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Inside Education

and Hotels & Travel Special Sections Education A Special Section of The Washington Diplomat

VOLUME 24, NUMBER 10

Speaking Same Language

Experts, Educators Say Benefits

Caribbean Islands Reel Under Barrage of Deadly Hurricanes Over a dozen Caribbean nations have been ravaged by a string of deadly hurricanes this year. From Antigua and Barbuda to Puerto Rico to St. Maarten, storms of monstrous size and intensity have ripped apart homes, shops, hotels and airports — upending the lives of millions of people. / PAGE 4

October 2017

OCTOBER 2017

WWW.WASHDIPLOMAT.COM

Americas

t

CA NADA

I

of Bilingualism Are Too

Easily Brushed Aside in

U.S. SchoolstBY TERI WEST

magine if students didn’t learn math until late middle school. They’d and long division. The be starting from scratch, majority would probably pre-times tables never make it past algebra, Greek mathematician Pythagoras might roll let alone pre-calculus over in his grave knowing or geometry. that his triangle theorem was being lost.

In most states, that’s the case for “I think we’d have a revolution foreign language education. ecutive director for the American on our hands,” said Martha Abbott, exCouncil on the Teaching of guages (ACTFL), referring Foreign Lanto how math the way they treat languages.parents might respond if schools treated Foreign language education standards are in need of a a country that should be promoting bilingualism, Abbottmajor update in and a panel of

professionals said at a June event hosted by the Council tions (CFR) that examined on Foreign Relathe link between foreign languages and U.S. national security. From a global perspective, Americans lag far behind in language learning. Children in most other countries have started learning a second lanSEE LANGUAGES t PAGE 24

|

2017 | 23

BEST FRIENDS FOREVER?

United States

H-1B Foreign Worker Visas Come Under Fire by White House The immigration debate that roiled the 2016 election initially centered around President Trump’s “beautiful” wall with Mexico, then shifted to his controversial travel ban and is now focused on “Dreamers.” But there’s a quieter, though no less consequential, debate taking place over the H-1B guest worker visa program. / PAGE 8

Culture

Edvard Munch In Full Color The National Gallery of Art sheds light on Edvard Munch’s transcendent body of work. / PAGE 38

Canadian Ambassador David MacNaughton proudly calls the U.S. his country’s “best friend” and “closest ally.” But he warns that friendship is a two-way street — and should not be taken for granted. Like any relationship, it needs work. So Canada has launched a full-court charm offensive to remind Americans how much they need their neighbor to the north, which is bound to them by geography, values, security and trade — a lot of it. PAGE 13

Social Media

Diplomatic Spouses

Technology Giants Take on Terrorists

Czech Wife is More Than a ‘Wife’

Social media has revolutionized how people connect and interact. But the darker side of this revolution is that it has made it easier for terrorist ideology to take root around the world, a dilemma governments and tech giants are struggling to grapple with as they balance the privacy rights of billions with the need to protect lives. / PAGE 18

Indira Gumarova’s business card reads “wife of the Ambassador and more.” It’s an apropos description of an Uzbek-born Tartar who works in PR and blogs about food, fashion and folklore. / PAGE 39


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October 2017

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ON THE COVER Photo taken atop the Canadian Embassy on Pennsylvania Avenue overlooking Capitol Hill by Lawrence Ruggeri of Ruggeriphoto.com.

2 | THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | OCTOBER 2017


Contents

THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | October 2017

13

31

10

22

23

41 NEWS

EDUCATION

42

4

23

The Swedish Embassy spotlights global issues like migration and climate change.

Disaster in Paradise Caribbean islands have been torn apart by a rash of recent hurricanes.

8

H-1B Backlash President Trump wants to overhaul H-1B visas for skilled foreign workers.

10 Trump Effect in Germany

Benefits of Bilingualism

Experts say U.S. schools are ignoring the importance of learning another language.

43

28

Two exhibitions on Arab art break stereotypes to build bridges.

Hip-Hop Harmony

Next Level sends American hip-hop artists to some unlikely places.

An unpopular U.S. president and fears of a transatlantic rift hang over Germany’s election.

TRAVEL & HOTELS

13

31

Cover Profile: Canada The ambassador says the U.S. remains Canada’s “best friend,” despite the drama over NAFTA.

18 Worldwide Web of Peril Tech giants are teaming up to take terrorists and extremist propaganda offline. 20

Book Review Adm. James Stavridis urges leaders to pick up a book and read.

21

‘Dirty Wars and Polished Silver’ A war correspondent reflects on becoming an ambassador’s wife.

22

medical

The CDC says opioid overdoses have cut into U.S. life expectancy.

‘Safe & Sound’

Nerve Center

The hotel lobby is the heart and soul of a property, and an extension of its personality.

CULTURE 38

Transcendent Color

Edvard Munch’s multidimensional work extends beyond “The Scream.”

39

Diplomatic Spouses

An Uzbek-born Tartar and her hot saucecollecting Czech husband break boundaries.

41

‘Eat Spain Up!’

From innovative design to traditional dishes, Spain offers foodies a treat.

44

Mideast Double Take

Love Is for Fools

“A Little Night Music” sings the praises of love, loss and folly.

45

Indigenous Appreciation

The Australian Embassy brings Aboriginal artists from a remote island to D.C.

REGULARS 46

Cinema Listing

48 Events Listing 50 Diplomatic Spotlight 53 Appointments 54 Classifieds 55 Real Estate Classifieds THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | October 2017 | 3


WD | Caribbean

Disaster in Paradise Caribbean Islands Overwhelmed by Recent Rash of Hurricanes by Larry Luxner

A

mbassador Ronald Sanders has barely had a minute to catch his breath since Sept. 6, when Hurricane Irma slammed into his tiny country, the twin-island republic of Antigua and Barbuda, with 185 mph winds. The Category 5 monster leveled every structure on Barbuda, a 62-square-mile island the same size as the District of Columbia. Authorities quickly transferred its entire population of 1,700 to the main island of Antigua, leaving Barbuda virtually uninhabited. “For the first time in 300 years, there is not a living person on Barbuda,” Sanders told The Washington Diplomat late last month. “People have lived there for over three centuries. Everything they own is there, and so are their entire identities — and they’re anxious to get back. We are making a general appeal to all countries to recognize this is beyond Antigua alone.” Antigua and Barbuda is one of more than a dozen Caribbean nations and territories devastated by a string of powerful hurricanes this year. First there was Harvey, which hit the eastern Caribbean before dumping Biblical rains on Houston. Shortly afterward, there was Irma, Jose and Maria, which walloped islands that had not even begun to recover from Irma. From the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Cuba and Puerto Rico, to St. Maarten, Dominica, Guadeloupe and the U.S. Virgin Islands, storms of frightening size and intensity have ripped apart homes, shops, hotels and airports — upending the lives of millions of people and costing untold economic damages. The Caribbean is more dependent on travel and tourism for its GDP than any other region in the world. When tourists will come back to islands that have been completely obliterated is anyone’s guess at this point. Irma alone killed more than 60 people, including 10 in Cuba and 42 in Florida; fatalities were also recorded in Anguilla, Barbuda, St. Maarten and the U.S. and British Virgin Islands. The storm leveled 90 percent of the buildings on some islands. At press time, Hurricane Maria — a Category 4 storm packing winds of 160 mph — was pummeling Puerto Rico, knocking out the entire electrical grid and possibly plunging the island of 3.5 million inhabitants into darkness for months. Experts say it could take years to rebuild whole communities throughout the cash-strapped U.S. territory, which was already suffering the effects of Irma and a $70 billion external debt. Earlier, Maria clobbered Dominica, killing at least 15 people and tearing the once-verdant island apart, with barely a single tree left untouched by the storm. Two years ago, Dominica suffered the 4 | THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | October 2017

Photo: NASA Worldview

A satellite view of Hurricane Irma shows the monster storm churning over the Atlantic on Sept. 3. Three days later, Irma made landfall in Barbuda as a Category 5 storm, virtually wiping out the island before striking other islands in the Caribbean and then Florida.

These hurricanes are now unpredictable. They don’t know boundaries, borders, races or religions. They hit everything in sight, and all of this indicates that climate change has had an effect on the weather, heating up the water…. We are caught in the eye of the storm, if you like. Ronald Sanders ambassador of Antigua and Barbuda to the United States

wrath of Tropical Storm Erika, which lashed the island of 73,000 with heavy rains, mudslides and avalanches that left 31 people dead. At that time, Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit said Erika had set the island back 20 years in terms of development. This time around, the world was transfixed as Skerrit posted increasingly frantic Facebook messages that Maria had blown off the roof of his official residence, describing the devastation as “mind-boggling.” The challenge for Dominica, Antigua and Barbuda and other Caribbean islands will not only be rebuilding on a massive scale, but also keeping the world from forgetting about their plight, especially once hurricane season ends and the real clean-up work begins. It will take creativity, cajoling and a lot of pleading

to sustain the world’s attention on these small islands amid a litany of other pressing crises, from North Korea to Syria’s ongoing civil war to political battles in Washington. Sanders, who has represented Antigua and Barbuda in Washington for two years, estimated that it’ll cost $250 to $300 million to rebuild Barbuda — a staggering amount equivalent to more than a fifth of the country’s GDP of $1.2 billion. Since Irma’s impact, he’s spoken before the Organization of American States, the Pan American Health Organization, the Inter-American Defense Board and the Center for Strategic and International Studies. He’s also appeared on countless radio and TV programs to explain his country’s heartbreaking predicament. “Barbuda is not just a natural disaster, it’s a humanitarian crisis,” he told us. “We

will need help to rebuild. We’ve declared a state of emergency, but the Antiguan government has carried the brunt of this, although some countries have been particularly helpful in making donations.” Sanders singled out one country, Venezuela, for praise. Despite food shortages and political chaos under the increasingly repressive rule of President Nicolás Maduro, the Venezuelan government managed to send in a team of 30 doctors aboard a military aircraft packed with humanitarian supplies. Antigua also got help from the 15-nation Caribbean Community (Caricom). “It was gratefully welcomed, but Caricom’s resources are limited and they can’t help us with recovery,” he said. In contrast, said Sanders, the U.S. government has donated $100,000 via the Red Cross — hardly enough to make a dent on a once-lush island whose electricity, water and road systems have been totally destroyed. “Your own Congress is more concerned with domestic issues right now. To get them to focus on this is extremely difficult,” said Sanders, whose country doesn’t even have a resident U.S. ambassador; affairs are handled from the U.S. Embassy in Barbados. The same frustration was echoed by the country’s prime minister, Gaston Browne, who for years has warned about the risks of climate change to small deSee hu r r ic an es • page 6


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Hurricanes Continued • page 4

veloping islands. “Just as Trump is helping other U.S. states, like Florida and Texas, just remember that there are some countries in the Caribbean that got damaged and the U.S. can do more,” he told Time magazine’s Tara John. “They ought to do more. You cannot be the biggest and most powerful country in the world and have small islands right on your doorstep on the so-called third border.” Browne said he supports a call by British billionaire Richard Branson for a Marshall Plan to rebuild islands that were battered by the recent rash of hurricanes. Sanders said his twin-island nation, where one island is now housing the entire population of both islands, needs all the help it can get. “Antigua had an overnight increase in its population of 3 percent. I don’t know of any country that can cope with that,” Sanders told us. “We’ve got to provide medical services, find work for people and keep them in makeshift shelters, which we’re trying to make as accommodating as possible. But this all costs money.” He added: “The structures that are left [in Barbuda] are not habitable and they’re dangerous to enter, plus there’s water infiltration, which could lead to diseases. We simply could not leave people there in those conditions.” Some residents have even contemplated not returning to the deserted island, where dog carcasses lie exposed in the open air and every building was razed to the ground. Asked how long it might take for Barbuda to recover, Sanders said “that depends on what level of recovery you’re talking about.” “It’ll be some time before we can get electricity and water running again. We will have

to make a decision about whether we restring wires on poles or bury it. Burying is extremely expensive,” he said. “We also have 500 schoolchildren that have to be integrated into our existing school system, which was already heavily taxed. Our schools are now on a shift system, with Antiguan schoolchildren in the morning and Barbuda schoolchildren in the afternoon. We need help.” Raymond Joseph knows a thing or two about Caribbean natural disasters. As Haiti’s ambassador to the United States for five years, he helped mobilize international humanitarian assistance following the massive January 2010 earthquake that killed more than 200,000 people and leveled Haiti’s capital, Portau-Prince. Yet Haiti also suffers perennially from hurricanes and tropical storms. With close to 12 million people, it’s one of the most densely populated countries in the Caribbean, by far the poorest and, unfortunately, one of the most corrupt. According to Joseph, who resigned as ambassador in 2010 to run for president (he lost), Haiti’s parliament recently approved a budget in which 5 percent of expenditures, or about $107.8 million, go to 146 elected senators and deputies. By contrast, 4.3 percent of that same budget, or about $91.6 million, is allocated for basic health care for 12 million citizens. Joseph, 86, said his country is woefully unprepared for the next hurricane — or even tropical storm. “The reason Haiti suffers more than any other country is deforestation. Haiti is over 95 percent deforested, so whenever a hurricane hits, there is no protection. The other islands are protected more than Haiti, because most of them have kept their trees.” To that end, Joseph has devoted much of his time in retirement to his charity, A Dollar a Tree for Haiti. The nonprofit has raised about $40,000 to plant some 50,000 trees in Haiti. Joseph said the program was going well until this

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Some 90 percent of the houses on St. Maarten, a tourism-dependent island that is administered by both France and the Netherlands, were destroyed or damaged by Hurricane Irma. Photo: Ministry of Defense, Netherlands Defensie met hulpgoederen naar Caribisch gebied, CC0

May, when the manager in charge was assassinated in Port-au-Prince. Antigua’s Sanders, meanwhile, says he’s absolutely convinced that climate change had something to do with Irma’s magnitude and fury. “These hurricanes are now unpredictable,” he said. “They don’t know boundaries, borders, races or religions. They hit everything in sight, and all of this indicates that climate change has had an effect on the weather, heating up the water. As the hurricanes pass, they suck up the heat. We are caught in the eye of the storm, if you like. I don’t know what we would have done with the people of Barbuda if Antigua had been hit too.” On nearby St. Maarten, the situation wasn’t much better. Widespread destruction and scenes of desperation, including looting, unfolded in the days after Irma tore through this tourism-dependent island, which is administered by both France and the Netherlands. Henne Schuwer, the Dutch ambassador to the United States, said the 40,000 or so inhabitants on the island’s Dutch side are just as much a part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands as are people living in Amsterdam or The Hague. “I’m involved in liaison efforts with the Americans. They helped us very much in the immediate aftermath. They had assets in place which we didn’t have,” he said. “We now have to rebuild.” Yet Schuwer said 90 percent of the houses on St. Maarten are damaged or destroyed. The last major hurricane to hit St. Maarten caused roughly €1 billion in damage, and that was 30 years ago. This one, he said, was worse. “We must get communications and infrastructure going again,” he said. “The seaport is operating. Of course, all the cranes fell down, but everything else is operational. The airport is also operational but we don’t have any lights, so you cannot fly at night. And we still have no control tower because it was blown over. So we have a makeshift air traffic control system, which the Americans helped us set up.”

In the weeks since Irma, KLM has resumed direct flights to St. Maarten, and everybody who wanted to evacuate the island has now left. But Schuwer, like Antigua’s Sanders, said St. Maarten’s bigger problem is long-term, and that it has a name: climate change, which scientists overwhelmingly agree is making natural disasters like Harvey, Irma, Jose and Maria more catastrophic. Experts warn that people will be sitting ducks for the next disaster unless governments address larger, underlying issues. This includes building more climate-resilient cities in vulnerable areas through hurricaneresistant building codes, better drainage systems, higher seawalls and elevated infrastructure. It also means better planning to prevent the kind of unfettered urban sprawl over floodplains and wetlands that made Houston more vulnerable to Harvey. Finally, it means reducing the man-made greenhouse gas emissions that scientists say are warming the planet and fueling more unpredictable and dangerous weather patterns. “I think what is happening now is a warning for everybody. It’s not only Harvey and Irma, it’s a whole sequence of megastorms within a period of one or two months,” Schuwer said. “Everybody should start thinking if this is the pattern we’re going to have in the future.” Schuwer said that the Netherlands, “like everybody else, was very disappointed to hear” that the Trump administration wanted to pull out of the Paris climate agreement — a decision Trump himself reiterated only days before Maria struck Dominica and Puerto Rico. “We think this accord is worthwhile, but only possible if everybody agrees to it. If you have people who don’t play along, the whole agreement will unravel,” he said, adding that “you can’t deny that climate change is happening. We have to lay the groundwork now in order to make sure this never happens again.” WD Larry Luxner is news editor of The Washington Diplomat.


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WD | United States

The Great Immigration Debate Trump Looks to Overhaul H-1B Visa System for Skilled Foreign Workers by Ryan R. Migeed and Anna Gawel

T

he immigration debate that took center stage in the 2016 election first centered around President Trump’s proposed wall with Mexico, then shifted to his controversial travel ban and has now switched gears yet again to focus on so-called “Dreamers,” children brought to the U.S. illegally. But there’s a quieter, though no less consequential, debate about immigration and Trump’s “America first” agenda that is roiling the business world, members of Congress, American workers and foreign governments: the H-1B guest worker visa program, which presents a far more complicated policy picture that splits Democrats and Republicans into unlikely alliances. The H-1B, a temporary visa that lasts three to six years, allows American companies to hire foreign workers with specialty skills, such as technology, science, engineering and math. Under the current program, visas are allocated by a lottery system. Congress has capped the number of H-1B guest worker visas that can be issued at 65,000 per year. The cap for H-1B visas granted to those studying for an advanced degree is 20,000. On April 7, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that the total 85,000 cap for new visas in fiscal year 2018 had been exceeded. This is the fifth consecutive year that demand for H-1B visas has outstripped supply, according to a report by Ananya Bhattacharya for Quartz. And it happened just four days after the application process opened. U.S. companies, particularly tech giants in Silicon Valley, argue that H-1B visas are critical to keeping America at the forefront of global innovation and entrepreneurship — and that the program should be expanded, not curtailed, to meet growing demand. They say there simply aren’t enough qualified Americans to fill the highskill jobs that H-1B visa holders fill. Critics argue that the companies are doing just the opposite — undercutting American workers by using the H-1B visa program to indiscriminately recruit lowskilled, low-wage workers to boost profits. President Trump agrees. He’s directed the various Departments involved in doling out H-1B visas — Labor, Justice, Homeland Security and State — to review the program, which the president says is rife with abuse. Trump wants to ensure that only the highest-skilled, highest-paid workers are awarded H-1B visas. The proposals being discussed reportedly include forcing companies who seek H-1B employees to prioritize the hiring of Americans over foreigners and lowering the cap and duration of the visas to make it more expensive to hire H-1B applicants. The administration also wants to essentially transform the program from a random lottery to a merit-based system, “raising the qualifying criteria for applicants so only top earners with specific skill sets are considered,” wrote Jonathan Easley in an April 17 article for The Hill. Easley noted that an administration official claimed that the “lion’s share” of H-1B visas is currently used for “entrylevel positions.” The White House has some unlikely allies in its corner. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), a 2016 candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, is a longtime critic of H-1B visas, putting him at odds with some immigrant advocates in the party but in the same camp — on this issue — as Trump and many of his supporters. In January, Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois reintroduced their bipartisan bill aimed at reforming the H-1B visa program. The bill, the H-1B and L-1 Visa Reform

8 | THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | October 2017

President Trump’s moves to restrict immigration have sparked a wider debate about who is allowed to come to the U.S., including whether residency should be granted based on family ties or work and education skills.

Photo: Pixabay

Every CEO in every company sees the business opportunity: Will I earn higher profits by replacing my American staff with cheaper H-1B workers? The answer is an obvious yes. Ron Hira

associate professor of public policy at Howard University and author of ‘Outsourcing America’

Act, would scrap the current lottery system and create a preference for foreign students who are or have been educated in the U.S. It would also prioritize advanced degree holders and those being paid a high wage, according to a report by Sara Ashley O’Brien for CNN. The two senators say their bill would dissuade tech firms from using Indian outsourcing companies, such as Tata Consultancy, that flood the system with H-1B applications to boost their chances of acquiring the visas. Labor unions support the reform efforts, while the business community, especially the tech sector, is adamantly opposed. In April, Compete America released a statement praising the H-1B visa program. The coalition of corporations, universities, research institutions and trade associations describes itself as an advocate for immigration reform that ensures the U.S. has the highly educated workforce necessary to create American jobs and compete in a global economy. “Each year, American companies spend millions of dollars to recruit and train U.S. workers, but high-skilled immigration programs continue to be necessary components for maintaining our country’s leadership and competitiveness,” Scott Corley, the organization’s executive director, said in the statement. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is a longtime advo-

cate of the H-1B visa program and even argues that the 85,000 cap on visas is too low. “It would be a mistake to close the door on highskilled workers from around the world who can contribute to American businesses’ growth and expansion,” Neil Bradley, the chamber’s senior vice president and chief policy officer, said in an April statement.

‘Best and Brightest,’ or Just Cheaper? Companies, often tech firms like Facebook and Google, argue that the H-1B visa is critical for hiring the “best and brightest” workers in specialized fields like computer engineering, a field in which American graduates lag behind their foreign counterparts. These companies say there is a shortage of IT workers in the U.S. — with over half a million unfilled IT jobs in sectors like cybersecurity, coding and data analytics. In 2015, the Obama administration agreed, launching a $100 million TechHire Initiative to promote accelerated tech-training pilot programs across the country. But Ron Hira, an associate professor of public policy at Howard University, challenges the assumption that foreign workers are filling a skills gap in the American workforce. We should be skeptical of companies’ reasoning for defending the guest worker program, Hira told The Diplomat, because “employers have a financial incentive” to hire cheaper workers. In congressional testimony in March, Hira noted that firms that rely mostly on H-1B visa holders are able to generate net profit margins of 20 percent to 25 percent in the IT services sector, where typical profit margins range between 6 percent and 8 percent. “Every CEO in every company sees the business opportunity: Will I earn higher profits by replacing my American staff with cheaper H-1B workers? The answer is an obvious yes,” said Hira, who is also a research associate at the Economic Policy Institute. “The CEOs are not villains. They are simply acting rationally to the op-


portunities that government is handing them.” That gets to the fundamental criticism of the H-1B program: Companies are taking advantage of it to hire foreign workers at lower wages than what American workers make. The administration points out that the majority of H-1B visa holders are paid at below-market rates. “Right now, H-1B visas are awarded by random lottery and many of you will be surprised to know that about 80 percent of H-1B workers are paid less than the median wage in their fields. Only 5 percent to 6 percent, depending on the year, of H-1B workers command the highest wage tier recognized by the Department of Labor,” a U.S. government official told reporters in April. But a recent Pew Research Center analysis suggests that the issue is more nuanced, with H-1B visa applicants earning a median salary that was higher than some U.S. workers in similar high-skill occupations. The study showed that U.S. employers planned to pay high-skilled foreign workers with H-1B visas a median annual salary of $80,000 in fiscal year 2016, up from about $69,000 a decade earlier. So do H-1B visa holders make more or less than Americans? It depends on the field. Certain fields such as business, finance and architecture do, in fact, pay higher than what U.S. workers would normally earn, but computer science positions — which make up the bulk of H-1B visas — pay less. An April analysis by the Associated Press found that “computer science hires — which make up three-quarters of the H-1B program — receive about 9 percent less, on average, than U.S. workers with similar positions, while foreign workers in non-computer science occupations receive an average of 58 percent more,” wrote the AP’s Youyou Zhou. By law, employers are supposed to pay guest workers no less than “the prevailing wage,” an amount set by the government based on experience level, location and occupation, Zhou wrote. This stipulation is meant to safeguard job prospects for U.S. workers. But employers have found loopholes to get around this requirement. “Right now, it’s set up so that it’s very easy to bring in H-1B workers at below-market rates,” Hira told the Diplomat. That’s because “employers tend to define the positions as low as they can, in terms of experience levels,” Hira explained to the AP. In his congressional testimony, Hira pointed out that in fiscal 2015, over 40 percent of H-1B workers were approved for the lowest possible wage level (level 1), which typically pays 40 percent below the average wage for Americans in the same jobs. Another 40 percent were approved at the second-lowest wage level, which pays 20 percent below the average. To combat this problem, in March, USCIS issued a policy memo that rescinded the status of entry-level computer programming as a “specialty occupation.” The decision was in keeping with a long-held policy that to be considered a H-1B “specialty occupation,” a position must require a specific bachelor’s degree, which USCIS said is no longer the case with computer programming.

Photo: Pixabay

President Trump’s travel ban and his crackdown on refugees has sparked a large public backlash. The reaction has been more muted to his plans to overhaul the H-1B visa worker system, although the business community is watching the debate closely. Companies say H-1B visas help the U.S. remain competitive, bringing in foreign skills that Americans lack. Critics say the system is rife with abuse, with many Indian outsourcing companies (over 70 percent of H-1B recipients come from India) recruiting low-skilled, low-wage workers to boost profits of tech giants such as Apple and Facebook.

Fixing the System Politicians are stepping up to offer solutions of their own. Both Sanders and Trump backed an increase in the prevailing wage during the 2016 campaign. “If there is a true labor shortage, employers must offer higher, not lower, wages,” Sanders’s platform argued. For Trump, raising the prevailing wage would benefit American workers. “Raising the prevailing wage paid to H-1Bs will force companies to give these coveted entry-level jobs to the existing domestic pool of unemployed native and immigrant workers in the U.S., instead of flying in cheaper workers from overseas,” according to his platform. Trump and some lawmakers also want to force U.S. companies to certify that they could not find Americans to fill open slots before giving the job to an H-1B applicant. In January, Rep. Darrell Issa (RCalif.) reintroduced a bill, along with Rep. Scott Peters (D-Calif.), that would require companies with more than 15 percent of H-1B employees to “attest” that they could not hire Americans for the positions. Issa reintroduced his bill after a number of major U.S. companies such as Disney and Toys ‘R’ Us were sued for replacing American workers with foreigners on H-1B visas. In January 2016, Disney was sued in two separate class action lawsuits alleging that American workers were illegally replaced by foreign workers. They were told they had 90 days to train their replacements and if they refused, they were no longer eligible for bonuses or severance packages, according to CNN. Hira says the fact that Americans are being asked to train their replacements debunks the myth that there’s a shortage of skilled American workers. “In dozens of cases — Disney, The Fossil Group, Toys ‘R’ Us, New York Life, Northeast Utilities, etc. — American workers trained their replacements. The American workers were obviously more skilled. The

Immigration advocates complain that U.S. employers must navigate a costly, byzantine legal system to bring in much-needed international talent. They also point out that many H-1B university graduates with advanced degrees are forced to leave the country — and take the know-how they learned in the U.S. back with them — once their visa expires. For many H-1B visa holders hoping to get permanent residency, obtaining a green card can take a decade or longer, even if they’re sponsored by their employer — a backlog that discourages many from applying. And those who do apply cannot be promoted to another job while they wait because that would alter their status, leaving them in career limbo. Yet finding a more permanent solution to America’s patchwork of immigration policies is nearly impossible in today’s hyper-polarized political landscape. “The current [immigration] system is really backlogged and slow,” Julia Gelatt, a senior policy analyst at the Migration Policy Institute (MPI), told The Diplomat. “So I think those delays are why employers have turned to the H-1B visa.” MPI supports a permanent body that would study labor market gaps in the U.S. and adjust immigration policies accordingly, Gelatt said. “We should have an understanding of our needs before setting [a points-based system].”

The Merits of Reform

Photo: Pixabay

American worker was the trainer, possessing more knowledge and skills, and the H-1B worker was the trainee.”

