabotaging its euthanasia program with the help of other patients, at great personal risk (part of the Washington Jewish Film Festival).
Landmark’s Bethesda Row Cinema Thu., May 18, 8:30 p.m.
Landmark’s E Street Cinema Sat., May 20, 12 p.m. Landmark’s Bethesda Row Cinema Thu., May 25, 8:20 p.m.
Forever Pure Directed by Maya Zinshtein (Ireland/Israel/Norway/U.K., 2016, 85 min.) Beitar Jerusalem F.C. is the most popular and controversial soccer team in Israel. Loyal fans take pride in the club’s stature as the only Israeli team never to have signed an Arab player, so when owner and Russian-Israeli oligarch Arcadi Gaydamak brings on two Chechen Muslim players in 2012, bedlam breaks loose (part of the Washington Jewish Film Festival).
Landmark’s E Street Cinema
Sat., May 20, 6:30 p.m. Landmark’s Bethesda Row Cinema Tue., May 23, 6:15 p.m.
villagers’ wartime crimes and complicit silence? (Part of the Washington Jewish Film Festival).
My Hero Brother
Landmark’s E Street Cinema Sat., May 20, 2:15 p.m., Sat., May 27, 4:40 p.m.
Directed by Yonatan Nir (Israel, 2016, 77 min.) A group of remarkable young people with Down syndrome embark on a demanding trip through the Indian Himalayas, accompanied by their brothers and sisters (part of the Washington Jewish Film Festival).
Landmark’s Bethesda Row Cinema Sun., May 21, 11:45 a.m. Edlavitch DCJCC Sun., May 28, 12:30 p.m.
People That Are Not Me Directed by Hadas Ben Aroya (Israel, 2016, 80 min.) Hadas Ben Aroya’s assured debut feature is a personal tour-deforce that tackles modern romance in all of its technological confusion, forced aloofness, and loveless sexuality (part of the Washington Jewish Film Festival).
Landmark’s E Street Cinema May 18, 8:30 p.m. Landmark’s Bethesda Row Cinema Wed., May 24, 8:30 p.m.
A Quiet Heart Directed by Eitan Anner (Israel, 2016, 92 min.) In present-day Jerusalem where the gulf between the secular and religious communities often seems impossibly large, a secular young woman from Tel Aviv seeks refuge from the pressure of her life as a concert pianist (part of the Washington Jewish Film Festival). Landmark’s E Street Cinema Thu., May 18, 8:45 p.m.
Keep Quiet Directed by Sam Blair and Joseph Martin (Hungary/U.K., 2016, 90 min.) As vice president of Hungary’s far-right extremist party, Csanad Szegedi espoused anti-Semitic rhetoric and Holocaust denial. But his life is upended when Szegedi’s maternal grandmother is revealed to be Jewish, and an Auschwitz survivor (part of the Washington Jewish Film Festival).
Landmark’s E Street Cinema Sun., May 21, 12:15 p.m. Edlavitch DCJCC Sat,. May 27, 4 p.m.
italian Let Yourself Go Directed by Francesco Amato (Italy, 2016, 99 min.) Elia is a distinguished psychoanalyst who fits the mold to a tee. He’s weary, self-serious, and plainly disdainful of all pursuits except for those of the mind. After a series of health problems, his physician puts him on a strict gym regimen which leads him to Claudia, a personal trainer obsessed with the cult of the body, and his diametrical opposite in just about every way (part of the Washington Jewish Film Festival).
Edlavitch DCJCC Sat., May 20, 6 p.m. Landmark’s Bethesda Row Cinema Wed., May 24, 8:45 p.m.
Landmark’s Bethesda Row Cinema Thu., May 25, 8:40 p.m.
Thank You for Calling
Killing in Yoshiwara
Directed by Pascal Elbé (France, 2015, 80 min.)
Directed by Tomu Uchida (Japan, 1960, 109 min.)
A brilliant con artist manages to trick employees of large French businesses into stealing money from their companies. Fleeing the law, he finds refuge in Tel Aviv, where he is still addicted to the adrenaline and risk of the grift, leading him to partner with the Israeli mafia (Hebrew and French; part of the Washington Jewish Film Festival).
Meticulously recreating the Edo-period pleasure quarters that were Utamaro’s playground, “Killing in Yoshiwara” tells the story of a scheming servant girl who exploits the money and attention of a wealthy but hideous silk merchant in order to rise through the cutthroat geisha social hierarchy.
Landmark’s Bethesda Row Cinema Sat., May 20, 12 p.m. Landmark’s E Street Cinema Thu., May 25, 8:30 p.m.
The Women’s Balcony Directed by Emil Ben-Shimon (Israel, 2016, 96 min.) An accident during a bar mitzvah celebration leads to a gender rift in a devout Orthodox community in Jerusalem in this rousing, gold-hearted tale about women speaking truth to patriarchal power (Washington Jewish Film Festival opening night).
AFI Silver Theatre Wed., May 17, 7 p.m. Edlavitch DCJCC Sat., May 20, 8:15 p.m.
hungarian 1945 Directed by Ferenc Török (Hungary, 2017, 91 min.) It’s August 1945 − the war is over, and an uneasy, humid stillness pervades a small Hungarian village longing for a return to normalcy. But when two Holocaust survivors arrive, the town eyes them with immediate suspicion: Are they here to reclaim stolen land? Will they expose the
National Museum of American History Sat., May 20, 2 p.m.
Story of the Last Chrysanthemum Directed by Kenji Mizoguchi (Japan, 1939, 143 min.) The story of a kabuki actor who sacrifices everything for the love of a servant girl, the film movingly expresses two of Mizoguchi’s (and Utamaro’s) favorite themes: the tension between art and life and the plight of women in Japanese society.
National Museum of American History Sun., May 21, 2 p.m.
Utamaro and His Five Women Directed by Kenji Mizoguchi (Japan, 1946, 106 min.)
Mitsuha is the daughter of the mayor of a small mountain town. She’s a straightforward high school girl who has no qualms about letting it be known that she’s uninterested in Shinto rituals or helping her father’s electoral campaign. Instead she dreams of leaving the boring town and trying her luck in Tokyo. Taki is a high school boy in Tokyo who works part-time in an Italian restaurant and every night has a strange dream where he becomes … a high school girl in a small mountain town (Japanese and Mandarin).
Angelika Mosaic Landmark’s E Street Cinema
POlish Angry Harvest Directed by Agnieszka Holland (Poland, 1985, 105 min.) This remarkable Academy Award-nominated film tells a compelling story of love and desire during World War II. Middle-aged, lonely farmer Leon rescues Rosa, a young upper-class Jewish refugee, as she is fleeing the Nazis. While he nurses her back to health, their relationship gradually grows more intimate, but disintegrates into a catand-mouse power struggle as Leon’s mixed motives for hiding Rosa emerge (part of the Washington Jewish Film Festival; WJFF Visionary Award).
