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Q April 2011
■ VOLUME 18, NUMBER 4
In 2011 Africa Votes, But Will Elections Bring Democracy or Discord?
Zogby Warns Islamophobia Defeats U.S. Principles
It’s a big year for Africa at the ballot box, and with political upheaval still rocking the Arab world, people naturally wonder if the revolutionary fervor may dislodge a few African autocrats. But are elections the solution to Africa’s woes, or just another source of them? PAGE 9
James Zogby, founder and president of the Arab American Institute and a leading spokesman for Arabs in the U.S., is blunt about the dangers of demonizing Arab Americans, warning that simmering Islamophobia in the United States threatens to tear apart the very fabric of a country built on assimilation while alienating the very people who can help Americans thwart domestic terrorism. PAGE 6
Japan’s Aftershocks Could Shake Fragile Economic Recovery The Japanese will no doubt rebuild from the catastrophes that have devastated their nation, but Japan’s disaster has also raised fears the world is less able to absorb the onslaught of shocks threatening to unravel its fragile economic recovery. PAGE 22
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PEOPLE OF WORLD INFLUENCE
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CONTENTS THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT
9 African elections
Rooftop at Donovan House
[ news ] 6
PEOPLE OF WORLD INFLUENCE
POLITICS It’s a big year for Africa at the ballot box. But if scenes from Côte d’Ivoire are any indication, Africa’s year of elections is not off to a very democratic start.
Yale’s Stephen S. Roach argues that the long-term impact of Japan’s disaster is how the aftershocks will reverberate in a still-recovering global economy.
DIPLOMACY Embassies have gotten into the spirit of promoting their national wines to local Washingtonians.
LA DOLCE DC Excommunicated from the New York art world, Philip Guston found respite in Rome — and revolutionary inspiration in Italy’s Eternal City.
COVER: Photo taken at the Libyan Residence by Lawrence Ruggeri.
ART The wildly inventive “Canadian Impressions” dispels any clichés about America’s benign neighbor to the north.
DINING The Source is testament to Wolfgang Puck the chef — not the celebrity commercial empire that bears his name.
FILM REVIEWS “Hævnen,” the Danish word for revenge and the foreign title for “In a Better World,” better signposts this elegantly somber tale about spiraling societal violence and absentee fathers.
FILM INTERVIEW Mia Wasikowska has gone from relative obscurity to playing two of the most famous heroines in English literature.
LA DOLCE DC
With his “postcards” of 18th-century Venice, Canaletto rose above his competitors in capturing Italy’s breathtaking city on the water.
WORLD HOLIDAYS / APPOINTMENTS
Ajay Shankar may be retired from the Indian government, but he still faithfully serves his country as a policy scholar and husband of Indian Ambassador Meera Shankar.
REAL ESTATE CLASSIFIEDS
MEDICAL From CT to MRI scans, today’s high-tech tools offer a revealing look inside the body, but they don’t come without a price, literally and physically.
THEATER Hanna Bondarewska hopes her Ambassador Theater can act as a bridge between cultural understanding and education.
[ culture ]
INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS The United States has been one of the biggest supporters of international law yet also one of its biggest skeptics — a love-hate relationship that is as misunderstood as it is contentious.
NEIGHBORHOODS The tides of D.C. revitalization have finally reached two long-neglected neighborhoods along the banks of the Anacostia River, bursting open a dam of development.
EVENTS The House of Sweden’s “Fabric of Life” series shows us how to get our own houses in order by better balancing the pressures of modern life.
GLOBAL VANTAGE POINT
MUSIC Post-Classical Ensemble’s “The Stravinsky Project” is an incisive musical examination that gets to the heart of the conflicted composer’s Russian roots.
The city’s many multimillion-dollar listings are proving that homebuyers are still willing to pay a pretty penny for luxury.
THEATER Arena Stage’s Edward Albee Festival is as emotionally inspiring — and exhaustive — as the literary giant himself.
[ luxury living ]
Now that he’s finally a “free man,” ex-Libyan Ambassador Ali Suleiman Aujali has thrown his loyalties behind his fellow revolutionaries to wrench control of Libya from the defiant grip of his former boss.
There’s no better time for travelers to rediscover the beauty of the three Baltic states — Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania — as they celebrate 20 years of independence and resilience.
COVER PROFILE: LIBYA
HOTEL ROOFTOPS Washington’s hotel rooftops offer upscale dining, high-powered networking and monumental views — minus the swarms of tourists on the ground.
Export-Import Bank chief Fred Hochberg’s mission is to boost U.S. exports and create American jobs — while strengthening the economies of other nations.
“The Stravinsky Project”
[ travel & hotels ]
James Zogby warns that rising Islamophobia is eroding the very principles upon which the U.S. was built, while alienating the very people Americans need to fight terrorism.
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Giving Voice to Arab Americans So Phobia Won’t Silence U.S. Principles by Michael Coleman
n the day after Rep. Peter King’s headline-grabbing congressional hearing on Islamic radicals in the United States last month, James Zogby, founder and president of the Arab American Institute, sat in his downtown office trying to make sense of it all.
The loquacious intellectual and leading spokesman for Arabs in America (and sometimes by default, Muslims) concluded that the hearing, the first in a series, didn’t make any sense. He wasn’t alone. Critics said the entire thing smacked of a McCarthy-like witch-hunt, and that the opening hearing produced plenty of drama and political posturing, but little actual debate or analysis. King, a New York Republican who chairs the House Committee on Homeland Security, counters that the hearings are a “logical response to the repeated and urgent warnings” from the Obama administration about domestic terrorism. Ultimately, the much-hyped event became a hearing on the pros and cons of the hearing itself instead of an inquiry into the motivations of Muslim extremists. “The whole premise of it was questionable,” Zogby said as he sat amidst stacks of boxes and books as his institute moves into newly renovated space across the hall. “Peter King is known as someone who is an Islamophobe … and the hearing never should have happened,” he charged, describing it as “shockingly ill-conceived and poorly executed.” “This was not a hearing to learn about a situation and help solve a problem,” Zogby continued, lamenting the lack of data-driven discussion.“It was a hearing to score political points.There is a difference, and Congress knows it. You could just watch the way the hearing unfolded — it was clear this was a political football. And this is too dangerous an issue to play that kind of politics.” Writing shortly afterward in one of his many op-eds on the topic, Zogby was blunt about the dangers of demonizing America’s Arabs. “Islamophobia and those who promote it are a greater threat to the United States of America than Anwar al Awlaqi and his rag-tag team of terrorists,” he argued, referring to the radical Yemeni cleric. “On one level, al Awlaqi, from his cave hide-out in Yemen, can only prey off of alienation where it exists,” Zogby wrote. Islamophobia, on the other hand, would not only “do grave damage to one of the fundamental cornerstones of America’s unique democracy, it would simultaneously rapidly expand the pool of recruits for future radicalization.” Informed, outspoken and opinionated — all of these adjectives accurately describe Zogby, a New York native and
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former comparative religion professor who came to Washington in the late 1970s to launch the Palestine Human Rights Campaign.A few years later, he co-founded the nonprofit Save Lebanon and took a job as executive director of the AmericanArab Anti-Discrimination Committee.Then, in 1985, he launched the Arab American Institute (AAI) to provide the Arab American community with a policy, politics and research arm. AAI celebrated its 25th anniversary last year, and in terms of influence, it punches above its weight class for a D.C.-based organization with fewer than 20 employees and a $2 million budget. Zogby is a frequent voice for Arab Americans on national television shows and writes a syndicated column published in newspapers in 14 Arab and South Asian nations. Congress regularly seeks Zogby’s testimoPHOTO: ARAB AMERICAN INSTITUTE
When I was a Lebanese kid in America going to school, I read American history… It was my story. I didn’t just get citizenship, I got a new definition of who I am.
— JAMES ZOGBY
president and founder of the Arab American Institute
ny on Capitol Hill, and he travels the country speaking to groups about the Arab role in America, while aiming to dispel stereotypes and misperceptions. Zogby’s most recent book,“Arab Voices: What They Are Saying to Us, and Why It Matters,” confronts these myths with a blend of statistical data from Zogby International (his brother John’s respected polling firm) and personal anecdotes that “help tell the stories of those Arabs whose realities we must understand.” Reflecting on a quarter century of work while discussing a range of issues including the conflicts in Libya and Egypt, as well as the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, Zogby told The Washington Diplomat that he was pleased and proud of the strides the Arab-American community has made. He recalled attending a meeting at the White House during the Jimmy Carter administration and learning afterward that his invitation was viewed as a mistake by some White House officials. Because of his pro-Arab, pro-Palestinian stance, he was a
potential political problem for the president. A friend in that White House told Zogby he was unlikely to be invited back, and he wasn’t. “They said it was too controversial,” he lamented. But times have changed. “We’ve earned some respect as a community where it didn’t exist before,” said Zogby, who in the 1990s was asked by Vice President Al Gore to lead Builders for Peace, a private sector committee to promote U.S. business investment in the West Bank and Gaza. “We still have some challenges but that kind of zero-sum doesn’t exist anymore. For a while, some [Arabs] didn’t even want to be identified as Arab American.That’s all changed.” Zogby, a Christian whose parents immigrated to upstate New York from Lebanon, stressed that his institute is political, not religious, in nature. “I have an aversion to the idea that your political identity is a religious one,” he said, explaining that arguing God’s side in a
debate amounts to no argument at all. “I don’t believe God sprinkles holy water on my political beliefs.If it’s just God-ordained, then there is no discussion.” What Zogby relishes is ideas, politics and policy.An outspoken opponent of the Patriot Act enacted after 9/11, Zogby expressed dismay that three controversial sections of the act were recently reauthorized and signed back into law by President Obama. He said the vast majority of Arab Americans are against terrorism and willing to support policies that thwart violence, but like all Americans, they want their civil rights respected. “I can’t imagine how we justify the search of library records or medical records, or authorizing anti-terror units to go raid some business and seize records with no evidence of a crime, just to look for evidence of a crime,” he said. “I can’t find a single case where terrorists have been apprehended because of these [techniques].” Describing himself as a “law and order guy,” Zogby pointed out that virtually all legitimate terrorist arrests in the United States since 9/11 resulted from tips — many stemming from members of the Arab and Muslim community — and “good old-fashioned police work.” “None of these provisions of searching people’s records or wiretapping phones have produced indictments, so why are we still doing them?” he asked.
See ZOGBY, page 8 April 2011
Photo credit: Jessica Latos / Paired Images Photography
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from page 6
Zogby In a 2006 interview with The Washington Diplomat, Zogby said he was disappointed with the Bush administration’s failure to use Arab Americans to help shape U.S. policy toward the Middle East. He thinks President Obama hasn’t done much better. “I’ve been troubled by that,” Zogby said, citing the revolution in Egypt as a prime example.“Have we been actively involved? No.There is an extraordinary pool of talented Egyptian-Americans who have not been brought in [to advise the White House]. I would have expected [administration officials] would be on the phone calling people every day. “There is not yet the recognition that this is a talented community that can play a real role in helping America,” he added. “I don’t think we’re there yet.” But Obama has emphasized that the democratic protests sweeping the Arab world must come from the ground up and not be imposed from the outside. Zogby doesn’t disagree with that notion. Rather, he simply believes the president could do a better job of tapping the Arab resources and thinkers in his own backyard. Indeed, Zogby argues that the battles in Libya, Egypt, Bahrain, Yemen and elsewhere — popular uprisings against long-entrenched strongmen — are not really America’s to fight, in part because much of the region already resents American meddling in its internal affairs. Zogby, who collaborated with his pollster brother John on “Arab Voices: What They Are Saying to Us, and Why It Matters,” says that contrary to popular belief, the majority of Arabs don’t “go to bed at night hating America, wake up hat-
ing Israel, and spend their days either watching news or listening to preachers who fuel that anger.” Rather, according to Zogby, “Arabs go to bed each night thinking about their jobs, wake up each morning thinking about their kids, and spend each day thinking about how to improve the quality of their lives.” “When we poll, what we find is what Arabs want from us is help in job creation, education reform, health care opportunities,” Zogby told The Diplomat. “They don’t want us meddling in their internal affairs — just as we wouldn’t have looked kindly on Sweden coming over and telling us how to handle our health care.” Two weeks before a Western coalition led by the United States, France and Britain decided to enforce a no-fly zone over Libya, Zogby warned against such a move — at least without the backing of the Arab League and United Nations. “We would hurt Libya, not help Libya if we sided with the opposition,” he said at the time, echoing the view that a no-fly zone could help Col. Muammar Qaddafi galvanize his supporters against the “foreign enemy.” Two days after the military intervention was under way — with the endorsement of the United Nations and Arab League — Zogby said he remained “wary” of U.S. involvement in the region. However, he expressed relief that President Obama waited for the Arab world’s endorsement of force. “He was right to wait for the Arab League, but I still urge caution to not exceed the mandate of what was agreed to,” Zogby said.“We have to tread lightly. We are already beginning now to hear some wariness among some in the Arab region. I’m not sure we defined this mission clearly enough. I’m not sure who the good guys are and what they can do.” He also questioned America’s ultimate objectives for this latest military foray. “I don’t know if
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we know what the role of the United States will be if Qaddafi stays in power or if Qaddafi loses and there is a new government,” he said.“Will [the rebels] be capable of governing and how will they govern? These are issues that still need to be thought through.” What’s clear to Zogby, however, is that the notion of America coming to the rescue in the region is a romantic fantasy. “Are we going to get involved in nation building in Libya when this is over?” he asked.“Are we actually the white knight on the charger that everyone is waiting for to come in and save the day? The answer is no and nor can we be.” Overall, however, he gives Obama high marks for his response to the crises in Egypt, Libya and elsewhere. “What the president can do is what he has done, which is articulate principles: We support the right of free assembly, that the government should not use violence to repress, and make clear we don’t encourage the opposition using violence, and we want to see a peaceful transition to democracy. “I think he’s handled a very complicated situation as well as it could be handled,” he added. “I think they’ve meandered a bit. I think they’ve made mistakes along the way and they understand that, too, but they’ve refined the approach and are doing pretty well with it.” That praise stands in stark contrast to Zogby’s opinion of George W. Bush and his decision to invade Iraq, often cited as the example of why already-overstretched U.S. forces should avoid getting sucked into another potential nation-building quagmire in Libya. A fierce skeptic of the Iraq war, Zogby says that almost 10 years after the initial U.S.-led invasion, he sees very little good coming out of that protracted and expensive conflict. In fact, he says the American public significantly underestimates the wide-ranging ramifications that the now largely forgotten war will have on U.S. interests in the region for decades to come. “I don’t think any event has been as disastrous for America and American policy and our image as that war,” Zogby declared. “Nobody won. The Iraqis certainly didn’t. There’s 100,000 of them dead. “Yes, there was a brutal dictator, but the collateral damage of that war has been devastating. We brought such damage to that country, we destabilized an entire region, emboldened Iran, and we did grave damage to the American image,” he argues. “This was the war that was supposed to make America the hegemon, in the new century, but instead it has weakened us.” For Zogby, if anything Iraq proves the folly of U.S. attempts to ride in on a white horse to save the day, spreading democracy and improving lives. “What [supporters of the war] don’t realize is that George W. Bush shot the horse and tarnished the knight,” he says. “We want to set the standard but we lowered the bar. I think they have no idea what lasting damage they have done to our image in the world…. We have been discredited in that part of the world.” Another issue that Zogby believes has damaged U.S. credibility in the region is the long-festering and currently moribund Israeli-Palestinian peace process. He’s disheartened by the stalemate — and American “politics as usual” that he blames for perpetuating that stalemate. “There was a time when I used to say I’m not optimistic, but I’m hopeful,” he said of the conflict. “I’m losing hope. Both sides have pathologies they’re not able to overcome and the U.S. has demonstrated it cannot play a meaningful role given the domestic politics here. A Republican now in control of the U.S. House and the Democrats in the House are not supportive of real change either.” And there’s no real change coming at the moment from either the Israelis or Palestinians. Zogby says the best that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu can give “is nothing close to what the Palestinians need and the Palestinians
can’t give any more than they’ve given because frankly they’ve lost enormous credibility with their own constituency.” “I’m not seeing change in the offing unless it comes from an external source.” But the most influential external source — the United States — isn’t seen as an honest broker by much of the world. Zogby, a Democrat, doesn’t view Obama as the problem, saying the president seems to understand that peace can only be achieved with meaningful concessions from both sides. But he accuses the most prominent foreign policy officials in Obama’s administration — including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton — of showing obvious favoritism to Israel. “This president has tried to change direction but it’s not easy when you’ve got half the political establishment in Washington nipping at your heels and the other half are nervous nellies who don’t understand that you’ve got to do some bold things,” Zogby said. “He’s probably the only one who does get it and it’s a lonely position to be in. But I do give him credit for trying.” As his Arab American Institute turns the quarter-century mark and plunges into this still-new millennium, Zogby said he’s both optimistic and concerned about the state of Arabs in America. On the one hand, they’re assimilating and accruing influence like never before. On the other hand, he’s worried that the growing anti-Islamic fervor on the political right could potentially undo some of this nation’s historic progress. “What concerns me about what Peter King and the Islamophobes are doing is they’re threatening to unravel all that,” Zogby said. “They’re saying to young Muslims, ‘You don’t really belong here, you’re guests, you’re foreigners, and you’ve got to take a special oath of loyalty to our country, or you can’t build a mosque here because your not welcome.’ “These are very dangerous things to do and I worry about it not because of what it can do to Muslims, but what it could do to the country.” Zogby said the great thing about this country is that if you’re born here, you’re an American. Period. That isn’t the case in Europe, for example, where even third- or fourth-generation Arabs are still treated as immigrants, and by extension, as outsiders. “When I was a Lebanese kid in America going to school, I read American history,” Zogby recalled. “I was in the boat with George Washington crossing the Delaware. I was at the Alamo with Davy Crockett. I went on that adventure with Lewis and Clark. It was my story. I didn’t just get citizenship, I got a new definition of who I am.” In the recent op-ed “The Change We Need,” Zogby says Islamophobia is just one of the hurdles that needs to be overcome to fulfill the true American dream of one nation, “with liberty and justice for all,” that gives the United States its moral high ground around the world. “Unless our political leaders can put aside ‘politics as usual’ and end their callous disregard for the suffering of Palestinians; unless leaders are willing to challenge their political fears and do what is right, instead of what is convenient; unless we can stand up against the Islamophobes who threaten to tear apart the fabric of our nation; unless we can restore our commitment to fundamental freedoms and constitutional protections; and unless we can stop ignoring Arab concerns and truly listen to what Arab voices are telling us about their needs and aspirations — we will continue to operate clumsily, and, at times, brutally on the wrong side of history.”
