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A World of News and Perspective

EDUCATION ■ A Special Section of The Washington Diplomat



■ OCTOBER 2013 Sophomores Sabrina Caballero,

Sen. Robert Menendez (D­N.J.), chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, talks about why he supported a U.S. military strike on Syria (but not the Iraq War), the enduring impact of 9/11, American power abroad, immigration at home, his own life as a first­generation American, and what a bully taught him about life. PAGE 10


Vultures vs. Deadbeats: Argentina Dukes It Out With Rich U.S. Investors A nasty dispute between Argentina and a group of hedge fund investors has been fought in the courts — and in the media, as an aggressive lobby shop backed by bondholders wages an ad war with Buenos Aires. PAGE 8


Racism and sexism share space with a fantastical wonderland at the National Museum of Women in the Arts. PAGE 44

seniors) sit in the dorm at Randolph-Macon

Boarding Schools Offer Home Away From Home by Audrey Hoffer ■ INSIDE: D.C. officials have

MIddle easT

October 2013

been patting themselves on

Academy in Front Royal, Va.

Bustling lives in Washington are the norm for diplomatic families. And when both spouses are professionally engaged, it can be difficult to carve out time to help with their child’s education. Diplomatic tenure in the nation’s capital also

the back for reforming the

often coincides with high school years, a critically important period for teens when they seek independence with one hand while holding onto a parent’s coattails with the other.

Continued on next page city’s schools, but one councilmember

is saying not so fast. PAGE

28 ■

EDUCATION The Washington Diplomat


THe IraqI Powder Keg As Iraq reels from its worst bout of carnage since 2008, Americans are overwhelmingly reluctant to get sucked into another Mideast war — after having largely washed their hands of the country they invaded a decade ago. But Lukman Faily, Baghdad’s new envoy, is determined to convince Washington that Iraq is worth saving — and remembering. PAGE 15



Italy’s It Couple Makes D.C. Splash

With Holliday at Helm, Meridian Takes Charge Leadership has beget leadership at the Meridian Interna­ tional Center, which, under Stuart Holliday’s stewardship, has thrived as a hub of international exchange and a place where future global leaders are groomed. PAGE 4

Historical and Heavenly Side by Side at NMWA

left, and Louisa Stanwich (now



Senate Foreign Relations Chair Menendez Opens Up

■ October 2013

Laura Denise Noce Benigni Olivieri and her Italian ambassador husband have host­ ed some of the most prestigious events of the year — a function of their desire to showcase the best of Italy. PAGE 45


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The Washington Diplomat

October 2013



13 Pakistan

[ news ] 4







[ education ] 23


Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chair Robert Menendez talks about Syria, 9/11, American power abroad, immigration at home, and his own life as a first-generation American.



COvEr PrOfilE: iraq


fOrgOTTEN failEd STaTE

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






[ culture ]

There are probably few exhibitions sharing one space that appear to be so far apart than “American People, Black Light” and “Awake in the Dream World” at the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

filM rEviEWS More so than the climate change doc “An Inconvenient Truth” starring Al Gore, “Inequality for All” succeeds as an entertaining and educational documentary largely because of Robert Reich, former labor secretary in the Clinton administration.

airliNES Airlines aren’t just for getting you to your destination — they can also help you map out your entire vacation.

diNiNg Dennis Friedman is a Bethesda boy made good, having gone from waiting tables at Ledo Pizza to opening his first solo (and successful) venture, Newton’s Table.

Change is in the air, and it can wreak havoc on your skin. Fortunately, winter treatments at area spas can restore that warm glow.


ENduriNg ‘TOrCh’ The Studio Theatre has accomplished the difficult feat of dusting off and reviving “Torch Song Trilogy,” one of the gay community’s signature artistic landmarks.

Traveling no longer means taking a break from healthy living, as more and more hotel menus cater to sustainability over splurging.


BraziliaN CONTraSTS Native Brazilian turned D.C. transplant Marília Bulhões offers a contemporary look at Brazil, its progress and its problems.


hEalThy EaTiNg

havEl iNSPirES Czech poet, playwright, political dissident and President Václav Havel is the subject of this year’s Mutual Inspirations Festival.

d.C. rEfOrMS

BOOk rEviEW “This Town” pops the Beltway bubble with its acerbic take on Washington’s insider culture (written by the penultimate insider).


[ travel & hotels ]

For years, Pakistan dilly-dallied between proclaiming that terrorism was its greatest problem to blaming the “war on terror” for all its problems. But now the government is trying to develop a counterterrorism strategy. Is it too little too late?

diPlOMaTiC SPOuSES Italian Ambassador Claudio Bisogniero and his wife Laura Denise have opened their residence and embassy to give D.C. a taste of dolce vita.

BOardiNg SChOOlS

For busy parents and teenagers wanting a more immersive learning experience, boarding schools offer a home away from home.

D.C. Councilmember David Catania doesn’t think the city’s school system should rest on its laurels, and he’s determined to shake things up.

The Central African Republic is a black spot on the map in the heart of Africa — a blip that barely registers with the outside world.


MEdiCal The true costs of medical care in the U.S. are being revealed, and the sticker shock is enough to send patients reeling.

ThE rOTuNda

In the two and a half months since Lukman Faily took over as Iraq’s ambassador, suicide bombers, explosive-laden cars and armed fighters have killed more than 2,000 Iraqis, pushing the country back to the brink of civil war.


Art by Marília Bulhões

Pay uP argENTiNa A U.S. court recently ordered Argentina to repay a group of investors that has waged a relentless campaign to paint Buenos Aires as a fiscal deadbeat.


Boarding schools

PEOPlE Of WOrld iNfluENCE When Stuart Holliday took the reins of the Meridian International Center, the organization was well established but falling short of its potential. Seven years later, he’s lifted it to new heights.

October 2013


CiNEMa liSTiNg




diPlOMaTiC SPOTlighT


WOrld hOlidayS






rEal ESTaTE ClaSSifiEdS

P.O. Box 1345 • Silver Spring, MD 20915-1345 • Phone: (301) 933-3552 • Fax: (301) 949-0065 • E-mail: • Web: Publisher/Editor-in-Chief Victor Shiblie director of Operations Fuad Shiblie Managing Editor Anna Gawel News Editor Larry Luxner Contributing Writers Martin Austermuhle, Michael Coleman, Audrey Hoffer, Rachel G. Hunt, Saba Imtiaz, Stephanie Kanowitz, Luke Jerod Kummer, Kat Lucero, Molly McCluskey, Ky N. Nguyen, Gina Shaw, John Shaw, Gail Scott, Dave Seminara, Gary Tischler, Lisa Troshinsky Photographers Jessica Latos, Lawrence Ruggeri account Managers Chris Smith graphic designer Cari Bambach The Washington Diplomat is published monthly by The Washington Diplomat, Inc. The newspaper is distributed free of charge at several locations throughout the Washington, D.C. area. We do offer subscriptions for home delivery. Subscription rates are $25 for 12 issues and $45 for 24 issues. Call Fuad Shiblie for past issues. If your organization employs many people from the international community you may qualify for free bulk delivery. To see if you qualify you must contact Fuad Shiblie. The Washington Diplomat assumes no responsibility for the safe keeping or return of unsolicited manuscripts, photographs, artwork or other material. The information contained in this publication is in no way to be construed as a recommendation by the Publisher of any kind or nature whatsoever, nor as a recommendation of any industry standard, nor as an endorsement of any product or service, nor as an opinion or certification regarding the accuracy of any such information.

October 2013

The Washington Diplomat Page 3


Ambassador Stuart Holliday

Holliday Nurtures Leadership As Helm of Meridian Center by Michael Coleman


hen Stuart Holliday took the reins of the Meridian International Center just over seven years ago, the organization was well established in Washington, but falling short of its potential. Founded in 1960 on a spacious and elegant piece of real estate just off of 16th Street, NW, not far from U Street, Meridian has long made good on its mission of serving as a cultural hub for Washington’s international community, as well as a place where future global leaders are groomed. But Holliday, the son of U.S. diplomats and a former U.S. ambassador for special political affairs at the United Nations, thought Meridian could do better. Last month, as Meridian prepared for its annual Meridian Ball and Global Leadership Summit in October, Holliday sat down with The Diplomat to talk about the center’s ambitious plans for the future. “Our mission is critical — strengthening international collaboration and understanding — but there are so many opportunities to apply that,” Holliday said during an expansive interview in his sun-splashed Meridian office.“Taking this jewel and, you know, fulfilling its potential was a great opportunity for me, and it aligns with my background as the son of a diplomat who grew up with an international background.” Holliday arrived at Meridian armed with a wealth of international management experience. Prior to his appointment as CEO and president of Meridian — a job he landed vis-à-vis an executive search by the institution — Holliday had served as an assistant secretary in the State Department’s Bureau of International Information Programs and as principal deputy assistant secretary for public affairs. He also worked in the early days of the George W. Bush White House, where he advised the president on appointments to the State Department, Defense Department,Veterans Department, Overseas Private Investment Corporation, Peace Corps, FEMA, NASA, USAID and various ambassadorships. Holliday said his tenure at the State Department allowed him to wear two hats. “One was a policy hat — when I was at the U.N. working on the Security Council — and one was a diplomatic hat, and it was a great fit,” he said. “It’s helped me understand better how we can serve as a resource of the State Department having worked at the State Department.” State’s longstanding relationship with Meridian made Holliday a natural fit for the job because he understood the organization’s mission and he had some ideas for how to expand it. Holliday said that today’s challenging global environment calls for strong leadership skills, and Meridian provides that to thousands of aspiring government leaders from around the world every year.

Page 4

“We’ve had a long relationship with the State Department in terms of Meridian’s identity and our role with respect to public diplomacy and exchange,” Holliday ex­­ plained. “The landscape has changed in terms of the need for more leadership collaboration to include the private sector more, and to look at what we would call an exchange. “In the old days, it was really about building goodwill,” Holliday said about Meridian’s early mission.“What I’ve tried to do at Meridian is first, include the private sector more in programs, create publicprivate partnerships where we can, help support bridging the State Department and private sector in terms of expanding the impact of their programs, and take advantage of our relationships with our corporate council, which we’ve developed.” In addition to partnerships that connect U.S. and foreign governments with the private sector, Meridian works with the State Department and America’s embassies worldPhoto: Meridian International Center

More perspectives make better policy. We’re trying to be different. There are many think tanks in Washington. We want to create content, but it’s not about advocacy. Our content really is more of a way to gain insight into global trends and issues, as well as to educate and inform. — Stuart Holliday president and chief executive officer of the Meridian International Center

wide to forge international partnerships through leadership and cultural exchanges. To date, Meridian has conducted exchange programs for more than 65,000 foreign professionals over the last 50 years and organized cultural exhibitions for 357 host venues in 44 U.S. states and 55 countries. Events hosted by the Meridian run the gamut (also see “With Flurry of New Programs, Meridian Moves With the Times” in the October 2012 issue ofTheWashington Diplomat). In recent months, Rep. Ed Royce (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, gave a talk on U.S.-India relations; Undersecretary of State Robert

Hormats discussed anti-poaching efforts; Meridian arranged four “Capitol Hill Day” job-shadowing sessions for 78 undergraduate students representing 14 countries; ambassadors explored the importance of culinary diplomacy;and the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities awarded Meridian a $20,000 Sister Cities International Arts Grant to deepen ties between D.C. and Ankara,Turkey. But under Holliday, Meridian has honed its focus on cultivating leadership skills. Last year, the center introduced its Global Leadership Summit, held alongside its widely anticipated Meridian Ball.

The summit drew corporate heavyweights such as David M. Rubenstein of the Carlyle Group, Jay L. Johnson of General Dynamics, and ambassadors from India, Saudi Arabia, Panama, Gambia and the United Arab Emirates. This year’s summit will feature Ambassadors Ashok Mirpuri of Singapore and Eduardo Medina Mora of Mexico; as well as Shaygan Kheradpir, chief operations and technology officer of Barclays; Chairman and CEO of the Corporate Executive Board Co. Tom Monahan;Tomicah S.Tillemann of the State Department; Peter Palumbo, chairman of the Pritzker Architecture Prize; and Gallup Chairman and CEO Jim Clifton. The summit is part of Meridian’s Global Leadership Project, which brings U.S. and international experts together to examine perceptions of U.S. global leadership and the key factors and issues that drive these perceptions. The annual release of Meridian’s U.S. Global Leadership Track, a joint project with Gallup, provides a continuing assessment of how the world views American leadership (also see “Gallup and Meridian Examine World Views of U.S.

The Washington Diplomat

See Holliday, page 6 October 2013

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Holliday Leadership” in the April 2013 edition of the Diplomatic Pouch online). Leadership events in recent years have highlighted current U.S. initiatives and broader efforts by the international community on key issues, including global health and food security; disaster response; energy and the environment; economic growth and development; innovation and technology; and women’s leadership. “We have put together a curriculum that includes subjects like culture, political risks, public diplomacy, government relations, stability, innovation — really looking at how people now need to engage stakeholders around the world to move their agendas forward,” Holliday said. The Meridian CEO said the organization isn’t trying to compete with numerous international graduate programs in town, but to offer something different that supports more formal educational programs. “We don’t seek to be a school,” Holliday said. “We’re not trying to compete with universities, but we’re trying to offer our own program that can be built in and expand and support higher education programs. It’s about practical information as well as theory.” Holliday said Meridian’s reputation as an evenhanded, nonpartisan organization in a town filled with groups pushing overt political agendas is a breath of fresh air. “Meridian fulfills a need in Washington for a neutral, nonpartisan — both domestically and globally — convening forum,” he said. “More perspectives make better policy. We’re trying to be different.There are many think tanks in Washington. We want to create content, but it’s not about advocacy. Our content really is more of a way to gain insight into global trends and issues, as well as to educate and inform.” One of the ways Meridian spreads its influence around the globe is through the International

Photo: Meridian International Center

Stuart Holliday, president and chief executive officer of the Meridian International Center, welcomes Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates Yousef Al Otaiba, left, and Ambassador of India Nirupama Rao, right, to the center, which has been advancing America’s public and cultural diplomacy efforts since 1960.

Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP). Since its launch in the 1940s, the program has given leaders from all over the world a chance to exchange knowledge and ideas in their professional fields. The program invites more than 4,000 distinguished visitors to the United States every year and is funded by the State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. For half a century, Meridian has been one of the State Department’s principal partners in implementing program, now administering roughly 40 percent of all IVLP projects annually. Each visitor meets with professional counterparts in Washington and other communities across the country. Because most projects include travel to three or four cities, visitors are also able to sample America’s geographic diversity and gain insights into its culture and society. In a typical year at Meridian, programming

Glashutte_WashingtonDiplomat__PanoMaticLunar_DDFS_Feb.indd 1

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teams carefully design and implement IVLP projects for more than 1,500 international visitors. Project themes vary widely but generally focus on issues of importance to the United States, the visitor’s country or the world. During an IVLP project, most visitors spend three weeks in the United States, meeting with experts in their fields of interest from both the public and private sectors, attending cultural events, and enjoying the hospitality of American families. Many participants visit U.S. schools and may also contribute their time to a volunteer activity along the way. “The International Visitor Leadership Program is the cornerstone of Meridian,” Holliday explained. “It is the main program to bring emerging leaders from around the world to the United States for three weeks — a week in Washington and two weeks out in other cities — to help them understand the United States and to build partnerships and lasting cooperation that can help the United States, but also help strengthen African entrepreneurs or help deal with trafficking persons or women’s economic development in Burma.” Burmese religious and civil society leaders, for instance, visited D.C. in August as part of the program, which has also attracted luminaries from around the world. Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair are just two of the many international dignitaries who are IVLP graduates. Holliday said the global leadership skills taught at Meridian are increasingly in demand. “The demand for more global skills has increased,” he said.“Even in small- and medium-size businesses and states — economic development organizations at the state and city level — there has been an explosion of global economic cooperation. Frankly, shared risk has driven this demand up almost for everyone who comes out to have more of a global point of view. And traditional institutions are not able to solve big problems on their own. “Among governments, international financial institutions and companies, there is this sense we all have to pitch in and take care of the economic needs of the people,” Holliday continued. “In a sense it’s a challenge for almost every citizen to view themselves as a leader in their own right — to try to develop some ownership of the shared future they will have.” While Meridian is working to groom the world’s next leaders, it is also succeeding at bridging political divides through culture. The center regularly hosts art exhibitions that showcase other countries and the issues they are facing. The 2009 exhibition “Metropolis Now! A Selection of Chinese Contemporary Art” was a smash hit in Washington, enticing thousands of visitors to the Meridian, including China’s ambassador in Washington. The exhibit — which revealed the challenges and opportunities of China’s rapidly urbanizing landscape — was born out of a memorandum of understanding between Meridian and China that has brought other artistic displays to D.C., including a recent one on fan paintings (also see “Much

Fanfare at Meridian” in the July 2013 edition of the Diplomatic Pouch online). Meridian recently signed another MOU with the United Arab Emirates to organize an exhibit of contemporary artworks depicting traditional Emirati culture. Last month, the center also hosted a series of concerts by five emerging jazz musicians from Ankara as part of its U.S.-Turkish Jazz Exchange. “Culture is central to Meridian’s identity,” Holliday said.“It’s not just art, but the way Meridian uses art as a catalyst to help understand other cultures. “In the case of the United States, we’ve been commissioned by some of our embassies to create historical narratives about the bilateral relationships with those countries in pictures,” he added. “They’re not only beautiful but tell a story. In the case of other embassies like the UAE or China or India, it’s helping them tell their story in a way that creates common ground.” Holliday rejected the notion that Meridian soft scrubs the exhibitions to blunt any political statements they may — or may not — make. “We’re very careful that we don’t,” he said. “We’re very careful no one has a veto over what we share and what we do. We’re not looking simply to promote one country’s viewpoint of how they want to be seen. That’s not what we do and we’re very clear about that.” Holliday said the exhibitions provide another opportunity for dialogue, sometimes with countries that have little other common ground. “Going back to ping pong diplomacy or wrestling diplomacy, culture is viewed as a way to have a dialogue even when things are just very difficult on the economic or security side,” he said. Not everything Meridian tackles is serious, though. The Meridian Ball is a prime example of how the center uses its elegant space — including the Meridian House and White-Meyer House — to bring the city’s elite together. Holliday said the Meridian Ball started as a fundraiser for buildings and programs but has evolved into a pinnacle of the fall social calendar. Now in its 45th year, it remains one of the few events that features intimate dinners at embassies and ambassador residences around town (followed by desserts and dancing at the Meridian).

Our mission is critical — strengthening international collaboration and understanding — but there are so many opportunities to apply that. — Stuart Holliday

president and chief executive officer of the Meridian International Center

“It still is a fundraiser, but it’s also one of Washington’s major events bringing together the diplomatic corps, U.S. government leaders and the private sector,” Holliday said of the ball, slated for Oct. 18.“It has a special place on the calendar and we wanted to build on that and add a substantive element to it.” That element is the Global Leadership Summit, hosted over lunch, that allows for a deeper dialogue than is possible at a glitzy ball. The summit is held in partnership with Gallup and the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center. “We didn’t want to have a long event with a lot of speeches, for example, at the ball,” Holliday said. “But we wanted to highlight our thought leadership so we created a summit that focuses on a couple of things. “One is with our terrific partner the Gallup organization, so we released a survey about how countries feel about their leadership in a number of different areas,” he said.“We bring together government and private sector leaders to talk about how we cooperate and respond to what citizens want from their leaders.”

Michael Coleman is a contributing writer for The Washington Diplomat.

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The Washington Diplomat

October 2013

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The Washington Diplomat Page 7


International Disputes

U.S. Response to Debt Debacle: Don’t Cry for Argentina by Larry Luxner


n June, Cecilia Nahón, Argentina’s ambassador to the United States, implored Congress to ignore the “libelous campaign” being waged against her government by “greedy financial vultures” bent on strong-arming the Argentine Republic and its good-faith creditors. In 2012, Nahón’s predecessor here, Jorge Argüello, said the investors had set up a “lobby” façade to “make millions for what they had gotten for mere pennies.” And two years ago, former Argentine envoy Alfredo Chiaradía urged U.S. lawmakers to trash the proposed Judgment Evading Foreign States Accountability Act of 2011, saying it was “blatantly wrong” that his country had refused all efforts by creditors to negotiate some $1.3 billion in disputed debt and that the congressional act, which failed, would “provide vulture funds with support for their coercive actions against indebted countries.” But in the end, all three diplomats’ pleas fell on deaf ears in both Washington and New York. On Aug. 23, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan handed the country’s long-frustrated bondholders a solid victory. The three-judge panel dismissed Argentina’s warning that “cataclysmic repercussions” would result if U.S. investors — led by New York billionaire Paul Singer, CEO of Elliott Management — were to collect on debts unpaid since Buenos Aires infamously defaulted on $100 billion back in 2001. After that default, more than 90 percent of the nation’s investors agreed to take a steep hit on their bonds in a debt-restructuring scheme, but the remaining 7 percent refused to settle. After Argentina’s economy tanked, some of those investors, mainly hedge funds, swooped in to buy up debt for pennies on the dollar and then sued to be repaid in full (plus interest).The Manhattan court said the investors were entitled to that money. “What the consequences predicted by Argentina have in common is that they are speculative, hyperbolic and almost entirely of the Republic’s own making,” the panel concluded. Calling Argentina a “uniquely recalcitrant debtor,” it added:“Our role is not to craft a resolution that will solve all the problems that might arise in hypothetical future litigation involving other bonds and other nations.” But the ruling could have repercussions on future litigation involving indebted, often developing nations, paving the way for investors to go after their debt more aggressively. It could also have serious consequences for Argentina’s economy, which could slip back into default. That’s because Judge Thomas Griesa came up with a workaround to enforce the court’s decision. He said that financial firms that process Argentina’s payments to all of its bondholders can’t exclude the litigious holdouts, meaning banks could stop funneling Argentina’s bond payments and investors would be out of luck — again. In response, Argentine President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner upped the ante, skirting the ruling by offering all bondholders the chance to swap securities issued in the United States for new bonds issued in Argentina under the same terms. This latest maneuver means that the long-running legal saga is far from over. Enforcement of the recent ruling is on hold while an appeal heads to the Supreme Court,

Page 8

Photo: Larry Luxner

For years, Argentina has refused to negotiate with investors who have rightfully declined its unilateral, takeit-or-leave-it offers. Instead, it has defied more than 100 court judgments ordering it to pay its bills. ATFA has helped to bring this destructive behavior to light and has urged the United States to defend U.S. courts and U.S. investors in this case. — Robert Raben

executive director of American Task Force Argentina

which will decide whether to take the case on Sept. 30 (although in the past the court has refused to hear similar cases). For now, though, Robert Raben couldn’t be happier with the verdict. “This unanimous, well-reasoned decision is a victory for the rule of law and the enforcement of contracts in the United States,” said Raben, a former U.S. assistant attorney general who’s executive director of an obscure Virginia-based coalition known as American Task Force Argentina (ATFA).

An Argentine woman protests outside a Buenos Aires bank following the country’s 2001 default and subsequent peso devaluation. A U.S. court recently ordered Argentina to repay a group of investors who refused to settle for the country’s debt-restructuring scheme.

In a press release issued the same day as the New York court’s ruling, Raben lashed out at the government of President Fernández, whose late husband — President Néstor Kirchner — eventually offered Argentina’s creditors new bonds that initially paid less than 30 cents on the dollar. “In order to raise billions of dollars at inexpensive rates in the U.S. financial markets, Argentina promised in its bond contract to submit to the jurisdiction of U.S. courts, adhere to New York law and waive its sovereign immunity,” Raben said.“Since defaulting on those bonds in 2001, Argentina has ignored those promises, waged a vicious campaign against its creditors and resisted every attempt by creditors to engage in good-faith negotiations.” But Argentina says it’s AFTA that is waging a vicious campaign. On its website, ATFA has posted photos of Fernández and Iran’s former president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, under the banner: “Argentina and Iran: Shameful Allies” along with a tagline, “A Pact With the Devil?” — an ad that’s appeared in prominent publications around town. An article linked to the photo condemns the Fernández government for its recent establishment of a “truth commission” with Iran, whose purpose, says ATFA, is to whitewash Tehran’s responsibility for the 1994 AMIA Jewish community center terrorist attack that killed 85 people and injured more than 300. “To date, no one has been brought to justice for this

The Washington Diplomat

October 2013

October 2013

See argentina, page 12

Disney characters and artwork © Disney, Disney/Pixar characters © Disney/Pixar.

eds bashing Argentina.) ATFA’s website lists nearly 30 current members and supporters ranging from the Conservative Hispanic Society and the National Black Chamber of Commerce to the Pennsylvania Farmers Union and Nebraska Taxpayers for Freedom. “ATFA is a coalition of institutional investors, agricultural organizations, taxpayer groups and others that has convened to advocate for a just resolution of Argentina’s default,” Raben explained. “For years, Argentina has refused to negotiate with investors who have rightfully declined its unilateral, take-it-or-leave-it offers. Instead, it has defied more than 100 court judgments ordering it to pay its bills. ATFA has helped to bring this destructive behavior to light and has urged the United States to defend U.S. courts and U.S. investors in this case.” But why would organizations like the Kansas Cattlemen’s Association or the Independent Beef Association of North Dakota give a hoot about Argentine debt? They may not directly, but some U.S. farmers have called the country’s 2001 debt default a manipulative practice aimed at driving down the value of Argentina’s peso — thereby creating an unfair export incentive for farm products such as beef and wheat. An October 2012 article in the Wall Street Journal called ATFA out on some of its “supporters,” saying that groups representing ranchers, teachers and farmers were “baffled about why the task force listed their organizations as members ‘united for a just and fair reconciliation’ of Argentina’s debt.” In response to the story, Raben said he removed those groups from ATFA’s website. It’s a messy situation, said a Latin American hedge fund manager who’s been closely following the controversy. “They’re trying to bring public weight to this situation by painting Argentina not just as a country that doesn’t meet its financial obligations, but that this is affecting other entities. That’s why they throw in the agricultural people.They’re trying to throw in the kitchen sink,” said the hedge fund manager, who asked not to be named. “From the U.S. government’s point of view, when you have a country like Argentina that has defaulted, they want them to reach an agreement and move on,” he told The Diplomat. “If not, these hedge funds could really create diplomatic problems. They could start going after Argentine assets all over the place.” The embassy says ATFA has intentionally distorted the facts to serve its own selfish interests. “In the wake of its 2001 default — and in the midst of its worst economic crisis in history — Argentina made strenuous efforts to negotiate an exchange offer despite the magnitude and extraordinary complexity of its debt, which comprised 152 different bonds issued in seven currencies under several jurisdictions,” it said in a press release. By June 2004, it said, the Argentine government had presented a tentative restructuring plan, and in 2005 “we made what represented, at that time, the best sustainable offer in a scenario in which there was no financial support from multilateral financial institutions. The offer was designed to avoid putting at risk the pace of Argentina’s economic recovery.” That offer was accepted by 76.15 percent of the bondholders.The restructuring retired $62.3 billion out of the eligible $81.8 billion and resulted in $35.3 billion in new debt issues. In 2010, a second exchange took place, and Argentina was able to settle about 93 percent of the sovereign debt defaulted nine years earlier. Yet the embassy says U.S. bondholders represent scarcely 8.3 percent of the total amount of outstanding claims against Argentina brought before U.S. courts. “Indeed, at least 85 percent of the cases currently before U.S. courts brought against

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crime due to the Argentine government’s mishandling of the AMIA investigation,” it said. “Nevertheless, Argentine prosecutors, the U.S. government and Interpol have publicly accused the Iranian government of directing the attack and using the terrorist group Hezbollah to carry it out. The Kirchner government’s deal with Tehran gives Iran — the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism — more diplomatic clout and threatens to absolve its leaders of responsibility for the attack.” The war of words (which undoubtedly has made the publications receiving both sides’ ad dollars quite happy) didn’t stop there. In fullpage advertisements titled “Greed Without Limits” and appearing in both the Washington Post and Politico, the Argentine Embassy denounced ATFA for the “unscrupulous and libelous utilization” of the AMIA blast. Advertisements taken out by Nahón’s embassy in major U.S. newspapers accused heartless rich investors of “using blood spilled in the worst terrorist attack suffered by Argentina to blackmail the country.” Blackmail has, in fact, been one weapon in this quixotic battle, with Paul Singer, the ringleader of the hedge fund holdouts, resorting to desperate measures to recoup his money. Last October, Singer managed to get an Argentine naval ship detained in Ghana after a local court there ruled in favor of NML Capital, a unit of Elliott Management. NML Capital demanded $20 million in return for releasing the ARA Libertad. The bizarre crisis — which at one point involved Argentine sailors pulling guns on Ghanaian officials who tried to board the ship — was resolved two months later, when the United Nations ordered Ghana to let the ship go, arguing that Libertad’s status as a military vessel gave it immunity. (Five years earlier, a group of bondholders unsuccessfully tried to seize Argentina’s presidential plane during a U.S. maintenance stop. Singer’s hedge fund has also gone after the personal bank accounts of the president, her late husband and members of her administration.) The liberated ARA Libertad arrived in January at the Argentine port of Mar del Plata, where its crew received a hero’s welcome that was personally attended by Fernández, who told crowds at the harbor that “we’re going to keep on fighting because no one’s going to get anything out of Argentina with extortion.” Indeed, the Argentine Embassy’s advertisements countering ATFA’s claims strike a similar chord of defiance and bitterness. “ATFA is spearheaded by vulture funds that bought Argentine distressed debt in the secondary market for the sole purpose of suing Argentina in U.S. courts for sums hundreds of times higher than what they paid,” one of its ads claims. “ATFA’s latest libelous campaign reveals the unscrupulous methods employed by ATFA, which did not hesitate to utilize the [AMIA] attack to satisfy its own financial greed.” But ATFA has not just attacked Argentina on the financial front. It has tenaciously gone after the country on everything from press freedom to narcotics trafficking to its dealings with Iran. Asked why it embarked on a media blitz to discredit Argentina on the Iran issue, Raben told The Diplomat in an email: “We believe that Argentina’s refusal to abide by U.S. court judgments and its contempt for U.S. laws is directly linked to its lawlessness in other areas, which has been well-documented. Argentina’s recent growing ties with Iran are an excellent and relevant example of this.” Since 2007, ATFA has spent roughly $4 million on lobbying efforts.The group is headed by Raben, a former Capitol Hill staffer with 20 years of experience as a lawyer.The organization’s cochairs are Florida foreign policy expert Nancy Soderberg — a former alternate U.S. representative to the United Nations with the rank of ambassador — and Robert J. Shapiro, chairman of private consulting firm Sonecon LLC. (Huffington Post learned that the group’s chairs earn their consulting fees in part by writing op-


The Washington Diplomat Page 9

The Rotunda

Foreign Affairs on Capitol Hill

Bullies and Beacons: What Drives Senate Foreign Relations Chair by Luke Jerod Kummer


ours before President Obama would appear before the nation to explain America’s Syria policy in primetime, The Washington Diplomat met with Sen. Robert Menendez, chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and one of the key players in the debate over how to respond to the alleged chemical weapons attack by the Syrian regime. Menendez (D-N.J.) had just returned to the Hart Senate Office Building after a luncheon at the Capitol in which Obama briefed legislators. He was perched at his desk, occasionally glancing at a TV tuned to CNN. Over the past couple of weeks, news surrounding the Syria crisis had streamed in at a lightning clip. Menendez’s committee passed a resolution that authorized the use of force against Syrian President Bashar-al Assad. But the bill’s future in Congress appeared shaky.Then, all of a sudden, a Russian and U.S. demarche was announced that might obviate an attack. Many U.S. policymakers who applauded this would-be diplomatic breakthrough attributed it, in part, to the “credible threat” contained in the resolution approved by Menendez’s committee. (Others say it provided the Obama administration with a desperately needed lifeline to avert the bill’s likely demise in Congress.) In the closing remarks of the hearing that led up to that vote, Menendez advocated for sending a clear message to Assad by citing a story from his childhood about a neighborhood bully. “I was walking along the street one day and he just slapped me in the face,” the senator recalled to the hearing room packed with lawmakers, administration officials and journalists. “I went away and told my mom, and she said, avoid him…. A week later I saw the bully again, and I did all my best to avoid him, and this time he punched me in the nose, and it was bloody.And I went back to her and said, ‘You know, Mom, I tried to avoid him.’ She says, ‘Well, just avoid him.’ And it wasn’t till the third time, when we were by a construction site, that I got a piece of wood and whacked the bully, and that was the end of it.” This became the jumping-off point for The Diplomat’s Q&A with Menendez. The Washington Diplomat: What other moment from your early life has influenced your decision-making process today and how you deal with the issues you’re faced with on the committee? Menendez: Well, that same anecdote also taught me, from my mother’s admonishment, that the goal is not to use force in the first instance. If you can avoid it, try to avoid it. But when it became clear to me that I couldn’t, then I saw that there might be a time when the use of force is necessary. So on both ends of the scale, that anecdote has significance. The other is that my mom was the driver in my family to leave Cuba for the United States. Her willingness to risk everything to come to the greatest country in the world, in which she could be free and her family could pursue its hopes and dreams, has meant that the issues of free-

Page 10

Photo: Office of Sen. Menendez

It’s important to understand that we are the superpower of the world, but we are not omnipotent. So our foreign policy has to be a confluence of diplomacy and economics, as well as military power.

— Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee

dom and democracy are core to my beliefs. At that time, it was about [Fulgencio] Batista, a dictator on the right who she was fleeing, but she didn’t like what she saw happening in the mountains, either, which ended up elevating a dictator on the left [Fidel Castro]. For her, the United States was a beacon of light — of freedom, of democracy. That remains a very important life lesson for me. TWD: Tomorrow is the anniversary of 9/11. About half of your tenure on Capitol Hill has been spent in the wake of the worst terrorist attack on American soil and during the longest war in American history. How has this affected your views on deploying military force? Menendez: September 11th is seared into my memory in a way that few things are. We lost over 700 New Jersey citizens. Their lives, and the lives of their survivors, that’s something I always carry as a prominent reminder that the world we knew changed on that fateful day. Now, we

Four months after the Linden Fire Department faced firefighter layoffs due to budgetary constraints, Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) came to the department’s headquarters to announce a federal grant of $2,406,684 to keep the jobs in place.

have to think outside of the box in terms of dealing with the challenge of terrorism.Who would have ever thought that an airplane — normally used to bring families together, to do business, to go on a vacation — would become a weapon of mass destruction? Who would have thought that a letter could be laced with anthrax to become a weapon of death? The world changed, in so many different ways. I also came to understand that our foreign policy and our diplomacy would increasingly have a security dimension. Before Sept. 11, 2001, it was a lot more about relationships between countries, trade, getting countries to join us on economic issues. Yes, that security question was always there to some degree, but it has been heightened dramatically. Now, we understand the security challenges that are before us, not just from states but also from stateless actors. How do we use diplomacy and advocacy to create more allies and fewer enemies? How do we get people to join us in common cause on security issues? How do we come together to stop Iran from seeking nuclear weapons? You know, my sanctions policies have created a very strong multilateral effort where we have tried to significantly deter Iran from its march toward nuclear weapons in a region of the world that’s already a tinderbox. All of this is a reflection, in a way, of the experience of Sept. 11. By the same token, I also understand that there are limits to American military might. I am someone who voted against the war in Iraq and who didn’t believe the

The Washington Diplomat

October 2013

intelligence was there to sustain it. So I always look at whether intelligence is sufficiently substantive to engage in the possibility of military action. [In the case of Syria], I believe a credible threat of military action is necessary to, hopefully, get us to a diplomatic and political solution at the end of the day, but, if not, to send a global message. It’s important to understand that we are the superpower of the world, but we are not omnipotent. So our foreign policy has to be a confluence of diplomacy and economics, as well as military power.

So we struck a balance here and made it very clear in the resolution. We gave the president a credible military option in the pursuit of these goals and drafted a resolution that was sufficiently limited to ensure that there would be no boots on the ground and that Congress would play a role in reviewing what our Syria policy would be and what actions would be taken.

TWD: How did all of that experience and thinking inform your drafting of the recent resolution to authorize military force in Syria?

Menendez: As I said, I believe that America is a beacon of light to the rest of the world, in terms of our open economy, our democracy and our values. Whenever I travel the world, I see so many people who want to have the freedoms we enjoy. As a first-generation American, I grew up both coming to understand and cherish that American power is not just about military might, but in the power of our example and our ideas. That’s part of our appeal in the world. Through my role on the committee today, I seek to promote those examples and ideas, globally.

Menendez: First, I believed strongly that the intelligence made the case, unlike when I voted against the war in Iraq. I felt the intelligence was there to make the case against Assad, whereas I didn’t feel that the intelligence was there to make the case against Saddam [Hussein]. So that was one big element — the facts of the intelligence were the underpinnings for why we needed to act. Second, I understood that the administration was looking for a forceful, but more limited, military action. One reason we included a prohibition in the resolution against boots on the ground is that the experience of a long war can change the attitude and the thinking of people who have sectarian strife in their country. And we knew this wasn’t the best solution in Syria. Nonetheless, a forceful but limited strike could both deter and degrade Assad’s ability to use more chemical weapons against his citizens and send a global message to the Ayatollah in Iran

TWD: To back up a bit, you mentioned that your family came from Cuba to the United States. How has being a first-generation American influenced your view of America’s role in the world?

Photo: Office of Sen. Menendez / Frank A. Fey

“As a first-generation American, I grew up both coming to understand and cherish that American power is not just about military might, but in the power of our example and our ideas,” says Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

that we’re serious when we say don’t cross our line on nuclear weapons, to North Korea that we’re serious about protecting the Korean Peninsula and beyond in that region.

TWD: In light of this, how do you think our immigration policy relates to our foreign policy? Menendez: Immigration is overwhelmingly a domestic issue because it’s about our security, about controlling our borders, about our economy, about who we are as a nation of immigrants. But it also has a foreign policy dimension to it. If, for example, we say to the best and the brightest in the world, there’s a place for you in America, then we attract individuals here who can help us continue to be at the apex of the curves of

intellect and innovation. If we say to the people of the world that there is a legal process by which you can ultimately come to America, one that is not so onerous that you would instead resort to an illegal process, then we send a global message as well.That benefits us in terms of our national security, but it also gives aspirations to people around the world to have that opportunity. Another example is that the promotion of tourism and education can be big drivers in our economy. And if we allow people to come to visit the United States — in a way that is balanced to be welcoming and also to ensure our security and prevent people from overstaying their visit — that’s really important. I believe that when young people across the globe come to the United States, get to see the United States, get to study here, then they go back home and the ideals and ideas that I talked about become germinated in their own countries. That’s good for the United States and good for the world. So in that respect I think there’s a foreign policy dimension. *This interview was lightly edited for grammar, clarity and length. Luke Jerod Kummer is the congressional correspondent for The Washington Diplomat.

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argentina Argentina belong to vulture funds or individuals domiciled outside the U.S. that represent 91.7 percent of the total amount of claims against Argentina,” it charged.“More specifically, out of the 15 bondholders that hold more than $25 million each in claims against Argentina, nine are domiciled in the Cayman Islands and some of these funds belong to individuals like Kenneth Dart (“EM Limited”), who has renounced his U.S. citizenship to avoid paying taxes in this country.” Argüello, in his 2010 letter to Congress, said, “The notion that Argentina is disregarding the rule of law is nonsensical. The only outstanding debt problem of Argentina that is not close to being solved is the one linked to sovereign debt profiteering.” Asked if any of its members had ever attempted to speak to Argentine officials directly, Raben said yes — but that it was a waste of time. NOTE: Although every effort is made to assure your ad is PhOtO: free of mistakes in spelling and “We met with Ambassador Chiaradía in an LA FrAgAtA ArA LIBertAD / WILLIAM MurPhy OF DuBLIN content it is ultimately up to the customer to make the final proof. attempt to convince Argentina to talk to its a group of hedge fund investors, led by New York creditors and resolve its outstanding debts, but billionaire Paul Singer, have gone to tremendous nothing came of changes these efforts,” hemade said. at no cost to the advertiser, subsequent changes The first two faxed will be lengths to collect on Argentina’s debts, including “Requests to meet with Ambassador Argüello will be billed at a rate of $75 per faxed alteration. Signed ads are considered approved. were rebuffed. We have made numerous having the Argentine naval ship ARA Libertad attempts to meet with Ambassador Nahón, but detained in Ghana as a sort of legal ransom. this adThis carefully. Mark any changes to your ad. she has Please so far not check been responsive. unreforced to pay up, though Theodore B. Olson, a sponsiveness is consistent with Argentina’s former U.S. solicitor general and now a lawyer If therefusal ad istocorrect (301)” 949-0065 needs changes even sitsign downand withfax its to: creditors. Raben said he’s encouraged by the Obama for Elliott Management, said its “persistent violation of its obligations and its extraordiwhich has revoked Argentina’s The administration, Washington Diplomat (301) 933-3552 most favored nation trade status under the nary defiance of the laws of the United States” Generalized System of Preferences and has have pushed it into a corner. He added: Approved __________________________________________________________ also voted to deny the country multi-develop- “Argentina is not above the law.” ment bank loans “as a means of encouraging Changes ___________________________________________________________ Larry Luxner is news editor of The Argentina to settle this issue.” ___________________________________________________________________ It’s unclear when Argentina will actually be Washington Diplomat.

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The Washington Diplomat

The Kissinger Chair is a distinguished senior research position in residence at the Library of Congress for a period of up to ten months. Using the Library’s facilities and services, the scholar engages in research on foreign policy and international relations that will lead to publication. The appointment ensures that the subject of foreign affairs, taken broadly, receives reflective and considered treatment each year in Washington by distinguished, experienced scholars and practitioners. A stipend of $13,500 per month supports the scholar.

h Interested parties may apply directly or nominate a colleague at: The scholar may be of any nationality and will have achieved distinction in the field of foreign affairs.

h Through a generous endowment from John W. Kluge, the Library of Congress established the Kluge Center in 2000 to bring together the world’s best thinkers to stimulate and energize one another, to distill wisdom from the Library’s rich resources and to interact with policymakers in Washington.

October 2013


South Asia

Pakistani Government Takes Aim at Terrorism by Saba Imtiaz


he bound files tossed on the tables at Pakistan’s terrorism courts make for a disturbing read.

In barely legible handwriting, police officers detail accusations against suspects charged with extorting millions of rupees from Karachi’s wealthy businessmen to organizing bomb blasts and sectarian murders. The files have been piling up steadily over the past few years, as Pakistan has grappled with insurgencies, assassinations and an increase in violent crime. More than 20,000 people have been killed in terrorist attacks since 2001 (some Pakistani officials, taking into account military offensives against Taliban insurgents, have put the figure as high as 50,000).That includes the high-profile assassinations of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer and Minorities Minister Shahbaz Bhatti. According to the State Department, more terrorist attacks struck Pakistan last year than any other country in the world. Despite the staggering death tolls, Pakistan’s response to militancy has been akin to placing a Band-Aid on a festering wound. Pakistan’s 66-year history is punctuated with coups, assassinations and prolonged bouts of political instability. Ethnic, sectarian and religious violence has plagued the Muslim-majority nation of 180 million since its inception and has snowballed in recent years, making Pakistan one of the most dangerous countries in the world, with near-daily targeted assassinations and terrorist attacks. While for many years, Pakistan dilly-dallied between proclaiming that terrorism was its greatest problem to blaming the “war on terror” for all of its problems, the new government is actually getting down to the business of developing a counterterrorism strategy. But can it work?

Getting Down to Business Or Business as Usual? The new counterterrorism policy being developed by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s government envisages a number of aspects — from short-term measures such as the deployment of rapid-response forces to amending existing laws and introducing legislation inspired by security laws in the United States and Britain. (The previous Pakistan Peoples Party-led government introduced a Patriot Actinspired law allowing government agencies to get warrants for surveillance and wiretapping of citizens. The Interior October 2013

Photo: Isruma

Pakistan is … a victim of the terror monster it has coddled for decades. Over 45,000 Pakistanis have died in terror-related violence since 9/11, and dozens more died in the election campaign just ended. — Bruce O. Riedel director of the Brookings Intelligence Project

Ministry confirmed the law is being implemented and will remain on the books.) The new policy also seeks to revitalize and strengthen the much-neglected National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA) to serve as a central coordination body for civilian and military intelligence agencies, the police and paramilitary forces. Tariq Pervez, who has headed NACTA and the Federal Investigation Agency, suggested that Sharif should helm the former to make it more effective. “We have to adopt a policy which addresses terrorism as well as insurgency,” he said. But Pakistan has a long history of picking and choosing its battles. Sharif’s own commitment to cracking down on extremists is far from assured. Sharif — who served as prime minister twice in the 1990s — campaigned on a policy of negotiating with the Taliban and other insurgent groups, not confronting them. Bruce O. Riedel, director of the Brookings Intelligence Project, argues that

the country’s longstanding tolerance and even sponsorship of certain terrorist groups has come back to haunt it. “Pakistan is … a victim of the terror monster it has coddled for decades. Over 45,000 Pakistanis have died in terror-related violence since 9/11, and dozens more died in the election campaign just ended,” he wrote in a Brookings analysis after the election — which marked the first successful completion of a democratically elected government in the nation’s history (also see “Pakistani Elections: Possible Bright Spot In Country Overshadowed by Problems” in the May 2013 issue of The Washington Diplomat). Riedel added that while Sharif has promised a political solution to Pakistan’s rampant violence, the military, not the civilian government, has traditionally controlled the levers of national security. Sharif learned this lesson the hard way: In 1999, when Sharif fired his army chief of staff, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, the prime

The picturesque landscape of Pakistan’s Swat Valley used to be a prime tourist attraction, until terrorist bombings and violence became the norm in this country of 180 million. More than 20,000 Pakistanis have been killed in terrorist attacks since 2001 (some put the figure as high as 50,000).

minister was promptly disposed of in a military coup. In a dramatic reversal of fortunes, Musharraf now sits under house arrest, facing a raft of charges after a disastrous attempt to return from political exile. He is the first army chief to be hauled into court, a sign perhaps that Pakistan’s civilian government may finally be gaining ground against the military. But the military won’t surrender its control over national security without a fight, no matter which party is in power.

Can the Real Terrorists Please Stand Up? Pakistan’s military and intelligence apparatus, as well as its political parties, have decades-long entrenched relationships with extremist groups. Pakistan’s powerful military, which has ruled the country for nearly half of its existence and continues to be a key player in foreign policy and domestic politics, has been widely accused of supporting a variety of militant groups, including those fighting in

Continued on next page The Washington Diplomat Page 13

Continued from previous page the disputed territory of Kashmir, such as Jaish-eMohammad and Lashkar-e-Taiba. The latter is largely believed to have been responsible for a series of attacks in Mumbai, India, in November 2008, and a trial in Pakistan of suspects involved in the attack has been repeatedly delayed. The Pakistani military strongly denies allegations that it backs militant groups. But researcher Zia Ur Rehman says the state still looks at militant groups as being either “good” or “bad.” The good ones, for example, are those that the state believes do not conduct attacks within Pakistan and can be used to act at its behest in Afghanistan. These include a number of banned groups that were once created by the government, and those based out of Pakistan’s tribal areas. The “bad” ones include the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, which Rehman says is now directly linked to the global al-Qaeda network. “But there are reports now that the government has managed to get the Punjab chapter of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan to negotiate,” he noted. “The general idea propagated by those close to the Pakistani establishment is that they don’t want to upset the ‘balance’ being maintained by having these groups on their side, even though there are examples of people leaving these ‘good’ groups and joining others to attack the Pakistani state,” Rehman said. The confession of an alleged activist of Lashkare-Jhangvi, a banned anti-Shiite group, is just one of many that underscores the ambiguous allegiances and influences that breed radicalism. The suspect, Hafiz Qasim Rasheed, recounted his life story to the police, including his interaction with preachers who encouraged him to participate in jihad, and the two rounds of training he attended that were organized by the Islamic fundamentalist group Harkat-ul-Jihad-ul-Islami and Pakistan’s InterServices Intelligence (ISI). He claimed to have fought in Kashmir and Afghanistan. Former U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen made waves two years ago when he


publicly said that the Haqqani network, an Islamist insurgency that’s launched attacks against U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan,“acts as a veritable arm of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency.” While U.S. officials accuse the military and intelligence agencies of turning a blind eye to terrorists, Islamabad complains that Washington ignores the sacrifices Pakistani soldiers have made in the “war on terror.” Since 2001, the Pakistani military has launched a number of “operations” in the country’s tribal areas — with varying degrees of success. Despite sporadic peace deals and ceasefires (and thousands of deaths), the offensives have failed to stem militant attacks countrywide. An attempt to ban extremist groups has also largely proved to be ineffective — most groups rebounded with a different name. Meanwhile, the government had repeatedly said it was interested in negotiating with militant groups. In September, the country’s major political parties backed Sharif’s strategy to engage the Pakistani Taliban, but the group promptly denied it had accepted the government’s offer and instead took responsibility for the killing of a senior military official.While the military ostensibly supports Sharif’s efforts, Pakistani Army Chief Ashfaq Parvez Kayani warned that the army would not bend to terrorists. Regardless, a raft of attacks has put any talks on ice, especially after two suicide bombers killed at least 85 worshippers at the historic All Saints Church in Peshawar on Sept. 22 in the deadliest attack against Pakistan’s Christian minority in years. Since then, calls have grown among legislators to ditch dialogue in favor of a more forceful response. Even if peace talks were to move forward, critics say there appears to be no framework for how they would be conducted. The Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan is a patchwork of militant factions that have outsourced operations to smaller groups, criminal gangs and individuals countrywide. Questions remain on which one of the factions the government would negotiate with. Is the government prepared to meet hard-line conditions







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Prime Minister nawaz Sharif, left, seen with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry during their first meeting in Islamabad in August, is developing a new counterterrorism policy that will include measures such as the deployment of rapid-response forces and introducing legislation inspired by security laws in the united States and Britain.

like those floated by the Pakistani Taliban, which demands a ceasefire, the release of imprisoned militants, and the removal of the army from tribal areas? And why would militant leaders — who now wield considerable influence — want to go back to their day jobs as laborers and daily-wage workers? “Nothing should be off the table,” Pervez said.“But you cannot negotiate from a position of weakness.” Rehman said that his own understanding was that the government was waiting for the withdrawal of U.S. combat troops from Afghanistan in 2014 and would assess the political and security situation in Afghanistan before going ahead with a counterterrorism policy. “In our country, these policies are decided by the military. They are the main stakeholder,” Rehman said. “It depends on how the democratic government wants to assert itself in this.”

POLITICAL PATRONAGE AND RELIGIOUS STRIFE The more problematic aspect — and long-term challenge — is the Pakistani state’s relationship with extremist networks that has enflamed sectarian tensions and enabled terrorism to ravage Pakistan. These include a host of criminal gangs and sectarian groups, the most influential of which is Lashkar-e-Jhangvi. Sectarian bloodletting, particularly targeting Shiites, has escalated dramatically in the last few years. According to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, 635 Shiites were killed and more than 800 injured in attacks from January 2012 to July 2013 across the country. Attacks have ranged from drive-by shootings to besieging buses with Shiite passengers and killing them after checking their identity papers to confirm their religious affiliation. The leadership and the membership structure of radical Islamist groups are inextricably wedded to political parties. Supporters of extremist organizations and political parties often overlap, especially when it comes to center-right and right-wing parties. Politicians, including those from the current Prime Minister Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League party, have relied in the past on the antiShiite Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan for its support in parliamentary elections. Such collusion though is a bipartisan tradition. Groups such as the Sunni Ittehad Council — a coalition of Barelvi religious political parties — have been supported by the late Bhutto’s Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP). This transpired even though the council was largely supportive of the assassin who killed the governor of the Punjab province, Salmaan Taseer, who was from the PPP. (Taseer was an outspoken critic of religious extremists and tried to repeal Pakistan’s severe blasphemy laws.) Political parties often have much to lose by breaking completely with militant groups, because they provide a useful vote bank and logistical support during elections. For example, a criminal syndicate in Karachi, the country’s financial capital, has long enjoyed patronage of the PPP. An attempt to ban the group backfired after it resort-

ed to more violence, exposed the PPP’s support for it, and threatened to field its own candidates in an old PPP constituency.The PPP eventually had to rebuild its ties with the syndicate and accept its nominees as candidates for this year’s parliamentary elections. Internal linkages such as these — which run from the capital of Islamabad to villages — make any kind of counterterrorism efforts meaningless. When asked if the new counterterrorism policy would only include threats that are perceived to be “external,” Omar Hamid Khan, a spokesperson at Pakistan’s Interior Ministry, said that the policy would include a “comprehensive threat assessment and analysis.” “The policy cannot be complete without this,” Hamid said. “It will include terrorist threats in all categories.”

WHO WILL LEAD THE CHARGE? Prime Minister Sharif has said that he has “serious concerns” over the capacity of civilian law enforcement agencies to deal with militancy and has also called for a “de-radicalization” effort to be part of the counterterrorism strategy. In Karachi, where at least eight people are killed every day in drive-by shootings and murders, Sharif has promised “extraordinary measures” — among them, sending in an elite paramilitary force — after city officials pleaded with the government to send in the army to restore law and order. Pakistani law enforcement agencies’ ability to deal with militancy remains negligible at best. A leaked report by a judicial commission investigating the circumstances leading to the 2011 raid in Abbottabad by U.S. Navy SEAL forces that killed al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden confirmed the sorry state of Pakistani law enforcement, which the report said was riddled with “routine” incompetence. While the police and other civilian law enforcement agencies are underfunded and widely viewed as corrupt and politicized, the military’s intelligence network operates on its own terms and rarely shares resources with its civilian counterparts. Law enforcement experts, including Pervez and the bin Laden inquiry commission, have called for the Pakistani police to be adequately equipped and funded. “It should be very clear that the lead agency in counterterrorism has to be the police,” Pervez told The Diplomat. “The police can be helped by civilian or military intelligence agencies, and it has to be strengthened.” The Interior Ministry believes its considerable research will lead to an effective policy that will be presented to Prime Minister Sharif’s cabinet by October. But whether Sharif, the military and the country’s law enforcement agencies are prepared — or willing — to take on the behemoth of militancy is a question that no one policy paper is likely to answer.

Saba Imtiaz ( is a freelance writer in Pakistan who reports on politics, culture, militancy, human rights and religious movements. October 2013


Ambassador Lukman Faily

Iraq: Powder Keg Waiting to Explode? by Larry Luxner


n the two and a half months since Lukman Faily took over from Jabir Habib Jabir as Iraq’s ambassador to the United States, suicide bombers, cars booby-trapped with explosives and fighters armed with everything from machine guns to rocket-propelled grenades have killed more than 2,000 Iraqis and maimed nearly 5,000.

In fact, this July — the month Faily presented his credentials to President Obama — was the country’s deadliest since 2008.That month alone, according to the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq, 1,057 Iraqis were killed and another 2,326 were wounded. With ordinary Americans overwhelmingly reluctant to get involved in another Middle East conflict despite the bloodshed ripping apart Syria, Iraq’s neighbor to the west, the last thing Faily might be expected to demand is more U.S. involvement in a country where 4,486 U.S. soldiers died between 2003 and 2012. After invading it a decade ago, Americans have pretty much washed their hands of Iraq. Yet American involvement is exactly what the new ambassador wants. And he swears the current violence is not merely a continuation of the sectarian bloodletting the U.S. invasion unleashed, as the once-dominant Sunni minority was relegated to second-power status by the Shiites who now control the government. “We are absolutely confident that what’s taking place is terrorism. It is not sectarian violence — definitely not,” the Baghdad-born envoy told us.“This is pure terrorism taking advantage of the security situation in Iraq.” The situation is being exacerbated by Syria’s civil war, which during the last two and a half years has claimed more than 100,000 lives and created an estimated 2 million refugees — 168,000 of whom have fled to Iraq. “The refugees in themselves create instability in the region, in addition to the flow of weapons and fighters crossing the border between our two countries,” Faily said. “We know that any further deterioration of security in Syria will have an adverse effect on us.” Faily, 47, spoke to The Washington Diplomat from the mansion that has served as Iraq’s embassy here since 2009. The elegant structure, fronting Massachusetts Avenue right off 35th Street, is impressive. But it pales in comparison to the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, which, at 104 acres, is the largest, most expensive diplomatic mission on Earth (although since its construction, the State Department has dramatically scaled down its ambitions in the war-torn nation). The Baghdad embassy’s size is directly linked to the once-enormous presence of U.S. troops in Iraq, which fell from a high of 248,000 at the beginning of the Iraq War in 2003 to virtually zero on Dec. 18, 2011, when the last U.S. soldiers left Iraqi territory under cover of darkness. Today, the only Americans in uniform there are the 160 Marines guarding the embassy itself. “Now that U.S. forces are gone from Iraq, we are redefining our relationship with the United States,” Faily explained. “It’s likely that the number of U.S. officials in Iraq will be significantly reduced over the next few years. So we’re trying to understand exactly what our mutual interests are — in trade, security, culture and other elements. Right now October 2013

Photo: Lawrence Ruggeri

We have a great deal of appreciation for the effort, resources and money — and sweat and blood — of the Americans. We have also paid dearly ourselves. We are not letting anybody else do the fight. We’re moving from a dictatorship to democracy, and this is costing us a great deal. What we are going through may take decades for other societies to go through. — Lukman Faily

ambassador of Iraq to the United States

we are in the discovery mode.” And one thing Faily is discovering is that democratically elected Nouri al-Maliki, Iraq’s prime minister since 2006, is viewed in Washington as increasingly inept, authoritarian, repressive and allied with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Some Iraqis even say they were better off under Saddam Hussein — the man whose death warrant Maliki signed half a year after taking office. Today, death has once again gripped Iraqi streets. Maliki’s government has consistently downplayed casualty counts, but it’s clear that Iraq is suffering through its worst bout of carnage since sectarian violence peaked in 2006

and 2007, pushing the country to the brink of civil war. Despite a labyrinth of checkpoints in Baghdad, car bombs now routinely blow apart markets, mosques, school playgrounds, soccer fields and funerals. On Sept. 21, a wave of attacks killed more than 90 people, including Shiite mourners in funeral tents. On Sept. 11, explosions near a Shiite mosque killed at least 35 people.Two days later, backto-back roadside bombs killed 30 mostly Sunni worshippers outside a mosque. Two days after that, a string of assaults killed nearly 60 in mostly Shiite-majority cities. On Aug. 28, coordinated bombings took the lives of more than 80 people.Three days earlier, nearly 50 people were killed. Another 80 died celebrating the end of Ramadan. Throughout the attacks, the sectarian overtones have been chilling. Gunmen shot women preparing a Sunni man for his funeral. Four children of a Shiite family were slaughtered at knifepoint in their home. Beheadings are back. Neighborhoods are segregated. Insurgents scan IDs at checkpoints to determine if passersby can go through. The lucky do; the unlucky are executed. Al-Qaeda-affiliated insurgents, including the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, whose fighters have recently infiltrated Syria, are doing their best to spark a sectarian war and undermine government efforts to maintain stability. But the government isn’t blameless either. Maliki has been accused of sidelining the Sunnis politically and conducting indiscriminate dragnets in Sunni strongholds that have only enflamed tensions. “Deploying additional troops and special forces, arresting more people, and attempting to subdue whole swathes of society through intimidation produces the opposite of the desired effect: it consolidates the split between Sunni Arabs and Baghdad’s central authorities,” said Maria Fantappie, a Middle East analyst at the International Crisis Group. “Maliki, who partly owes his

Continued on next page The Washington Diplomat Page 15

Continued from previous page power to the U.S., ought to know this best, insofar as Washington pursued this approach before, concluding that it would not succeed.” Peter Harling, Middle East project director with the International Crisis Group, says that Maliki — a Shiite — must do more to integrate Sunni Arabs in the Iraqi political process, negotiate local ceasefires with Sunni officials, and “cooperate with local actors to build an effective security strategy within their provinces and along the Iraq-Syria frontier” as the country’s prepares for next year’s parliamentary elections. “This time around, U.S. firepower would not be available, and Iraq’s volatile strategic environment would present far greater challenges than a weak state could hope to overcome,” Harling warned.“Maliki’s strength typically has resided in his ability to present himself as a national leader. He would be well advised to do so again.” Some 97 percent of Iraq’s 32 million inhabitants profess Islam; of these, roughly 65 percent are Shiite and 35 percent Sunni. But many Sunni leaders say they are marginalized in Iraq’s political order — a feeling of discontent that only seems to be growing stronger by the day. Yet Faily insists that “the primary issue is terrorism, not the Sunni-Shiite divide.The people of Iraq have shown again and again that they don’t want sectarianism.” To make his point, Faily pointed to the recent gubernatorial elections in Anbar, geographically the largest province in Iraq. “Extremists have not won elections, the moderates have won elections — which proves the issue of Iraq is way beyond that,” he told us. “Terrorist organizations are promoting, enticing and cajoling society to push away from democracy and the rule of law. Some people are not happy that our prime minister is a Shi’a. But the constitution allows for diversity; it doesn’t even



baghdad has been the site of near-daily bombings and attacks. According to the united Nations, nearly 5,000 Iraqis have been killed since the start of 2013. Attacks used to primarily target Iraqi police officers and recruits but have spread to markets, mosques, school playgrounds, soccer fields and funerals.

mention the words Sunni or Shi’a. We want to coexist and live in harmony. However, we have to admit that the region itself is becoming more sectarian.” Ambassador Faily, who is both a Shiite and a Kurd, concedes that Iraq faces enormous obstacles as a struggling democracy, but that “the vast majority of incidents are not people shooting each other. It’s not a war mentality. It’s terrorist activity — car bombings of mosques and churches, terrorists blowing themselves up.”

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But Anthony Cordesman, a Middle East expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, doesn’t buy the argument that terrorists are to blame for the dramatic uptick in bloodshed this year. “The violence is not simply the product of extremists and terrorist groups. Iraq’s growing violence is a product of the fact that Iraq is the scene of an ongoing struggle to establish a new national identity — one that can bridge across the deep sectarian divisions between its Shiites and Sunnis as well as the ethnic divisions between its Arabs and its Kurds and other minorities,” he argued in a report published Sept. 9. “Iraq does have great potential, and its political divisions and ongoing low-level violence do not mean it cannot succeed in establishing stability, security and a better life for its people. Iraq cannot succeed, however, by denying the problems it faces, the growing level of violence and the responsibility of Iraq’s current political leaders for its problems.” Faily said his government is confronting the country’s problems head on,“working on a number of fronts” along the road to reconciliation. “We’re trying to dry the wells which feed into terrorism. We have a great deal of appreciation for the effort, resources and money — and sweat and blood — of the Americans,” he told The Diplomat. American taxpayers forked over about $60 billion for reconstruction efforts in Iraq (in addition to roughly $1 trillion for the war itself). “We have also paid dearly ourselves,” the ambassador added. (Estimates of Iraqi deaths during the war range anywhere from 100,000 on the low end all the way up to 600,000.) “We are not letting anybody else do the fight,” Faily said. “We’re moving from a dictatorship to democracy, and this is costing us a great deal. What we are going through may take decades for other societies to go through.” It helps that Faily’s country has oil in the ground — lots of it. More than twice the size of Idaho, Iraq boasts the world’s fifth-largest oil reserves and is now the world’s third-largest petroleum exporter after Saudi Arabia and Russia, and ahead of Norway, Iran and the United Arab Emirates. Every day, its oilfields produce 3.4 million barrels, of which 2.75 million barrels are exported. “We’re likely to substantially increase those numbers,” the ambassador said. “The IEA [International Energy Agency] has projected that in the worst scenario, we’ll be around 5 to 6 million barrels a day by the end of this decade. In the best scenario, we’re talking about 10 million barrels [per day] by 2025.”