AFI Silver Theatre Sat., May 27, 7 p.m.
rOmanian Graduation (Bacalaureat) Directed by Cristian Mungiu (Romania/France/Belgium, 2016, 128 min.) Romeo is a seemingly honest doctor who regrets having settled in his native Romania, a country still teeming with corruption and back dealings. He channels his ambitions for a better life into his teenage daughter, Eliza, who’s just one exam away from securing a scholarship to a prestigious British university. But when Eliza is attacked on the eve of her test, endangering her ability to pass, Romeo takes matters into his own hands to ensure her success.
Landmark’s E Street Cinema
Sacred Hearts Directed by Radu Jude (Germany/Romania, 2016, 141 min.) During the summer of 1937—as Romania descends into a far-right society—a man in his early 20s develops bone tuberculosis, and is committed to a sanatorium on the Black Sea coast. Despite being confined to a hospital stretcher bed, he continues to read, smoke, drink and even flirt (part of the Washington Jewish Film Festival).
Landmark’s Bethesda Row Cinema Thu., May 18, 8 p.m. AFI Silver Theatre Sun., May 28, 6:15 p.m.
russian Solaris Directed by Andrei Tarkovsky (U.S.S.R., 1972, 167 min.)
Utamaro was a fitting subject for famed Japanese filmmaker Kenji Mizoguchi. Like Utamaro, Mizoguchi worked in an entertainment industry controlled by businessmen, tested the limits of strict censorship, enjoyed the company of courtesans and was famous for his depictions of women.
When cosmonaut/psychologist Kris Kelvin is sent to investigate the mysterious death of a doctor onboard a space station orbiting the planet Solaris, he initially believes the remaining crew to have lost their minds. Then, he begins to experience strange apparitions of his own, encountering his seven-years-dead wife.
National Museum of American History Sun., May 14, 2 p.m.
AFI Silver Theatre May 26 to 30
Your Name (Kimi no na wa)
Directed by Makoto Shinkai (Japan, 2017, 106 min.)
(Germany, 1927, 148 min.) Incorporating more than 25 minutes of recently discovered footage, the 2010 restoration of “Metropolis” is the definitive edition of Fritz Lang’s science-fiction masterpiece. In a fabulous city of the future, penthouse-dwelling capitalist bureaucrats hold sway over a subterranean working class, but a prophet from the masses foresees the coming of a new world order.
AFI Silver Theatre Sat., May 6, 1 p.m.
sPanish 2 Filhos de Francisco Directed by Breno Silveira (Brazil, 2005, 129 min.) This uplifting account chronicles the lives of Brazil’s famous country singers Zezé de Camargo e Luciano, two of nine children by a farmer from the countryside who began their careers by playing at fairs in their village (part of the IberoAmerican Film Showcase; rsvp to cultural. email@example.com).
Embassy of Uruguay Mon., May 15, 5:30 p.m.
Bailando con Margot Directed by Arturo Santana (Cuba, 2015, 105 min.) On Dec. 31, 1958, a detective is investigating the theft of a painting in the house of a wealthy widow of Havana. The relationship between the two of them reveals the story behind the house and the family, while the presence of bearded rebels in the city changes everyone’s destiny (part of the IberoAmerican Film Showcase; rsvp to firstname.lastname@example.org).
Embassy of Venezuela Tue., May 9, 6:30 p.m.
El Porton de los Sueños (The Gate of Dreams, Augusto Roa Bastos’ Life and Literature) Directed by Hugo Gamarra (Paraguay, 1998, 87 min.) Paraguayan writer Augusto Roa Bastos returns from exile and travels to Iturbe, the rural town where he lived his childhood, to the locations of his fictional stories, searching for the memories, landscapes and characters that populate the pages of his books (part of the Ibero-American Film Showcase; rsvp to email@example.com).
Former Residence of the Spanish Ambassador Thu., May 10, 6:30 p.m.
Flor de Azucar (Sugar Fields)
Otros Cuatro Litros
Directed by Fernando Baez (Dominican Republic, 2016, 110 min.) In 1949 Dominican Republic, the life of two peasant couples, one Dominican and Haitian, intertwine in the sugar fields. Samuel, a Dominican peasant of firm principles, faces the injustice of Trujillo’s dictatorship and is forced to flee and hide in a remote Caribbean island, leaving behind his wife and daughters (part of the Ibero-American Film Showcase; rsvp to gretchenpserex@ gmail.com).
Directed by Rodolfo Espinosa (Guatemala, 2014, 95 min.) Three friends in their 30s decide to embark on a trip to Lake Atitlán to fulfill the last wish of their recently deceased childhood friend by throwing his ashes to the lake and drink the last four liters in his name (part of the Ibero-American Film Showcase; rsvp to firstname.lastname@example.org).
Embassy of Guatemala Tue., May 2, 6:30 p.m.
Embassy of the Dominican Republic Wed., May 3, 6 p.m.
Patas Arriba (Upside Down)
Gente en Sitios (People in Places)
Directed by Alejandro Garcia Wiedemann (Venezuela, 2011, 93 min.)
Directed by Juan Cavestany (Spain, 2013, 83 min.) Described by one critic as a combination of Luis Buñuel and Joe Swanberg, this ultra-independent, micro-budget film is a plotless series of surreal, absurdist sketches: a housewife has a face transplant; considerate burglars tidy up the house they have robbed; a waiter turns a simple order into a Tolstoy-size manuscript; a father picking up his son from school gets trapped in a no-exit news program, etc. (part of the Ibero-American Film Showcase; rsvp to email@example.com).
Renato, who knows that his time is running out, teaches his 6-year-old granddaughter the value of friendship and respect towards other people’s views. His daughters have decided to send him to a hospital against his will, but with his granddaughter’s help, he plans to escape and sail from Venezuela to Salvador de Bahia in Brazil, as he once promised his deceased wife (part of the Ibero-American Film Showcase; rsvp to firstname.lastname@example.org).
Embassy of Venezuela Thu., May 11, 6:30 p.m.
Former Residence of the Spanish Ambassador Thu., May 4, 6:30 p.m.
A Place in the Caribbean
Gael travels to the Island of Roatan to finish his last novel and finds love at first sight. Sofia and her father missed their cruise and are forced to stay in the wonderful island. Three love stories abound in this magical place (part of the Ibero-American Film Showcase; rsvp to email@example.com).
Directed by Arturo Menendez (El Salvador, 2014, 70 min.) The Crow’s Nest follows Don Cleo, a humble piñata salesman who receives an extortion letter at his doorstep. If he doesn’t pay $500, a small fortune for him, within 72 hours, he will be killed (part of the Ibero-American Film Showcase; rsvp to firstname.lastname@example.org).
Embassy of El Salvador Mon., May 16, 6 p.m.
Directed by Juan Carlos Fanconi (Honduras, 2017, 114 min.)
Embassy of Honduras (Consulate) Fri., May 19, 4 p.m.