Michael Coleman is a contributing writer for The Washington Diplomat.
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Will the Year of African Elections Cement Democracy or Sow Discord? by Jon Rosen
t’s a big year for Africa at the ballot box, with more than two dozen critical votes in countries ranging from Congo to Liberia to Nigeria. And as political upheaval continues to sweep the Arab world, people are naturally wondering if the democratic fervor will nudge a few other African autocrats from power as well. But are elections the solution to Africa’s woes? Or just another source of them? If the scenes from Abidjan are any indication,Africa’s year of elections is not off to a very democratic start. Four months after the run-off poll that was supposed to mark an end to Côte d’Ivoire’s eight-year political crisis, the country is in turmoil. Alassane Ouattara has been recognized as the election winner by Côte d’Ivoire’s Electoral Commission, as well as the African Union, the United Nations, European Union, the United States and much of the world. But as of press time, his opponent, Laurent Gbagbo, the incumbent endorsed by the country’s high court, showed no signs of ceding the presidency and appeared quite willing to plunge his country back into civil war in an effort to cling to power. By mid-March, despite international pressure and economic sanctions seeking a peaceful end to the crisis, the world’s largest cocoa producer was beginning to resemble a combat zone, with hundreds of people killed and hundreds of thousands more displaced. Security forces loyal to Gbagbo disrupted pro-Ouattara demonstrations in Abidjan, opening fire on civilians with impunity, while Ouattara-aligned rebels — fed up with the diplomatic standoff — began seizing parts of the country. Rival gangs of youth are clashing in street battles some call worse than the fighting that broke out during the 2002-03 civil war — a conflict that effectively divided the country in two as tensions simmered along ethnic, religious and regional fault lines. According to the International Crisis Group, the most likely scenario in the coming months is “armed conflict involving massive violence against civilians, Ivorian and foreign alike.” Even if all-out war is averted, the Côte d’Ivoire poll — intended to unify the country — has been an unmitigated disaster, one that’s set a wary tone on a continent facing one of its most critical election years in history. In 2011, citizens in 26 African countries are scheduled to head for the ballot box, voting in 17 heads of state. To some, this is proof that democracy is finally taking root in subSaharan Africa, a region long plagued by coup d’états, bush wars and serial kleptocrats. Yet in the face of failed polls like Côte d’Ivoire’s, others wonder if this election mania is really in Africa’s best interest. Though regarded as democracy’s sine qua non — the essential ingredient of government by the people — elections on the continent have long been held hostage by a host of unsavory elements: from voter intimidation and ethnic strife to rigged polls and incumbent strongmen, like Gbagbo, who refuse to go when their time is up. Aside from Southern Sudan, where January’s independence vote unfolded with few hitches — though subsequent violence in Abyei has many worried — the first months of 2011 have not brought signs of promise. In February, Yoweri Museveni extended his 25-year rule in Uganda with a convincing win in a poll marred by extensive voter bribery and
CREDIT: UN PHOTO / BASILE ZOMA
A man dips his finger in ink at a polling station in Côte d’Ivoire during elections last year whose results produced a presidential stalemate that now has the country teetering on the brink of civil war — which doesn’t exactly bode well for the full slate of presidential elections Africa will hold in 2011, a critical test of the continent’s commitment to democratic ideals.
[T]he challenge Africa faces is not just to hold elections but rather to create the conditions under which elections can deliver to the ordinary person. — ANDREW MWENDA
Ugandan journalist and commentator
intimidation — one that reportedly cost Ugandan taxpayers $350 million (also see “From Shoo-in Election to Gay-Bashing, Uganda Finds Itself on the Defensive” in last month’s issue of The Washington Diplomat). In March, the International Criminal Court summoned six high-level Kenyans on charges of crimes against humanity linked to the country’s 2007-08 post-election violence that killed at least 1,100 — a move some hope will help disrupt the country’s deeply ingrained culture of impunity but others worry might stir up ethnic strife ahead of Kenya’s next poll in 2012. And now, tensions are rising in Nigeria ahead of its widely anticipated presidential election on April 9, which is shaping up to be a potentially destabilizing contest between Christian and Muslim candidates — a scenario the country has long sought to avoid. Then there is the pall cast by Côte d’Ivoire, once West Africa’s most prosperous nation. “There is a belief that multiparty politics and competitive elections are the solution to every political problem regardless of context,”wrote Andrew Mwenda, a prominent Ugandan journalist and commentator. “This solution was imposed on Côte d’Ivoire and the results are already beginning to show.
The ‘solution’ is now threatening to lead to the dismemberment of the country.”
WITHER THE ONE-PARTY STATE Half a century ago, when most of sub-Saharan Africa’s 48 countries gained independence, multiparty politics and competitive elections were hardly given a thought in states forged arbitrarily by colonial powers, with little regard to competing ethnic groups or power bases. Compounded by the Cold War, in which the United States and Soviet Union competed for the loyalties of African dictators, the one-party state was the norm, whether among strongmen in the Western orbit like Zaire’s Mobutu Sese Seko or self-styled Marxist-Leninists like Ethiopia’s Mengistu Haile Mariam. Though rooted in geopolitics, the West’s eschewing of African democracy was also linked to concerns that it would hinder development. In his classic 1968 work “Political Order in Changing Societies,” Samuel Huntington argued that governments of fledgling states, facing major development challenges, could not risk full accountability to their people, who would demand more than limited resources made possible. Others questioned whether democracy — a system born out of Western individualism and egalitarianism — could take root in tribally oriented, community-based African societies. Yet by the end of the 1980s, as the Soviet Union crumbled, independence fever waned, and a quarter century of “president for life” rulers had left Africa in economic tatters, voices inside the continent and out began to turn on the one-party state and embrace a shift toward participatory democracy. Among African scholars, the push for democracy gained traction in a series of debates between Kenyan political scientist Peter Anyang Nyong’o and Malawian economist Thandika Mkandawire. Decrying Africa’s “miserable” state of development, Nyong’o argued that the channeling of public resourc-
Continued on next page The Washington Diplomat Page 9
Continued from previous page es into private gains by elites — a key source of the continent’s socio-economic corrosion — was the direct result of those elites not being democratically accountable to their people. Mkandawire, on the other hand, citing the Asian Tigers and other authoritarian development successes, cast doubt on Nyongo’s links between democracy and development.Yet democracy itself, he argued, should be put on Africa’s agenda because it was “the recognition of the legitimate rights of the African people to democratically map the destinies of their countries.” Two decades later, despite a multitude of challenges, African democracy has made considerable progress. Today, the vast majority of African states hold competitive elections at regular intervals. While the bulk may not earn the international stamp of approval as “free and fair” — and might not be held at all were it not for Western pressure — elections have been embraced by a majority of Africa’s citizens.According to a 2005 Afrobarometer survey, 60 percent of Africans believe democracy is preferable to all other forms of government. And most agree that elections are a quintessential element of democracy, says John Campbell, senior fellow for Africa policy studies at the Council on Foreign Relations. “Africans are as devoted to individual dignity and promotion of equality before the law as anybody,” Campbell told The Washington Diplomat. “It’s interesting how many African societies have traditionally focused on building consensus, on talking, talking and talking some more to reach conclusions that are broadly acceptable to everybody. What we in the West identify as ‘democratic’ forms and values really do have deep roots in Africa.”
ILLIBERAL DEMOCRACY’S PERILS If democracy’s foundations are as deep as Campbell suggests, then why have African elections proved so problematic? The answer may lie in
the perils of “illiberal democracy,” a notion popularized by American journalist and commentator Fareed Zakaria. In his landmark 1997 essay “The Rise of Illiberal Democracy,” published in Foreign Affairs, Zakaria distinguished between democracy and constitutional liberalism: one a procedure for selecting government; the other a set of values related to individual liberty and protection from coercive vices, be they from church, state or society. In contemporary Western society, he notes, we tend to view the two as inseparable.Yet, constitutional liberalism — a set of ideas with roots in ancient Greece and Rome that evolved during the Enlightenment — long preceded the rise of modern electoral democracy. Until the 20th century, most countries in Western Europe were liberal autocracies, or at best semi-democracies in which legislatures had little power. Only after World War II did most Western countries become full-blown democracies, with universal adult suffrage. Yet a century earlier most had adopted key tenets of constitutional liberalism — basic human rights, the rule of law, private property rights, separation of powers, and freedom of speech and assembly. What does this mean for Africa? As Zakaria argues, Africa’s conundrum — and that of the wider developing world — is that democracy has flourished in Western countries precisely because of their deep grounding in constitutional liberalism.Yet in sub-Saharan Africa, constitutional liberalism has not had time to take root, and democracy’s introduction has proven difficult. As a result, Zakaria believes that the international community and the United States “must end their obsession with balloting and promote the gradual liberalization of societies.” In illiberal systems, he says, leaders essentially exploit the formal trappings of democracy, namely elections, without actually ushering in any actual democratic accountability. With weak rule of law, inadequate checks and balances, and judiciaries that are subservient to executives, there is little to stop vote rigging or the ability of elites to manipulate mass swaths of the electorate. Meanwhile, a
group of elites in power must increasingly dispense patronage to secure its base, which fuels the misuse of public resources, and raises the stakes of leaving office to a level where incumbents will cling on at all costs.This is particularly dangerous in ethnically divided societies, where the sowing of tribal discontent is a frequent tool of political survival. “In an absence of a shared national vision between elites and their followers, identity becomes the unifying principle,” Mwenda writes. “As economic demands are pressed forward in ethnic terms, the state begins to split at its seams. This is the actual dilemma electoral competition is presenting us. In 2008, we saw it happen in Kenya…. We are seeing it in Côte d’Ivoire now.” As the above cases show, African elections have not just failed to promote constitutional liberalism; in many cases, they have only further nurtured illiberal practices. Despite the prevalence of elections on the continent, Africa on the whole registered declines during the last decade in both political rights and civil liberties indicators, according to Freedom House, the Washington-based NGO tracking freedom and human rights across the globe. Of nine African states that registered declines in 2010, four — Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Rwanda and Burundi — did so due to heightened repression surrounding national elections. As Zakaria notes, evidence exists that democracy may also increase the risk of war when introduced into illiberal societies. In particular, he cites a 1995 study by political scientists Jack Snyder and Edward Mansfield that over the last 200 years, democratizing states went to war significantly more often than either stable autocracies or liberal democracies. It’s a grim rejoinder to a theory long championed by democracy’s proselytizers: the idea of “democratic peace,” which contends that democracies do not go to war with other democracies. Taken together, one might argue, democracy will ultimately bring peace (at least with other likeminded societies), yet the road to that democracy is fraught with violence. In the years since, others have contested the Snyder/Mansfield findings. In their 2004 book “The
Democracy Advantage: How Democracies Promote Prosperity and Peace,” Morton Halperin, Joe Siegle and Michael Weinstein argue that poverty, not premature democratization, is the key factor that influences civil conflict. After controlling for poverty based on country per-capita incomes, they found that democratizing states in sub-Saharan Africa were half as likely to experience conflict as other poor countries in the region. Additionally, they found that life expectancy, on average, is nine years longer in poor democracies than poor autocracies, secondary school enrollment is 40 percent higher, and agricultural yields 25 percent higher. This last statistic recalls the Nobel laureate economist Amartya Sen, who famously observed that no democracy with a free press has ever experienced a major famine. It should be noted, however, that Halperin, Siegle and Weinstein’s study was premised on a broad definition of democracy, one not limited to the traditional litmus test of elections, but encompassing criteria like protections for civil liberties and checks on the executive — in effect, elements of constitutional liberalism. So we return to Zakaria’s question: Is the focus on elections overrated? “Implicitly, the question is whether this emphasis on elections, this taking of elections as the primary sign of progress toward democracy, might possibly be a mistake,” said Campbell.“I am increasingly interested in focusing not so much on the mechanics of elections, but rather on the rule of law, the independence of the judiciary and the sanctity of contracts.” It’s no coincidence, Campbell points out, that in South Africa, arguably the continent’s most successful large democracy, these elements have long been present — though they were only applicable to whites during apartheid. “This long-term adherence to the rule of law for white people was subsequently expanded to the full population,” Campbell said. “And yes, South Africa has had free, fair and credible elections.”
See AFRICA, page 12
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KAZAKHSTAN President Nursultan Nazarbayev’s decision finds support in Kazakhstan and the international community By Albert Askin Independent Writer
his April, early presidential elections will be held in Kazakhstan. A relevant decree has been signed by the head of state, Nursultan Nazarbayev. This surprise decision is an alternative to the referendum which would have allowed the people of Kazakhstan to vote on whether to extend Nazarbayev’s current term in office until 2020. Most experts believed such a referendum would really take place.
Indeed, Kazakhstan has every legal ground and suitable reason to hold the referendum, and, moreover, it has the backing of more than five million voters, representing more than half of Kazakhstan’s electorate. Yet whether such a referendum is in line with common democratic principles was a different matter. For a month, international experts have been monitoring the situation in this Central Asian state. The United States and the European Union hinted diplomatically that it might be undemocratic. The Kazakh people, on the other hand, believed that voting in a referendum was indeed an expression of democracy. The president was posed with a dilemma: as an adherent of Western standards he was well aware of a backlash from the international community and the damage to Kazakhstan’s reputation as well as his own image. But as head of state, he could not dismiss the opinions of five million Kazakhs. Nazarbayev ultimately decided to call for early elections despite the fact it will cut his current term in office by two years. The decision suited everyone except the opposition, though it was also applauded by various countries and renowned organizations.
Audronius Azubalis, the foreign minister of Lithuania — which holds the 2011 chairmanship of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe — acclaimed the call for early elections. And on Feb. 1, the U.S. Embassy in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan, released a statement welcoming Nazarbayev’s decision. By the way, early presidential elections will sort out another problem: concurrent elections for the parliament, for the maslihats and for president, all initially set for 2012. Having early elections will allow concerned institutions enhance the quality of public outreach on a step-by-step basis. The opposition does not shy away from making insulting remarks. It specifically suggested that Kazakhstan’s leader was prompted to call for early elections because of recent developments in the Arab world. Experts say the comparison is groundless. The decision of the Kazakh president to decline the referendum has nothing to do with the latest events in Egypt or anywhere else. First, initiatives to hold the referendum emerged in Kazakhstan long before the “wave of instability” engulfing the Middle East, and early elections are simply the logical outcome of national and global discus-
In the best interest of the country, I made a decision not to hold the referendum. I suggest early presidential elections although they will cut my current term by two years. President Nursultan Nazarbayev
sions. Second, Nazarbayev is greatly respected throughout Kazakhstan, a country with a stable political and economic situation. Pierre Morel, EU special representative for Central Asia, said any parallels between the two are baseless. Kazakhstan’s head of state is widely backed by the population; evidence of this is the five million signatures (a majority of the electorate) collected for the referendum. Moreover, the initiative was supported by Parliament.
The president suggested viewing the situation as a historic test for democracy and Kazakhstan’s commitment to its constitution. “In the best interest of the country, I made a decision not to hold the referendum. I suggest early presidential elections although they will cut my current term by two years,” he said. Indeed, Nazarbayev has found the correct solution to consolidate his nation — a solution supported by the international community.
The Washington Diplomat Page 11
from page 10
Africa QUEST FOR A LIBERAL AFRICA The problem for most of Africa is that the nurturing of liberalism is far more complex than going through the periodic ritual of elections (something the Arab world is encountering as well). Today’s Western liberal societies — in which governance defined by personal relations is supplanted by one of impersonal bureaucracy — took shape over a period of centuries, and a quick transition to the Western model cannot be expected in most of the developing world.While institutions like the World Bank, as it did in Côte d’Ivoire, can threaten to withhold debt relief unless elections are held, it cannot bring the Enlightenment to Africa’s doorstep. Put another way, as Ugandan journalist Mwenda writes, “the challenge Africa faces is not just to hold elections but rather to create the conditions under which elections can deliver to the ordinary person.” If these conditions cannot be imposed from the top down, can they be nurtured from the ground up? Siyabonga Memela, manager of the political governance program at the Pretoria-based Institute for Democracy in Africa, says yes. To Memela, the key is to foster continuous civic education, so that awareness among citizens of the need for democratic practices increases. And the best way to go about this? “It all goes back to elections,” he said. “Citizens need to be able to participate in how they are governed to ensure their constitutional liberties and human rights are protected.” It’s not exactly a response that would sit well with Zakaria’s minions. It also brings us back to the chicken-or-the-egg dilemma: Do societies need the fundamentals of constitutional liberalism before democracy — and truly free elections — take hold, or can elections themselves nurture constitutional liberalism?