Bridging the Skills Gap Tech companies, however, argue that the skills gap is very real, and hinders their work. “Recent studies by the New American Economy (NAE) found that last year alone there were over 3.3 million open science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) jobs posted online,” wrote Karolina Filipiak in an April 7 commentary for TechWonk Blog. “Moreover, today, it is estimated that there are over half a million open computing jobs across the country. However, in 2015, U.S. universities only graduated 92,172 computer scientists and a quarter of those, 24 percent, were foreign students.” Meanwhile, there is a huge supply of foreign workers trained in computer science. “Job seekers requiring sponsorship showed five times the concentration of interest in tech positions compared to the average U.S. job seeker,” Grace Donnelly reported for Fortune, based on data from the National Center for Education Statistics. New American Economy, a coalition of business leaders and mayors launched by Michael Bloomberg and Rupert Murdoch, says there simply aren’t enough American STEM workers to go around, and that the U.S. is expected to face a shortage of 1 million STEM workers by 2022. “This lack of manpower has real

consequences for the economy — making it difficult for firms to expand and create jobs for American workers at all skill levels,” the coalition says on its website. “In several specialized fields, like physical science and software development, the unemployment rates of U.S.-born STEM workers are particularly low, indicating there are simply not enough U.S.-born workers to meet the needs of employers,” it adds, noting that the unemployment rate of U.S. citizen STEM workers in 2016 was just 2.8 percent. New American Economy also contends that even when STEM jobs are filled by foreigners, it has a ripple effect on the U.S. economy that generates additional jobs for Americans. “Research shows that when a state gains 100 foreign-born STEM workers with graduate-level training from a U.S. school, an average of 262 jobs are created for U.S.-born workers there in the seven years that follow,” according to the coalition. Meanwhile, Compete America, a coalition of mostly tech companies, argues against wholesale change of the immigration system, noting that 27,000 U.S. employers rely on H-1B visas. Like New American Economy, Compete America says the current immigration system is broken — but the solution lies in opening the system up, not closing it shut. They say immigration has helped make the U.S. a global entrepreneurial leader, with some 40 percent of Fortune 500 companies founded by immigrants, including Boeing, McDonald’s, Google and General Electric.

The controversy over H-1B visas parallels the larger question about immigration that Trump’s presidency has sparked: Who is entitled to come to the U.S.? Trump’s vision is to shift America’s immigration system away from accepting people based on family ties to one that attracts highly skilled immigrants who, in theory, can better contribute to the economy. In August, Trump announced his support for the RAISE Act (Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment Act), sponsored by Sens. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and David Perdue (R-Ga.). The bill would slash legal immigration by half within a decade but, its proponents argue, make the country more competitive. While it does not alter the cap on employer-sponsored green cards, the bill would eliminate preference given to extended family members and replace the current diversity lottery with a merit-based points system. Prospective immigrants would earn points for, among other things, having a high-paying job offer, high English test scores, degrees earned in the U.S. with additional points for degrees in a STEM field, or investing at least $1.35 million in the U.S. At the same time, the RAISE Act would make deep cuts to familybased immigration, allowing only spouses and minor children to apply and halving the number of familysponsored immigrants granted permanent residency. The RAISE Act would also lower the cap on green cards issued to family members from 226,000 to 88,000. Supporters of the bill say the current family-based system favors lowskilled immigrants who push down wages for American workers. Critics See H-1B Visas • page 12

THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | October 2017 | 9


WD | Global Vantage Point

Trump Effect in Germany Election Seen as Wider Verdict on Unpopular U.S. President Amid Fears of Transatlantic Rift by Erik Brattberg

G

ermany’s federal election at the end of September, in which Chancellor Angela Merkel won a historic fourth term, became a larger contest about Germany’s role in the world, the enduring appeal of populism and Berlin’s relations with Washington in an era of Donald Trump. In addition to the usual campaigning, this year’s electoral debate was marked by the political noise and unprecedented uncertainty generated by President Trump and his administration, especially regarding the transatlantic relationship. Merkel extended her reign as Europe’s longest-serving leader and her ruling center-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU) won nearly 33 percent of the vote. Still, it was the CDU’s worst showing in 70 years and the far-right nationalist party Alternative for Germany (AfD) won 13 percent of the vote, giving it a seat in parliament for the first time and making it a significant third player in German politics. Meanwhile, CDU’s main rival, the center-left Social Democratic Party (SPD) also experienced a historic loss and said it will now become an opposition force, leaving the grand coalition it had been a part of with Merkel before the election. That will put Merkel in the difficult position of cobbling together a new working coalition that could take months. On the one hand, the vote was a rebuke of Trump in the sense that Germans — bolstered by low unemployment and a fast-growing economy — wanted stability and widely saw Merkel as the steady-handed antithesis to the unpredictable U.S. president. At the same time, Merkel’s decision to open Germany to nearly 1 million refugees and migrants in 2015, many from war-torn Muslim nations, sparked a backlash that buoyed the fortunes of AfD and its anti-immigrant platform, which has echoes of Trump’s nationalist, anti-establishment agenda. But can one speak of a palpable Trump effect on the German electoral debate? If so, what is its nature and what does it foretell about U.S.-German relations going forward? What is clear is that Trump has become a deeply unpopular political figure in Germany, where there is declining confidence in American leadership as a result. Analysts are sure to debate how much Trump’s unpopularity boosted the fortunes of Merkel or, conversely, whether the same forces that brought Trump to power influenced and fed the populist anxieties that contributed to AfD’s victory and continue to upend traditional politics on both sides of the Atlantic. Regardless, Germany will continue to uphold transatlantic ties and coop-

10 | THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | October 2017

Photo: By European People’s Party - Angela Merkel, CC BY 2.0

According to public opinion polls, the outcome of the 2016 U.S. election has had a dramatic and negative effect on German attitudes not only toward the current U.S. president — whom only 11 percent of Germans trust — but also toward the United States in general. erate with Washington where interests align, though Berlin will not hesitate to criticize U.S. policies it strongly disagrees with. How all this plays out will have a significant effect on the future of the transatlantic relationship considering Germany’s growing leadership role and position as a key U.S. ally within the European Union.

German Opinion of Trump According to public opinion polls, the outcome of the 2016 U.S. election has had a dramatic and negative effect on German attitudes not only toward the current U.S. president — whom only 11 percent of Germans trust, according to a June 2017 Pew study — but also toward the United States in general. Germany has the most negative view of the United States in Europe, with 62 percent of Germans holding an unfavorable opinion of America. Compare this to the 64 percent of Germans who held positive views of the United States at the beginning of former President

Barack Obama’s administration and to the 60 percent favorability among Germans early in the George W. Bush years. President Trump has, in a short time, inverted these numbers. Other studies and polls underscore this negative trend. The United States now ranks lower than China and equal to Russia when asked whom Germans consider a trustworthy partner. In fact, a staggering 74 percent of Germans do not think the United States is reliable any more, according to a June 2017 poll by the German political research institute Infratest dimap. Meanwhile, a Forsa survey revealed that 63 percent of Germans would like German-Russian relations to be improved while only 40 percent would like to see similar efforts on behalf of the transatlantic relationship. The German media landscape mirrors this attitude with thorough and overwhelmingly critical coverage of the U.S. president. Trump is depicted as an unpredictable threat to Europe, liberal values and world peace. No fewer than six cover pages of the widely read weekly magazine Der Spiegel have featured Trump in this light so far this year.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, seen above speaking at the 2012 congress of the European People’s Party (EPP), recently won a historic fourth term in office. But a farright, anti-immigrant party also made significant gains, complicating Merkel’s efforts to build a governing coalition.

Meanwhile, German public television has featured talk shows where politicians and experts ponder over questions like, “How Dangerous Is Trump for the World?” and “Trump, Putin, Erdogan — Are They Destroying the World?” Trump’s comments about the protests in Charlottesville, Va., have received particularly strong condemnation in the German debate. Looking at these numbers and trends, one may be reminded of previous times where the United States was similarly unpopular among Germans and political pundits asked whether the end of the transatlantic bond was nigh. One may also consider the underlying but persistent affinity for anti-Americanism in certain segments of German society that has a tendency to flare up with disagreements, such as the Iraq War under George W. Bush and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) controversy and the National Security Agency scandal under Obama. However, with President Trump in office, two things have changed. First, it seems that Germans are no longer simply criticizing specific issues within the transatlantic relationship. Now, they question Germany’s relationship with the United States altogether because Trump is regarded as a potential dan-


ger to the wider liberal democratic order. German foreign policy heavyweights like former Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer and former Ambassador Wolfgang Ischinger have warned about the need to avoid falling into patterns of anti-Americanism and the importance of distinguishing between the U.S. leadership and the rest of the country, but these efforts do not seem to be bearing much fruit. Second, politicians on both sides of the aisle are reacting to this America skepticism and adjusting both their rhetoric and policy proposals accordingly.

Trump’s Influence on German Politics In terms of rhetoric, the most notable Trump effect on the German political debate was Merkel’s much-cited beer hall speech in Bavaria in May 2017. Here, the traditionally low-key chancellor declared that the “times in which we can fully count on others are to a certain extent over” and called for Europe to “take our fate into our own hands.” However, it is important to note that this was not the first time Merkel had distanced herself from the United States under Trump. She did so back in January 2017, calling for a stronger Europe after President Trump referred to NATO as “obsolete.” With the Bavaria speech, Merkel primarily aimed to portray herself as vigorously pro-European and in favor of strategically strengthening the EU — both a core component of her ruling CDU and a popular position among German voters, especially following the victory of President Emmanuel Macron in the French elections. Merkel’s remarks did not signal a desire to quit the transatlantic relationship, given her other comments about the need to continue working with the United States and her ongoing efforts to engage with Trump’s administration. Nevertheless, Merkel’s Bavarian moment was certainly the first time she felt the need to be clear and outspoken on the current lack of transatlantic trust and get more in sync with the country’s increasingly anti-American electorate. In German politics, this is big news, especially considering that the chancellor’s conservative party traditionally holds the most U.S.-friendly attitudes among all German parties. Across the political aisle, Merkel’s main rival for the chancellery and SPD frontrunner, Martin Schulz, took on a much harsher and more outspoken stance against Trump and his administration. Schulz repeatedly criticized Trump’s “erratic political style,” compared him to Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Hungary’s Viktor Orbán, and accused him of political blackmail. Following Schulz’s example, it has become fashionable within the SPD — by tradition less pro-American than its main rival, the CDU — to question Washington’s transatlantic initiatives and intentions. Since the beginning of this campaign, the Social Democrats have broken with Germany’s pledge to bring Berlin’s defense spending up from its current 1.22 percent of GDP toward NATO’s required 2 percent — something the party originally agreed to in 2014. German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel (of the SPD) called the 2 percent goal “completely unrealistic” and said Germany’s federal election will prove to be a “referendum on whether Germany remains a peaceful power or joins Trump’s warfare madness.” Additionally, in response to new U.S. sanctions against Russia, German Economy Minister Brigitte Zypries (also of the SPD) urged the EU to consider countermeasures against the United States. While the new sanctions are widely unpopular both across German party lines and with the German public, it is rare for a sitting German politician to openly threaten retaliation against the United States. While the rising anti-Americanism in Germany under Trump is striking, it did not translate into a bump for the SPD, which only received about 20 percent of the vote, a postwar low.

troops to NATO’s mission in Afghanistan could prove to be a hard sell domestically.

Working with Trump Where Possible While Merkel’s standing has taken a hit, the next German government will continue to engage with the Trump administration on an issue-by-issue basis. Notable areas where there is potential for fruitful collaboration include (but are not limited to) the Ukraine crisis, intelligence and counterterrorism efforts, and the broader transatlantic defense architecture under NATO. Managing the Ukraine crisis will continue to be a key foreign policy priority for Germany. Hence, any signals that the U.S. administration might step up its own direct role and try to resolve the conflict pursuant to the Minsk agreement are welcome in Berlin, but any move by Washington to supply arms to the Ukrainian military would be met with skepticism. Credit: Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead Intelligence sharing for combatting terrorism is not a new issue on the U.S.-German agenda. President Donald Trump accompanies German Chancellor Angela Merkel as she signs the guest book in the Roosevelt Room during her official visit to the White House on March 17. On this front, the two countries are expected to NOTE: Although every effort is made to assure your and ad isexpand free of mistakes in spelling continue their cooperation, which and Trump could be a liability for the nextup chancelStaying on the German Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière content it is ultimately to the customer to make the final proof. lor. The mixed results of the September election described as “excellent” in May 2017, shortly afAtlanticist Course the odd position of, on the ter Merkel’s Bavaria speech. Thehave firstput twoMerkel faxedinchanges will be made at no cost to the advertiser, subsequent changes one hand, being mindful of the strong public BerlinSigned and Washington can also be expected With both political elites and broader Ger- will be billed at a rate of $75 per faxed alteration. ads are considered approved. man public sentiment having become markedly sentiment against Trump, and on the other to continue their close work on transatlantic listening to the concerns of voters who security under NATO. Despite Trump’s initial more critical of the United States under Trump, hand,Please check this ad carefully. Mark any changes to your ad. what effect, if any, will this have on Berlin’s ap- embraced Trump’s populist-style politics, espe- criticism of the alliance, his failure to mention cially in light of Germany’s upcoming regional Article 5 during remarks at the new NATO proach toward Washington after the election? If the ad is correct sign and fax to: (301) 949-0065 elections (the next one is slated to take place in headquarters needs in Maychanges and his strong words The answer will, of course, depend partially Lower Saxony on Oct. 15, 2017). Moreover, any about Germany’s lack of defense contributions, on the outcome of the election. If the SPD keeps attempt to convince the public to(301) support933-3552 new Germany is emerging as one of Washington’s The Washington Diplomat its promise and refuses to enter into a grand transatlantic initiatives could be an uphill battle. key European defense policy partners. coalition with the CDU, Merkel will have difin point, the TTIP trade agreement The strong desire from Washington for Gerficulties assembling a working coalition. ItApproved is As a case __________________________________________________________ too early to say whether the vote will result in a was highly controversial in Germany despite many to step up its defense spending has been Changes being___________________________________________________________ pursued by Obama, a relatively popular noted by German officials — even before Trump three-way coalition between the conservatives, the pro-business Free Democratic Party and___________________________________________________________________ the American president at the time. A similar trade took office. Over the past several years, Merkel left-leaning Green Party, although such part- initiative or, for instance, a request from the See Ger man y • page 12 ners have vastly different political ideologies, White House for Germany to contribute more which will make governing more challenging. Merkel will also need to address the fears over unfettered immigration, globalization, capitalism and EU elites that helped propel the rightwing AfD to power. Yet regardless of which coalition is eventually formed, Berlin will remain committed to the transatlantic partnership going forward, despite Trump’s overwhelming unpopularity in Solaire Bethesda on Woodmont Germany. The recent meeting between German Foreign Minister Gabriel and his U.S. counterpart Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in Washington, in which Gabriel struck a more diplomatic tone, underscores this argument. There is no foreseeable scenario in which the next German government would turn away from engaging with Washington as its top partner outside of Europe. Most mainstream German political leaders remain keenly aware of the essential role the United States has played in supporting modern-day Germany and the European project to date. They also appreciate the vital part that the United States plays in upholding the liberal international order. Based on this, it is still widely accepted that there is no real alternative to engagement with the U.S. president despite strong disagreement with many of Trump’s policies and antics. If anything, German officials are likely to be A simple step outside Solaire Bethesda on Woodmont will put you at the even more proactive in explaining their views threshold of nearly 200 restaurants, 20 art galleries, two live theatres, to their American counterparts, and it seems probable that the German chancellor will be parks, and some of the best shopping in the Washington, DC Metro Area. even more active in engaging the administration after the election, even in areas where there is disagreement. Merkel would likely take it upon herself to try to ensure that the transatlantic relationship does not reach a breaking point and that policy schisms are carefully managed. She would also be expected to use her formidable leadership standing to promote a better atmosphere between European capitals and Washington. WWW.SOLAIREBETHESDA.COM At the same time, Germany’s strong do7077 Woodmont Avenue, Bethesda MD 20814 | 240.614.9030 mestic opposition to Trump, which is likely to persist, means that being seen as too close to

An eclectic neighborhood

convenient to Bethesda Row

THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | October 2017 | 11


changes, such as altering the EU treaty, in the short term. Moreover, enthusiasm for the European project has clearly waned among those who supported AfD and in other EU nations where populist parties have made significant inroads.

Germany COnTInued • page 11

has continuously acknowledged the need for Germany to meet the 2 percent spending target, albeit gradually.

u.S.-geRMan ReLaTIOnS In an age OF TRuMp

ReMaInIng vOCaL abOuT dISagReeMenTS Germany has not been afraid of voicing its disagreements with Washington in the past. Notable examples include the Iraq War in 2003 and the NSA spying scandal in 2013. What is different from these past clashes is that under Trump, Berlin and Washington are now at loggerheads over a whole host of issues. On matters that Germany feels particularly strongly about, such as global trade, climate change, the Iran nuclear agreement and U.S. sanctions against European energy companies, the next German government can be expected to continue not holding back criticism against the Trump administration. On trade, the administration’s protectionist ambitions have Germany concerned. While the White House seems to have moved away from the controversial border adjustment tax idea, the issue of Germany’s bilateral trade surplus means that trade is likely to continue to be a sticking point in the U.S.-German relationship, especially given the importance Trump attaches to the issue. Moreover, the administration’s threat to impose new steel sanctions alarms Berlin because it could hit European companies and undermine the World Trade Organization and, consequently, the broader multilateral trading order. Given the strong German consensus on the importance of free and open global trade, one should therefore expect the chancellor to not hold back when it comes to criticizing the United States on this matter. At the same time, Berlin will continue to prod the administration to moderate its protectionist instincts, including efforts to engage the United States in the G7 and G20. While the TTIP negotiations are moribund for now, it is possible that the issue of transatlantic trade could

pHOTO: by MFIeLd, MaTTHeW FIeLd, HTTp://WWW.pHOTOgRapHy.MaTTFIeLd.COM; edIT by WaugSbeRg (ROTaTIOn 0,4°) - OWn WORk, gFdL 1.2

The Reichstag building is home to germany’s parliament, known as the bundestag. In the recent election, Chancellor angela Merkel’s ruling Christian democratic union won the most seats but will still have to form a coalition with other parties to govern.

return to the agenda in some fashion during the next four years. On climate change, Trump’s announcement of the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement sent shockwaves through Berlin. In response, Germany — together with France and Italy — has already rejected Trump’s proposal to negotiate a less ambitious version of the deal. Instead, Berlin has started engaging directly with U.S. states and local authorities, as well as with the American private sector and nongovernmental organizations. Bypassing the White House when such disagreements occur is likely to become more common in the next four years. As for the Iran nuclear agreement, it is important to note that, across party lines, Germany regards the deal as one of the biggest victories of diplomacy in recent years. For Berlin, it not only proved the benefits of a nonmilitary approach, but also reopened the door for expanding economic ties between Berlin and Tehran. Trump, on the other side, described it as one of the “the worst deals ever.” His decision on whether to stick to the current agreement will be made after the 90-day White House review period ends in mid-October. If he does not uphold the deal, Berlin can be expected to strongly voice its disagreement. While this would not be the first time Germany and the United States would be at odds over Iran, it would certainly be regarded in Berlin as yet another serious crack

H-1B Visas COnTInued • page 9

counter that the bill would cause serious labor shortages that would hurt U.S. businesses and weaken economic growth. Notably, the RAISE Act’s proposed points system would favor those who already have H-1B visas. “Under the RAISE Act’s allocation of more points for a higherpaying job offer, English skills, and a U.S.-based STEM degree, those already studying in the United States or working on an H-1B visa would remain at a strong advantage for an employment-based green card,” Gelatt wrote in a recent report on MPI’s website. “The countries that have the most H-1B workers — India and China — and those that send the most students to the United States — China, India, Saudi Arabia and South Korea — would thus likely dominant the points-based visas system,” she added. Perdue’s office did not return requests for comment and a spokesperson for Cotton declined to provide a statement, saying the RAISE Act “doesn’t impact H-1B visas at all.” While the bill ostensibly would bring more skilled immigrants to the U.S., tech companies have come out against it. The Information Technology Industry Council — whose members include Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google — released a statement opposing the RAISE Act. 12 | THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | OcTObEr 2017

in American reliability. On the issue of U.S. extraterritorial sanctions against Russia, Berlin has strongly criticized the bipartisan congressional bill that Trump signed. Germany is concerned the bill seeks to target European energy companies working on projects that involve Russia. In particular, there are concerns that the bill will target the Russian energy firm Gazprom’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline over the Baltic Sea, which Germany supports. While the project is more popular among SPD leaders, with former SPD politician and German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder serving as board chairman of Nord Stream AG, even Merkel has been careful not to oppose it. As a result, energy policy is likely to represent an area where the United States and Germany will butt heads.

geRMany’S eFFORTS TO STRengTHen euROpe As a kind of partial insurance policy against the growing uncertainty and disruption surrounding U.S. foreign policy under Trump, one can anticipate that the German chancellor will likely devote significant attention to shoring up the European project. The EU serves as Berlin’s primary vehicle for exerting global leadership. Germany will likely intensify its efforts to strengthen and reform fiscal, monetary and foreign policy

within the EU framework. Special attention will be paid to tapping into the positive momentum generated by the election of Macron in France for strengthening the Franco-German partnership and exploring potential eurozone reforms. This will likely manifest itself in a range of policy areas. Berlin will push the EU to play a greater leadership role in the absence of the United States on global trade and climate change. Germany also will continue to bolster European defense capabilities. However, it would be a mistake to expect a muscular German foreign policy. Germany and Europe will stay dependent on the United States and NATO for the foreseeable future, and the German public is likely to remain incredibly wary of any domestic German military initiative. Berlin defines itself and its strength primarily through the EU, speaking of its responsibilities and contributions in relation to the EU but rarely about German leadership. For that very reason, however, Berlin will likely continue to promote and support collaborative European defense initiatives beyond the NATO framework, such as the European Defense Fund or the option of permanent structured cooperation (PESCO), not to substitute but to complement the transatlantic alliance. The drawback to Germany’s preference for a multilateral approach is that EU reform is a long process and one should not expect any dramatic

“[N]ot only can we not find enough STEM-skilled Americans to fill open roles, our broken system stops us from keeping the best and brightest innovators here in the U.S. and instead we lose out to our overseas competitors,” the statement reads. Likewise, Compete America says the bill does nothing to address the fact that the U.S. needs more, not fewer, foreign workers. “This legislation fails on two fronts,” Corley of Compete America said in a statement. “First, the RAISE Act doesn’t ‘raise’ the number of highly skilled-worker green cards necessary to ensure that the U.S. can in fact compete in a global economy. It doesn’t take into account the shortages businesses are currently facing and will lead to unfair competition and downward pressure on wages for U.S. workers. “Second, this legislation shifts our immigration system to a big government, top-down, bureaucrats-know-best approach, with Washington, D.C. telling American employers who they should hire,” he added. Dick Costolo, the former CEO of Twitter, agreed that tech companies — not D.C. bureaucrats — should be the arbiters of who earns an H-1B visa. “We go through ridiculous interview processes to try to find precisely the right people,” Costolo told CNBC, arguing that immigration officials aren’t as qualified to determine who will be the best hire for a tech company. “The kinds of engineers we’re looking for are getting more and more specific,” he said. “Folks are looking for specific kinds of machine-learning expertise, specific kinds of natural language

The arrival of Donald Trump in the White House has been like a series of lightning bolts across European debates and thinking. However, its actual effect on politics and foreign policy is muddled and, in some cases, modest. In Germany’s domestic debate, anti-American sentiment is rising and the traditional role of the United States is increasingly questioned, but there was no apparent Trump effect in derailing Merkel’s re-election. Still, Trump-inspired populism and nationalism clearly has an enduring appeal in Europe and Germany. Moreover, the list of disagreements between Germany and the United States has grown, and Trump is undeniably affecting how Germany is going to position itself toward its partner across the Atlantic in the next couple of years. After the election in September, Merkel, now in office for 12 years, will have increased confidence to speak out against Washington in times of disagreement, while bolstering engagement efforts where possible, with an eye toward keeping the rocky aspects of the transatlantic relationship at bay and strengthening the EU’s international voice. Merkel will have her work cut out for her and will have to tread carefully for this dual strategy to pan out. WD Erik Brattberg is director of the Europe Program and a fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington. Viola Meyerweissflog, who contributed to this article, is a research assistant in the Europe Program. This article originally appeared Aug. 31, 2017, online at carnegieendowment.org and is reprinted with permission from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and was updated on Sept. 24 to reflect the outcome of the election results.

processing expertise, specific kinds of experience with backend technology stacks.” The RAISE Act faces a very uncertain future in a jam-packed Congress, but the vocal debate over immigration that Trump has stirred already seems to be having an effect. Since Trump took office, interest in American jobs from those who qualify for H-1B visas has declined, according to data from the job site Indeed. While Indians have made up 70 percent of H-1B visa recipients in the last 10 years, visa applications from India declined in fiscal 2017 for the first time since 2009. And those who are already here may be looking to leave. According to analysis by Deloitte, a consulting firm, the number of Indians in the U.S. searching for jobs back home in India increased tenfold from 600 in December 2016 to about 7,000 in March 2017. Meanwhile, other nations are hoping to step in to fill the void. Canada recently launched a Global Skills Strategy to expedite visas for foreign workers with specific technology or business skills. An earlier program, Go North, is designed to entice workers from Silicon Valley to come to Canada, home to 71,000 tech companies. The efforts may be paying off. According to Indeed, for the first half of 2017, Canada was the most searched destination for H-1B visa jobseekers on the site, with 44 percent of traffic directed there. WD Ryan R. Migeed (@RyanMigeed) is a freelance writer based in Boston. Anna Gawel (@diplomatnews) is managing editor of The Washington Diplomat.


Cover Profile | WD

Still BFFs? Envoy Says U.S. Remains Canada’s ‘Best Friend,’ Despite Drama over NAFTA by Anna Gawel

C

anadian Ambassador David MacNaughton calls the U.S. his country’s “best friend” and “closest ally.” But he warns that friendship is a two-way street — and should not be taken for granted. Canadians could be forgiven for feeling a bit underappreciated these days. President Trump hasn’t exactly been friendly to some of America’s most stalwart allies, shunning countries like Germany and Australia while cozying up to Saudi Arabia and Russia. Trump built a winning campaign around an inward “America first” agenda that put many foreign governments on high alert, including Canada. So Ottawa has launched a full-court charm offensive to remind Americans how much they need their neighbor to the north, which is bound to them by geography, values, security and trade — a lot of it. Canada and the U.S. not only share the longest border between any two countries in the world, they are also inextricably linked by the huge volume of goods and services that flow across that border each day. In 2016, bilateral trade reached $635 billion. That amounts to a staggering $2 billion in goods and services traded each day. Canada, in fact, is America’s largest-single export market, buying more U.S. goods than China, Japan and the U.K. combined. But closeness can breed complacency, MacNaughton said, “like when you’ve got a really good friend, or you’re in a marriage, and if you take it for granted, you don’t end up with a good friend and you don’t end up with a marriage. You actually have to work at these things. And so I think we needed to really begin the process of systematically re-engaging with all elements of U.S. society,” the ambassador told The Diplomat during a recent interview at his office in the Canadian Embassy overlooking Capitol Hill. “So whether it was in Congress, whether it was at the state level, whether it was even at the municipal level, we needed to reinforce with the decisionmakers in both the public sector and the private sector the importance of the relationship between Canada and the United States — the fact that we have $2 billion a day in trade, that there are 400,000 people a day that go back and forth across the border and, most importantly, that there are 9 million jobs in the United States that are dependent on trade and investment from Canada. We deliberately decided that we would do that and that’s what we’ve been doing ever since.”

Taking Aim at NAFTA That decision was spurred by Presi-

dent Trump’s threats to erect protectionist barriers and tear down what he calls the “worst trade deal” in history: NAFTA, the landmark 1994 agreement between the U.S., Canada and Mexico that integrated the North American market, removing tariffs on a range of products from cars to corn to clothing. Since NAFTA’s enactment, regional trade and cross-border investment among the three countries has tripled to over $1 trillion. The pact serves as a bedrock of U.S.-Canada relations and helped modernize Mexico’s economy. It created a highly interconnected supply chain that made North America a more competitive bloc globally. At the same time, it accelerated a transformation that was already taking place in the U.S. manufacturing sector, which has been buffeted by the forces of globalization and automation. While NAFTA did not precipitate the enormous American job losses that some economists feared, like any trade deal, it produced winners and losers. U.S. farmers benefited from increased market access to Canada and Mexico, but many automotive jobs shifted to cheaper factories in Mexico. Blue-collar resentment over free trade helped propel Trump to the White House, where he promptly withdrew from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a sweeping trade pact with 11 Pacific-Rim nations, before setting his sights on NAFTA. Despite repeatedly vowing to withdraw from NAFTA, Trump announced in April that he would renegotiate and

Photo: Lawrence Ruggeri

The only thing I’d say to Americans is when you look around the world and you see all the challenges that we face, whether it’d be in North Korea or Iran or Russia or terrorism, working more closely with your friends is a good idea. David MacNaughton ambassador of Canada to the United States

modernize the accord (also see “NAFTA 2.0: Prodded by Trump, U.S., Canada and Mexico Prepare to Renegotiate Trade Deal” in the August 2017 issue of The Diplomat). Most experts agree that NAFTA could use updating. It was forged before the rise of the internet, so it doesn’t address the growing digital economy, and many provisions on labor, the environment and intellectual property rights are outdated. Talks began in August, with a third round taking place in Ottawa last month

despite Trump’s ongoing threats to terminate the deal. Many experts are skeptical that the U.S. will ultimately walk away, warning that such a move would cause massive economic disruptions, hurt American exporters and raises prices for consumers on everything from berries to trucks. Potential areas of dispute include Washington’s demands to remove “nontariff ” barriers to U.S. agricultural exports such as price undercutting — a direct aim at Canada’s dairy industry — raise U.S.-made content in NAFTA

products and scrap a dispute settlement mechanism that has often ruled in Canada’s favor.