Primera Dama de la Revolución (First Lady of the Revolution)
Directed by Nicolás Teté (Argentina, 2015, 77 p.m.)
Directed by Andrea Kalin (Costa Rica, 2016, 71 min.)
Martina travels with her mother to Villa Mercedes, the city where their relatives live. After 12 years of estrangement, she meets with her cousins for the first time since childhood and a tragedy forces them to come together as a family again killed (part of the IberoAmerican Film Showcase; rsvp to email@example.com).
While visiting an aunt and uncle in the exotic countryside of Costa Rica, a young southern belle from Alabama accepted a ride on the back of a motorcycle belonging to a local charismatic farmer — a ride that would propel her down narrow mountain roads and into history (part of the Ibero-American Film Showcase; rsvp to firstname.lastname@example.org).
Embassy of Argentina Wed., May 17, 6:30 p.m.
Embassy of Argentina Wed., May 18, 6 p.m.
Ballooning CONTINUED • PAGE 45
at 5 p.m. on the day of their promised July 1784 ascent, and the crowd set their balloon on fire. And the temptation to fly over water in the 19th century meant that those who took to the air were often never seen again, a common theme in a number of the prints on view. The possibility for tragedy or dramatic feats remained inextricably tied to the wonders of lifting above the Earth in a hot air balloon. Along with the prints and paintings on display, the show highlights dozens of fun souvenirs that the balloonobsessed of the 18th and 19th century
coveted. Decorative fans, boxes and plates adorned with balloons celebrate this thrilling moment in history — and by the end of the show, you’ll wish you could buy some of the memorabilia yourself. “You could put a balloon on a snuff box or a needle case, almost on anything, and they’d fly off the shelves,” Crouch said. “People were fascinated by the balloons.” The marvels of early ballooning still fascinate today, and as viewers explore this singular exhibition they’ll find themselves seized with the same wild balloonomania that first took off over 200 years ago. WD Mackenzie Weinger (@mweinger) is a contributing writer for The Washington Diplomat.
Directed by Fritz Lang THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | MAy 2017 | 47
WD | Culture | Events
Events Listings *Unless specific times are listed, please check the venue for times. Venue locations are subject to change.
ART Through May 5
Forgotten Corners with Artist Iurro “Forgotten Corners” is about the places that we pass every day, but rarely stop and take time to look at them. These can be, for example, alleys in downtown D.C. and New York City or small villages we pass through to larger towns and cities in the Czech Republic. Often, these places are not even interesting during the day. However, at night, they become romantic, even mysterious. Embassy of the Czech Republic May 5 to 31
Integrated: Korean Clay and Paper Heritage in Contemporary American Art “Integrated” spotlights six American artists whose deep inspiration from Korean history and culture helps integrate elements of East and West in their art. Three of the artists work with hanji (durable, fibrous Korean traditional paper made from mulberry tree bark) and three with earthenware ceramics. All have devoted themselves to understanding the culture and history of traditional Korean paper and clay respectively, in order create their own modern expression of American identity and cultural heritage based on their experiences with Korea. Korean Cultural Center Through May 13
Bordes/Borders This contemporary video exhibit curated by Othón Castañeda features nine short films with borders as their main concept. The works were among a number of films submitted by international artists to the Bienal de las Fronteras, an artistic initiative that offers a platform to emerging artists of diverse backgrounds. This selection questions the boundaries of the biennial itself, including participating artists that establish an alternative view of the border, this time “from the inside out.” Mexican Cultural Institute May 13 to Feb. 17
Painting Shakespeare Discover the paintings collection at the Folger — its stories, its glories and Shakespeare’s power to inspire visual artists. From humble oil sketches to international masterpieces, this exhibition presents kids and adults alike, with a sometimes surprising, and always eye-catching, view of the man and his works. Folger Shakespeare Library
Through May 14
Border Crossing: Jami Porter Lara While visiting a remote area along the U.S.–Mexico border, Albuquerquebased artist Jami Porter Lara found the remains of ancient pottery as well as plastic bottles discarded by migrants moving through the region. Intrigued by this juxtaposition, she began to reconceptualize the plastic bottle. National Museum of Women in the Arts Through May 14
New Ground: The Southwest of Maria Martinez and Laura Gilpin Contemporaries and friends, potter Maria Martinez (ca. 1887–1980) and photographer Laura Gilpin (1891–1979) brought the American Southwest into focus as a culturally rich region that fostered artistic expression. Martinez’s bold adaptation of an ancient black-on-black pottery design technique reflected Pueblo artistic traditions and also appealed to the modernist sensibility. Gilpin was one of the first women to capture the landscape and peoples of the American West on film. National Museum of Women in the Arts Through May 14
Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors “Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors” is a celebration of the legendary Japanese artist’s 65-year career and promises to be one of 2017’s essential art experiences. Visitors will have the unprecedented opportunity to discover six of Kusama’s captivating Infinity Mirror Rooms alongside a selection of her other key works, including a number of paintings from her most recent series “My Eternal Soul” that have never been shown in the U.S. Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden May 21 to Aug. 20
America Collects EighteenthCentury French Painting When Joseph Bonaparte, elder brother of Napoleon, arrived in the United States in 1815, he brought with him his exquisite collection of eighteenth-century French paintings. Put on public view, the works caused a sensation, and a new American taste for French art was born. T his exhibition brings together 68 paintings that represent some of the best and most unusual examples of French art of that era held by American museums and tells their stories on a national stage. National Gallery of Art May 24 to Sept. 10
Markus Lüpertz: Threads of History Offering unparalleled insight into
48 | THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | May 2017
the German artist’s pioneering early practice, “Markus Lüpertz: Threads of History” showcases more than 30 paintings from Lüpertz’s formative years in the 1960s and ‘70s, as he challenged the limits of painting and forged his own style amidst the unrest of postwar Germany. Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden Through May 26
Designing Paraguay: Emerging Artists from the Heart of South America “Designing Paraguay” highlights emerging talent that is lighting the way for future innovations in the creative industries. As Paraguay looks ahead, it is moving away from an agricultural and industrial economy toward a more competitive global, knowledge-based economy. One such area of growth is the cultural and creative industries, which drive innovation and contribute to economic diversification. This exhibit showcases Paraguayan innovation across a variety of disciplines, which represent a shift away from traditional craft, but also a recognition of the importance of local knowledge and culture. Inter-American Development Bank Cultural Center May 27 to Sept. 23
Markus Lüpertz “Markus Lüpertz” explores the entirety of the prolific German artist’s five-decade career with a survey of his earliest works along with more recent paintings. Lüpertz, who began painting in a postwar Germany dominated by American Abstract Expressionism and Pop Art, has exhibited a preoccupation with the relationship between figuration and abstraction over the course of his career. Demonstrating this relationship through nearly 50 paintings, the exhibition at the Phillips includes important examples from Lüpertz’s “dithyrambic” pictures and provocative paintings of German motifs. The opening of the exhibition also comes just a few days after the Phillips’s Annual Gala and Contemporaries Bash on May 19. Both events will honor the museum’s longstanding relationship with the Embassy of the Republic of Germany and celebrate artistic and cultural exchange between the United States and Germany. The Phillips Collection Through May 28
Green Machine: The Art of Carlos Luna Cuban artist Carlos Luna’s exhibit features more than 65 works, with some created in new media the artist has been experimenting with during the past four years, including Jacquard tapestries, works on metal sheets with patina and aluminum leaf, and layers of natural materials rubbed into strong, thick, dense, smooth and
THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | May 2017 un-sized French paper. American University Museum Through May 31
El Vuelo y su Semilla This exhibition of works by renowned Mexican artist Bestabeé Romero (Mexico City, 1963) is comprised of installation pieces and reflects on the identity and culture that Mexican immigrants carry with them. Romero’s works explore these phenomena through symbolic objects, such as papel picado and tires, and culinary components, like bread and corn, underscoring the role that eating and cooking play in the formation and transformation of Mexican identity. The result is a body of work that places Mexican culture as a fundamental part of the migrant journey from Mexico to the U.S. Mexican Cultural Institute Through June 2
From the Desk of Simone de Beauvoir Consider the influence and intellect of feminist philosopher Simone de Beauvoir in an interpretation of her Paris studio alcove. This installation invites visitors to reflect on Beauvoir’s impact, not only in her time and not only as a feminist, but in our own time and in the areas of literature, philosophy and popular culture. National Museum of Women in the Arts Through June 4
Alternativas/Alternatives: The Thirteenth Spanish Biennial of Architecture and Urbanism (XIII Beau) “Alternativas/Alternatives” features 22 jury-selected projects completed between Jan. 1, 2013 through Dec. 31, 2015 by contemporary Spanish architects. The installation, which also includes an additional 20 shortlisted works, presents large-scale image displays and audiovisual commentary about the winning projects, as well as drawing reproductions and architectural models. Former Residence of the Spanish Ambassador Through June 4
Export: Spanish Architecture Abroad “Export” covers Spanish architecture abroad from an open perspective that takes into account practices organized by profiles (Insiders, Young Achievers, Producers, Scholars, Healers and Outsiders), as well as the role of other agents (Soft Power, Giants of Construction, Publishing and Retail Empire), which help us gain a richer and more plural vision of the sector and serve as the structure for the exhibition discourse. Former Residence of the Spanish Ambassador
Through June 4
Della Robbia: Sculpting with Color in Renaissance Florence Luca della Robbia, a master sculptor in marble and bronze, invented a glazing technique for terracotta sculpture that positioned him as one of the most innovative artists of the 15th century. Today, the sculptures created by Luca and his family workshop retain their brilliant opaque whites, deep cerulean blues, and botanical greens, purples and yellows over modeling that makes them powerful and engaging examples of Italian Renaissance art. National Gallery of Art Through June 4
Where the Children Sleep More than 2 million children have been forced from their homes by the war in Syria. Refugee children in neighboring countries or making journeys through Europe await an uncertain future. A few offered to show where they sleep now, when everything that once was, no longer exists, in this internationally acclaimed exhibition that features a moving series of photographs by award-winning Swedish photojournalist Magnus Wennman. House of Sweden Through June 11
Friends and Fashion: An American Diplomat in 1820s Russia Focusing on 45 portraits from an album assembled by the family of politician and statesman Henry Middleton, this exhibition paints a captivating picture of diplomatic life in early 19th-century St. Petersburg. The intimate portraits, along with selected objects, images and publications, offer an exploration into a number of themes, including Middleton’s posting in St. Petersburg and the historical events surrounding his time there, the family’s social life in Russia, the artistic traditions of the period, and the elaborate fashions and hairstyles of the day. Hillwood Estate, Museum and Gardens Through July 9
Frédéric Bazille and the Birth of Impressionism Frédéric Bazille (1841-70) created paintings inspired by contemporary life that challenged the aesthetic conventions of his day and helped to lay the groundwork of impressionism. In celebration of the 175th anniversary of the artist’s birth, this exhibit brings together some 75 paintings that examine Bazille as a central figure of impressionism. National Gallery of Art Through July 9
Inventing Utamaro: A Japanese Masterpiece Rediscovered In 2014, the Okada Museum of Art in
Hakone, Japan, made an announcement that startled the art world. The new arts center revealed it had discovered a long-lost painting by Kitagawa Utamaro (1753-1806), a legendary but mysterious Japanese artist. Titled “Snow at Fukagawa,” the immense work is one of three paintings by Utamaro that idealize famous pleasure districts in Edo (now Tokyo). For the first time in nearly 140 years, these paintings reunite in Inventing Utamaro at the Freer|Sackler, the only location to show all three original pieces. Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Through July 24
Inspiring Beauty: 50 Years of Ebony Fashion Flair For 50 years, the Ebony Fashion Fair shaped a new vision of black America through contemporary fashion. Founded by Eunice Walker Johnson in 1958, the traveling fashion show broke the color barrier to bring the pinnacle of global fashion to communities that were eager to celebrate black accomplishment, aspiration and success. The George Washington University Museum and the Textile Museum present the story of the Ebony Fashion Fair and its cultural impact with 40 garments, including stunning gowns, feathered coats and statement designs by Christian Dior, Vivienne Westwood and burgeoning designer Naeem Khan, who would go on to dress first lady Michelle Obama. The George Washington University Museum and the Textile Museum Through Aug. 6
The Urban Scene: 1920-1950 American artists of the early 20th century sought to interpret the beauty, power, and anxiety of the modern age in diverse ways. Through depictions of bustling city crowds and breathtaking metropolitan vistas, 25 black-and-white prints in this exhibition explore the spectacle of urban modernity. National Gallery of Art Through Aug. 6
José Gómez-Sicre’s Eye A half-century ago, Cuban-born curator José Gómez-Sicre took the reins of the OAS’s art program, thrusting himself into the rapidly expanding Latin American art world and bringing young, emerging talent to the OAS’s budding exhibition space. Impassioned by the arts, Gómez-Sicre planted the seeds of what is today considered among world’s finest collections of modern and contemporary Latin American and Caribbean art. The OAS will be celebrating the centennial of Gómez-Sicre’s birth throughout 2016, honoring his contribution to the legacy of the hemisphere’s art. OAS Art Museum of the Americas
Events | Culture | WD
Through Aug. 13
Escape: Foon Sham “Escape” showcases Foon Sham’s mastery of wood sculpture. To be within one of his vessel sculptures is to experience the palpable space of a woodland creature’s habitat, or the place of concealment. At the American University Museum, Sham has built one horizontal tunnel measuring 62 feet long and one vertical tunnel towering 36 feet high. “Escape” is one of a series of participatory sculptures, begun in the 1990s, meant to be experienced with all the body’s senses and to resonate socially. American University Museum Through Dec. 10
Stories of Migration – Sweden Beyond the Headlines Migration is old news. It has helped shape countries and the world. But the current situation is unprecedented: More than 65 million people around the world have been forced to leave their homes. Migration is also an integral part of the history of Sweden; in today’s population, one in six was born in another country. Since the 1930s Sweden has been characterized by more immigration than emigration, including offering refuge to people fleeing war and political unrest. This exhibition aims to add new perspectives to the story of Sweden and migration and give insights into the current situation in the country. Beyond headlines of chaos and collapse, beyond politics and public authorities, there are people who try to build a life in a new country. House of Sweden Through Jan. 15, 2018
Architecture of an Asylum: St. Elizabeths 1852-2017 Established by Congress in 1855 as the Government Hospital for the Insane, St. Elizabeths is widely considered a pioneering psychiatric facility. The hospital is a prime example of the “Kirkbride Plan” for mental health hospitals, which promised to help patients with a specialized architecture and landscape. This exhibition traces St. Elizabeths’ evolution over time, reflecting shifting theories about how to care for the mentally ill, as well as the later reconfiguration of the campus as a federal workplace and a mixed-use urban development. National Building Museum
FOOD & DRINK Mon., May 1, 5:30 p.m.