The Washington Diplomat
CREDIT: UN PHOTO / BASILE ZOMA
On closer inspection, these two views of elections — one that they are dangerous, the other that they’re constructive — may not be so divergent. For all his concerns about illiberal democracy’s perils, Zakaria does not insist that such states revert to authoritarian rule and admits there are no longer “respectable alternatives to democracy.” Rather, he argues, we should focus on making “democracy safe for the world” by realizing elections’ limitations and focusing on broader aspects of liberalism and civic engagement. Despite their unsavory elements, African elections may be the only tools to foster such engagement in the long run, even if “free and fair” is more often than not a misnomer. “If we waited to hold elections when the conditions were ideal, we would never get there,” Memela told The Diplomat. “Democracy is a project that is ongoing and there is not a day where we will say it is complete.” And on the world’s poorest continent, it’s a project that cannot be viewed in isolation from the
Alassane Ouattara joyously casts his vote in Côte d’Ivoire’s presidential election last year. His joy would be short-lived. Although Ouattara was widely recognized as the winner of the election, his opponent Laurent Gbagbo (pictured opposite page) has refused to relinquish power — despite international condemnation, economic sanctions and the very real possibility of plunging his country back into full-scale civil war.
quest for economic growth and development. Citizens focused on finding their next meal will have little time for politics, and in sub-Saharan Africa — where close to half the population of 840 million lives on less than $1.25 per day — there are many of these citizens. Africans, says Memela,“will reject democracy if it does not put bread on the table.” For years, this democracy-development relationship has been a hotly debated topic among both political scientists and economists. Though a positive correlation between high per-capita income
and incidence of democracy has long been established, scholars have presented contrasting evidence that democracy leads to development, development to democracy, or that neither causal relationship holds true. To thinkers like Kenya’s Nyong’o, democracy was critical to development because it served as a check against elites’ misuse of public funds that had crippled African economies in their first 25 years of independence. For others, democracy was successful only in societies that had already reached a minimal level of development, where elites could no longer prey on impoverished rural masses and workers had the means to mobilize. It’s a claim that brings to mind Uganda, where President Museveni’s National Resistance Movement spent millions in the run-up to February’s elections doling out bribes to hardluck rural voters — in some cases buying allegiance for as little as a bag of salt. Only among a people in dire economic straits could this be undertaken with such effectiveness. Ultimately, Memela argues, democracy and development are best viewed as a single dynamic, neither of which will flourish without the other. “Democracy without development is meaningless,” he said. “But development without democracy is development for the few. We must continue to engage the two in a balancing act.” On a grander scale, as Zakaria notes, the pressures of global capitalism can push development, democratization — and liberalization — forward, as citizens become increasingly exposed to the outside world through markets and modern tools of communication. Today, across most of sub-Saharan Africa, even the poor have mobile phones and Internet use is continuously rising. Nigeria now has 44 million Internet users — more than a quarter of its population.And the world is still witnessing the power of social media tools such as Facebook in transforming repressive Arab societies.
SUB-SAHARAN UPRISING? Just as democracy demands more than just elections, development demands more than just
impressive economic growth. Memela’s South Africa, an emerging economic giant and comparatively mature democracy, is now the most unequal society in the world — a gap that’s not merely between whites and blacks but also between a thriving, politically connected black elite and a massive black underclass. It’s the sort of disparity — defined by high unemployment and large pools of restive youths — that has African leaders warily looking north, where regimes once thought unbreakable have crumbled in Tunisia and Egypt, and teetered on the brink in Libya, Bahrain and Yemen. Despite some small-scale protests in places like Cameroon and Gabon, most experts say Arabstyle uprisings are unlikely to flourish south of the Sahara, where societies are more ethnically divided, security forces are far more feared, and comparatively small middle classes have much to lose from landing on the wrong side of politics. In Egypt and Tunisia, the military refused to fire on protesters. In Zimbabwe, security forces would have no such compunction. And Egypt, as Campbell notes, has had a strong national identity for 10,000 years, while Nigeria, a potential hotspot in advance of its election, is a patchwork of more than 250 ethnic groups cobbled together in the early 20th century into a country that still lacks of unifying sense of statehood. Still, Campbell argues, the jury is out as to what the Arab uprisings might mean for the rest of Africa. Change, after all, can happen in an instant. Just months ago, after all, no one would have predicted that leaders like Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak would be kicked out or that Libya’s Muammar Qaddafi would be confronting a civil insurrection. So how should African states react? African governments, according to Memela, should see the Arab revolutions as a warning. “The lesson for all leaders is that unless the will of the people is expressed in democratically acceptable ways, you may say you are at peace today, but tomorrow people may rise against you. It’s a warning to say you must fix your house.” Fixing that house is easier said than done, and elections, it can be argued, can either hinder or aid that process. For sub-Saharan Africa, the next big test will come on April 9, when as many as 70 million voters head to the polls in Nigeria,Africa’s most populous country. Considered an emerging power because of its size, this oil-producing giant is one of the continent’s most corrupt and poverty-stricken states, and its recent polls have not been pretty. Since the country’s return to civilian rule in 1999, the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has consistently rigged its way to power — aided by an informal “zoning” agreement among elites across the country that called for the presidency to alternate between the largely Muslim north and largely Christian south. Yet President Goodluck Jonathan, a southern Christian who took over when Umaru Yar’Adua, a northern Muslim, died last year, disrupted the balance when he successfully sought the PDP nomination while it was still the Muslims rotation. With
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Laurent Gbagbo, the incumbent who lost Côte d’Ivoire’s presidency to Alassane Ouattara, ignored the results of the November 2010 race, joining the ranks of a long line of African autocrats who’ve overstayed their welcome in office.
Jonathan facing off against two main Muslim candidates, violence between rival ethnic and religious groups has spiked, and analysts worry that a perceived sham election could ignite a wider conflict. There are, however, some promising signs — including Jonathan’s appointment of Attahiru Jega, a respected academic and civil society activist, to head the Independent National Electoral Commission.According to the International Crisis Group, Jega’s appointment “offers some protection against the wholesale manipulation of results that blighted previous polls.” Still, the prospect of election-related unrest remains. Campbell, author of “Nigeria: Dancing on the Brink” and U.S. ambassador to the country from 2004 to 2007, warned that the situation in Nigeria could easily spiral out of control. “As the giant of Africa now turns its attention to country-wide presidential elections, the contest is shaping up to be dangerous and destabilizing, pitting a Christian candidate against a Muslim candidate — a competition Nigerians have always tried to avoid,” he recently wrote.“Perhaps for the first time, Nigerian presidential elections will matter because the leading candidates are identified with rival regions and religions, identities more important to Nigerians than their national one. If the elections are not credible, there is likely to be much greater popular protest than there has been in the past.” Yet just as no one can predict what will happen in a country as diverse as Nigeria, no one can accurately predict the future for a continent as complex as Africa. It has its share of Côte d’Ivoires, but it also has its Ghanas. There, John Atta Mills won a 2009 runoff presidential poll by a mere 0.4 percent — the smallest margin of victory in Africa’s history — in a vote that was free, fair and peaceful. The loser, Nana Akufo-Addo — a member of the previous president’s New Patriotic Party who had narrowly won the first round of voting — graciously accepted defeat.
Jon Rosen is an independent journalist based in Kigali, Rwanda, and focuses on sub-Saharan Africa.
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Ex-Im Bank Helps U.S. Exporters Stay Competitive in Cut-Throat World by Larry Luxner
oftware developer Group Logic Inc., a $10 million company based in Arlington, Va., had its best year ever in 2010, with overseas sales accounting for 10 percent of all revenues. Finance director Brian Kosem credits the Export-Import Bank of the United States for a big chunk of that success. “It really gives us peace of mind when selling to overseas customers and resellers,” said Kosem. “We just register with Ex-Im Bank online and pay them a fee to insure that we’re going to get reimbursed for that receivable. If a customer in Belgium buys $10,000 worth of our software and then goes belly-up, we don’t have to worry if he pays us or not. We’ll get reimbursed.” Likewise, BioElectronics Corp. of Frederick, Md., makes an anti-inflammatory medical device that delivers continuous electromagnetic therapy to restore damaged cells. The 12-employee company exports to 40 countries in Europe, Asia and the Middle East, and is now entering Colombia — its first foray into South America. BioElectronics signed up for an Ex-Im Bank $500,000 small business multi-buyer policy in August 2009 and renewed the policy last June. “Since we enrolled in Ex-Im’s insurance program, our international business has more than doubled, and we’ve added two brand managers to help with distribution and sales,” said finance director Sherri Mercer. “Besides allowing us to provide distributors with extended credit terms, which makes us more competitive, Ex-Im programs enable us to obtain equity financing on our international receivables.” Testimonials like that make Fred Hochberg’s day. Hochberg, 59, is chairman and president of the Ex-Im Bank, the official export credit agency of the United States whose mission is to assist in financing the export of U.S. goods and services to international markets.The bank does not compete with private lenders but provides financing products that fill gaps in trade financing, assuming credit and country risks that the private sector is unable or unwilling to accept, while also trying to level the playing field for U.S. exporters by matching the financing that other governments provide to their exporters. A driving impetus behind the bank’s work, Hochberg says, is to help bring to fruition President Obama’s National Export Initiative, which aims to double U.S. exports in five years and create 2 million jobs. That initiative is taking center stage at the Ex-Im Bank’s annual con-
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ference from March 31 to April 1 at Washington’s Omni Shoreham Hotel. The event — whose theme is “Government Moving at the Speed of Business” — features 30 confirmed speakers and moderators including the CEOs of Boeing, Siemens, Caterpillar, Citigroup and Honeywell. Also on the roster: Michael McKinley, U.S. ambassador to Colombia, Donald Gips, U.S. ambassador to South Africa, and Thomas Shannon, U.S. ambassador to Brazil, as well as other top officials from the U.S. government, the World Bank and media. (Last year President Obama spoke at the annual conference; no word as of press time if he’ll appear this year.) “Four things drive an economy: consumer demand, government spending, investment and exports,” Hochberg told The Washington Diplomat.“We’re focused on doubling exports. It’s an achievable goal, but we also want to make sure small businesses are an important part of it.” He noted that every $1 billion in U.S. exports creates 7,400 jobs at home. “Selling overseas is more challenging for companies than selling domestically,” he said. “What we do is provide guaranteed loans and insurance to help American companies sell abroad.” So far, Hochberg seems to be getting it right. During his first year in office, U.S. exports grew by 18 percent. And last year, the bank approved more authorizations to support U.S. exporters than any year since its founding 77 years ago. Despite continuing economic difficulties around the world, January’s exports of U.S. goods and services — $167.7 billion — was the largest monthly total ever recorded, surpassing the previous record of $165.7 billion set in July 2008. The Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis reported that U.S. exports totaled $1.8 trillion in 2010, a growth of 16.7 percent from 2009. And in the first four months of fiscal 2011 (October 2010 through January 2011), the Ex-Im Bank authorized $8.25 billion in loans to support $10.3 billion in U.S. exports and roughly 75,000 American jobs.The bank’s support of U.S. small-business exports also grew to $1.5 billion, compared with $1.4 billion for the same four-month period a year ago. “Ex-Im Bank’s strong performance shows there remains a critical need for
PHOTOS: LARRY LUXNER
We remain on track to help reach President Obama’s goal of doubling U.S. exports and creating 2 million new jobs by 2015.
— FRED HOCHBERG
president and chairman of the Export-Import Bank of the United States
financing by U.S. exporters and by helping meet that need we’re supporting American jobs,” said Hochberg. “We remain on track to help reach President Obama’s goal of doubling U.S. exports and creating 2 million new jobs by 2015.” From his wooden desk on the 12th floor of the Lafayette Building on Vermont Avenue, Hochberg enjoys a commanding view of the White House — residence of the man who nominated him to his job in April 2009. The New York-born businessman, a major contributor to Democratic Party causes, meets frequently with local movers and shakers. During our interview last month, Maryland Gov. Martin
O’Malley paid Hochberg a visit to discuss ways the Ex-Im Bank could create jobs in his state. But he also has strong links with the diplomatic community. “It’s important for me to meet with foreign ambassadors here in Washington to think about ways to facilitate trade between our countries. These are the things that make for a more enduring relationship,” he told The Washington Diplomat. In the past few months alone, Hochberg has met with a dozen envoys including Mexico’s Arturo Sarukhan, South Africa’s Ebrahim Rasool, Nigeria’s Ade Adefuye, India’s Meera Shankar and
See EX-IM BANK, page 16 April 2011
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from page 14
Ex-Im Bank Colombia’s Gabriel Silva. “One of the aspects that gets overlooked is trade. These ambassadors can play a role in their Diaspora communities,” he said. “There are large pockets of Colombians and Indians here, for example, and that’s a natural place for trade to begin. They understand their home markets while they’re learning about markets in their adopted country, the United States.” The Ex-Im Bank, originally known as the ExportImport Bank of Washington, was established by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on Feb. 2, 1934, as a New Deal program to support his foreign policy. Its very first transaction was a $3.8 million loan to Cuba for U.S. silver ingots. Only a month later, FDR created a Second Export-Import Bank of Washington with the specific aim of promoting trade with Cuba, though that entity was dissolved in 1936. (Interestingly, Cuba today is one of the very few countries with which the Ex-Im Bank has no dealings — a consequence of the 50-year-old U.S. trade embargo.) Since taking office in May 2009, Hochberg has focused on opening new markets for U.S. goods and services in key emerging markets. Its loan guarantees help foreign buyers secure private financing to purchase U.S. exports. Its working capital guarantees help American exporters buy raw materials and supplies, while its export credit insurance eliminates the risk of non-payment from foreign companies. “This array of services positions Ex-Im to help fuel an export boom driven by demand in emerging market economies such as China and India,” Congress Daily wrote recently. “For years, Ex-Im was a minor player in the increasingly crowded world of official export finance, but Hochberg has closed the competitive gap.” A graduate of both New York University and Columbia University, Hochberg has more than 30
years of experience in business, government and philanthropy. Most recently he was dean of Milano, The New School for Management and Urban Policy in New York, before which he served as deputy and then acting administrator of the Small Business Administration, where he quadrupled lending to minority- and women-owned small businesses. Hochberg got his start working for his mother, Lillian Vernon. “She started her catalog company at her kitchen table. After getting my MBA at Columbia, I joined the company. It was doing $45 million in annual sales. By the time I left, we were doing $180 million a year. I was in the import business, and now I’m in the export business, so I’ve seen it from both sides.” With 400 employees and five regional offices (in New York, Miami, Chicago, Houston and Los Angeles), Ex-Im is only one of 60 or 70 exportimport banks around the world, all of them promoting their countries’ exports. All of them function similarly, though Hochberg stresses that his bank operates at “zero cost to taxpayers.” “One of the misconceptions about the Ex-Im Bank is that we give money to somebody so they can buy American. The fact is, taxpayers aren’t giving anything to anybody. In most cases, the bank issues a guarantee, saying that if a loan goes into default, then the Ex-Im Bank will make the lender whole. The way we do that is by relying on the reserve funds from the fees we charge. There’s no subsidy whatsoever.” The projects that spring from Ex-Im financing and loan guarantees run the global gamut. Recent endeavors include: a $100 million loan guarantee for GE Transportation to sell locomotives to South Africa; $1 billion in credit for the Brazilian state of Rio de Janiero to buy U.S. exports to boost its infrastructure; a nearly $35 million guarantee for the Dominican Republic to use U.S. equipment and services to promote tourism by building a 44-mile road linking Santo Domingo to the country’s major eastern cities; and a $171.5 million loan to support
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the export of a Ku-band broadcast satellite by a company in Palo Alto, Calif., to one in Luxembourg. Hochberg has also worked to increase the global footprint of key domestic industries in which U.S. exporters have a comparative advantage, such as industrial machinery, medical technology, agriculture and renewable energy. At the moment, the Ex-Im Bank is helping a Spanish company, Gamesa Technology Corp., sell 51 wind turbines to Honduras that will be produced at a factory just outside Philadelphia. Ex-Im is financing $159 million of the $300 million total cost of the project. “Renewable energy is frequently more costly than fossil fuel, but in this case, wind power for Honduras is a low-cost solution,” Hochberg said. “We’re about creating U.S. jobs, and it doesn’t matter whether the company is American-owned or Spanish-owned. It’s not that easy for a Central American power company to get an 18-year loan on its own, and by our guaranteeing it, we make that transaction happen.” The transaction was among the first exports from Gamesa’s two Pennsylvania factories and marked the first time the company has used Ex-Im Bank financing. It was also Ex-Im’s first renewable energy deal utilizing the bank’s new carbon-policy incentives, including an 18-year repayment term. “Local companies need to have working capital loans to buy equipment or inventory. If they’re selling overseas, one of their big concerns is getting paid. We know how to enforce laws at home, in New Jersey, New York or New Mexico, but if you’re selling to New Zealand or New Delhi, how do you collect? “We provide insurance policies on overseas receivables. We’re in the business of taking away the risk of selling overseas,” Hochberg explained. “Third, when selling capital equipment that might be paid for over 10 or 20 years, we can provide a guarantee to the bank to make a 10- to 18-year loan so that the financing is in place to purchase that equipment.” Another overarching goal is to include small
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businesses whenever possible. To that end, in January, the Ex-Im Bank announced its Global Access for Small Business initiative in partnership with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers, the Small Business Administration and half a dozen private entities. Global Access has very concrete aims. By 2015, Ex-Im aims to double its annual small-business export finance volume from $4.5 billion to $9 billion, add 5,000 small businesses to its portfolio, and approve at least $30 billion in small-business transactions. To reach these benchmarks, Ex-Im Bank is offering new financing and insurance products that complement existing bank programs. The bank has also identified nine key target countries for promotion of U.S. exports: Brazil, Colombia, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Nigeria, South Africa,Turkey and Vietnam. “We looked around the globe, at countries that were growing rapidly, making big investments in their infrastructure, and where our financing could help make a difference in the purchase of U.S. goods and services,” Hochberg told us. “Although we operate in 180 countries, we asked where the greatest concentration of those three factors were, and that’s how we identified these nine countries.” Interestingly, China — the world’s second-largest economy — is not on the list (although the bank has pursued other partnerships with Beijing to boost U.S. goods and services to that country). Nor is South Korea, which has signed a free trade agreement with the United States but is waiting for Congress to ratify it. “Although Korea is growing, it’s not where I see opportunities to dramatically ramp up our exports, though with a U.S.-Korea FTA, that may change,” Hochberg said. “Colombia is on the list, and even though we’re still working out that FTA, we’re actually seeing a surge in financing of exports to Colombia, mostly oilfield equipment. We need to put a business plan together, so that in the event Congress ratifies that treaty, we can really go full force and show people what an FTA can do.” On that note, Hochberg said he hopes Congress will get moving on both of those pending FTAs (along with a third one between the United States and Panama). “When it comes to FTAs, they’re a factor in doubling exports, but by no means the only factor,” he said. “Removing trade barriers enhances the exchange of goods and services and gives us a very level, open playing field.We all have jobs to do, and my job is to finance exports and create jobs.” That explains why Hochberg’s bank recently approved $100 million in financing for South Africa’s Transnet Ltd., so it could buy 10 General Electric Model C30ACi locomotives manufactured at a GE plant in Erie, Pa.The transaction will create more than 600 jobs at both the Erie factory and another one in Grove City, Pa. “Ex-Im Bank financing for Transnet, the first of what we hope will be many more to come, is a win-win for both South Africa and the United States. This sale ensures high-skill, high-wage jobs will remain here in the U.S., and it strengthens commercial ties between our two countries,” Hochberg said in a prepared statement. Last year, Hochberg visited a dozen nations. Asked which one impressed him the most, he replied without hesitation: Vietnam. “The capitalism and commercial energy that I saw in Vietnam was startling. We had just been in China a little earlier, and the contrast was remarkable,” he said, ticking off a list of infrastructure projects the Vietnamese Development Bank is hoping Ex-Im will help finance.“China is more serious and austere, like Germany, while Vietnam is like Italy — teeming with life and energy and enthusiasm.” Hochberg added:“Americans frequently become friends with people from other countries after doing business with them. If we do business with Vietnam, it will improve their economy. And the better their economy is, the more they’ll buy from us.”