Marathon, Not a Sprint MacNaughton says Canada — which relies on the U.S. for 70 percent of its trade — is open to renegotiating all aspects of the deal. “Anything where there’s a good idea that’s going to benefit all parties, then we’re happy to do it,” he told us. But he warns that talks won’t be easy and Canada won’t rush into a bad deal. He also says NAFTA is part of a much larger backlash against globalization and capitalism that will be around for the foreseeable future. “This is not going to be a sprint; this is a marathon, because some of this protectionist, nationalist sentiment … is going to go on for some time — in part because of the remarkable transformation in our economy.” To that end, MacNaughton said he sympathizes with the frustrations and fears that deals like NAFTA have engenSee Can ada • page 14 THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | October 2017 | 13


Photo: By Presidencia de la República Mexicana https://www.flickr.com/photos/presidenciamx/27909376261/, CC BY 2.0

Picture of better days: From left, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and U.S. President Barack Obama meet on June 29, 2016. Since U.S. President Donald Trump came to office, he has vowed to renegotiate, and possibly “rip up,” NAFTA, the landmark 1994 trade agreement that linked the economies of the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

Canada Continued • page 13

dered. He also readily admits that trade liberalization, technology and globalization will fundamentally reshape how we work and live. “The reality is that every aspect of our lives is being changed by technology, and that is going to lead to people feeling uncertain. There are going to be some adjustments to people’s jobs, and it’s always easier to point the finger at someone else rather than try to figure out how you’re going to solve the problem together.” He also said this is not a new phenomenon. A veteran political strategist, MacNaughton recalled the fierce battle over the U.S.-Canada free trade agreement, NAFTA’s predecessor, in the run-up to Canada’s 1988 election. “And what the critics said was that we were going to lose thousands of manufacturing jobs, because the manufacturing sector in Canada was set up to serve the Canadian market behind high-tariff walls,” MacNaughton explained. “So there was a great debate. And there were places like Kitchener-Waterloo [in southern Ontario] that had thousands of jobs dependent on light manufacturing, and they said those jobs were going to go. And you know what? They were right. They left. But in their place, there were manufacturing jobs that ended up being created, where people became North American competitive and then globally competitive…. And, in fact, in Kitchener-Waterloo, it has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the whole country. It reinvented itself as a technology hub and high-end manufacturing.” The ambassador noted

that he grew up in Hamilton, Ontario, a hub of steel mills. “There were 17,000 jobs in the steel industry. Fewer than 1,000 are there now. So there’s no question that it has had an impact, and we have to do a better job of both dealing with those who through no fault of their own end up losing their jobs, but also in the future, when this is going to happen more and more, we have to make sure we’re investing in education and training so that our young people are resilient,” he said. “Anybody who thinks the job that they have when they get out of university is going to be the last job for the rest of their life, those days are gone.”

Photo: Pixabay

The reflection of skyscrapers bounces off Toronto Harbour in this Canadian city that’s home to 2.8 million people and is a thriving international hub of business and finance. Canada’s economy is strong and is projected to record 3 percent growth in 2017. The country remains highly dependent on trade with the U.S. and on NAFTA, the trade agreement that created a tightly connected North American market where everything from cars, below, to clothes could pass between the U.S., Canada and Mexico tariff-free.

Canada’s ‘War Room’ It’s a tough, almost undiplomatic message, but MacNaughton is uniquely suited to convey it. The ambassador, who presented his credentials in March 2016, has years of public affairs experience under his belt. In the 1980s, he transformed Canada’s public affairs industry by building an organization that combined government relations, public opinion research and public relations. After selling his business in 1989, he became president of Canada’s largest government and public relations firm and subsequently North American president of Hill+Knowlton Strategies, a global PR firm. His public sector experience includes serving as advisor to the minister at the Departments of Transport, Industry and Foreign Affairs, as well as principal secretary to the premier of Ontario. He also served as chairman of StrategyCorp Inc. from 2005 to his appointment in 2016. Since coming to Washington, MacNaughton has been dispatched to meet with officials throughout the U.S.,

14 | THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | October 2017

Photo: Pixabay

Photo: Pixabay

including California, Colorado, Michigan, Georgia, Florida, Massachusetts, New York, Nevada and Washington state. MacNaughton’s PR savvy is key to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s larger effort to woo Americans and prevent NAFTA from collapsing. That’s because no matter how friendly relations are between Canada and the U.S., Trump’s threats to “rip up” NAFTA are fighting words. So Trudeau has assembled a “war room” of sorts, according to reports in The New York Times, Toronto Sun and elsewhere. This unit within the prime minister’s office consists of Brian Clow, a veteran political operative; Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia

Freeland, a former journalist; MacNaughton; and others. “The Canada-U.S. unit resembles a campaign war room in several ways, though its members hate the term. It gathers data on key constituencies — for instance, it collects American politicians’ opinions on issues and plugs them into a database. It conducts outreach. It coordinates rapid response,” wrote the Canadian Press’s Alexander Panetta in the Aug. 20 article “Inside Canada’s squad to save NAFTA from being blown up by Donald Trump.” “All the relationship-building of recent months where ministers crisscrossed the U.S. for hundreds of meetings would suddenly be deployed in the event of a crisis,” Panet-

ta explained. “For example: Should Trump try ending NAFTA, instructions might quickly go out to Canadian minister X to call U.S. state governor Y to lobby friendly Washington official Z.” That strategy was deployed when New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo introduced a “buy American” provision for state contracts in his budget. Officials in neighboring Ontario, which New York relies on heavily for trade, quietly warned that they would reciprocate and the measure was eventually watered down. While MacNaughton would not call this unit a “war room,” he admits that Trudeau has launched a concerted effort to reach out to mayors, governors and other grassroots officials throughout the U.S. He recalled attending a retreat hosted by Trudeau last summer, before the U.S. election, where the prime minister decided to focus on areas where the U.S.

and Canada agree, instead of “zeroing in on the areas where we didn’t.” “You could spend a whole year talking about all the things that we agree on and not ever get to the things that we don’t,” MacNaughton said. “So we identified what were the areas where we could have common ground and deliberately began to have discussions with the newly elected government and some of the transition team.” Today, he said Canada has “developed really good relationships with this administration,” noting that the “prime minister gets along with the president” and has met with Vice President Mike Pence. He said that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross also get along well with Minister Freeland. “Our finance minister went to Secretary [of the Treasury Steve] Mnuchin’s wedding. Gen. [John] Kelly and our public


safety minister talk frequently,” he said. “There are areas of understandable tension, but 95 percent of the relationship works really well.” But at the moment, the White House — besieged by Russia investigations, infighting, inexperience and an impetuous president — is not working very well. According to Max Fisher of The New York Times, Trudeau’s “doughnut” strategy is to work around the dysfunction in the White House by going straight to America’s mayors, governors, members of Congress and the business community. MacNaughton did not comment on whether Trudeau was avoiding the chaos consuming Trump, but he did say that he sees more getting done at the gubernatorial level, where Democrats and Republicans are working together to tackle issues such as climate change. At the same time, “There’s always partisan tensions. That’s politics. It happens in Canada too,” MacNaughton said. “I think that with my background in terms of communications and politics, I do understand the pressures that are on politicians, and therefore if you’re going to try … to advocate for something, the most important thing you can actually do is to put yourself in their shoes.” When dealing with clients in his former life, MacNaughton said he had three rules: “One is get to know people on a non-crisis basis so when there’s a crisis, you developed a bit of trust. Second of all, frame your advocacy in a way which responds to what their agenda is, not to what your agenda is. And third thing is find third-parties who are going to advocate on behalf of the cause that you’re representing. “So all of our cabinet ministers have tried to get to know their [U.S.] counterparts, not in a crisis, but get to know them personally. Secondly, we tried to frame our arguments in

canada at a Glance National Day July 1 (1867) Location northern north america, bordering the north atlantic Ocean on the east, north pacific Ocean on the west, and the arctic Ocean on the north, north of the conterminous u.S.

GDP growth 1.4 percent (2016 estimate)

Capital Ottawa

Unemployment 7.1 percent (2016 estimate)

Population 35.6 million (July 2017 estimate)

Population below poverty line 9.4 percent

Ethnic groups Canadian 32.2 percent, english 19.8 percent, French 15.5 percent, Scottish 14.4 percent, Irish 13.8 percent, german 9.8 percent, Italian 4.5 percent, Chinese 4.5 percent, north american Indian 4.2 percent, other 50.9 percent

(2008 estimate represents the low-income cutoff rate; Canada does not have an official poverty line)

GDP (purchasing power parity) $1.6 trillion (2016 estimate)

GDP per-capita (PPP) $46,400 (2016 estimate)

terms of advocacy in ways that are understood by Americans, i.e. it’s in your interests, not only our interests. And thirdly, we’ve been able to engage third-party Americans to say, ‘Yes, this is important.’” MacNaughton told us. “I’m optimistic that we will continue to have a robust trading relationship with the United States of America because I think it’s in both our interests to do so,” he added. “And that’s what we’re working toward, but a negotiation is a negotiation. A negotiation involves give and take. It doesn’t involve take, take, take.”

gIve and Take MacNaughton said that any changes to NAFTA have to be mutually beneficial, hint-

Industries Transportation equipment, chemicals, processed and unprocessed minerals, food products, wood and paper products, fish products, petroleum, natural gas National flag of Canada SOuRCe: CIa WORLd FaCTbOOk

ing that the U.S. wants its cake and eat it too by prying open Canada’s market while closing its own. For example, he cited wide gaps in government procurement between the two countries. “Something like almost 10 percent of [Canadian] government contracts go to Americans. We get [point] .15 percent of the contracts in the United States and the United States is looking at tightening those up,” he said, noting that “buy America” policies will lead Canadian provinces to ask, “Why would we allow American companies to bid on these projects when they’re discriminating against our companies?” MacNaughton also points out that unlike Mexico, the U.S. has a negligible trade deficit

with Canada (roughly $12 billion). In fact, when it comes to manufactured goods that don’t include energy, “the U.S. had a trade surplus with Canada of $34 billion. So the reality is that our trade with the United States is not only balanced,” but in some areas favors the U.S. The White House counters that Ottawa tips the scales in other ways, arguing that Canada unfairly subsidizes its dairy industry and the sale of softwood lumber to the U.S., two longstanding irritants in the bilateral relationship that predate NAFTA. In April, Trump slapped tariffs of up to 24 percent on Canadian softwood lumber companies, which tend to be government-owned and thus pay less royalties, as opposed to privately owned American companies. Likewise, the administration says that Canada’s supply-management system imposes high tariffs and quotas on dairy imports to keep domestic prices high and protect the country’s powerful farming industry. For Canadians, Washington’s talk of subsidies is a bit like the pot calling the kettle black. MacNaughton argues that the U.S. subsidizes many of its industries (including dairy) in various ways. He said Canada is prepared to have an “honest” conversation about “what constitutes a subsidy, and then we can set up an independent body to police that.” But he said U.S. industry shot down that idea. “Because that’s actually not what the issue is,” the ambassador contends. “The issue is that U.S. industry wants managed trade. They want to limit Canada’s exports to the United States to a defined market share. It doesn’t have anything to do with subsidies — never has. What we’ve said is we’re prepared to have that discussion. And we’re prepared to negotiate a market See c an ada • page 16

Open House Fall 2017 Date: Wednesday, November 8 Time: Session 1: 9.00am - 10.30am Session 2: 1.00pm - 2.30pm

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THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | OcTObEr 2017 | 15


Canada COnTInued • page 15

share which is lower than what our traditional market share has been, and we put that on the table.” What Canada is pushing for, however, is the right to export more during a “hot market,” such as a housing boom, when American companies can’t keep up with increased demand. On that note, MacNaughton lamented that recent tariffs imposed on Canadian softwood lumber haven’t necessarily resulted in more business for American companies, but rather benefited foreign countries. “Right now, imports of lumber to the United States from Germany have increased 10-fold since the tariffs went in, and they’ve tripled from Russia, so I guess our question is, ‘Why do you actually want to reward the Russians rather than your best friend and your best ally?’” He also noted that this is the fifth lumber dispute since 1982, and that “every time there’s been an independent investigation, it’s ruled in Canada’s favor. We have no doubt that if it happened again, it would rule in Canada’s favor.” Yet that’s precisely what has Trump up in arms. The administration wants to get rid of NAFTA’s Chapter 19 dispute settlement mechanism, which it says erodes U.S. sovereignty. Normally, U.S. trade courts can levy anti-dumping taxes or other duties on foreign companies found to be selling products at ultra-low or subsidized prices. But NAFTA countries can appeal such decisions through the Chapter 19 mechanism, which is made up of trade experts from both disputing countries. It was a key element in NAFTA’s creation, but the fact that Canada has disproportionately emerged victorious in these cases has angered some U.S. businesses. MacNaughton says “you need to have some kind of way to resolve disputes in trade agreements.” “We’re happy to have the United States agree to resolve disputes in Canadian courts but the United States probably wouldn’t want that. And neither would we want all disputes resolved in U.S. courts. So we’re prepared to see the dispute resolution mechanism improve, modernize, whatever, but the notion of having a trade agreement that doesn’t have a way to resolve disputes doesn’t make any sense.” Whether the U.S. and Canada can come to some consensus on thorny issues such as tariffs and subsidies in such a short timeframe is another matter. Negotiators want to wrap up the current NAFTA talks by the end of the year to avoid clashing with 2018 elections in the U.S. and Mexico. Congress would also still need to approve any modified pact, another huge hurdle. That comes on top of a pressing to-do list for Capitol Hill and the White House that includes a December deadline to pass a budget to keep the government funded, raise the debt ceiling and come up with a relief package to help victims of Hurri-

pHOTO: pIxabay

economist say that if the u.S. withdraws from naFTa, consumer prices could increase on everything from trucks to berries.

pHOTO: by OFFICe OF THe pReSIdenT OF THe unITed STaTeS - @ReaLdOnaLdTRuMp On TWITTeR

Canadian prime Minister Justin Trudeau meets u.S. president donald Trump in d.C. in February earlier this year. after Trump repeatedly railed against naFTa on the campaign trail, Canada, the u.S. and Mexico entered talks this summer to renegotiate the trade pact.

canes Harvey, Irma and Maria — not to mention Trump’s ambitious tax overhaul and potentially reviving the GOP push to repeal Obamacare. At any point, Trump could also call it quits on NAFTA. Legally, he’s only obligated to give Canada and Mexico six months’ notice before exiting the trade agreement. Unruffled, MacNaughton took a sanguine view of the political brawls sure to take place this fall down the road from his embassy on Pennsylvania Avenue. “You’ll be shocked by this. There may be some drama around it [NAFTA],” he said with a wry smile. “It’s not any more complicated than health care or tax reform or debt ceilings. It’s all pretty simple stuff. So yeah, I’m sure there’s going to be some drama.” When asked if Canada has a Plan B if the NAFTA talks fail, MacNaughton grew more pensive. “We have thought about all eventualities. It’d be irresponsible not to,” he replied. “But our focus is on achieving what the vice president of the United States said in Rhode Island in June, which is that the goal of the NAFTA modernization should create a winwin-win for all three countries. And I think he’s right and I think that’s exactly what we’re trying to do.”

FORgIng ITS OWn paTH In the meantime, Canada is grappling with other problems at home, some indirectly related to Trump’s election. The country has seen an influx of thousands of asylum-seekers pour across its border this year, many fearing deportation under Trump’s immigration crackdown. Montreal’s Olympic stadium was even converted into a temporary shelter. Most sneak into Canada at unguarded locations to avoid official checkpoints and skirt around laws that force migrants to apply for asylum in the country where they arrived. MacNaughton said the government is “working with the United States to try to stem the flow” of

16 | THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | OcTObEr 2017

pHOTO: LaRRy LuxneR

The Canadian flag flies in front of the notre dame basilica in Montréal, Québec.

would-be asylum-seekers and discourage them from the idea that coming to Canada is some kind of “get-out-of-jail-free card.” But the recent influx is “separate” from Canada’s longstanding tradition of accepting refugees, a policy embraced by Trudeau, who famously tweeted after Trump’s election: “To those fleeing persecution, terror & war, Canadians will welcome you, regardless of your faith. Diversity is our strength.” In stark contrast to Trump’s travel ban on six Muslim-majority nations, Canada had resettled 40,000 Syrian refugees as of January this year. MacNaughton said Canada’s embrace of refugees — and diversity in general — hasn’t inspired the kind of populist backlash seen in Europe. Because many Syrian refugees are sponsored by local church or community groups, they have “a vested interest and a real desire to get those people integrated into the society.” The ambassador’s own sister was part of a church effort to sponsor a Syrian family, helping the family learn English, find work and even raising tens of thousands of dollars for rent. Such programs are part of Canada’s extensive outreach to ensure that refugees assimilate but still retain their distinct cultures. “When

you have that, then the family actually feels that they’re part of society,” MacNaughton said, noting that previous waves of immigrants, such as Vietnamese taken in after the Vietnam War, are stepping up to help Syrian and other refugees “because they knew what it was like.” Whether it’s on refugees or climate change, it’s clear that Trudeau’s Liberal Party and Trump don’t see eye to eye on many global issues. In a June speech, Freeland, Canada’s foreign minister, hinted that as the U.S. retreats from the “mantle of global leadership,” Canada must “set our own clear and sovereign course.” MacNaughton dismissed the notion that Canada is stepping in to fill a void left behind by the U.S. “I think it was more of an assurance to Canadians that we believe in trade, we believe in working with partners around the globe on shared values, and that we’re resisting turning inward,” he said. “I think the minister also acknowledged the United States’s leadership over the years and the fact that we continue to be your closest partner on defense and security.” For example, he said the close contact between U.S. and Canadian law enforcement has helped thwart terrorist attacks, citing an incident

last year in which authorities identified and arrested an Ontario man mere hours after the FBI tipped off the Canadian police about the suspect’s plot to blow up a train station. “And that’s testimony to the fantastic cooperation that exists between our two countries. And that’s information sharing. What you’ve seen in some of the incidents in Europe is there hasn’t been that kind of information sharing,” MacNaughton said. Despite concerns that America is turning inward, the ambassador said he’s heartened by such day-to-day cooperation between Canadians and Americans, whether it’s between police or politicians, and also by what he’s witnessed touring the country. “I’ve traveled extensively throughout the United States,” he said, “and this is a remarkable country of phenomenal educational institutions, great entrepreneurs, innovation and generosity, and remains so. I think if there’s anything that I would say is concerning is some of the divisions that exist within America at the present moment and the lack of consensus-building and bipartisanship that exists here in Washington. You don’t see it as much outside [the Beltway].” He added: “I hope that people find a way to put some of the partisan differences behind them and start working more collaboratively because I’ve been here when that’s the way it worked.” MacNaughton said he also hopes Americans continue to be mindful that problems outside their borders invariably touch them as well. “The only thing I’d say to Americans is when you look around the world and you see all the challenges that we face, whether it’d be in North Korea or Iran or Russia or terrorism, working more closely with your friends is a good idea. And also finding a way to bring Americans together is a good idea because we’ve got enough people that want to harm us from elsewhere and we don’t need to be working at cross-purposes between our countries.” WD Anna Gawel (@diplomatnews) is managing editor of The Washington Diplomat.

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WD | Technology

Digital Dangers Tech Giants Team Up to Take Terrorists, Extremist Propaganda Offline by Stephanie Kanowitz

S

ocial media has revolutionized how people connect and interact. But the darker side of this revolution is that it has made it easier for terrorist ideology to take root around the world, a dilemma governments and tech giants are struggling to grapple with as they balance the privacy rights of billions with the need to protect lives. Over the last year, companies such as Facebook, Apple and Twitter have gone from being worshipped innovation wunderkinds to a target of anger, suspicion and fear as their technology continues to infiltrate and influence our daily lives. Facebook, for example, is scrambling to fend off accusations that its site was used by the alt-right, Russia and other groups to disseminate fake news in a bid to tilt the 2016 presidential election. Allegations of sexual harassment and misogyny have upended the corporate culture at the ride-sharing app Uber and revealed a toxic underbelly in Silicon Valley. And policymakers in Washington are taking a hard look at whether companies such as Amazon represent a new generation of rapacious monopolies that need to be broken up. Before the current wave of trouble for tech, however, the world woke up to the dangers of social media when the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, burst onto the scene in 2014, seizing large tracts of territory in Iraq and Syria and using the internet to recruit thousands of jihadists to its murderous cause. Over the last year, the terrorist group has steadily lost land, fighters and money in the face of a punishing U.S.-led military offensive (also see “Obama’s Strategy to Defeat Terrorist Group Lives on Under Trump” in the September 2017 issue). But governments and corporations are still playing catch-up in the digital battlefield, where the Islamic State and other extremist groups thrive in the vast, borderless, unregulated realm of the world wide web. In an effort to remove terrorist and extremist content from their platforms, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Microsoft are working to create a forum where they can discuss tactics and challenges, and share information. The Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism, announced in late June, “will formalize and structure existing and future areas of collaboration between our companies and foster cooperation with smaller tech companies, civil society groups, academics, governments and supra-national bodies” such as the European Union and the U.N., according to an announcement from the companies. Although the exact details of the forum’s structure and start date are still being ironed out, the plan is for

18 | THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | October 2017

Photo: Pixabay

The Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism, announced in late June, is a collective effort by Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Microsoft to collaborate on ways to stop the spread of terrorist and extremist propaganda online.

I think one of the key things is going to be to help [tech] companies … balance their desire to make sure terrorists can’t exploit their platforms with the need to make sure that those platforms remain open and a place where users can express themselves freely. Shannon Green

director and senior fellow of the Human Rights Initiative at the Center for Strategic and International Studies

the companies to work with counterterrorism experts, the U.N. Security Council Counter-Terrorism Executive Directorate, the ICT4Peace Initiative, smaller companies and organizations such as the Anti-Defamation League and the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) to come up with and share best practices on challenges such as balancing free speech with hate speech. “I think that one of the main things that they’re going to try to do through that engagement is number one, identify the best practices and the knowledge that we have outside of the companies in terms of the best ways to counter terrorist use of the internet and social media platforms,” said Shannon Green, director and senior fellow of the CSIS Human Rights Initiative. “Two, get feedback on some of the ideas, policies and prescrip-

tions that they have under development. And three, especially for me and my space, I think one of the key things is going to be to help the companies … balance their desire to make sure terrorists can’t exploit their platforms with the need to make sure that those platforms remain open and a place where users can express themselves freely.” It’s a daunting undertaking. Facebook alone has over 2 billion monthly users. Policing such a widely used platform is akin to a game of whack-a-mole. As soon as one posting or user is taken down, another pops up. And once a video goes viral, there is no taking back the outrage, regardless if the images have been thoroughly debunked. Overt government efforts to counter terrorist propaganda, such as a widely panned State Department campaign to undermine the Islamic State’s nar-

rative online, have largely fallen flat. Mistrust of the U.S. and government in general, especially in the Middle East, runs deep, and oftentimes bureaucracies simply aren’t as agile or effective as terrorists in this slick new form of messaging warfare. So Facebook and other tech platforms have come under intense pressure to crack down on terrorist propaganda themselves. Facebook has turned to algorithms, artificial intelligence, an army of human moderators and other users to flag suspicious content. But this vetting still represents a drop in the ocean. Moderators, for instance, face the grueling task of sifting through reams of disturbing content and instantaneously judging what to remove. It is an emotionally taxing and sometimesdangerous job. It’s also a subjective balancing act, with Facebook and other sites occasionally accused of going too far and censoring legitimate content. Officials from Facebook and Google admit there are limitations — both in manpower and technology — to spotting terrorist proselytizing. They point out that AI technology hasn’t evolved yet to the point where it can automatically remove suspicious content. “We are making significant progress, but removing all of this content within a few hours — or indeed stopping it from appearing on the internet in the first place — poses an enormous technological and scientific challenge,”


Kent Walker, general counsel for Google, said in a statement on behalf of the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism ahead of a meeting on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly last month. “There is no silver bullet when it comes to finding and removing this content, but we’re getting much better,� Walker said. One way the Global Internet Forum hopes to address this resource problem is by creating a database of unique digital fingerprints known as “hashes� for videos and images that promote terrorism or violence. So when one firm flags and removes a piece of content, the other companies could use the hash to identify and take down the same content on their platforms. Still, terrorists are adept at adapting, circumventing digital barriers and exploiting the broad reach of social media to lure impressionable recruits and inspire lone-wolf attacks from afar and on the cheap. Green admits that it’s tricky to determine exactly how terrorists and extremists are using the internet. “We don’t have that good of a sense, to be honest, right now,� she said. “When ISIS was gaining a lot of momentum and they were using social media in a way that other terrorist organizations had never dreamt of, there was a lot of analysis of what their messages were, how they were using social media platforms to get out those messages, who was doing the transmission of messages.� Now that tech companies have curtailed that usage, the groups have migrated away from transparent platforms and turned to the dark web, encrypted platforms and coded words, making it harder to get a full picture, she explained. That has led some security experts to warn that it may be more dangerous to kick terrorists off the internet, because law enforcement

Photo: Pixabay

authorities are often tipped off to plots by social media postings and exchanges. The deeper underground terrorists go, the harder it is to find them, they argue. As Elizabeth Bodine-Baron of Rand Corp. argued in a commentary late last year, while social media sites such as Twitter in particular serve up Islamic State propaganda, “it also gives the broader public a unique window into the social networks of extremist supporters and allows researchers to study the impact of extremist messaging.� Another challenge for tech companies is determining the fine line between free and hate speech. The companies usually draw the line at speech that aims to radicalize or recruit people, or to incite acts of violence, but those distinctions are hardly clear-cut. For example, “if you’re too blunt about it, you could take down content that is newsworthy analysis of the way

that a terrorist group is trying to spread its propaganda,� Green pointed out. What’s more, the companies are based in the United States but have a global presence, which means that governments all over the world have a tremendous stake in what’s posted on the platforms. Tech companies must walk a fine line here, too, between respecting foreign laws and censorship. Most governments such as those in Europe genuinely want to stop terrorism, but “other governments will see that as an opportunity to curtail free speech by other entities that they don’t like — for example, opposition groups or human rights activists or journalists that might be trying to hold the government accountable,� Green said. “The entire premise of their platform is to facilitate communication and they don’t want to be censors.� In June, Facebook explained how it uses artificial intelligence, human expertise and hack-

athons to counter terrorists’ use of its platform. “We want Facebook to be a hostile place for terrorists,â€? the company wrote. Twitter rules state that violent threats and hateful conduct count as abusive behavior and could result in an account being temporarily locked or permanently suspended. The company says it has removed nearly 1 million accounts between August 2015 and June 2017 for promoting terrorism. Google, which owns YouTube, announced in June new plans to remove extremist videos from its platform by adding more analysis tools to help identify and remove videos depicting gory acts of violence, threats and hateful content. And last year, Microsoft amended its terms of use to prohibit terrorist content and defined it as “material posted by or in support of organizations included on the Consolidated U.N. Security Council Sanctions List.â€? Clearly, fighting terrorist and extremist content isn’t a new battle for these companies, Green said, but the forum is a way they can join forces to tackle a common dilemma. “There’s been plenty of informal, ad hoc opportunities for the social media companies to talk to each other and talk to government, but I think they’re looking at it as an opportunity to formalize those conversations and to take it to the next level,â€? she said. “I’m also hoping that it creates a regular channel for communication between people who are researching and practicing in this space, because ‌ it has been a bit closed off, and I think we would gain from getting a better sense from the social media companies about what they’re doing to address the threat of terrorists on their platforms, and hopefully they would gain a lot by having the best and most up-to-date analysis coming from outside of the companies.â€? WD Stephanie Kanowitz is a contributing writer for The Washington Diplomat.