Faily said Iraq is determined to avoid the “oil curse” suffered by countries that are totally dependent on petroleum exports. It’ll do so, he said, “by establishing our agricultural sector, so that we don’t need to import food. There’s a tremendous amount of opportunity in agriculture and infrastructure.” Oil exports alone account for $100 billion in annual revenues, or 95 percent of the total. That gives Iraq a fairly large safety cushion — and makes it a lucrative customer for U.S. defense contractors, construction companies and telecom firms. Faily said Iraq already enjoys one of the world’s fastest-growing economies. Iraq’s GDP grew 9 percent in 2011 and 8.4 percent in 2012, according to the World Bank. In 2013, growth will clock in at 8.2 percent, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch. Yet corruption remains a huge issue. In early August, the United Nations revealed that more than 50 percent of the 31,000 civil servants participating in a recent U.N. survey said corruption is getting worse, not better. Despite billions of dollars invested in Iraq’s security forces, some Iraqis (mostly Sunnis) view the police as more predators than protectors, accused of bribery, extortion and even extrajudicial killings. And the fact that al-Qaeda insurgents easily overran Abu Ghraib prison in July, freeing hundreds of hardcore fighters, doesn’t exactly speak to the competence of Iraq’s security forces. Faily said corruption is an enduring legacy of the war that the government must root out.“One of the key reasons we have corruption is that it was inherited. That created a culture of corruption, and now we have more revenue from oil and the political situation is unstable.” But Faily’s government is pressing ahead in its bid to boost investment. “We’re already talking about spending $500 to $600 billion for redeveloping our infrastructure and repairing the devastation of the last 30 years,” he said. “We have quite a shopping list with the United States for military hardware.” And what a shopping list it is. Since July 25, reports Defense News, the Pentagon has notified Congress that it’s on the verge of selling Iraq billions of dollars worth of military equipment and maintenance support to help the country fight a resurgent al-Qaeda movement at home as well as a potentially explosive Kurdish independence movement in the north, Syria’s civil war to the west, and “the potential of a nuclear Iran along its eastern border.” Among the deals: a $2.4 billion package for 681 Stinger anti-aircraft missiles and 40 truckmounted launchers, Sentinel radars and three Hawk anti-aircraft batteries with 216 Hawk missiles. There’s also an additional $1.9 billion in potential deals that include 50 Stryker infantry carriers, 12 helicopters and hundreds of millions of dolOctober 2013

iraq at a glance independence: Oct. 3, 1932 (from League of Nations mandate under British administration) location: Middle east, bordering the Persian Gulf, between Iran and Kuwait Capital: Baghdad Size: Slightly more than twice the size of Idaho Population: 31.8 million (July 2013 estimate) life expectancy: 71.1 years religions: Muslim (official) 97 percent, Shiite 60 percent to 65 percent, Sunni 32 percent to 37 percent, christian or other 3 percent gdP (purchasing power parity): $242.5 billion (2012 estimate) gdP per-capita: $7,200 (2012 estimate) gdP growth: 8.4 percent (2012 estimate) Population below poverty line: 25 percent (2008 estimate) Exports: Crude oil, crude materials excluding fuels, food

creDIt: uN PhOtO / rIck BAJOrNAS

a member of the Baghdad electoral commission seals up ballots during the country’s 2009 election. Since then, the sheen of democracy has lost its luster for many Iraqis, as Sunnis complain of being marginalized and Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki increasingly consolidates his grip on power.

lars worth of maintenance and logistical support for American-made military vehicles still in use in Iraq. And don’t forget General Dynamics’s $900 million sale of 50 nuclear, biological and chemical Stryker reconnaissance vehicles. In all, an estimated $10 billion worth of U.S. military sales to Iraq are pending. “Over the last six weeks, I have had more than 30 congressmen and senators for one-on-one talks. I’m confident because our demands are reasonable and immediate. People appreciate the urgency of what we’re asking for,” Faily said.“The key issue has been overflights.You’re asking us to stop Iranian flights [over Iraqi airspace], but we haven’t got the tools to do it.” Those overflights have been a thorn in the U.S.-Iraq relationship. Some members of Congress balk at giving Iraq extra arms, saying Maliki has given free reign to Iranian planes carrying weapons to prop up Bashar al-Assad’s beleaguered government in Syria. Conversely, the Iraqi government says it simply doesn’t have the military means to force Iranian planes to land for an inspection. Faily says he wishes Iraq could do more — though he doesn’t see how that’s possible without an integrated air defense system. “We have limited capabilities. We’ve been asked to stop Iranian planes and inspect them, but we have no control over that corridor,” he complained. “We do not want to fuel weapons into that dangerous region of Syria. And Turkey shouldn’t do it either. In this war of attrition, everybody’s losing out.” And Iraq has been one of the biggest losers. The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, a merger between al-Qaeda affiliates in Iraq and Syria, has given rise to some of the most lethal fighters in Syria. Although Maliki hasn’t fully thrown his weight behind Assad as some had feared, the civil war is aggravating hostilities between Iraq’s Sunnis, many of whom side with the rebels battling Assad, and the Shiites who back the Syrian president. Maliki has said violence is seeping into Iraq, but the government vows it won’t be engulfed by Syria’s civil war. “Iraq’s streets have become a battleground for sectarian people who are motivated by hatred and religious edicts and daring to kill innocent people,” the country’s Interior Ministry admitted Aug. 15 following coordinated car-bomb attacks that killed at least 34 people across Baghdad. “It is our destiny to win this battle which is aimed at destroying the country and turning it into another Syria.” Yet Syria is exactly why some U.S. lawmakers have reservations about sending more weapons October 2013

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To help get its message across, the Iraqi litical importance.” Embassy has hired an army ofthis lobbyists and conAs Faily any wrotechanges in a July 2to op-ed in the into the combustible region. Of equally grave Please check ad carefully. Mark your ad.Wall concern is the possibility that Maliki could sultants. “This is the first time Iraq has done this Street Journal at the start of his U.S. charm offenkind of outreach. Historically, the overreach of sive: “Though most Americans probably believe morph into a mini-Assad and some day use thoseIf the ad is correct sign and fax to: (301) 949-0065 needs changes weapons on his own people, much the way the the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad had not given us that Iraqis are fed up with the U.S., the truth is enough bandwidth to do it ourselves, ” said Faily, that Iraqis appreciate what the U.S. has done and Egyptian military cracked down on the Muslim The Washington Diplomat (301) 933-3552 admitting that “it’s not cheap” — but that such are looking for more U.S. involvement — not Brotherhood this summer, resulting in more than efforts are finally bearing fruit. more sacrifice of blood and treasure, but more 1,000 deaths. “The Iraqi voice has to be heard on Capitol diplomatic, political, trade, investment and ecoIn late August, Iraqi security forces in riot gearApproved __________________________________________________________ Hill. The U.S. ambassador will not be able to do nomic partnership.” prevented demonstrators in Baghdad from pro-Changes ___________________________________________________________ testing the Maliki government’s pension program. that on his own,” he told The Diplomat.“We need to have our own perspective. We are here to re- Larry Luxner is news editor of The Anti-government activists claim police beat and___________________________________________________________________ emphasize the mutual benefits and Iraq’s geopo- Washington Diplomat. arrested dozens of participants. Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari, speaking at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in August, countered that “the government has not resorted to the same methods that were recently used or deployed in Egypt.” He added that the United States needs to stand alongside Iraq to consolidate its gains and prevent it from slipping into a Syria-like chaos. “Nothing will endure that we have built together unless we win the war against terrorism,” he warned. Yet the legacy of the Iraq War now haunts U.S. policymakers grappling with a response to Syria, as a war-weary American public refuses to drag U.S. soldiers into another Mideast quagmire. The ironies aren’t lost on Faily. “We are participating in the search for a political solution in Syria that will reduce the violence and diminish the role of extremists,” Faily wrote Sept. 3 in a guest column for California’s San Jose Mercury News.“For Americans, Syria is more than 5,000 miles away. For Iraqis, Syria is right on our doorstep, requiring pragmatic solutions.” Meanwhile, across the Atlantic, Faily is seeking pragmatic solutions of his own, working to drum up business back home. He’s been crisscrossing the United States, pushing investment in Iraq at a variety of business conferences and seminars. A glance at the embassy’s snazzy new website pulls up press releases about Faily’s recent trip to California’s Silicon Valley, where he met with top executives at Google, Cisco and Qualcomm. A marathon runner, Faily seems well suited to the task. Before coming to Washington, the eloquent yet soft-spoken diplomat was Iraq’s ambassador to Japan. Before that, he spent 20 years in exile in Great Britain — during which time he actively opposed Hussein’s dictatorship and held senior IT management positions at both Ceridian Centrefile and Electronic Data Systems, now part of Hewlett-Packard. ROCKVILLE, MD 20852 Faily has a bachelor’s degree in mathematics ONLINE AT: and computer science from Manchester Metropolitan University; he also has an MBA in HOURS: Mon.-Fri. 10-7 • Sat. 10-5 technology management and a post-graduate degree in computing for commerce and industry.


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International Affairs

Central African Republic

Black Hole in Heart of Africa: West Turns Blind Eye to CAR by Dave Seminara


he Central African Republic (CAR) is a failed state, a black spot on the map in the heart of Africa that could destabilize an already volatile region.

Western countries fear it could become another Somalia, but no one is ready to devote the resources needed to stabilize an impoverished, landlocked country of less than 5 million that has mostly been ignored by world powers since it gained independence from France in 1960. Six months after a coalition of five disparate rebel groups called Séléka deposed President François Bozizé, who took power in a coup himself in 2003, the country is in yet another downward spiral, with a weak new leader, Michel Djotodia, who in September dissolved his Séléka coalition after admitting he had no control over them, a desperate humanitarian situation, and ongoing fighting between Séléka factions and groups loyal to Bozizé, who is now in Paris and reportedly still harbors dreams of returning to office. Four of the last five transfers of power in the CAR have come via coups. Last December, Séléka, who are mostly Muslim fighters in a Christian majority country, signed a power-sharing agreement with Bozizé but took power by force in March after they felt he reneged on the deal. The rebels looted the country, even stealing mattresses from the country’s hospitals, terrorized the local population, and recruited child soldiers and prisoners to bolster their ranks, among other human rights abuses. Sporadic fighting has forced Cameroon to beef up security at the border and despite a pledge from the African Union to mobilize a 3,600-troop peacekeeping force, there is no end in sight to the violence. The United Nations says that more than 200,000 Central Africans have been forced to flee their homes, while more than 1.6 million are in need of humanitarian assistance, including food, protection, health care, water, sanitation and shelter. U.N. representatives on a fact-finding mission in early September found villages burned to the ground, with their former residents hiding and foraging in the bush. “Local people spoke of physical assaults, extortion, looting, arbitrary arrest and torture by armed men,” Melissa Fleming, spokeswoman for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), told reporters in Geneva. Sectarian strife is also a concern.The CAR has never had a Muslim leader (Jean-Bédel Bokassa once converted to Islam but converted back to Christianity within a matter of days) and there are fears that Christian-Muslim violence could be intensifying. In early September, in the northern town of Bouca, a militia loyal to ex-President Bozizé reportedly killed 40 Muslims and burned hundreds of homes. “It’s not very different from what happened in Somalia in the early ’90s,” said Thierry Vircoulon, who visited the CAR after the coup in his capacity as project director for Central Africa at the International Crisis Group, and spoke to The Diplomat from his base in Nairobi recently. “The West has no strategy to help and doesn’t care.The security situation is a disaster. There are no state security services, so everyone with a gun is doing whatever they want.There is no rule of law, and the collapse of the state is going to destabilize the region.” Mark Kaye, the emergency communications manager for Save the Children, speaking to The Diplomat via Skype

Page 18

Photo: UNHCR / D. Mbaiorem

The West has no strategy to help and doesn’t care. The security situation is a disaster. There are no state security services, so everyone with a gun is doing whatever they want. There is no rule of law, and the collapse of the state is going to destabilize the region. — Thierry Vircoulon Central Africa project director at the International Crisis Group

from the CAR capital, Bangui, said that most schools in the country haven’t been open since last December. “Thousands of children have seen their homes and their schools burned down or looted; they’ve seen their parents beaten or tortured,” he said.“I’ve met children as young as 5 who were kidnapped by armed groups and were physically beaten in front of their families.” Kaye said that Save the Children is operating 22 mobile health units around the country but they face a daunting task, as the country’s health care system — which was broken even before the conflict — has completely disintegrated since the coup. “There is a perception in the outside world that the coup impacted hundreds of thousands, millions of lives here in CAR, when actually, the conflict is directly responsible for a lot of the suffering, but it’s actually accentuating a humanitarian crisis that was happening way before the coup took place,” Kaye said.“For the better part of a decade, this country has been largely ignored by the international

Civilians flee Bangui earlier this year to escape violence after Séléka rebels entered the capital of the Central African Republic, deposing President François Bozizé. The country is in yet another downward spiral, with a weak new leader who recently dissolved his Séléka coalition after admitting he had no control over them, a desperate humanitarian situation, and ongoing fighting between Séléka factions and groups loyal to Bozizé.

community.” Even before the coup, the country had a life expectancy of just 49 years; one in 10 children in the CAR don’t reach their first birthday; 15 out of 100 don’t reach the age of 5; and a quarter of the country’s children under the age of 5 are clinically malnourished. “We are seeing huge numbers of people in need at these health centers,” Kaye said. “I was with a health team near Kaga-Bandoro last week and there were probably 250 people waiting for care; 20 percent of them were children suffering from malaria.” Vircoulon blamed the international community for a tepid response to the crisis. “The situation is hopeless because the international reaction has been slow,” he said. “The EU, France and the U.N. are sitting on their asses doing nothing.The first priority is to restore security, so you have to deploy a legitimate international force. The second priority is to address the humanitarian situation.” The United States suspended operations at the embassy in Bangui on Dec. 28 as a result of the security situation. (The embassy also suspended operations, withdrawing all Americans, in the wake of Bozizé’s 2003 coup and no Americans were in country until January 2005, when a chargé d’affaires was sent to Bangui.) The State Department says that the U.S. government provided $34.8 million in assistance to the CAR in fiscal 2013 — nearly $24 million of that was for humanitarian assistance. A small number of U.S. Special Forces troops are still in the southeast part of the country, providing support to a regional force authorized by the African Union to hunt down Joseph Kony and his Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) fighters.

The Washington Diplomat

October 2013

When asked whether the U.S. government had suspended aid to Bokassa was deposed in 1979, returned from exile in France in the CAR in light of the March coup, The Diplomat received the fol1986, and served six years in prison after being convicted of trealowing response from the State Department, which is no doubt son and other charges. Following his release, he declared himself treading lightly regarding the precedent that suspending aid to the the 13th apostle and died of a heart attack in 1996, leaving behind CAR would set, in light of the fact that the U.S. government didn’t a reported 17 wives and some 50 children.As horrific as his adminsuspend aid to Egypt despite the unlawful seizure of power there istration was, his image has been rehabilitated in the CAR in recent by the military in July. years, and today some Central Africans view his reign as a period “Although Section 7008 of the Department of State, Foreign of relative stability. That tells you all you need to know about how Operations and Related Programs Appropriations Act of 2012 bad the country’s other leaders have been. (which pertains to U.S. assistance to countries where a coup d’état Given this sorry history and present humanitarian suffering, has taken place) did not apply to the illegitimate seizure of power why is the CAR considered a “forgotten crisis?” First, the country is by force by the Séléka rebel alliance, the U.S. government, as a matalways competing with other African nations for the attention of ter of policy, suspended most assistance to the central government Western policymakers. Diplomats always have fires to put out all of the CAR (the process began in late March and was finalized in around the continent, and the CAR loses out to bigger countries, mid April) with exceptions to allow for assistance that promoted countries that are considered more strategic based on their natural our humanitarian, health, environmental, and democracy goals.” resources or location, and countries where more blood is being After seeking clarification, Will Stevens, a spokesman for the spilled. The CAR has been unstable for decades, but there’s never PhOtO: uNhcr / FreDerIc NOy State Department’s Bureau of African Affairs, said that the situation been one cataclysmic event or famine to command the world’s in the CAR didn’t qualify as a coup based on Section 7008 because a refugee fetches water from the oldest well in Gbiti, Cameron, located on attention. And the country has always been governed by shady the border with the Central African Republic. The United Nations says that operators unable to win the trust of international donors. the CAR military played no role in Bozizé’s overthrow. “For section 7008 to be triggered, a duly elected head of govern- more than 200,000 Central Africans have been forced to flee their homes, I was the State Department’s desk officer for Chad and the ment must be deposed by military coup d’état or decree in which while more than 1.6 million are in need of humanitarian assistance. Central African Republic in 2005 to 2006 and even at that time, it the military plays a decisive role,” Stevens said. “In this case, the was difficult to attract high-level interest in what was happening in CAR military neither deposed former President Bozizé nor other- and a half isn’t realistic given the country’s lack of democratic Bangui. During my tenure, the State Department had just one wise played a decisive role in the overthrow of Bozizé by the institutions and other structural obstacles.The ICG is calling on the American posted in Bangui and no ambassador. Key officials at the United Nations to send an exploratory mission to the CAR to State Department were preoccupied with crises in Darfur, Séléka rebel alliance.” Stevens said that the U.S. government has provided nearly $24 devise an action plan, budget and realistic timeframe for fresh elec- Zimbabwe, the Democratic Republic of Congo and a host of other million in humanitarian assistance so far in fiscal 2013 to the CAR. tions. places. The notion that the CAR could host a free and fair election anyThis works out to about $5.21 per citizen. For context, Israeli citiVircoulon said that the United States has never been engaged in zens receive roughly $400 per person in U.S. foreign assistance time soon indeed seems far-fetched.The French left the country in the CAR, but he points the finger of blame at France, the country’s NOTE: Although effort is$15 madeshambles to assure yourgranting ad is free of mistakes and in spelling contentformer it is ultimately up to the customer after it independence providedand support (most of it military aid); South Africans receive every approximately colonial master. to make the final proof. who did nothing gallery of kleptocrats per person; and Iraqis get about $70 per person. According to the over the years to a rogue’s “Paris doesn’t want to be involved in another African problem,” to develop the country. Jean-Bédel Bokassa, who seized power in a USAID website, assistance thetwo CARfaxed plummeted fromwill more “[French President François] Hollande says that the U.N. The to first changes be than made at no cost to the advertiser, subsequent changes will be billedheatsaid. a rate of $75 per faxed alteration. declared himself presidentapproved. for life in 1972 and and EU have to deal with the CAR problem. It’s a convenient $37 million in fiscal 2009 to just over $18 million the following coup in 1966, Signed ads are considered emperor in 1976, was probably the biggest crook of all. He drove a excuse for Westerners to say that Africans have to solve their own year. through Bangui’s shambolic reportedly spend The International Crisis Group (ICG) issued a report, “Central The problem is that there is no money and no will to fix Please Rolls-Royce check this ad carefully. Markstreets, any changes to yourproblems. ad. African Republic: Priorities of the Transition,” which stated that the $20 million (one-third of the country’s total budget) on a lavish the problems.” declaring himself emperor, and was Diplomat (301) 933-3552 new crisis was “a result decades of poor governance eco- coronation ceremony If the ad isofcorrect sign and fax to: (301)and 949-0065 needs after changes The Washington nomic decline in Central Africa.” The report said that Djotodia’s accused but acquitted of cannibalism. (The accusations came from Dave Seminara is a contributing writer wasn’t credible.) pledge to hold an election (and not run for president) within a year a former chef who for The Washington Diplomat. Approved _____________________________________________ Changes _____________________________________________________________________

JFK IN THE SENATE: Pathway to the Presidency By John T. Shaw

New book is a balanced and careful account of JFK’s political evolution A.E. Fletcher Photography

BEForE JoHN F. KENNEdy became the charismatic 35th president of the United States, and an enduring global

icon, he served for nearly eight years as the junior senator from Massachusetts. From 1953 to 1960, he mastered the nuances of American politics and carefully charted a path to realize his presidential dreams. In the first book to focus on his tenure as a Senator, John Shaw shows how Kennedy used the upper chamber as a policy and political training ground. Shaw, a contributing writer for The Washington Diplomat, explores Kennedy's role in some of the most important domestic and international struggles of that era, including the challenge posed by the Soviet Union and China, France's faltering military interventions in Vietnam and Algeria, and the battle to reform the labor movement in the United States.

“This book clarifies and deepens our understanding of an endlessly fascinating American leader. Shaw is in control of his material, has an easy flowing style and a good eye for apt quotations and amusing stories.” Richard Baker, Senate Historian Emeritus and co-author of The American Senate

“We learn in this book that JFK entered the Senate as an uncertain backbencher and grew into a formidable presidential candidate and compelling American statesman. Shaw gives us a vivid, memorable account of how this transformation occurred.” Tom Daschle, Former Senate Majority Leader

“Mining newly available archival materials, ‘JFK in theSenate’ offers a riveting and revealing account of Kennedy's transformation from unremarkable freshman congressman to dynamic presidential contender. It is sure to be a classic in Kennedy scholarship and American presidential history.” Amy Zegart, Stanford University professor and Hoover Institution fellow

To PUrcHASE: HTTP:// October 2013

The Washington Diplomat Page 19

Book Review

Mark Leibovich

One of Washington’s Own Takes No Prisoners in ‘This Town’ by John Shaw


begin this review with a confession: I was not expecting to like “This Town: Two Parties and a Funeral — Plus Plenty of Valet Parking! — in America’s Gilded Capital” by Mark Leibovich.

I was put off by the enormous hype surrounding the release of the book — mostly emanating from Beltway insiders deriding Leibovich’s biting take on their clubby world (written by a self-professed insider), while secretly hoping they merit a mention in it. And I questioned the value of, let alone the need for, another book dissecting the political culture of Washington, especially one that focuses so conspicuously on its top-tier powerbrokers. Hasn’t this story been told before? Isn’t this yet another example of the self-absorption that infects the city (and disgusts people outside of it)? Leibovich himself cleverly capitalizes onWashington’s inflated egos to sell “This Town,” purposely omitting an index so that people are forced to read the entire book to find out if they’re in it. But I have to admit that I really liked “This Town” and strongly recommend it. The book is a perceptive, hardhitting and amusing account of official Washington. However, it offers a partial, and even distorted, view of Washington politics.While the nation’s capital certainly gets high on the toxic mix of prestige and pretension that Leibovich so acerbically captures, he underestimates the very unglamorous work that also keeps this city — and the country — running. Leibovich is the chief national correspondent for the New York Times Magazine and is known for his incisive political profiles. He was a political correspondent in the Washington bureau of the New York Times and also worked for the Washington Post and the San Jose Mercury News. According to Leibovich, “This Town” is based on more than 300 interviews, some of which were done for articles in the New York Times and the New York Times Magazine. In “This Town,” Leibovich argues that Washington is dominated by an arrogant and mercenary political-media elite who are colluding and prospering even as the rest of the nation struggles in the aftermath of the Great Recession. This cabal of interests, he says, has been variously described as Permanent Washington, the Political Class, the Chattering Class, the Beltway Establishment, the Echo Chamber, the Gang of 500, the Club or, as he prefers,This Town. Leibovich argues that in official Washington, despite all of the apparent partisan conflict, there is a cushy bipartisan commitment to working the system for financial gain. “Getting rich has become the great bipartisan ideal,” he writes. “The biggest shift in Washington over the last forty or so years has been the arrival of Big Money and politics as an industry.” Leibovich says that the industries propellingWashington’s economy — lobbying, consulting and cable news — are obsessed with perpetuating conflicts rather than finding solutions. He contends that while Washington may not serve the country well, it works nicely for the well connected. “While so much of the nation has despised Washington, a gold rush has enthralled the place. It has, in recent years, become a crucible of easy wealth, fame, forgiveness and next acts. Punditry has replaced reporting as journalism’s highest calling, accompanied by a mad dash of ‘self-brand-

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Photo: Blue Rider Press

The biggest shift in Washington over the last forty or so years has been the arrival of Big Money and politics as an industry…. Getting rich has become the great bipartisan ideal.

— Mark Leibovich author of “This Town”

ing,’ to borrow a term that had now fully infested the city: everyone now hell bent on branding themselves in the marketplace, like Cheetos,” he writes. This town, he further asserts, is a “massive, self-sustaining entity that sucks people in, nurtures addiction to its spoils, and imposes a peculiar psychology on big fish and minnows alike. It can turn complex, gifted, and often damaged individuals into hollowed-out Kabuki players acting in the maintenance of their fragile brands.” Leibovich compares Washington to a high school with the predictable cast of archetypes: popular athletes, nerds, mavericks, model students and rebels. But there is one critical difference: People enter high school and eventually leave. “But almost no one leaves here anymore. Better to stay and monetize a Washington identity in the humming

self-perpetuation machine,” he writes. Having issued a sweeping indictment of Washington’s political-media class, Leibovich focuses his ire on specific targets — personalities (and professions) that will ring true to anyone who’s been around the Washington party block. Leibovich names plenty of names — and these juicy digs lay the groundwork for the book’s appeal, at least among Washingtonians (“This Town” shot to the top of the New York Times and Washington Post bestseller lists over the summer). White House senior advisor Valerie Jarrett supposedly had “earpiece envoy” after David Axelrod got a Secret Service detail. NBC News correspondent Andrea Mitchell, who’s married to former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan, is a perpetual party schmoozer who embodies the city’s questionable conflicts of interest.Leibovich reserves some of his sharpest knives for überhostess Tammy Haddad, whose only apparent purpose, he writes, is to be a “full-service gatherer of friends of different persuasions unified by the fact that they in some way ‘matter.’” Leibovich is unsparing in his takedown of vanity and vapidity. He even starts “This Town” with, of all things, a funeral — that of “Meet the Press” host Tim Russert. He writes that the supposedly solemn event was a golden opportunity for social climbing and political posturing, recalling that Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) had his “head bowed, conspicuously biting his lips, squinting extra hard for the full telegenic grief effect.” But Leibovich saves his most scathing commentary for politicians who’ve profited from public service. In particular, he skewers what he calls “formers.”These are people who came to Washington in either elective or appointed office and decided to stay and use their contacts to get rich. He argues that in previous times, people moved to the national capital, served with pleasure, and then returned to normal lives in their communities. This happens less frequently, he says, citing various studies that show a growing number of lawmakers and executive branch officials who remain in Washington and become part of a permanent class of pundits, lobbyists, consultants, senior advisors and strategists. For example, he takes aim at Ken Duberstein, a Republican political operative and lobbyist who served as Ronald Reagan’s last chief of staff. He says it’s unclear what Duberstein now does professionally apart from recalling his work for Reagan in the late 1980s and emphasizing his current friendship with Gen. Colin Powell. “The standard line on Duberstein is that he spent six and a half months as Reagan’s chief of staff and twenty-four years (and counting) dining out on it,” he writes. Leibovich also savages former Democratic Sen. Chris Dodd of Connecticut. He recalls speaking with Dodd shortly after the senator announced that he was not going to run for a new term in 2010. Dodd told Leibovich that he was eager to begin a new life and that he was open to all possibilities — from the presidency of the University of Connecticut, to rejoining the Peace Corps, to starting a

The Washington Diplomat

See This Town, page 22 October 2013


Health Care Pricing

Patients: You Better Shop Around To Avoid Sickening Sticker Shock by Gina Shaw


f I want to stock up on bottled water, I can go online and quickly compare apples to apples (or water to water): a case of 24 16.9-ounce bottles of Fiji water will (at least today) cost me $31.99 from, $42.10 from Sears. com, $31.65 from, and $24.69 from

I can get similar price information within minutes for everything from sneakers to refrigerators to a garden shed. Some of it might require me to actually walk into a store rather than surf the Web, but it’s out there, in plain sight. But until recently, the “real” costs of medical care — what a colonoscopy at Suburban Hospital, or Inova Fairfax or Georgetown might cost if you paid out of pocket, vs. the negotiated rate that your insurance company might pay for the same procedure, vs. the rate that the hospital gets from Medicare and Medicaid — has all been shrouded in mystery. One thing is certain: The uninsured, the group least likely to afford medical care, are charged the most. And you think the prices I found for that case of Fiji water varied widely between the bargain at Costco and the high-priced option at Sears? That’s nothing compared to the pricing whiplash at hospitals across the country, even those that are only a few blocks apart.

A study published last year in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that appendectomy costs ranged between $1,529 and $182,955 — and that was just in California! Depending on the hospital and on who’s paying, the cost of a hip replacement operation can run from around $10,000 to around $100,000, according to a study published in February in the Journal of the American Medical Association Internal Medicine. Getting your appendix out? That can vary by a multiplier of more than 100: A study published last year in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that appendectomy costs ranged between $1,529 and $182,955 — and that was just in California! And in August, a Phoenix surgeon named Jeffrey Singer detailed in the Wall Street Journal how he negotiated pricing for a simple hernia operation with a patient who had a high-deductible insurance plan.The patient was originally asked to pay his “estimated portion” of the “list price” for the surgery in advance. The insurance company, the hospital estimated, would pay only about $5,000 of the cost of the procedure; the patient was asked to cover the remaining amount, a October 2013

Photo: hjalmeida / bigstock

staggering $20,000. Of course, a hospital’s real price for a hernia operation is not $25,000.That’s no more a true price than a hotel’s “rack rate” is. It’s just a starting point for negotiations — but those negotiations usually are with insurance companies, not with patients directly. But in this case, Dr. Singer struck an agreement with the man to be a “self-pay” patient, and they negotiated their own price: a total of just over $3,000 for all services, cheaper than his original co-pays. It was Time magazine that revealed the stunningly arbitrary nature of health care pricing — and the obscene profits some supposedly nonprofit hospitals are raking in — in Steven Brill’s March cover story “Bitter Pill: Why Medical Bills Are Killing Us.” Other reports have found similarly shocking price tags hidden among indecipherable hospital codes. CNN, for example, discovered a hospital charge of $1,000 for a toothbrush and $140 for a pill of Tylenol. As Brill asked,“What are the reasons, good or bad, that cancer means a half-million- or million-dollar tab? Why should a trip to the emergency room for chest pains that turn out to be indigestion bring a bill that can exceed the cost of a semester of college?” The discussion on health care pricing was long overdue. The United States now spends roughly 20 percent of its GDP — an estimated $2.8 trillion for 2013, according to Brill — on health care, with little to show for it. Health outcomes are no better in the United States than in many other developed nations around the world. Hence the explosion of medical tourism — Americans are flocking to Europe and nations such as Thailand, Costa Rica and New Zealand to get quality care at a fraction of the cost. That’s because hospitals abroad tend to do something that’s unheard of in the United States: They list their prices upfront.

Is this any way to run a health care system in the world’s richest nation — or to treat the sick people who turn to it for help? Opponents of the Obama administration’s Affordable Care Act, i.e. ObamaCare — whose health insurance exchanges officially roll out this month — argue that the government shouldn’t tinker with the system and that patients should view health care choices as consumers. But how can they be consumers if they have no clue what a procedure will cost, learning the price only after they’ve had it done, often with little choice in the matter because it was life-saving necessity? What other business asks you to make a major purchase essentially blind? More and more players are starting to say no. In May, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued a massive pricing data dump from more than 3,000 medical centers nationwide that accept governmentinsured patients, listing the cost of the 100 most common inpatient procedures. (You can access it here: Around the same time, the Health Care Incentives Improvement Institute (HCI3) issued a report on health care pricing transparency laws that gave 29 states, including Maryland, a failing grade — meaning that they have essentially no laws at all requiring that hospitals, health systems and physicians make their pricing policies public (and, one would hope, somewhat understandable). Virginia was one of four states that got a grade of B for the amount of health care pricing information it requires to be made publicly available, but only two states — Massachusetts and New Hampshire — scored an A. Some states now seem determined to change that.

See medical, page 22 The Washington Diplomat Page 21

from page 20

This Town new company. He dismissed the idea of being a lobbyist. “That I can take off the table right now,” he declared. But months later, Dodd became president of the Motion Picture Association of America, earning more than $1 million a year as the group’s chief lobbyist. Then there is Democratic Sen. Evan Bayh, who also announced his retirement from the Senate in 2010, citing his distaste for Washington’s poisonous partisan environment. Bayh said he wanted to “give back” to his community and discussed teaching, running a foundation, or starting a business. But he changed his mind. Instead of returning to Indiana, he joined Fox News, Apollo Global Management, a large private equity firm, and McGuireWoods, a law firm. He also worked for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, partnering with former White House chief of staff Andy Card, a Republican from the George W. Bush administration, on a campaign to ease some regulations on business. Leibovich quotes an essay in Washington Monthly magazine that called Bayh “practically a caricature of what a sell-out looks like.” Leibovich says a particularly egregious opportunist is former House Democratic Leader Dick Gephardt, who was a passionate populist until he left Congress in 2005, headed to K Street, and reversed his positions on many issues. He joined DLA Piper, a law and consulting firm, before starting his own lobby shop in 2007. Within several years, he had annual billings of more than $6 million. Gephardt oversaw a tough anti-union campaign and worked for the Turkish government for $70,000 a month to, among other things, derail a congressional resolution condemning the Armenian genocide in 1915. “Genocide goes down a little easier at those rates,” Leibovich retorts. Leibovich also slams former Republican lawmakers who have prospered in Washington’s revolving door, such as former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott and former Rep. Billy Tauzin, who was once chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Lott resigned from the Senate but stayed in Washington to open a lobby firm with former Democratic Sen. John Breaux. Lott offered a pithy reason for remaining in D.C. “Washington is where the money is. That’s generally what keeps people here.” As for Tauzin, he made $11.6 million in 2010 running the lobbying arm of the pharmaceutical industry — an industry he once oversaw as committee chairman. Leibovich appears less critical of Lott and Tauzin than Dodd, Bayh and Gephardt, possibly because they never claimed to be high minded or idealistic. But he rips into former Republican House Majority Leader Dick Armey who helped found FreedomWorks and launch the Tea Party movement. Internal conflicts arose at FreedomWorks and Armey left the group, taking an $8 million settlement. “You can buy a lot of pitchforks with $8 million. And tea,” he writes. Leibovich also blasts the Obama team, which professed during the 2008 presidential campaign to be guided by lofty ideals. As Leibovich tells it, the Obama campaign was “extravagant in detailing their contempt for the city” and depicted itself as above Washington’s insider game. But in Leibovich’s view, even before Barack Obama won the 2008 presidential election, he began backpedaling on his promises, declining to enter the public financing system he once pledged to participate in. Obama later relaxed his rule that lobbyists could not work in the administration and in 2012 dropped his once strong opposition to so-called Super Political Action Committees (PACs). Some officials left the government to join firms that the administration had clashed with, such as British Petroleum, Goldman Sachs and Citigroup. Leibovich quotes former White House press secretary and campaign advisor Robert Gibbs who mused to his colleagues, “Somehow we have all changed. Or maybe Washington just changed us.” The press corps that covers Washington isn’t

Page 22

Photo: Larry Luxner

immune to this change, according to Leibovich. He is especially critical of Politico, the widely read publication launched in 2007 by several reporters from the Washington Post. He says its mission to “drive” the Washington conversation has raised the volume but lowered the quality of the political discourse. He quotes a withering assessment of Politico by Mark Salter, a former aide to Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz): “They have taken every worst trend in reporting, every single one of them, and put them on rocket fuel. It’s the shortening of the news cycle. It’s the trivialization of news. It’s the gossipy nature of news. It’s the selfpromotion.” Leibovich himself admits to being a member of the “club” he lambastes, regularly making the rounds of the city’s A-list reception circuit (though he may be relegated to B-list status after this book). On that note, the author has gotten flak for exploiting the access to which he was given as a guest at receptions often considered off the record, and off limits. But Leibovich has countered that he is always on the clock as a journalist, whether at a funeral or a party. He also said he’s not concerned about his invites drying up anytime soon, telling Politico that his association with a large news organization will probably ensure that his social calendar remains full. Leibovich’s tidbits into a world where he enjoys privileged access are insightful, but the namedropping is really only relevant to Washington watchers who care about those names. Still, there are many reasons to read this book. Leibovich is witty and self-deprecating. His criticisms of the incestuous Washington politicalmedia culture are mostly fair. I share his scorn for the staged political battles that can be seen every night on cable TV. Minor dust-ups on the floor of the House and Senate are packaged as historic showdowns. Pundits, with no actual policy expertise, offer sweeping views of tax reform one day, the war in Afghanistan the next day, and stem cell research the following day.They are faking it. I think Leibovich is also correct to challenge those officials and lawmakers who came to Washington as self-declared outsiders and agents of change, but remain in the city long after their government service ends to cash in as highly paid consultants. Leibovich tears into some former members of the Obama administration in this respect. He could have also mentioned the many alumni of the Reagan administration who came to Washington in 1981 decrying the size of the federal government and blasting the capital city, but have remained and still enjoy the comforts — and financial rewards — of Washington life.The political cash cow is a bipartisan tradition. I wish Leibovich would have done more to explore the policy ramifications of this insider culture. Has the city’s pervasive influence peddling altered American public policy or is it just a cynical but harmless act of people to make money off a flawed system? This critical question

is largely ignored in the book. My biggest reservation about “This Town” is that while purporting to tell how Washington works, it neglects an important part of the story. The book focuses almost exclusively on those who exploit Washington for short-term gain but says almost nothing about those in the government and media who work hard, treat people fairly and sincerely, and are not driven by the desire to get rich (and there are far more hardworking bureaucrats and reporters than self-serving ones). While the examples of Dodd, Gephardt and Bayh are disappointing, they aren’t the entire story. There are also many people in “this town” like former Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) who, after being involuntarily retired from the Senate, decided to stay in Washington and do good things such

from page 21

Medical North Carolina, which flunked the HCI3 scorecard in the spring, passed a law in late August that requires every hospital in the state to publish pricing information on the 140 most common inpatient, surgical and imaging services they perform. And some hospitals have decided to take matters into their own hands, perhaps seeing transparency as a selling point. On a radio program in the spring, the president and CEO of Miami’s Mount Sinai Medical Center, Steve Sonenreich, pledged to put his own hospital’s rates — not just the unrealistic “rack rates” but the negotiated prices with each and every health insurance company — out in public. (Although the statement generated a lot of buzz — and probably gave the PR and finance staff at Mount Sinai a set of matching headaches — there hasn’t been much follow-up as of four months down the road.) So are we seeing the demise of the big black box of health care prices in the United States? Maybe. But what effect increasing transparency will actually have on the prices themselves has yet to be seen. As Dr. Peter Ubel, a physician, behavioral scientist and professor at Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy, recently pointed out on the popular health care blog, people don’t “buy health care” the same way they buy bottled water, sneakers or flat-screen TVs. After all, I know that whether I pay $24.69 at Costco or $42.10 at Sears for my case of Fiji water, I’m getting the same product. But if Hospital A charges $15,000 for a

as setting up a center to tackle problems such as global hunger and proliferation. Lugar is also creating several Washington intern programs for college students. Then there is another former Indiana lawmaker, Lee Hamilton, a Democrat who retired from the House of Representatives in 1999 and stayed in Washington for a decade to direct the Woodrow Wilson International Center For Scholars. He also co-chaired the 9/11 Commission, the Iraq Study Group, and participated in other public service projects. Leibovich’s cynicism ignores people such as Lugar and Hamilton who for the most part have good intentions and do meaningful work. As for the media, there are clearly examples of journalists who are publicity hounds — more interested in getting on TV and garnering large speaking fees than covering the actual news. But there are also hundreds of journalists who work ridiculously long hours for dismal pay, report carefully, write fairly, and have no interest in becoming glorified talking heads. Finally, Leibovich makes only a passing reference to what a marvelous and vibrant city Washington is, packed with a fascinatingly diverse range of people, world-class museums, superb restaurants and wonderful theaters. His account of the glitzy, star-studded White House Correspondents’ Dinner should have been balanced by descriptions of how real people live in “This Town” — shopping at the Dupont Circle farmer’s market on Sundays, mentoring students in public schools, watching baseball games at Nationals Park, and supporting the rebuilding of Frager’s Hardware store on Capitol Hill. So I would urge you to read “This Town” and laugh, roll your eyes, and even get angry at Leibovich’s tale. But also put the book down knowing that he’s telling you only part of the story — and it’s the worst part.