Larry Luxner is news editor of The Washington Diplomat. April 2011
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The Washington Diplomat
Ali Suleiman Aujali
Qaddafi’s Man No More: Disgusted, Envoy Breaks Free of Former Boss by Larry Luxner
n Feb. 7, during a business lunch at the Ritz-Carlton promoting U.S. investment in the Arab world, we casually asked Tripoli’s ambassador to the United States, Ali Suleiman Aujali, if there was any chance the Libyan people would emulate their long-suffering brothers and sisters throughout the Middle East and rise up against their leader, Col. Muammar Qaddafi. “Of course not,” the strongman’s envoy in Washington replied with confidence.“It’ll never happen.” Only 10 days later, it did happen. Anti-Qaddafi demonstrators armed with Facebook and encouraged by the ouster of Hosni Mubarak as president of neighboring Egypt called for a “Day of Rage” against the 41-year-old regime. Peaceful protests erupted overnight in Aujali’s native Benghazi, but soldiers firing live ammunition responded with brute force, killing dozens. The violence engulfed other cities in Libya, and on Feb. 22 — horrified by the worsening bloodshed unleashed by Qaddafi’s forces — the 60-year-old ambassador resigned, saying he could no longer represent a government that willfully slaughtered its own people. The anti-Qaddafi revolt is now well into its second month; untold hundreds or possibly thousands of Libyans have died and close to 325,000 have fled the country. The tug of war between an inchoate rebel army and Qaddafi loyalists for control of Libya’s strategic cities has escalated into a full-blown war that’s sucked in Western powers. On March 17, the U.N. Security Council voted 10-0, with five countries abstaining, to authorize a no-fly zone over Libya and “all necessary measures” — code for military action — short of an occupying invasion “to protect civilians and civilian-populated areas.” The Libyan government promptly announced a ceasefire, then promptly ignored it. On March 19, allied jets entered Libyan airspace, marking the start of a risky foreign intervention whose outcome remains unclear as of press time and the third time that the United States — albeit far more reluctantly this time — attacked a Muslim nation with an eye toward regime change. Aujali says the intervention — however impalpable to the United States — was absolutely necessary to prevent a massacre. “The Libyan people have been waiting for this very badly. Qaddafi was continuing his march to Benghazi, and if this intervention hadn’t happened, more than 100,000 lives would have been lost. People were calling me from eastern Libya, screaming for help, and I didn’t know how to answer them,”the former envoy toldThe Washington Diplomat during an extensive interview one recent Sunday morning over coffee, speaking from the comfort of his elegant D.C. residence. Aujali remains worried about his hometown of Benghazi, where French President Nicolas Sarkozy says Qaddafi attacked civilians with “murderous madness.”The besieged city of 1 million, long a hotbed of anti-regime sentiment and birthplace of the current revolution, had been the final rebel stronghold before Western warplanes pushed back pro-government forces advancing on the city. And now that the foreign intervention has begun, Aujali says it can’t be a half-hearted effort.“This mission has to be completed,” he insisted.“When we say we need to protect
PHOTO: LARRY LUXNER
This regime’s days are numbered. I hope I can go back to Libya next month. When I do, oh my God, for the first time since 1969, I’ll feel like a free man. — ALI SULEIMAN AUJALI
former ambassador of Libya to the United States
civilians, this doesn’t mean to protect them only from airstrikes. We have to protect them from that man who has ordered the killing of his own people. As long as this man is still around, the Libyan people will never be safe. He must go.” Aujali sounds a big note of caution, however. “Qaddafi will never give up. He’ll never go willingly. For him, a human being doesn’t mean anything. Having been in power for 42 years, he believes he’s God on Earth, and also a philosopher, author and historian.” That’s certainly not the way Aujali described his former boss just a few months ago, when he was still the official Washington representative of the Great Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya — and the newly reformed Qaddafi was still viewed as a U.S. ally in the war on terrorism who’d renounced weapons of mass destruction and was supposedly opening up Libya’s oil riches to the West. Asked about the sudden change of sentiment, Aujali smiled faintly. “Different occasions require different speeches,” he said, as if reciting an ancient Arab proverb. The ex-ambassador quickly added: “Let me put it this way:You must know that not every Libyan diplomat in the last 42 years has dirtied his hands with blood or money. There are so many great people trying to do their best to serve their country. During my time here in Washington, I never distinguished between ordinary Libyans or the opposition. Our job was to serve the community. I have never
been a mouthpiece of the regime.” Aujali joined Libya’s foreign service in January 1969 — nine months before Qaddafi, then a 27-year-old army officer, led an uprising against King Idris I and subsequently abolished the monarchy. In 1976, Aujali was sent to Kuala Lumpur, where he served for eight years — as first secretary and later ambassador to Malaysia — before taking up residence in Buenos Aires as the Libyan envoy to Argentina. In 1988, Aujali was appointed ambassador to Brazil, where he spent another five years. In 2001, Libya resumed ties with Canada, and Aujali’s diplomatic experience made him Qaddafi’s obvious choice to send to Ottawa. Before becoming ambassador to the United States, he was a key figure in 10 years of secret negotiations with Washington that finally led to the lifting of sanctions and a $2.7 billion compensation deal for relatives of the Pan Am Flight 103 bombing over Lockerbie, Scotland, which to this day is widely believed to have been personally orchestrated by Qaddafi. In January 2005, shortly after the regime sent him to open Libya’s first mission here in 18 years, Aujali granted The Diplomat a lengthy interview — his first ever in the United States — during which he barely mentioned Qaddafi’s name. Pressed on how well Aujali knew Libya’s flamboyant leader, he finally responded:“I’ve met him a few times. He’s a very simple, easy man, living a simple life.” That was then. Things have gotten a bit more complicated. And now that he’s finally free to talk, Aujali can barely restrain himself. “This man has more power than any elected president or prime minister. He believes he has no title, but in reality, nothing can be done without Qaddafi’s approval — financially, politically or economically,”Aujali told us. Yet if Qaddafi was such a monster, it does beg the question of how Aujali could back him for so long. The envoy counters that he was representing Libya the country, not the man behind it, and he thought Libya’s Western rapprochement would gradually change the regime.
Continued on next page The Washington Diplomat Page 19
Continued from previous page â€œPeople believed his son Saif [al-Islam Qaddafi] when he started to show a different face than his father. When we established diplomatic relations with the United States, we thought there might be a chance for this man to listen to members of Congress. I thought that having relations with Western countries would help.â€? He added: â€œI always believed that if there were good people in positions in government, they could change things for the better. So for many of these people who had a different view of things [than Qaddafi], when they had a chance, they spoke out.â€? That included several of Aujaliâ€™s diplomatic colleagues around the world, as Qaddafiâ€™s ambassadors to the United Nations and elsewhere abandoned the longtime leader shortly after the fighting broke out. On a smaller scale,Aujaliâ€™s own about-face has in many ways mirrored the twists and turns of a conflict thatâ€™s forever altered the course of Libyan history. In recent months, as the anti-Qaddafi protests escalated back home, the situation in Washington got more uncomfortable for the seasoned envoy, who could no longer hide his true feelings. He finally decided to break with the regime heâ€™d represented for decades once and for all in late February, after watching TV footage of Qaddafiâ€™s ruthless response to peaceful protests outside a courthouse in Benghazi. â€œIt was a symbolic gathering. But Qaddafi learned from the Tunisian and Egyptian protests that his only option was to hit back strong and without any mercy. So he started killing people. I called my colleagues to find out what was going on in my country. It was terrible seeing women screaming into their cell phones as they were being attacked.â€? But his son Saif â€” the urbane, impeccably dressed, fluent English-speaking reformer with a
CREDIT: UN PHOTO / OCHA / DAVID OHANA
A refugee wanders a transit camp shrouded in an air of uncertainty. The violent standoff between pro-government loyalists and a ragtag rebel army has forced around 325,000 people to flee Libya, possibly killed thousands, and sparked a foreign military intervention.
Ph.D. from the London School of Economics who became Libyaâ€™s gentler public face to the Western world â€” turned out to be the biggest shocker of all for Aujali. In a nationally televised speech, Saif warned fellow Libyans that â€œrivers of blood would flowâ€? if the protests aimed at toppling his father didnâ€™t stop. â€œIt was unbelievable,â€? Aujali recalled. â€œWhen he started speaking, I was just about to collapse. I had never expected him to say such things. Saif had been wearing a mask these last 18 years, talking about reform, democracy, free speech, the role of NGOs, the future Libya. But he was cheating us all
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this time. Nobody expected this.â€? On the afternoon of Feb. 25, with TV cameras rolling and surrounded by noisy supporters, Aujali joyously replaced the drab green flag of the Qaddafi regime atop the official Libyan residence on Wyoming Avenue with the green, black and red tricolor of Libyaâ€™s pre-1969 monarchy. â€œOur goal is freedom. Our goal is democracy,â€? Aujali told the raucous crowd, in a speech that left no doubt about this diplomatâ€™s real sympathies. Yet the same canâ€™t be said for all his embassy colleagues. At one point, pro-Qaddafi personnel even changed the locks to keep their boss out,
prompting Aujali to call the police. Eventually, those staffers were ordered to leave the premises. In any event, the embassy â€” located on the seventh floor of the Watergate building â€” suspended its operations March 15 on orders from the State Department. â€œItâ€™s now under the custody of a local staff member,Anwar Gusbi, a Libyan-American whoâ€™s worked at the embassy since 2004. He cannot issue visas or do any official functions; heâ€™s there only to pay bills,â€? Aujali told The Diplomat, adding that in the meantime,â€œI have to find a place where I can function. I have so much work to do. We have so many issues to handle.â€? Initially, the Obama administration appeared on the verge of cutting ties to Aujali, with former State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley telling reporters March 1 that Aujali â€œno longer represents Libyaâ€™s interests in the United States.â€? However, that decision was later reversed, with officials telling Foreign Policyâ€™s â€œThe Cableâ€? blog that it still regarded Aujali as its top interlocutor with the Libyan Embassy, although heâ€™s no longer a formal ambassador. The diplomat says itâ€™s vital for the Obama White House to maintain official contacts with the budding opposition in Libya â€” rather than fomenting an uprising but maintaining ties with the regime that uprising is supposed to overthrow. He told â€œThe Cableâ€? that envoys such as himself who have broken with Qaddafi â€œmust be recognized as the legitimate representatives of the new Libyaâ€? or the movement will have no voice overseas. As of this writing, 10 of Aujaliâ€™s former staffers have already left the United States; the remainder will have to return to Libya by April 15, unless they opt to support the transitional government declared in Benghazi.Aujali, meanwhile, remains in a state of legal limbo as the drama back home plays out â€” a private citizen whoâ€™s a quasi representative for a shadow government. â€œI have credentials from the National Interim
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Council to present myself as the ambassador to the United States,” he said, showing us an official-looking document in English and Arabic to prove it. “Maybe my status as ambassador will take some time, and I will be the channel between the United States and Libya. Some ambassadors have stayed with the regime. Maybe they have families in Libya and if they make an announcement or speak out, they’ll put their families in real trouble.The regime is not only kidnapping men but also women. For example, Libya’s chief of protocol in Paris, Nuri alMismari, has two daughters in Tripoli who were put on government TV and forced to denounce their father.” Aujali said that despite the risks, “my wife and children all supported my decision, even though they knew what might happen to us. Not one of them could watch what’s going on in Libya” without joining the uprising. Since last month’s flag-raising ceremony, Aujali has also become the darling of the talk-show circuit, appearing on Al Jazeera, CNN, NBC and NPR, among other outlets.Asked if he’s interested in running for office at some point, Aujali said,“I have no ambitions at all, just to serve the revolution. I just want to live the rest of my life as a free man, in a free country.” To that end, the ex-ambassador must now focus all his energy on helping his fellow revolutionaries wrench control of Libya from the dictator’s defiant grip. But Qaddafi hasn’t been in power for four decades for no reason. He may be an erratic, mercurial madman to some, but he’s also a shrewdly calculating, determined leader who has no compunction about killing his own people to maintain his cult-like grip on power. When he warns that he’ll hunt detractors door to door — “We will find you in your closets” — few people doubt his sincerity. Aujali said every family in Libya is a potential target of Qaddafi’s vengeance as long as he remains in power; even children have been interrogated
CREDIT: UN PHOTO / OCHA / DAVID OHANA
Hundreds of refugees wait in line for food at a transit camp along the Tunisia-Libya border. Hundreds of thousands, mostly migrants, have tried to escape the fighting in Libya, although with their own governments in disarray, neighboring countries such as Tunisia and Egypt have been hard-pressed to accommodate the influx.
about the actions and comments of their parents. “Qaddafi is taking dead bodies from the street and injured people from the hospitals, then killing them and throwing them into the sea or putting them in mass graves in the desert,” he claimed.“He wants to leave no evidence for any investigating committee.” Aujali added that the regime paid ordinary Libyans 500 dinars a day to demonstrate against the rebels.“Most of these people are from orphanages. But if there were no forces in the streets, you would see 10 times as many [anti-Qaddafi] demonstrators in Tripoli as in Benghazi. He has a big problem. Even the ones fighting for him quit when-
ever they have the chance. He’s losing the loyalty of his people.” Following the Feb. 23 sabotage of a fighter jet by two pilots who bailed out of their Russian-made Sukhoi Su-22 and let it crash in the desert rather than carry out orders to bomb civilians, Qaddafi fixed the problem by disabling the ejection seats. “They’re also tying up the drivers of tanks into their seats so they can’t get out, and unfortunately, many of them have been burned alive,” Aujali said. “Qaddafi has air power, sea power and of course tanks. But there is no loyalty for him. So he’s getting help from Serbia, and hiring Ukrainian pilots.” Qaddafi also lured mercenaries from desperately
poor sub-Saharan African countries like Chad, Niger and Mali — between 50,000 and 60,000 young men, some of them barely teenagers — to fight his war. “Just imagine, these people are living on $1 a day, and suddenly you offer them $1,000 a day,” the former ambassador told us. “Some of them have never held a pistol in their hands. They get two or three days of training and that’s it. The difference between Qaddafi’s soldiers and the rebels is that the rebels believe in what they’re doing.There’s no way for Qaddafi to win this crisis. He has nobody to support him.” But unlike in Egypt and Tunisia, he did have the support of a better-equipped army and ruthlessly efficient security forces — and was perfectly willing to use them. So while the world was predicting Qaddafi’s demise just a few weeks ago, he suddenly flipped the script — pinning in the makeshift band of rebels that seemed on the verge of toppling yet another Arab autocracy. The foreign intervention stanched the rebels’ retreat, but at the moment, how it all ends is anyone’s guess — as is the military intervention’s endgame. The Western coalition, led by France, Britain and the United States, said it had no choice but to step in to avert a civilian bloodbath. Yet it’s clear the offensive also threw a lifeline to the cornered rebels in a bid to resuscitate their revolution. However, serious divisions remain over the scope of the military campaign, who’ll be in charge of it, and what’s the ultimate aim. How far will the air bombardment go to help the rebels take down one of the world’s most notorious dictators? What if the situation ends up resembling a tribal civil war rather than a democratic fight for change? And if the rebels win, what if the solution winds up being worse than the problem? Libya, after all, is a nation built on shifty, oftentimes violent tribal allegiances,
See LIBYA, page 68
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GLOBAL VANTAGE POINT
Will Aftershocks from Japan Rock Fragile World Economy? by Stephen S. Roach
he devastation — both human and physical — from the earthquake and tsunami in Japan is unfathomable. It is impossible at this point to gauge the full extent of the damage with any degree of precision. But we can nonetheless begin to assess its potential spillover effects on the rest of Asia and other major economies around the world. The narrow view of the catastrophe’s economic impact is that Japan doesn’t really matter anymore. After all, more than 20 years of unusually sluggish trend growth in Japanese output has sharply reduced its incremental impact on the broader global economy. The disaster may produce some disproportionate supply-chain effects in autos and information-technology product lines such as flash drives, but any such disruptions would tend to be transitory. On the surface, the world’s two largest economies have little to fear. Japan accounts for only 5 percent of America’s exports and 8 percent of China’s. Under the worst-case outcome of a complete disruption to the Japanese economy, the direct repercussions on the United States and Chinese economies would be small — shaving no more than a few tenths of a percentage point off their annual growth rates. Within the so-called G-10 developed economies,Australia has the largest direct exposure to Japan — the destination of about 19 percent of its total exports.The eurozone is at the opposite end of the spectrum, with Japan accounting for less than 2 percent of its exports. Among emerging-markets, the Philippines and Indonesia are the most exposed to Japan, which absorbs about 16 percent of their total exports. South Korea, the third-largest economy in East Asia, is at the other end of the scale, relying on Japanese demand for only about 6 percent of its exports. But the narrow view misses the most critical consideration: this “Japan shock” has not occurred at a time of great economic strength. That is true not only of Japan itself, where two lost decades have left a once-vigorous economy on a less than 1 percent growth trajectory since the early 1990s. But it is also true of the broader global economy, which was only just beginning to recover from the worst financial crisis and recession since the 1930s. Moreover, the Japan shock is not the only negative factor at work today. The impacts of sharply rising oil prices and ongoing sovereign debt problems in Europe are also very worrisome. While each of these shocks may not qualify as the proverbial tipping point, the combination and the context are disconcerting, to say the least. Context is vital. Notwithstanding the euphoric resurgence of global equity markets over the past two years, the world economy remains fragile. What markets seem to have forgotten is that post-bubble, post-financial-crisis recoveries tend to be anemic. Economies grow at something much closer to their stall speeds, thus lacking the cyclical “escape velocity” required for a self-sustaining recovery. As a result, post-crisis economies are far more vulnerable to shocks and prone to relapses than might otherwise be the case. Alas, there is an added complication that makes today’s shocks all the more vexing: governments and central banks have exhausted the traditional ammunition upon which they have long relied during times of economic duress.