Mezcal: Mexico in a Bottle Mezcal: Mexico in a Bottle, the biggest mezcal tasting in the United States, makes its D.C. debut, combining music, art, food and the divine elixir. The event will include more than 15 mezcal brands, bites, cocktail sips from local bars and restaurants, handcrafted artisan goods, music and luminaries from across the mezcal world. Tickets are $50. Mexican Cultural Institute
Over 100 Embassies Open Doors for Passport 2017 C ultural Tourism DC’s annual Passport DC international showcase celebrates its 10th anniversary this May with a record-breaking lineup of over 100 embassy open houses, in addition to various street festivals and performing arts throughout the city. “When embassies open their doors, visitors can expect to encounter the art, music, crafts, cuisine, geography and the manufacturing prowess of the participating countries,” said Steven E. Shulman, executive director of Cultural Tourism DC. “The embassies want to express that their countries are attractive places to visit and do business, and in our 10th year, more countries than ever are participating.” On May 6, dozens of embassies from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe will partici-
May 10 to 13
Heart’s Delight Wine Tasting and Auction Over the past 17 years, the Heart’s Delight wine extravaganza has raised more than $15 million for the American Heart Association to fight stroke and heart disease. Events include the Congress Has Heart Reception showcasing top American wines (May 10); the Embassy and Winemaker Dinner Series featuring intimate dinners at foreign missions (May 11); the Vintners Dinner and Auction at Andrew Mellon Auditorium (May 12); and the Bordeaux Master Class and Grand Tasting at the Ritz-Carlton (May 13). For information, visit http://heartsdelightwineauction.org. Various locations
DANCE May 25 to 27
The Washington Ballet: Frontier The Washington Ballet presents the world premiere of Ethan Stiefel’s “Frontier,” a ballet inspired by President Kennedy and his space travel aspirations for America. The ballet employs an authenticity as it investigates space exploration through the perspective of the astronaut, delving into the emotional and physical rigors required for space travel. Tickets are $25 to $130. Kennedy Center Opera House
DISCUSSIONS Thu., May 4, 6 p.m.
Prague Functionalism: Tradition and Contemporary Echoes The American Institute of Architects, in collaboration with the Embassy of the Czech Republic and the Jaroslav Frágner Gallery Prague, present the opening of the exhibition “Prague Functionalism: Tradition and Contem-
Photo: Larry Luxner
Costumed women perform a traditional dance at the Embassy of Bolivia during last year’s Passport DC. pate in the Around the World Embassy Tour. Then on May 13, the European Union features its annual A Shortcut to Europe, with open houses at the missions of the EU’s 28 member states. The popular annual series of events,
porary Echoes,” featuring the lecture “Prague Modern Architecture 19001950: From Art Nouveau and Cubism to Avant Garde” by art historian Zdeněk Lukeš. To RSVP, visit https:// praguefunctionalism.eventbrite.com. The American Institute of Architects Mon., May 8, 7 p.m.
Last Hope Island Book Talk New York Times bestselling author Lynne Olson will discuss her new book “Last Hope Island,” a groundbreaking account of how Britain became the base of operations for the exiled leaders of Europe, including the Polish government-in-exile, in their desperate struggle to reclaim their continent from Hitler. For information, visit www.waszyngton. msz.gov.pl/en/. Embassy of Poland
which regularly draw tens of thousands of visitors, is an international feast for the senses. Embassy recruitment for this year’s Passport DC began in early 2017, with Brazil, a perennial favorite among attendees, being the first country to register. The delegation will present a day-long program of music and colorfully costumed dancers at the stately Brazilian ambassador’s residence. The sounds of Botswana will fill the air around Dupont Circle as its embassy presents a showcase of music, live art and traditional cuisine, while nearby, on Massachusetts Avenue, the Embassy
LEARN MORE: For more information, visit http://www.culturaltourismdc.org/portal/passport-dc1.
NPR. Three guest choirs and D.C. institutions join the performance: Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, Children’s Chorus of Washington and the Washington National Cathedral Boy and Girl Choristers. Tickets are $18 to $72. Kennedy Center Concert Hall Sat., May 20, 4:30 p.m.
Ustad Dilshad Ensemble
Tue., May 9, 6:45 p.m.
Ustad Dilshad Hussain Khan is an international violinist, composer and musicologist. The PakistaniAmerican citizen comes from seven generations of musicians and has studied and traveled worldwide, playing a distinct blend of Western and Eastern sounds, along with classical, jazz, blues, country and fusion music. Tickets are $80, including buffet. For information, visit www.embassyseries.org. Embassy of Pakistan
Constructing the Public Realm
Wed., May 24, 7:30 p.m.
Spanish architect Iñaki Alday of the University of Virginia and Kelly Shannon of the University of Southern California talk about the singularity of Spanish architecture in the integration of architecture, public space, urban planning and landscape architecture. Admission is free but RSVP is required; for more information, visit www.spainculture.us/city/ washington-dc/. Former Spanish Ambassador’s Residence
MUSIC Sun., May 14, 5 p.m.