John Shaw is a contributing writer for The Washington Diplomat.

knee replacement, and Hospital B charges $25,000, I don’t know if I’m getting the exact same thing at both institutions. Are the surgeons equally skilled? What about the operating room staff? Do both hospitals have similarly state-of-the-art equipment? Maybe one hospital uses a better quality knee prosthesis than the other? It’s possible, Ubel says, that some hospitals, health systems and other care providers will simply raise their prices to match their competitors’ prices, reasoning that consumers may assume that a higher price automatically means higher quality. Pricing transparency, he says, will mean little without an accompanying move toward quality transparency. That, of course, is a lot harder to measure and involves far more variables than simple numbers, dollar signs and decimal points. But Ubel says it’s essential. “Measuring health care quality is no simple task. But if we are going to push for greater price transparency, we should also increase our efforts to determine the quality of health care offered by competing providers. Without such efforts, consumers will not know when, or whether, higher prices are justified.”

Gina Shaw is the medical writer for The Washington Diplomat.

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October 2013

EDUCATION ■ A Special Section of The Washington Diplomat

■ October 2013

Photo: CinDy RoDney

Sophomores Sabrina Caballero, left, and Louisa Stanwich (now seniors) sit in the dorm at Randolph-Macon Academy in Front Royal, Va.

Immersion,24-7 Boarding Schools Offer Home Away From Home by Audrey Hoffer

Bustling lives in Washington are the norm for diplomatic families. And when both spouses are professionally engaged, it can be difficult to carve out time to help with their child’s education. Diplomatic tenure in the nation’s capital also

often coincides with high school years, a critically important period for teens when they seek independence with one hand while holding onto a parent’s coattails with the other.

Continued on next page

■ INSIDE: D.C. officials have been patting themselves on the back for reforming the city’s schools, but one councilmember is saying not so fast. PAGE 28 ■

October 2013


The Washington Diplomat Page23

Continued from previous page Boarding high schools can be a good option for busy parents and teens seeking a more immersive learning experience. Boarding schools, where students study and live with their fellow classmates during the school year, are more typically associated with other nations such as Britain. But an elite niche of boarding schools exists in the Washington area, and although less well known than private day schools, they are no less popular among families that choose them. Boarding schools are often home to close-knit societies focused on and dedicated exclusively to the academic and emotional well being of your teenager. But the decision to commit to a boarding school is a major one. So The Diplomat decided to take a look at some of the benefits of boarding.

Faculty Interaction “For families that have very chaotic lives — both parents have careers, they

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work late at night — students may not get the family connection they should,” said Amy Harriman, director of admissions and financial aid at Randolph-Macon Academy in Front Royal,Va.“A boarding environment can be the ideal answer for these children because it provides structure and supervision day and night.” Boarding schools offer access to learning opportunities around the clock because teachers and advisors are on site all the time. For example, at Episcopal High School in Alexandria,Va., 90 percent of the teachers live on campus. “A student may very well sit next to the science teacher at dinner with whom they had a class earlier that day,” said Leslie Lichtenberg, director of communications and public relations at St. Timothy’s School in Stevenson, Md. “When you study, learn, live, eat and play with your teachers, you get to know them on a whole other level,” said Gina Finn, director of admissions and financial aid at Foxcroft School in Middleburg, Va. “It’s really pretty spectacular to see your teacher not just as a teacher but also as a coach, dorm Photo: Ken Huang parent, taking you to a dance on the weekend,” she said.The result is Sophomores at Madeira School in McLean, Va., on a recent that the child “develops a very afternoon pose in front of West Dorm, where most of them live. healthy relationship with adults.” Bottom row from left are Grace Kennedy, Grace Huang and Grace “Students get living and learning Lee; middle row from left are Jackie Tidd and Monet Umana; and experience and exposure to teach- top row from left are Nora Canellakis, Oyin Adenekan, Azalyn ers, coaches, advisers and mentors Gonzalez and Meagan Lane. 24 hours per day,” said Lichtenberg, noting that these relationships could be beneficial in many ways. Close proximity and ready access to, say, the art teacher, can lead to help putting together a portfolio or simply make it easier for the child to ask for extra help.

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Educating young women grades 6 through 12 Page 24


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October 2013

“It’s really pretty spectacular to see your teacher not just as a teacher but also as a coach, dorm parent, taking you to a dance on the weekend…. Students get living and learning experience and exposure to teachers, coaches, advisers and mentors 24 hours per day.” — Leslie Lichtenberg, director of communications and public relations at St. Timothy’s School in Stevenson, Md.

Daytime Structure A boarding school community is highly structured, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This means the logistics of moving from one activity to the next are seamless. Students go from dormitory to dining hall to class and later in the day to sports, free time, study hall and finally to bed. “We provide lots of structure, which keeps them busy. It’s a full day every day,” said Brian Gilbert, dean of admissions at Georgetown Preparatory School in Bethesda, Md. “There’s no getting into the car. No waste of precious time commuting,” added Finn.“The student’s day is all about them and what they need to be doing.” Boarding is also a convenience factor for athletics and art programs. Parents don’t have to worry about transition time

between classes, games, dinner and homework. “Being there helps students to be more time efficient,” said Stephen Abrams, admissions associate at McDonogh School in Owings Mills, Md. There are also many weekend activities for students who don’t go home. “In my freshman year I went home most weekends because I wanted to see my parents and because I missed my two brothers so much,” said Nora Canellakis, now a sophomore at the Madeira School in McLean, Va. “But many weekends I regretted not being at school because there were lots of activities, hanging out with the other girls and bonding,” she said. “Boarding really creates a bond in the dorm and among others on the campus,”

Continued on next page


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said Abrams. “They get to see things day students don’t see because they’re there all the time. Teachers invite them to their houses, make dinner, make a bonfire.” “High school is difficult any time, said Lichtenberg, so to have the constant support and presence of faculty is invaluable.

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age independence, said Gilbert. “I wanted to live on my own,” Thesaid firstCanellakis, two faxed beresident, madeofather nointerest cost to the advertiser, whochanges is 15 and will a D.C. in attending board- subsequent changes willingbeschool. billed“I at a rate of $75 per faxed alteration. Signed ads are considered approved. wanted to learn to be independent, start the growing-up process and get a jumpstart on college.” Finn said students grow and independent “It’s really Please check thisbecome ad carefully. Marktogether. any changes to ayour ad. unique experience,” she said.“We find that when they go off to college they’re better prepared andfax tend adjust more quickly becauseneeds they’vechanges had If the so admuch is correct sign and to:to(301) 949-0065 this boarding opportunity.” “We have to self-regulate our schedule,” said Canellakis. “My dad used to The Washington (301) 933-3552 come in everyDiplomat morning and say,‘Rise and shine. ’ Here I have to manage my own time and get my work done. Time management is a skill you learn at boarding school__________________________________________________________ because you’re on your own doing it all instead of someone telling you Approved what___________________________________________________________ to do. Changes “If you’re given a paper a week in advance, you have to organize your time ___________________________________________________________________ to get it done.You use a planner or a calendar, look at all your classes, and figure it out,” she said. Students are also taught to advocate for themselves, ask questions, be proactive and make appointments to see their teachers, said Hart Roper, director of admissions and financial aid at St. Albans School in D.C. “We see this as a path to future success.”

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October 2013

Friendships made in boarding schools can last long after high school is over. “When you live with your friends the intensity is deeper,” said Finn.“These are the girls who’ll be at their weddings and the godmothers of their children.”

Putting Students, And Parents at Ease All boarding schools have established programs that pair an incoming student with a veteran. At Madeira it’s called S.W.I.N.G. — Students Welcoming In New Girls. At St. Timothy’s it’s called Old-Girl-New Girl. At Randolph-Macon it’s Big Brother-Big Sister. The idea is the same — to lend a guiding hand to the new girl or boy and welcome them into their new home. Perhaps best of all, at least from a parental perspective, is that boarding schools hold the reins of authority and teach discipline, deciding (and enforcing) curfews and study time, for example. These are the requisite demands teens at boarding schools must accept.When they come from teachers, some of the tension between parents and children is eliminated. “It takes the bad guy role away from parents and puts it on the shoulders of teachers,” said Harriman.“Teenage behaviors that parents usually put the kibosh on are in teacher’s hands, which means parents totally turn into the good guys.”

Considerations Boarding school is of course not an option for everyone. Cost is one obvious consideration — annual tuition at some of the nation’s most elite schools (including St.Albans, Madeira and Georgetown Prep) can run more than $50,000, more than many colleges and universities. Admissions can also be highly competitive. Above all, it has to be the right fit for the student. “Don’t send a child to boarding school if he isn’t committed to being there. All kids are a little nervous about leaving home, but they should nevertheless be invested and engaged in the process,” recommended Scott Conklin, director of admissions at Episcopal High School. Kids who go to sleep-away camp and love it are usually perfectly suited to boarding. And if boarding is in the family history and parents treasure

Photo: Bill Denison

Headmaster Rob Hershey sits among boarding students during lunch at Episcopal High School in Alexandria, Va., where 90 percent of the teachers live on campus.

their memories that will positively affect their kid’s comfort levels, said Finn. Look around at all options. “When you visit, it’s your gut feeling that’s important.The thing that feels right is right,” she said. “There are a lot of different roads to success in boarding schools that parents can find,” said Roper. Ideally, the whole family will reach a consensus on the child’s school choice. Canellakis summed up the optimum path.“In the end, it was a communal decision between me and my parents,” she said. The biggest challenge is when ninth graders arrive without knowing anyone and are leaving home for the first time. But Lichtenberg says both parents and children should rest assured, because “it will be only a matter of weeks before they get their wings and learn to fly.” Audrey Hoffer is a contributing writer for The Washington Diplomat.

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October 2013

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[ d.c. schools ]

Premature Victory? Catania on D.C. School Reforms: Mission Not Accomplished

Photo: Office of David Catania

David Catania, a member of the D.C. Council and chair of its Committee on Education, talks with students at Coolidge and Roosevelt Senior High Schools. In recent months, Catania has visited 58 schools, held hearings, introduced legislation, hosted town halls, and lambasted city officials for what Catania sees as premature optimism over the state of education reform in the city.

by Martin Austermuhle


hen D.C. public school students returned to class on Aug. 26, city officials projected an air of confidence. After years of marginal gains in test scores and flat enrollment, Mayor Vincent Gray and D.C. Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson were able to say that the education reform that kicked off in 2007 seemed to be bearing fruit: Test scores in the 2012-13 school year jumped more than at any point since 2008, and even students in the city’s most troubled areas seemed to be picking up reading and math faster than before. The feeling of rebirth wasn’t only evident in the classroom, though, but also in the buildings themselves: Gray and Henderson celebrated the re-opening of two of the city’s most historic high schools, both of which had either been

Page 28

fully rebuilt (Dunbar High School in Truxton Circle) or dramatically renovated (Cardozo Senior High School in Columbia Heights) — also see “Huge Modernization Campaign Transforms D.C. School System” in the November 2011 issue of The Washington Diplomat. One man, though, was less impressed. “It’s really quite shocking to have a dropout rate hovering around 40 percent and claim success; where half the children are not proficient and claim success. I think the celebration is premature,” said David Catania, a member of the D.C. Council and chair of its Committee on Education. As education reform in D.C. passes the half-decade mark, Catania has become something of a one-man foil for Gray and Henderson, using his perch at the committee to aggressively question just how well the changes they are implementing are working.


The Washington Diplomat

October 2013

Much of the oversight is overdue, he says. While the mayor was granted control of the schools in 2007 and two chancellors have unilaterally led reforms in what was once the country’s worst public school system, a stand-alone education committee in the city’s legislature wasn’t re-established until January 2013. In the intervening years, more and more students fled traditional public schools for charter schools, which now educate 43 percent of the city’s students. Since the committee’s leadership was handed to him, Catania, who was first elected to the D.C. Council in 1997 as a Republican and became an Independent in 2004, has worked at breakneck speed. He has visited 58 schools — both traditional public schools and charter schools — held oversight hearings, introduced legislation, hosted town halls in each of the city’s eight wards, and lambasted city officials when they expressed what Catania sees as premature optimism over the state of education reform.All of that,


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Continued from previous page he says, has brought education to the forefront once again. “I’m proud that public education is now front and center in the public dialogue in the city, something it wasn’t this time last year,” he told The Diplomat. “No one was talking about quality public education a year ago. We had passing conversations about test scores, but in terms of trying to embed in the whole community a consciousness of improving public education, this committee has resurrected the issue.” Catania’s aggressive oversight has provoked under-the-breath grumbling from city and school officials who argue that he’s trying to micromanage education policy and practice. But Catania counters that he’s not looking to revisit the law that granted mayoral control over the schools, but rather make it more effective. “I strongly support the ability of the mayor to hire the chancellor, so I’m not in favor of revisiting that subject. Nor am I in favor of a wholesale revisiting of governance generally. What’s important is that we select a system and stick with it and we make … prudent midstream adjustments to that system. Stability is important,” he said.



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This year, Catania passed into law two of those adjustments. One law increases security during all-important annual standardized tests that help measure just how well — or not — D.C. public school students, teachers and administrators are doing. The high-stakes tests have provoked large-scale cheating scandals in places like Atlanta, while smaller incidents of cheating have popped up in a limited number of D.C. schools. He also passed a law strengthening punishments for truancy. In pushing for the law, Catania pointed out that proficiency rates were lowest at the schools where students T:4.625 in were absent the most. At Anacostia Senior High School in Ward 8, he pointed out that 45 percent of students missed more than 21 days of school in the 2011-12 school year, and the school’s math and reading proficiency hit a dismal 14.5 percent — among the lowest rates in D.C. In June, Catania introduced seven new bills, including one that would raise per-pupil funding for lowincome and struggling schools, another that would allow Henderson more tools to innovate in public schools and a third that would mandate the creation of a unified lottery system for placement in both traditional public schools and char-

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October 2013

AMAZING “It’s really quite shocking to have a dropout rate hovering around 40 percent and claim success; where half the children are not proficient and claim success. I think the celebration is premature.”

vs. the same old thing

— David Catania, member of the D.C. Council ter schools, which have grown much more quickly in recent years. Other bills would help parents navigate the D.C. school system, find uses for the city’s vacant school buildings and, perhaps most controversially, institute a strong accountability system to encourage (or force, depending on point of view) underperforming schools to get their act together. Catania has been criticized for rushing to overhaul the city’s school system without fully understanding the consequences of his proposed changes. Critics also say the reforms could erode traditional public education by favoring charter schools. Catania says it’s high time to

shake up the old system. He’s offering a significant funding boost to schools in poorer neighborhoods, but in return, they would have to meet measurable new performance targets. If they fail, they could be turned into “innovation schools,” unshackled from certain union and municipal rules (much like charters). But the city would also have to come up with the extra money to fund Catania’s proposals — he suggests tapping into the city’s unexpected budget windfall of $40 million — and the issue will be fiercely debated this fall. To his detractors, Catania says time is not on their side, warning that the city is on a death spiral as

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parents flock to suburban schools and the divide between the haves and have-nots grows deeper. Catania reserves particular criticism for Gray, who he says lacks vision and a plan for education in the city. (Catania has been rumored as a potential mayoral contender in 2014, fueling critics that say he is grandstanding on education.) He also worries that many of his colleagues simply haven’t given the issue the attention it deserves, and that without a “Marshall Plan” for schools, other pressing issues will continue to dog the city. “I don’t see a city organizing itself around the notion that anyone born here has a fighting chance for something more,” he said. With all of these criticisms, it’d be easy to see Catania as a perpetual pessimist. He doesn’t see himself as one, but rather someone who believes in the mission of education reform but is frustrated by its slow pace. Though D.C. posted higher test scores in the last school year, he points out, the pace that they have grown means that D.C. won’t hit its stated goal of 75 percent proficiency for another two or three decades. Henderson wants to reach it by 2017, which

Catania says is almost laughable. In the next year, Catania says he plans to engage in the same active oversight that marked the committee’s first nine months. He also feels that the potential for success exists in the system, and pushing for further gains will require single-minded focus. “I think we’ve seen some incredible success within our public education system since the introduction of school reform. It is both a combination of some very innovative charter schools and some incredible successful traditional public schools. I consider myself a realistic optimist,” he said. “Everything flows from a highquality education system. It is the most efficient poverty-fighting tool ever invented. I’m of the view that education is the critical engine of opportunity, and to the extent we don’t have an underlying vision and plan to accompany that vision, we’re just cascading from one year to the next.” Martin Austermuhle is a contributing writer for The Washington Diplomat.

Plan your entire Weekend.

October 2013

T R A V E L &

HOTELS ■ A Special Section of The Washington Diplomat

■ October 2013

The Ritz-Carlton Lite menu offers low-calorie options throughout the hotel on 22nd Street, including its lounges, room service, mini bars and banquet menus.

Healthy Hospitality

Photo: Ritz-CARLton

Sustainability Replaces Splurging As Hotels Take Eating Well to Heart

by Stephanie Kanowitz

hotels often describe their food offerings with words such as decadent and rich, but adjectives like organic and local have started popping up more frequently in marketing and advertising material. Gone are the days of splurging on food while traveling, industry experts say. instead, travelers are showing preference for places that cater to healthy lifestyles. Continued on next page

■ INSIDE: Spa treatments take the chill out of winter skin. PAGE 36 ■ Airlines offer a one-stop service for vacation planning. PAGE 39 ■

October 2013


The Washington Diplomat


Last year, the Grand hyatt Washington launched the “For Kids By Kids” menu to provide more nutritious kid-friendly foods.

Continued from previous page

“More and more people are really paying attention and options. It started at the hotel’s Westend Bistro focused on healthier living,” said Elliott Ferguson, president in January with a Bistro Lite menu section. Its and chief executive officer of Destination DC, which prosuccess led the hotel to expand the offerings motes travel to the nation’s capital. “You look at the internato its lounges, room service, mini bars and tional community, they have probably been a little bit further banquet menus. ahead of us in terms of wanting and desiring to be healthier. “It seems the whole country — from the It’s one of those things where restaurants and hotels need to White House to your own kitchen — is worstart paying attention to the needs of the people they serve.” ried by the increasing prevalence of dietThe growing focus on sustainability over splurging is related disease among people of all ages,” said apparent at many area hotels, including domestic boutiques Elizabeth Mullins, vice president and area gensuch as Kimpton properties and global chains such as Ritzeral manger at the hotel.“I’m excited because Carlton, Hyatt and Hilton.This summer, for instance, Kimpton’s this program makes it easier for people to Hotel Madera began offering the “Farm to Table to Bed” packmake healthy choices.” Photo: MiChAeL BAxteR, BAxteR iMAGinG / hyAtt age, which includes an overnight stay, brunch for two at Sample dishes from the Ritz-Carlton Lite Kimpton’s Firefly restaurant, handmade herbal soap from Bealeton, Va.-based Harmony Creek Farm menus include sweet potato chips in the mini bars; Greek yogurt and create-your-own salads in the and $10 to be used at FRESHFARM Markets.The package starts at $249 per night, and 10 percent of Club Lounge; grilled portabella barbari with eggplant marmalade and ricotta cheesecake with all proceeds benefit FRESHFARM Markets, Washington’s farmers’ market nonprofit. vanilla quince marmalade in Westend Bistro; mango panna cotta with passion fruit jelly in the Lobby “What we’re finding is there is actually less and less of those folks that are saying, ‘Yeah, the diet Lounge; egg white frittata and grilled salmon in the in-room dining; and grilled tuna with cucumber is off because I’m traveling,’” said Modi Ahmed, Madera’s general manager. “People still want to eat and wasabi pasta at banquets. healthy on the road, so we’re trying to accommodate them as best we can.” “It’s a simple idea:Add healthier options to the menu without sacrificing taste and then highlight The brunch at Firefly, like its menu, changes seasonally and executive chef Todd Wiss draws on those choices for customers,” Mullins said. “That’s why we like to use all-natural, fresh ingredients, items from the year-round farmers’ market. Summertime brunch items included fried green toma- prepared in healthy ways, to create lighter, nutritious offerings that don’t compromise on taste.” toes and house-made pimento cheese and cured rockfish carpaccio. Still, the Ritz hasn’t taken “Kimpton as a brand is always looking for ways to help travelers maintain their health and well- guilty pleasures off the table. ness while they’re on the road, and one of the great ways to do that obviously is eating well and “We have a fabulous pastry eating healthy,”Ahmed said. team — and offer a decadent Although a farmers’ market might not jump to mind when someone thinks of D.C., he said it’s a selection of desserts on all of our popular stop for many guests at the Dupont Circle property. menus — but now you have “A lot of our guests are looking for that unique experience,”Ahmed said.“Yes, they’re going to go options,” Mullins said. “You can to the Smithsonian, yes, they’re going to go to the White House or the Washington Monument, but choose to be healthy, and have a they really want to have a local experience as well.” chocolate mousse made with fatMadera has also started offering meeting attendees healthier snack options. In place of popcorn, free yogurt, or you can indulge in chips and cookies, people can make their own smoothies or granola, which features house-made a myriad of decadent options.” granola, sliced nuts and dried fruits. Hyatt is another worldwide “A lot of folks are looking more now for organic local fruits,”Ahmed said.“We set up blenders, and hotel brand that started revampwe set up fresh sliced fruit and fresh sliced herbs and vegetables so that they can make a smoothie.” ingAlthough its dining every program in midNOTE: effort is made to assure your ad is free of mistakes in spelling and The Ritz-Carlton on 22nd Street recently launched a culinary program that offers low-calorie 2011. In May 2012, the Grand content it is ultimately Photo: hiLton MCLeAn tySonS CoRneR Hyatt Washington took on the up to the customer to make the final proof. “Food. Thoughtfully Sourced. Carefully Served.” philosophy. The the Hiltonsubsequent McLean tysons The first faxed will be made costplanet to the changes ideatwo is based on changes three pillars: healthy people,ata no healthy andadvertiser, corner offers two specialty guest will be billed at a rate of $75 faxedproviding alteration. Signed ads are considered approved. healthy communities. The firstper involves portion-controlled, balanced dishes with natural ingredients through nutrient- rooms, one focused on cardio, above, and another on yoga. preserving Please cooking techniques, as reducing hamburger check thissuch ad carefully. Mark anysizes changes to your ad. from eight ounces to seven and providing hormone-free milk as menu options. Being eco-friendly entails sustainable purchasing, planting on-site chef’s gardens and If the adusing is correct sign and faxThe to: last (301) needs changes new to-go containers. pillar949-0065 reaches out to the neighborhood by mandating that five local ingredients be used on the menu. The Washington Diplomat 933-3552 Grand Hyatt Washington also (301) launched the “For Kids By Kids” menu in July 2012 to provide more nutritious kid-friendly foods. Items include vegetable and sesame rice noodles with marinated tofu and__________________________________________________________ waffle dipping sticks with peanut butter, maple syrup and fruit sauces. Approved In addition, the hotel is reducing the use of ingredients with high amounts of sodium and addiChangestives ___________________________________________________________ and serving beverages with natural sweeteners such as agave nectar. “Through surveys and customer feedback, guests informed us they wanted options to help them ___________________________________________________________________ maintain their healthy lifestyle while away from home,” said Nisha Patel, marketing communications manager for Hyatt.“Hyatt is the first hospitality company to make a commitment to Partnership for a Healthier America, which will hold Hyatt accountable for continuously improving the nutritional profile of children’s food menus at full-service managed Hyatt properties across the U.S. over the next 10 years.” Partnership for a Healthier America is chaired by first lady Michelle Obama and aims to reduce Newly Renovated and looking forward to welcoming you back! • 121 Suites with kitchens for short and extended stays • Multilingual staff serving the Diplomatic community for over 30 years • Complimentary parking and WIFI • Located in Dupont Circle • Embassy rates available 1250 New Hampshire Ave, NW Washington DC 20036 Main Phone: 202-557-2000

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October 2013

“What we’re finding is there is actually less and less of those folks that are saying, ‘Yeah, the diet is off because I’m traveling’…. People still want to eat healthy on the road, so we’re trying to accommodate them as best we can.”

When Welcoming the Diplomatic Community The Choices Are Clear

— Modi Ahmed, general manager at Hotel Madera

Photo: Isaac Maiselman / Kimpton Hotels & Resorts

childhood obesity through private-sector initiatives. “We want to meet the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs,” Patel added. “We believe we have a responsibility to ensure that every one of our meals is thoughtfully sourced and carefully served.” The health food kick has even influenced the physical space at some hotels. In April 2012, the Hilton McLean Tysons Corner began offering two specialty guest rooms, one focused on cardio and the other on yoga. Besides outfitting them with special equipment, the hotel also created in-room dining menus available only in those rooms. Items on the menu include strawberry and banana smoothies with Greek yogurt, toasted flax seeds, local Virginia honey and almond milk. “We all know how challenging it can be traveling, first of all, but then maintaining that healthy lifestyle,” said Jodi Sullivan, senior director of global fitness at Hilton. “Working out and eating right can be challenging.” Tom Elder, executive chef at the hotel’s Härth restaurant, said he’s expanded the room menu offerings to the restaurant, making a point to offer and label options as vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free. “The idea is that it’s light, healthy and fresh-focused,” Elder said, adding that he tried to get most products from within a 150-mile radius.“We Americans tend to have protein in everything. We have other things around it. Here it’s vegetables with protein around it.” Additionally, he began raising bees on the hotel’s rooftop three years ago.They produce 600 pounds of unfiltered, unpasteurized honey each year, which he uses as a natural sweetener in place of sugar in his cooking. At the Arlington, Va., location of AKA, a luxury brand of serviced residences, residents can clip herbs from the property’s rooftop herb garden, which was planted in May, to create a healthy home-away-fromhome experience. AKA employees and a landscaper maintain the garden, which produces cilantro, basil, chocolate mint, mint, tarragon, oregano, chives, lemon balm, rosemary, sage, thyme, parsley and mountain mint. The most-often picked ones are mint, chocolate mint and rosemary, said Elana Friedman, AKA’s vice

October 2013

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president of global marketing. “The herb garden was born out of our constant pursuit to serve our residents, all of whom are here for a month or more, through new and innovative amenities,” Friedman said.“Our residents make use of the full kitchens available in our suites, and we also offer a grocery delivery service, so the herb garden is a fresh way to enhance this experience. It is designed to feel like a personal garden and residents can pick the fresh herbs at their leisure.” AKA also uses the herbs to provide minted water in Club AKA during breakfast and in drinks and refreshments at resident receptions. “Our herbs are grown organically in the open air of our rooftop terrace, so they are susceptible to changes in weather,” Friedman said.“The plants will be maintained until the first frost and we will open it up again in the spring.” D.C.’s status as the second-fittest city in the country, according to the 2013 American Fitness Index, and its growing reputation as a foodie destination have also contributed to the culinary changes happening not just at hotels but at many area restaurants, too, Destination DC’s Ferguson said. “There’s this perception that eating healthy means dieting and it doesn’t necessarily mean that,” he said. “Eating healthy doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy your meal, and I think that’s the most important message.”

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[ spas ]

Bracing for Winter Spa Treatments Help Skin Weather Seasonal Chill

A face-focused spa treatment is the Oxygen Infusion Facial at the Red Door Spa in the Willard InterContinental Washington. Photo: Evan Joseph Images / Wilard InterContinental Washington

by Stephanie Kanowitz


“Cooler and drier temperatures tend to dehydrate the skin, especially with constant exposure to heat, fireplaces, wind, rain and cold weather.”

hange is in the air. And well, it’s the air. Gone are the heat and humidity of summer, and although few of us are likely to miss breaking a sweat by the time we walk to our cars, our skin might miss the wetter air. The cooler, drier air that comes with fall and winter can dry and irritate skin.To help prep — Holly Edgin, spa director at the Ritz-Carlton Tysons Corner it, plump it and protect it, several area hotel spas Photo: Ritz-Carlton Tysons Corner are offering specialized treatments. “With less humidity and cooler temperatures, our skin and hair try to pull The idea is to exfoliate dead skin cells and encourage the production of new Treatments moisture from the air,” said Holly Edgin, director of the Ritz-Carlton Tysons Corner ones, Sheibeh said. at the RitzDay Spa. “Cooler and drier temperatures tend to dehydrate the skin, especially “Collagen is a protein that absorbs water and as we grow older, we lose that, Carlton Tysons with constant exposure to heat, fireplaces, wind, rain and cold weather.” so this treatment helps bring back the collagen into the skin,” she said. Corner Day Good for all skin types, the facial starts with cleansing and exfoliation, includ- Spa exfoliate Collagen Facial at Ritz-Carlton ing steaming the skin and briefly wrapping the face in a hot towel. While the dead skin cells Nestled between the heated pool and nail stations, just a hot stone’s throw from exfoliation cream sets, she massages your neck and shoulders. Next Sheibeh and encourage massage tables and a relaxation room stocked with cucumber water and hot tea, analyzes the skin for pimples and other problems and corrects them. Then she the production are two private facial areas. It’s in one of those spaces that aesthetician Badrieh massages in the moisturizer and applies a mask to help it set in. While it does, of new ones. Sheibeh combines massage with Borba skin products to administer the Collagen she massages your arms and hands. She finishes the facial by reapplying the moisturizer and an eye cream. Facial, a 75-minute treatment that costs $185 at the Ritz-Carlton Tysons Corner..

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October 2013


All treatments at the Mandarin Oriental’s spa begin with a foot cleanse to welcome guests.

Photo: Mandarin Oriental Washington

InterContinental London Park Lane presents 447 guest rooms featuring 60 spacious suites, with 24-hour butler service and sweeping views of the Royal Parks. Located at one of London’s most prestigious addresses on Park Lane, this luxury hotel offers award-winning dining that is regularly voted the best in London: Theo Randall at the InterContinental serves rustic Italian cuisine, while Executive Chef Paul Bates celebrates the best of British across Afternoon Tea and weekend brunch in Cookbook Cafe.