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CREDIT: NAVY PHOTO / PETTY OFFICER 3RD CLASS ALEXANDER TIDD
A Japanese rescue team searches the rubble near a solitary high-rise building in Wakuya, Japan, shortly after a 9.0-magnitude earthquake and tsunami pulverized entire swaths of the country, killing an estimated 20,000 and costing $300 billion in damages.
The Japanese economy has, in fact, been on the leading edge of many of the more serious problems that have afflicted the global economy in recent years. From asset bubbles and a dysfunctional financial system to currency suppression and monetary-policy blunders, Japan has been in many respects the laboratory of our future. That is true of both monetary and fiscal policy — the two mainstays of modern countercyclical stabilization. Policy interest rates are close to zero in the major economies in the developed world, and outsize budget deficits are the norm. As a result, unconventional — and untested — policies, such as so-called “quantitative easing,” have become the rage among central bankers. All along, such unconventional policies were viewed as a temporary fix. The hope was that policy settings soon would return to pre-crisis norms. But, with one shock following another, the “exit strategy” keeps being deferred. Just as it is next to impossible to take a critically ill patient off life-support treatment, it is equally difficult to wean post-bubble economies from their now steady dose of liquidity injections and deficit spending. In an era of extraordinarily high unemployment, political pressures only compound the problem. This raises perhaps the most troublesome concern of all:
with a post-crisis world getting hit by one shock after another, and with central banks having no latitude to cut interest rates, it is not hard to envision a scenario of openended monetary expansion that ends in tears.The dreaded inflationary endgame suddenly looms as a very real possibility. None of this detracts from the resilience factor. Yes, Japan will rebuild, which will undoubtedly spur some type of recovery in its disaster-battered economy. That happened in the aftermath of the Hanshin (Kobe) earthquake in 1995, and it will happen this time as well. But, just as the post-Kobe rebuilding did little to end the first of Japan’s lost decades, a similar outcome can be expected this time.The upside of rebuilding — beyond the urgent restoration of normal life for thousands of people — is only a temporary palliative for an impaired economy. That’s only one of the lessons that Japan offers the rest of us.The Japanese economy has, in fact, been on the leading edge of many of the more serious problems that have afflicted the global economy in recent years. From asset bubbles and a dysfunctional financial system to currency suppression and monetary-policy blunders, Japan has been in many respects the laboratory of our future. Unfortunately, the world has failed to learn the lessons of Japan. And now it risks missing another important clue. The significance of the earthquake and tsunami of 2011 is not the relatively low magnitude of Japan’s direct impact on the broader global economy.The more meaningful message is how these shocks box the rest of us into an even tighter corner.
Stephen S. Roach, a member of the faculty at Yale University, is also non-executive chairman of Morgan Stanley Asia and author of “The Next Asia” (Wiley 2009). Copyright: Project Syndicate, 2011. www.project-syndicate.org
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Americans Have Long, Love-Hate Relationship with International Law by Rachael Bade
nlike the first half of the 20th century, the world was at peace in the late 1940s. Hitler was dead, Japan was devastated, the Cold War hadn’t sunk in just yet, and there was a shining new world governance body called the United Nations. Optimism in international cooperation was at a zenith. Given the atrocities of World War II, it’s not surprising that members of the U.S. Congress supported the formation of strong international laws to restore world order and keep another global conflict from breaking out. “Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring), that it is the sense of Congress that it should be a fundamental objective of the foreign policy of the United States to support and strengthen the United Nations and to seek its development into a world federation … [with] powers adequate to preserve peace and prevent aggression through the enactment, interpretation, and enforcement of world law,” read a 1949 resolution sponsored by 111 representatives — including two future presidents, then-Reps. John F. Kennedy (D-Mass.) and Gerald Ford (R-Mich.). More than 60 years later, some Americans and politicians now view that “world law” as an adversary. Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) introduced a resolution in 2005 that would prohibit U.S. courts from “relying on any law, policy or other action of a foreign state or international organization in interpreting and applying the Constitution.” Sen. Jeff Sessions, a fellow Republican senator from Alabama, criticized international law in similar fashion in a 2009 Wall Street Journal op-ed. Claiming that international law acts as a “diminishment of American sovereignty,” he asked,“Do judges serve American citizens or citizens of the world?” Last fall, more than 70 percent of Oklahomans voted to ban courts from using and citing foreign or international law in judgments through a state referendum titled “Save Our State.” The fear that international law might impinge on individual freedoms or national interest is deeply entrenched in parts of U.S. society, overlapping with the wariness some Americans have toward their own government — none of which is a new phenomenon. Americans have a long history of suspicion toward any laws — domestic or foreign — that they deem a threat to their personal liberty. Still, when it comes to American perceptions of international law, a rather confusing, inconsistent and even contradictory story emerges. Attitudes have fluctuated over the past century depending on the
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issue, seeming both positive and negative simultaneously. And while many people believe President Obama has a greater respect for international law and cooperation than the previous Bush administration did, the issue is far more complex than changeovers in power or partisan politics, although both impact the discourse. “The U.S. has always been both a supporter and someone who questions international law at the same time,” said David Caron, president of the American Society of International Law. Today, for instance, the United States is calling on other countries to sign onto a global framework to tackle climate change. Yet the U.S. government’s own notable refusal to ratify the Kyoto Protocol — and recent failure to pass domestic climate legislation — has seriously hampered its credibility in ongoing negotiations (also see “Copenhagen One Year Later: Hopes Deflated, Not Defeated” in the December 2010 issue of The Washington Diplomat). Likewise, both the Bush and Obama administrations identified the climate-accelCREDIT: UN PHOTO / ESKINDER DEBEBE
The U.S. has always been both a supporter and someone who questions international law at the same time. — DAVID CARON
president of the American Society of International Law
erated melting of the Arctic as a key strategic interest because of the potential for untapped resources and access to quicker transportation routes. Yet the United States won’t sign onto the only international treaty governing the Arctic seabed, the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea, possibly putting it at a disadvantage in the race to divvy up the continental shelf with nations such as Norway, Canada and Russia (also see “Law of the Sea Convention Likely to Encounter Fierce Headwinds” in the December 2007 issue of The Washington Diplomat). Such hesitation was not always the case. The 1949 resolution, for instance, called for global governance with teeth, whereby international law could restrain or obligate sovereign nations to act for the benefit of the entire globe. In stark contrast — as
demonstrated in Shelby’s resolution, Sessions’s op-ed and the Oklahoma referendum outcome — today a fair number of Americans flatly and furiously reject even the mere mention of international law as an infringement on national sovereignty. Caron insists that the important question is not whether Americans are pro- or anti-international law, especially because the answer is far from black and white.The question, rather, is about the specific concerns of politicians and citizens: What are their fears? What’s at stake? And most important, what are the politics at play?
WHAT IS INTERNATIONAL LAW? Whether Americans consider themselves for, against, somewhere in between or apathetic about international law, this legal
framework shapes the lives of people every day — when they mail letters to friends and family abroad (the 1964 Constitution of the Universal Postal Union), purchase their favorite olives from Israel (1883 Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property and the 1891 Madrid Arrangement Concerning the Prevention of False or Misleading Indications of Source) or sightsee on vacations in search of bison, blue whales or elephants in their natural habitats (1973 Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species). With 188 countries as signatories, the International Civil Aviation Organization allows people to travel from country to country using passports, while the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea mandates that, should another Titanic incident occur to a cruise vessel, each ship must be properly equipped to save everyone onboard. International law also seeks to prevent atrocities and human rights violations. The U.N. Convention Against Torture requires that signatory states criminalize all acts of torture — for instance, during an interrogation to obtain information — defining it as the intentional infliction of severe physical
and/or mental suffering committed under the color of law. Rulings from the International Court of Justice, which settles disagreements between states, offer a legal forum to resolve border disputes that otherwise could spark war or bloodshed. And many of this publication’s readers are well versed in the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations that for 50 years now has codified the privileges and immunities to which all diplomats around the world are entitled. The most obvious type of international law is a treaty, an agreement signed by two or more party states. Treaties include not only trade agreements and ceasefires that establish peace after times of war but also international conventions, protocols and covenants.The Treaty Section of the U.N. Office of Legal Affairs registers 4,000 treaty actions annually. But not all sources of international law are specific and codified. Although they’re not explicitly documented, customs, which emerge from consistent and widespread or universal practices, are also considered international law. In 1900, for instance, the owners of a Cuban commercial fishing boat charged the United States with violating international customary law when the Navy intercepted and confiscated their ship as it crossed an American blockade during the SpanishAmerican War. Citing the freedom of movement traditionally awarded to merchants in times of war since the early 15th century, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the fisherman and set a precedent for incorporating international customs into domestic law, especially where no law exists. More than 100 years later in 2009, after an American pharmaceutical company tested a new drug on Nigerian citizens without their consent, a U.S. federal circuit court ruled in favor of the sickened Nigerians even though no American law prohibited such actions outside U.S. borders.The court cited laws in 84 countries, the Nuremberg trials that punished Nazis for wrongful medical experimentation on humans, as well as provisions in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, signed by 160 states.All were evidence that international law prohibits nonconsensual medical experimentation. International court rulings are also forms of international laws.The International Criminal Court (ICC), for example, prosecutes individuals who have coordinated acts of genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and crimes of aggression, demonstrating a universal ideal and commitment that such acts should never go unpunished. The ICC — which formally came into being in 2002, the date its founding treaty, the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, entered into force — is a court of last resort when nations cannot or will not prosecute such crimes. Spurred in part by the genocide in Rwanda and atrocities committed during the Balkan wars, the goal of the court is to end impunity for the perpetrators of the most serious crimes of concern to the international community. Most notably, this includes leaders such as Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, who has an ICC warrant out for his arrest, and possibly Col. Muammar Qaddafi if investigators determine war crimes took place in Libya. Interestingly, the Bush administration adamantly opposed joining the ICC for fear that American soldiers might come under its jurisdiction (that would be extremely difficult because the court cannot supersede a functioning justice system in the home country), although both Bush and Obama have generally been supportive of the court’s various prosecutions. Conversely, among the 114 ICC signatories are numerous African countries that have been the target of those prosecutions, including Congo, Kenya and Uganda.
WHEN POLITICS COME INTO PLAY Considering that international law seeks to condemn and prevent atrocities, promote human rights, and ensure equality of peoples of all nations, many embrace it as a positive force in an increasingly globalized and at-times dysfunctional world. But parts of international law are not without controversy, especially when politics is thrown into the mix. And sometimes, the political opposition seems to fly in the face of reason. For example, social April 2011
CREDIT: UN PHOTO
The first special session of the U.N. General Assembly meets in May 1947 to consider the “Palestine question.” Just as that question has never fully been resolved, there are no simple answers to America’s conflicted relationship with the United Nations and international law in general.
conservatives and a few religious organizations in the United States have campaigned heavily against the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), which essentially calls for gender equality. It was first adopted by the U.N. General Assembly in 1979 and since then, 186 nations have ratified the treaty, leaving the United States in a strange company of holdouts — along with Sudan, Somalia, Iran and the Pacific island nations of Palau, Nauru and Tonga. Conservatives warn, however, that CEDAW would require the United States to guarantee women equal pay with men, force women into military service and fund abortions. None of the reviews and recommendations issued under CEDAW, however, is legally binding, and abortion is not mentioned in the treaty. Likewise, the International Protecting Girls by Preventing Child Marriage Act was successfully blocked in the House despite unanimous passage in the Senate late last year by conservatives who argued the bill could fund abortions and use the pretext of child marriage “to overturn pro-life laws.” Nothing in the bill though mentions abortion or “family planning,” and ratification would not have appropriated any additional funding from the U.S. budget. It would, however, have made addressing child marriage a core aspect of American international development strategy. Similar arguments have been used against U.S. ratification of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.Although it condemns child abuse and subjugation, opponents claim it would invade the privacy of family life and the right of parents to raise their children by their own standards. Thus, the United States — alone with Somalia — is one of only two nations that haven’t ratified the convention. “There are some things that become politically significant beyond their actual merit,” said Caron, who is also a professor at the University of California Berkeley School of Law. “They become politically charged.” The political spin on international law is neither new nor unusual in the United States. Labor groups — oftentimes Democratic — worried about job security have warned that free trade agreements such as NAFTA erode American jobs. Meanwhile, many corporate interests — oftentimes Republican — have vocally criticized any legally binding international framework to deal with climate change for fear it would hurt American businesses and competitiveness. As for the 112th Congress, Congressional Quarterly Weekly reporters noted that “treaties might be hard to sell the next Congress,” citing John Bellinger III, former State Department legal advisor. Bellinger predicts that suspicion of international treaties will likely be stronger this year because “many conservative Republicans have tended to be skeptical of large multilateral treaties as a general matter.” Although congressional ratification of the new START treaty proved to be a big victory for international law and nonproliferation advocates alike, many aren’t sure it would have stood a chance in a Republican-controlled Senate despite widespread bipartisan agreement that the treaty was a com-
mon-sense security necessity. “It’s this distrust of international treaties and [the belief] that somehow we have agreed to something where we’re giving away something essential to our country,” Caron said of the occasional obstructionism. These protests, Caron added,“reflect something else that’s going on…. It’s one group disagreeing with the outcome and thinking that international law tends to be used rhetorically to support a side they dislike.” For those who trust the international system and believe states and world bodies will decide what’s best for humanity through healthy debate and collaboration, international law and global governance are often perceived as positive forces. Many believe that, especially in an interconnected world, these laws can prevent another world war from erupting and secure human dignity, environmental security and democratic freedoms. But for those without such trust, international law merely hinders national interests.And for powerful nations such as the United States, the loss of sovereignty can be particularly threatening. “There is a voice in the U.S. that says, ‘Be cautious,’ and it can be magnified,” Caron observed. “It’s as if people are afraid international law will sneakily take something,” added Sheila Ward, director of communications and member relations at the American Society of International Law. Former President George W. Bush’s rejection of the ICC embodies this concern. Likewise, opponents of arms-control treaties such as the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, which President Bill Clinton signed in 1996 but was never ratified by Congress, claim the treaty would harm U.S. security by prohibiting all nuclear explosive testing, whether for military or civilian purposes. And judging by the Herculean effort to get the new START treaty passed last year, proponents of the test ban treaty know they have an uphill battle on their hands. The small group of people standing against the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea treaty also
takes a similar Machiavellian stance. Although it was originally created at the urging of the United States when other nations were claiming their ownership of the seas, closing water routes to Americans vessels and arresting U.S. ships, opponents of the treaty now say it will steal U.S. sovereignty. Perhaps, but it could also rob America of bargaining power at the United Nations as various nations stake their claim to what’s underneath the receding Arctic ice shelf — under the very rules established by the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea.