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THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | October 2017 | 19


WD | Book Review

The Benefits of a Book Stavridis Dissects the Connection Between Reading and Leadership by John Shaw

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n an interview with The New York Times during the final week of his presidency, Barack Obama discussed how reading books had been critical to his leadership — and his equanimity — during eight grueling years in the White House. Obama observed that books had been an important source of ideas and inspiration. The presidency, he said, is an office in which problems often rush at you with breakneck speed and the occupant must absorb massive amounts of information. Obama said that reading books gave him a chance to “slow down and get perspective” and also to “get in somebody else’s shoes.” “They have allowed me to sort of maintain my balance during the course of eight years, because this is a place that comes at you hard and fast and doesn’t let up,” he said. Obama added that presidential biographies helped him counter the tendency to think “that whatever’s going on right now is uniquely disastrous or amazing or difficult.” As an example, he cited the value of reading about President Franklin D. Roosevelt confronting both a Depression and a World War. FDR’s challenges put his own into a better perspective, he said. The interview with Obama raised intriguing questions about the relationship between reading and leadership and how diligent reading prepares leaders and sustains them during difficult times. This is the subject of “The Leader’s Bookshelf ” by Adm. James Stavridis and R. Manning Ancell. Stavridis spent more than 35 years on active service in the U.S. Navy, rising to the rank of a four-star admiral. He served as the 16th Supreme Allied Commander for NATO, where he oversaw operations in Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, the Balkans and piracy off the coast of Africa. He is now the dean of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. Ancell was a former lieutenant commander in the Navy Reserve and has written extensively on leadership. The premise of their book is that organized and careful reading can strengthen leadership skills. They posit that many good leaders have been voracious readers and often attribute their success, at least in part, to books. Stavridis and Ancell argue that while leadership is not exclusively learned from reading books, serious reading can sharpen skills, broaden perspective and spur self-improvement. “The Leader’s Bookshelf ” is comprised of seven short chapters by the authors on reading and leadership and a list of 50 books that have been recommended by military leaders. Stavridis and Ancell interviewed more 200 four-star officers (admirals and generals) over the last several years about the books that influenced them. Their list, they say, is an “admittedly non-scientific but fairly comprehensive survey.” Focusing on the reading patterns of the most senior officers in the U.S. military allowed them to “create a set of books that makes sense for leaders in all walks of life.” Stavridis argues that many leadership skills are bestowed at birth, such as emotional intelligence, a pleasing appearance, a smooth and soothing voice, and a commanding physical presence. But he adds that many of the best leaders evolved over time and reading has often been critical to their maturation.

20 | THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | October 2017

Book: Naval Institute Press Photo: Trustees of Tufts College

Without finding the time to build real intellectual capital you will soon burn through what you have. A good leader is constantly recharging the knowledge bank, and reading is the best and most efficient way to do that. Adm. James Stavridis co-author of ‘The Leader’s Bookshelf’

Stavridis believes reading is important for several reasons. It allows readers to meet remarkable people, visit intriguing places and experience significant historical events without ever leaving home. Reading can also trigger self-evaluation, compelling readers to frequently ask themselves: “What would I have done in that situation?” Reading allows people to study those they admire and learn the keys to their success. It can also improve their own writing skills.

With this context, the authors present their list of the top 50 books that “can help virtually anyone become a better leader,” with short entries on each book. The top 50 list includes titles that are not surprising and are in some sense required reading: “The Bible”; “The Art of War” by Sun Tzu; “On War” by Carl von Clausewitz; “The Second World War” by Winston Churchill; “The Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant”; and “Crusade in Europe” by Dwight D. Eisenhower. There are also more recent books: “Team of Rivals” by Doris Kearns Goodwin; “Dereliction of Duty” by H.R. McMaster; “Truman” by David McCullough; “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey; “From Beirut to Jerusalem” by Thomas Friedman; “The Best and the Brightest” by David Halberstam; “A Peace to End All Peace” by David Fromkin; and “Balkan Ghosts” by Robert Kaplan. Lists of this sort provoke discussion and stimulate debate. That is part their purpose. I was surprised that more toptier novels did not make the list, such as “War and Peace” by Leo Tolstoy; “Don Quixote” by Miguel de Cervantes; “The Grapes of Wrath” by John Steinbeck; and “All the King’s Men” by Robert Penn Warren. Their list does include “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee; “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court” by Mark Twain; and “A River Runs Through It” by Norman Maclean. The weakest feature of the book is the specific discussion of the 50 books. The book summaries are uneven. Several are good, but many are vague and rambling, and the sections on leadership lessons are filled with clichés and truisms. Several of the books are of clear relevance to current affairs. H.R. McMaster is the national security advisor to President Donald Trump and his book, “Dereliction of Duty,” has gained fresh prominence. It describes how the top echelons of the U.S. military brass did not speak truthfully to Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson about the military morass in Vietnam. Stavridis derives important leadership lessons from McMaster’s book. “Strong leaders must follow the truth wherever it leads. Nothing is more dangerous than a subordinate who will share or alter the truth in order to curry favor or impress the boss. Leadership must be built on teamwork, mutual respect, and above all a shared sense of common objective,” Stavridis writes. If the book summaries in “The Leader’s Bookshelf ” are disappointing, its chapters on the art of reading are stimulating and quite practical. Stavridis notes that busy leaders almost always find it difficult to find large blocks of time to read, but he emphasizes that it’s critical to carve out time to read, even if it’s in 10- or 15minute increments. “Without finding the time to build real intellectual capital you will soon burn through what you have. A good leader is constantly recharging the knowledge bank, and reading is the best and most efficient way See Leader s hip • page 53


Diplomacy | WD

Warzones and Dinner Parties Journalist Reflects on Switch from Covering Conflict to Being Ambassador’s Wife by Mackenzie Weinger

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rom working as a foreign correspondent covering conflict to entering the rarefied world of serving as a U.S. ambassador’s spouse, Lynda Schuster’s new memoir “Dirty Wars and Polished Silver” pulls back the curtain on two exciting, challenging ways of life. Schuster, who grew up in 1970s Detroit before journalism and then her second husband took her around the world, said her memoir is two books in one, taking stock of both her life as a reporter and as a diplomat’s wife. “On a very personal level, it was an attempt to make sense of one’s life,” she told The Washington Diplomat. After graduating high school, Schuster reported on the frontlines of conflicts around the world for outlets such as The Wall Street Journal and Christian Science Monitor. In the 1980s, she covered uprisings in Central America and a financial crisis in Mexico. Her first husband, a fellow journalist, was killed just 10 months after their wedding by a landmine on the Honduran-Nicaraguan border. “Now, you’d think an experience like that would give one pause. Which it did, especially after my editors very thoughtfully sent me to recover in Beirut, which was then in the midst of a civil war,” Schuster recounted during a July 19 book discussion at D.C.’s Politics & Prose Bookstore. “That was followed by a stint in South America and then in South Africa, where I was targeted by assassins while covering the final throes of apartheid.” But then she met her second husband, Dennis Jett, a career Foreign Service Officer, and she reasoned that she could “trade in my reporter’s notepad for the pillbox hats and little white gloves, but still write about the world and live a life of adventure.” Jett left the U.S. Foreign Service for academia after a career that lasted 28 years and covered three continents in which he served as the U.S. ambassador to Mozambique and Peru. He is now a professor of international relations at the School of International Affairs at Penn State. “As a journalist, I had some very interesting — to put it mildly — experiences in conflicted areas. And I really thought that becoming the wife of an American diplomat would mean, I hoped, a really safe, boring life. And it turned out to be anything but,” Schuster told us. Five days before their wedding in Monrovia, Liberia, where Jett was deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy, civil war broke out and the couple had to be temporarily evacuated as rebels closed in on the capital. Years later, during his posting in Peru in the late 1990s, Jett narrowly escaped being taken hostage by guerillas. Amid the dangers, Schuster was also introduced to the sedate world of life as a diplomatic spouse. She details in her book the two-week training session the State Department required of spouses and its envoys to take, an experience she dubbed “Ambassatrix School.” When she took it, 20 years ago, she said the course was quite a “throwback” — like a charm school for diplomats — and the underlying assumption was that none of the wives had careers, or were willing to throw them aside for the posting. While the husbands received detailed policy briefings on politics and war, “we wives

Book: Ayesha Pande Literary Photo: Heidi L. Lewis

As a journalist, I had some very interesting — to put it mildly — experiences in conflicted areas. And I really thought that becoming the wife of an American diplomat would mean, I hoped, a really safe, boring life. And it turned out to be anything but. Lynda Schuster

author of ‘Dirty Wars and Polished Silver: The Life and Times of a War Correspondent Turned Ambassatrix’

were treated to lectures on such scintillating subjects as ‘Your China Patterns and You!’” she quipped. “I know for a fact that things have changed a lot,” she said. “However, it’s very much like being in the military. If you are the spouse, male or female, the trailing spouse, it is very difficult to have a career. You have to

pick up and change posts every two to three years. It’s a tough life.” Her time as a journalist abroad, which often meant being invited to an ambassador’s residence for events, made diplomatic life “look very glamorous,” she said. Schuster said she “didn’t realize the price that the spouses pay.” “And I think most people think of diplomatic life as very glamorous. In fact, as I say, it’s very much like being in the military. And that surprised me a lot, coming from the outside,” she said. She admits the transition was difficult and surreal, as she went from being a hard-bitten reporter working in slums and refugee camps to “June Cleaver cross-pollinated with Princess Grace.” Schuster said her most memorable posting with her husband was when he served as ambassador in Lima, Peru, where they lived in an exquisite 22,000-square-foot Spanish-style mansion replete with maids, cooks and a house manager. But, as in her career as a journalist, Schuster found she could not quite escape conflict. “When we got to Peru, our residence had already been attacked four times by guerillas, and anywhere we traveled, we traveled in a three-car bulletproof convoy with 10 armed bodyguards,” she said. In the 1980s and ’90s, the Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement, a socialist rebel group, had staged a series of kidnappings and attacks, bombing dozens of American targets in Lima to fight what it called modern-day neocolonialism. “We had 30 armed Peruvian soldiers that surrounded the residence every night,” Schuster recalled. “But I was assured by the State Department in a briefing before I left that the guerilla problem had pretty much been eradicated and we were going to be safe and I asked my husband, ‘So why do we have our own personal militia taking care of us?’ But he said, ‘Don’t worry, everything is fine.’” The most dramatic moment came when her husband escaped, by a mere 30 minutes, being taken hostage by armed guerrillas at a party at the Japanese ambassador’s residence, where hundreds of other guests were held captive, some for as long as four months. “I couldn’t believe when that happened,” she said. So why write the book now? Schuster, who has a 20-year-old daughter, said she wanted young people to “read this book and be inspired to follow their hearts.” “My message is, it doesn’t matter where you end up. It’s that you actually embark on the journey, as clichéd as that might sound,” she said. Her memoir also showcases the myriad ways in which the field of journalism has shifted since her time as a foreign correspondent. While she notes some of the changes are positive — the increased number of women working as reporters abroad, for instance — others give her pause. “Someone asked me at one of the readings that I gave whether a foreign press badge gives me a kind of shield, a sense of security. And it used to, based on the fact that foreign correspondents used to be the only See Dirt y War s • page 53 THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | October 2017 | 21


WD | Medical

National Emergency CDC Says Opioid Overdoses Have Cut Into U.S. Life Expectancy by HealthDay News

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ising death rates from opioid abuse are chipping away at Americans’ life spans, a U.S. government study finds. Between 2000 and 2015, researchers found that U.S. life expectancy increased overall — from nearly 77 years to 79 years. But buried within that broad pattern were some ominous trends. The death rate from drug overdoses more than doubled, while that from opioids specifically more than tripled, said lead researcher Dr. Deborah Dowell. She is with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s division of unintentional injury prevention. By 2015, opioids — including heroin and prescription painkillers like OxyContin (oxycodone), Vicodin (hydrocodone) and codeine — had shaved 2.5 months off Americans’ life expectancy, Dowell’s team found. And whites were the hardest hit. Earlier this month, another government study highlighted the toll that heroin alone has taken. Between 2002 and 2016, deaths from the drug soared by 533 percent nationwide — from just under 2,100 deaths to more than 13,200. So the fact that opioids are now dragging down U.S. life expectancy is no surprise, said Dr. Adam Bisaga, a professor of psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City. “These findings put what we already know into a different perspective,” said Bisaga, who was not involved in the new study. “There is an urgency to this problem,” Bisaga added. “The tragedy is, we have medication to treat opioid addiction. But death rates keep going up.” Several drugs — methadone, buprenorphine and naltrexone — can be used to treat opioid addiction. They act on the same brain targets as opioids do and help suppress withdrawal symptoms and cravings. The medications are effective, Bisaga said, but only a “small portion” of U.S. doctors prescribe them. Lack of training is probably a big factor. Many primary care doctors may feel they lack the expertise to treat opioid addiction, or worry about the safety of the medications used to treat it, Bisaga suggested. Some patients do fare better if they receive behavioral counseling along with medication, he added. But counseling is not a must, Bisaga cautioned, so doctors should not refrain from prescribing medication because they can’t offer behavioral therapy. Primary care providers have to be involved in treating opioid addiction, according to Bisaga. There are only about 5,000 addiction

22 | THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | October 2017

Photo: Pixabay

There is an urgency to this problem…. The tragedy is, we have medication to treat opioid addiction. But death rates keep going up. Dr. Adam Bisaga

professor of psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center

specialists in the United States. By comparison, more than 2 million Americans were abusing prescription opioids or heroin in 2015, according to the U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). The current findings are based on government vital statistics for the years 2000 to 2015. For most of that period, Americans’ average life expectancy rose, as deaths from major killers like heart disease and cancer fell. On the other hand, deaths from Alzheimer’s disease, accidents, suicides and chronic liver disease rose. And by the final year of the study, Americans’ average life expectancy began to dip again.

That, Dowell said, is the first decrease since 1993 — the height of the AIDS epidemic. “[U.S.] life expectancy is now lower than in most high-income countries,” Dowell said. Opioids are not the sole reason. But it’s clear that preventing those overdose deaths will be an important part of turning the lifeexpectancy trend around, she added. “We need to prevent more people from becoming addicted to opioids in the first place,” Dowell said. Wiser prescribing practices are a “critical” part of that, she explained. Such changes have already begun. Various medical organizations have come out with new guidelines on opioid painkiller prescribing, aiming to limit inappropriate use. And, deaths from prescription opioids have leveled off in recent years, according to NIDA. It’s heroin and illegally made synthetic opioids that are the “big problem” now, Bisaga said. Synthetic opioids include the drug fentanyl and its cousins, and they are extremely potent, Bisaga noted. Because the street drugs are easy to get and relatively cheap, some people addicted to prescription painkillers switch over. NIDA says about 80 percent of Americans who abuse heroin started with prescription opioids. WD Copyright (c) 2017 HealthDay. All rights reserved.


Education a special section of The Washington Diplomat

October 2017

photo: sergey novIkov / shutterstock

Speaking Same Language Experts, Educators Say Benefits of Bilingualism Are Too Easily Brushed Aside in U.S. Schools •

i

by terI West

magine if students didn’t learn math until late middle school. They’d be starting from scratch, pre-times tables and long division. The majority would probably never make it past algebra, let alone pre-calculus or geometry. Greek mathematician Pythagoras might roll over in his grave knowing that his triangle theorem was being lost.

In most states, that’s the case for foreign language education. “I think we’d have a revolution on our hands,” said Martha Abbott, executive director for the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL), referring to how parents might respond if schools treated math the way they treat languages. Foreign language education standards are in need of a major update in a country that should be promoting bilingualism, Abbott and a panel of

professionals said at a June event hosted by the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) that examined the link between foreign languages and U.S. national security. From a global perspective, Americans lag far behind in language learning. Children in most other countries have started learning a second lansee Languages • page 24 THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | OcTObEr 2017 | 23


Languages Continued • page 23

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guage by the age of 11, Abbott said. Countless studies show that multilingualism is full of intellectual benefits, in addition to a multitude of professional and social advantages. American culture, however, has largely tuned out those benefits by not putting a priority on early language learning. Abbott said this “national mentality” in part stems from the assumption that the rest of the world speaks English, even though she pointed out that about 75 percent of the world does not. Abbott said this mentality also infects immigrants who already speak a foreign tongue, particularly third-generation immigrants who typically forget the language of their homelands. “So one of the important aspects that we need to do as a country is help the heritage speakers … understand and their parents understand that that’s a real asset,” she said. Abbott says she’s seen a shift in attitudes as more parents and educators realize the important role bilingualism plays in helping young people — starting at the elementary-school level — compete and adjust to an interconnected, global economy.

Muted Interest Various factors have shaped the American public’s perception that bilingualism isn’t a priority compared to other academic subjects. One is that many parents and students don’t realize the career opportunities that come with knowing a foreign language, Abbott said. Positions in foreign relations and any business that works in the international arena often require candidates with professional fluency in foreign languages.

Abbott said that a national opinion poll ACTFL conducted “found that, in general, parents thought learning another language equated with success, but they were generally unaware, and the students also, about the tight connection with career opportunities and job opportunities.” She also noted that many companies aren’t advertising for bilingual candidates because they don’t think they will find anyone eligible. “We also know that a lot of business doesn’t get done at the board table,” she added. “It gets done through building relationships. And I think that’s another reason why our country needs to really expand its language capabilities.” Yet there is a certain stigma associated with bilingualism. Panel moderator Sanford Ungar of Georgetown University’s Free Speech Project recalled how in 2012, Newt Gingrich mocked Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney for speaking French. “Maybe there’s some resentment and jealousy, thinking, ‘Oh, he’s trying to show off and show that he’s so smart because he knows another language,’” Abbott said. “There’s still that mentality.” An audience member at the CFR discussion also pointed out that young immigrants, the so-called “1.5 generation,” are eager to assimilate into American culture and often leave behind their heritage language in the process. There’s also enormous societal pressure in the U.S. for immigrants to learn and only speak English in public. As a result, each subsequent generation loses the connection to their native language. For example, a 2009 Pew Research Center study found that 84 percent of first-generation Latin American immigrants encouraged their children to speak Spanish, while only 33 percent of third-generation immigrants did the same. Abbott said that promoting bilingualism







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not only means encouraging native English speakers to learn something new, but also prodding foreigners to retain their native tongue.

solutIons In schools In March, Abbott and ACTFL launched a campaign called Lead with Languages, which emphasizes the importance of both language retention for heritage speakers and the value of a second language for native English speakers. Bilingualism needs to be considered the new American norm just as it is in nearly every other Anglophone country, Abbott said. Peer pressure is often an effective strategy for making that happen. “I think when one district has an elementary language program, I think parents need to put pressure on the neighboring district [to do the same],” she said. “That happens at the state level as well. Both Utah and Delaware … pumped a lot of money into elementary language programs because they wanted to grow a multilingual citizenry.” Beginning foreign language education in elementary school is one remedy, so that students become proficient by the time they reach high school and what they learn actually sticks with them after years of study. “You’ll find a lot of older Americans will say, ‘Oh, I took, you know, four years of French or German or Spanish and I can’t speak it,’” Abbott said. “And that’s one reason why we’re trying to change the way we’re teaching languages so that it’s much more focused on developing students’ communicative ability.” Investing in resources is another remedy. Abbott pointed out that nearly every state indicated a shortage of instructors qualified to teach for-

eign languages in their reports to the Department of Education from the most recent school year. One way to address this problem, she suggested, is to encourage bilingual immigrants and high school students to pursue language teaching careers. Yet the issue of encouraging immigrants to take pride in, and not forget, their native languages is a politically controversial one. Amid an anti-immigrant backlash that helped propel Donald Trump to the White House, many Republicans argue that the priority needs to be on teaching foreigners who want to live in the U.S. to speak English. But there are efforts underway to focus on both English learning and preserving native tongues. Often called transitional bilingual or maintenance bilingual programs, these curriculums teach non-English speakers in a bilingual structure so that they grow fluent in English and maintain skills in their native language. These programs aren’t universally liked, but schools might be heading toward implementing them more widely. Massachusetts, for example, is pushing legislation that could bring back bilingual programs after outlawing them for 15 years. Esther Brimmer, executive director and CEO of NAFSA, a nonprofit association of international educators, said that despite the politically turbulent climate, there is support for promoting language learning on both sides of the aisle. “We really see a bipartisan understanding that it’s important to invest in international competencies,” said Brimmer, a former State Department assistant secretary of state. For instance, 26 state legislatures have added a “Seal of Biliteracy” to high school seniors’ transcripts to indicate proficiency in at least two languages. Many of the politicians who supported that measure were conservative.

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It’s just really an opportune time to build awareness and let students and parents know that this is an important ability for the 21st century. Martha Abbott

executive director for the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages

rest of the country when it comes to language education? Pretty well, according to Abbott. Public schools in D.C. and Maryland’s Montgomery County have a two-credit world language requirement for high school graduation, as do Virginia students graduating with an advanced studies degree. D.C., Maryland, and Virginia also have all adopted the Seal of Biliteracy. D.C. Public Schools and Arlington Public Schools in Virginia have been particularly proactive with starting language education early. During the last school year, 11 D.C. public schools had dual-language programs, eight of which were offered at the elementary level. The entire District also requires that elementary schools provide students with at least 45 minutes of foreign language instruction each week. Meanwhile, all 23 elementary public schools in Arlington offer foreign language instruction. “I would say that the students in the DMV probably have more of an opportunity to learn another language than other kids around the country,” Abbott said.

Real-World Lesson No language instruction in the classroom quite compares to living in the city where that language is spoken, however. That’s why Brimmer emphasized the importance of study abroad programs for strengthening language skills. She noted that it’s another area that en-

joys bipartisan support. The Senator Paul Simon Study Abroad Program Act, which was reintroduced in March, would allow institutions to apply for federal grants to support study abroad programs and encourage greater diversity among the U.S. students who study abroad. “It actually is saying that the ability to study abroad, which helps with immersion and really learning a language to a high level of competency, is an important skill for the United States,” Brimmer said. Only about 10 percent of U.S. undergraduate students studied abroad in the 2014-15 school year, according to NAFSA. Over 70 percent of those students were white. Expanding opportunities and diversifying participation is a priority in the bill.

National Security Imperative Expanding the number of Americans who speak a second language is not only gaining traction in schools and the halls of Congress, it’s also considered a national security imperative among many government agencies. The Defense Language and National Security Education Office within the Department of Defense, for example, aims to develop See Languages • page 30

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WD | Education | Exchange

Hip-Hop Harmony Next Level Sends American Hip-Hop Artists Abroad to Foster Connections •

S

by Sarah Alaoui

ince the writing of the Declaration of Independence, when the Founding Fathers wanted their newly created democracy to set an example to the world, projecting American values and ideals abroad has been a core component of U.S. policy.

Over the years, this form of public diplomacy has included broadcasts by the Voice of America, educational exchanges such as the Fulbright Program and a State Department initiative that sent American jazz greats such as Dizzy Gillespie to tour the world during the Cold War in an effort to promote Western-style democracy over Soviet-era communism. Today, the State Department continues to get creative in its efforts to win hearts and minds overseas, but with a 21st-century twist. Instead of sending jazz trumpeters abroad, it’s dispatching hip-hop artists to places ranging from Azerbaijan to Vietnam, where American rap and urban beats aren’t usually on the musical menu. This summer, the Meridian International Center partnered with the State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) to produce Next Level, an exchange program showcasing hip-hop music and dance to international audiences in underserved communities. “Hip-hop was definitely a way to connect to people in different communities for me as a child,” said Next Level Associate Director Junious Brickhouse. “I think today, it still has that same power, and we’ve seen it with Next Level.” Up to 20 American “beat makers,” DJs, B-Boy and B-Girl dancers, MCs and graffiti artists are teamed together and trained to conduct overseas workshops that focus on four hip-hop forms: beat making, dancing, DJing and rapping, along with some beatboxing and graffiti art as well. The program also hosts six artists from abroad to come to the United States for a professional development program. Since 2013, 85 artists have participated in Next Level, which aims to foster mutual understanding, conflict resolution skills and entrepreneurship. Past programs have taken hip-hop artists to Algeria, Bangladesh, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Colombia, Croatia, India and elsewhere. This year’s program will visit Azerbaijan, Egypt, Morocco, Myanmar and Vietnam. Next Level works closely with U.S. embassies and consulates in the target countries to develop specialized two-week residencies that reach underprivileged youth. The artists collaborate with local organizations and musicians to design workshops, class28 | THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | October 2017

Photos: Next Level

Next Level is an exchange program that sends American hip-hop artists, including DJs and “beat makers,” to a range of foreign countries, from Azerbaijan to Vietnam.

In hip-hop, when artists say that they want to ‘take it to the next level,’ they are saying that they want to improve themselves, to surpass their current abilities. Mark Katz

Next Level director and chair of music at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

es, performances and other activities, culminating in a final public performance where professional-grade musical equipment is donated to the incountry partners so they can continue their studies. “In hip-hop, when artists say that they want to ‘take it to the next level,’ they are saying that they want to improve themselves, to surpass their current abilities,” said Next Level Director Mark Katz, professor and chair of music at UNC’s College of Arts and Sciences. “Next Level’s artists will teach young people to develop skills and express themselves in ways they wouldn’t have thought possible. The name has another meaning, too. We want to use this as a way to model peaceful and productive collaboration, to transcend conflict in creative ways.”

Katz applied for the grant from the State Department in 2013 because what the department had posted closely mirrored his passion and work using hip-hop music to reach minorities and the poor. Participating artists hail from a wide variety of backgrounds and experience. For example, graffiti artist Eric Angelini — part of the Azerbaijan program — started creating street art in Los Angeles at the age of 11. He has completed work for clients such as Guess, Nike and HBO, and his art has appeared in music videos for Snoop Dogg, Christina Aguilera and 50 Cent, among others. Team Vietnam includes Serouj “Midus” Aprahamian, who has been in the breakdancing world since 1997 and is now pursuing a Ph.D. in dance studies at York University in

Canada. Team Bosnia included Mahogany Jones, who was named the only four-time undefeated champion of BET’s “Freestyle Fridays” in 2001. She was also selected by the State Department to serve as a hip-hop ambassador to five African nations. Next Level’s mission also builds on the legacy of the State Department jazz ambassadors — among them Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington — who were sent to developing countries around the world starting in 1956 to offer an American contrast to communism. Likewise, the countries chosen by Next Level since 2013 include places where major political and social shifts have occurred. From Colombia and its half-century struggle for peace against insurgent rebels to Tunisia’s arduous Arab Spring journey, the program’s destinations serve as fertile ground for Next Level’s parallel focus on conflict resolution and problem solving.


Photo: Next Level

In addition to DJs, dancers and MCs, Next Level sends graffiti artists abroad to conduct workshops and train with foreign partners.

In many ways, hip-hop is an ideal medium for these cross-cultural exchanges as it has often served as a populist voice, rooted in political movements. The activist subgenre of hip-hop became popular in the 1980s, when musicians began using rap to shed light on social issues such as racism and poverty, a movement that inspired other young musicians around the world from the inner cities of France to towns in Spain. At the beginning of the Jasmine Revolution protests that shook Tunisia in 2010, rapper “El Général” was arrested for a song criticizing authoritarian rule under President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, a tune that became a prominent symbol of the Arab Spring. At the U.S. Embassy in France, thenAmbassador Charles Rivkin also focused on music, and specifically hip-hop, as part of his

“Minority Engagement Strategy,” which was originally reported on by WikiLeaks. The outreach, targeted at France’s mostly Muslim minority, included a musical exchange trip to Harlem for French hip-hop artists and hosting local musicians at embassy receptions — part of an effort to connect with France’s poorer, multiethnic immigrant communities. Katz said Next Level is all about people-topeople diplomacy and fostering connections that last long after the program is over. In a blog interview in 2014, he said it’s “about allowing people of different nationalities, cultures, races, ethnicities, religions, and classes … to find a space in which they can learn from each other and develop mutual respect.” WD Sarah Alaoui is a contributing writer for The Washington Diplomat.

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American expertise in foreign languages and cultures critical to U.S. national security. Many of the programs prepare university students specifically for government service, often focusing on â&#x20AC;&#x153;critical languagesâ&#x20AC;? such as Arabic and Mandarin. Some even teach region-specific languages, like Wolof in Senegal. â&#x20AC;&#x153;When weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re engaging, regardless of mission, whether itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a natural disaster in Haiti or any kind of thing, DoD tends to be the first on the ground with equipment and other things,â&#x20AC;? Michael Nugent, the officeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s director, said at the CFR panel. â&#x20AC;&#x153;By having those language capabilities and having regional experts in those areas trained in advance to

work those regions, we do much better in meeting mission, but we also do much better in developing partnerships.â&#x20AC;? Brimmer added that multilingualism helps in other arenas of public service. She noted that at the U.N. Security Council, for example, â&#x20AC;&#x153;the issues that come up are usually crises in places that are ungoverned spaces. These are not places that are capitals where people speak English or speak even French or global languagesâ&#x20AC;Ś. And they could be at any region of the world at very short notice,â&#x20AC;? she said. Similarly, many humanitarian crises are â&#x20AC;&#x153;usually in places when you have complex issues where the language of discussion, again, is not a global language. And the United States needs to be able to understand in depth whatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s going on in these areas of crisis in order to address them from a foreign policy point of view.â&#x20AC;? Brimmer also said that language proficiency is just as much of an asset in the

30 | THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | OcTObEr 2017

private sector. She cited a 2014 study by the University of Hawaii and University of Missouri that surveyed 800 business leaders. â&#x20AC;&#x153;And what came out of it is there was 83 percent of them who said we need a more internationally competent staff, and 40 percent said there were business opportunities they lost because their staff did not have adequate international competencies. Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s just a snapshot.â&#x20AC;? Abbott said itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s vital to share those snapshots with parents and educators to expand the conversation on language and its importance to future success, both individually and as a nation. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s just really an opportune time to build awareness and let students and parents know that this is an important ability for the 21st century,â&#x20AC;? she said. Perhaps Pythagoras would agree. WD Teri West is an editorial intern for The Washington Diplomat.

photo: graĂ a vIctorIa / FotolIa


Hotels & Travel a special section of The Washington Diplomat

October 2017

photos: WIllard IntercontInental WashIngton

Heart and Soul Local Properties Look to Their Lobbies to Make Lasting First Impression •

T

by sarah alaouI

he first impression when you enter someone’s home is the living room. The first glimpse of whether a store’s collection looks promising is through its window displays. And for hotels, the lobby is the heart and soul of a property.