Revitalizing Ritual at Mandarin Oriental Mandarin Oriental spa concierge Sarah Ly recommends the Revitalizing Ritual — which costs $300 on weekdays and $330 on weekends and lasts for nearly two hours — because it leaves no skin cells unturned. It starts at the bottom of your feet and works its way up using products from Moroccanoil Body, which integrates argan oil, honey, lavender, vitamin E and apricot kernels. “This time of the year is a popular time for our guests to frequent the spa, as

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Continued from previous page they’re looking to recharge from the busy summer months and reinvigorate their mind and body for the upcoming holiday season,” Ly said.“Body exfoliation is a great way to revive skin that can look dull and lackluster as a result of exposure to the elements. The body buff helps to shed the dead skin cells to reveal new skin underneath, while the body quench will help maintain that fresh glow by sealing in moisture.” First comes a foot cleanse followed by an orange peel-infused scrub, which is high in vitamin C and antioxidants to help strengthen the immune system and stimulates blood circulation, she said. “The foot ritual stems from ancient tradition where visitors were treated to a foot cleanse upon entering their host’s home,” she said of Mandarin’s Zen-inspired approach. “For us, this tradition reflects our Oriental heritage, and thus, all our signature services begin with this foot ritual to welcome our guests to the spa. The harsh and dry seasons ahead,” said Cornelia Zicu, prepares warm water and adds a ad is free of mistakes in spelling and NOTE:therapist Although everya bowl effortwith is made to assure your global chief creative officer at Red Door Spa. foamingcontent gel or bath ” it isoil.ultimately up to the customer to “The makeoxygen the final proof. aspect of the facial is great for Next, the therapist exfoliates the entire body — distressing, plumping and building the immune minus the face — using Moroccanoil Body Buff, which system to the cellular level and adding life and The first two faxed willE be cost contains orangechanges peel, vitamin andmade a blendat of no other the advertiser, subsequent changes strength to the skin,” Zicu added.“Collagen is great will beThe billed at a rate of $75 alteration. Revitalizing Ritual, whichper has faxed been available sinceSigned ads are considered approved. for firming, adding elasticity, and keeping the skin March, ends with hot stones on your back and a fullhydrated.” body massagecheck workingthis in Moroccanoil Intense Hydrating Please ad carefully. Mark anyThe changes yourtakes ad.50 minutes and treatment,to which Treatment and Body Soufflé for moisture. costs $235, also coats the skin in minerals such as “The stones can help to generate energy and create a zinc, calcium and carbon. Calcium produces If the ad is correct sign and andcalm, fax ”to: (301) 949-0065 needs changes sense of balance Ly said. “The heat from the sebum, which gives skin a natural coating and stones also relaxes the muscles.” helps it retain moisture. Zinc helps control oil The Washington Diplomat (301) 933-3552 production, reducing breakouts. Oxygen InFuSIOn FAcIAl AT WIllArD The facial starts with a thorough cleansing and Another face-focused option is the Oxygen Infusion analysis. Next an exfoliating scrub is massaged into your Approved __________________________________________________________ at the Red Door Spa inside the Willard face, hands and arms while steam opens the pores.Then Changes Facial ___________________________________________________________ InterContinental Washington. comes a facial, neck and décolleté massage before a col___________________________________________________________________ It “is a great treatment to have to prepare skin for the lagen mask is applied. The final steps are the oxygen

the Elizabeth Arden red Door Spa at the Willard interContinental Washington offers signature treatments that include facials, massages, body treatments, aroma and aqua therapy, nail care, waxing and makeup. PhotoS: BenJAMin BenSChneiDeR / WiLLARD inteRContinentAL WAShinGton

infusion treatment and application of a moisturizer and eye cream. Stephanie Kanowitz is a contributing writer for The Washington Diplomat.

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October 2013

[ travel ]

Neat Little Package Airlines Offer One-Stop Shop To Simplify Vacation Planning

Photo: Natalia Bratslavsky / Fotolia


by Stephanie Kanowitz

“You just book it and you’re done.”

Virgin Vacations, an arm of Virgin Atlantic Airways, started in 1994 with 30 eisure travel is, by its name, supposed to 50 packages mainly in London and the to be leisurely. But planning a vacation United Kingdom, Virgin’s headquarters. can be anything but. Even after you’ve Today, the U.S. branch, Virgin Vacations — Jean Glock selected the destination, you still USA, sells a variety of worldwide packages director of global relations have to find a hotel, arrange that change seasonally and to suit fads, at Connoisseur Travel tours and book transportation. such as packages built around the castle Airlines have long offered travel packages from “Downton Abbey” or Oxford in an effort to take some out of the planning out of vacation planning. University’s dining hall, seen in the “Harry Potter” film series. Extremely popular about 20 years ago but eclipsed by Expedia and “By adding more variety of worldwide packages, and overall from other online services, they still offer plentiful options and are usually 1994 to now, we have doubled in size to over $22 million in revenues,” an effortless, safe bet, especially for novice travelers. Third-party con- said Nigel Osborne, president of Virgin Vacations USA. tractors usually oversee the packages department, but the goal is uniContinued on next page versal: to provide a one-stop shop for popular destinations.

October 2013


The Washington Diplomat


The Tower Bridge over London’s River Thames gets its name from the nearby Tower of London and has become an iconic symbol of the city.


Four Questions to Ask Before Buying Despite the ease of online booking directly through airlines, consumers need to do their research before clicking “purchase,” says Pat Ogle-Collins, owner of Wizard of Odysseys travel agency. “Depending on the airline, they just have really incredibly priced options, but you do have to do your research. It is a lot of research to know is this a good package or is it not,” she said. Here are some questions to ask: 1. What’s in the fine print? “When you get a package price, if you don’t understand what’s included and

what’s not, it can be a huge hit on your pocket,” Ogle-Collins said. 2. Why is one area of the region included over another? “That doesn’t mean you have to know a lot about the country,” Ogle-Collins said. “Just listen to what they say as to why they are including this. If they’re saying, ‘Because it fits your price,’ it’s a legitimate reason, but if you’re looking for something else, that’s a problem.” 3. What’s the cancellation policy? “Cancellation policies vary widely in the industry. It’s not necessarily that the

airlines are any better or any worse, but oftentimes tickets are nonrefundable so you definitely want to know that.” 4. What laws govern this package? “If you’re dealing with an airline vacation package, be aware of what laws are governing that transaction,” she advised. For instance, if you’re traveling through Cathay Pacific Airlines and you have a problem, is the transaction governed by U.S. or Hong Kong law? — Stephanie Kanowitz

Photo: cIA Factbook

Continued from previous page He attributes the company’s success to offering the right product at the right price. “Virgin Vacations offers transformational vacations with a focus on value for money and service,” Osborne said. “We have always said with Virgin Vacations, see more, pay less, but include a lifetime experience.” For non-escorted tours, Virgin updates its packages by season and introduces three or four new ones each year. The formula for coming up with a tour involves consumer demand for the location, the average number of days Americans typically travel (most employers offer two paid weeks off) and price, Osborne said, but customers can also build their own deal. One of the most popular packages is a seven-day trip to “London with

Downton Abbey” tour. In fact, the deal, which for the fall is starting at $2,289 for air and land, regularly sells out. Highlights include a guided tour of London on a vintage Harrods Bus, a full day at Oxford (including a stop at Oxford University’s dining hall, made famous by “Harry Potter”) and Highclere Castle (where some of “Downton Abbey” is filmed). Other popular ones take visitors to Croatia, Italy, Peru, Spain and Turkey, Osborne said. Hotspots this summer, he noted, included China, Vietnam, Spain and Russia, and more specifically, Virgin’s “Affordable Peru” and Central Europe river cruises. “Affordable Peru” has 10-, 11- and 14-day options ranging in starting price from $2,029 to $3,079, respectively, for air and land, while the European cruises hover in the $3,000 to $4,000 range. Like most packages,Virgin Vacations has partnerships with a wide range


















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October 2013

of hotel chains, such as Hilton, Radisson and Holiday Inn; rental car companies, such as Hertz and Enterprise; and even other airline carriers. Package prices are, on average, 20 percent to 30 percent less than booking on your own, Osborne said. Every major airline and even many smaller ones offer packages. For instance, Southwest Vacations from Southwest Airlines recently added destinations in Mexico and the Caribbean to its roster of U.S. stops, including Orlando, Las Vegas and New Orleans. Recent Vegas deals offered perks like room upgrades, complimentary buffets and gaming credits at resorts such as the Wynn, Monte Carlo and Venetian. Perhaps the best part about choosing an airline vacation package is one-stop shopping, said Jean Glock, director of global relations at Connoisseur Travel in Washington, D.C. “You just book it and you’re done,” Glock said. Another perk is accruing miles or points through the airline, said Pat Ogle-Collins, owner of Wizard of Odysseys LLC in Oak Hill, Va. “I think there’s a lot to be said for the people who are what I call the true frequent fliers — not the people who get all their frequent flier miles by using a credit card,” Ogle-Collins said, explaining that there are benefits for frequent fliers who purchase airline vacations. “You accumulate miles faster once you get to be one of their elite or whatever they call their various member levels.” Still, airline packages are not ideal for travelers looking to go off the beaten path, Glock said. “These are dominated by what I would say are city centers or vacation centers, and off-the-beaten-path places that you would want more of a local flavor, you’re not going to find that in an air package,” she said. Airline packages can be a great baseline for travelers who are new to a city and uncertain about where exactly they want to go. “It’s a great starting point to think, ‘OK, I could do London for five days and I could stay in Piccadilly and I could do three tours and here’s my price point,” Glock said. After that initial trip, travelers can then tailor more specific excursions

Photo: Charles J. Sharp

Virgin Vacations’s “Affordable Peru” package is a popular option for travelers wanting to see the country’s famed 15th-century Inca mountain site.

down the line using customized agents. And despite the advent of Kayak, Priceline and other travel deal sites, airline packages still offer plenty of bargains. Ogle-Collins recently reviewed a vacation proposal from South African Airways for a weeklong trip — four days in Cape Town and two nights on safari — around Christmas for less than $5,000 per person. The airline has “a very good relationship with the South African tourism board,” she said.“There’s been a real focus on getting people to South Africa and so they’re doing things like this.” Stephanie Kanowitz is a contributing writer for The Washington Diplomat.


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October 2013

culture & arts



■ OCTOBER 2013



Italian Kiss “It’s easy to promote my country because I love my country,” says Laura Denise Noce Benigni Olivieri, wife of Italian Ambassador Claudio Bisogniero and perhaps one of the most socially active spouses in town. PAGE 45


Inspired Tribute


Faith Faith Ringgold is more known for her African American story quilts than for her

boldly political paintings, which cast an unapologetic light on America’s racially divided history — pieces that resonate this year in particular, as the nation marks key milestones in the civil rights movement. Fortunately, the National Museum of Women in the Arts doesn’t shy away from the fearless artist. PAGE 44

Václav Havel was a man of many talents — a revered poet and political dissident who helped bring down communism in the Czech Republic, later serving as its first president. So it’s only fitting that the expansive Mutual Inspirations Festival honors him. PAGE 47


Modern Brazil “Contrasts of Modernity” offers a contemporary look inside Brazil, a rapidly developing country with stunning demographic and natural diversity and equally striking challenges. PAGE 48 Photo: Faith Ringgold and aCa galleRies, new YoRk © Faith Ringgold 1967



Simple, fresh dishes have made Newton’s Table the apple of Bethesda’s eye. PAGE 50

“Inequality for All” exposes America’s growing income gap by combining education with entertainment. PAGE 52

[ art ]

Compelling Storytellers NMWa Highlights racial Inequality and Fantastical Musings by Gary Tischler


here are probably few museum exhibitions occupying one floor that appear at first glance to be so dramatically different from each other than “American People, Black Light: Faith Ringgold’s Paintings of the 1960s” and “Awake in the Dream World:The Art of Audrey Niffenegger,” both at the National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA). Ringgold’s paintings are boldly political, an unapologetic mirror on America’s racially divided history that echoes particularly loudly this year — women and men (and children), black the 50th anniversary of the 1963 March on and white, that she described as her Washington, the murder of four young African response to the race riots of the 1960s. American girls in a church bombing in Birmingham, You can see how some of these Ala., and the political assassinations of John F. pieces might make curators and culturKennedy and Medgar Evers. al mucky mucks uncomfortable, even In contrast, the Niffenegger exhibit inhabits a today. In “The Flag Is Bleeding,” a white more fantastical, lyrical world, one that ponders woman and man lock arms with a black universal themes — death and decay, love, jealousy, man as they all stare out from the stars redemption and the inevitability of change — but and stripes, which are dripping in blood. from a surreal, internal place of the intellect, imagiThe painting is part of the series nation and heart. “American People,” which Ringgold said Ringgold is more renowned as the originator of shows the “condition of black and the African American story quilt revival in the white America and the paradoxes of 1970s, although she was also a prolific African integration felt by many black American artist and activist in the 1960s.Niffenegger, Americans.”Another series,“Black Light,” on the other hand, is best known as a critically examines notions of black beauty and acclaimed novelist (“The Time Traveler’s Wife” and the wide spectrum of skin color among “Her Fearful Symmetry”) who has also written African Americans. visual novels such as “Raven Girl.” Ringgold, now 83, isn’t afraid to chalBoth of these women’s radically different gifts Photos: ColleCtion oF the national MuseuM oF woMen in the aRts lenge her viewer’s comfort level. She are on full display. Ringgold’s paintings are stark tackles issues of power, race, and vivid, shaped by modernist influences reminisThe National Museum of hierarchy, class and feminism cent of Pablo Picasso and Jean Dubuffet as well as Women in the Arts is showhead on. Her paintings are traditional African motifs, while Niffenegger’s dark casing the fantastical images of defiantly blunt, painful and and fey influences spring from adult fairytale books audrey niffenegger, above and dramatic, exposing deep and illustrators such as Aubrey Beardsley and top left, alongside a separate wounds that in some ways Edward Gorey. exhibition of 1960s paintings by are shared but in other ways By hanging in physical proximity, they represent Faith Ringgold, including the were inflicted by fellow a dilemma for the viewer, who might be tempted to provocative pieces “die,” right, Americans. Even today, race compare and contrast the works, to find an elusive and “the Flag is Bleeding,” picis a subject that only occaconnection between them. But I would just advise tured on the culture cover. sionally dares to rear its head, forgoing the forced analysis, stepping back and Photo: Faith Ringgold and aCa galleRies, new YoRk © Faith Ringgold 1967 then just as quickly retreats bathing in the distinct qualities that bind the two from the discussion. exhibitions, which are wholly original, much like their American People, Black Light: For Ringgold, the subject matter is a fact of life. She was creators. Admire these artists for their singular once asked if she would venture beyond her subject matapproach, and the NMWA for bringing these two talFaith Ringgold’s Paintings of the 1960s ter, to which she simply responded:“Well, it’s about being ents together in one space. and an African American woman in America and I am an Their artistic strengths shine in different lights. Awake in the Dream World: African American woman in America.” Ringgold’s paintings seem to be physically alive, swellThe Art of Audrey Niffenegger It is a history Ringgold not only lived through, but also ing, bursting with emotions that take a no-holdsplayed an active role in. For instance, she organized and barred approach to the civil rights movement, while through nov. 10 participated in demonstrations against the Whitney Niffenegger seems to draw us inward, into a wispy National Museum of Women in the Arts Museum of American Art and the Museum of Modern Art, landscape where dreams, fantasies and fears reside, 1250 new York ave., nw demanding a greater voice for black artists, black women buffeted by breezes thickly full of time. For more information, please call (202) 783-5000 in particular. Both Ringgold and Niffenegger are remarkable or visit Those struggles, which took place not that long ago storytellers, but Ringgold’s narrative is particularly yet sometimes seem a distant memory, resonate this year compelling, in part because it speaks to the harsh realas Americans remember the tragedies and triumphs of the civil rights movement. ity of its time. Niffenegger’s stories seem less dramatic, but are nonetheless disturbing and echo It’s a narrative that was often overlooked. Ringgold said art galleries showed little interest in her racially charged paintings in the 1960s, and they have not received as struggles we all must grapple with, as seen in a series of self-portraits in which the artists confronts coming of age, death and physical forms changing. much critical attention as her story quilts have. Fortunately, the National Museum of Women in the Arts didn’t shy away from Ringgold’s provocative paintings — including “Die,” a bloodstained jumble of terrified see NMWA, page 46


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The Washington Diplomat


October 2013

[ diplomatic spouses ]

Dolce D.C. Laura Denise: Italy’s Cultural, Social Maven in Washington by Gail Scott


he loves what she does. “It’s She belongs to “Mothers Prayers,” an easy to promote my country international movement with headquarbecause I love my country,” ters in Tennessee that brings small said Laura Denise Noce groups of mothers together from all Benigni Olivieri, wife of over the world to pray for their children Italian Ambassador Claudio and other loved ones.“I started a group; Bisogniero. “I love meeting we pray here every Monday morning,” people. When I tell people I’m Laura Denise said. “These are very simfrom Italy, they have wonderful things to ple prayers when we give thanks…. We say: It’s so lovely, I really enjoyed Italy, or are doing it for others, but we are doing they just smile.” it for ourselves too. It gives me serenity And the Bisognieros have used the … this is a meeting of souls. love that they and many Americans have “I am very Catholic,” she continued. for Italy in an unprecedented promotion“It wasn’t always like that. I was lukeal campaign, both inside and outside the warm to religion. Now, my faith is food Beltway. Since arriving in Washington in — it gives me joy,” she said. “Being fair, January 2012, Laura Denise and her husbeing honest, builds a better world.” band have become one of the most — if “In America, religion is part of life,” not the most — active diplomatic couples she observed. “Religion, whether you in town. are Buddhist or Hindu or Christian or Their embassy and residence have Jewish or Muslim, gives you a great become the go-to spots for high-profile strength. Family values are a stronghold. social functions, hosting nearly two dozen It’s so important for parents to make prestigious events this year alone. Among Christmas special, make beautiful memthe soirees: an Elle magazine-Gucci party, ories. It is a joyous family holiday, somethe Opera Ball, Washington Concert thing warm. A magical Christmas is a Opera Gala, Children’s National Medical good experience and those memories Center’s “A Vintage Affair,” the Phillips remain something special in your life.” Collection “Dolce Vita” after-party and She pointed out that even though MSNBC’s White House Correspondents’ Italy is home to the Vatican, the crucible Dinner after-party. The Bisognieros have of Catholicism, Italy doesn’t have many welcomed big names such as Vice of the Christmas traditions that are President Joe Biden and Supreme Court unique to the United States. Photo: Embassy of Italy Justice Antonin Scalia, and lent their own “We have ‘The Nutcracker’ in Italy but Laura Denise Noce Benigni Olivieri and her husband, Italian Ambassador Claudio names to causes such as the Cathedral Bisogniero, stand in front of Michelangelo’s “David-Apollo” at the National Gallery of Art durnot as a classical ballet” with all the holiChoral Society and the Prevent Cancer day touches, she noted. During their first ing the inauguration of the “Year of Italian Culture,” a yearlong series of events showcasing Foundation (also see “Italy Hosts Prevent posting in Washington — when the Italy at cities across America. Cancer Gala” in the April 2013 Diplomatic ambassador was first counselor for ecoPouch online). nomic and commercial affairs from 1992 to 1996 — The fundraising support comes on top of the Laura Denise also enjoyed making gingerbread houses It’s easy to promote my embassy’s major push to promote the “Year of Italian with her children. “I got a mold and we made it from Culture,” a massive charm offensive that unfolded country because I love my country. scratch. In Italy this doesn’t exist. We made it with Crisco across the United States in 2013, from art exhibitions and molasses. Everyone had his or her own house to I love meeting people. When I tell in Boston to robotics demonstrations in San Francisco decorate,” she said with a big smile. to space cooperation in Washington, D.C. (also see Interestingly, while most Americans associate Italy with people I’m from Italy, they have “Yearlong Cultural Festival Showcases All Country Has the country’s rich food and wine, Laura Denise said that to Offer” and “Italian Embassy Partners With Big Events for her, the decadence on this side of the Atlantic is more wonderful things to say. for Good Causes” in the March 2013 issue of The dangerous. “My only complaint about America is that I Washington Diplomat.) gain weight here! I love sweets — carrot cake, brownies, — Laura Denise Noce Benigni Olivieri It’s a concerted effort to spotlight a more positive American apple pie,” she said. “It’s a real disaster. I could wife of Italian Ambassador Claudio Bisogniero image of Italy, beyond it’s well-known economic probeat a whole plate of chocolate chip cookies.” lems and constant political squabbles (many of the It wouldn’t be unheard of. “When I was 8 or 9 years events in the “Year of Italian Culture” were funded through private corporate sponsorold,” she recalled, “I ate a whole box of chocolates! I got sick. My mother called the ship). doctor.” Laura Denise — who said she tries to wear Italian haute couture whenever she can “My grandmother always had cookies but she kept them under lock and key,” she to showcase top Italian designers such as Armani — has been the warm, smiling face added.“Now, I do the same thing with chocolates. I have a secret cabinet that’s under throughout Italy’s cultural and social coming-out party in the nation’s capital.“You have lock and key. By the time I find the key … I’ve sometimes talked myself out of eating the chance to create rooms, tables, beautiful events,” she told Women’s Wear Daily earthe dark chocolate I love.” lier this year.“But if you take off all the trimmings, what matters most is meeting peoNo wonder she relishes Halloween, another uniquely American tradition.“I love the ple.” magic of walking in the dark. When we were here before, our 4-year-old daughter And there’s much more to this diplomatic wife than hosting fabulous events.“What dressed like a witch. It was the first time we had Halloween,” she remembered.“It’s an is really important is my faith. I get my strength, my force comes from up,” she told us, experience we don’t have in Italy.” pointing toward the ceiling. “Life is not easy and my faith makes me strong, gives me Continued on next page possibilities…. God is part of my life, something special.”

October 2013

The Washington Diplomat Page 45

Continued from previous page Her daughter Serena is now a 23-year-old artist in Italy while her son Giampaola, 18, recently left Italy to attend college in Virginia at George Mason University, where he studies biology. Laura Denise remains in contact with the American friends she made in the 1990s when Serena attended kindergarten at Little Folks School in Georgetown and then elementary school at Holy Trinity, also in Georgetown. “This was an opportunity to meet other parents, celebrate family life. It was so spontaneous and charming,” Laura Denise said. “Some of our friends came over for Labor Day and we sat around the pool. Some came to Italy.We stayed in touch with others. It has been so wonderful to see them again.” She also remains fond of Georgetown, where the couple lived during their first D.C. posting.“In Georgetown, when you go for a walk, you meet a lot of people.” Now, she has different encounters roaming around the grand Italian Residence, an impressive stone estate on 22 acres bordered by Rock Creek Park.“When I go for a walk here, I meet a lot of squirrels … and deer too.” It’s certainly been a different experience being the wife of a first counselor and being the wife of one of the town’s most socially active ambassadors — whose sprawling residence, named Villa Firenze, is a haven of Old World hospitality. During their initial D.C. posting, Laura Denise recalled that she would do all of the cooking for groups of 35 or more guests. She even took a Le Cordon Bleu culinary course. Now, she’s delighted to have Roberto, their chef at the residence, although she and her husband still enjoy taking over their ultra-modern Italian kitchen and cooking themselves. The couple is intimately familiar with American life, having not only served in D.C. before but also in New York, where Bisogniero worked in Italy’s

Permanent Mission to the United Nations in the late 1990s, focusing on political affairs and U.N. reform. Early in his career, the couple was also posted to China and Belgium. Laura Denise graduated from the University of Rome, as did the ambassador, but the two didn’t meet there. A mutual friend introduced them, and now they have been married for 31 years. Laura Denise’s father was an officer in the Italian Navy while her husband’s father served in the Italian Army, so they both grew up accustomed to living abroad, moving every couple of years, and changing schools — just the right background for the Foreign Service. Antiques, some dating to the 12th century, from her Olivieri family now punctuate the residence. She is particularly proud that her hometown of Fabriano in the Italian region of Marche is renowned throughout Italy as one of the earliest places in Europe that made high-quality paper on an industrial scale. For centuries, special paper for books, drawings and even money have been produced in this town located about 40 minutes from Perugia. In fact, Laura Denise thinks that her love of books — she majored in literature in college — stems from growing up surrounded by beautiful


Photos: eMBassY oF italY

Laura Denise Noce Benigni Olivieri and her husband, italian ambassador Claudio Bisogniero, stand with their daughter serena, a 23-year-old artist in italy, and their son giampaola, 18, who is studying biology at Virginia’s george Mason university. at left, laura denise shares a laugh with Jill Biden at the opera Ball, one of many prestigious events hosted at the italian Residence, known as Villa Firenze.

paper. “Paper is the greatest love of my life,” she said. “I’ve already bought many books here so I’ll have some to take home.” On that note, one of her favorite things is to go on a “treasure hunt” at flea markets and discover old books. “Around the world I have discovered old books and other things that I wanted. Here, I go to the flea market in Georgetown,” she said, noting that she also collects antique buttons and literary-based DVDs. “I have five different versions of ‘Pride and Prejudice.’ The first one is with Laurence Olivier and another one with Colin Firth. I also have several versions of ‘Jane Eyre’ — English, French and American.” Her love of words began early. “My grandmother wrote poems. She was very romantic and she loved me. When I was born, she wanted me to have all the names in the family,” Laura Denise said, explaining her long name. “She lived in an old house, probably 15th century. I went to visit her every summer for the whole summer. I was born in that house.” It’s no surprise that Laura Denise and her husband share a love of books and reading, as well as classical music, tennis and golf. But their common interests have their limits, especially when it comes to the skies. Claudio Bisogniero’s passion is flying and he

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“Niffenegger’s captivating narratives, presented in both images and words, give insight into universal experiences such as the need and fleeting nature of love, the inevitability of death and the peculiar sensation of the passage of time,” said exhibition curator Krystyna Wasserman, a pioneer in books-as-art exhibitions. In one portrait, the dramatically redhaired Niffenegger sprouts butterflies instead of ears. Hair spills lusciously across the canvas in “The Three Incestuous Sisters.” In “Poisonous Plants at Table and Prudence: The Cautionary Tale of a Picky Eater,” skeletal beings participate in a Victorian English garden party that seems both whimsical and frightening.In contrast,“Death Comforts

enjoys piloting a small plane from the airstrip in Gaithersburg, Md.“I hate to fly, except for the movies you can watch,” Laura Denise said. “I would always rather take a train!” Her husband also loves to parachute and has made 35 jumps over 25 years.“One time his chute only half opened but he got it opened just before he landed. From the time he was a teenager he has loved the sky. He loves the freedom and the silence.” Even though Laura Denise doesn’t share her husband’s sense of aviation adventurism, she said she did love their trip to Alaska when they flew into a remote airport and landed on a glacier as part of the State Department’s “Experience America” program for diplomats. They have also spent part of their summers on Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard. Laura Denise said she appreciates that so many Americans have visited her own homeland, but she advises travelers to go off the beaten path in Italy, especially if you’ve already done the “grand tour” of hotspots such as Rome and Venice. “I wish more people would explore Italy with an Italian map,” she said.“It would be great if they would just put their finger on a particular spot and go there.” Gail Scott is a contributing writer for The Washington Diplomat and Diplomatic Pouch.

the Mother” is a hauntingly solemn, pensive work that features the silhouette of a solitary pregnant woman. Niffenegger’s works on paper, lithographs and aquatints reflect the surreal nature of her books, but to say her work is bookish would be redundant and misleading. She is like a woman who lived in a book, steeped in literary musings, raised by ravens and roving tale tellers — an Alice years after Wonderland. But her imagination tears off the page. Both Niffenegger and Ringgold entrance their audiences with their storytelling magic, although the spell each weaves is distinct in its power to captivate, shock and mesmerize. Gary Tischler is a contributing writer for The Washington Diplomat.

October 2013

[ festivals ]

Poet, Prisoner, President Czech embassy showcases Many sides of Václav Havel by Kat Lucero



efore Václav Havel became president of the Czech Republic, more than 300 plain-clothed policemen under communist rule were assigned to regularly follow him. One strolled just a few feet behind him while he was walking his dog. Another peered over Havel’s shoulders while he read his mail outside. Even when he drove through the countryside, his handlers were not too far behind in black cars. This blanket of oppression, however, didn’t crush Havel’s spirits. Instead, they emboldened the writer and political dissident who later became the leader of a newly democratic Czech nation. The Embassy of the Czech Republic unearthed these details on Havel as part its annual Mutual Inspirations Festival, a two-month-long celebration that highlights a prominent Czech — living or deceased — who greatly inspired and influenced Czech and American culture. Past honorees have included political leader Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk, composer Antonín Dvořák and filmmaker Miloš Forman. “We choose personalities who can represent the values that Americans can understand,” said Barbara Karpetova, head of the embassy’s cultural section.“They’re the perfect example of the American dream … and the festival allows people to see the picture of the personality and get a deeper connection.” As the beloved Czech leader who endured public harassment and imprisonment for his democratic ideals, Havel was a clear choice for the embassy. After all, he did shepherd a peaceful transition from communism to democracy in the 1989 Velvet Revolution. He then served as the former Czechoslovakia’s last president and the newly created Czech Republic’s first president from 1993 to 2003 (Havel died in 2011 at the age of 75). The embassy, however, was particular in reserving 2013 to commemorate Havel.This year, the late president would have turned 77.That number was also the title of an important democratic manifesto he co-authored — Charter 77 — that criticized the communist government’s human rights abuses. Vilified by the regime in the late 1970s, the document and the spreading of its message were considered a political crime. But Havel was more than just a political icon. He was a man of many talents. In addition to being a president and prisoner, he was a poet, playwright and revered writer. So it’s only fitting that the Mutual Inspirations celebrations span the culMutual inspirations Festival 2013: tural spectrum. Partnering václav Havel with venues throughout from sept. 5 to oct. 31 Washington such as the venues throughout Washington, D.c. National Gallery of Art, Georgetown University, Library of Congress, Atlas For a complete schedule of events, please visit Performing Arts Center and Avalon Theater, the embassy has planned more than 30 events from September through October, reflecting on and paying tribute to Havel’s multifaceted life. The events range from theater performances, lectures and film screenings to concerts and exhibitions (culminating in a ’70s-themed wrap party at the Czech Embassy on Oct. 31). Several of the events will also introduce ongoing or permanent projects to raise awareness of Havel’s connections to the United States and the rest of the world. For years, Georgetown University played a major role in highlighting Havel, welcom-

October 2013


Photo: © PaVel ŠteCha

Former czech President václav Havel is the focus of this year’s Mutual inspirations Festival, which pays homage to the revered political dissident with events such as “antiwords” by the ambassador theater and spitfire Company, at left, which draws on havel’s own play “audience” and its legendary film adaptation.

ing him to speak twice — in 1990 and 2005 — with Czech-born friend and former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who teaches at the university. With Havel’s affinity for the university and Photo: MiChal hančoVský the embassy’s support, officials decided to turn a public space near 37th and O Streets into a memorial called Václav Havel Place just in time for the festival.The outdoor site features a linden tree (the national emblem of the Czech Republic) and two wooden teak chairs on each side. “Václav Havel was devoted to the idea of the university as a place to foster discourse and the free exchange of ideas,” said John J. DeGioia, president of Georgetown University, in an issued statement. “He also believed deeply in the power of our young people to make positive contributions to our society.We were privileged to have welcomed him to our campus through the years, and we are proud to help sustain his legacy with Václav Havel Place.” The custom-made design was inspired by the description of an epiphany Havel wrote in one of his letters to his first wife Olga Havlová, while he was incarcerated:“I sat on a pile of rusty iron and gazed into the crown of an enormous tree that stretched, with dignified repose.… I felt a sense of reconciliation indeed of an almost gentle consent to the inevitable course of things as revealed to me now.” In addition to being a political leader, Havel was a playwright who also expressed his resistance to totalitarianism through artistic works.To that end, the embassy, in collaboration with Alliance for New Music-Theatre, Ambassador Theater and Fort Fringe-The Shop, will feature “Havel’s Trilogy,” a series of performances and discussions that delves into Havel’s one-act plays, which have a common character named Ferdinand Vanek

see HAveL, page 51 The Washington Diplomat Page 47

[ art ]

Mosaic of Modernity abstract Paintings speak to Complexities of Brazil’s evolution by Molly Mccluskey


n the foyer of the Art Museum of the Americas F Street Gallery is a wide stairwell that leads down into another foyer, which in turn leads to a narrow corridor. Here, white panels that might otherwise be overlooked, or dismissed simply as components of a hallway, provide the background for a stunning display of 15 abstract paintings that reflect the at times clashing factors of Brazil’s evolving landscape. Depicting the changing and the changed, the exhibit, titled “Brasil, Meu Brasil: Contrastes da Modernidade (Brazil, My Brazil: Contrasts of Modernity)” is a visually stunning and evocative display by native Brazilian turned D.C. transplant Marília Bulhões. Individually, each canvas is powerful and bold. As a collection, they are nearly an assault on the senses — vivid acrylics or oils on canvases reflecting the people and landscape of Bulhões’s homeland in all its guises. Two paintings, named “Shantytown I” and “Shantytown II,” depict Brazil’s slums, commonly Marília Bulhões, known as the favelas. One features grey blocks with a Brazilian transpastels that imply an apartment building, dull, with plant who lives in moments of cheerfulness. The other, red and vivid, d.C., offers a conevokes violence or passion, or both.“I paint with my temporary take on feelings,” Bulhões says,“with my heart, with my sentiBrazil’s people ments.” and landscape in Another piece,“Black Gold,” with its broad strokes “Brazil, My Brazil: of varying hues of blue, calls to mind a tropical paraContrasts of dise, brilliant and shimmering.“It’s like a dive into an Modernity” at the endless ocean,” Bulhões said of the work.Yet another art Museum of has twisting veins of jeweled tones so vivid it could the americas. be a scarf around a beautiful woman’s neck. Two nearly identical paintings, one verdant, one in moribund greys, depict the Amazon’s struggle. the three stood in front of it.Another enthusiIt is Bulhões’s use of light that struck Brasil, Meu Brasil: astic woman told a man standing next to her, curator Roxana Martin.“Each piece seems “You must see the ocean.” Nether an employto glow, even the darkest ones,” Martin said contrastes da Modernidade ee of the gallery nor friend of the artist, she at the opening of the exhibit. “There is through oct. 18 then handed him a postcard with information light here, in contrast, and in conflict.” F Street Gallery of the Organization of American about the exhibit because, as she said,“It’s just Those contrasts are inherent in Brazil, a States Art Museum of the Americas so pretty.” rapidly developing country with stunning 1889 F st., nw Born in Natal, the largest city of Rio Grande demographic and natural diversity that For more information, please call (202) 370-0147 do Norte, a northeastern state in Brazil, grapples with the pitfalls of progress, from or visit Bulhões is primarily a self-taught artist who poverty to environmental concerns. It is a trained in Washington at the Corcoran College complex tapestry that is weaved into of Art + Design, among other places. Bulhões returned to D.C. in 2012 and Bulhões’s abstract, sometimes sparse canvases. “Marília Bulhões’s works are so light they almost seem to float,” said says she is happy to be back.“I lived here before, for a short time,” she said. Minister George Torquato Firmeza, director of the Cultural Department of “Now I feel at home again.” But on the walls at the Art Museum of the Americas hang the vestiges of Brazil’s External Relations Ministry. “They pose questions, insinuate, invite, play, remind and kiss Brazil. Brazil is not meant to be explained. It is to be a very different home. Some may view this exhibit as a political statement, others as a love letter. For the artist, however, the true meaning of the 15 bitten into, like a green and yellow guava.” It is perhaps a testimony to the implied intimacy of the art that at the canvases is something more simple, and profound. “It’s just my mind,” Bulhões said.“My crazy mind.” opening reception, strangers stopped other strangers to point to pieces they shouldn’t miss, and still others quickly began to speak like old friends. An older couple stopped a younger woman and told her, “See the ball of Molly McCluskey (@MollyEMcCluskey) is a freelance writer in Washington, D.C., twine? It’s really good,” and proceeded to walk her down the corridor until covering finance, travel and foreign affairs.