AMERICAN AVERSION BELIES OVERALL ACCEPTANCE Despite concerns that international law constrains U.S. interests or can meddle with judges’ verdicts, legal advocates seem to be winning the battle of American perceptions in several ways. First off, people may not always like them, but rules are a simple fact of modern life — and international law is necessary (some may call it a necessary evil) to maintain the kind of global stability much of the world has enjoyed over the last half century. Caron said most Americans don’t flatly reject international law but understand it’s “not always great and not always bad.” A November 2009 study by WorldPublicOpinion. org supports his claim,with 60 percent ofAmericans agreeing that “our nation should consistently follow international laws. It is wrong to violate international laws, just as it is wrong to violate laws within a country.” Only 29 percent said that “if our government thinks it is not in our nation’s best interest, it should not feel obliged to abide by international laws.” Other polls by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs show most Americans prefer a multilateral approach over unilateralism in the global arena. Caron believes Americans are more curious
See LAW, page 28
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Embassies Get Into Spirit Of In Vino Diplomacy by Jacob Comenetz
t the inaugural Greek Wine Happy Hour, held in February at the upscale Kellari Taverna on K Street, Charalampos Papadopoulos, second secretary of economy and commerce at the Embassy of Greece, said he wanted to “create a scene” depicting wines from his native country. “Wine itself is a culture,” he said. It can also be a vehicle for cultural exploration. “We want to get people to try them and hopefully to like them, not only in Greek places but in general,” Papadopoulos, who goes by “Babis,” told The Diplomat. At the bar, Babis introduced me to Yani, whose full name is Ioannis G. Tsapos, founder and owner of Dionysos Imports, one of the major importers of Greek and Portuguese wines in the Maryland-Virginia-D.C. region.Yani, who came to the United States when he was 20 and worked for years as a computer specialist before founding his import business in 1991, took me aside to a table where we could taste the four Greek wines, vintages 2008 and 2009, being featured at the happy hour. We started with the Tetramythos Roditis, an organic dry white wine from Diakofto-Kalavryta in Northern Peloponnese, which is light in color and has “green apple and lemon flavors,” according to the info sheet on the featured wines. Yani told the story of this new winery, owned by four cousins who “decided to put all their dreams and efforts into winemaking.” “The first results are extremely promising,” he said. I have to agree. On the back of the info sheet, Yani sketched a rough map of Greece, not the easiest country to draw. He marked the spot from where the wine originates and described the geography of the area. Due to the vineyards’ elevation, at more than 1,000 feet above sea level, and the ocean breeze, the vines never rot, he explained. “It’s very scenic,” he added.“You can see the northern part of Greece, and the deep blue water.” In 2007, the catastrophic wildfires that scorched large areas of Greece destroyed the brothers’ winery, but spared the vineyards themselves. Yani recounted how neighbors helped out with the wine harvest and even offered use of their equipment to produce that vintage. In the meantime, the winery has been completely rebuilt. The intoxicating tour of Greece continues with descriptions of the landscapes, soils and microclimates, or terroir, that produce the distinct characteristics of the country’s wines, as well as the stories of the people who make them. As we tasted another vintage,Yani explained the ancient Greek practice of diluting wine to varying degrees depending on the type of event. Krasi, which referred to the diluted admixture of wine and water, is the modern Greek term for wine, while oenos, the term for undiluted wine, forms the root of the English word “wine.” It’s clear that wine, so much more than a beverage, can be a window onto another culture. And with its rich calendar of embassy events showcasing wines from around
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We have to find unique ways to give people a memorable experience…. Wine is really a good tool to open people’s eyes. — MATTHEW KELLER
senior political adviser at the Embassy of Liechtenstein
the world,Washington is a hub of wine diplomacy — and promotion. Some missions use national day or other receptions to feature their national wines, introducing them to American audiences, while others make it their business to help promote key brands — donating them to galas and other major functions, for instance, or directly staging tastings and other promotional events. Yani goes to Europe two to three times a year to maintain relationships with vintners, take clients on tours, sample the wines, and find ones that “make sense” to import. This means the price must be in proportion to the quality. Overvalued wines will not sell, he says, as Americans have become more knowledgeable about the industry. By the same token, Yani is striving to promote undervalued, lesser-known wines, such as those from Greece, in the greater Washington area. The task isn’t easy, admitted Tom McKnew, wine manager at Calvert Woodley Fine Wines & Spirits in Van Ness. In addition to being the city’s largest wine retailer, the popular store on Connecticut Avenue is also an importer of wines, particularly those from Bordeaux. The store’s selection of European wines focuses on the global wine-producing powerhouses of France, Italy and Spain, as well as Germany, although Calvert Woodley does carry a handful of wines from other European countries, including several Austrian wines and a Hungarian
Tokaj wine. McKnew explained that for reasons having to do with price, customer knowledge and sheer volume of production, it’s difficult from a business standpoint to stock wines from nations that are generally less well known among Americans. Importing wine directly from France allows him to offer top-notch wines at a competitive price, McKnew said — something he cannot do when going through the “three-tiered system” of importer, wholesaler and retailer. “If we bought the exact same Bordeaux from a wholesaler that bought it from a négociant [wine merchant] and the whole system, the price would be well over our cost, maybe 50 percent higher,” McKnew pointed out. At the same time, the high demand in Washington for European wines from the major wine-producing countries means that he can carry a greater selection of these wines than stores in other places. “You go out in the suburbs of Virginia and Maryland, and their drinking habits are a little different.” McKnew said.“I think the palates are a little sweeter, fruitier. I mean a $15, $20 Bordeaux might not sell so well in Baltimore or Richmond or something like that. You may see more cabernets from California.” The economic downturn did restrict some buying habits, although McKnew says the American wine market is generally healthy and has rebounded from the financial crisis. “People are still drinking wine,” he told The Diplomat. “Whether it be two nights a week, or three nights a week, or a half bottle … they cut back not so much on their consumption, but the amount of money they pay for wine.” He added that the upper end of the market has also returned. “People are starting to buy some wines at $100, $150 a bottle now.” Although comparatively speaking, D.C. wine consum-
See WINE, page 28 April 2011
Overexposed? Weighing Risks, Benefits of CT Scans by Gina Shaw
ou might call this the “scanned generation.” Just a few decades ago, the only body scanner most people ever saw was an X-ray machine, if they broke a bone or, more commonly, when they got dental X-rays.
Today, we have MRI scans, functional MRIs, CT scans, PET scans, MR and CT angiography, ultrasound, and a variety of other techniques used to develop specialized images of the body and its bones, tissues, blood vessels and organs in various states of illness and disease. But all of these high-tech images don’t come without a price. The contrast agents and radiation involved with creating the images that radiologists and other physicians rely on to diagnose illness and determine the effectiveness of a therapy (is that tumor shrinking?) have side effects of their own. One form of imaging technology in particular that is very common is the CT (computed tomography) scan.Approximately 80 million CT scans are performed annually in the United States alone.They are often used in conjunction with other imaging tools to pinpoint the size and location of cancers and other diseases, to detail complex fractures, and to assess heart function — providing critical visual images that can save lives. More recently, some have pushed for CT scans to be used as part of preventive medicine — to detect disease early, before symptoms have appeared. There is some evidence that this can be useful. Last year, the National Lung Screening Trial found a 20 percent reduction in deaths among heavy smokers with no signs of cancer who were screened annually with a helical CT scan, as compared to those who had standard chest X-rays. The trial involved more than 53,000 people over five years, by which time there were 354 deaths recorded in the CT group versus 442 in the X-ray group. That’s a relatively small reduction in risk, but it’s still 88 people who didn’t die an ugly death from lung cancer who otherwise might have. And since lung cancer — which kills 160,000 Americans each year — is usually diagnosed in its advanced stages, and the five-year survival rate is just 15 percent, making even small cuts in the lung cancer death rate could save a lot of lives. It could also save a lot in health care costs. On the other hand, CT scans themselves aren’t cheap, and they also have many false positives — leading to unnecessary tests that can drive up already-soaring health care costs. That of course harms society as a whole. But then there’s also the individual harm associated with radiation. In the CT
quest to detect cancer, are patients running an increased risk of developing cancer down the line? Imaging tests in general are now responsible for half of the overall radiation that Americans are exposed to, compared with roughly 15 percent in 1980.A 2009 study in the Archives of Internal Medicine estimated that 29,000 additional cancers in the future could be linked to one year’s worth of CT scans. Whether it’s a smoker being scanned for signs of cancer, a heart patient having their cardiac function imaged, or an accident victim having a fracture assessed, anyone who has a CT scan of any kind is exposed to some degree of radiation. Even the lower-dose helical, or spiral, CTs used in the lung cancer study emit several times more radiation than that of a standard X-ray. Done PHOTO: KONSTANTIN SUTYAGIN / BIGSTOCK
If it is true that about one third of all CT scans are not justified by medical need, and it appears to be likely, perhaps 20 million adults and, crucially, more than 1 million children per year in the United States are being irradiated unnecessarily. — DR. DAVID BRENNER
director of the Center for Radiological Research at Columbia University
only once, it may not be a big deal. But repeat exposures over the course of a lifetime could cause new cancer in a person who got their CT scans to prevent or help battle cancer in the first place. “There is a strong case to be made that too many CT studies are being performed in the United States,” wrote Dr. David Brenner, director of the Center for Radiological Research at Columbia University in New York, in a 2007 review article in the New England Journal of Medicine. He suggested that CT scans are being particularly overused in certain contexts, such as the management of blunt force trauma, seizures and headaches, as well as in “defensive medicine.” Brenner pointed out that a 2004 survey of physicians found that 53 percent of radiologists and 91 percent of emergency room physicians did not believe — contrary to the evidence — that CT scans increased the lifetime risk of cancer. “If it is true that about one third of all CT
scans are not justified by medical need, and it appears to be likely, perhaps 20 million adults and, crucially, more than 1 million children per year in the United States are being irradiated unnecessarily,” Brenner wrote. And that has consequences.A study from a team of Italian researchers, published March 1 in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, found that regular exposure to radiation — most of it from CT scans — significantly raised the risk of cancer for people on dialysis. Of the 106 patients in the study, 17 of them received radiation at levels associated with a substantial increase in the risk of cancer-related death. Two initiatives are now pushing for more judicious use of imaging. The Image Gently campaign (www.imagegently.org) focuses on children, who are at particular risk from overuse of CT scans and other radiation, while the Image Wisely campaign (www.imagewisely.org) focuses on adults.
The sites include protocols for imaging professionals and information for patients and families, such as a wallet card to keep track of total radiation exposures. Experts continue to struggle with the issue, and often it is left to individual doctors to weigh the risks and benefits of a CT scan for each patient and their particular condition. A CT scan of the chest in a person who may have a blood clot in the lung, for example, could detect an immediate, life-threatening condition. “CT will never go away, partly because there are certain parts of the body that are better imaged by CT — one of them is the lungs,” wrote Dr. James A. Brink, chair of diagnostic radiology at Yale School of Medicine, last year.“If CT scanning is needed medically, individuals should not shy away from having the test, as the risk of a fatal cancer from the associated radiation exposure [1 in 2,000 to 4,000] is very low as compared to the lifetime risk of developing a fatal cancer [1 in 4 or 5].” At the same time, Brink, part of the Image Wisely awareness campaign, says doctors must balance the potential future cancer risks with the necessity of the test and try to minimize the impact as much as possible. “As such, we must reduce CT scanning doses to levels that are as low as reasonably achievable, and use CT scanning only when other imaging tests won’t suffice.”
Gina Shaw is the medical writer for The Washington Diplomat. The Washington Diplomat Page 27
from page 26
Wine ers are a worldly, sophisticated bunch, McKnew said he doesn’t see a trend toward people looking for wines from the smaller European winemaking countries. He mentioned the example of Switzerland, whose wine, in addition to being very expensive, is mostly consumed by the Swiss. “There’s not a whole lot to export,” McKnew said, noting that Calvert Woodley carries one Swiss wine now; in the summer, it will carry two. Indeed, for average European winemakers, their main market will be domestic, or neighboring countries where exporting their wines is fairly easy. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a demand — however small — for unique wines from new, undiscovered locales. After all, years ago wines from New Zealand or Chile were considered relatively obscure in the United States.Today’s internationally prized vintage from Australia or Argentina could very well be tomorrow’s wine from Hungary or Moldova. Asked if embassies or foreign wine merchants looking to promote their wine in the United States ever approach him, McKnew responded immediately. “Yes, there is one in particular — and that is directly related to the ambassador of Malta — he is out there promoting his products,” McKnew said. “So we actually now import two wines ourselves.” Those two wines, a white and red, have been available at Calvert Woodley since April 2010.They are products of Maltese Ambassador Mark MiceliFarrugia’s personal wine estate, Meridiana, located in the central Mediterranean island’s agricultural heartland. During an interview at the Embassy of Malta, the ambassador, who goes by “Mark,” recalled how he founded Malta’s first “world-class” winery. Having marketed beverages in Malta, Canada and Italy over two decades, Miceli turned to winemaking following a conversation with a Bordeaux
oenologist in 1985 who convinced him that Malta had all the right ingredients for making high-quality wine. That includes excellent soil, a temperate Mediterranean climate and other favorable weather conditions specific to Malta, such as no frost or hail during the country’s summertime harvest, a problem experienced by other wine-producing nations further north. There were two reasons Malta had not previously tried its hand at wine: a lack of regulations stemming from a legacy of the British rule, which lasted from 1800 to 1964, and a lack of local demand for top-tier wines. The ambassador’s timing in developing his estate during the early 1990s, coincided auspiciously with Malta’s preparations for joining the European Union (it acceded in 2004). Miceli had already been preparing his wine according to higher European standards, and the eventual access to the EU market helped pave the way for Meridiana’s success. By 1995, the vines were bearing fruit, ahead of schedule. Miceli had to rush expensive stainless steel fermenters and other equipment to Malta to accommodate the harvest. “We produced a reasonable quantity, which I sold during the very first Christmas cocktail party immediately following the harvest, which was incredible. Afterward I went around, gave them to my distributor, and he said you’ve sold more than we’re producing. And I said, ‘Oh, that’s good news.’” The ambassador is proud of the result, which took years of winning over skeptics: “What we achieved is we convinced not only the banks, but also consumers that Malta could produce a good wine. That hadn’t been the case before,” he said. “Today, now that we’re in Europe, people are beginning to see the benefit. But it took some years. I’m glad to see that they’re finally on board.” Miceli — who has organized wine-related events at the University Club, Cosmos Club and other places in Washington — noted that one byproduct has been indirectly highlighting the island itself and all that it offers.“Maltese wine basi-
cally promotes everything that is agricultural in Malta — because even though we produce very little agriculture, whatever we produce is unbeatable in flavor.” Despite Malta’s growing reputation as a wineproducing country, most of the wine today is still consumed domestically. The same is true for other smaller European countries with proud winemaking traditions but whose wine is comparatively unknown outside the country itself. Take Slovenia. Tucked between Italy, Austria and Croatia in a prime wine-growing climate, the country has around 25,000 hectares of vineyards and produces 100 million liters of wine from its 14 wine-growing districts annually. “Wine is an indispensable element in the fabric of our food culture,” said Maša Šiftar de Arzu, second secretary at the Embassy of Slovenia in Washington.“It signifies our identity in a geographical and cultural sense.” “The quality of wine,” she added, “reflects the quality of life of the people who take great pride in producing it.” Even so, the vast majority of Slovenia’s wine is consumed domestically, with less than 10 percent exported, according to Šiftar de Arzu. Among exported Slovenian wines, those from the Movia winery were the most successful in the United States in 2010, with six of its wines receiving more than 90 points in Wine Spectator magazine. Many other Slovenian wineries, with names like Batic, Edi Simcic, Santomas, and Kabaj, have a strong presence in the United States as well. An even smaller European country — with all of 35,000 inhabitants — but one with a centuries-old winemaking tradition is Liechtenstein, which represents the possibilities, and challenges, of wine as a vehicle for cultural diplomacy. Matthew Keller, senior political adviser at the Embassy of Liechtenstein, told The Diplomat of his efforts to raise the profile of the tiny principality, highlighting aspects beyond the industrial products such as Hilti tools and ThyssenKrupp Presta steering systems for which Liechtenstein is more typically known.
from page 25
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about international law than afraid of it.“I find that people want information and want to know more.” After all, it’s difficult to find an American who condones genocide or believes children should be sold into prostitution. But this oversimplifies the international law discourse. Caron noted that most people who oppose international treaties or court rulings citing customary law usually agree with the principle behind the laws and defect only on specific points: “It’s not necessarily a disagreement with the entire scheme, but a disagreement with what a particular provision might mean for the U.S.” And in the grander scheme of a globalized world, international law will most likely only grow, although parts of it will and should continue to be debated. Most Americans, after all, don’t object to having NATO help U.S. troops in the fight against terrorism, or laws that outlaw piracy on the oceans, or rendition agreements to bring to justice American criminals hiding abroad. Likewise, U.S. government officials far more often than not rely on the legal framework of international law to justify their actions. For example, even the biggest U.N. skeptics still recognize the importance of the world body in sanctioning government policy. Hence, the Bush administration famously tried to woo members of the United Nations using the now-discredited pretext of weapons of mass destruction to garner international support for the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. Today, the Obama administration actively sought approval from the U.N. Security Council as well as the Arab League before agreeing to any military intervention in Libya (see cover profile). That approval was key for the United States to avoid the appearance of unilaterally striking a third Muslim nation. And although the administration’s ultimate strategy for Libya continues to be debated, it’s clear Obama is relying on the line-by-line authorization
Starting in 2003, when there was a “proliferation” of Austrian wines in the U.S. market, Keller began the process of preparing to import Liechtenstein wines to America. “I always thought it would be great to have a product from Liechtenstein that people could have in their homes,” Keller said.“For a country the size of Washington, D.C., it’s also a way for us to discuss the history of Liechtenstein, and say there’s more to Liechtenstein than you might think.” Most of Liechtenstein-pedigree wine is in fact produced in Austria — a seeming anomaly explained by the history of the royal family. In 1436, Christoph von Liechtenstein bought vineyards about 25 miles northeast of Vienna. Though the family fled to Liechtenstein proper in 1938, the winemaking on the Hofkellerei, the princely estate near Wilfersdorf, Austria, continues to this day. Keller’s campaign to market Liechtenstein wines in the United States reached a zenith in 2007, when a Washington Post review featured wines from the principality and senior vintners from Liechtenstein’s two major wine operations came to the DC Food and Wine Festival. Up until about 2009, several area wine stores were also stocking Liechtenstein vintages. But shortly after the success began,“logistical bumps” put a halt to Keller’s marketing push, including a rising euro, competition from cheaper Austrian wines, and relatively small volumes. Although it’s no longer possible to buy wines from Liechtenstein in Washington-area stores, Keller is still a believer in the value of wine in the service of diplomacy, particularly for smaller countries competing for attention with their larger counterparts. “We have to find unique ways to give people a memorable experience,” he said. “Wine is really a good tool to open people’s eyes to Liechtenstein. You use it as an icebreaker, start drinking, talking, and they’re interested to learn more.”