Carmina Burana and Oedipus Rex At the end of his 10th and final season, the Washington Chorus will pull out all the stops to honor Julian Wachner in his final concert as music director. The Chorus will perform Carl Orff’s “Carmina Burana” and Igor Stravinsky’s “Oedipus Rex,” with special guest narrator Ari Shapiro of
of Peru plans to have live alpacas in the yard, along with native dancers and a taste of Peruvian drinks and gastronomy. Other Passport signature events include: A Celebration of Global Fashion with clothing from over a dozen nations at Macy’s Metro Center (April 26); Flower Mart at the National Cathedral (May 5-6); National Asian Heritage Festival Fiesta Asia Street Fair (May 20); and the Events DC Embassy Chef Challenge at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center (May 24). — Anna Gawel
David Six: Solo Piano – Between the Stations “Between the Stations” is what Austrian pianist David Six calls his new project, which consists of compositions written on the road. The idea is simple: At every recital, he presents one new piano piece that has been inspired by and written at the very same place: music written in hotel rooms or at train stations, on planes or simply on stage. Admission is free; for information, visit acfdc.org. Embassy of Austria
$25 to $300. Kennedy Center Opera House Through May 7
A Raisin in the Sun Lorraine Hansberry’s “A Raisin in the Sun” follows the Younger family yearning for a better life far from the cramped confines of their Chicago tenement. Hope arrives in the form of an unexpected financial windfall, but when they realize they have differing definitions of the American dream, which dreams get realized and which deferred? Tickets are $40 to $90. Arena Stage May 9 to June 11
Timon of Athens Robert Richmond directs Shakespeare’s tragic satire about a wealthy aristocrat who loses his fortune and his friends due to his over-generosity. An exploration of materialism, money and friendship, “Timon of Athens” features Helen Hayes Award-winner Ian Merrill Peakes in the title role. Tickets are $35 to $75. Folger Shakespeare Theatre Through May 21
Jewish immigrant intersect, their fates are inextricably bound and profoundly changed. Tickets are $20 to $73. Ford’s Theatre Through May 21
In the Heights This spirited musical by the creator of “Hamilton” tells a story of the love, hopes and heartbreaks of a tightly knit multicultural community on the brink of change in New York’s Washington Heights. Teeming with vivid neighborhood characters such as the romantically skittish bodega owner, attractive beautician, wise grandmother, and a young student and her culturally different boyfriend, the stage will sizzle with the urban energy of hip hop, salsa and merengue. Tickets are $60. GALA Hispanic Theatre Through May 28
Macbeth At a time when equivocation and the perils of power dominate the news and divide the nation, Liesl Tommy’s up-to-the-minute production will explore political themes that reverberate here in America and around the world. Though not always thought of as a political play, Shakespeare’s study of power and its abuses and insecurities is as relevant today as when it was written in response to the Gunpowder Plot in 1606. Please call for ticket information. Shakespeare Theatre Company
Four intellectuals — a doctor, an actress, a psychologist and a neurobiologist studying the human brain’s response to race — search for love, acceptance and identity set against the backdrop of Barack Obama’s 2008 election. Tickets are $40 to $90. Arena Stage
May 6 to 21
Through May 20
The School for Lies
Washington National Opera: Madame Butterfly
“The School for Lies” transforms Molière’s 17th-century classic “The Misanthrope” into a modern satire crafted in vicious couplets and outrageous gags, creating a baroque comedy of manners brimming with contemporary slang. Please call for ticket information. The Shakespeare Theatre
In this eye-popping staging of Puccini’s immortal tragedy, a dashing American naval officer chooses a naïve young geisha to be his bride, only to betray her--leading to one of the most devastating and legendary final scenes in all of opera. Tickets are
Based on E.L. Doctorow’s celebrated 1975 novel, the Tony Award-winning musical “Ragtime” confronts both the unbridled optimism and the stark reality of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. When the lives of a wealthy white family, a daring Harlem musician and a determined
May 30 to July 2
THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | May 2017 | 49
WD | Culture | Spotlight
2017 Country Promotion Strategies (CPS) Conference The Washington Diplomat’s fourth Country Promotion Strategies (CPS) Conference drew over 150 people, including ambassadors and diplomats representing dozens of nations, to the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center on March 28 for a day of panel discussions led by top experts in the fields of U.S. politics, public relations and lobbying, trade and investment, media, digital diplomacy and more. Navigating Washington is never easy. Navigating Washington under a new Trump administration has upped the ante. Speakers addressed a range of timely topics, including politics in the new White House and Congress, cybersecurity, foreign news coverage, social media and even how nations can attract Hollywood investment. Speakers included Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner; former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge; former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle; former Congressman Mike Rogers; CNN’s Michelle Kosinski; Twitter’s Maryam Mujica; and former Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman. Sponsors included APCO Worldwide; LEVICK Communications; Craft Media; Cigna; Sahouri Insurance; Globescope; and The Ambassadors Group. For detailed coverage of the discussions, be sure to sign up to the Diplomatic Pouch on our website.
Moderator John Shaw, former Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman, former Sen. Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) and former Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) share a laugh.
The Washington Diplomat publisher Victor Shiblie; journalist, author and moderator John Shaw; former Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.); former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.), now of the Daschle Group; and former Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman, now with APCO Worldwide. Left, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner greets Ambassador of Iceland Geir Haarde and Ambassador Neil Parsan of the Organization of American States.
Photos: Jessica Latos
Ambassador of Nicaragua Francisco Obadiah Campbell Hooker; John Randall, vice president of digital at Craft; Brian Donahue, CEO and founder of Craft Media Digital; and David S. Adams of the Podesta Group. Right, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner shares a laugh with Lara Romano of the Embassy of Croatia and Ambassador of Kosovo Vlora Çitaku.
Moderator John Shaw of Market News talks about the political landscape.
Representatives from Cigna and Sahouri Insurance.
Press counselor for the Finnish Embassy Sanna Kangasharju.
Ambassador of Armenia Grigor Hovhannissian.
Deanea LeFlore of the Houston mayor’s office talks with Fazulrahman Fazilyar, economic counselor at the Embassy of Afghanistan.
Ambassador of Sri Lanka Prasad Kariyawasam.
Ambassador of Kosovo Vlora Çitaku.
Michael Isikoff, chief investigative correspondent for Yahoo News.
Former Homeland Security Secretary and Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge, now chairman of Ridge Global.
Michelle Kosinski, senior diplomatic correspondent for CNN.
Former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge; Washington Diplomat managing editor Anna Gawel; Chip Block, vice president of Evolver Inc.; and Jerry Caponera, director of technical sales at CyberSponse.
50 | THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | May 2017
Masego Nkgomotsang of the Embassy of Botswana, Ermixon Ribeiro of the Embassy of Cabo Verde and Ambassador of Cabo Verde Carlos Veiga.
Ana Maria Raquel of the Embassy of Mozambique talks to guests.
Ambassador of Brunei Dato Serbini Ali.
Representatives of Craft Media Digital.
Spotlight | Culture | WD
Left, Dan Scandling, senior director of public affairs at APCO Worldwide.
Left, Richard S. Levick, chairman and CEO of Levick.
Right, Ndumiso Mngadi of the Embassy of South Africa.
Chip Block of Evolver Inc. listens to Jerry Caponera of CyberSponse.
Brian Donahue, CEO and founder of Craft Media Digital.
Ralph Winnie, director of the Eurasia Center’s China Program, and Chargé d’Affaires of the Embassy of Belarus Pavel Shidlovsky. Dan Scandling, senior director of public affairs for APCO Worldwide, talks with Sanna Kangasharju of the Finnish Embassy, Andrea Catalano of the Italian Embassy and Monica Enqvist of the Swedish Embassy. Lunch included beef tenderloin medallion with grilled shrimp in a shallot merlot sauce.