It is a beating nerve center where guests are welcomed, business is conducted, visitors can unwind and people get an overall feel for the place and its personality. With over 130 hotels in D.C. proper, and close to 700 in the Washington metro area, visitors have a multitude of price ranges,

amenities and “lobby looks” to choose from, whether it’s cutting-edge contemporary at the city’s Kimpton boutique brands, or stately opulence at the Willard, Hay-Adams or St. Regis. Whether new or old, though, all establishments are in a constant competition to refine

their signature looks and woo guests, especially VIPs and foreign dignitaries — and the lobby is the ideal spot to make a lasting first impressions.

popular legend has it that the term “lobbyist” came from ulysses s. grant, who would retreat to the Willard’s stately lobby for brandy but would be pestered by people asking for favors.

see Lobbies • page 32 THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | OcTObEr 2017 | 31


Photo: Four Seasons

Lobbies Continued • page 31

WELCOMING THE DIPLOMATIC COMMUNITY • SUPERIOR SERVICE - WELCOMING HOSPITALITY • MULTILINGUAL STAFF

“When you travel a lot around the world, you miss your country, you miss your home,” said Pierre-Yves Rochon, the French designer of the Four Seasons DC’s lobby, who has also worked with the hotel brand in Europe and the Middle East. In his vision for the lobby’s design, Rochon strived for an upscale yet welcoming, intimate setting that would make guests comfortable and at home irrespective of where that home is. Of course, the “living room” setting of the Four Seasons DC — a hotel that has welcomed the king of Saudi Arabia’s entire entourage — is far from your average American den. Complete with more than 2,000 pieces of acclaimed art that Rochon singlehandedly picked for display throughout the hotel, including several hundred blue-chip pieces from the likes of Fernando Botero and Andy Warhol, the Four Seasons in Georgetown is a favorite for art enthusiasts. Others can relax on the cushy loveseats in front of the fireplace or get some work done in one of the lobby’s three different sections, while enjoying the interior winter garden. While some lobbies strive to be a home away from home, others pride themselves on being steeped in history — or where history actually happens. The Willard InterContinental on Pennsylvania Avenue, often referred to as the “residence of presidents,” boasts the quintessential Washington lobby — an ornate hub of history and present-day activity. Legend has it the term “lobbyist” was coined in the hotel’s grand lobby, where in the 1860s, Ulysses S. Grant would quietly retreat for a glass of brandy and a cigar until “petitioners” even-

The lobby at the Four Seasons in Georgetown is designed to be upscale yet intimate and welcoming, like a living room.

tually got wind of his presence and sought him out to lobby for their cause. The myth has since been somewhat debunked but still makes for a fun story. Other moments in history at the hotel definitely happened. American writer Nathaniel Hawthorne once wrote that the Willard “may be much more justly called the center of Washington and the Union than either the Capitol, the White House or the State Department.” Abraham Lincoln lived at the hotel before his inauguration in 1861. Decades later, just before Martin Luther King Jr.’s March on Washington in 1963, the civil rights icon put the finishing touches on his “I Have a Dream” speech in the Willard. Today, the Willard lobby is still a showstopper and mainstay on the D.C. hotel circuit. The hotel’s Peacock Alley, decadent with gold and Bordeaux accents, is a perfect spot to have an elegant afternoon of tea and pastries — and impress out-of-town guests who want to recreate “House of Cards” shenanigans. Or head over to the clubby Round Robin Bar, where politicos and, yes, lobbyists still meet for a stiff drink. Other lobbies eschew Old World charm in favor of a more contemporary vibe. Another of D.C.’s finest hotels, the Ritz-Carlton on 22nd Street, punctuates its sleek lobby with homey touches to make guests feel welcome. For the travel-weary guest, nothing screams D.C. more than a deliciously rich “Presidential Cookie” to munch on during check-in. Former first lady Michelle Obama shared her husband’s favorite recipe — white-anddark chocolate chip cookie with a hint of mint — with the hotel. The Ritz also makes a mean shortbread sugar cookie, a recipe once enjoyed by President Dwight D. EisenSee Lobbies • page 34

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32 | THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | October 2017

Photo: Greg Powers / Ritz-Carlton

Guests checking in to the Ritz-Carlton on 22nd Street are greeted with a decadent “presidential cookie” that is Barack Obama’s favorite recipe.


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THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | October 2017 | 33


___________________________________________________________________

photos: abacapress/ bob coscarellI / soFItel

Lobbies

the sofitel’s sleek lobby, above and below, was recently recognized as one of the nine most “Instagrammable” hotel lobbies in the world by the points guy, an online travel site.

contInued • page 32

COMFORT MEETS STYLE

EMBASSY SUITES CHEVY CHASE PAVILLION The recently renovated contemporary, yet elegant, all two-room suite Hotel is consistently ranked among TripAdvisor’s top 10 Washington DC Hotels. Located in Chevy Chase/Friendship Heights, the heart of the city’s premier shopping district, with a variety of highly rated restaurants nearby and the red line metro stop located right inside the Pavilion. You can enjoy all the perks of the city and a few others: • Complimentary cooked to order breakfast buffet daily

• Willie’s Bar and Atrio Cafe

• Complimentary evening reception with drinks and light fare

• Groups and Meetings Welcomed

34 | THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | OcTObEr 2017

• Pavilion Health & Fitness

hower. For guests who need something a little stronger, the Ritz’s Quadrant lobby lounge — named after the four sections that divide the capital — offers a unique cocktail experience at The Vault, a six-foot-high combination safe protecting the hotel’s “most magnificent and rare reserve spirits.” Guests will pay upward of $250 to $5,000 for two ounces of reserve, so the hotel’s lead mixologist Chris Mendenhall makes sure to put on a show, punching in a code for the vault and donning special white gloves to handle the bottles. In an age of Instagram where everyone lives vicariously via a cellphone, beautiful presentation and elaborate experiences are non-negotiable. Every corner, tabletop and wall must be picture-perfect as it will eventually end up as an actual picture online. At the Park Hyatt, guests entering the lobby will instantly want to snap a photo next to the two large-scale, six-sided, transparent glass cherry blossom sculptural boxes by artist Amanda Weil. In an often-dreary Washington weather, this cheery display helps preserve springtime all year long. “We needed to make a strong statement about Washington, one that you would experience the moment you walked in, but in a subtle way — a gesture that didn’t feel gimmicky,” said the hotel’s designer, Tony Chi, of the Park Hyatt’s refined, sophisticated Americana style. The Sofitel Washington DC Lafayette Square also has the approval of the social media gods and was recently recognized as one of the nine most “Instagrammable” hotel lobbies in the world by the Points Guy, an online travel site. The hotel’s eye-catching décor includes an oversize emerald velvet sofa with a back that scales the wall. The piece is supposed to evoke the green watered-silk fabric coverings on the walls of the White House’s Green Room, a design chosen by Jackie Kennedy in 1962. The Sofitel’s design scheme blends history with modern-day flair. Its Parisian touches are a nod to the longstanding links between Washington and France, which played a key role in the American Revolutionary War and whose architecture inspired D.C.’s layout. Black-and-white photographs of major D.C. and Parisian landmarks provide an interesting contrast to funkier design elements such as dangling orb light fixtures. The Sofitel’s lobby also pays attention to the details, such as a scent box where guests can explore French fragrances unique to the brand. Sofitel uses scent marketing provider Air Aroma to create its signature scent, which includes bright notes of bergamot,

white rose, jasmine of grasse, sandalwood and lentisque. The Kimpton boutique brand is known for its modern, chic décor, but it too combines the old with the new. One of its latest additions, the Kimpton Carlyle Hotel Dupont Circle, began life as the Granite State Apartments in 1941. It transitioned to a hotel in the late 1970s and has been a Dupont Circle Art Deco landmark ever since. Internationally renowned artist Michele Oka Doner, tackling her first U.S. hotel design project, drew on her experiences in Miami Beach to restore the building to its original grandeur. The gleaming renovated lobby is dotted with hexagonal marble floor tiles, historic mixedmetal railings and rich woods, which are enhanced by Oka Doner’s signature bronze chandelier in an abstract floral form. The adjacent “living room” features a curated rotating gallery of artwork by local and international artists. Reflecting the building’s original identity as an apartment building, the living room includes a communal table for guests to congregate and a design scheme defined by organic shapes and soothing neutral colors. Soft urban lighting complements the plush sofas and chairs for a warm, inviting atmosphere. Meanwhile, one of Kimpton’s original D.C. properties, Hotel Monaco in Penn Quarter, juxtaposes hints of the city’s Neoclassical Greek and Roman style with eyepopping contemporary accents. Lush green walls and Murano glass chandeliers fill the lobby, where the hotel’s new art installation, featuring original drawings by Michael di Cosola, is inspired by the nearby National Portrait Gallery. The living room’s showpiece fireplace is flanked by a bronze eagle and lion relief, above which hangs a funky mosaic of blackframed mirrors that bounce light from the


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ends of the room. On either side, the fireplace is surrounded by mirrored obelisks, an homage to the buildingâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s architect. The centerpiece of the space, however, is a life-size, 230-pound steel lion sculpted by artist Brian Mock that was carefully crafted from recycled materials to reflect Kimptonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s whimsical yet eco-friendly style. While many hotels pay homage to Washington, D.C., and its roots, they also donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t forget to cater to the international tastes of their guests. The Fairmont, for instance, strives to ensure that its foreign guests feel at home as soon as they set foot in the lobby. For VIPs or visiting delegations, greeters speaking the guestsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; native languages will often meet them and assist with check-in. A welcome beverage specific to the guestâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s homeland or culture may also be served in the lobby, whose dĂŠcor can also be tailored to display the national flower or flag of foreign guests. For both out-of-towners and locals, the hotelâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s lobby features a glass-enclosed

The â&#x20AC;&#x153;living roomâ&#x20AC;? at Kimptonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Hotel Monaco features lush green walls and a dramatic fireplace, above which hangs a funky mosaic of black-framed mirrors that bounce light from the ends of the room.

loggia overlooking the Fairmont courtyard, where guests can cozy up in front of one of three toasty fire pits. According to Destination DC, the cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s marketing arm, a record 22 million visitors came to the nationâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s capital in 2016, up 3.3 percent over 2015 â&#x20AC;&#x201D; that includes 2 million people from overseas. For many, their first stop is the hotel lobby. And whether itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s toasty fire pits, repurposed lions, comfy sofas, pricey drinks, big-name artwork or picture-perfect settings worthy of Instagram, area hotels are pulling out all the stops to make their guests feel at home while enjoying a unique escape. WD

Th e Hotel

Sarah Alaoui is a contributing writer for The Washington Diplomat.

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WD | Special Section

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Culture arts & entertainment art

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DIPLOMATIC SPOUSES

Spicy Combo She promotes Manolo Blahniks and minorities and blogs about food and fashion. He collects hot sauces and cooks crossover cuisine. Together, Czech Ambassador Hynek Kmoní Kmoníček and his Uzbek-born wife, Indira Gumarova, are a quirky, fun-loving match. / PAGE 39

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October 2017

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BEYOND ‘ THE SCREAM’ ART

FESTIVALS

Spanish Treat Spain is serving up a month-long festival for foodies with “Eat Spain Up!” which explores the traditional cuisine and new “gastronomic creativity” emerging from the country that gave us paella and tapas. / PAGE 41

ART

Mideast Creativity For many Americans, the Middle East is often more associated with conflict and complexity than culture and creativity. But two powerful exhibitions of Arab art at the American University Museum are designed to dispel misconceptions and build bridges. / PAGE 43

Edvard Munch’s “Girl’s Head Against the Shore.”

PHOTO: EPSTEIN FAMILY COLLECTION

Since his death in 1944, Edvard Munch’s expansive body of artwork has been reduced to just one lonely scream. While “The Scream” is a masterpiece of existential angst and brooding expressionist style, Munch was an extremely prolific artist, and most of his work has been ignored by the public. But an intimate exhibition at the National Gallery of Art examines the relationship between Munch’s work and the meanings ascribed to assorted colors by spiritualist principles. / PAGE 38 THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | OCTOBER 2017 | 37


WD | Culture | Art

Transcendent Color Edvard Munch’s Multidimensional Work Extends Beyond ‘The Scream’ •

Edvard Munch: Color in Context THROUGH JAN. 28 NATIONAL GALLERY OF ART ON THE NATIONAL MALL AT 3RD AND 9TH STREETS AT CONSTITUTION AVENUE, NW

(202) 737-4215 | WWW.NGA.GOV.

S

ince his death in 1944, Edvard Munch’s expansive body of artwork has been reduced to just one lonely scream. While “The Scream” is a masterpiece of existential angst and brooding expressionist style, Munch was an extremely prolific artist, and most of his work has been ignored by the public. When the Norwegian artist died at his estate near Oslo, he was an 80-year-old unmarried recluse with no children. When authorities entered a locked room on the second floor, they found a stunning collection of more than 1,000 paintings, 4,400 drawings and 15,000 prints. In an intimate exhibition filling two small galleries, the National Gallery of Art features 21 prints in “Edvard Munch: Color in Context,” including color woodcuts and lithographs. The exhibition examines the relationship between Munch’s work and the meanings ascribed to assorted colors by spiritualist principles, which developed in the late 19th century in reaction to rapid-fire scientific advances that posed unsettling questions that branched into metaphysical realms. If recently discovered X-rays could see through a body, then where did the spirit reside? If science trumped religion, then what happened to the soul and departed ancestors beyond that dark curtain separating the living from the dead? Munch experimented with cameras and double exposures in self-portraits in his studio, a technique also used by hoaxsters to create “spirit” photos. In England, two girls used illustrated paper cut-outs to create photos of “fairies,” which they claimed were real visitors from another realm. The photos captivated a growing audience of spiritualists, including Arthur Conan Doyle, author of the “Sherlock Holmes” series. Doyle used less deductive reasoning than his famous detective while enthusiastically promoting the photos as authentic in a widely read article in The Strand magazine in 1920. At the National Gallery, visitors can pick up a list displaying various colors and their associated meanings compiled from a 1901 spiritualist book called “Thought Forms,” a mystical notion that thoughts create their own colorful auras. Bluish-grey symbolized “religious feeling tinged with fear” while dark orange represented a “low type of intellect,” but the color associations are both simplistic and impossibly specific. Five slightly different shades of red are supposed to convey very different emotional states, including avarice, anger, sensuality, pride and pure affection. One of the most captivating works in the exhibition is “Madonna,” a color lithograph printed in 1913-14 and a subject that Munch revisited in several paintings and prints. A sensuous nude woman appears with her eyes closed while her upraised arms disappear behind her flowing black hair into dark swirling depths. She is framed by a maroon rectangle with sperm-like images tracing around her and a small forlorn figure resembling a deformed fetus. The work contrasts the erotic nature of lovemaking with the traditional role of women as mothers who create life through love or submission. Many of the prints are dark and brooding, evoking unsettling psychological states and unknown circumstances. In “Melancholy,” a woman concealed beneath a deep red dress holds her head in her hands as her jet-black hair merges into the darkened shore around her, making her seem both monumental and mysterious. Is she grieving for a lost lover or for herself? In “Melancholy III,” a sorrowful man rests his

38 | THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | OCTOBER 2017

BY BRENDAN L. SMITH

head on his hand on another black expanse of beach where the only respite from the gloom is a small white house in the distance, but the man seems disconnected from any semblance of home. A color lithograph and a color woodcut both titled “Anxiety” offer a fascinating window into an artist’s development of one scene. In the lithograph, a group of finely dressed men in top hats and women wearing bonnets stand in front of rolling hills and boats floating in a harbor beneath a maroon sky. They are staring directly at the viewer but not in a threatening manner. Their lips are pursed, their faces taut with worry, and they seem to be expecting an answer to an unknown question. The viewer becomes part of the scene, an accomplice in a story that is still unfolding. The color woodcut is a much rougher treatment of a similar scene, in part because of the limitations of the medium. An array of disembodied faces seems to float as their bodies are subsumed by a blackened landscape, creating a sense of foreboding without the anticipation or narrative. While the exhibition is thoughtfully arranged, National Gallery curator Jonathan Bober uses a heavy hand in pushing the spiritualist color theme to define Munch’s palette. While Munch claimed he could see auras of energy emitting from certain colors, he never defined himself as a spiritualist and was not a vocal supporter. Munch was already in his late 30s when “Thought Forms” was published. The exhibition’s wall text states that “Munch claimed to select his colors at random,” which needlessly casts a cloud of doubt over an artist’s statements about his own work. No one can definitively say why Munch chose certain colors other than Munch himself. He may have been fascinated by spiritualist influences just like many other artists of his day, but that doesn’t mean he surrendered his control to a table of colors printed in a book. WD Brendan L. Smith (www.brendanlsmith.com) is a contributing writer for The Washington Diplomat and a mixed-media artist (www.dcmixedmedia.com) in Washington, D.C.

“Edvard Munch: Color in Context” explores the Norwegian artist’s deft use of color and varied body of work with 21 pieces, including, from top, “Madonna,” Man’s Head in Woman’s Hair” and “The Kiss in the Field.” PHOTOS: NATIONAL GALLERY OF ART


Diplomatic Spouses | Culture | WD

Wife, ‘And More’ Uzbek-Born PR Consultant and Hot Sauce-Collecting Czech Husband Break Boundaries •

BY GAIL SCOTT

I

ndira Gumarova’s business card reads “wife of the Ambassador and more.” It’s a unique description of a singular woman who is indeed more than the wife of an ambassador. Gumarova, the 42-year-old wife of Czech Ambassador Hynek Kmoníček, is a native Tatar who was born in Uzbekistan, worked as a public relations professional in New York City for 15 years and runs a blog on food, fashion and folklore. She is the trade director of a CzechAzerbaijani company and senior PR consultant to the Czech-Slovak-Chinese Chamber. Her private PR clients include: New York author Emil Draitser; the off-Broadway show “Pentecost”; Czech fashion designer Camilla Solomon; Moroccan fashion designer Albert Oiknine; Czech jewelry designer Katerina Reich; and, most recently, the celebrated American shoe designer Manolo Blahnik. “I just returned from Prague where I was part of the team to launch a major retrospective exhibition of Manolo Blahnik, whose father was Czech,” Gumarova told us. Blahnik’s unveiling party was for a single pair of handmade, Bohemian-inspired, stiletto boots to celebrate his forthcoming Prague exhibition titled “The Art of Shoes.” Working in PR in New York City is how Gumarova met her husband, a career diplomat who most recently served as foreign policy advisor to Czech President Milos Zeman. “I invited 150 ambassadors from the U.N. to an event but he was the only one Czech Ambassador Hynek Kmoníček and his wife Indira who came. And he stayed. I thought Gumarova attend the Portuguese Embassy’s “Toast to he was so charismatic,” Gumarova America” wine event this past summer. recalled. “He was funny. He has a big sense of humor.” After a whirlwind translator ... bridging culture to culture,” she added. “I romance, they were married by the am involved with several public campaigns and media mayor of Prague. projects focused on immigration issues and the integraKmoníček had been married betion of minorities.” fore and has four children. Gumarova From minorities to Minolos, Gumarova’s tastes are almost entered into an arranged maras eclectic as her husband’s. Before joining the Czech riage when she was younger but deForeign Service, Kmoníček studied English and Arabic cided against it. “I ran away. I didn’t language at Charles University in Prague, as well as the like the idea that someone would tell INDIRA GUMAROVA modern history of the Middle East at Hebrew University you, ‘This is your husband,’ and that wife of Czech ambassador Hynek Kmoníček in Jerusalem. He has served as ambassador to Australia, was it,” she said, although she added India and the United Nations in New York and held varithat for some the arrangement works. ous postings in the Asia, Africa, America and Middle East divisions of the “My sister is in an arranged marriage and she is still very happy.” Gumarova, who speaks English, Russian and conversational Czech, is Ministry of Foreign Affairs. A former professional musician who plays Muslim while her husband is Jewish. She traces her origins to the Tatars classical guitar and lute, he also enjoys cooking ethnic crossover cuisine in Asia and Europe, a Turkic-speaking people who once controlled vast and collecting the hottest sauces on the planet. “He collects hot sauce and has 400 different bottles, all open, from all territory as semi-nomadic empires and were allied with Genghis Khan but over the world,” Gumarova said. today live in Russia and other parts of the world. Before coming to Washington, D.C., earlier this year, Gumarova and “It is a strange feeling to belong to the small nation, Tatar, which started as a Mongolian tribe and later became the Turkic-speaking people on the her husband lived in the iconic Prague Castle complex, home to the Czech president’s residence and a tourist hotspot in the capital. Asian steppes,” Gumarova said. “Prague Castle is the largest ancient castle in the world,” she proudly “As a child, I was not interested in my genealogy. But the older I am, the more I can see that ethnicity has an effect on me,” she explained. “For ex- said, noting that it attracts over 1.8 million visitors annually. The castle, which overlooks the picturesque medieval city, is home to ample, I always liked curved walls, not square rooms, and relatively empty rooms with colorful walls. That is the concept of a yurt, the round tent my various museums and was the seat of power for Bohemian kings, Holy ancestors inhabited for thousands of years. From childhood, it came natu- Roman emperors and previous presidents of Czechoslovakia. rally to me and only later did I find the connection to my Tatar origin. “Because of my multicultural background, I like to call myself a culture SEE DIPLOMATIC SPOUSES • PAGE 40

Because of my multicultural background, I like to call myself a culture translator ... bridging culture to culture.

THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | OCTOBER 2017 | 39


As if on cue, the ambassador appeared, having just walked up the hill from the big, boxy Czech Embassy on Spring of Freedom Street to the handCONTINUED • PAGE 39 some, graceful stone residence hidden in the woods. “Cooking is relaxation for me,” he told us. “I even cook in my sleep. And “Prague Castle is one of the most when I can’t sleep, I get up in the midpopular tourist sites in the world,” said dle of the night and cook.” Gumarova. “Living in the Prague CasNOTE: Although every effort is made to assure your ad is free of mistakes in spelling Hisand wife jumped in to note that her tle means living in the neighborhood, content it is ultimately up to the customer to make the final proof. husband has written for the Czech vernot the building itself. This is the oldest sion of Appetite Magazine. part of Prague, which is so alive with Besides writing, another pastime people during the day but almost empThe first two faxed changes will be made at no cost to the advertiser, subsequent changes they share is music. She plays the piano ty after 6 p.m. — no people, no shops, will be billed at a rate of $75 per faxed alteration. Signed ads are considered approved. and he the classical guitar. “I play for closed museums.” myself,” she said. “The piano is my first “Around only 60 people inhibit this Please check this ad carefully. Mark any changes to your ad. love. It brings me peace.” area,” she explained. “There are three types: older original inhabitants who Quirky and approachable, this the ad is correct sign and fax to: (301) 949-0065 needs changes moved here during communist Iftimes unique diplomatic couple also clearly Indira Gumarova, the wife of Czech Ambassador when it was an unfavorable part of town, Hynek Kmoníček, is a native Tatar who was born shares a fun sense of humor. without modern amenities; members The of Washington Diplomat (301) “If we aren’t traveling and we have in Uzbekistan, worked in public relations and933-3552 the families whose names are part of blogs about food, fashion and folklore. two weeks at home, I start moving furonce you leave.” Czech history with palaces, streets and niture. He puts it back at night and I Approved __________________________________________________________ While Gumarova misses living like move it again the next morning,” she airports named after their families; and public. Therefore, it limits the number Changes people eligible to rent the place due to royalty, she said she has relished her laughed. “We don’t fight about where to people who were brought in because of of___________________________________________________________ a rare combination of having the securi- time in America, although she admits move the furniture. We just do it.” WD their work…. That is how my husband ___________________________________________________________________ ty clearance, financial resources and the that she prefers New York to Washingand I started living in the ‘hood.’ ton, D.C. “I love New York because it is Gail Scott is a contributing writer “We rented our house from the Prague presidential approval,” she explained. “As for furniture, we were able to have so full of life, like a melting pot.” for The Washington Diplomat. Castle in the part that is closed to the Although they enjoy going out in public. Since the building belongs to the our own pieces together with others we castle, the president has veto power over located in Prague Castle’s storage…. The D.C., “we don’t go out to eat unless whom he wants to have as an immediate chairs we found in storage we later dis- the restaurant’s food is better than my covered through the archives that they husband’s ethnic cooking. He is a great neighbor,” she said. arts & entertainment “The house cannot be bought. Also, were made for the last coronation of cook and cooks for us every night. I to rent it, you must have a proper secu- the Czech King Ferdinand V in 1836. don’t cook at all,” said this blogger, who Plan Your Entire Weekend. rity clearance. The rent is not cheap — it Naturally, none of these objects can be reviews restaurants and other people’s www.washdiplomat.com is the highest rent in all of the Czech Re- bought. They stay property of the castle cooking.

Diplomatic Spouses

Culture

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Festivals | Culture | WD

‘Eat Spain Up!’ From Innovative Design to Traditional Dishes, Foodie Festival Serves Up Spanish Treats •

BY KATE OCZYPOK

Eat Spain Up! THROUGH OCT. 29 FORMER RESIDENCE OF THE AMBASSADORS OF SPAIN 2801 16TH ST., NW

(202) 728-2334 WWW.SPAINCULTURE.US/CITY/WASHINGTON-DC/ EAT-SPAIN-UP/

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The month-long food festival “Eat Spain Up!” features two exhibitions: “Estrada Design Kitchen,” featuring Spanish designer Manuel Estrada’s conceptual work that deconstructs everyday foods, at left and bottom left photo, as well as “Eleven Gastronomy Icons from Spain,” which highlights the building blocks of Spanish cuisine, from its cheeses to its ham.

D.C. foodies mark your calendars: the Former Residence of the Ambassadors of Spain is hosting a month-long festival in October celebrating tasty treats from the country that brought us tapas and paella, among many other delicious contributions. “Eat Spain Up!” will explore the country and its regions through its traditional cuisine, culture and its new “gastronomic creativity.” Chefs, producers, designers and experts will converge for the program, which includes discussions, screenings, has been thinking about, lectures and, of course, tastings of regional foods, wines particularly for the last sevand iconic as well as avant-garde Spanish dishes. The resieral years as she completes a dence will also showcase two related master’s degree in food studexhibitions on the synergy between ies at New York University design and food: “Spain’s Eleven. Elevthrough a Fulbright Scholaren Gastronomy Icons from Spain” and ship. “Maybe I don’t have the “Estrada Design Kitchen,” focusing on full answer yet, but I believe the work of Spanish designer Manuel food and cultural expression Estrada. need very little translation,” Gloria Rodriguez, founder and she told us. “When you taste executive director of the “Eat Spain food from different cultures, Up!” cultural initiative, is passionate about gastro-diplothere is so much to experimacy. When asked about the foods she grew up with that ence, learn and feel, and she’s eager to introduce to D.C., she said there are some you can do so without any cheeses in Spain that she will look at and cry before she previous knowledge — you even puts them into her mouth. don’t have to know the music Iberian ham in particular is what Rodriguez calls Spain’s PHOTO: @ESTRADA DESIGN or language of a country.” “culinary star.” She spent two years in California A completely different take on food can be as a teenager and confessed that she often dreamt seen in “Estrada Design Kitchen,” a retrospecabout the cured meat while she was in the U.S. tive of Spanish designer Manuel Estrada’s conRodriguez said she is excited for festival-goers to ceptual work, which deconstructs the everytaste things no Spaniard can live without. “Eleven Gastronomy Icons from Spain” highday elements of food that we take for granted lights many of the fundamental building blocks of and transforms them into striking works of Spanish cuisine, including its renowned cheeses, art. Estrada, a leading graphic designer who wine, olive oil, fish preserves and recently won Spain’s National Design Award, its coveted ham, tracing a delecriffs not only on actual ingredients, but also table journey across the country’s incorporates food packaging, corporate imgeography. Rodriguez will lead a aging and other materials to create bold, playlecture and tasting Oct. 3 on the ful yet thought-provoking compositions. various regions and tastes of the Estrada spent a dozen years designing country. Spain’s most influential food and culture On Oct. 19, a screening, dismagazine, “Spain Gourmetour.” In 2011, the cussion and tasting will take publication was awarded the “Cordon Bleu” place with famed celebrity prize for the best gastronomy magazine in chef José Andrés, whose local the world. restaurants include the Jaleo “As from that moment on, many times tapas chain, China Chilcano, when I am designing a book cover or a postOyamel and minibar. Andrés er, images related to food come to my mind,” PHOTO: JUAN MANUEL SANZ - ICEX will discuss the past, present Estrada said. and future of Spain’s acclaimed gastronomy revoluRodriguez pointed out that food is always on everyone’s minds, no tion with food writer and scholar Anne McBride. matter where they are from, and that everyone has an intrinsic knowlFollowing the talk, there will be a screening of edge of the foods that define their heritage. “Eating is one of those five “Snacks. Bites of a Revolution,” a film chronicling senses experiences,” she said. “It’s not just visual, it’s not just gustatory, the country’s food movement and its impact on the everything comes into play.” WD international dining scene. The universal appeal of food and how it brings Kate Oczypok (@OczyKate) is a contributing writer together different people is something Rodriguez for The Washington Diplomat.