Jacob Comenetz is a contributing writer for The Washington Diplomat. of the U.N. resolution that dictates the intervention is intended to protect civilians to both guide his actions and avoid military overreach. As Philip Ewing wrote recently in Politico, although Republicans have accused the president of hesitant leadership, “to Obama and his generals, it all makes sense within the strict confines of the United Nations Security Council resolution that authorized them to act in the first place — restrictions they clearly hope prevent this from becoming the third U.S. shooting war in the Middle East of any lengthy duration.” The authorization is certainly not a long-term solution to Libya’s woes, but “Obama’s own unwillingness to commit American forces unilaterally meant this was the only option, imperfect and messy as it might be,” Ewing wrote. In the end, as much as the United Nations regularly takes a beating from just about everyone, Republican and Democrat alike, over its effectiveness and sluggish bureaucracy, the world body has provided a bedrock of international cohesiveness unparalleled in modern history — a fact not lost upon the United States, its biggest benefactor. In fact, with the United States launching two wars, U.N. peacekeeping missions experienced an unprecedented surge over the last decade under the Bush administration — in part at its behest — in hotspots such as Sudan and Somalia. “The U.S. will turn more to international law because it’s economically constrained,” Caron said. “We have to set priorities about what we’re doing globally. It’s relative power: If we’re not the only ‘big person’ — say China continues to grow — how are we going to argue with them? Are we going to expend a lot of resources by having Naval exercises? Or are we going to try to argue rhetorically about what’s legal and not legal and how they should be bound.” He adds:“If you understand what [international law] is, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who says it’s bad as a whole.”
Rachael Bade is a contributing writer for The Washington Diplomat. April 2011
T R A V E L &
HOTELS ■ A Special Section of The Washington Diplomat
■ April 2011
At Select Washington Hotels, Rooftops Become Hotspots by Rachael Bade Between the White House, Capitol Hill and the monuments on the National Mall, Washington, D.C., is considered one of the most awe-inspiring cities in the United States — not just politically but visually. Yet the view from the ground isn’t the only perspective in town. So when sauntering past the giant marble memorial of Abe Lincoln or kayaking to the Jefferson Memorial gets old, there’s always another angle from which to appreciate the city’s monumental landscape: Check it out from above. The District’s hotel rooftops offer some of the most breathtaking and picturesque views of the city — postcard-worthy and picture-perfect for visitors and locals alike.
The Sky Bar rooftop lounge at the Beacon Hotel
Continued on next page PHOTO: CAPITAL HOTELS AND SUITES
■ INSIDE: The Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania offer a trio of travel treasures. PAGE 34 ■
TRAVEL & HOTELS
The Washington Diplomat
They’re all the more special because there’s really only a handful of places in the city that can be considered genuine rooftop destinations. And that’s a shame.Because ofWashington’s strict building codes limiting high-rise structures, many roofs offer stunning, unobstructed vistas of the entire city. But a few smart hotels in prime locations are well aware of this fact and have used it to their advantage. The rooftops — like the character of the hotels in which they reside — range from classically elegant to the modernly chic. But they all share one thing in common: a stunning backdrop. Here, Washingtonians can see their favorite landmarks aglow during the evening — minus the swarms of daytime tourists. Better still, the bird’s-eye perches also offer fine dining, refreshing cocktails, high-powered networking and beautiful entertaining.
The District’s hotel rooftops offer some of the most breathtaking and picturesque views of the city — postcard-worthy and picture-perfect for visitors and locals alike.
THE W EDGE
The P.O.V. (Point of View) terrace at the W Hotel scans the city from 11 floors above the ground and embodies the posh exclusivity for which the W is renowned.
The W Hotel (515 15th St., NW), formerly the Hotel Washington, flaunts one of the most surreal views in D.C. — befitting the boutique brand’s flaunting personality. The lookout from its rooftop bar, called P.O.V. (short for Point of View), scans the city from 11 floors above the ground and brings the skyline into dramatic relief. The year-round rooftop is broken into two parts: the outdoor terrace and indoor “ultralounge.” From the outdoor terrace — shielded by an awning above, and in winter surrounded by clear plastic tarp and warmed by space heaters — viewers can see the top of the White House. Even the Secret Service officers stationed on that roof can be spotted less than a block away to the west over the railing. To the south, cars race down 15th Street, passing the windwhipped American flags encircling the Washington Monument.
Both parts of the roof embody the same ultra-posh, ultrafabulous style echoed throughout the hotel. Just as the lobby is decked out with chandeliers sparkling under apple red lights, the rooftop terrace and indoor bar features oneof-a-kind high-back chairs striped in black and white, fuzzy red davenports, silky cushions and even steel-framed daybeds. Aspen blankets also sit next to each table, compliments of the hotel, to keeps customers cozy — yet still stylish — in the winter or on a cool spring night. Unfortunately, large parts of the outdoor terrace are closed off to parties who haven’t reserved a table, often relegating patrons to one section of the roof. On the flip side, part of the W allure is its sense of exclusivity — emphasized by the club-like lines of trendsetters just waiting to step foot onto the rooftop. With its blend of over-the-top modern — and at times just
plain over the top — décor, not surprisingly the W caters to 20- to 30-somethings. Here, pretty people mingle against a pretty background. At night, candles light the hotel and techno-inspired pop music softly bumps in the background. The bar inside PHOTO: W WASHINGTON, DC the lounge glows in the dark. Young women in heavy makeup, beaded necklaces and high-heeled boots chat with men in crisp suits and ties. Couples sitting on chocolate whicker loveseats sip on colorful — and costly — cocktails as they gaze out at the sun setting behind the Lincoln Memorial or watch planes coming into land at National Airport. Marketing manager Kaitlyn Ferrara said the W celebrates the “art of the cocktail” and thinks of each drink as a performance. And it’s a grand performance, leaving intoxicated customers wondering which are better: the crafty drinks or the amazing view? The strawberry lemonade mixes vodka with soda, lemon juice and fresh strawberries, chilled with square ice cubes in a tall cocktail glass. The St. Germain, a shake of Sauvignon Blanc, soda and lemon peel, is light and fruity, similar to a wine spritzer. The food extenuates the upscale aura. The spicy salmon
See ROOFTOPS, page 32
The InterContinental Harbor Court Baltimore is located directly on Baltimore’s Inner Harbor.
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TRAVEL & HOTELS The Washington Diplomat
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www.Fairmont.com/ washington April 2011
TRAVEL & HOTELS
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PHOTO: HAY-ADAMS HOTEL
The Hay-Adams Hotel rooftop overlooking the White House — long a favorite for network TV live shots during political coverage, such as presidential inaugurations — recently reopened after a multimillion-dollar renovation and is now called Top of the Hay.
from page 30
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tartar appetizer spread on buttery garlic bread is well worth the $12. P.O.V. offers three types of personal pizza, the most popular lathered with truffle and Fontina cheese. Customers will acquire a newfound respect for cheeseburgers presented with W’s signature flair. The prices might be high (the mini pizzas run from $12 to $21, cheeseburgers are $11, and cocktails start at $15), but customers pay for the atmosphere and presentation as much as anything else. Still,for some old-fashioned Washingtonians, they may miss the days of the former Hotel Washington’s rooftop, the Sky Terrace, a far more casual watering hole without the long lines.Then again, the W is anything but an oldfashioned watering hole. In fact, the hotel has its own “signature ice program” for its all-natural libations. Even the ice here is cool.
At the complete other end of the spectrum — though within close walking distance from the W — is a property that exudes historical character and refined elegance. Long known for its prime rooftop real estate, the HayAdams Hotel (16th and H Streets, NW) is a Lafayette Square landmark that sits smack-dab in front of the White House. The rooftop of this 1920s Italian Renaissance-style building has for years been a popular venue for social functions, but even a classic needs updating every once in a while. So the Hay-Adams rooftop — now smartly dubbed Top of the Hay — reopened in February after undergoing multimilliondollar renovations for more than six months. The roof still looks down on the weaving redbrick paths of Lafayette Park.A block away are the president’s quarters and the Eisenhower Executive Office Building — and the rooftop offers an unobstructed view of both. Standing on the outdoor terrace, which encircles the recent addition of an indoor space, guests can see the pinnacle of the Washington Monument reaching skyward. In the distance, the Jefferson Memorial peaks out from the horizon a little further to the right.
TRAVEL & HOTELS The Washington Diplomat
Whereas rooftop visitors may have been exposed to the elements previously, at times surrounded by a tent to block out the winter cold, Top of the Hay now offers 3,200 square feet of shelter in the form of trellis-like latticework under a canopy of skylights. Incidentally, there’s also a new state-of-the-art kitchen for direct catering. Like the rest of the hotel, with its Elizabethan, Tudor and Italian accents, the new rooftop drips with elegance and regality. The soft cream-colored wallpaper is offset by gold flower-laden draperies that frame the floor-to-ceiling windows. A light green and brown square motif punctuates the chair cushions, mirroring the color palette of the carpet. A grand piano rests in the corner. Fresh flowers burst from the table centerpieces. A bit tragically though, just as in the past, the coveted rooftop is not a public venue.Top of the Hay is only for hotel guests or for rental, though it is open to the public for special occasions. Interested Washingtonians can attend the quarterly Hay-Adams Author Series, which invites historians, novelists and journalists to discuss their books over a three-course meal and wine. The discussions renew a tradition that began in the late 1800s when such notable authors as Mark Twain and Edith Wharton gathered at the homes of John Hay and Henry Adams (now the Hay-Adams). Tickets are $85 for the public. Employees are also brainstorming Easter and Mother’s Day brunches for Washingtonians (check the website at www.hayadams.com for more details at a later date). Top of the Hay is divided into five interconnected sections that are available for event rentals. Hay-Adams Vice President and General Manager Hans Bruland expects businesses, nonprofit boards, and historical or political groups to use the space in the future for meetings or receptions. And given the gorgeous backdrop, he also predicts Top of the Hay will host more than a handful of weddings and rehearsal dinners very soon. “We’re still learning the ropes and how we might use the new space, but there absolutely is no facility in the city with this magnitude and quality,” Bruland said. Although employees wouldn’t disclose the cost of renting space in Top of the Hay — which accommodates up to 300 people — it’s undoubtedly a pretty penny considering
The Donovan House’s swanky poolside rooftop lounge above Thomas Circle, appropriately called Above D.C., is reserved for hotel guests by day but open to Washingtonians at night. PHOTO: GASZTON GAL / DONOVAN HOUSE
suites at the Hay-Adams can go for more than $2,000 per night. But access to the top of Washington certainly doesn’t come for free.
UP-AND-COMING ROOFTOPS In addition to the W and Hay-Adams rooftops, two other notable hotels have recently debuted rooftops that have become popular hotspots — whose popularity will no doubt soar this spring. Near Dupont Circle, the Sky Bar rooftop lounge at the Beacon Hotel (1615 Rhode Island Ave., NW) offers a refreshingly low-key open-air hangout where visitors can relax after work on sofas while sipping watermelon margaritas, peach tea cocktails and black cherry mojitos. Employees are redesigning the space and plan to reopen the roof in early May or late April. Hector Torres, vice president of sales and marketing for Capital Hotels and Suites, which includes the Beacon and St. Gregory, said the Sky Bar will have new wall treatments, chairs, couches and decorations with a
black-and-white color scheme and splashes of green.The lounge will also introduce AstroTurf artificial grass to give the place even more of an outdoor feel — topped with popsicles as a seasonal special. Washingtonians also shouldn’t miss the Donovan House’s (1155 14th St., NW) sleek rooftop lounge above Thomas Circle, appropriately called Above D.C. Reserved for guests by day but open to Washingtonians by night, ADC boasts a swimming pool and wooden floorboards for a sophisticated cabana-esque vibe. Visitors can swim and order drinks from the bar or Asian cuisine from the hotel’s critically acclaimed restaurant, Zentan, starting in mid April or early May. The rooftop is traditionally open to the public for happy hours during the summer from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. For a schedule of weekend summer pool parties, which has yet to be finalized, check out the Donovan House on Facebook and search ADC (Above DC). Rachael Bade is a contributing writer for The Washington Diplomat.
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Baltic Beauty Among Region’s Many Charms: Its Resilience by Anna Gawel
obblestone streets meander along magnificently preserved old town squares that exude medieval grandeur. Elsewhere, Art Nouveau and Baroque architecture and imposing gothic cathedrals mingle with tiny Wi-Fi-connected cafés that offer an ideal perch from which to soak in centuries of history and culture. Beyond the city centers lie beaches and lakes, lush forests and quaint villages — with a few castles and palaces thrown in for good measure. But the landscape, while impressive, isn’t the most striking feature. Rather, it’s the fierce national pride among the people, tinged with an equally fierce kinship with the West. The beauty of the three Baltic states — Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania — is no longer a hidden gem.Tourists have been flocking to these picturesque countries ever since they emerged from Soviet control exactly 20 years ago (the United States never formally recognized the World War II-era Soviet takeover, which in part accounts for the enduring admiration toward Americans). A heady courtship with the West followed independence in 1991, as the European Union and NATO enthusiastically embraced the three former Soviet republics and vice versa. Economic growth skyrocketed, catapulting living standards and turning the Baltics into prime tourist destinations. But the storybook rise came to a screeching halt. Long before Greece and Ireland shook worldwide confidence in the euro, Latvia, drunk on easy credit and debt, was the first to sober up when the global economy crashed in 2008, leaving the cash-strapped government little choice but to stomach a painful $10 billion bailout package. Since then, the party has ended for all three super-heated economies. Growth for Estonia and Lithuania contracted by around 14 percent in 2009, while Latvia’s plummeted by more than 18 percent, as the Baltics took a severe beating to their prosperity — and prestige. Today though, they’re clawing their way back. All three enjoyed economic growth last year and experts predict further growth in 2011, ranging from around 3 percent for Latvia to 4 percent or higher for Estonia. In fact, Estonia — fueled by strong exports and manufacturing — is leading the Baltic recovery and has boldly bucked the euro skepticism by becoming the 17th nation to join the currency zone on Jan. 1. As the region-wide recovery gathers steam, tourists who found themselves priced out of the Baltic travel market during its heyday should take advantage of discounted rates while they last. And there’s no better time to rediscover the region as it celebrates 20 years of independence in 2011, a moment when the Baltic people will no doubt reflect on their own resilience.These nations, after all, survived the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of their citizens, first at the hands of the Nazis during World War II and then under the grip of Soviet occupation. They seem to be weathering this latest setback as well.To be fair, the Baltics still face major problems, from a depressed real estate market to lagging unemployment. Yet even the younger generation that never experienced the region’s historic tragedies seems to possess a certain perseverance — and perspective.As one
PHOTO: ANNA GAWEL
As the region-wide recovery gathers steam, tourists who found themselves priced out of the Baltic travel market during its heyday should take advantage of discounted rates while they last.
stoic Latvian in her mid-20s, who’s traveled extensively to the Middle East and Africa, ruminated: “Our people aren’t starving like in other parts of the world. Maybe we can’t buy that Dolce & Gabbana purse anymore, but you can still buy a loaf of bread. And maybe that purse wasn’t worth it to begin with.”
It’s still worth it for travelers to experience the Baltic spirit at bargain prices. With its easy access, tourist-friendly populations, top-notch accommodations, high-tech amenities and history galore, the region quickly become a popular — a pricey — favorite among travelers. But all three countries took a hit in tourism in 2009, although figures for 2010 show a solid rebound, according to the 2011 Baltics Tourism Report by Research and Markets. Estonia remains the largest tourism market in terms of revenues, generating $1.42 billion in 2009, with Lithuania garnering $870 million and Latvia $674 million over the same time period. However, Latvia, the most affordable of the three destinations, welcomed the most tourists (4.7 million), compared to Lithuania and Estonia at just over 4 million each.The decision by the Latvian parliament in May 2010 to reduce the value-added tax (VAT) on hotel accommodations from 21 percent to 10 percent also boosted that country’s tourist numbers. All three though saw a surge in visitors in 2010 — with accommodations stays generally up by 15 percent. Cruise travel, another key industry, has also picked up.
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The dramatic skyline of Estonia’s capital is punctuated by red rooftops and medieval architecture against the backdrop of Tallinn Bay.
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PHOTO: ANNA GAWEL
The Latvian capital of Riga is world famous for its stunning Art Nouveau architecture, found on more than 800 buildings throughout the city.