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Photos: MaYo l. Van dYCk / aRt MuseuM oF the aMeRiCas


October 2013

[ theater ]

Inextinguishable ‘Torch’ Fierstein’s Tale of Gay acceptance Proves Old Themes Never Die by Lisa Troshinsky


he Studio Theatre has effectively accomplished the difficult feat of dusting off and reviving “Torch Song Trilogy,” one of the gay community’s signature artistic landmarks. Michael Kahn, the Shakespeare Theatre Company’s artistic director, makes his Studio debut as director. Kahn is an expert at resurrecting historical classics, and Harvey Fierstein’s script — which tells the story of a gay man’s search for love, companionship and family in the 1970s — can be considered a historic recounting, after all. Before AIDS and DOMA (the Defense of Marriage Act that barred the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages), it was a time of less enlightenment — when few people were “out,” bar “back rooms” for anonymous sex were widespread, and discrimination based on sexual orientation was commonplace. But why this play, now? Why would Studio produce a relic that might make audiences wince at the characters’ agonizing naiveté about such issues as unsafe sex and sexual orientation freedom? Why not bring to life a script that tells a happier story — of the progressive present and hard-fought-for victories for LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) people over the past three decades? Photos: teddY wolFF The answers are many and simple. Universal themes like wanting to belong, to find love, and to be Above from left, todd lawson as ed, Brandon accepted are timeless.This play is worthy of its 1983 Tony Award for uranowitz as arnold and Michael lee Brown as Best Play and worth revisiting. The effort is also worth it to showdavid star in “torch song trilogy,” about arnold’s case its star Brandon Uranowitz, who dexterously portrays Arnold journey as a gay man looking for love and family in Beckoff, the lead character, married in most fans’ minds to Fierstein, the 1970s. at left, arnold talks to his mother who won Tony Awards for both writing the play and originating the (played by gordana Rashovich). role. Uranowitz’s aura as Arnold — his energy, feistiness, comedic timArnold’s doting but disapproving mothing, pathos, even his gravelly voice — is uncannily matched to er and his gay, adopted teenage son. Fierstein’s. Arnold’s character, somewhat autobiographical of Uranowitz, clearly the strongest actor Fierstein (New York, Jewish, drag queen, out of the closet before in the production, takes more emomost celebrities, a gay rights activist), actually wouldn’t work withtional risks than does, for example, out this comparison and likeness. Lawson, who comes across as suffiThe play — a three-and-a-half-hour saga that combines three separate one-acts — would certainly suffer without an ultra-strong lead. Despite the ciently infuriating but one-dimensional, and Wilson, who plays a vacuous, unsusfact the script outstays its welcome by a good 45 minutes and its content isn’t pecting idealist. The exception is Ma, Arnold’s mother, portrayed by Gordana groundbreaking anymore, Uranowitz never loses the audience’s attention.Whether Rashovich. She could easily fall into a caricature (think Rhoda Morgenstern’s Arnold is fighting with his overbearing mother or wishy-washy lover, or on stage mother), but Rashovich proves with directed intensity that stereotypes are often alone, delivering a lengthy soliloquy, Uranowitz entertains with humor, anguish and true. Each act has its own set and unique feel, signifying constant verve. Arnold’s transformation from needy youth to mature parThe opening scene of a backstage dressing room, Torch Song Trilogy ent. Kahn takes every opportunity to use James Noone’s complete with red streamers, power puff and red through oct. 13 exquisite sets to his best advantage. For example, in Act II, boa, finds Arnold alone, preparing for one of his he cleverly stages the two couples (Arnold and Alan; Ed drag-show performances. As he applies makeup Studio Theatre and Laurel) in one huge bed to denote separate bedrooms, (“emasculating his eye,” he calls it), stockings and 1501 14th st., nw but an uncomfortably incestuous, comedic situation. wig, he warms up the audience with self-deprecattickets are $39 to $85. The play is painful to watch at times. (“Who hasn’t been ing one-liners.“My biggest problem is being young For more information, please call (202) 332-3300 waiting for the telephone to ring, who hasn’t had that and beautiful…. I’m NOT young and beautiful,” he or visit particular moment when they realize the difference teases. As he moves on to unapologetically recount between sex and love, who hasn’t tried to be more grown his failed love life, Uranowitz grabs the audience by the collar and secures Arnold’s foothold as the empathetic underdog for whom up than they are?” writes Fierstein.) But through the honesty (and a lot of laughter) comes acceptance, which is a universal draw. you’ll never stop rooting. Gay or straight, male or female, Jewish or Gentile, drag queen or accountant, we The play is made up of three acts. During “International Stud,” (the name of a gay men’s bar in Greenwich Village in the 1960s and ’70s),Arnold meets and falls in love all want what Arnold wants: acceptance. Never mind that times have changed.That with Ed, a closeted bisexual played by Todd Lawson. During “Fugue in a Nursery,” only keeps us coming back to a script whose message is as relevant today as it was one year later, Arnold and his young, model boyfriend Alan (Alex Mills) visit Ed and in the past. now-wife Laurel (Sarah Grace Wilson) at their upstate farm.The third Act,“Widows and Children First!”, takes place five years later and expands the cast to include Lisa Troshinsky is the theater reviewer for The Washington Diplomat.


October 2013


The Washington Diplomat Page 49

[ dining ]

Inventive Cooking Friedman’s Newton’s Table Is Apple of Bethesda’s Eye by Rachel G. Hunt


n 2011, diners in Bethesda, Md., welcomed the opening of Newton’s Table, the first solo venture of one of its hometown boys, chef Dennis Friedman. A Montgomery County native, Friedman’s beginnings in the industry were humble, waiting tables at Ledo Pizza in Bethesda. That didn’t last long. Getting the cooking bug, he embraced a culinary career rather than the law career he’d originally intended to have. After finishing his training at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y., Friedman worked with renowned chef Daniel Boulud at Boulud’s eponymous restaurant in New York City. He soon returned home, however, to cook in Washington at Kinkead’s and Citronelle, under Michel Richard. Friedman got his chance to take on a leadership role when he became chef and co-owner of Bezu Restaurant in Potomac, Md., and he hasn’t looked back since. When the owners of Rock Creek restaurant in Bethesda decided to shut down, Friedman saw the opportunity to go solo and took over the space. After closing for a brief period for renovations, he reopened as Newton’s Table, an American restaurant with a hint of Asia.The renovations were mostly cosmetic and the result is a pleasingly understated look with a few distinctive features enlivening the space.There’s a glass wall fountain that tempts the inner child to get wet, while earth-colored glass-tile columns give the effect of cascading waterfalls. In a nod to the restaurant’s name (the childhood nickname Friedman’s father gave him), one wall is dominated by a brightly colored series of Warholesque apples in various states of consumption.The visual homage even makes its way into the restrooms, where a lovely painting of apple blossoms graces the ladies’ loo. (The gents get a whimsical kitchen scene.) Friedman brought over some of his signature dishes from Bezu, playing on similar themes he developed at that restaurant. The menu also feels as though the ghost of Rock Creek may be looking over Friedman’s shoulder as he constructs his dishes — which are clean, simple and light. On a recent night, for example, the ahi tuna, (tuna is one of Freidman’s specialties) was encrusted in nigella seed and served with lightly poached baby bok choy, garlic-scallion fried rice and a lemon-soy beurre blanc.The rockfish was lightly pan seared and served with a summer vegetable succotash and tomato saffron butter.

[ ] Newton’s Table

want to

4917 Elm St., Bethesda, Md. (301) 718-0550


Lunch: Tue. - Fri., 11:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. Dinner: Mon. - Thu., 5 - 9:30 p.m.; Fri. and Sat., 5 - 10:30 p.m.; and Sun., 5 - 9 p.m.

The salads are also reminiscent of Newton’s Table’s predecessor, from a simple market salad of local greens, seasonal vegetables, celery seed, vinaigrette and cranberry reduction, to Happy hour: Mon.- Fri., 5 - 7 p.m. the truck patch salad, a novel combiCold and warm plates: $9 - $24 nation of spinach, arugula, bacon, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, Entrées: $24 - $38 Desserts: $9 - $14 toasted walnuts and crispy shallots, Reservations: Accepted via online and telephone all very lightly tossed with a tart bacon pomegranate vinaigrette. Friedman is highly regarded for his handling of fish, which at Newton’s has been generally well prepared, although on a recent visit we all agreed that the black bass was a stellar standout.The perfectly panseared filets were served over a Cuban-style black bean compote, corn mascarpone and pickled summer vegetable dressed in a parsley vinaigrette.

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The Washington Diplomat

Photos: Jess Latos

Newton’s Table, which took over the space once occupied by Rock Creek restaurant, specializes in clean, fresh American dishes with a hint of Asia.

Not everything, however, trends to the healthy at Newton’s Table.The mushroom ravioli, another Friedman specialty, is unabashedly rich, with its combination of shitake, porcini, cremini and oyster mushrooms, mozzarella and Boursin cheeses, thyme, shallots, roasted mushroom sauce, sliced truffles and white truffle oil. On the meat side, Newton’s offers several different steaks, including a huge piece of bison, that are prepared with a variety of sides. But for a melt-in-your-mouth beef option, the braised short ribs from the small plates are unbeatable. A single braised Meyer beef short rib, served with a smooth parsnip puree and house barbeque, is a perfect meal for the moderate appetite and will leave room for the interesting desserts that Newton’s offers. Freidman recently took the winning title in the Mason Dixon Master Chef Tournament. Maybe that explains the slightly southern tones that appear on the menu, most strikingly in the Pig Brittle dessert, which was named by the Food Network as one of the 50 best ice cream dishes in America. It’s a simple dish: a bowl of homemade vanilla ice cream served with several thick slices of brittle. What is not simple is the brittle, which starts out sweet in the mouth, shifts to salty mid-bite, and finishes with flakes of bacon as the sugar melts. It’s ingenious. October 2013

For those wanting something more traditional (OK, let’s face it, chocolaty), the chocolate crunch is excellent. The four small Kit Kat-like sticks of milk chocolate, macadamia nut crunch and wafer are dense and easy to share. In another nod to Isaac Newton, Friedman developed an apple trio that includes a tiny apple tart, apple crème brulee and granny apple sorbet. It’s a light alternative that feels particularly right this time of year as apples come into their own. Newton’s has another project in the works: Newton’s Noodles, a fast-casual franchise that opened in Midtown D.C. in September. Friedman hopes to capitalize on the noodle craze by offering up “fuzu” noodles, made-to-order curry- or soy-flavored noodles with protein, veggies and spices (fuzu is the term Freidman has coined for his pan-Asian concoctions). He’s been piloting some of the fuzu dishes at Newton’s Table, which recently featured a coconut-curry rice noodle version with snow peas, carrots, onions, bean sprouts, eggs, chicken, shrimp, scallops, coconut milk, curry, lime, lemongrass, ginger and cilantro. It was a delicious dish, but rather Photo: Jess Latos pricey at $27 for something Dennis Friedman opened his first solo venthat resembles classic pad ture, Newton’s Table, in his native Bethesda, Thai. Md., in 2011. With his expansion into D.C., Friedman has brought on Peter Smith, owner of the late and lamented PS7’s, to handle the day-to-day work at Newton’s Table. The two worked together at Vidalia in the past and share a mutual respect. It will be interesting to see what new additions appear on the already-eclectic menu under Smith’s influence.

from page 47

Havel who represents the dramatic alter ego of the playwright himself. Meanwhile, at the National Gallery of Art, a special film program in October called “The Play’s the Thing: Václav Havel, Art and Politics” features archival footage and documentaries obtained from the National Film Archive in Prague as well as Havel’s directorial debut film. In choosing the films, Peggy Parsons, film curator at the gallery, saw that there was a camaraderie among the political dissidents, artists and intellectuals in opposing the communist government at the time. “The network of people supporting one another was quite broad,” she said of Havel’s circle. Individuals who personally knew Havel, as well as those who admired him from afar, knew of his humility. He had no aspirations to run for office. Even when it was rumored that he would receive the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991, he successfully steered the fanfare toward Aung San Suu Kyi, the Burmese activist who was still fighting for democracy in her own country. Parsons admitted that she knew only the basics of Havel as a political figure. After viewing the films for two weeks in Prague, she, too, saw an “unpretentious” side of him that she never knew. Thomas Dine, president and director of American Friends of the Czech Republic, said Havel’s legacy needs to continually be examined, especially in light of ongoing struggles for freedom in the Arab world and elsewhere. “The man is of such global significance,” he said. “The power and powerless. It’s so relevant.” It’s especially relevant to American audiences, says Czech Ambassador Petr Gandalovič:“Václav Havel’s unyielding commitment to democracy is reminiscent of America’s founding fathers. His life story, which some might compare to his absurd plays, culminated in what one can only view

Photo: © Oldřich Škácha

The Mutual Inspirations Festival celebrates Václav Havel on the year the late president would have turned 77. That number also correlates to an important democratic manifesto he coauthored — Charter 77.

as a truly American happy ending — a former prisoner of consciousness elected to the highest office of his nation. It is this remarkable blend that makes Václav Havel a genuine Czech-American inspiration, an example worth emulating.” Kat Lucero is a freelance writer in Washington, D.C.

Rachel G. Hunt is the restaurant reviewer for The Washington Diplomat.

CAN YOU DO IT YOURSELF? 20 Year Annualized Investment Returns

October 2013

The Washington Diplomat Page 51

[ film reviews ]

Nation of Unequals ‘Inequality for All’ Asks What’s Left of American Dream by Ky N. Nguyen


losing the newly rebranded AFI Docs film festival on June 23, American director Jacob Kornbluth’s “Inequality for All” made its eagerly anticipated East Coast premiere at the National Museum of American History on the National Mall, spitting distance from the traditional American centers of policymaking at the White House and on Capitol Hill. Following the screening, Karen Tumulty, national political correspondent for the Washington Post, led a special discussion with Kornbluth and film subject Robert Reich, former secretary of labor in the Clinton administration and a professor at the University of California at Berkeley. Much more so than “An Inconvenient Truth,” Davis Guggenheim’s stilted Oscar-winning climate change documentary starring former Vice President Al Gore, “Inequality for All” succeeds as an entertaining and educational documentary largely because of Reich’s outsize charisma, likable personality, humble sense of humor and oratory prowess.When skillfully explaining the complex topics surrounding income inequality in a straightforward fashion, he demonstrates why he has been so popular at the universities where he has taught for three decades. His persuasive talking points are buttressed by enlightening graphics that bring statistics to life, explications of other Inequality for All expert commentators, contemporary video (English; 89 min.) fleshing out the lives of modern Americans, and historical film footage. Landmark’s E Street Cinema Rising income inequality has become ★★★★✩ a topic of the moment, particularly after the financial crisis of 2008 and the subsequent Occupy Wall Street and related movements. Reich posits that income equality is at a historic high in the United States, posing a threat to the stability of the economy as well as the democratic system.Today, the top 1 percent of Americans, ranked by income, earns over a fifth of all U.S. income — triple 1970s level. Just 400 of the wealthiest Americans have a net worth equivalent to that of 150 million Americans. One cause for the widening gap between rich and poor has been big tax cuts for the wealthy over the past decades: The current highest marginal federal tax rate is 39.6 percent compared to 91 percent when Dwight D. Eisenhower was president (1953-61). Proponents of supply-side economics claim that the gains of the upper class will trickle down the economic ladder, but Reich argues that this has not happened. In a trend propelled by automation and globalization, the wellpaying jobs required to build a strong middle class have been largely downsized — or outsourced — rather than created in the United States, weakening the collective spending power of American consumers required to sustainably drive the U.S. (and global) economy. The resulting economic disparity has hit dwindling communities — often in the Rust Belt — that are mere shells of The Trials of Muhammad Ali their former proud selves, local and state (English; 94 min.) governments struggling to balance the books, and increasing signs of class warfare permeatLandmark’s E Street Cinema ing the U.S. sociopolitical order. ★★★★✩ All three of Kornbluth’s feature films made their world premieres at the prestigious Sundance Film Festival.After a pair of fictional features, the American director took the unusual step of turning to the documentary genre for “Inequality for All.” The pivot to non-fiction seems to have been a wise career move, especially in light of the fact that his first two features, both indie comedies, ended up being flops with mixed to poor critical reviews and minimal box office returns. “Inequality for All” left Park City, Utah, with Sundance’s U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award for Achievement in Filmmaking.“With clarity, humor and heart,


[ Page 52



Photo: American Film Institute

Professor Robert Reich talks about the growing gap between the haves and have-nots in Jacob Kornbluth’s documentary “Inequality for All.”

this timely film reveals the underpinnings of an urgent threat to American democracy,” the festival said. Hopefully for Kornbluth, the third time is the charm.

Photo: David Fenton / Archive Photos / Getty Images

Muhammad Ali walks through the streets of New York City with members of the Black Panther Party in September 1970 in the documentary “The Trials of Muhammad Ali.”

Muhammad Ali’s Other Fights American director Bill Siegel (co-director of 2002’s Oscar-nominated political documentary “The Weather Underground”) received a warm reception when he presented his latest documentary, “The Trials of Muhammad Ali,” at its world premiere during the 2013 Tribeca Film Festival. No wonder.Ali is now one of the most celebrated sports heroes of our time. But there was a time not that long ago when Ali was a polarizing and divisive public figure despised by many segments of American society.

The Washington Diplomat

October 2013

“The Trials of Muhammad Ali” focuses on the toughest Chesnais gives Arestrup a run for his money fights of the celebrated heavyweight boxer’s life, which as another grumpy old (French) man. Lorànt happened outside the ring — in the American justice Deutsch seems rather bland as the mildsystem as well as the court of public opinion. mannered heir-in-waiting, though that is defiBuilding on his experience two decades ago as a nitely an intentional contrast. And in his first researcher for the six-hour documentary “Muhammad Ali: screen appearance, Nicolas Bridet makes a The Whole Story,” Siegel mines deeper into the subject splash as the upstart pretender to the matter to find gold.The main attraction is a treasure trove crown. of archival footage showing Ali being himself: a reckless Stern proprietor Paul de Marseul (Arestrup), young man whose charisma and intelligence became a widower low on emotion, has proudly comrefined over time as he matures. His endurance as a culmanded the family business, a highly respecttural icon far outlasts his famous, tumultuous reigns as the ed winery, since taking over from his father at heavyweight champion of the world. age 17. He’s been in charge of producing The film provides alternate perspectives of Ali via diftheir array of high-quality red and white ferent interviews, including Pulitzer Prize-winning former wines along with François (Chesnais), his New York Times sports writer Robert Lipsyte; Abdul chief vineyard manager for nearly four Rahman Muhammad a.k.a. Captain Sam, who led Ali to the decades.After François receives a diagnosis of Nation of Islam; Minister Louis Farrakhan, current leader terminal pancreatic cancer, Paul is forced to of the Nation of Islam; Ali’s second ex-wife; his faithful figure out how to replace the irreplaceable brother; and his reverential young daughter, Hana Ali, who for the next season. discusses Ali’s enduring battle with Parkinson’s. Paul’s meek adult son Martin (Deutsch) Born Cassius Clay, the prodigious boxer culminated a and his gorgeous wife Alice (Anne Marivan) Photo: cohen media stellar amateur career by winning the Gold Medal for also live in the chateau. In François’s absence, From left, Niels Arestrup, Nicolas Bridet and Lorànt Deutsch lock horns over who will take over light heavyweight boxing at the Rome Summer Olympics loyal Martin wants to claim what he views as in 1960, making him a public figure at 18 years of age. a French winery in “You Will Be My Son.” his rightful position as the heir apparent. After turning pro, he famously upset Sonny Liston in Though Martin has excelled at his adminisFebruary 1964.At 22, he was the youngest boxer to defeat trative duties supporting the vineyard, Paul White,” Oscar Brown Jr.’s Broadway a reigning heavyweight champion. Shortly afterward, Clay con- musical about slavery. doubts his bookworm son has the artistry, You Will Be My Son troversially converted to Islam and changed his name to chops and drive to actually make excellent (Tu seras mon fils) Muhammad Ali, under the influence of his spiritual teacher, wines. Still, the patriarch lets Martin give it (French with English subtitles; Elijah Muhammad, leader of the notorious Nation of Islam.After Father-Son Wine Wars a go, if seemingly only to have multiple The engrossing French psychological Ali joined the group, the World Boxing Association stripped him chances to ridicule his son for committing 101 min.; scope) thriller “You Will Be My Son,” directed of his championship title. repeated novice errors, further eroding Landmark’s E Street Cinema In 1967, following Ali’s refusal to be conscripted by the U.S. and co-written by Gilles Legrand Martin’s self-confidence. Army to serve in the Vietnam War, claiming to be a conscien- (“Malabar Princess”), elegantly explores Truth be told, Paul desires better than his ★★★★✩ tious objector, he lost his boxing license and received a five- the universal but very French themes of own progeny, so he goes out to get what he year prison sentence for dodging the draft, which he appealed family, work and loyalty.The lush cinematography sets the stage really wants. As an alternate plan, Paul quietly reaches out to over a lengthy legal process. In a new interview, an ex-U.S. for the pastoral melodrama, photographed on location at the Philippe (Bridet), François’s debonair prodigal son, who Supreme Court clerk recalls how the court was not intending Château Clos Fourtet in the historic French wine region of promptly resigns his job in Napa Valley to return to Saintto hear Ali’s appeal at first, but the justices finally overturned Saint-Émilion. Legrand and co-writer Delphine de Vigan draw Émilion. Though Martin strives hard to please his father, wantup a serviceable blueprint laying out the intricate schematics ing nothing more in life, he simply does not have the God-given the lower court’s guilty verdict in a unanimous 8-0 decision. To make a living while suspended from boxing, Ali trans- underlying several levels of complex father-son relationships. abilities and experience to compete in this arena with formed himself into a public speaker, largely on a tour of col- Their smart script provides rich back story for the characters Philippe’s natural talents and sophistication. All of a sudden, leges where audiences became increasingly sympathetic to his and intelligent dialogue for the actors to chew on. Martin’s boyhood friend Philippe has become his deadly rival As the feisty, aging patriarch of his sprawling estate, veteran in a high-stakes game of thrones. viewpoints opposing the Vietnam War and institutionalized racism. He also picked up gigs appearing in movies and theater, character actor Niels Arestrup’s larger-than-life presence domiincluding astonishing footage of him singing in “Big Time Buck nates the frame and the characters around him. Patrick Ky N. Nguyen is the film reviewer for The Washington Diplomat.


Repertory Notes


by Washington Diplomat film reviewer Ky N. Nguyen

Please see International Film Clips on next page for detailed listings available at press time.

American Film Institute (AFI) Silver Theatre The 2013 AFI Latin American Film Festival (through Oct. 9) concludes its 24th year with top new films selected by the cultural officers of the Spanish and Mexican embassies in Washington, D.C.: Spanish writer-director Javier Rebollo’s “The Dead Man and Being Happy” (Fri., Oct. 4, 7 p.m., includes Q&A with Rebollo plus postscreening reception sponsored by Embassy of Spain and Pragda; Wed., Oct. 9, 6:30 p.m.) and the closing-night film, British-born director Marc Silver’s Mexican docu-drama “Who Is Dayani Cristal?” starring Gael García Bernal (Sat., Oct. 5, 7 p.m.; Sun., Oct. 6, 1 p.m.). The 2013 DC Labor FilmFest (Oct. 11-17), presented with the Metropolitan Washington Council of the AFL-CIO and the DebsJones-Douglass Institute, features: American director-producer Katie Dellamaggiore’s documentary “Brookyn Castle” (Fri., Oct. 11, 5 p.m.; Mon., Oct. 14, 5:15 p.m.); American director Peter Nicks’s medical documentary “The Waiting Room” (Fri., Oct. 11, 7:15 p.m.); British director Alexander Mackendrick’s 1951 satire “The Man In The White Suit” (Sat., Oct. 12, 11 a.m.; Wed., Oct. 16, 6:30 p.m.); American directors-producers Faythe Levine and Sam Macon’s documentary “Sign Painters” (Sat., Oct. 12, 1 p.m.); the 50th anniversary of Italian writer-director Mario Monicelli’s “The Organizer” starring Marcello Mastroianni (Sat., Oct. 12, 3 p.m.; Tue., Oct. 15, 5:15 p.m.); Irish director

Seán Ó Cualáin’s documentary “Men at Lunch” (Sat., Oct. 12, 2:45 p.m.); English director Julian Jarrold’s “Kinky Boots” starring Chiwetel Ejiofor (Sat., Oct. 12, 4:30 p.m.; Thu., Oct. 17, 5:15 p.m.); American director-producer Connie Field’s documentary “The Life and Times of Rosie the Riveter” (Sun., Oct. 13, 12 p.m.); American writer-director-producer Dawn Porter’s “Gideon’s Army” (Sun., Oct. 13, 1:30 p.m.); French writerdirector Philippe Le Guay’s “The Women On The 6th Floor” (Sun., Oct. 13, 3:30 p.m.); and French writer-director Cédric Klapisch’s “My Piece of the Pie” (Sun., Oct. 13, 5:40 p.m.). (301) 495-6700,

Freer Gallery of Art The series “Pages of Beauty and Madness: Japanese Writers Onscreen” presents screenings of Cambodian director Rithy Panh’s “Gibier d’Elevage,” adapted from Kenzaburo Oe’s story “The Catch” (Fri., Oct. 11, 7 p.m.); Korean director Pang Eunjin’s “Perfect Number,” followed by a book club discussion of “The Devotion of Suspect X” by Keigo Higashino with Terry Hong of the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center (Sun., Oct. 13, 2 p.m.); and Japanese director Makoto Shinkai’s “5 Centimeters Per Second,” followed by a book club discussion of the manga version with Terry Hong of the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center (Sun., Oct. 20, 2 p.m.). (202) 357-2700,

October 2013

DC Asian Pacific American Film Festival The 14th Annual DC APA Film Festival returns October 3 to 6 at venues throughout Washington, D.C. Taiwanese director Arvin Chen’s romantic comedy “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?” screens at the Freer (Sun., Oct. 6, 2 p.m.).

Goethe-Institut The East German film series “Espionage in the East: Entertainment Before the Wende” (Oct. 21, 28) features GDR director Helmut Dzuiba’s “For Eyes Only – Top Secret” (German only, English script provided upon request; Mon., Oct. 21, 6:30 p.m.) and Hungarianborn GDR director János Veiczi’s “Coded Message for the Boss” (Mon., Oct. 28, 6:30 p.m.). (202) 289-1200,

National Gallery of Art In partnership with the Goethe-Institut Washington, the series “Richard Wagner Revisited” commemorates the German composer’s 200th birthday (born 1813). David Gariff, senior lecturer at the National Gallery of Art, delivers the illustrated lecture “Images of Wagner in Art and Film,” which explores the legacy of Wagner’s image and music in film, painting and sculpture (Sat., Oct. 12, 2 p.m.). (202) 842-6799,

The Washington Diplomat Page 53

[ film ]

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

Arabic Wadjda Directed by Haifaa Al-Mansour (Saudi Arabia/Germany, 2012, 97 min.)

An enterprising Saudi girl signs on for her school’s Koran recitation competition as a way to raise the remaining funds she needs in order to buy the green bicycle that has captured her interest. Landmark’s E Street Cinema

of friends to play a round of ridiculous party games (preceded by “The Mist” (Czechoslovakia, 1966, 28 min.), which poetically captures the celebrated Theatre on the Balustrade from different perspectives). National Gallery of Art Sat., Oct. 5, 4:30 p.m.

English Directed by Ridley Scott (U.S./U.K., 2013, 111 min.)

Directed by Jim Bruce (U.S./Canada, 2013, 104 min.)

A lawyer finds himself in over his head when he gets involved in drug trafficking.

A century after its creation, the power of the Federal Reserve has never been greater. Yet the average American knows very little about the most powerful financial institution on earth. This first-of-its-kind documentary reveals the impact of Fed policies on our lives.

And the Beggar’s Opera Again (A znovu Žebrácká opera)

The Fifth Estate

National Gallery of Art Sat., Oct. 12, 4 p.m.

Every Young Man (Kazky Mlady Muz) Directed by Pavel Juráček (Czechoslovakia, 1966, 83 min.)

A soldier’s life under socialism is the focus of “Every Young Man,” Pavel Juráček’s absurdist drama in two parts (preceded by “The Uninvited Guest” (Czechoslovakia, 1969, 22 min.) about a boorish official who makes himself at home in a young couple’s flat). National Gallery of Art Sat., Oct. 5, 2 p.m.

The Heart above the Castle (Srdce nad Hradem) Directed by Jan Němec (Czech Republic, 2007, 48 min.)

Jan Němec travels behind the scenes of the 2002 NATO Summit in Prague, showing a surprisingly “human side” of top politicians, capturing comical commentaries, hesitancies and small stresses, and bringing the formal world of politics into the realm of the everyday. National Gallery of Art Fri., Oct. 11, 12:30 p.m.

Leaving (Odcházení) Directed by Václav Havel (Czech Republic, 2011, 94 min.)

In 2008, Václav Havel returned to the theater with a new play, “Leaving,” in which an ex-government official tries to reenter his former life, with the film version premiering shortly before his death in December 2011. National Gallery of Art Sun., Oct. 13, 4 p.m.

A Report on the Party and the Guests (O slavnosti a hostech). Directed by Jan Němec (Czechoslovakia, 1966, 68 min.)

A pleasant afternoon outing is cut short when a few pushy intruders force a group

Page 54

AFI Silver Theatre Sat., Oct. 12, 2:45 p.m.

The Counselor

Angelika Mosaic Opens Fri., Oct. 25

Through Olga Sommerová’s creatively intercut film, two productions of Václav Havel’s “Beggar’s Opera” reveal the political dynamics of the former Czechoslovakia before and after the Velvet Revolution in 1989 (screens with “Joseph Kilian” (Czechoslovakia, 1963, 38 min.) and “Who is Václav Havel… (Czechoslovakia, 1977, 11 min.)).

engrossing story of the iconic photograph taken during the construction of the RCA Building (now the GE Building) at Rockefeller Center that depicts 11 workmen taking their lunch break while casually perched along a steel girder, 850 feet above the ground.

Money for Nothing: Inside the Federal Reserve


Directed by Olga Sommerová (Czech Republic, 1996, 60 min.)


Directed by Bill Condon (U.S./Belgium, 2013, 124 min.)

This dramatic thriller based on WikiLeaks reveals the quest to expose the deceptions and corruptions of power that turned an Internet upstart into the 21st century’s most fiercely debated organization. Angelika Mosaic Opens Fri., Oct. 11

Gravity Directed by Alfonso Cuarón (U.S./U.K., 2013, 90 min.)

A medical engineer and an astronaut work together to survive after an accident leaves them adrift in space.