Andrew Gelfuso and Allyson McKithen of the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center.
Ambassador of Iceland Geir Haarde and Michelle Czernin Von Chudenitz of Popular Press Media Group.
Right, Washington Diplomat sales manager Rod Carassco and Michelle Czernin Von Chudenitz of Popular Press Media Group.
Mohammed AlHadhrami and Adonis Fakhri of the Embassy of Yemen.
Digital diplomacy panelists Andreas Sandre of the Embassy of Italy; Maryam Mujica of Twitter, Carla Portalanza of the Embassy of Ecuador; managing editor Anna Gawel; and John Randall of Craft pose for a social media photo.
Former Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman talks with former Ambassador of Sri Lanka Devinda Subasinghe of the Ambassadors Group.
Alison Patch of APCO Worldwide and Hugo Palma of the Embassy of Portugal.
Marcelo Magnou of the Embassy of Uruguay and Andrian Rosa of the Embassy of Moldova.
Peter Kirschner of Events DC and Danilo Gutierrez of the Embassy of El Salvador.
Azad Aslanov of the Embassy of Azerbaijan, Stefan Gudjohnsen of Globescope and Tural Balakishiyev of the Embassy of Azerbaijan.
CNN’s Michelle Kosinski talks with Daniel Huang of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO).
Andreas Sandre, press and public affairs officer at the Italian Embassy and author of “Twitter for Diplomats.”
Charity Zulu of the Embassy of Zambia and Meg Rowley of Signal Group DC.
The Washington Diplomat publisher Victor Shiblie and operations director Fuad Shiblie. Ernest B. Asare-Asiedu of the Embassy of Ghana.
Sakal Mao of the Embassy of Cambodia and Fnu Ismunandar of the Embassy of Indonesia.
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner greets Aristides Adriano of the Embassy of Mozambique. THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | May 2017 | 51
WD | Culture | Spotlight
Japan Celebrates Cherry Blossoms
Rome Treaty 60th Anniversary Concert
Hundreds of guests, including first daughter Ivanka Trump and her children, converged on the Japanese Residence for the embassy’s annual celebration of the National Cherry Blossom Festival. Ambassador Kenichiro Sasae welcomed the National Conference of State Societies Cherry Blossom Princesses to commemorate the U.S.-Japanese friendship.
Despite the populist politics that have shaken the European Union, the bloc celebrated the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome, which established the European Economic Community on March 25, 1957. To mark the occasion, the Italian Embassy in D.C. hosted the concert “In Dreams Awake,” with symphonies written by maestro Gabriele Ciampi that also featured the “Ode to Joy” from Beethoven’s “Ninth Symphony,” the official anthem of the EU. “The European Union is a success story. What unites us prevails over our differences, and the eagerness to be together is stronger than any disagreement,” said Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Angelino Alfano.
Photo: Gail Scott
American Princess Caitlin Sweeney from Alaska, Nobuko Sasae, Ambassador Kenichiro Sasae and American Princess Taylor Mellaci from New Jersey.
Photo: Embassy of Japan
Ivanka Trump joins young guests as they play with Japanese toys like Pokemon and origami, and meet PARO, the cuddly therapeutic robot.
2017 American Cherry Blossom Queen Rachel Bohn and 2017 Japanese Queen Yuki Shimono. Photo: Gail Scott
Photo: Embassy of Japan
Photo: Gail Scott
Ivanka Trump toasts the National Cherry Blossom Festival.
Cherry Blossom Princesses from the 50 U.S. states and Japan.
Photo: Gail Scott
Ambassador of Italy Armando Varricchio, his wife Micaela Barbagallo and maestro Gabriele Ciampi.
France Honors Blackstone’s Schwarzman Stephen A. Schwarzman — the billionaire co-founder of the Blackstone Group and chairman of President Trump’s Strategic and Policy Forum, an advisory council of CEOs — was given the Commandeur des Arts et des Lettres by French Ambassador Gérard Araud for his service to French culture. The ceremony at the French Residence drew prominent supporters of the administration, including first daughter Ivanka Trump, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. The Order of Arts and Letters was established in 1957 by the French government to recognize those who have made extraordinary contributions to the arts, literature, and culture in France and throughout the world.
Ambassador of France Gérard Araud, right, welcomes Chris Wallace of Fox News and his wife Lorraine Martin Smothers to the residence.
Photos: Embassy of France
Blackstone co-founder Stephen A. Schwarzman speaks to guests, including Ivanka Trump and IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde.
IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde and Ivanka Trump.
Ambassador of France Gérard Araud, Blackstone co-founder Stephen A. Schwarzman and his wife Christine Hearst Schwarzman.
Photo: Embassy of Italy in the U.S.
Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Angelino Alfano and Ambassador of Italy Armando Varricchio.
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao. Photo: Embassy of Italy in the U.S.
Portuguese Foreign Minister at GMF Portuguese Foreign Affairs Minister Augusto Santos Silva joined Anna Gawel, managing editor of The Washington Diplomat, at the German Marshall Fund (GMF) for a discussion on transatlantic relations and the increasing pressures on the European Union and NATO, part of GMF’s Transatlantic Talk series. Silva was in town for From right, German Marshall Fund President Karen Donfried the global meeting on how to introduces Portuguese Foreign Affairs Minister Augusto Santos Silva and Washington Diplomat managing editor Anna Gawel. combat the Islamic State.
52 | THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | May 2017
Portuguese Foreign Affairs Minister Augusto Santos Silva and Washington Diplomat managing editor Anna Gawel.
Cultural counselor of the Uruguayan Embassy Marcelo Magnou, Ambassador of Timor-Leste Domingos Sarmento Alves and Ambassador of Malta Pierre Clive Agius.
Ambassador of Ireland Anne Anderson, wife of the Austrian ambassador Gudrun Faudon-Waldner and wife of the EU ambassador Agnes O’Hare.
Spotlight | Culture | WD
WPA 50th Anniversary Gala and Auction Washington Performing Arts (WPA) celebrated its 50th anniversary gala and auction on March 11 at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium, honoring Reginald Van Lee of Booz Allen Hamilton, chairman of the WPA Board of Directors. Over 600 guests attended, including members of the diplomatic corps and Congress, as well as international, national and local business and civic leaders. For 50 years, WPA has created opportunities for connecting the community to artists, in both education and performance, through live events in venues that span the D.C. area.
Sudan NUSACC Roundtable
Operatic soprano and Washington native Alyson Cambridge performs.
Photo: Washington Performing Arts
Photo: Gail Scott
WPA President Emeritus Douglas Wheeler, Veronica Valencia Sarukhan and former Ambassador of Mexico Arturo Sarukhan.
Operatic soprano Alyson Cambridge and honoree Reginald Van Lee of Booz Allen Hamilton.