PHOTO: @ESTRADA DESIGN

THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | OCTOBER 2017 | 41


WD | Culture | Exhibits

‘Safe & Sound’ Swedish Embassy Spotlights Global Issues Like Migration, Climate, Gender •

BY MACKENZIE WEINGER

Stories of Migration — Sweden Beyond the Headlines THROUGH DEC. 10 HOUSE OF SWEDEN 2900 K ST., NW

(202) 467-2600 WWW.SWEDENABROAD.COM/WASHINGTON

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he sensitive, timely theme of “Safe & Sound” connects a series of exhibitions, seminars and performances at the House of Sweden, with the beautiful, open embassy along the Georgetown Waterfront serving as a hub to contemplate ways to promote equality, safety and security for all. “We saw a lot of issues we wanted to fit in that theme. We wanted to talk about different global security issues like climate, health, women and peace, freedom of speech, migration and refugees — Sweden has received many refugees from Syria, Afghanistan and other places,” Swedish Embassy public diplomacy, press and communications counselor Monica Enqvist told The Washington Diplomat. “‘Safe & Sound’ encompasses all this.” The exhibit “Stories of Migration — Sweden Beyond the Headlines” can be found by the entrance, inviting visitors to explore new perspectives on the country’s history with migration along with the present-day struggles and opportunities that stem from a new wave of migrants and refugees. Display cases highlight innovative policies practiced in Sweden, from ways new residents are encouraged to learn the language to programs that introduce young people to popular sports in the country. “The exhibit aims to have a dialogue, to share stories about migration, initiatives, solutions to global challenges and to give correct facts,” according to Enqvist. Visitors can see examples of designs made by migrants exploring the immigrant experience, or dig into what the asylum-seeking process really involves. As the exhibit notes, “migration is old news,” but with 65 million people around the world forced to flee their homes — the largest number since World War II — the current crisis is anything but. It’s an issue that directly affects Sweden, which has disproportionately accepted a large share of the refugees arriving in Europe (more than 160,000 in 2015, including 35,000 unaccompanied children) and where one in every six people was born in another country. Photographs of migrants and asylum seekers, along with their thoughts on the experience in their own words, are available to browse on tablets or on large print canvases. The images of new Swedes, who shared their stories of migration with photographer Alexander Mahmoud, are a particular highlight. This part marks the most effective point of the show, with the mix of personal experience and the broader discussion of Swedish government policy making for a striking and thought-provoking display. Take, for example, the photo of Ibrahim leaping in the air clad in his cleats — a vibrant shot made all the more powerful with his story about receiving a residence permit in Sweden. “I’m late. I have just met with officers at the Migration Agency. The match has already started. I run up to my coach, say that I can jump into the game right away without changing clothes. After one minute, during the first attack, I shoot the ball hard into the net. I run up to my teammates, celebrating, screaming that

42 | THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | OCTOBER 2017

PHOTOS: EMBASSY OF SWEDEN

“Safe & Sound” at the House of Sweden explores global issues such as migration, gender equality and climate change.

I have received a residence permit in Sweden. That’s why I’m late. This is the highlight of my life,” the caption reads. “All of the players in Flyttfågeln FC (‘Migratory Bird FC’) are underage migrants from different countries who have come here without parents. We are all friends. I hope that all my friends will be allowed to stay in Sweden.” Along with “Stories of Migration,” the House of Sweden will be showcasing “Witnesses” by Anna U Davis, a mixed-media artist who explores gender relations, and “Summertime Iceland: Light as a Metaphor” by photographer Nancy Libson, through December. The “Safe & Sound” theme also extends to the event series that is put on at the embassy, with family art workshops on Saturdays and films on Sunday afternoons, for instance. “On the weekends, we run House of Sweden like a museum, so it’s open and free of charge. People can come in and enjoy our exhibitions. We also have movie screenings and workshops for children,” Enqvist noted. Beyond the impressive array of exhibitions and events on offer, the House of Sweden itself is well worth a visit to the Georgetown Waterfront. Designed by Swedish architects Gert Wingårdh and Tomas Hansen, it is an 80,000-square-foot glass marvel with an iconic D.C. view. “Behind this building’s architecture and design are Swedish values — openness, transparency and nature. Through the big glass walls we bring in nature — the Potomac and Rock Creek from the outdoors,” Enqvist

said. As the House of Sweden heads to its finale of a fascinating year focusing on its chosen theme of “Safe & Sound,” Enqvist said she hopes the programs and exhibitions help spur debate both in and outside of the walls of the embassy. “We want people to share what they think, and to continue talking about these areas,” she said. “We can all learn from each other when we share our stories, explore different perspectives to promote collaboration and stand up for important values like human rights. It’s about the challenges of today and positive solutions.” WD Mackenzie Weinger (@mweinger) is a contributing writer for The Washington Diplomat.


Art | Culture | WD

New Light on Mideast Two Exhibitions on Arab Art Challenge Stereotypes to Build Bridges •

BY KATE OCZYPOK

Between Two Rounds of Fire, The Exile of the Sea THROUGH DEC. 17

I AM: An East-West Arts Initiative Organized by CARAVAN THROUGH OCT. 22 AMERICAN UNIVERSITY MUSEUM AT KATZEN 4400 MASSACHUSETTS AVE., NW

(202) 885-1000 | WWW.AMERICAN.EDU/CAS/MUSEUM/

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or many Americans, the Middle East is often more associated with conflict and complexity than culture and creativity. But two powerful exhibitions of Arab art at the American University Museum are designed to dispel misconceptions and build bridges. “I AM: An East-West Arts Initiative Organized by CARAVAN” spotlights female artists from a dozen Middle Eastern countries as they confront issues of culture, religion and social dynamics in a rapidly changing world, both at home and abroad. “Between Two Rounds of Fire, The Exile of the Sea” features a diverse selection of modern and contemporary Arab art that explores the theme of technologies in conflict. “Between Two Rounds of Fire” draws from the Barjeel Art Foundation, a United Arab Emirates-based initiative established to preserve and showcase Arab art. “I AM” includes the work of 31 women artists who were invited to create a piece specifically for the show in the medium of their choosing, from painting, drawing and collage to photography, digital art and sculpture. “It is fun to have the two shows here together,” said Jack Rasmussen, curator of the American University Museum. Rasmussen said it is important to shed light on Arab art as a way of relating to the region’s traditions and its future. “Certainly it’s important that we understand each other, particularly in the Middle East and Arab world,” he said. “This is an opportunity to learn and to engage.” While both shows deal with Arab art, they are distinct and deal with vastly different subject matter. “Between Two Rounds” explores conflict but more abstractly, looking at the mechanisms of power and divisions between people and societies. “I AM” emphasizes the role of women artists, understanding and peacebuilding — and both in substance and presentation, is the more tangible of the two. Rev. Paul-Gordon Chandler, founding president of CARAVAN, the nonprofit that organized “I AM,” said the aim of the exhibit is to highlight the significant contributions Middle Eastern women have made to society, both locally and globally. “Often they are only seen as being suppressed and restricted,” he said. “This exhibition is about challenging widely held stereotypes regarding Middle Eastern women by visually celebrating their

PHOTOS: AMERICAN UNIVERSITY MUSEUM

The American University Museum is showcasing two Middle Eastern-focused exhibitions: “Between Two Rounds of Fire, The Exile of the Sea,” which draws from the Barjeel Art Foundation and examines the theme of technologies in conflict,” above and at left; as well as “I AM: An East-West Arts Initiative Organized by CARAVAN,” which spotlights a dozen Mideast women artists, including works by Lalla Essaydi, below, and Boushra Almutawakel, bottom.

achievements and central role as peacebuilders.” Chandler, an Episcopal priest who has worked largely in North Africa and the Middle East in Muslim-majority nations, added that the exhibit is a reminder to “not make assumptions about people, and that wide-ranging generalizations can be dangerous.” At a Sept. 7 panel discussion at the Middle East Institute featuring three artists from “I AM,” the women talked about their inspiration and back stories. For example, Helen Zughaib, a local artist born in Beirut, incorporates the abaya (a traditional female robe) in her work to challenge the perception that the garment is oppressive. Alia Ali, an American born in Austria with Yemeni and Bosnian roots, challenges notions of identity through her use of newspapers, which she sees as a form of truthtelling and a source of labels that make people victims and hopeful all in one. Meanwhile, self-taught painter Lulwa Al-Khalifa of Bahrain pointed out that not all Middle Eastern art has to have a deeper political or social message, and, like other artists around the world, women from the region often create art for art’s sake. In contrast, the works from the Barjeel Foundation delve into conflict on various levels — within the region, society, the world and the individual. People are coming to terms with the history of the region, Rasmussen explained, and the show is a wide-ranging reflection of that discover, touching on how language, memory, geography and identity create and perpetuate conflict. “This is a great opportunity. It’s a kind of in-depth look not to be had very often in Washington,” Rasmussen said of both exhibitions. “For the most part, this territory hasn’t been covered by many museums. It’s an exciting region artistically that shouldn’t be ignored for many different reasons.” WD Kate Oczypok (@OczyKate) is a contributing writer for The Washington Diplomat. THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | OCTOBER 2017 | 43


WD | Culture | Theater

Love Is for Fools ‘A Little Night Music’ Sings the Praises of Love, Loss and Nostalgia •

BY LISA TROSHINSKY

A Little Night Music THROUGH OCT. 15 SIGNATURE THEATRE 4200 CAMPBELL AVE., ARLINGTON, VA.

(703) 820-9771 | WWW.SIGTHEATRE.ORG

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erhaps it’s no wonder that the nucleus of Signature Theatre’s “A Little Night Music” is the one artist in the highly talented cast who doesn’t list singer at the top of her resume. While the production showcases gooseflesh-inducing voices belting out Stephen Sondheim’s challenging score, Holly Twyford, a renowned local thespian, steals the show. This is not only because she plays the appealing female lead, Desiree Armfeldt — an aging actress who’s past her prime — but also because she miraculously dominates the musical with just her acting chops. Granted, in the show’s performance history, it hasn’t always been paramount for the role of the witty and quirky Desiree to be a strong vocalist, even though the part has been played by crooners likes Catherine Zeta-Jones and Patti LuPone. However, director Eric Schaeffer’s calculated decision to cast Twyford in the part was a risk — for both him and the actress, as this is Twyford’s first musical despite appearing in a multitude of D.C. productions. Luckily, but not surprisingly, Twyford turns what could be perceived as a shortcoming into her advantage. She stands out from the vocally blessed cast. The play is filled with fast and furious music and complicated harmonies. Twyford’s character slows the action down to its core message. This is especially true when Desiree, despondent over her disappointing love life, sings the iconic ballad “Send in the Clowns.” “I thought that you’d want what I want, sorry dear,” she croons when the object of her affection rejects her. Here, Twyford’s lack of singing virtuosity arouses more empathy; the song’s lyrics that describe her helplessness feel more real when sung by a musical novice. Schaeffer picked a crowd-pleaser when deciding to open Signature’s season with a well-known, well-loved play. “A Little Night Music” — with music and lyrics by Sondheim and a plot inspired by the Hugh Wheeler book and by the Ingmar Bergman film “Smiles of a Summer Night” — debuted on Broadway in 1973. It has echoes of Shakespeare folly in that the plot centers around the mismatched romantic lives of several couples who (spoiler alert) find their appropriate better halves by play’s end. It also includes a quintet — a Greek chorus if you will — who communicate their amusing commentary through operatic interventions. This chaotic soap opera of loves waxing and waning is set against the backdrop of Sweden at the turn of the 20th century, when upper-class, proper ladies and gents donned elaborate Victorian dress. The script is a farce of sorts on the real-life trials and tribulations of love, nostalgia and regret. Schaeffer aptly describes “Night Music” as a “romance with cynicism, or as Sondheim called it, ‘whip cream with knives.’” For those who have trouble following twisting plot lines, especially plots with similarly named characters, here is a cheat sheet: Desiree Armfeldt is having an affair with Count Carl-Magnus, who is married to his longsuffering wife, Countess Charlotte. Meanwhile, Desiree secretly longs for her long-ago love Fredrik Egerman, who is recently betrothed to an 18year-old virgin, Anne. Henrik, Frederik’s son, is studying for the ministry yet, ironically, lusting after Anne, who is his age-equivalent stepmother, in addition to consenting to frequent trysts with the maid, Petra. Outside of the love triangles are Desiree’s teenage daughter, coincidentally named Fredrika, and her mother, Madame Armfeldt, who used to be a lady of the night, but who now is mostly confined to a wheelchair. Desiree has made Fredrika her mother’s charge while she tours the country trying

44 | THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | OCTOBER 2017

PHOTOS: CHRISTOPHER MUELLER

to capitalize on her last 15 minutes of fame. As one can imagine with this setup, the actors are individually droll and collectively a hoot. For example, Henrik, played by Sam Ludwig, who is too shy to go after the girl of his dreams, morosely sings his lovelorn woes to the audience while accompanying himself on the cello. Countess Charlotte, portrayed by Tracy Lynn Olivera, is openly aware of her husband’s adultery and delivers morose, sarcastic one-liners with the passion of a sluggish snail. Only during her duet “Every Day a Little Death” does she let on that she’s hurting from a loveless marriage. Underneath the foolishness and absurdity of the relationships are endearing characters. One is the lovable, self-pitying Fredrik, given depth by the prowess of Bobby Smith. In his harmonizing duet with Twyford, “You Must Meet My Wife,” one of the most enjoyable numbers in the program, he showcases both his powerful voice and comedic timing. Sondheim once said, “Art, in itself, is an attempt to bring order out of chaos.” The characters in “A Little Night Music” — through their disorder — make sense of the chaos that consumes them by laughing at their own foolishness. When Desiree sings “Send in the Clowns,” she adds, “Don’t bother, they’re here.” Perhaps Sondheim is saying we — as artists and spectators — are all fools, or chumps, vulnerable to love’s perils. Maybe so, but perhaps that isn’t necessarily bad after all. WD Lisa Troshinsky is the theater reviewer for The Washington Diplomat.

Above from left, Holly Twyford (Desiree Armfeldt), Will Gartshore (Carl-Magnus Malcolm) and Bobby Smith (Fredrik Egerman) star in “A Little Night Music” at Signature Theatre.


Art | Culture | WD

Indigenous Appreciation Australian Embassy Celebrates Aboriginal Artists from Remote Island of Milingimbi •

BY KATE OCZYPOK

Gapu Murnuk OCT. 3 TO 26 EMBASSY OF AUSTRALIA ART GALLERY 1601 MASSACHUSETTS AVE., NW

(202) 797-3000 WWW.MILINGIMBIART.COM/GAPU-MURNUK-EXHIBITION/

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ustralia, like many nations, has a tortured past with its indigenous people. Aboriginal Australians, considered the world’s oldest-known civilization, have a long and ugly history with colonization, one the government has in recent years tried to atone for, though scars remain. In Washington, the country’s embassy has worked to showcase Aboriginal culture and indigenous art through a regular series of exhibitions, including an upcoming show this month that celebrates the creativity on a small island off the remote northern coast of Australia. Aboriginal people have inhabited the island of Milingimbi for over 40,000 years. Milingimbi was formally established in 1923 by the Methodist Overseas Mission. It was bombed during World War II, forcing most of the island’s residents to flee. Milingimbi then became an air force base, but the missionaries returned in 1951, re-established the town and opened a school there. They respected the traditional culture, however, so Aboriginal customary religion and Christianity coexisted in the small community. Milingimbi also soon became a central point for crosscultural contact and research. Art is key in Milingimbi and it holds a high place in society. Henry Skerritt, curator of the Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection at the University of Virginia, said the indigenous art on display at the Australian Embassy in “Gapu Murnuk” is an example of people both preserving their culture and sharing it with others. “These communities used art to keep them strong and also to show their art to the outside world,” he said. “Their two complementary functions make it so powerful.” The contemporary works on display will include ceremonial poles known as larrakitj, paintings on bark and paper, fiber works and carvings by artists such as Raymond Bulambula, Joyce Naliyabu, George Dangi and others. Bulambula and Naliyabu are indigenous art fellows at the University of Virginia. Skerritt said he is particularly excited about the residency, as most artists typically hail from urban centers, not barely inhabited, remote areas. The artists’ residency will culminate in the exhibition at the Australian Embassy. Skerritt said technology has helped bridge the distance between Milingimbi’s artists and their counterparts in the Washington area, although he added that technology doesn’t erase the distinct cultural differences between them. “I often Skype with Raymond and Joyce,” he said. “Just because we are all connected,

“Gapu Murnuk” at the Australian Embassy features Aboriginal artwork from the remote island of Milingimbi, including ceremonial poles, carved sculptures, weavings and other work by artists such as Raymond Bulambula, center.

we haven’t lost what makes us unique.” Chris Durkin, art manager of the Milingimbi Art and Culture Centre, said his organization has worked to help the island’s indigenous people, also known as the Yolngu, find new territory for their work. By the 1960s, the center was a leader in establishing a market for traditional Yolngu art, helping it find its way into significant national and international collections. Durkin said he’s been focused on preserving traditional mindji (designs) and object-making techniques. The works include weavings using pandanus, a type of tropical plant that is dyed black, as well as carved sculptures that represent spirits and hollow log coffins. At the same time, the center encourages the making of fresh new works. “It’s a natural progression for us to exhibit recent artwork at the Australian Embassy in Washington to share the continuum of deep knowledge and artistic vision of the Milingimbi community with an international audience,” Durkin said. “The opportunity to present the work in a gallery setting while being present to speak to it is very important to us.” Committed to bringing indigenous art to the PHOTOS: © MILINGIMBI ART AND CULTURE 2017 U.S., Durkin said it is important that this type of art is viewed not through a purely anthropological lens. “The reality is that the Australian Aboriginal artists are undeniably the strongest and most relevant voices in the nation’s visual arts,” he said. “Each artwork stands on its own while also telling the story of its relationship to its neighbors and a whole network of knowledge that includes every inch of Australian land and sea.” For example, the exhibition title, “Gapu Murnuk,” refers to the merging of elements, specifically freshwater and saltwater, bringing together an abundance of food on which the Yolngu depend. As the “gapu” (water) travels, the “gapu gamurray” (saltwater) and “gapu raping” (freshwater) meet to create something else, the “gapu murnuk.” The exhibit also references the metaphorical joining between different tribes, between husband and wife, and between parent and child. Skerritt hopes those who visit the exhibit learn about the nuances and skill of Aboriginal art, and how beautiful and powerful it can be. “Don’t come with the assumption you’ll see primitive art,” he said. “These are incredible artists with a rich culture.” WD Kate Oczypok (@OczyKate) is a contributing writer for The Washington Diplomat. THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | OCTOBER 2017 | 45


WD | Culture | Film

Cinema Listings

THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | October 2017 Landmark’s Bethesda Row Cinema Opens Fri., Oct. 6

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

Breathe

Arabic

Directed by Andy Serkis (U.K., 2017, 117 min.) When Robin is struck down by polio at the age of 28, he is confined to a hospital bed and given only a few months to live. With the help of Diana’s twin brothers and the groundbreaking ideas of inventor Teddy Hall, Robin and Diana dare to escape the hospital ward to seek out a full and passionate life together. Angelika Mosaic Opens Fri., Oct. 20

Blessed Benefit (Inshallah Estafadit) Directed by Mahmoud Al Massad (Jordan, 2016, 83 min.) In this sly comedy, the middle-aged, scrawny, bespectacled Ahmad doesn’t belong in prison. But when the quiet contractor and father of two is charged with fraud over an unfortunate business deal, things spiral out of control. Ironically, once behind bars, he gradually feels something that he’s never felt before — liberty (part of the Arabian Sights Film Festival). AMC Mazza Gallerie Fri., Oct. 20, 6:30 p.m., Sun., Oct. 22, 4 p.m.

A Day for Women (Yom Lel Setat) Directed by Kamla Abu Zekry (Egypt, 2016, 111 min.) The opening of a new swimming pool is the talk of the town, particularly because Sunday has been announced as a day for women. Bringing together very different women of a small community is an unexpected equalizer — and no one is more excited than Azza, who dreams of wearing a swimsuit. Naturally, the men of the community can’t help but be curious and find their own colorful way of protesting against the women’s day (part of the Arabian Sights Film Festival). AMC Mazza Gallerie Fri., Oct. 27, 9 p.m., Sat., Oct. 28, 9 p.m.

Foreign Body Directed by Raja Amari (Tunisia/France, 2016, 92 min.) Seeking refuge from her Islamist radical brother, whom she denounced to authorities, young Samia flees her homeland in the turbulent aftermath of the Tunisian revolution. She braves hostile seas in the crossing to France, but once there she finds that her struggles have only just begun (Arabic and French; part of the Arabian Sights Film Festival). AMC Mazza Gallerie Sat., Oct. 21, 7 p.m., Sun., Oct. 29, 5 p.m.

In Syria (Insyriated) Directed by Philippe Van Leeuw (Lebanon/Belgium/France, 2017, 86 min.) Trapped inside her home in a city under siege, a mother of three turns her flat into a safe harbor for her family and neighbors in an attempt to protect them from the war raging on the streets of Damascus (part of the Arabian Sights Film Festival). AMC Mazza Gallerie

Columbus

Photo: Elisha Christian / Courtesy of Superlative Films / Depth of Field

John Cho stars as a Korean-born man stuck in Indiana after his father falls into a coma in “Columbus.”

Sun., Oct. 22, 6 p.m., Sun., Oct. 29, 3 p.m.

My Uncle (Mon Oncle / Aammi) Directed by Nassim Abassi (Morocco, 2016, 115 min.) Alia is a struggling actress living in Rabat with her two roommates. As she attempts to navigate her way in cinema — in spite of the negative perceptions of women in the acting profession — she remains diligently optimistic that she will become a famous actress. But one day Alia’s life is thrown into a comedic confusion of circumstances as she juggles hosting her uncle and pursuing her acting career, while facing problems with her fiancé and his family (part of the Arabian Sights Film Festival). AMC Mazza Gallerie Fri., Oct. 20, 8:30 p.m., Sat., Oct. 28, 4:45 p.m.

The Originals (Al Asleyeen) Directed by Marwan Hamed (Egypt, 2017, 125 min.) In this visually stunning thriller, Samir works for a bank, provides for his ever-demanding family and dreams of singing in an Egyptian talent show. When he is unexpectedly fired, Samir finds himself recruited to be part of a secret society, called The Originals, which has unlimited access to surveillance at their disposal (part of the Arabian Sights Film Festival). AMC Mazza Gallerie Sat., Oct. 21, 4:30 p.m., Fri., Oct. 27, 6:30 p.m.

Solitaire (Mahbas) Directed by Sophie Boutros (Lebanon/Jordan/Egypt, 2016, 92 min.)

46 | THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | October 2017

Therese is the wife of a mayor of a small Lebanese village. The highly anticipated visit of her daughter’s suitor’s family causes much excitement — until she discovers that her long-awaited guests are from Syria. When Therese cannot contain her personal prejudices, the film turns increasingly farcical as she makes outlandish attempts to thwart the union (part of the Arabian Sights Film Festival). AMC Mazza Gallerie Sat., Oct. 28, 7 p.m.

English

The Worthy (Al Mokhtaroun)

Battle of the Sexes

Directed by Ali F. Mostafa (UAE, 2017, 99 min.) Part social commentary, and part sheer thrill ride, “The Worthy” is breathless and audacious, ripping up the script of what to expect from an Arabic language film with this visually spectacular dystopian take on an Arab world torn apart by social disorder (closing night of the Arabian Sights Film Festival). AMC Mazza Gallerie Sun., Oct. 29, 7 p.m.

American Made Directed by Doug Liman (U.S., 2017, 115 min.) Tom Cruise stars in this film based on the outrageous (and real) exploits of a hustler and pilot unexpectedly recruited by the CIA to run one of the biggest covert operations in U.S. history (English and Spanish). Angelika Mosaic Atlantic Plumbing Cinema

Directed by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris (U.K./U.S., 2017, 121 min.) This true story follows the 1973 tennis match between world number-one Billie Jean King and ex-champ and serial hustler Bobby Riggs. Angelika Mosaic Landmark’s Bethesda Row Cinema Landmark’s E Street Cinema

The Big Sick Directed by Michael Showalter (U.S., 2017, 119 min.) Pakistan-born aspiring comedian Kumail connects with grad student Emily after one of his standup sets. However, what they thought would be just a one-night stand blossoms into the real thing, which complicates the life that is expected of Kumail by his traditional Muslim parents (English and Urdu). Landmark’s Bethesda Row Cinema Landmark’s E Street Cinema

Blade Runner 2049 Directed by Denis Villeneuve (U.K./U.S./Canada, 2017, 163 min.) A new blade runner, LAPD Officer K (Ryan Gosling), unearths a long-buried secret that has the potential to plunge what’s left of society into chaos, forcing him on a quest to find a former blade runner (Harrison Ford) who has been missing for 30 years. Angelika Mosaic Atlantic Plumbing Cinema

Directed by Kogonada (U.S., 2017, 100 min.) A Korean-born man finds himself stuck in Columbus, Indiana, where his estranged architect father is in a coma. The man meets a young woman who wants to stay in Columbus with her mother, a recovering addict, instead of pursuing her own dreams. West End Cinema

Dolores Directed by Peter Bratt (U.S., 2017, 95 min.) Dolores Huerta is one of the most important, yet least known, activists in the fight for racial, class and gender equality in American history. She was an equal partner co-founding the first farm workers union with Cesar Chavez, but her enormous contributions have gone largely unrecognized. Landmark’s E Street Cinema

Game of Death Directed by Sébastien Landry and Laurence Morais-Lagacé (France/Canada/U.S., 2017, 73 min.) “Kill or be killed” is the golden rule of the Game of Death, which is bad news for seven young friends who decide to play one sunny day. They quickly and gruesomely realize that if they don’t murder people, their heads

Armenian Apricot Groves Directed by Pouria Heidary Oureh (Armenia, 2016, 78 min.) Aram, the Iranian Armenian youth who immigrated to the U.S. as a child, returns to Armenia for the first time to propose to an Armenian girlfriend he met in America. But he soon discovers sees many cultural and religious between his adopted country and homeland, with harder obstacles ahead (part of the Reel Affirmations Film Festival). GALA Hispanic Theatre Sun., Oct. 22, 3 p.m.

Photo: Copyright © 2016 Paradox/Nordisk Film Production/Film Väst/Zentropa Sweden/Copenhagen Film Fund/Newgrange Pictures

Over three dramatic days in April 1940, the Norwegian king faces a grueling ultimatum from the Nazis — surrender or die — in “King’s Choice.”


Film | Culture | WD

will literally explode. AFI Silver Theatre Sat., Oct. 7, 8 p.m.

God’s Own Country Directed by Francis Lee (U.K., 2017, 104 min.) In rural Yorkshire, isolated young sheep farmer Johnny numbs his daily frustrations with binge drinking and casual sex, until the arrival of a Romanian migrant worker Gheorghe, employed for the lambing season, ignites an intense relationship that sets Johnny on a new path (part of the Reel Affirmations Film Festival). GALA Hispanic Theatre Thu., Oct. 19, 9 p.m.