Landmark’s E Street Cinema

Paris the Luminous Years Directed by Perry Miller Adato (U.K./U.S., 2010, 120 min.)

Paris was the focal point for modernism during the early decades of the 20th century, when Picasso, Matisse, Stravinsky, Hemingway, Nijinsky, Diaghilev and many artists were habitués of the city’s cafes, concert halls and studios. This documentary explores Paris as muse from a range of perspectives, personalities and works of art.

Angelika Mosaic Opens Fri., Oct. 4

National Gallery of Art Thu., Oct. 3, 12:30 p.m., Fri., Oct. 4, 12:30 p.m.

Inequality for All

Romeo and Juliet

Directed by Jacob Kornbluth (U.S., 2013, 89 min.)

In this timely and entertaining documentary, noted economic policy expert Robert Reich takes on the enormous question of what has been happening to our economy. Angelika Mosaic Landmark’s E Street Cinema

Kinky Boots Directed by Julian Jarrold (U.S./U.K., 2005, 107 min.)

A traditional Northampton shoemaker turns to producing fetish footwear in order to save the failing family business and the jobs of his workers. AFI Silver Theatre Sat., Oct. 12, 4:30 p.m., Thu., Oct. 17, 5:15 p.m.

Mademoiselle C Directed by Fabien Constant (France, 2013, 93 min.)

This documentary focuses on former Vogue Paris editor-in-chief and fashion stylist Carine Roitfeld as she moves to New York to launch her own magazine.

Directed by Carlo Carlei (U.K./Italy/Switzerland, 2013)

When the star-crossed lovers of two enemy families meet, forbidden love ensues. Angelika Mosaic Landmark’s E Street Cinema Opens Fri., Oct. 11

The Summit Directed by Nick Ryan (Ireland/U.K./Switzerland/U.S., 2012, 95 min.)

This is the story of the deadliest day on the world’s most dangerous mountain, when 11 climbers mysteriously perished on K2. Landmark’s E Street Cinema Opens Fri., Oct. 11

The Trials of Muhammad Ali Directed by Bill Siegel (U.S., 2013, 94 min.)

The toughest fight of Muhammad Ali’s career was not against Sonny Liston or Joe Frazier in the ring, but in the court of public opinion when he refused to serve in the Vietnam War and was vilified as the fighter who would not fight for America.

Angelika Mosaic

Landmark’s E Street Cinema


Who Is Dayani Cristal

Directed by Lars von Trier (Denmark/Sweden/France/Germany, 2011, 136 min.)

Directed by Marc Silver (Mexico/U.K., 2013, 85 min.)

Directed by Seán Ó Cualáin (Ireland, 2012, 67 min.)

An unidentified body is found just over the Mexican border in the arid desert of Arizona, a tattoo on the man’s chest, “Dayani Cristal,” the only clue to his identity. As forensic scientists in the U.S. do their best to solve the mystery, Gael García Bernal retraces the man’s tough journey from Honduras, hopping on trains and hoofing it on foot through Mexico toward the border.

Director Seán Ó Cualáin investigates the

AFI Silver Theatre

Two sisters find their already strained relationship challenged as a mysterious new planet threatens to collide with Earth. National Gallery of Art Sun., Oct. 20, 5:30 p.m.

Men at Lunch

October 2013

Sat., Oct. 5, 7 p.m., Sun., Oct. 6, 1 p.m.

Farsi The Patience Stone Directed by Atiq Rahimi (Afghanistan/France/Germany/U.K., 2012, 102 min.)

In a war-torn country, a woman begins to speak truth to her comatose husband, telling him about her childhood, her suffering, her frustrations, her loneliness, her dreams, desires and secrets — after years of living under his control, with no voice of her own. Landmark’s E Street Cinema

French L’Age d’Or Directed by Luis Buñuel (France, 1930, 63 min.)

Directed by Gilles Legrand (France, 2011, 101 min.)

The passionate, demanding proprietor of a prestigious family wine estate has no faith in his son and looks to the son of his dying estate manager to carry on the family property. Landmark’s E Street Cinema

German Coded Message for the Boss (Chiffriet an Chef – Ausfall Nummer 5) Directed by Helmut Dzuiba (East Germany, 1979, 96 min.)

An electrical engineering student living in East Berlin gets recruited by the CIA and immediately notifies the Stasi, but his work as a double agent inevitably strains his personal life (in German only; no English subtitles).

One of the most celebrated artistic collaborations of all time, Luis Buñuel and Salvador Dalí’s “L’Age d’Or” is a surreal commentary on lust and the absurdities of modern bourgeois living.

Goethe-Institut Mon., Oct. 28, 6:30 p.m.

National Gallery of Art Sun., Oct. 20, 4 p.m.

Directed by János Veiczi (East Germany, 1963, 98 min.)

Haute Cuisine (Les saveurs du Palais) Directed by Christian Vincent (France, 2012, 95 min.)

Based on the extraordinary true story of French President François Mitterand’s private chef, “Haute Cuisine” follows the impassioned and talented Hortense Laborie, a successful cook living in relative obscurity in the Périgord. Landmark’s E Street Cinema

My Piece of the Pie (Ma part du gateau) Directed by Cédric Klapisch (France, 2011, 109 min.)

After losing her job at a local factory in the port city of Dunkirk, a single mother enrolls in a housekeeper training program, soon landing work cleaning the Paris apartment of a handsome but cocky powerbroker, who happens to be the one responsible for the layoffs at her factory. AFI Silver Theatre Sun., Oct. 13, 5:40 p.m.

Populaire Directed by Régis Roinsard (France, 2012, 111 min.)

In 1958, 21-year-old Rose seems destined for the quiet, drudgery-filled life of a housewife, until she becomes a secretary for a charismatic insurance agency boss who aims to turn her into the fastest typist in the world (French, English and German). Landmark’s E Street Cinema

The Women on the 6th Floor (Les femmes du 6ème étage) Directed by Philippe Le Guay (France, 2010, 106 min.)

A stellar cast serves up a riotous upstairs/ downstairs comedy in Philippe Le Guay’s charming box office hit, demonstrating that people of different social classes, living under the same roof, can affect each other’s outlooks and lives. AFI Silver Theatre Sun., Oct. 13, 3:30 p.m.

You Will Be My Son (Tu seras mon fils)

For Eyes Only – Top Secret (Streng geheim) In the first spy thriller from East Germany, a double agent working for the East German secret service (Stasi) is sent on a mission to steal classified American military intelligence documents related to a planned invasion of East Germany. Goethe-Institut Mon., Oct. 21, 6:30 p.m.

Hebrew Zaytoun Directed by Eran Riklis (U.K./Israel, 2012, 110 min.)

In 1982, amid the Lebanese Civil War, an Israeli pilot taken prisoner by the inhabitants of a Palestinian refugee camp and a 10-year-old Palestinian boy team up to get past the Lebanese border and plant the boy’s father’s beloved olive tree in his ancestral homeland. The Avalon Theatre

Italian The Organizer (I Compagni)

Directed by Mario Monicelli (Italy/France/Yugoslavia, 1963, 130 min.) Nominated for an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay, this film gives Marcello Mastroianni one of his best roles, as a late19th-century labor leader orchestrating a strike at a Turin textile plant. AFI Silver Theatre Sat., Oct. 12, 3 p.m., Tue., Oct. 15, 5:15 p.m.

Japanese 5 Centimeters Per Second (Byôsoku 5 senchimêtoru) Directed by Makoto Shinkai (Japan, 2007, 62 min.)

The title of Makoto Shinkai’s wistful coming-of-age film, which he adapted from his own manga comic book, describes the velocity at which cherry blossom petals fall. This metaphor for the impermanence of human relationships is the theme of the film’s three connected stories. Freer Gallery of Art Sun., Oct. 20, 2 p.m.

The Washington Diplomat

October 2013


(Uruguay/Argentina/Germany, 2012, 119 min.)

Gibier d’Elevage

Rodolfo is filled with regret. His ex-wife and his teenage daughter are wary about letting him back into their lives, but Rodolfo is determined to ingratiate himself with them both, thinking up ways to help around the house, eventually camping out on the couch.

Directed by Rithy Panh (Cambodia/France, 2011, 93 min.)

Kenzaburo Oe’s provocative story about an African American bomber pilot who crashes in a remote Japanese village during World War II and becomes both a prisoner and an object of curiosity is transplanted to Cambodia during the Vietnam War as an allegory about the Khmer Rouge.

mentary about the indigenous survivors of the civil war who are still searching for lost family members. When they discover Juan, obsessed with finding his father, it appears they’ve found the perfect subject for their film, but Juan has other priorities: Getting revenge on those responsible for his father’s disappearance.

AFI Silver Theatre Thu., Oct. 3, 9:05 p.m.

AFI Silver Theatre Thu., Oct. 3, 5 p.m.

Freer Gallery of Art Fri., Oct. 11, 7 p.m.


Edificio Royal


A young girl must endure a weeklong suspension after a schoolyard fight and ultimately learn a lesson in friendship and acceptance in this heart-warming animated film.

Perfect Number (Yong-eui-ja X) Directed by Pang Eun-jin (South Korea, 2012, 119 min.)

A single mother accidentally murders her abusive ex-husband during a fight and her neighbor, a mild-mannered math teacher who’s secretly obsessed with her, comes to her aid, disposing of the body and devising an ingenious alibi. Freer Gallery of Art Sun., Oct. 13, 2 p.m.

Mandarin Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow? (Ming tian ji de ai shang wo) Directed by Arvin Chen (Taiwan, 2013, 100 min.)

In this lighthearted comedic romp, introverted optometrist Weichung begins to question his marriage with his wife when she wants to have another baby. At his sister’s engagement party, Weichung bumps into an old friend, a wedding photographer who, though also married, is living the high life of a younger, single gay man. Dormant emotions are awakened and Weichung sets off on a quest for true romance. Freer Gallery of Art Sun., Oct. 6, 2 p.m.


Directed by Alfredo Soderguit (Uruguay/Colombia, 2013, 80 min.)

AFI Silver Theatre Tue., Oct. 1, 5 p.m.

The Body (El cuerpo) Directed by Oriol Paulo (Spain, 2012, 108 min.)

As baffled by his the disappearance of his wife’s body as the lead investigator, a husband is subjected to hours of grueling interrogation. But when he receives a note from his dead wife, he is caught in a psychological game of cat and mouse — yet with whom, he does not know. AFI Silver Theatre Fri., Oct. 4, 9:30 p.m., Sat., Oct. 5, 3:10 p.m.

The Cleaner (El limpiador) Directed by Adrián Saba (Peru, 2012, 95 min.)

A forensic cleaner lives his routine and solitary life even as a devastating and mysterious epidemic sweeps Lima, but as the city crumbles around him, he discovers a scared 8-year-old boy and reluctantly agrees to take him in. AFI Silver Theatre Sat., Oct. 5, 3 p.m., Tue., Oct. 8, 7:15 p.m.

Once Upon a Time Veronica (Era uma vez eu, Verônica)

The Critic (El crítico)

Directed by Marcelo Gomes (Brazil/France, 2012, 91 min.)

Directed by Hernán Guerschuny (Argentina, 2013, 90 min.)

Veronica is a young woman in the throes of a quarter-life crisis: Fresh out of med school, she lives with her ailing father in the coastal town of Recife and finds out the hard way that adult life isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be.

A devotee of the French New Wave finds himself in the middle of a movie he would normally laugh off the screen before the second act. But when he meets his own manic pixie dream girl, he starts to fall in love and might even write a positive review for the latest chick flick.

AFI Silver Theatre Fri., Oct. 4, 5 p.m., Sun., Oct. 6, 9:05 p.m.

Rio 2096: A Story of Love and Fury (Uma História de Amor e Fúria) Directed by Luiz Bolognesi (Brazil, 2013, 98 min.)

Spanning 600 years of tumultuous Brazilian history, this bold animated epic follows the passionate romance of an immortal warrior and the love of his many lives, as they are reincarnated, persecuted, torn apart and reunited again. AFI Silver Theatre Sun., Oct. 6, 5 p.m., Mon., Oct. 7, 9 p.m.


AFI Silver Theatre Thu., Oct. 3, 7 p.m.

The Dead Man and Being Happy (El muerto y ser feliz) Directed by Javier Rebollo (Spain/Argentina/France, 2013, 92 min.)

Spanish filmmaker Javier Rebollo’s oddball road movie centers on an aging, cancerstricken hit man who goes on the lam in his Ford Falcon after flaking out on his most recent assignment. AFI Silver Theatre Fri., Oct. 4, 7 p.m., Wed., Oct. 9, 6:30 p.m.

Dust (Polvo)

3 (Tres)

Directed by Julio Hernández Cordón (Guatemala/Spain/Chile/Germany, 2012, 80 min.)

Directed by Pablo Stoll Ward

The filmmakers set out to make a docu-

Directed by Iván Wild (Colombia/France/Venezuela, 2012, 90 min.)

Death, cockroaches and Tom Cruise come crashing together in this absurd black comedy from first-time filmmaker Iván Wild. AFI Silver Theatre Wed., Oct. 2, 5 p.m.

The End (El fin) Directed by Miguel Alejandro Gomez (Costa Rica, 2012, 85 min.)

A Costa Rican companion to this summer’s slew of apocalyptic comedies, Miguel Alejandro Gomez’s film is a life-affirming bromance between downtrodden Nicolas and liberated Carlos. AFI Silver Theatre Sat., Oct. 5, 1:15 p.m., Mon., Oct. 7, 5 p.m.

Much Better Than You (Soy mucho mejor que vos) Directed by Che Sandoval (Chile, 2013, 85 min.)

A balding 40-year-old degenerate reeling from the separation from his wife embarks on an endless night on the town in search of sex, drugs and happiness. AFI Silver Theatre Mon., Oct. 7, 7 p.m., Tue., Oct. 8, 9:15 p.m.

Pánico: The Band That Met the Sound Beneath (La banda que buscó el sonido debajo) Directed by James Schneider, Benjamín Echazarreta (Chile/France, 2012, 85 min.)

After two decades of playing rock ‘n’ roll, these Santiago city slickers have their world rocked by the strange sounds and voices of the north, not to mention a major earthquake. AFI Silver Theatre Wed., Oct. 2, 7:30 p.m.

band, discovers his wife has long been having an affair, while Cristian, a blue-collar laborer heavily in debt, kidnaps the well-to-do Héctor’s son, initiating a series of events that will change the lives of both families forever. AFI Silver Theatre Sat., Oct. 5, 11 a.m., Tue., Oct. 8, 5 p.m.

So Much Water (Tanta agua) Directed by Ana Guevara (Uruguay/Mexico/Netherlands/Germany, 2013, 102 min.)

Sullen 14-year-old Lucía leaves her home in Montevideo with her brother to spend a week’s vacation at a spa resort with her divorced dad, becoming fast friends with a local girl she meets at the arcade, not to mention the dreamy-looking Santiago. AFI Silver Theatre Sun., Oct. 6, 7 p.m., Tue., Oct. 8, 9 p.m.

Rock, Paper, Scissors (Piedra, Papel o Tijera) Directed by Hernán Jabes (Venezuela, 2012, 110 min.)

Héctor, an absent father and distant hus-

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The Future (Il futuro) Directed by Alicia Scherson (Italy/Chile/Germany/Spain, 2013, 94 min.)

Orphaned by a tragic car accident, teens Bianca and Tomas struggle to adapt to their new life and sudden adulthood (Spanish, English and Italian). AFI Silver Theatre Wed., Oct. 2, 9 p.m.

Last Call (Tercera llamada) Directed by Francisco Franco (Mexico, 2013, 92 min.)

Doing theater is an act of faith, and this high-budget production of “Caligula” is teetering on the precipice of epic destruction. AFI Silver Theatre Sat., Oct. 5, 5 p.m., Sun., Oct. 6, 3 p.m.

Leones Directed by Jazmín López (Argentina/France/Netherlands, 2012, 82 min.)

Deep in the forest, a group of five friends wanders around like a lion herd. Lost in their word games, they play and seduce each other while going back and forth into adult territory, in a desperate search to avoid their already written story.



AFI Silver Theatre Sun., Oct. 6, 9:15 p.m., Mon., Oct. 7, 9:15 p.m.

The Metal Stork (La cigüeña metálica)


Royal dukes are squaresville. They have no rhythm. And they wear crowns.

Give your kids a chance to succeed. Up their daily dose of art.

Directed by Joan López Lloret (Spain, 2012, 81 min.)

In this powerful documentary, filmed twenty years after the Chapultepec Peace Accords brought an end to the brutal civil war in El Salvador, three formerly missing children try to repair the damage and reconstruct their lives. AFI Silver Theatre Sat., Oct. 5, 11:10 a.m., Wed., Oct. 9, 5 p.m.

October 2013

The Washington Diplomat Page 55

[ around town ]

EVENTS LISTING **Admission is free unless otherwise noted. All information on event venues can be found on The Diplomat Web site at www.washdiplomat. com. Times and locations are subject to change. Unless listed, please call venue for specific event times and hours of operation.

ART Oct. 1 to 31

European Architectural Photography Prize 2013 “Focus of Attention” (Im Brennpunkt)

“Im Brennpunkt | Focus of Attention” was this year’s theme of the European Architectural Photography Prize, which sought works focusing on subjects that generate public attention and controversy based on political, cultural or historical reasons, particularly in the realms of urban development and social justice.


Oct. 12 to Jan. 26

Oct. 24 to May 26

Van Gogh Repetitions

Damage Control: Art and Destruction Since 1950

In the first Vincent van Gogh (1853-90) exhibition in D.C. in 15 years, the Phillips Collection takes a fresh look at the van Gogh’s artistic process, venturing beneath the surface of some of his best-known paintings to examine how and why he repeated certain compositions during his 10-year career. The Phillips Collection Through Oct. 13

Out of Southeast Asia: Art that Sustains

The first in-depth exploration of the theme of destruction in international contemporary visual culture, this ground-breaking exhibition includes works by a diverse range of international artists working in painting, sculpture, photography, film, installation and performance. Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden Through Oct. 25

Las Calles Hablan (Mapping Barcelona Public Art)

Oct. 1 to Jan. 12

The last exhibition presented in the Textile Museum’s historic location before the museum’s 2014 reopening promises to be a beautiful pairing of tradition and innovation, demonstrating how four artists are reinventing traditional Southeast Asian textile techniques, designs and ideology in new and meaningful ways.

Pakistani Voices: A Conversation with The Migration Series

The Textile Museum

Oct. 25 to March 2

Through Oct. 15:

Our America: The Latino Presence in American Art


In April 2013, the Phillips partnered with the State Department to conduct a series of workshops in Pakistan focusing on art and social change. This exhibition features 29 works by emerging Pakistani artists and 20 works by students and orphans who worked together to create visual narratives about identity, personal struggle and Pakistani history. The Phillips Collection Oct. 4 to Jan. 5

Wanderer: Travel Prints by Ellen Day Hale

A selection of prints, drawings and original printing plates demonstrates Ellen Day Hale ‘s passion for travel and her mastery of printmaking. National Museum of Women in the Arts Through Oct. 6

NOW at the Corcoran – Ellen Harvey: The Alien’s Guide to the Ruins of Washington, D.C.

Ellen Harvey’s new project is a glimpse into the world of the distant future. Human civilization having long since come to an end, the earth is populated now only by ruins, ripe for archeological interpretation by visitors from another planet. Attempting to make sense of what they find, Harvey’s aliens immediately mine the potential of one of the greatest neo-classical cities — Washington, D.C. — as a tourist destination. Corcoran Gallery of Art Through Oct. 6

Peter Coffin: Here & There

Nature, science, pseudoscience, psychological displacement, urban happenstance and what-if brainstorms are among the myriad departure points for the works of New Yorkbased artist Peter Coffin.

Guerrero: 7 Regions of Art and Tradition

The southwest Mexican state of Guerrero is a richly diverse blend of geography and ethnicity that’s home to four major ethnic groups and seven regions, each with their own distinctive artistic culture. These regions celebrate material and immaterial heritage at once both communal and unique, inherent in their archeological sites, churches, parks and plazas. From these shared spaces come the crafts, clothing and artwork that help to underwrite Guerrero’s larger identity. Mexican Cultural Institute Through Oct. 19

Comparisons in Jugendstil and Spanish Mission Private Residences

This exhibit compares two influential residences that share a common artistic impact on their respective cities: the Jugendstil house in Riga, a former artistic residence that is now home to the Riga Art Nouveau Museum, and the historic Alice Pike Barney Studio House, the current home of the Embassy of Latvia in D.C. built by Barney, a patron of the Washington arts scene in the early 20th century. Latvian Embassy Art Space Oct. 19 to Jan. 26

Yoga: The Art of Transformation

Through masterpieces of Indian sculpture and painting, “Yoga” — the first exhibit to present this leitmotif of Indian visual culture — explores yoga’s goals; its Hindu as well as Buddhist, Jain and Sufi manifestations; its means of transforming body and consciousness; and its profound philosophical foundations. Arthur M. Sackler Gallery

Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden

Through Oct. 22

Oct. 6 to March 2

Leonardo da Vinci’s Codex on the Flight of Birds

Heaven and Earth: Art of Byzantium from Greek Collections

In the first exhibition devoted to Byzantine art at the National Gallery, some 170 rare and important works, drawn exclusively from Greek collections, offer a fascinating glimpse of the soul and splendor of the mysterious Byzantine Empire. National Gallery of Art

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One of Italy’s greatest treasures, Leonardo da Vinci’s “Codex on the Flight of Birds,” created circa 1505, shows da Vinci’s interest in human flight by exploring bird flight and behavior. It includes sketches and descriptions of devices and aerodynamic principles related to mechanical flight that predate the invention of the airplane by 400 years. National Air and Space Museum

For thousands of years, public art, an ageold form of human expression, has existed on the streets, created by anonymous artists with loud voices, layers of imagination and opinions. This exhibit shows the evolution of street art in Barcelona. Embassy of Spain

Nearly 100 works in all media by 72 leading modern and contemporary artists present the rich and varied contributions of Latino artists in the United States since the mid20th century, when the concept of a collective Latino identity began to emerge.

October 2013

presents recent groundbreaking discoveries informing his art and biography, including the versatility of his photographic talents and his true identity, background and family life. National Gallery of Art Through Jan. 5

A Democracy of Images: Photographs from the Smithsonian American Art Museum

More than 100 photographs selected from the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s permanent collection celebrate the 30th anniversary of the establishment of the museum’s photography collection, examine photography’s evolution in the United States from a documentary medium to a fullfledged artistic genre, and showcase the numerous ways in which it has captured the American experience. American Art Museum

Northern Mannerist Prints from the Kainen Collection

Some 50 works embody the sophisticated imagery, extraordinary stylization and virtuoso technique of the printmaking industry that flourished in the northern Netherlands and at the imperial court of Prague in the late 16th century. National Gallery of Art

Embassy of Peru Fernando de Szyszlo Gallery

Through Jan. 5

Through Nov. 8

Featuring 125 working proofs and edition prints produced between 1972 and 2010 at Crown Point Press in San Francisco, one of the most influential printmaking studios of the last half century, “Yes, No, Maybe” goes beyond celebrating the flash of inspiration to examine the artistic process as a sequence of decisions.

Embassy of Argentina Through Dec. 31

S.O.S. Spanish Office Showroom

As part of the SPAIN arts & culture program (, “S.O.S. Spanish Office Showroom” presents the most avantgarde pieces of Spanish design conceived for modern working environments, highlighting how the creativity of contemporary Spanish designers adapts to any office space and how Spanish design companies are successfully competing in international markets, such as the United States. Former Spanish Residence Through Jan. 5

Charles Marville: Photographer of Paris

The first retrospective exhibition in the United States, and the only scholarly catalogue on the renowned 19th-century French photographer Charles Marville (1813-79),

National Museum of African Art Through June 8, 2014

Perspectives: Rina Banerjee

Born in India and based in New York City, artist Rina Banerjee draws on her background as a scientist and her experience as an immigrant in her richly textured works that complicate the role of objects as representations of cultures and invite viewers to share her fascination in materials.


Some 100 exceptional works of art from the late 18th to 21st centuries come together for the first major exhibition and scholarly endeavor to comprehensively examine the rich relationship between African artists and the land upon which they live, work and frame their days. Through Jan. 5

Inspired by interior design and decorative objects, Argentine-born Jorge Caligiuri’s latest body of work is a series of frescos where the primary intention is to create a simple visual experience working with ordinary elements: dots, squares, strips, texture and light playing off elements of repetition, geometry and color.

This exhibit considers the 40-year-plus career of Roger Ballen, one of the more recognized photographic artists working today, through a new approach: an examination of line and drawing in his photographs.

Arthur M. Sackler Gallery

Through Oct. 31

Jorge Caligiuri: The Other Lands

Lines, Marks, and Drawings: Through the Lens of Roger Ballen

Earth Matters: Land as Material and Metaphor in the Arts of Africa

National Museum of African Art

Artist Pablo Amaringo (1938-2009) was introduced to the world outside of Peru with the 1991 publication of his book “Ayahuasca Visions: The Religious Iconography of a Peruvian Shaman.” Recognized as one of the world’s great visionary artists, Amaringo was renowned for his intricate, colorful paintings inspired by his shamanic visions.

Through Feb. 9

Through Jan. 5

Smithsonian American Art Museum

The Ayahuasca Visions of Pablo Amaringo

Library of Congress James Madison Building

Yes, No, Maybe: Artists Working at Crown Point Press

National Gallery of Art

Sat., Oct. 26, 8 p.m.

Tango Fire - Flames of Desire

Choreographed by critically acclaimed Argentine choreographer and dancer German Cornejo, the sensational Tango Fire Company of Buenos Aires presents their new show, featuring 10 torrid dancers, one of Argentina’s finest young singers and a quartet of brilliant musicians. Tickets are $30 to $45. GW Lisner Auditorium Oct. 30 to Nov. 3


Love, betrayal and forgiveness reign as the Washington Ballet takes on one of the world’s most beautiful and technically difficult ballets. Tickets are $25 to $125. Kennedy Center Eisenhower Theatre

DISCUSSIONS Thu., Oct. 3, 6:45 p.m.

Siberia’s Trans-Baikal: An Architectural Journey

William Brumfield, architectural historian and photographer, takes a journey deep in the eastern Siberian taiga, or boreal forest, home to some of Russia’s most fascinating regions and territories known as the Trans-Baikal. Tickets are $42. For information, visit www.

Through Jan. 12

S. Dillon Ripley Center

Living Artfully: At Home with Marjorie Merriweather Post

Sat., Oct. 5, 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Hillwood Estate, Museum and Gardens

Perched in northernmost Russia, the Arkhangelsk territory — between the Northern Dvina and Onega Rivers — is known for its stunning forests and towns that reflect a remarkably rich artistic heritage. Tickets are $130. For information, visit

From the glamour of Palm Beach, to the rustic whimsy of the Adirondacks, to the distinguished social scene of Washington, D.C., heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post brought to her multiple residences a flawless style of living and entertaining that was made possible only through the gracious management of loyal staff.

The Art and Architecture of Russia’s Far North

S. Dillon Ripley Center Through Jan. 25

A Night at the Opera

The grandeur of opera — its unforgettable music, stellar performers, and lavish scenery and costumes — has transfixed audiences for more than 400 years. This 50-item display will feature manuscripts, printed scores, librettos, photographs, correspondence and set designs dating from the late 18th century through the beginning of the 20th century.

Mon., Oct. 7, 6:45 p.m.

Mexican Home Cooking with Pati Jinich With Tasting

A self-described “overloaded soccer mom with three kids and a powerful blender,” Pati Jinich, who was born and raised in Mexico City, is on a mission to show Americans that true Mexican home cooking isn’t what they’ve come to expect. Tickets are $42.

The Washington Diplomat

October 2013

For information, visit S. Dillon Ripley Center Wed., Oct. 9, 6:45 p.m.

Mingle at the Museum: Underwater Adventures Featuring Photographer Brian Skerry Immerse yourself in the Natural History Museum after hours to explore the wonders that lie below the waves as you meet photojournalist, explorer and conservation advocate Brian Skerry, whose exhibition, “Portraits of Planet Ocean,” reflects the amazing beauty, vitality and diversity of our resilient, though imperiled, ocean. Tickets are $50. Natural History Museum Wed., Oct. 23, 12 p.m.

All Nations under God: Sacred Spires, Stars, and Domes in Old German Washington

While floods of European immigrants lent 19th-century D.C.’s urban heart a strong German flair, new waves later turned it strongly Chinese, but vestiges of our cultural melting pot survive in the area’s varied houses of worship. Led by guide Elizabeth Sherman, this tour hosted by the GoetheInstitut will illustrate how Washingtonians have honored God — from the airy spire of the German-American Calvary Baptist Church, to the rough-hewn Washington Hebrew Synagogue/New Hope Baptist Church, to the modest Cum Yum Buddhist Temple and grand domed Sixth & I Historic Synagogue. National Portrait Gallery Thu., Oct. 24, 6:45 p.m.

40 Chances: Howard G. Buffett on Finding Hope in a Hungry World

In 2006, philanthropist and farmer Howard G. Buffett set out to help the most vulnerable population on earth — nearly a billion people who lack basic food security — and gave himself 40 years to invest more than $3 billion in solutions to meet this challenge. Buffett discusses his efforts and new book “40 Chances: Finding Hope in a Hungry World.” Tickets are $42. For information, visit Location TBA Thu., Oct. 24, 6:30 p.m.

Pati’s Mexican Table: MexAmericana - The Evolution of Mexican Food in the U.S.

On the heels of Pati’s sold-out first installment of “Mexican Table,” she’s back with the second demo dinner of the year, this time showcasing the rich, delicious history of Mexican food in the United States. Tickets are $70. Mexican Cultural Institute

FESTIVALS Oct. 10 to 12

VelocityDC Dance Festival

The annual event, showcasing the scope and talent of the Washington dance community, returns for its fifth year with more than 20 ensembles and individuals. Tickets are $18. Sidney Harman Hall Oct. 16 to Nov. 13

Kids Euro Festival 2013

The largest children’s performing arts festival in the United States returns to the Washington area for its sixth edition, with more 200 free, family-friendly, Europeanthemed events including performances, concerts, workshops, movies, storytelling, puppetry, dance, magic and cinema — all brought to you by the 28 European Union member states. For information, visit kid- Oct. 19 to 20

Russian officials involved in human rights abuses. Tickets are $1,250. For information, visit

Bethesda Row Arts Festival


Various locations

The Bethesda Row Arts Festival features almost 190 of the nation’s best artists and crafters and covers the four blocks of Bethesda Row with the finest in ceramics, drawings, fabrics, glass, graphics, jewelry, metalwork, paintings, pastels, photography, printmaking, sculpture, wood and mixed media. Bethesda Row, Md.

GALAS Sun., Oct. 6, 6 p.m.

Harman Center for the Arts Annual Gala

French songs, as well as her covers of artists from an eclectic mix of genres, including rapper 50 Cent and rock band Noir Désir. Tickets are $15. For information, visit Malmaison

MUSIC Sat., Oct. 5, 3 p.m.

Prem Raja Mahat

Prem Raja Mahat, who grew up listening to and singing the “rural Nepalese blues” as a young boy in the hills of west central Nepal, has contributed to the revival and tremendous appeal of folk music in Nepal. Tickets are $100 and include a Nepalese buffet. For information, visit Nepal Ambassador’s Residence Tue., Oct. 8, 8 p.m.

THEATER Through Oct. 6

Cabaret Barroco: Interludes of Spain’s Golden Age

Embracing a carnavalesque topsy-turvy view of the world, the interlude questions and subverts the norms of society. This bawdy and playful cabaret will have you in stitches as characters riff on themes of love, jealousy, deception and entanglements. Tickets are $38 or $42. GALA Hispanic Theatre

One of Washington’s top 20 benefits and galas, the Harman Center for the Arts Gala provides indispensable funds for the Shakespeare Theatre’s education and community engagement programs including the annual “Free For All.” This year’s gala presents the William Shakespeare Award for Classical Theatre to actress Elizabeth McGovern of “Downtown Abbey.” Tickets are $750 to $1,000. For information, visit www.

Orquesta Buena Vista Social Club

Sidney Harman Hall

GW Lisner Auditorium

Oct. 9 to Nov. 3

Fri., Oct. 11, 7:30 p.m.

Jane is a poet-without-a-muse, a single mother trying to reignite her life after she suddenly loses her husband. Her supportive friends try to help but only make things more complicated while a sexy, French Doctor-Without-Borders incites temptation — and perspective. Tickets are $10 to $45.

Thu., Oct. 17

Some Enlightened Evening

Diplomats, philanthropists, artists, yogis, and celebrities come together to celebrate the unveiling of “Yoga: The Art of Transformation,” the world’s first exhibition on the art of yoga. This sumptuous affair of exceptional art is complemented by cuisine created by Floyd Cardoz, winner of “Top Chef Masters” season three; a performance by Grammy-nominated vocalist Chandrika Tandon; and memorable mingling with yoga luminaries, including Hilaria and Alec Baldwin — under the patronage of Indian Ambassador Nirupama Rao and His Highness Gaj Singh II, the maharaja of Jodhpur-Marwar. Tickets are $1,000 or $2,500. For information, visit Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Fri., Oct. 18

Meridian Ball and Global Leadership Summit

Now in its 45th year, the Meridian Ball brings together public and private sector leaders to celebrate Meridian’s efforts to nurture global leadership with ambassador-hosted dinners followed by desserts and dancing at the Meridian House. Earlier in the day, top international and domestic policymakers, corporate and diplomatic leaders, academics and media will convene at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center for Meridian’s Global Leadership Summit to explore ways to address global challenges through collaboration and cooperation. Tickets are $450 to $650. For information, visit Meridian International Center Wed., Oct. 23, 6:30 p.m.