The National U.S.-Arab Chamber of Commerce (NUSACC) hosted Ibrahim Ahmed Omer Ahmed, the speaker of Sudan’s National Assembly, at an NUSACC Expert Roundtable Series. The speaker was accompanied by the highest-level parliamentary delegation from Sudan seen in the United States in many years. “Sudan and the United States now have the potential to enter a new era in our commercial relationship,” said Sudanese Ambassador Maowia Osman Khalid. The speaker highlighted Sudan’s abundant natural resources, including uranium, zinc, mica, oil and gas, and precious metals such as gold, as well as the country’s 200 million acres of fertile soil, which helps to explain why Sudan has become the fourth-largest investment destination in the Arab world.
Photo: Washington Performing Arts
Gala co-chairs Great Jones Capital Chairman and founder Susan Hepner, Gary Mather of Booz Allen Hamilton and his wife Christina Co Mather. Photo: Washington Performing Arts
Photo: Washington Performing Arts
Photo: Washington Performing Arts
WPA President and CEO Jenny Bilfield. NUSACC President and CEO David Hamod; Speaker of the Sudanese National Assembly Ibrahim Ahmed Omer Ahmed; Ambassador of Sudan Maowia Osman Khalid; Chairman of the Sudanese National Assembly’s Economic Affairs Committee Ahmed Magzoub; and General Electric representatives Pierre-Yves Daveau, Del Renigar and George Pickart.
Guests greet Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Photo: Washington Performing Arts Photo: Washington Performing Arts
Photo: Washington Performing Arts
Actress and singer Cicely Tyson.
Dario Marquez of MVM Inc. and Wendy Marquez.
D.C. Councilmember Jack Evans.
Speaker of the Sudanese National Assembly Ibrahim Ahmed Omer Ahmed, Chairman of the Sudanese National Assembly’s Economic Affairs Committee Ahmed Magzoub and Ambassador of Sudan Maowia Osman Khalid. Photos: NUSACC
Photo: Gail Scott Photo: Washington Performing Arts Photo: Gail Scott
WPA supporters Dr. Milton Corn and Gilan Corn.
Ambassador of Japan Kenichiro Sasae and Nobuko Sasae.
Ambassador of Iceland Geir Haarde and his wife Inga Jona Thordardottir.
Photo: Washington Performing Arts
Speaker of the Sudanese National Assembly Ibrahim Ahmed Omer Ahmed and NUSACC President and CEO David Hamod.
‘Culinary Journey to Azerbaijan’ The Near East Section of the African and Middle Eastern Division of the Library of Congress presented a discussion on the book “Pomegranates & Saffron: A Culinary Journey to Azerbaijan,” featuring author Feride Buyuran on March 15.
Ambassador of Azerbaijan Elin Suleymanov.
Author Feride Buyuran discusses her book.
Joan Weeks, Head of the Near East Section in the African and Middle Eastern Division at the Library of Congress.
Pakistan Marks Easter Ambassador of Pakistan Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry gives Virginia State Senator Dick Black and his wife Barbara a book on the churches of Pakistan as part of an Easter celebration dinner at the Pakistani Embassy co-hosted by the Virginia-based All Neighbors group and attended by various faith leaders around the area.
Photo: Embassy of Pakistan
THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | May 2017 | 53
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of apparent American withdrawal from the international scene.” The proposed budget cuts are “a dangerous direction to go in,” U.S. Global Leadership Coalition President and CEO Liz Schrayer said. “I don’t see this budget going further at all,” she told The Diplomat. “When I look at this budget proposal, it feels to me like a relic of the Cold War.”
Yet critics point out that with the Trump administration’s growing military footprint in places such as Iraq, Syria and Yemen, more — not fewer — diplomatic resources will be needed to secure a lasting peace once military victories are achieved. “The military will be the first to tell you that a military operation is only as good as the diplomatic and political plan that comes with it,” Robert Malley, a vice president for policy at the International Crisis Group, told Ben Hubbard and Michael R. Gordon of the New York Times in a March 29 article. That’s why in a letter released by the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition in February, more than 120 retired generals and admirals from all branches of the armed services called on leaders in Congress to preserve international affairs funding in the 2018 budget. “We know from our service in uniform that many of the crises our nation faces do
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U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson welcomes foreign leaders for a meeting on the global coalition to defeat ISIS (the Islamic State) at the State Department on March 22. Despite the work that State is doing to counter terrorism, Tillerson has said that with the U.S. involved in fewer wars, the agency should expect a significant resizing of its budget.
not have military solutions alone — from confronting violent extremist groups like ISIS [Islamic State] in the Middle East and North Africa to preventing pandemics like Ebola and stabilizing weak and fragile states that can lead to greater instability,” the letter stated. Opponents of the budget cuts also are hoping to find an ally in Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. When he was commander of U.S. Central Command, he acknowledged the importance of diplomacy during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing in 2013. “If you don’t fund the State Department fully, then I need to buy more ammunition,” he said. “The more we put into the State Department’s diplomacy, hopefully the less we have to put into a military budget as we deal with the outcome
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MORAL RESPONSIBILITy Trump’s nationalist “America First” agenda readily acknowledges “deep cuts to foreign aid.” “It is time to prioritize the security and wellbeing of Americans and to ask the rest of the world to step up and pay its fair share,” Trump stated. To that end, his budget abdicates responsibility for some foreign aid by challenging “international and non-governmental relief organizations to become more efficient and effective.” The U.S. is by far the largest donor to global humanitarian crises, and many NGOs are already stretched thin by unprecedented demand and limited resources. There’s no way they can fill the gaps in humanitarian aid that would be triggered by the proposed budget cuts, said Phillips-Barrasso of the International Rescue Committee, which receives some U.S. foreign aid funding. “There is already a lot of efficiency and organization in NGOs with small budgets,” she said. “That can’t be [used as] a cover for this kind of
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reduction because we’re talking in the billions and billions of dollars.” Trump is reportedly eyeing $1 billion in cuts to U.N. peacekeeping operations and children’s and poverty programs. His 2018 budget also would eliminate money for U.N. climate change initiatives, USAID’s Complex Crises Fund and the State Department’s Emergency Refugee and Migration Assistance account. In a letter to Congress, more than 100 Christian leaders said it is “our moral responsibility to urge you to support and protect the International Affairs Budget.” “With just 1 percent of our nation’s budget, the International Affairs Budget has helped alleviate the suffering of millions; drastically cutting the number of people living in extreme poverty in half, stopping the spread of infectious diseases like HIV/AIDS and Ebola, and nearly eliminating polio,” the letter stated. “Additionally, it promotes freedom and human rights, protecting religious freedom for millions around the world.” The Trump administration fails to understand the interconnectedness of world affairs and how diplomacy and foreign aid increase global security, Schrayer said. “Not having all the tools in their toolkit will impact us greatly in terms of our economic interest and our moral standing,” she said. “It would make America less safe.” WD Brendan L. Smith (www.brendanlsmith.com) is a contributing writer for The Washington Diplomat.
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