Kingsman: The Golden Circle Directed by Matthew Vaughn (U.K./U.S., 2017) When their headquarters are destroyed and the world is held hostage, the Kingsman’s journey leads them to the discovery of an allied spy organization in the U.S. These two elite secret organizations must band together to defeat a ruthless common enemy. Angelika Mosaic Angelika Pop-Up Atlantic Plumbing Cinema

Manolo: The Boy Who Made Shoes for Lizards Directed by Michael Roberts (U.K., 2017, 89 min.) “Manolo” is the in-depth portrait of legendary fashion designer Manolo Blahnik and how his extraordinary dedication to his craft led him to become the world’s most famous luxury shoemaker. Growing up on a remote Spanish Canary island, Manolo made shoes out of sweet wrappers for lizards that he caught in his family’s garden. After opening his first store in London in 1973 and coming of age in fashion capitals such as Paris and New York, Manolo now has shops and department store concessions in over 20 countries and still creates every shoe. Landmark’s E Street Cinema

Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House Directed by Peter Landesman (U.S., 2017, 103 min.) Liam Neeson stars as “Deep Throat,” the pseudonym given to the notorious whistleblower for one of the greatest scandals of all time: Watergate. Angelika Mosaic Landmark’s Bethesda Row Cinema Landmark’s E Street Cinema Opens Fri., Oct. 6

Menashe Directed by Joshua Z. Weinstein (U.S., 2017, 82 min.) Set within the New York Hasidic community in Brooklyn, “Menashe” follows a kind but hapless grocery store clerk trying to maintain custody of his son Rieven after his wife, Lea, passes away. Since they live in a tradition-bound culture that requires a mother present in every home, Rieven is supposed to be adopted by the boy’s strict, married

uncle, but Menashe’s Rabbi decides to grant him one week to spend with Rieven prior to Lea’s memorial, giving the father a final chance to prove to his skeptical community that he can be a capable parent (English and Yiddish). Landmark’s Bethesda Row Cinema

Valeria Pivato (Argentina/Chile, 2017, 78 min.) a lonely Chilean woman who has spent all of her life caring about the needs of others as a maid is forced to spend several hours in a desert town, where the unplanned interruption allows her to rediscover herself (part of the AFI Latin American Film Festival). AFI Silver Theatre Sun., Oct. 1, 3 p.m. Mon., Oct. 2, 5:30 p.m.

Red Christmas Directed by Craig Anderson (Australia, 2016, 82 min.) Horror legend Dee Wallace stars as the stressed-out mother of a squabbling family, gathered together in a remote Outback estate on Christmas Eve. When a deformed stranger named Cletus appears at their door, things move quickly from petty insults to bloody, imaginatively orchestrated violence. AFI Silver Theatre Thu., Oct. 5, 9:30 p.m.

Viceroy’s House Directed by Gurinder Chadha (U.K./India/Sweden, 2017, 106 min.) In this lavish, sweeping historical epic, Hugh Bonneville (“Downton Abbey”) stars as the last Viceroy of India. He and his wife (Gillian Anderson) arrive at Delhi’s palatial Viceroy’s House in 1947 to oversee handing the country back to its people, negotiating with Hindu, Sikh and Muslim leaders as conflict erupts and two independent nations are carved out of the subcontinent. Landmark’s Bethesda Row Cinema

Victoria and Abdul Directed by Stephen Frears (U.K./U.S., 2017, 112 min.) Queen Victoria strikes up an unlikely friendship with a young Indian clerk named Abdul Karim with a loyalty to one another that her household and inner circle all attempt to destroy. Angelika Mosaic Landmark’s Bethesda Row Cinema Landmark’s E Street Cinema

Finnish Lake Bodom Directed by Taneli Mustonen (Finland/Estonia, 2016, 85 min.) Every camper’s worst nightmare came true at Lake Bodom in 1960 when four teenagers were stabbed to death while sleeping in their tent. As the years passed and the case grew cold, the unsolved mystery turned into an urban legend. Now, a group of teenagers arrive at the same campsite, hoping to solve the murder by reconstructing it minute by minute. AFI Silver Theatre Sat., Oct. 7, 3:30 p.m.

French I Still Hide to Smoke (A mon âge je me cache encore pour fumer) Directed by Rayhana (Algeria/France/Greece, 2016, 90 min.) Set in the 1990s, when Algerian politics boiled over after the Islamist uprising, “I Still Hide to Smoke” follows a day-in-the-life of 50-yearold Fatima, who runs a women’s

I Dream in Another Language

Photo: Music Box Films

“Manolo: The Boy Who Made Shoes for Lizards” examines the life of legendary fashion designer Manolo Blahnik.

bath that becomes the setting for a series of steamy, provocative and political confrontations between women of all ages, shapes and sizes (French and Arabic; part of the Arabian Sights Film Festival). AMC Mazza Gallerie Sat., Oct. 21, 9 p.m., Sun., Oct. 22, 8 p.m.

Joseph, the Rebel Directed by Caroline Glorion (France, 2011, 90 min.) From a small group of destitute families in an emergency housing camp outside Paris in 1957, a movement was born that spans the world today. “Joseph, The Rebel” tells the story of Joseph Wresinski, a parish priest who had himself grown up in extreme poverty, and the founding of ATD Fourth World. This year marks the centenary of Wresinski’s birth and the 60th anniversary of ATD Fourth World, representative of which will be on hand after the screening. Embassy of France – La Maison Française

The Paris Opera (L’Opéra) Directed by Jean-Stéphane Bron (Switzerland/France, 2017, 110 min.) This film takes a behind-the-scenes look at how the Paris Opera is run under the direction of Stephane Lissner (French and English). Landmark’s Theatres Opens Fri., Oct. 27

The Unknown Girl (La fille inconnue) Directed by Jean-Pierre Dardenne and Luc Dardenne (Belgium/France, 2017, 113 min.) A woman gets obsessed with the case of a dead woman after learning that the woman had died shortly after having rung her door for help. Angelika Pop-Up

German Bye Bye Germany Directed by Sam Garbarski (Germany, 2017, 102 min.) Frankfurt, 1946: David Bermann and

his Jewish friends have escaped the Nazi regime and are now dreaming of leaving for America. But how will they get the money in these tough post-war times? The smooth-talking businessman focuses on what the Germans now need most: fine bed linens nicely wrapped in amusing stories. Edlavitch DCJCC Tue., Oct. 24, 7:30 p.m.

Schmitke Directed by Stepan Altrichter (Germany/Czech Republic, 2015, 97 min.) A wind turbine engineer of few words, employed by a German power company, is invited to a small mysterious town in the Ore Mountains of the Czech Republic. He travels there to repair a seemingly unrecoverable windmill, but something lurks behind the bushes — a mysterious growling from the forest. The Avalon Theatre Wed., Oct. 11, 8 p.m.

Japanese Neko Atsume House Directed by Masatoshi Kurakata (Japan, 2017, 92 min.) A once-bestselling novelist now suffering from writer’s block and poor sales. Forced by his publisher to introduce a zombie plotline into his latest work, he retreats to a house in the country to nurse the blow to his artistic integrity. A surprise visit from a group of adorable stray cats might be just what he needs to get his life back on track. Freer Gallery of Art Sun., Oct. 29, 3:30 p.m.

Mandarin Dragonfly Eyes Directed by Xu Bing (China/U.S., 2017, 81 min.) Composed entirely of actual surveillance and dashboard camera footage, “Dragonfly Eyes” tells the story of a young woman who abandons her training at a Buddhist temple to explore the secular world — only to become absorbed in the digital one. Freer Gallery of Art Sat., Oct. 21, 7 p.m.

Norwegian The King’s Choice (Kongens nei) Directed by Erik Poppe (Norway, 2017, 133 min.) Based on a true the story, over the course of three dramatic days in April 1940, the king of Norway is presented with the monstrous ultimatum from the Germans: surrender or die. With German Air Force and soldiers hunting them down, the royal family is forced to flee from the capital. After three days of desperately trying to evade the Germans, King Haakon makes his final decision, one that may cost him, his family and many Norwegians their lives (Norwegian, German, Danish and Swedish). Landmark’s E Street Cinema Opens Fri., Oct. 6

Directed by Ernesto Contreras (Mexico/Netherlands, 2017, 101 min.) A young linguist travels to the ungle of Mexico to research a language on the verge of disappearing. Once there, he discoverers its last two speakers clashed 50 years ago, and have refused to speak to each other since. Attempting to reunite them, the researcher discovers a secret past — and a forbidden gay love story (Spanish and English; part of the Reel Affirmations Film Festival). GALA Hispanic Theatre Fri., Oct. 20, 9 p.m.

El Puma de Quelepa Directed by Victor Ruano (El Salvador, 2017, 75 min.) Filmed in stunning black and white, this immersive dive into the lives of the people of Quelepa, El Salvador, is a tour de force of experimentation along the lines of the work of Mexican surrealist director Carlos Reygadas (part of the AFI Latin American Film Festival). AFI Silver Theatre Tue., Oct. 3, 9 p.m.

Spanish

Woodpeckers

Bad Influence (Mala Junta) Directed by Claudia Huaiquimilla (Chile, 2016, 89 min.) When rebellious teen Tano is sent from Santiago to southern Chile to live with his estranged father, he meets Cheo, a shy boy perpetually bullied for his indigenous origins. As the two outsiders bond over their troubles, the strange death of a Mapuche leader unleashes a spree of violence in the area (part of the AFI Latin American Film Festival). AFI Silver Theatre Sun., Oct. 1, 11 a.m., Wed., Oct. 4, 5:30 p.m.

Directed by José María Cabral (Dominican Republic, 2016, 106 min.) Tall, dark and handsome, Julián (Jean Jean) steps off a bus and becomes fresh meat walking inside the Najayo Prison in the Dominican Republic. He locates his cellblock underneath the corner where the “woodpeckers” perch. Woodpeckers — prisoners who romance ladies incarcerated at the women’s prison 150 meters away — spend their days in affectionate conversation with their lovers via sign language (closing night of the AFI Latin American Film Festival). AFI Silver Theatre Wed., Oct. 4, 7:30 p.m.

Bluebeard aka Kékszakállú

Turkish

Directed by Gastón Solnicki (Argentina, 2016, 72 min.) Inspired by Béla Bartók’s sole opera “Bluebeard’s Castle,” this portrait of several young women on the cusp of adolescence is a visually striking meditation on class, privilege and gender in contemporary Argentina (part of the AFI Latin American Film Festival). AFI Silver Theatre Mon., Oct. 2, 9:45 p.m., Tue., Oct. 3, 5:30 p.m.

Kedi

The Desert Bride (La novia del desierto) Directed by Cecilia Atán and

Directed by Ceyda Torun (Turkey, 2016, 80 min.) Hundreds of thousands of cats roam the metropolis of Istanbul freely. For thousands of years they’ve wandered in and out of people’s lives, becoming an essential part of the communities that make the city so rich. Claiming no owners, these animals live between two worlds — neither wild nor tame — and bring joy and purpose to those people they choose to adopt. Freer Gallery of Art Sun., Oct. 29, 1 p.m.

THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | October 2017 | 47


WD | Culture | Events

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

ART Oct. 3 to Dec. 3

Fragonard: The Fantasy Figures Combining art, fashion, science, and conservation, this revelatory exhibition brings together — for the first time — some 14 of the paintings known as the fantasy figures by Jean Honoré Fragonard (1732–1806). He is considered among the most characteristic and important French painters of his era, and the fantasy figure series — several rapidly executed, brightly colored paintings of lavishly costumed individuals — are some of his most beloved works. National Gallery of Art Oct. 6 to 27

Hangeul, the Aesthetics of the Lines This new exhibition of works by Korean contemporary installation artist EunHye Kang draws inspiration from the geometric and abstract forms of Korea’s phonetic, philosophical and linguistically rich alphabetic writing system, Hangeul. Kang’s work starts with the fundamental line, the basic element of formative language. By repeating and overlapping these elements, vertical and horizontal lines crisscross the physical art space, form images and create new places in between, just as written language generates endless knowledge and emotion. Korean Cultural Center Oct. 7 to Jan. 7

Renoir and Friends: Luncheon of the Boating Party This special exhibition will focus on The Phillips Collection’s celebrated “Luncheon of the Boating Party” by Pierre-Auguste Renoir and the diverse circle of friends who inspired it. The first exhibition to focus on this singular masterwork in more than 20 years, it is comprised of more than 40 carefully chosen works — paintings, drawings, pastels, watercolors and photographs from public and private collections around the world — that reveal the story of “Luncheon of the Boating Party” and the artists and patrons who were instrumental in its creator’s success. The Phillips Collection Oct. 8 to Jan. 7

Bosch to Bloemaert: Early Netherlandish Drawings from the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam Founded in the 19th century, Rotterdam’s Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen possesses one of the world’s finest collections of 15th- and 16th-century Netherlandish drawings. “Bosch to Bloemaert” offers American audiences an exceptional opportunity to see a selection of 100 master draw-

ings from this collection. The exhibition presents a beautiful and remarkably comprehensive overview of the period, encompassing nearly all media and types of drawings of the time. National Gallery of Art Oct. 13 to Jan. 21

Magnetic Fields: Expanding American Abstraction, 1960s to Today This landmark exhibition of abstract paintings, sculptures and works on paper by 21 black women artists places the visual vocabularies of these artists in context with one another and within the larger history of abstraction. This exhibition celebrates those under-recognized artists who have been marginalized, and argues for their continuing contribution to the history and iconography of abstraction in the United States. National Museum of Women in the Arts Oct. 14 to Nov. 29

Encountering the Buddha: Art and Practice Across Asia Encounter Buddhist art through the lens of spiritual practice and the perspectives of practitioners. Drawing on the Freer|Sackler’s collections from across Asia, this exhibition expands the understanding of Buddhism in Asian art through both beautiful objects and immersive spaces. Freer and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Oct. 14 to Jan. 15

Divine Felines: Cats of Ancient Egypt Cats’ personalities have made them internet stars today. In ancient Egypt, cats were associated with divinities, as revealed in “Divine Felines: Cats of Ancient Egypt.” Cat coffins and representations of the cat-headed goddess Bastet are among the extraordinary objects that reveal felines’ critical role in ancient Egyptian religious, social and political life. Freer and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Oct. 20 to Jan. 28

Murder Is Her Hobby: Frances Glessner Lee and The Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death This fascinating exhibition explores the surprising intersection between craft and forensic science. Frances Glessner Lee (1878-1962) crafted her extraordinary “Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death” — exquisitely detailed miniature crime scenes — to train homicide investigators to “convict the guilty, clear the innocent, and find the truth in a nutshell.”These dollhouse-sized dioramas, created in the first half of the 20th century and still used in forensic training today, were the equivalent of virtual reality in their time and helped to revolutionize the emerging field of forensic science. They also tell the story of how a woman co-opted traditionally feminine crafts to advance a maledominated field and establish herself as

48 | THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | October 2017

one of its leading voices. Renwick Gallery Oct. 22 to Jan. 21

Vermeer and the Masters of Genre Painting: Inspiration and Rivalry

THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | October 2017 geometric forms with precisely defined fields of color. National Museum of Women in the Arts Through Oct. 29

Spain’s Eleven & Estrada Design Kitchen

This landmark exhibition examines the artistic exchanges among Johannes Vermeer and his contemporaries from 1650 to 1675, when they reached the height of their technical ability and mastery of depictions of domestic life. The exhibition brings together some 65 works by Vermeer and his fellow painters of the Dutch Golden Age, including Gerard ter Borch, Gerrit Dou, Pieter de Hooch, Gabriel Metsu, Frans van Mieris, Caspar Netscher and Jan Steen. Juxtaposing paintings related by theme, composition, and technique, the exhibition explores how these artists inspired, rivaled, surpassed and pushed each other to greater artistic achievement. National Gallery of Art

This double exhibition on design and food by Spanish designer Manuel Estrada serves as a framework for the “Eat Spain Up!” program about the gastronomy of Spain. “Spain’s Eleven” is a photographic journey across Spain’s geography through its most relevant foods, from cheese and wine to olive oil, its fish preserves or its coveted ham. “Estrada Design Kitchen” explores the Spanish designer’s conceptual work at pulling apart the everyday elements of food we take for granted, transforming them into works of art. Former Residence of the Ambassadors of Spain

Through Oct. 27

Spanish design and video-mapping artists Cynthia Gonzalez and Ines Vila from WOT Studio, and Spanish archaeologist Carlos León come together to present this audiovisual exhibit on the untold stories of Spanish vessels lost at sea that seeks to raise awareness about the need to preserve and protect our underwater heritage. Former Residence of the Ambassadors of Spain

Bahia and Africa Through the Lenses of Verger Pierre Verger, a 20th-century photographer and a scholar of Afro-Brazilian culture, photographed celebrities such as Ernest Hemingway and Walt Disney, but the heart of his work was the everyday lives of common people. When Verger arrived in Bahia, Brazil, he fell in love with the city and its residents, and between the 1950s and the late 1970s, he spent almost as much time in Africa as in Bahia, where he was given the name Fatumbi after having been initiated in the Ifá religion. OAS Art Museum of the Americas Through Oct. 28

Brilliant Dilletantes (Geniale Dilletanten) “Geniale Dilletanten” was the deliberately misspelled title of a concert that took place at Berlin’s Tempodrom in 1981. But over the years since then, it has come to represent an artistic scene in West and East Germany during the mid-1980’s, an era of upheaval in which people in all the arts experimented with new ways of expression. Rather than persisting with the cause of world revolution, energies were channeled into achieving alternative ways of life. By adopting German rather than English as the language for song lyrics and band names, the protagonists of this new scene set themselves apart from the mainstream, giving credence to the movement’s claim to be representing a radical new departure. Goethe-Institut Through Oct. 29

Equilibrium: Fanny Sanín This spotlight exhibition, featuring five paintings and more than 30 preliminary drawings by Fanny Sanín, invites viewers into the artist’s meticulous, intuitive process, as she creates compositions of

explore abstraction and figuration. He advances the tradition of woodblock printing by transforming pieces of scavenged wood—discarded floorboards or fragments of abandoned furniture—into printing blocks, which he progressively carves and recarves. National Gallery of Art Through Dec. 29

Before the 45th | Action/Reaction in Chicano and Latino Art This display of 60 works examines how Southern California-based Chicano and Latino artists worked tirelessly in an effort to shed light on the economic, political and social injustices faced over the past four decades. Concentrating on various themes and ideas, the exhibition highlights the diverse approaches taken by these artists to communicate their individual and community needs. Mexican Cultural Institute

Through Oct. 29

Through Jan. 1

Shipwrecked! Preserving Our Underwater Heritage

Spectacular Gems and Jewelry from the Merriweather Post Collection

Through Nov. 26

For centuries, extraordinary gemstones have been the centerpieces of stunning jewelry made to adorn royalty, aristocracy, high society and Hollywood stars. Over 50 pieces that once belonged heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post, one of the greatest jewelry collectors of the 20th century, will tell the story behind some of the remarkable stones and the jewelry into which they were transformed. Hillwood Estate, Museum and Gardens

Human Landscapes: Paisajes Humanos

Through Jan. 7

“Human Landscapes,” organized in conjunction with the Argentine Embassy, presents a multifaceted approach to the diverse and idiosyncratic aspects of Argentina’s geography, through the eyes of contemporary photographers. Images depict the human footprints left on the land from the urban centers of Buenos Aires and Salta as well as islands along the Paraná River, interactions between indigenous and other Argentina people and tourists, as well as the artists’ personal lives. OAS Art Museum of the Americas Through Dec. 10

Witnesses by Anna U Davis Anna U Davis is known for her bold, colorful, graphic mixed-media work, where she explores her fascination with gender relations. This exhibit examines the notion of personality traits that are often classified as either good or bad — from curiosity, passion and jealousy to maturity, independence and insecurity — delving into where these features stem from. House of Sweden Through Dec. 13

Matthias Mansen: Configurations German-born artist Matthias Mansen creates large-scale woodcuts that

to international masterpieces, this exhibition presents kids and adults alike, with a sometimes surprising, and always eye-catching, view of the man and his works. Folger Shakespeare Library Through March 4

Ilya and Emilia Kabakov: The Utopian Projects Spanning 1985 through present day, this survey comprises more than 20 of the Kabakovs’ maquettes, whimsical models, for projects realized and unrealized, including monuments, allegorical narratives, architectural structures and commissioned outdoor works. Opening nearly 30 years after the Hirshhorn hosted Ilya Kabakov’s first major U.S. exhibition, these intricate creations invite the viewer into their surreal world in miniature and offer a rare glimpse into the duo’s artistic process. Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden Through June 24, 2018

Jim Chuchu’s Invocations The museum is the first institution to acquire and display Kenyan multimedia artist Jim Chuchu’s mesmerizing suite of video projections, in which two distinct videos loop in succession and follow the structure of initiation rituals. Surrounded by Chuchu’s pulsing house beats and evocative imagery, viewers are invited to contemplate the separations and releases that shape our individual and collective identities. National Museum of African Art

Scraps: Fashion, Textiles and Creative Reuse

DANCE

Textile and apparel manufacturing is one of the most polluting industries in the world. This exhibition explores the work of innovative designers taking a lead in sustainability and reducing waste in the design process. The George Washington University Textile Museum

Oct. 4 to 8

Through Jan. 29

The Box Project: Uncommon Threads This exhibition explores contemporary fiber artworks commissioned through a challenge to international artists and features pieces by 36 acclaimed international artists, including Richard Tuttle, Cynthia Schira, Gerhardt Knodel, Helena Hernmarck and Gyöngy Laky, among others. It showcases a diverse collection of works that reflect the artists’ creative and ingenious use of fiber to create new works of art. The George Washington University Museum and The Textile Museum Through Feb. 17

Painting Shakespeare Discover the paintings collection at the Folger — its stories, its glories and Shakespeare’s power to inspire visual artists. From humble oil sketches

The Washington Ballet Presents Russian Masters The Washington Ballet opens its 2017-2018 Kennedy Center season with “Russian Masters,” an evening of works that clearly reveal where classical ballet began and how these choreographers have shaped and influenced our art form over the last 175 years. Tickets are $25 to $140. Kennedy Center Eisenhower Theater Oct. 17 to 22

Mariinsky Ballet: La Bayadère Replete with forbidden love, shocking betrayal and a spectral voyage to the afterlife, this enchanting journey to a fabled past radiates with colorful characters, vibrant sets and costumes, and virtuosic moments. Petipa created “La Bayadère” for the Mariinsky more than 140 years ago, and this dazzling ballet continues to be “theirs” well into the 21st century. Tickets are $39 to $150. Kennedy Center Opera House Fri., Oct. 20, 7:30 p.m.

Sukhishvili Georgian National Dance Company Back by popular demand, the


Events | Culture | WD

Sukhishvili Georgian National Dance Company brings 50 awe-inspiring, magnificently costumed, choreographic “warriors” that thrill and astound its audience. The Washington Post exclaimed: “They are First, Foremost, Magnificent!” Tickets are $50 to $125. GW Lisner Auditorium

Resident Composer and Halloween DJ Konstantine Lortkipanidze. The event will include an open bar, light appetizers and a costume contest with Synetic prizes. Tickets are $60 to $75. Synetic Theater

DISCUSSIONS

Sun., Oct. 1, 12 to 6 p.m.

Wed., Oct. 11, 6:30 p.m.

Austrian-American Relations in a Period of Turmoil What are Austria’s foreign policy interests and how are they pursued? Is there a “distinguishing feature” of Austrian foreign policy? If so, how is it defined? Ambassador Franz Cede and Ambassador Christian Prosl will discuss these and other topics, including AustrianEuropean-U.S. relations, the EU’s future after Brexit as well as immigration and integration issues. Admission is free; to register visit acfdc.org. Embassy of Austria

GALAS Thu., Oct. 12, 6 p.m.

39th Annual Ambassadors Ball The annual National MS Society Ambassadors Ball, a premiere event in the D.C. fall social season for the past 38 years, has raised more than $20 million to support the National MS Society. The 39th Ambassadors Ball — co-hosted by UAE Ambassador Youself Al Otaiba — welcomes members of Congress, ambassadors, business and philanthropic leaders and their spouses to honor the diplomatic corps for their charitable activities and humanitarian endeavors. Tickets are $600; for information, contact Andrew Edwards at (202) 375-5602 or Andrew. Edwards@nmss.org. Marriott Marquis Fri., Oct. 20, 7 p.m.

Meridian Ball The Meridian Ball is one of the most prestigious annual events in Washington, D.C. Now in its 49th year, this event brings together members of the public and private sector to celebrate Meridian’s ongoing efforts to prepare leaders for a complex global future. Guests have the option of choosing between an intimate Ambassador-hosted dinner or the White-Meyer dinner on Meridian’s campus. Following the dinners, guests from both the Ambassadorhosted Dinners and White-Meyer Dinner gather for dancing, dessert, and conversation at Meridian House. Individual dinner tickets are $650; for information, visit www.meridian.org/ programs/ball/. Meridian International Center Fri., Oct. 27, 8 p.m.

FESTIVALS Al Mahragan – Arabian Festival This cultural diverse and family-friendly event features a plethora of vendors, arts and crafts, henna demonstrations, moon bounces and delectable Middle Eastern food. Frying Pan Farm Park, Herndon, Va. Sat., Oct. 14, 5 p.m. to 12 a.m. Sun., Oct. 15, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

IlluminAsia: A Festival of Asian, Food and Cultures The Freer|Sackler Galleries mark its reopening with a free weekend-long celebration in which the museum grounds will be transformed into a vibrant night market, complete with food stalls, live music and performances. Inside the museums, experience the newly reimagined galleries and a series of new temporary exhibitions, as well as specially programmed in-gallery experiences. Freer and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Oct. 21 to Nov. 5

Kids Euro Festival Now in its 10th year, Kids Euro Festival is one of the largest performing arts festivals for children in America, bringing Europe’s most talented children’s entertainers to the DC metro area each fall for two weeks of free performances, concerts, workshops, movies, storytelling, puppetry, dance, magic and cinema. With programs both for the general public and for school groups, more than 10,000 DC-area children and their families enjoy Kids Euro Festival programs each year. For more information, visit http://events.euintheus.org/ landing_page/kids-euro-fest/. Various locations Through Oct. 29

Eat Spain Up! This month-long program of activities explores Spain and its regions through its foods, its traditional cuisine and its new gastronomic innovation. The cultural initiative includes exhibitions, discussions, screenings, lectures and much more, accompanied by tastings of regional foods and wines, iconic and avant-garde Spanish dishes. For information, visit visit www.spainculture. us/city/washington-dc/. Former Residence of the Spanish Ambassador Through Nov. 2

Vampire’s Ball

Mutual Inspirations Festival 2017

Synetic Theater hosts its 11th annual Vampire’s Ball, which this year follows Synetic’s high-flying adaptation of “Peter Pan.” After returning from Neverland, where audiences played with the mermaids and fought Captain Hook’s pirates, guests will dance the night away with music courtesy of

The 2017 Mutual Inspirations Festival pays tribute to Gregor Mendel, the father of modern-day genetics, his scientific achievements, and the vibrancy of his homeland by bringing science and the arts alive through over 20 events in the nation’s capital. Festival highlights include the

symposium “Mendel’s Peas and Today’s Genes” at Georgetown University on the ethical issues and possibilities of modern genetics; lectures by Director of the Mendel Museum in Brno Ondrej Dostal, Villanova University Professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics Edward Guinan, and renowned geneticist and holocaust survivor Renata Laxova; a garden concert in the U.S. Botanic Garden with U.S. Mandolin Champion Radim Zenkl; a performance of the Libor Smoldas Organ Trio mixing jazz, blues, soul and funk at the Czech Embassy and Kennedy Center; the U.S. premiere of Lenka Lichtenberg’s album “Masarykinspired” inspired by the folk music of Moravia; a “Great Experimenters” film series at the National Gallery of Art showcasing the early works of Czech filmmakers; and the exhibition opening of “Czech Scientists and Their Inventions” at the Czech Embassy. For more information, visit www.mutualinspirations.org. Various locations

MUSIC Sun., Oct. 1, 5 p.m.

Concert Benefiting Earthquake Relief in Mexico The Embassy of Mexico, through its Cultural Institute, invites you to a recital by maestro Juan Pablo Horcasitas to benefit the victims of the September earthquakes in Mexico. The donations collected will go to the #FuerzaMexico trust, a private-sector initiative set up to aid recovery and reconstruction efforts. Tickets are $80 to $200; for information, visit www.instituteofmexicodc.org. Mexican Cultural Institute Thu., Oct. 12, 7:30 p.m.