Freedom House Annual Awards Dinner

At its annual awards dinner, Freedom House will present the Freedom Award to human rights activist Chen Guangcheng in recognition of his work on behalf of women and the rural poor in his native China. Also being honored at the event are Sens. Ben Cardin and John McCain and Reps. Jim McGovern and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen for their leadership in the passage of the Sergei Magnitsky Act, which denies visas and freezes the assets of

When the 13-member Orquesta Buena Vista Social Club, a little known collective of veteran musicians from Cuba, recorded a selftitled album of lively folksongs, Latin jazz and passionate ballads in 1997, they immediately took the world by storm. For the first time in 15 years, original members Guajiro Mirabal, Aguaje Ramos, Barbarito Torres and Omara Portuondo embark on a U.S. tour with a stop in our nation’s capital. Tickets are $35 to $75.

Andrei Licaret, Piano

Bucharest-born pianist Andrei Licaret made his orchestral debut at the age of 11 and has since given concerts throughout Europe and the United States, winning prizes in several competitions. Tickets are $100 and include a buffet reception. For information, visit

Through Oct. 6


Lisa D’Amour’s award-winning comedy “Detroit” is an incendiary take on suburbs, neighbors and the rapidly crumbling economic ladder that inaugurates Woolly’s 34th season, “America’s Tell-Tale Heart,” which exposes the complex soul inside America’s sunny exterior. Tickets start at $35. Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company


Round House Theatre

Romanian Ambassador’s Residence

Through Oct. 11

Mon., Oct. 14, 7:30 p.m.

Scena Theater presents the passionate World War II drama made famous in the 1979 cult film by renowned German film director Rainer Werner Fassbinder, an important figure in the New German Cinema. Tickets are $20 to $40.

Washington Performing Arts Society: Mariinsky Orchestra, Valery Gergiev

One of Russia’s oldest and most distinguished musical institutions, the Mariinsky Orchestra (formerly the Kirov Orchestra) and music director Valery Gergiev return to Washington with an all-Stravinsky program celebrating the 100th anniversary of the premiere of “The Rite of Spring.” Tickets are $40 to $120.

The Marriage of Maria Braun

Atlas Performing Arts Center Oct. 11 to Nov. 17

Love in Afghanistan

Thu., Oct. 24, 7:30 p.m.

An emerging hip-hop artist and a high-level Afghan interpreter both fight to navigate the pitfalls of romance, religious differences and political unrest in war-torn Afghanistan. Tickets are $40 to $90.

Gerdan - Kaleidoscope of World Music

Oct. 12 to 26

Kennedy Center Concert Hall

Back by popular demand, the Gerdan ensemble specializes in the contrasting musical traditions of Ukraine, blending their authentic folk music roots with multicultural melodies. Tickets are $90 and include Ukrainian buffet. For information, visit www. Embassy of Ukraine Thu., Oct. 24, 8 p.m.

Kronos Quartet

To pay tribute to the Kronos Quartet’s 40th anniversary, the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center has co-commissioned legendary American composer Philip Glass to write a new work, “String Quartet no. 6,” that will be the centerpiece of this performance in its East Coast premiere. Tickets are $50. Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center Sat., Oct. 26, 8 p.m.

Lise Au Piano

The Alliance Française de Washington and Georgetown’s Malmaison bring French pianist Lise Chemla to D.C., as she embarks on her first U.S. tour with a mix of English and

Arena Stage

The Force of Destiny

The Washington National Opera honors the 200th birthday of Giuseppe Verdi with the composer’s epic romantic and political drama, which hasn’t been seen in Washington in nearly 25 years. A displaced marquis, desperate to hold on to his family’s wealth and power, tries to prevent the union of his daughter with a foreigner, but when the marquis accidentally ties, the last ties binding the family are shredded. Tickets start at $25. Kennedy Center Opera House Oct. 15 to Dec. 8

Pride in the Falls of Autrey Mill

The Falls of Autrey Mill is the most desired zipcode in town. From the outside, the flawless neighborhood glitters with elegant roman column porches and exquisitely manicured lawns. However, demons lurk behind the designer window treatments when one seemingly perfect family disintegrates from the inside out. Please call for ticket information. Signature Theatre

October 2013

Oct. 15 to Dec. 1

Romeo and Juliet

Shakespeare’s timeless story of young, passionate love set against a sea of hate is retold by three-time Helen Hayes Awardwinning director Aaron Posner. Tickets are $40 to $72. Folger Shakespeare Library Oct. 16 to Nov. 24

16th International Festival of Hispanic Theater

Teatro de la Luna presents the 16th International Festival of Hispanic Theater with troupes from Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Puerto Rica, Uruguay and the United States — including an openingnight reception at the Embassy of Ecuador on Oct. 16. Tickets are $35. For information, visit Gunston Arts Center Through Oct. 20

Saint Joan and Hamlet

Bedlam Theatre takes on two literary greats in rotating repertory: Shakespeare’s penultimate tragedy about revenge and madness, as well as George Bernard Shaw’s portrayal of Joan of Arc not as a saint, a witch or a madwoman, but as a French farm girl who is anything but simple. Tickets are $32.50 to $65. Olney Theatre Center Through Oct. 27

Goodnight Moon

In this Adventure Theatre season-opener, a Little Old Lady whispers “hush” — in vain — as the humorous antics of a very nocturnal bunny, his magical room, dancing bears, and a red balloon bring to life the most iconic children’s books of all time. Tickets are $19. Adventure Theatre in Glen Echo Park

The Laramie Project

“The Laramie Project” presents a deeply complex portrait of a community’s response to the 1998 murder of Matthew Shepard, a young gay man living in Laramie, Wyoming. In a series of poignant reflections, the residents react to the hate crime and surrounding media storm with anger, bewilderment and sorrow. Tickets start at $18. Ford’s Theatre Through Oct. 27

Measure for Measure

Director Jonathan Munby places Shakespeare’s “Measure for Measure” in a fascist, late-1930s Europe steeped in cabaret culture, reflecting on the dual nature of humanity as both tragic and comic through the story of a novice nun who must decide whether to sacrifice her virginity to save her brother’s life. Tickets are $40 to $100. Shakespeare Theatre Company Lansburgh Theatre Oct. 29 to Nov. 10

Sister Act

In this crowd-pleasing musical based on the hit film, a wannabe diva witnesses a crime and hides out in a convent, where, under Mother Superior’s watchful eye, she helps her fellow sisters find their voices, not to mention her own. Tickets are $39 to $120. Kennedy Center Opera House Through Nov. 3

The Picture of Dorian Gray

Synetic Theater reinvents Oscar Wilde’s “The Picture of Dorian Gray” in a unique fusion of visual and verbal poetry that explores Wilde’s only novel, which many consider his most personal work — a timelessly supernatural story of man’s endless conflict with the nature of mortality. Tickets start at $35. Synetic Theater

The Washington Diplomat Page 57


The Washington Diplomat

October 2013

35th Annual Ambassadors Ball

The receiving line greets guests at the 35th annual Ambassadors Ball hosted by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s National Capital Chapter: From left, National Capital Chapter President Chris Broullire; Annie Broullire; CEO of the National MS Society Cynthia Zagieboylo; Chair of the National Capital Chapter Board of Trustees Neal Grunstra; Jane Grunstra; ball cochair Terese Casey; Sen. Robert Casey (D-Pa.); CBS News congressional correspondent and ball emcee Nancy Cordes; Harold Cordes; and ball co-chair Mylene Walden, wife of Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.).

From left, former Ambassador of Spain to the Organization of American States Javier Sancho, now with the Podesta Group, Ambassador of St. Vincent and the Grenadines La Celia A. Prince, and Ambassador of Barbados John Beale attend the VIP reception of the 35th annual Ambassadors Ball.

From left, Kristine Brakstad, scheduler for Rep. Steve Stockman (R-Texas), stands next to her boss as they talk with Ambassador of Azerbaijan Elin Suleymanov and his wife Lala Abdurahimova at the 35th annual Ambassadors Ball.

From left, Ambassador of Sri Lanka and Mrs. Jaliya Wickramasuriya, Ambassador of Liechtenstein Claudia Fritsche, Ambassador of Trinidad and Tobago Neil Parsan, Director of the Cosmetic Surgery Center at the George Washington Medical Faculty Associates Michael Olding, and Ambassador of the Philippines Jose L. Cuisia Jr. attend the 35th annual Ambassadors Ball.

photos: thomas coleman

Ambassador of Ecuador Nathalie Cely Suárez and her husband Ivan Hernández attend the 35th annual Ambassadors Ball, held at the JW Marriott.

From left, Ambassador Ball co-chair Mylene Walden, Rep. Ed Royce (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and his wife Marie Royce of Alcatel-Lucent attend the 35th annual Ambassadors Ball.

From left, Ambassador of the Netherlands Rudolf Simon Bekink and his wife Gabrielle de Kuyper join Ambassador of France François Delattre at the National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s 35th annual Ambassadors Ball to honor Washington’s diplomatic corps.

From left, Ambassador of Switzerland Manuel Sager and his wife Christine Sager join Sally Thornberry and Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) at the 35th annual Ambassadors Ball, which raised nearly $850,000, contributing to the more than $18 million that the event has raised throughout its history.

President of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society Greater Delaware Valley Chapter Tami Laesar, left, welcomes Ambassador of Canada Gary Doer to the 35th annual Ambassadors Ball hosted by the National MS Society’s National Capital Chapter.

Ambassador of Egypt Mohamed M. Tawfik and his wife Amani Amin attend the Ambassadors Ball, where funds raised go to research to identify the cause of and cure for multiple sclerosis, a disease that affects 400,000 Americans and 2.5 million people worldwide. Donations also support local programs and services in the Washington area.

From left, Ambassador of Cambodia Hem Heng, Mrs. and Ambassador of Nepal Shankar Prasad Sharma, and wife of the Italian ambassador Laura Denise Bisogniero attend the Ambassadors Ball, which welcomes newly assigned ambassadors and their spouses to D.C. and honors the diplomatic corps for its support of charitable and humanitarian causes.

Ambassador of the Philippines Jose L. Cuisia Jr. and his wife Maria Victoria Jose Cuisia attend the 35th annual Ambassadors Ball.

From left, Ambassador of Albania Gilbert Galanxhi and his wife Etleva Galanxhi talk with Ambassador of Kazakhstan Kairat Umarov at the 35th annual Ambassadors Ball.

Ambassador of Turkey Namik Tan and his wife Fügen Tan attend the 35th annual Ambassadors Ball.

Lobbyist Heather Podesta stands among the silent auction items at the 35th annual Ambassadors Ball, held at the JW Marriott.

Page 58

Ambassador of Barbados John Beale and his wife Leila Beale attend the 35th annual Ambassadors Ball.

Ambassador of Latvia Andris Razans and his wife Gunta Razane attend the 35th annual Ambassadors Ball.

Ambassador of Egypt Mohamed M. Tawfik, left, talks with Ambassador of Italy Claudio Bisogniero at the 35th annual Ambassadors Ball.

The Washington Diplomat

Ambassador of Serbia Vladimir Petrovic and his wife attend the 35th annual Ambassadors Ball.

October 2013

Singaporean National Day

Ambassadors’ Cricket Cup

Photo: Margaret McElvein

The Embassy of Bangladesh took top honors at the firstever Ambassadors’ Cricket Cup, beating Australia in the final matchup of the tournament, which featured teams representing the local diaspora communities of major cricket-playing nations: Australia, Bangladesh, Britain, India, New Zealand, South Africa, Sri Lanka and the West Indies.

Photo: thomas coleman

From left, Ambassadors Jacinth Lorna Henry-Martin of St. Kitts and Nevis; Ethelstan Angus Friday of Grenada; John Beale of Barbados; Neil Parsan of Trinidad and Tobago; La Celia A. Prince of St. Vincent and the Grenadines; Jaliya Wickramasuriya of Sri Lanka; and Kim Beazley of Australia come out to cheer for their embassy teams at the first annual Ambassadors’ Cricket Cup, held at the South Germantown Recreational Park in Maryland.

Photo: Margaret McElvein

Ambassador of Trinidad and Tobago Neil Parsan welcomes guests to a post-tournament reception at the New Zealand Embassy after the daylong Ambassadors’ Cricket Cup, which Parsan spearheaded along with New Zealand Ambassador Mike Moore.

Photo: thomas coleman Photo: Margaret McElvein

Photo: thomas coleman

Ambassador of Dominica and Mrs. Hubert John Charles come out to the cricket grounds of the South Germantown Recreational Park for the inaugural Ambassadors’ Cricket Cup.

The Indian Embassy lost to Australia in the semi-final match of the Ambassadors’ Cricket Cup. Cricket, which is played around the world, has similarities to baseball but is a much older sport that uses different equipment and rules.

Photo: thomas coleman

From left, Gillam Leary, Daniel Higgins, Kevin Cullen and Mauro Kolobaric represent the Australian Embassy at the first-ever Ambassadors’ Cricket Cup, where Australia made it to the final round.

From left, Ambassador of Barbados John Beale joins Ambassador of Sri Lanka and Mrs. Jaliya Wickramasuriya at the inaugural Ambassadors’ Cricket Cup. “We witnessed the power of cricket diplomacy, as diplomats and community members from eight nations joined hands to organize an extremely successful event in a country where the game is hardly heard of,” said Wickramasuriya.

The New Zealand team was one of eight embassy teams that participated in the first-ever Ambassadors’ Cricket Cup.

Photo: Margaret McElvein

photos: Gail scott

From left, John Gore and Toni Gore join Gouri Mirpuri and her husband, Ambassador of Singapore Ashok Kumar Mirpuri, at Singapore’s 48th National Day and 45th Armed Forces Day celebration held at the embassy.

Ambassador of Cambodia Hem Heng, left, and Ambassador of Vietnam Nguyen Quoc Cuong attend Singapore’s National Day and Armed Forces Day celebration.

Photo: Danie Beukman

From left, Ambassador of Bangladesh Akramul Qader talks with Mrs. and Ambassador of New Zealand Mike Moore at the Ambassadors’ Cricket Cup.

From left, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State at the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs Scot Marciel, Rep. Filemon Vela (D-Texas), and Ambassador of Singapore Ashok Kumar Mirpuri talk before their presentations at Singapore’s National Day reception.

Photo: thomas coleman

Photo: Margaret McElvein

From left, Dilan Perera, Rajau Amaratunga and Senal Ranatunga represent the Sri Lankan team at the Ambassadors’ Cricket Cup.

South Africa was one of eight embassy teams that participated in the first-ever Ambassadors’ Cricket Cup. Each embassy also organized its own tent with food.

Turkish Heritage

From left, Ambassador of Turkey Namik Tan, Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.), and Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-Neb.) attend the opening reception for the Turkish Cultural Heritage Month held on Capitol Hill.

Ambassador of the Philippines Jose L. Cuisia Jr. and his wife Maria Victoria Jose Cuisia attend Singapore’s National Day and Armed Forces Day celebration.

Photo: Audrey Hoffer

Spanish Arts and Culture From left, Cultural Counselor of the Spanish Embassy Guillermo Corral, Deputy Chief of Mission of the Spanish Embassy Juan Manuel Molina, and Ambassador of Spain Ramón GillCasares attend the launch of the SPAIN arts & culture program’s fall and winter season held at Jaleo restaurant, home to the largest paella dish in the city (at three feet wide).

Ambassador of Turkey Namik Tan, third from left, President and CEO of the Meridian International Center Stuart Holliday, fifth from left, and D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray, sixth from left, are officially recognized at the opening reception marking Turkish Cultural Heritage Month held on Capitol Hill.

October 2013

Ambassador of Singapore Ashok Kumar Mirpuri, left, welcomes Ambassador of Trinidad and Tobago Neil Parsan to his country’s National Day reception.

The Washington Diplomat Page 59

DIPLOMATIC SPOTLIGHT Ukrainian Independence Day

From left, former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Steven Pifer, now with the Brookings Institution, Ambassador of Ukraine Olexander Motsyk, Nadia Diuk of the National Endowment for Democracy, and former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine John Tefft attend the Ukrainian Independence Day celebration at the Willard InterContinental Washington hotel.

Ambassador of Kazakhstan Kairat Umarov, left, and Aeroscraft founder and CEO Igor Pasternak attend the Ukrainian Independence Day celebration.

The Washington Diplomat

October 2013

Turkish National Day

photos: Gail scott

Ambassador of Kyrgyzstan Muktar Djumaliev, left, and Ambassador of Tajikistan Nuriddin Shamsov attend the Ukrainian Independence Day celebration.

Ambassador of Montenegro Srdjan Darmanovic, left, joins Ambassador of Ukraine Olexander Motsyk at the Ukrainian Independence Day celebration.

Director of International Operations and Policy for Boeing Bryan Lopp, left, talks with Ambassador of Azerbaijan Elin Suleymanov at Ukraine’s Independence Day celebration.

Ambassador of Ukraine Olexander Motsyk, left, welcomes Ambassador of Lithuania Žygimantas Pavilionis to Ukraine’s Independence Day celebration at the Willard.

Ambassador of Afghanistan Eklil Hakimi, left, joins Ambassador of Turkey Namik Tan at the reception marking the 91st anniversary of Turkey’s Victory Day at the Turkish Embassy Residence.

photos: Thomas coleman

Special Envoy and Coordinator for International Energy Affairs at the State Department Carlos Pascual, left, and Ambassador of Croatia Josip Paro attend the Turkish Victory Day celebration.

Former Georgian Ambassador Temuri Yakobashvili, now a senior transatlantic fellow at the German Marshall Fund, left, joins Ambassador of Ukraine Olexander Motsyk at the Ukrainian Independence Day celebration.

South African Picnic

Jan Matthysen and his wife Agnes Aerts attend the Turkish Victory Day celebration.

From left, Ambassador of Albania Gilbert Galanxhi, Ambassador of Macedonia Zoran Jolevski, Etleva Galanxhi, Mrs. and Ambassador of Canada Gary Doer, and Ambassador of Montenegro Srdjan Darmanovic attend the Turkish Victory Day celebration.

photos: larry luxner

Military Attaché at the Embassy of Botswana Col. Bruce Thobane, left, and Soffie Ceesay, executive member of the African Affairs Advisory Group for Montgomery County, Md., enjoy the Southern African Community Picnic at Valley Mill Park in Silver Spring, Md.

From left, Defense Attaché at the Embassy of South Africa Brig. Ben. M.A. Phala, Margaret Perakisi of South Africa, and Felix Lindeire, a Malawi-born accountant based in Silver Spring, Md., enjoy the Southern African Community Picnic at Valley Mill Park.

Trinidadian Independence Day

Page 60

A portrait of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the Turkish Republic, graces the entryway of the Turkish Embassy Residence on 23rd Street.

From left, Yvonne Lucs, Elvira Mendez, Ambassador of Belize Nestor Mendez, and Ambassador of Guyana Bayney Ram Karran attend the Trinidad and Tobago Independence Day celebration.

photos: thomas coleman

Ambassador of Trinidad and Tobago Neil Parsan welcomes guests to the reception marking the 51st anniversary of Trinidad and Tobago’s independence.

Brazilian Rear Adm. Seixas, left, and Ambassador of Brazil Mauro Vieira attend the Turkish Victory Day celebration.

Ambassador of Trinidad and Tobago Neil Parsan, left, welcomes Ambassador of Montenegro Srdjan Darmanovic to his embassy for the Trinidad and Tobago Independence Day celebration.

A band plays Trinidadian music at the country’s Independence Day celebration.

Executive Director of the Bahamas, Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago for the Inter-American Development Bank Kurt M.S. Kisto, left, and Ambassador of Trinidad and Tobago Neil Parsan attend the Trinidad and Tobago Independence Day celebration.

The Washington Diplomat

October 2013



october 2013

HOLIDAYS AFGhANISTAN oct. 15: eid al adha ALGErIA oct. 15: aïd el adha

AZErBAIJAN oct. 15: Gurban Bayramy oct. 18: independence Day

BENIN oct. 15: eid al adha oct. 26: armed Forces Day

BuruNDI oct. 13: rwagasore Day oct. 21: ndadaye Day

BOTSWANA oct. 1: Public holiday

Day ChAD oct. 15: aïd al-adha

BAhrAIN oct. 15: eid al-adha

BrAZIL oct. 12: st. aparecida’s Day

CAMBODIA oct. 23: Paris Peace agreement Day oct. 30-nov. 1: Birthday of the King

AuSTrALIA oct. 7: labor Day

BANGLADESh oct. 15: eid-ul azha

BruNEI oct. 15: eid el-adha

CAMErOON oct. 15: eid al adha

COLOMBIA oct. 8: Dia de la raza

AuSTrIA oct. 26: national Day

BELIZE oct. 8: columbus Day

BurKINA FASO oct. 15: tabaski

CANADA oct. 14: thanksgiving

CÔTE D’IvOIrE oct. 15: tabaski

ArGENTINA oct. 8: columbus Day

BAhAMAS oct. 8: Discovery Day

ChILE oct. 8: Dia de la raza ChINA oct. 1: national Day

COSTA rICA oct. 8: Dia de la raza CrOATIA oct. 8: independence Day

Send Us Your Holidays and Appointments

CuBA oct. 10: Beginning of the independence War

Fax to: the Washington Diplomat at: (301) 949-0065

CyPruS oct. 1: independence Day oct. 28: Greek national Day (ochi Day)

E-mail to:

CZECh rEPuBLIC oct. 28: Founding Day

APPOINTMENTS • Her Excellency Marisa Maria Louise Micallef, ambassador of Malta • His Excellency Kaare Reidar Aas, ambassador of Norway • Her Excellency Anne Anderson, ambassador of Ireland • His Excellency Ethelstan Angus Friday, ambassador of Grenada • His Excellency Jose Julio Alejandro Ligorria Carballido, ambassador of Guatemala

Anne Anderson because ambassador of Ireland to the United States on Sept. 17, having previously served as Ireland’s permanent representative to the United Nations in New York since 2009. She also Ambassador served in Washington, D.C., Anne Anderson on a prior occasion, as economic attaché (1983-85) and press attaché (1985-87) at the Irish Embassy. In addition, she was Ireland’s ambassador to France, with concurrent nonresident accreditation to Monaco (2005-09); permanent representative to the European Union in Brussels (2001-05); and permanent representative to the United Nations in Geneva (1995-2001), where she was first secretary in the late 1970s. Ambassador Anderson has also served various postings in the Department of Foreign Affairs, including counselor in the Anglo-Irish Division (1987-91), first secretary in the Political Division (1980-83), as well as third secretary and later first secretary in the Economic Division (1972-76). Highlights of her multilateral work include chairing the U.N. Commission on Human Rights (1999) and heading the Irish team in Brussels during Ireland’s European Union presidency in 2004 (she was awarded European Voice’s “Diplomat of the Year” in recognition of her presidency role). During her New York assignment, she oversaw a review of the U.N. peace-building machinery and was tasked by the General Assembly president with facilitating preparations for this year’s U.N. Special Event on the Millennium Development Goals. Ambassador Anderson, who was born in Ireland in 1952, received a bachelor’s of arts degree in history and politics from University College in Dublin and was awarded a doctor of laws (honorary) by the National University of Ireland in 2011.

Malta Marisa Micallef became ambassador of Malta to the United States on Sept. 17. Most recently, Ambassador Micallef served as director of political support and adviser to the leader of the Labour Party and now prime minister of Malta, Dr. Joseph Muscat, for four years. After graduating with distinction from the University of Malta in French and English, Ambassador Micallef went to the United Kingdom, where she volunteered in the east end of London

October 2013

Day JAPAN oct. 10: health and sports Day (taiku no hi)

DJIBOuTI oct. 15: eid al adha

on sept. 17, the following nine ambassadors presented their credentials to President Barack obama in a White house ceremony:


Mail to: P.o. Box 1345, silver spring, mD 20915-1345

• His Excellency Bozo Cerar, ambassador of Slovenia • His Excellency Ruben Maye Nsue Mangue, ambassador of Equatorial Guinea • His Excellency Mahe Uliuli Sandhurst Tupouniua, ambassador of Tonga • His Excellency Bjoern Olof Lyrvall, ambassador of Sweden

with new immigrants from the Asian sub continent, pursuing a career in affordable housing and residential care. She graduated with a master’s in public policy and planning with a thesis on the privatization of state-owned entities by the charitable sector. In the United Kingdom, she specialized in affordable housing and the elderly and had her research project published by Kings College London. On returning to Malta, Ambassador Micallef served as chairman of the Housing Ambassador Authority for 10 years, during Marisa Micallef which time she was awarded the Green Politician of the Year Award from Nature Trust, Malta. She was concurrently a director with HSBC (home loans), as well as the Disability Commission, the Building Industry Consultative Council and other boards. In 2007, the project Ambassador Micallef created and initiated while chairing the Housing Authority received the EU Best Project Award under the EQUAL Community Initiative. In 2007, she also became a fellow of the Institute of Housing UK for her affordable housing work. The ambassador’s family has settled all over the world, including the United States, Australia, Switzerland and Britain, and she has one daughter. Her personal interests include photography, screenplay writing, climate change and film.

as Norwegian governor to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Board of Governors. Ambassador Aas, who was born on May 25, 1955, in Oslo, has three daughters and one son.



Kåre Aas became ambassador of Norway to the United States on Sept. 17, having most recently served as political director in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Photo: royal norWeGian emBassy/ iDa sKeie Oslo. He was also Norway’s Ambassador ambassador to Afghanistan from 2008 to 2010. From Kåre Aas 2003 to 2008, Ambassador Aas served as director general in the Department for Security Policy and the High North, where his portfolio included the bilateral relationships between Norway and the United States, as well as Russia and the Central Asian republics. He also chaired and was a member of several international groups working on nuclear disarmament and international peacekeeping operations. In addition, from 2005 to 2007, he served

Björn Lyrvall became ambassador of Sweden to the United States on Sept. 17, having previously served as political director in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Photo: reGerinGsKansliet Stockholm for the last six years. Ambassador Lyrvall, Ambassador who joined the Ministry of Björn Lyrvall Foreign Affairs in 1985, has also been posted at Sweden’s missions in Moscow, Leningrad, London and its European Union representation in Brussels. In addition, he has served as special advisor to Minister for Foreign Affairs Carl Bildt in the Western Balkans. Born in 1960, Ambassador Lyrvall holds a degree in political science and Russian from Stockholm University. He is married and has three children.

Slovenia Božo Cerar became ambassador of Slovenia to the United States on Sept. 17, having previously served as state secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Ljubljana from 2012 to 2013 and from 2005 to 2006. In Ambassador addition, he was Slovenia’s Božo Cerar permanent representative to NATO (2007-11); ambassador to Poland (2004); ambassador to Canada (1997-2007); and minister plenipotentiary at the Slovenian Embassy in London (1991-92). Ambassador Cerar has also served various positions in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, including head of the NATO Department (2002-03); head of the Minister’s Office (1996-97); head of the Department for Europe and North America (199192); and head coordinator of the activities of the European Union observers in Slovenia (1991). Ambassador Cerar, who was born Oct. 16, 1949, holds a bachelor’s degree in law, a master’s in diplomatic studies, and a Ph.D. in international law. He speaks English, French, Russian, Serbian and basic Greek.

ECuADOr oct. 9: independence of Guayaquil

JOrDAN oct. 15: eid al-adha KAZAKhSTAN oct. 25: republic Day

EQuATOrIAL GuINEA oct. 12: independence Day

KENyA oct. 20: Kenyatta Day

EGyPT oct. 15: eid el adha

KuWAIT oct. 15: eid al-adha

ErITrEA oct. 15: eid al adha

LEBANON oct. 15: eid al-adha

FIJI oct. 10: Fiji Day

LESOThO oct. 4: independence Day

GAMBIA oct. 15: eid-al-adha

LIByA oct. 15: eid al adha

GEOrGIA oct. 14: svetitskhovloba

MACEDONIA oct. 11: anti-Fascist uprising Day

GErMANy oct. 3: Day of German unification

MALAWI oct. 12: mother’s Day

GrEECE oct. 28: ochi Day GrENADA oct. 25: thanksgiving Day GuATEMALA oct. 20: revolution Day

MALAySIA oct. 15: hari raya haji MAurITANIA oct. 15: eid al adha MEXICO oct. 12: columbus Day

GuINEA oct. 2: republic Day hONDurAS oct. 3: Francisco morazan Day oct. 8: columbus Day oct. 21: armed Forces Day

MICrONESIA oct. 24: united nations Day MONGOLIA oct. 1: veteran’s Day

huNGAry oct. 23: national Day

MOrOCCO oct. 15: eid al adha

INDIA oct. 2: mahatma Gandhi’s Birthday oct. 15: idu’z Zuha

MOZAMBIQuE oct. 4: Peace and reconciliation Day

INDONESIA oct. 15: idul adha IrAN oct. 15: eid al adha

NEW ZEALAND oct. 28: labor Day NIGEr oct. 15: eid al adha

IrELAND oct. 31: halloween

NIGErIA oct. 1: national Day oct. 15: eid-el-Kabir

JAMAICA oct. 18: national heroes

OMAN oct. 15: eid al adha

see hOLIDAyS, page 63 The Washington Diplomat Page 61

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eleGanT embassY-sTYle offiCe buildinG for sale aT embassY row! (near The whiTe house)


CALL 301-933-3552

James ConnellY

LincoLn ProPerty comPany Phone: 202 491 5300 email: kalorama 2310 tracy place, nw washington, dc


Diplomat Classifieds (301) 933-3552. WASHINGTON F I N E P RO P E RT I E S , L L C

FuLL SErvICE rEAL ESTATE FIrM — Barnes realty company - We are a full service real estate firm. helping you buy, sell and/or rent your property in maryland! ! ! Please call lina Barnes, Broker at (301) 365-8317.

TySON’S COrNEr, vA — For sale. 3 Br/1.5 Ba sF home near tyson’s corner, W. Falls church metro, new silver line. $450K. remodel or T: 7.625 in rebuild. call cathy, re/max executives, (703) 969-1691.

LAND/LOTS MASSAChuSETTS AvE. hEIGhTS — estate land assemblage. unique Diplomatic Church School Compound-Style Property. can build. approximately 30,000 sq. ft. with parking. metro 2 blocks. lPc (202) 513-6708.


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Foreclosure af fects more than just you. It af fects your whole family.

Sarah G. Thomas, W.c. & a.n. miller realtors A Long and Foster Company (240) 330-9048.

A million families will face losing their homes this year. Call today for help. Because nothing is worse than doing nothing.

Placing Classifieds Ads real Estate Ads

Foreign diplomats are entitled to a 25 word ad (additional words are 35¢ each) for merchandise only. offer limited to one ad per month and does not include real estate or business ads. must fax a copy of Diplomatic identification card.

real estate ads of 25 words with a photo are $40, without photo $20. each additional word is 35¢.

Classified Ad rates rates start at $20. classified ad $20 for 25 words, 35¢ each additional word. add photo for $20. all classifieds running three months or longer are posted on the Web at no additional cost to the advertiser - a saving of $10/month. NOTE: ad materials and full payment due by the 15th of the month prior to publication.

holidays PAKISTAN oct. 15: eid-ul azha PALAu oct. 1: independence Day oct. 24: united nations Day PANAMA oct. 8: columbus Day

October 2013

PEru oct. 8: Battle of angamos POrTuGAL oct. 5: Proclamation of the republic QATAr oct. 15: eid al adha


Placing your Ad call (301) 933-3552 and ask for a sales representative.

General Policies the Washington Diplomat reserves the right to refuse any classified ads for any reason. tear sheets are not sent for classified ads. if you would like a copy of the paper mailed to you, please add $2 to your payment.

Deadline the deadline for ads is the 15th of each month at the close of business.

ST. vINCENT and ThE GrENADINES oct. 27: independence Day

from page 61

T: 5.25 in

Free Ads for Diplomats

SAuDI ArABIA oct. 15: eid al-adha SENEGAL oct. 15: eid al adha SINGAPOrE oct. 15: hari raya haji

SLOvENIA oct. 31: reformation Day SOuTh KOrEA oct. 3: national Foundation Day SPAIN oct. 12: national Day SrI LANKA oct. 15: id-ul-allah SuDAN oct. 15: eid al adha

SyrIA oct. 6: october War remembrance oct. 15: eid al adha TAIWAN oct. 10: national Day

ThAILAND oct. 23: chulalongkorn Day TuNISIA oct. 15: aïd el idha

TAJIKISTAN oct. 15: eid al adha

TurKEy oct. 15: Kurban Bayram oct. 29: republic Day

TANZANIA oct. 14: mwalimu nyerere Day oct. 15: eid el hadj

TurKMENISTAN oct. 6: remembrance Day oct. 15: Kurban Bairam

oct. 27-28: independence Day

uZBEKISTAN oct. 15: eid al adha

uGANDA oct. 9: independence Day oct. 15: iddi adhuha

vENEZuELA oct. 8: columbus Day

uNITED ArAB EMIrATES oct. 15: eid al adha

yEMEN oct. 14: october revolution anniversary oct. 15: eid aludha almubarak

uruGuAy oct. 8: columbus Day

ZAMBIA oct. 24: independence Day

The Washington Diplomat Page 63


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Page 64

The Washington Diplomat

October 2013

October 2013  

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

October 2013  

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