Brasil Guitar Duo Brasil Guitar Duo is the classical/ world music collaboration of guitarists João Luiz and Douglas Lora. With the winning combination of Luiz’s innovative arrangements and Lora’s own compositions, the duo is expanding the repertoire for two guitars around the world, appearing in diverse, nontraditional spaces and combining a broad yet masterful program of classical guitar duos from Bach, Scarlatti and Debussy with traditional Brazilian dance like choro, samba, maxixe and baião. Tickets are $30. Music Center at Strathmore Wed., Oct. 18, 7:30 p.m.

Japanese Connections Featuring Kazunori Kumagai and Yumi Kurosawa Tap dancer Kazunori Kumagai and koto player Yumi Kurosawa join forces to pay tribute to the connection forged between the Kennedy Center and the government and people of Japan who supported the original opening of the Terrace Theater. Tickets are $29 to $49. Kennedy Center Terrace Theater Thu., Oct. 19, 8 p.m.

An Evening with Sergio Mendes Grammy winner Sergio Mendes’ influence on the music industry has spanned five decades. The megastar musician’s signature mix of bossa nova, samba and pop have come to

define Brazilian music. His classic song “Mas Que Nada” is the first Portuguese language song to ever hit Billboard’s U.S. Pop chart, making the composer, keyboardist, and vocalist one of the most successful Brazilian artists of all time. Tickets are $29 to $69. Music Center at Strathmore Thu., Oct. 19, 8 p.m.

Paco Peña Legendary flamenco guitarist Paco Peña is “a virtuoso, capable of dazzling an audience beyond the frets of mortal man” (The New York Times). Tickets are $35 to $45. Wolf Trap Fri., Oct. 20, 8 p.m.

Lila Downs

Tue., Oct. 31, 7:30 p.m.

Jacque-Pierre Malan, Cello Sahun Hong, Piano Jacques-Pierre Malan, the winner of several national and international competitions, performs a centennial commemoration of Oliver Reginald Tambo, former acting president of the African National Congress, in cooperation with the Science & Technology Train Project. Tickets are $110, including buffet and drinks; for information, visit www.embassyseries.org. South African Residence

THEATER Oct. 3 to 29

Sotto Voce

Grammy-winning Mexican-American artist Lila Downs has an unforgettable voice, innovative approach to music and poignant storytelling ability that transcends language and cultural barriers. One of the world’s most singular voices, she reinterprets music from its roots, fusing together pop, Mexican and indigenous sounds informed from her upbringing in both Minnesota and Oaxaca, Mexico. Tickets are $38 to $78. Music Center at Strathmore

Nilo Cruz’s lyrical and romantic play deals with the separation of a man and a woman when the man’s expected arrival in Havana aboard the ship is thwarted by the Cuban government. Turned away from the U.S. as well, the ship and its mostly Jewish refugees return to Europe, where many perish in the Holocaust. The ensuing heartbreak causes ripple effects through the lives of the characters — mysteries, revelations, an old romance relived as a new one blossoms. Tickets are $39 to $69. Edlavitch DCJCC Theater J

Tue., Oct. 24, 7 p.m.

Through Oct. 8

Jaroslav Sveceny, Violin Václav Mácha, Piano

The Arsonists

Jaroslav Svěcený is one of the most notable contemporary Czech violinists in the world. Svěcený’s numerous concert tours and festival performances have taken him across Europe, the Americas, the Middle East and Asia, and to date, he has recorded 44 albums with works by international and Czech composers; many have been awarded gold or platinum discs. In fact, he was the first Czech violinist to record a CD for Sony Classical. Tickets are $95 and include buffet, wine and beer; for information, visit www.embassyseries.org. Embassy of the Czech Republic Fri., Oct. 27, 7:30 p.m.

The world may be starting to burn, but our Everyman has it all under control. He’s a respected member of his community with a loving wife and a flourishing business, so surely the arsonists will spare him. As an upstanding citizen, he’s even happy to do his civic duty by opening his home to two new guests, but when they start filling his attic with drums of gasoline, will the fire hit too close to home? Written by Swiss playwright Max Frisch as a reflection on the rise of both Nazism and Communism, “The Arsonists” has uncanny new relevance today in light of the rise of populist nationalism around the globe. Tickets start at $34. Woolly Mammoth Theater Company

Nilko Andreas Guarin, Guitar and Friends

Oct. 10 to Nov. 19

Back by popular demand, classical guitarist Nilko Andreas Guarin has been praised as an “electrifying performer for his powerful stage presence and spontaneity that grows irresistible”. Since his Carnegie Hall debut in 2009, Guarin has been captivating audiences on two continents as a soloist and chamber musician. Tickets are $150 and include buffet, wine and valet parking; for information, visit www. embassyseries.org. Colombian Residence

Julius Caesar is no more, and Mark Antony, at the peak of his political power, is ensconced in Egypt at the side of the irresistible Cleopatra. Torn between his military duty toward Rome and his passionate love affair with Cleopatra, Antony finds himself engaged in both war and romance. Shakespeare’s classic encompasses politics and power, love and jealousy, alliance and misalliance. Tickets are $35 to $79. Folger Shakespeare Theatre

Fri., Oct. 27, 8 p.m.

Sachal Ensemble Taking inspiration from the acclaimed documentary “Song of Lahore,” these expert Pakistani musicians create an evening of cross-cultural re-creations of songs made iconic by the likes of Duke Ellington, The Beatles, Richard Rogers, as well as traditional Pakistani folk songs. Tickets are $45 to $55. Wolf Trap

Antony and Cleopatra

Through Oct. 15

A Little Night Music In 1900 Sweden, on a magical night that smiles three times, an aging actress, a married virgin, a sex-starved divinity student and a buffoonish count find themselves hilariously tangled in a web of love affairs. Winner of four Tony Awards, Stephen Sondheim’s glorious musical masterpiece returns to the Signature stage in a brand new production directed by Eric Schaeffer

and featuring award-winning DC actors Holly Twyford and Bobby Smith. Please call for ticket information. Signature Theatre Oct. 16 and 17, 6:30 and 8:30 p.m.

Digital Eye @ Blind Whino Four of the area’s leading theatres are collaborating with Digital Eye to present an evening of live performance and interactive experiences that explore how the digital age is affecting our everyday lives. Directed by representatives from Baltimore Center Stage, Forum Theatre, Shakespeare Theatre Company and Studio Theatre and moderated by Georgetown University’s Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics, this unique collaboration will present four performances at the visually-rich Blind Whino SW Arts Club. Tickets are $20; for information, visit www.digital-eye-atblindwhino.eventbrite.com. Blind Whino SW Arts Club 700 Delaware Ave., SW Through Oct. 22

Death of a Salesman Willy Loman’s career is over. During a pivotal 24 hours, he reflects on his life as a father, husband and traveling salesman. Truth and lies intermingle as Willy tries to reconcile the optimism of his youth with his unfulfilled dreams. As the full force of reality crashes down on him, he places his last hope of success in his two sons in Arthur Miller’s Pulitzer Prize-winning classic. Tickets are $20 to $64. Ford’s Theatre Through Oct. 22

Native Gardens Tania, a very pregnant Ph.D. candidate, and Pablo, her rising attorney husband, move next door to Virginia and Frank, a deep-rooted D.C. couple with an impeccably trimmed backyard. But when a questionable fence line puts a prize-worthy garden in jeopardy, neighborly rivalry escalates into an all-out border dispute, challenging everyone’s notions of race, privilege and where to draw the line on good taste. Tickets are $40 to $90. Arena Stage Oct. 27 to Dec. 24

The Pajama Game Winner of the 1955 Tony Award for Best Musical, “The Pajama Game” follows Sid Sorokin and Babe Williams in a battle of the sexes romance that soars with seductive dance numbers like “Steam Heat” and “Hernando’s Hideaway.” Tickets are $50 to $99. Arena Stage Through Oct. 29

The Lover & The Collection STC Artistic Director Michael Kahn returns to Harold Pinter’s gripping realm of doubt and disquiet to direct a double bill of short plays, considering how we construct our own realities, which truths we tell and which lies we choose to believe. In “The Collection,” a jealous husband confronts a rival, whom his wife may or may not have met. In “The Lover,” a married couple calmly plans for their scheduled infidelities. Please call for ticket information. Shakespeare Theatre Company

THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | October 2017 | 49


WD | Culture | Spotlight

Diplomatic Spotlight

October 2017

Meridian Hosts New Ambassadors On Sept. 7, the Meridian International Center hosted a reception to welcome newly arrived ambassadors and their spouses to Washington, D.C. The evening brought together seven new ambassadors from the countries of Bahrain, Columbia, Ghana, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Swaziland and Togo. “Ambassadors, I will say that the group here stands ready to help you in your efforts; they stand ready to engage with people of your countries; and they are honored to have you here,” said Meridian President and CEO Stuart Holliday.

Ambassador of Bahrain Shaikh Abdullah Bin Rashid Bin Abdullah Al Khalifa, Meridian Executive Vice President and COO Lee Satterfield and Meridian Vice President of Cultural Programs Terry Harvey.

Photo: Stephen Bobb

Meridian President and CEO Stuart Holliday welcomes guests alongside Ambassador of Mexico Geronimo Gutierrez, former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs Ann Stock, Ambassador of Kazakhstan Erzhan Kazykhanov and former Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez.

Ambassador of Togo Frederic Edem Hegbe; Ambassador of Ghana Barfuor Adjei-Barwuah; Ambassador of Bahrain Shaikh Abdullah Bin Rashid Bin Abdullah Al Khalifa; Meridian President and CEO Stuart Holliday; Ambassador of Colombia Camilo Reyes; Ambassador of Mexico Geronimo Gutierrez; Vice Chair of the Meridian Board of Trustees Ann Stock; Ambassador of Kazakhstan Erzhan Kazykhanov; and Chairman of the Meridian Board of Trustees Carlos Gutierrez. The Washington Diplomat publisher Victor Shiblie, Gwen Holliday, Shaista Mahmood and Ray Mahmood.

Photo: Stephen Bobb

Ambassador of Ghana Barfour Adjei-Barwuah, Chief Operating Officer at TJM Intl Consultant LLC Alonzo L. Fulgham and Ambassador of Togo Frederic Edem Hegbe.

Former U.S. Protocol Chief Capricia Marshall, former Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez and philanthropist Adrienne Arsht.

Ambassador of Togo Frederic Edem Hegbe, former U.S. Ambassador to Morocco Dwight L. Bush Sr. and Michael Laba of Rawlings International Advisory Group.

Danara Kazykhanova, Sharon Yang and Ambassador of Kazakhstan Erzhan Kazykhanov.

Former U.S. Deputy Chief of Protocol Natalie Jones and Director of The Phillips Collection Dorothy Kosinski.

Roland Flamini, Catherine Bittner and Ambassador of Bahrain Shaikh Abdullah Bin Rashid Bin Abdullah Al Khalifa.

Singapore’s National Day Hundreds of guests crowded the Embassy of Singapore Sept. 6 to celebrate the 52nd anniversary of the country’s National Day and Armed Forces Day. Speakers touted the strong economic and military ties between the U.S. and Singapore, an island city-state with a population of 5.6 million and a GDP of nearly $300 billion.

Photo: Denis Largeron Photographie

Ambassador of Singapore Ashok Mirpuri; Deputy Chief of Staff and Acting Undersecretary of Commerce for International Trade Israel Hernandez; National Security Council Senior Director for Asia Matthew Pottinger; Assistant Deputy Undersecretary of the Air Force for International Affairs Maj. Gen. Lawrence Martin; and Embassy of Singapore Defense Attaché Brig. Gen. Tan Boon Kim.

Ambassador of Timor-Leste Domingos Sarmento Alves, Ambassador of Namibia Martin Andjaba and Ambassador of South Africa Mninwa J. Mahlangu.

Photo: Denis Largeron Photographie

Ambassador of Singapore Ashok Mirpuri, Embassy of Singapore Defense Attaché Brig. Gen. Tan Boon Kim and his wife welcome guests.

Photo: Denis Largeron Photographie

National Security Council Senior Director for Asia Matthew Pottinger addresses guests.

Avina Sarna of the Population Council, Ambassador of Bangladesh Mohammad Ziauddin and designer Aniko Gaal Schott.

Photo: Embassy of Singapore

Photo: Denis Largeron Photographie

Ambassador of Singapore Ashok Mirpuri addresses guests.

50 | THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | October 2017

Photo: Denis Largeron Photographie

Miguel A. Zegarra-Valente, left, and Alberto Hart, right, of the Peruvian Embassy Economic and Environmental Department join their ambassador, Carlos Pareja.

Ambassador of India Navtej Sarna and former U.S. Chief of Protocol Peter Selfridge.

Photo: Denis Largeron Photographie

Photo: Embassy of Singapore

Ambassador of Thailand Pisan Manawapat, Ambassador of Singapore Ashok Mirpuri and Assistant Deputy Undersecretary of the Air Force for International Affairs Maj. Gen. Lawrence Martin.

Photo: Denis Largeron Photographie

A carved watermelon on display.


Spotlight | Culture | WD

Finnish Centennial Gala Finnish Ambassador Kirsti Kauppi welcomed over 100 guests, including Finnish President Sauli Niinistö, Nordic ambassadors and eight former U.S. ambassadors to Finland, to the embassy to celebrate the country’s 100th anniversary of independence. The Centennial Gala featured a menu prepared by embassy chef Jyrki Jääskeläinen, including Finnish delicacies such as gravlax, malt bread, venison and blueberry ice cream, as well as red wine produced by Marketta Winery, the only Finnish-owned winery in the United States. World-famous Finnish soprano Camilla Nylund also performed songs by Finnish masters Jean Sibelius and Toivo Kuula. Finnish President Sauli Niinistö and his wife Jenni Haukio arrive at the embassy.

Indonesian Independence Ambassador of Indonesia Budi Bowoleksono; Catherine “Smitty” Smith, wife of Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.); Marie Royce; Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Rep. Ed Royce (R-Calif.); wife of the Indonesian ambassador Reshanty Bowoleksono; and Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Thomas Shannon toast the 72nd anniversary of Indonesia’s independence.

Finnish Foreign Affairs Minister Timo Soini talks with U.S. Deputy Chief of Protocol Michael Karloutsos. Photo: Embassy of Finland

Former U.S. Ambassador to Finland Bruce Oreck greets guests.

Ambassador of Finland Kirsti Kauppi and former U.S. Ambassador to Finland James Eugene Goodby.

Ambassador of Nepal Arjun Kumar Karki and Ambassador of Finland Kirsti Kauppi attend the Indonesian Independence Day reception at the embassy.

Ambassador of Portugal Domingos Fezas Vital, wife of the Indonesian ambassador Reshanty Bowoleksono and Isabel Fezas Vital Kauppi attend the Indonesian Independence Day reception.

c

Ambassador of Denmark Lars Lose and his wife Ulla Rønberg.

Agnes O’Hare and her husband European Union Ambassador David O’Sullivan.

Inga Jona Thordardottir and her husband Ambassador of Iceland Geir Haarde. Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Thomas Shannon addresses the crowd.

Ambassador of Malaysia Tan Sri Zulhasnan Rafique and Ray Mahmood attend the Indonesian Independence Day reception.

Côte d’Ivoire Independence

Emcee Stuart Holliday of the Meridian International Center and former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Thomas Pickering.

World-famous Finnish soprano Camilla Nylund performs.

Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Robert Scott welcomes guests to Côte d’Ivoire’s Independence Day celebration. Former U.S. Ambassador to Finland Barbara Barrett stands for an applause.

Former U.S. Ambassador to Finland Bonnie McElveen-Hunter, Ambassador of Finland Kirsti Kauppi and Tweet McElveenBogache.

Ambassador of Côte d’Ivoire Daouda Diabate cuts the cake at a reception marking the 57th anniversary of Côte d’Ivoire’s independence held at the embassy.

Former Ambassador to Hungary András Simonyi and former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff listen to Finnish Foreign Affairs Minister Timo Soini.

IRS Commissioner John Koskinen talks to Finnish Embassy Deputy Chief of Mission Antti Vänskä.

Ambassador of Guinea Mamady Conde and Ambassador of Côte d’Ivoire Daouda Diabate attend Côte d’Ivoire’s Independence Day celebration.

Members of the Embassy of Côte d’Ivoire’s military staff attend the Independence Day celebration. THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | October 2017 | 51

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WD | Culture | Spotlight

Diplomatic Spotlight

October 2017

WAC Dinner at the Korean Residence

World Affairs Council-DC Embassy Series Dinners The World Affairs Council-Washington, DC (WAC-DC), a nonpartisan nonprofit dedicated to facilitating collaboration through the global education and international affairs community, hosted two recent private events as part of its Embassy Series Dinners. WAC-DC supporters gathered at the Pakistani Residence for a dinner with Ambassador Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry, followed by a separate dinner at the Korean Residence with South Korean Ambassador Ho Young Ahn. Since 1980, WAC-DC has been a leading provider of top-level and thought-provoking presentations, debates, and discussions of global education and international affairs in the Washington metro area.

WAC Dinner at the Pakistani Residence

WAC-DC Board of Directors Chairman former Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) and Ambassador of Pakistan Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry listen to guests at the WAC-DC Pakistani Embassy Series Dinner.

WAC-DC President and CEO Tony CulleyFoster.

Defense and Army Attaché at the Pakistani Embassy Brig. Chaudhary Sarfraz Ali, Joe Oppenheimer and Director of Defense Policy for Raytheon Stephanie Culberson.

Carmela Conroy of the State Department, Edie Fraser of STEMconnector and Political Minister at the Pakistani Embassy Ubaid-ur-rehman Nizamani.

Ray Mahmood and LuAnn Bennett.

WAC-DC Board of Directors member Frank Islam talks with Deputy Chief of Mission of the Pakistani Embassy Rizwan Sheikh.

Photos: World Affairs Council-Washington, DC

Ruby Sharif and Zoobia Masood of the Pakistani Embassy.

WAC-DC President and CEO Tony Culley-Foster; WAC-DC Board of Directors Chairman former Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.); Ambassador of South Korea Ho Young Ahn; his wife Seon-Hwa Lee; and WAC-DC Board of Directors member former Rep. Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.).

WAC-DC Board members Fred Hill, Lucia Hill and C. Naseer Ahmad.

Guests pose for a group photo.

South Korean Ambassador Ho Young Ahn greets President of Marymount University Matthew Shank.

Jay Hickey; WAC-DC Board Treasurer Michael Hickey of Glenmede Wealth Management; and Richard Kamenitzer, comptroller of Bright Solutions.

South Korean Ambassador Ho Young Ahn.

Pakistani Independence

Ambassador of Pakistan Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry welcomes guests to a reception marking the 70th anniversary of Pakistan’s independence at the embassy.

Former U.S. Assistant Secretary for International Organization Affairs Esther Brimmer asks a question.

South Korean Ambassador Ho Young Ahn greets Tom Kelly, vice president of foreign policy and national security affairs for Raytheon International.

Pakistan performers present regional and folk dances against the backdrop of a portrait of the country’s founder, Muhammad Ali Jinnah.

Photos: Embassy of Pakistan

Guests, including Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Thomas Shannon, center, listen to the national anthem at the Pakistani Independence Day reception.

52 | THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | October 2017

Ambassador of Pakistan Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry raises the flag at the embassy as part of a flag-hoisting ceremony marking the 70th anniversary of Pakistan’s independence.

correction In the August 2017 edition of Spotlight, Jason Isaacson was misidentified in the caption for Portugal’s Toast to America reception. He is managing director of government and international affairs for the American Jewish Committee, not the American Jewish Congress.


October 2017 | WD

Around the world Appointments Hungary László Szabó became ambassador of Hungary to the United States on Sept. 8, 2017, having previously served as deputy minister of foreign affairs and trade Ambassador from 2014 to 2017. Prior to László Szabó that, he was chief executive officer of Teva Hungary Ltd. in Budapest from 2010 to 2014. Ambassador Szabó also had a long career with Eli Lilly and Co. in Indianapolis, Ind., serving as vice president of China human resources (2010); senior director of human resources, global medial, regulatory and patient safety (2008-10); general manager of Hungary (2003-07); director of human resources for Central and Eastern Europe, Africa and the Middle East (2001-03); and country manager for New Zealand and the South Pacific (1999-2000), among other positions. Ambassador Szabó holds a doctor of medicine degree from the Debrecen Medical University in Hungary, where he also worked as a general physician from 1990 to 1993.

Ireland Daniel Mulhall became ambassador of Ireland to the United States on Sept. 8, 2017, having previously served as Ireland’s ambassador to the United Kingdom since 2013. Prior to that, he served as ambassador to Germany (2009-13);

Dirty Wars COntinuED • PagE 21

way to get your story out,” Schuster said. “If you were a foreign dignitary, if you were a president, a king, a dictator, a guerilla, the only way you could get your point of view out was through the press. Nowadays, everyone from terrorists to presidents — and I’m not equating the two — have their own Twitter accounts, their own Facebook pages.” With social media, according to Schuster, “we journalists have ceased to be vital. In many ways, we’re superfluous, and at the worst we’re impediments.” As for the second part of her twopart book, and life, Schuster said she thinks her memoir also speaks to what is happening in the U.S. diplomatic community today, given what seems to be the diminishment of the State Department underway. “It’s shocking to me because I went into this as the spouse of a diplomat with a very cynical view of diplomats, as a journalist,” she said. “Because my experience as a journalist was often that I would go out into the field, which was required of my job, whereas often I saw diplomats sort of staying put — and I’m not talking about in warzones, I’m talking about in perfectly calm postings — and they didn’t get out nearly as much as

assistant secretary of the European Union Division at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2005-09); ambassador to Malaysia with concurrent accreditation to Laos, Thailand and Vietnam (2001-05); and consul gen- Ambassador eral in Edinburgh, Scotland Daniel Mulhall (1998-2001). In addition, he was counselor and first secretary of the Press Section at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (1995-98); first secretary in the Economic Division (1989-90); and third secretary in the Political Division (1983). Other postings include first secretary to Ireland’s Permanent Representation to the European Union in Brussels (1990-94); first secretary at the Irish Embassy in Austria (1987-89); and third secretary at the Irish Embassy in India (1980-83). Ambassador Mulhall, who was born in Waterford on April 8, 1955, holds bachelor’s, HDE and master’s degrees from University College Cork.

Russia Anatoly Antonov became ambassador of Russia to the United States on Sept. 8, 2017, with concurrent Ambassador accreditation as head of Anatoly Antonov the Russian Mission to the Organization of American States. He previ-

I thought they should to really understand their countries.” But, she said, “going to the other side, I got to see sort of up close and personal the real work that diplomats do. And they do vital, vital work. And if we’re going to have a hollowed-out State Department, I have no idea how this incredibly vital work is going to be done.” Schuster now lives in Pittsburgh and is off on a whirlwind book tour in support of “Dirty Wars and Polished Silver.” As she once again takes stock of her life, along with what she dubbed her “rather sardonic tone” taken in the book about her time at “Ambassatrix School” and indeed as a trailing spouse overall, Schuster said she wanted to recognize and write about what that life really entails. “I saw American diplomatic women abroad who were doing incredibly admirable things when it came to charity, good works, teaching and just acknowledging the difficulties that a spouse would have in this kind of lifestyle,” she said. “I have a great deal of admiration for women who do this. What I write about was my own particular experience, which, having not come up through the ranks, coming from a different sort of career and being thrown into this — it was quite shocking.” WD Mackenzie Weinger (@mweinger) is a contributing writer for The Washington Diplomat.

ously served as deputy foreign minister of Russia responsible for military and political security issues since 2016. Prior to that, Ambassador Antonov was deputy minister of defense (2011-16); director of the Department of Security and Disarmament and a member of the Russian Foreign Ministry Board (20014-11); and ambassador-at-large for the Russian Foreign Ministry (2002-04). Born in 1955, Ambassador Antonov holds a Ph.D. in political science and graduated from the Moscow State Institute of International Relations in 1978, when he joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He is fluent in English and Burmese and has one daughter.

St. Lucia Anton Edmunds became ambassador of St. Lucia to the United States on Sept. 8, 2017, with concurrent accreditation as the PhOtO: aarPhOtO permanent representative Ambassador of St. Lucia to the Organiza- Anton Edmunds tion of American States (OAS). Ambassador Edmunds previously provided advisory services to governments, businesses and associations with interests in the Caribbean Basin region. As head of a boutique Caribbean and emerging markets consulting firm, his areas of focus included energy, competitiveness, maritime security, trade facilitation, financial services, business continuity/disaster responsiveness and

tourism. Private-sector clients include CH2M Hill, UNIBANK (Haiti), Edelman, SuperClubs, Bank of America, ExxonMobil, Chevron, FedEx, Tropical Shipping, Seaboard Marine and Scotiabank. Regional governments and multilateral agencies include the U.S. Virgin Islands, Jamaica, Barbados, St. Lucia, St. Maarten, Haiti, Caricom, the World Bank, OAS and the Inter-American Development Bank. U.S. government agencies he has worked with include the U.S. Departments of State, Commerce and Energy. In June 2014, Ambassador Edmunds was counsel/advisor for the successful U.S.-Africa Energy Ministerial in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, led by Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz. From 1998 to 2009, Ambassador Edmunds worked with Caribbean-Central American Action (CCAA), an independent corporation that promotes private sector-led economic development in the Caribbean and Central America. While at CCAA, he was chief of party for a successful public-private sector program to protect over $1billion in trade with Haiti. Before joining CCAA, Ambassador Edmunds was a consultant for business clients with interests in the Caribbean and from 1995 to 1997, he was based in New York as a senior manager of business development for St. Lucia. Earlier in his career, he developed and managed global marketing and investment campaigns for eastern Caribbean governments and private sector clients with interests in this region. A blogger and regular commentator on Caribbean issues, Ambassador Edmunds has

Leadership COntinuED • PagE 20

to do that,” he writes. Stavridis recommends blending good fiction and non-fiction, including plays, poetry, memoirs and autobiographies. He also argues that it’s essential to find time to think after you read. This involves taking notes, reflecting on the book and discussing it with others. “It is not enough to simply read, however; a strong leader reads but also processes what he or she is reading to create real thoughts. These should be more than just musings that pass along like shadows over a field; they should be considered and recorded. Good leaders write down their thoughts,” he says. And these ideas, he declares, should be “sent into the world to survive contact with friends, allies, critics and enemies alike.” Stavridis, echoing the point made by Obama, suggests that good reading helps put life into perspective. “Making sure you

understand which events truly matter is a key skill for a leader. We are too often distracted by the mundane and day-to-day pressures of our email and our inbox and forget to step back and put things in the prioritized queue,” he writes. In a chapter on building a personal library, Ancell interviewed Secretary of Defense James Mattis about the importance of reading in his life. Mattis credits reading with helping him weigh the cruelty of war with humanity’s remarkable artistic and cultural achievements. “So you develop by broadening your understanding of human nature, of the ascent of man and everything else so you can reconcile war’s realities, grim as they are, atavistic and primitive, with human aspirations, without becoming a narrow minded-person,” Mattis tells Ancell. One issue that I would have liked the authors to directly consider is the tension between reading an endless stream of books versus reading a smaller number, but taking more time to absorb them. Many of the readers described

been featured in the Miami Herald, the Christian Science Monitor, the Wall Street Journal, Payment Compliance Magazine, Near Shore Americas and a host of regional news publications. He was a senior associate with the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a contributor to the Inter-American Dialogue’s Latin American Advisor publication and the chair of the Caribbean Program at the State Department’s Foreign Service Institute. He has a bachelor’s degree from the Catholic University of America and a master’s degree from American University. Ambassador Edmunds is married and is a father of one.

Sweden Karin Olofsdotter became ambassador of Sweden to the United States on Sept. 8, 2017, having previously served as the PhOtO: anDrEa BEllusO country’s director-general Ambassador for trade policy. Prior to Karin Olofsdotter that, she was head of the Department for Promotion of Sweden, Trade and CSR in the Ministry for Foreign Affairs; Sweden’s ambassador to Hungary; and head of the MFA’s Ministers Office. She has also served at the Swedish Embassy in Washington and Moscow, at the Swedish Permanent Mission to NATO, as well as the Permanent Mission to the European Union in Brussels.

in this book should be lauded for their diligence and commitment to reading; however, I occasionally wondered if the focus was too heavily slanted toward the sheer number of books they read. I recalled an essay many years ago about the reading habits of Abraham Lincoln and Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson was classically educated, owned a massive library and read voraciously in several languages. Lincoln was self-educated, had a modest library and read only a handful of books such as the Bible and a collection of Shakespeare. But he returned to these books frequently and absorbed them fully. I still am not sure whether Jefferson’s broad reading or Lincoln’s deep reading is the better approach. Nevertheless, “The Leader’s Bookshelf ” is a valuable resource that will help readers assemble a good list of books to consider and suggest how to study them so they can improve their leadership skills. WD John Shaw is a contributing writer for The Washington Diplomat.

THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | OcTObEr 2017 | 53


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