But this means that many of the travel deals available after the economic crisis may not be around much longer. Weather-wise, now is also an ideal time to visit the Baltics.Although winter has its charms, the area can get bitterly cold and windy. Snow can begin in November and last into April. On the flip side, summers (along with late spring and early fall) are mild and temperate, especially along the Baltic Sea, and the days are long â€” perfect for extended sightseeing. The other big practical advantage to the Baltics is their proximity to one another. Travelers often lump together multiple European cities in one trip, but this trio offers a much more convenient and cohesive itinerary. The three nations share a common landscape and traditions, yet remain distinctly different. Ideally, set aside 10 to 14 days to visit all three capital cities â€” Tallinn, Riga and Vilnius â€” and the surrounding countryside. If you have less time,Tallinn and Riga are slightly closer together and a better combo. Conversely, if you have extra time, make an excursion to St. Petersburg or Moscow in Russia, or to the Scandinavian countries such as Finland, which is a stoneâ€™s throw from Tallinn. Although it makes sense to visit all three Baltics, their governments donâ€™t really coordinate their tourism promotion efforts since they are technically competitors â€” a bit of an inconvenience for travelers looking for tailored excursion packages. So a travel agency is a good bet to organize your plans, especially arranging transportation from one country to the other (oddly, there is no direct train service between the three capital cities and the Rail Baltica project linking Helsinki, the Baltics and Warsaw is still under construction). Nevertheless, Tallinn, Riga and Vilnius are all easily accessible by air, car, bus or, in
Brainy Bargain Want to test your knowledge and win a free trip to Estonia? The Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs recently launched its â€œEstonia Quiz 2011,â€? which consists of 12 multiple-choice questions about different aspects of Estonian life (in either English or Russian). Test your travel mettle at http://quiz.mfa.ee/.
the case of the first two, by ferry. Riga International Airport is a major hub for the region, but if youâ€™re going to visit all three, it makes sense to start out at Tallinnâ€™s airport and just work your way down. With only a week to spare, The Washington Diplomat was recently able to visit two of the three Baltics, Estonia and Latvia (leaving us a great excuse to return to the region for a trip to Lithuania).
MEDIEVAL JEWEL The smallest of the three Baltics in both size and population, Estonia nevertheless packs a big punch. In fact, a recent European Travel Commission survey found that the country of just 1.3 million was the fastest-growing tourism destination in Europe last year. Thatâ€™s no surprise. A UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1991, the Old Town in the capital of Tallinn is, quite simply, a medieval paradise. The buildings â€” with their meticulously preserved architecture and pastelcolored faĂ§ades â€” are a photographic treasure in and of themselves. Costumed medieval vendors sell mulled wine, as the waft of roasted chestnuts fills the air. Winding cobbled streets give way to nooks and narrow passageways (St. Catherineâ€™s passageway being the most famous), or to a bustling market in the Town Hall Square. Here, youâ€™ll also find quirky attractions such as the town hall pharmacy, reportedly the longest-operating pharmacy in Europe. No detail is overlooked in this microcosm of medieval splendor. Yet Tallinn also seamlessly fuses the past with the present. Old-fashioned workshops stand alongside five-star restaurants. A focal point of the Old Town, the whitewashed Baroque tower of the 13th-century Holy
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The grand prize is a free six-day trip to Estonia for two, including airfare, accommodation, meals, city tours and more. There will also be drawings for other prizes, which include tour packages in Estonia. The quiz officially closes on May 31 and the names of the winners will be published on June 4. So what are you waiting for? It doesnâ€™t get any more affordable than free!
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Continued from previous page Spirit Church â€” home to the oldest public clock in Tallinn â€” gracefully rises above open-air cafĂŠs crammed with laptop-toting young diners. In fact, hundreds of free Internet zones are scattered throughout the country, whether on buses or beaches. This attention to modern-day comforts is only natural for one of most tech-savvy, wired nations in the world (Estonia is the brainchild of Skype and pioneered the concept of e-voting back in 2005). Indeed, Estonia has been drawing young people for years â€” not so much for its historic virtue though as for its epic partying (Tallinn was once dubbed the Las Vegas of the Baltics).Although the city still boasts an eclectic nightlife scene (where else can you find a bar devoted exclusively to the â€™80s band Depeche Mode?), in recent years itâ€™s worked to shed its stag-party reputation and has matured into an all-around destination that capitalizes on its abundant history and culture. For its efforts, the country was recently recognized by the New York Times, which named Tallinn among its â€œ41 Places to Go in 2011.â€? â€œSome seven years after Estonia joined the European Union, largescale infrastructural and restorative work, including several rebuilt museums, a waterfront promenade and a large arts venue, KultuuriKatel (Culture Cauldron), are reshaping Tallinnâ€™s cultural identity,â€? the Times wrote. In addition,â€œwith the cityâ€™s selection as a 2011 European Capital of Culture, cash is flowing in and pulling Tallinn out of its stag party adolescence.â€? Indeed, the designation of Tallinn as the â€œEuropean Capital of Cultureâ€? in 2011 (Riga will hold the title in 2014 and Vilnius held it in 2009) will put the spotlight squarely on Estonia with a yearlong series of events â€” many showcasing the vital role that the sea plays in Tallinn life. Highlights include several music festivals this summer â€” including one on the island of Nargen, a few nautical miles from Tallinn, and another at Birgitta Convent, a bastion of Gothic architecture overlooking Tallinn Bay. There will also be â€œmaritime daysâ€? in July celebrating a new beachfront promenade and maritime museum; the studentgeared contemporary art exhibit â€œEksperimenta!â€?; â€œStories of the Seashore,â€? a project whereby writers, actors, artists and musicians
A UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1991, the Old Town in Tallinn is a meticulously preserved medieval treasure, with cobbled streets that meander along cafĂŠ-filled nooks and passageways. And with its nearby port, the city regularly attracts a large number of cruise ship travelers as well as daytrip visitors from nearby Finland, just a short ferry ride away. PHOTOS: FOUNDATION TALLINN 2011 / WWW.TALLINN2011.EE
reflect on the seaâ€™s importance to Estonians; as well as a dance festival, youth circus, marathon, literary readings, theater performances and dozens of other activities. The showcase is sure to bring in the crowds this summer, although with Estoniaâ€™s well-established tourism infrastructure, thereâ€™s no shortage of accommodation options to cater to different travelers. The best bet, if you can swing it, is of course to stay in Tallinnâ€™s Old Town.A good choice is the Hotel Telegraaf â€” a clever riff on the telegraph machine that preceded Alexander Graham Bellâ€™s revolutionary invention (the antique telephones in the hotelâ€™s 86 rooms are a fun touch). Located in the heart of Old Town, this intimate hotel melds clean, classic elegance with convenient luxury (the high-definition televisions double as computers, for instance). Itâ€™s also home to one of the top-rated restaurants in town, Restaurant Tchaikovsky, and rooms can be booked for as little as 155 euro a night, even in the high season. For a pricier but more traditional stay, the nearby Three Sisters Hotel oozes medieval authenticity with its wooden beams, regal furnishings
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and 23 individually appointed rooms. A Relais & Châteaux member, the boutique property is actually an amalgamation of three merchant houses whose heritage has been carefully preserved without sacrificing modern style or amenities — all of which comes at a hefty price though. Room rates can range anywhere from 300 euro to over 1,000 euro. Tallinn’s Old Town, however, is within easy walking distance of the city center, so any number of hotels are available, depending on budget and taste. Even if you don’t stay there, be sure to check out the Swissôtel in the business district. The hotel’s swanky rooftop restaurant and bar offers sweeping vistas of the Tallinn skyline, punctuated by red-tiled roofs and cathedral spires, all against the dramatic backdrop of Tallinn Bay and its ever-present cruise ships, a testament to the city’s enduring allure. Estonia’s broader appeal, however, lies outside the capital — in its pristine natural beauty, especially its unspoiled islands and coastlines.Among these, Saaremaa is the largest and most popular of Estonia’s islands, with wooden windmills dotting its bucolic landscape. But for an even more authentic experience, don’t overlook Muhu Island, a quick ferry jaunt from the mainland. You could explore the entire sleepy island by bicycle yet still uncover a world of contrasts. For example, stop by Koguva Village, a quaint fisherman’s village dating back to the 16th century where you can still watch ships and boats being built by hand. A short distance away is Pädaste Manor, an ultra-upscale resort directly situated by the water that’s internationally acclaimed for its spa, restaurant and understated luxury. Well, the heliport on the manor grounds isn’t exactly understated, but the decadence is well warranted. But an absolute Muhu must-see is the
www.visitestonia.com www.tallinn2011.ee Hotel Telegraaf: www.telegraafhotel.com The Three Sisters Hotel: www.threesistershotel.com Pädaste Manor: www.padaste.ee Tihuse Horse Farm: www.tihuse.ee Epp Maria Gallery: www.eppmaria.ee
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Tihuse Horse Farm, where owner Martin Kivisoo manages the largest herd of Estonianbred horses. The gregarious Kivisoo rolls out the welcome mat for his guests — whether personally cooking them his homemade favorites, showing them how to give thanks to the forest spirits during a horse ride, or serenading them with a traditional Estonian folk song when they leave. Other popular daytrips include the resort town of Haapsalu on Estonia’s western coast, renowned for its curative spa treatments and homespun art galleries (the family-owned Epp Maria Galerii is breathtakingly hospitable), as well as Pärnu, often referred to Estonia’s summer capital.
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Yet that identity not only survived, it flourished, developing a thriving metropolis that continues to expand to this day. Indeed, part of Riga’s appeal is its size: Beyond the Old Town, there’s RESPLENDENT RIGA plenty for tourists to see. The entire city in fact is an architecFrom Pärnu, Highway 4 takes you straight into Latvia — a West tural wonderland, home to the world’s most unparalleled collecVirginia-size nation of 2.2 million — and its capital Riga, often tion of Art Nouveau-inspired buildings, more than 800 in all — referred to as the Paris of Eastern Europe. In between lies a sce- the most striking examples of which can be found on Alberta nic stretch of road that weaves through verdant forests, with Street in a wealthy residential section of the city center. crystal blue lakes peeking out from among That’s also where you’ll find the the pine, spruce and birch trees. Riga Art Nouveau Museum, which Like Estonia, Latvia is a nature-lover’s gives visitors a wealth of information dream, offering miles of coastline lined that will help guide your Alberta with adorable resort towns. And like stroll. But it doesn’t take an architecTallinn, Riga is anchored by water — the ture buff studying building details to Daugava River, which forms a striking appreciate this Art Nouveau treasure backdrop to the red-brick cathedrals and trove.That’s because the buildings are rustic green-tinged rooftops that jut out more like living museums, holding up from the Old Town skyline. eye-catching sculptures such as Riga is the largest capital among the female maidens clutching bald eagles, Baltics, so its Old Town is also larger. for example, or long faces that omiVisitors can spend hours wandering its nously look down on the street below. leisurely labyrinth of alleyways — where There’s literally personality at every each new corner reveals a surprise, turn. whether it’s a tiny café or massive catheIn a sense, Riga itself is defined by dral. And whereas Tallinn is known for its character — a blend of creative medieval splendor, the hallmark of Riga’s whimsy and national pride. Take, for Old Town is its dramatic Gothic architecinstance, the black cat perched atop a ture, with a potpourri of Baroque, yellow house in Old Town, right next Romanesque, Neoclassical and other to a guild that looks more like a PHOTO: ANNA GAWEL styles mixed in. fairytale castle. Legend goes that a Some of the most resplendent build- Riga blends historic pride with quirky personmerchant who owned the house was ings include the Dome Cathedral, St. ality, as seen in some of the whimsical cafés excluded from becoming a member Peter’s Church and the House of in the city’s old town. of the city’s guild (which at the time Blackheads, a 14th-century assembly was restricted to Germans), so as house in the town square that’s been exquisitely restored to its retribution he constructed the black cat statue with its back former glory. Interestingly, the ornate structure — destroyed arched and tail up — showing the guild members exactly what during World War II and later buried by the Soviets in 1948 — he thought of them.When they finally relented and let him into stands next to the Museum of Occupations, an appropriately the club, he turned the cat around so its rear was no longer facbleak, utterly depressing slab of concrete that documents Soviet ing them. attempts to crush the Latvian national identity. Even the solemn Freedom Monument commemorating
Continued from previous page
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Latvian independence, which casts a long shadow over the heart of the city, stands not far from the Laima Clock, the logo of the county’s most well-known confectioner and a popular meeting spot — a sign of how Latvians have never forgotten the Soviet brutalities of the past, while also moving past them. In between the Freedom Monument and Laima Clock is Bastejkalns Park, an idyllic setting that also saw brief bloodshed during the Latvian fight for independence against the Soviets 20 years ago. Further down is a Russian Orthodox Cathedral that remains of the most visually stunning buildings in the city. To get a better vantage point of all Riga has to offer, head to the Radisson Blu Hotel, whose rooftop is renowned for its panoramic views. While the staff is friendly, the hotel itself has a large, chain-like feel, but there are plenty of intimate, high-end properties that are closer to the city’s main attractions. The Royal Square Hotel is located smack dab in the middle of Old Town on Kalku street, a major pedestrian thoroughfare, and has 56 rooms decorated in natural woods and warm, neutral tones — a nice surprise given the somewhat dark lobby.The Royal Square’s sister property, the Hotel Garden Palace, is similarly located in the middle of Old Town (not far from the House of Blackheads) inside an intricately restored building constructed in 1780. As its name suggests, the property features 60 opulent rooms and a lavish courtyard, where you’ll also find the “Secret Garden” bar, serving up delectable coffee and cocktails. For more modern surroundings,check out the Hotel Neiburgs, a sleek property located on a quieter side street. Each of the 55 rooms is artfully designed, often with a bold black-and-white color scheme, but the real draw here is the views.The windows are more like paintings on a canvas, framing some of Riga’s most iconic landmarks, notably the Dome Cathedral next door. Indeed, the true allure of all three properties is their location, but be forewarned —being in the midst of all the action may also mean a few sleepless nights. Outdoor cafés right outside your hotel window can stay festive until the wee hours of the night, but then again, the festive mood is a welcome change of pace from two years of economic upheaval. Anna Gawel is the managing editor of The Washington Diplomat and news columnist for the Diplomatic Pouch.
L U X U R Y
LIVING ■ A Special Section of The Washington Diplomat
Despite Downturn, High-End Real Estate Holding Up Quite Well
■ April 2011
PHOTO: GEORGETOWN LONG & FOSTER
by Stephanie Kanowitz Borrowing a cup of sugar could get a whole lot more interesting if the vice president were your neighbor — assuming you could get past the Secret Service officers. For the first time in 50 years, the property next door to the VP’s official residence on Observatory Circle, seen above, is for sale. Asking price: $7.2 million. Continued on next page
LUXURY LIVING April 2011
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Continued from previous page That buys you not only bragging rights to 3400 Massachusetts Ave., NW, but your own piece of history.The 7,128-foot house was built in 1926 by Christian Heurich, who owned a brewery in Foggy Bottom. Later purchased by Dr. Marshall Parks, the father of pediatric ophthalmology and a founder of Children’s National Medical Center, the house was visited by the previous two popes. “I think the charm of the house is that it’s still intact,” said Denise Warner, a colister of the house and part of the sales team at the Georgetown office of Long & Foster Real Estate. It still has its original chestnut paneling, wide-plank oak floors, handmade plaster ceilings with decorative touches and original fixtures. In the 1960s, Parks added a wing on the southwest side to house his medical practice there, complete with a reception area and exam room. Used as a media room today, it could be a home office again, Warner noted. The 0.39-acre lot is the last large parcel of land in that subdivision that is residential, added Terri Robinson, also of Long & Foster’s Georgetown office and Warner’s co-lister. The Observatory Circle property is just one of many high-end homes for sale in the Washington metropolitan region, which has fared better than many parts of the country during the recent economic downturn, including its luxury real estate market. “Washington, as I like to say, is the bubble,”Warner said.“We’ve held our own over the last few years with real estate pricing. If anything, we’ve been flat, which is good. Flat is the new marker for excellent performance.”
“Number one, being the nation’s capital, there’s a lot of money around here that’s related to the government, whether it’s lobbyists, whether it’s some of the companies that are headquartered here, whether it’s diplomats that are coming here from other countries that want to buy real estate. It’s really helped the overall strength of the D.C. market.” — JOHN HEITHAUS, chief marketing officer at Metropolitan Regional Information Systems Washington home prices went up more than 3 percent last year, she added, and the houses in the higher-priced bracket — $2 million plus — have enjoyed pretty steady sales. “There are a number of reasons for that,” said John Heithaus, chief marketing officer at Metropolitan Regional Information Systems (MRIS). “Number one, being the nation’s capital, there’s a lot of money around here that’s related to the government, whether it’s lobbyists, whether it’s some of the companies that are headquartered here, whether it’s diplomats that are coming here from other countries that want to buy real estate. It’s really helped the overall strength of the D.C. market.” Certainly, the closer to the District you go, the higher the prices will be. Life inside the Beltway is, simply put, more convenient — and costly. “The old adage of location, location, location is still incredibly true in the real estate business,” Heithaus said.“Those that are in a more advantageous location, specifically
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with regard to commuting, those are where you see values are holding up better and are typically higher.”
CITY BUILT ON HISTORY Of course, historical value helps, too. Take the Evermay Estate, for instance, whose builder, Samuel Davidson, also owned the land on which the White House sits. The 13,000-square-foot Federalist-style two-and-a-half story brick mansion was completed in 1801 and is situated on 3.5 lush acres in Georgetown. Priced at $29.5 million, it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973 — 50 years after Ferdinand Lammot Belin, a U.S. ambassador to Poland and the property’s fifth owner, purchased it, adding spectacular terracing and fountains to the gardens. The Rabat Fountain, two circular, low fountains connected by a large, deeper rectangular fountain, is a copy of one that Belin saw in Rabat, Morocco, for example. “There’s just none other like it,” Jeanne Livingston, also with Long & Foster’s Georgetown office, said of the estate. “It’s unique in so many ways. The most important one is its history and its location. You feel like you’re in the country when you’re there,” even though the grand estate sits in the heart of D.C. Evermay has a 40-foot-by-26-foot ballroom adjacent to a terrace that can be tented and used for large receptions. An elevator is available to move residents and guests throughout the home, which overlooks Rock Creek Park. The house has 10 bedrooms, six bathrooms, five half-bathrooms and — unlike most places in D.C. — ample parking. It can fit 25 cars or up to 100 with valet services. Outside there’s also a 2,300-square-foot, three-level gatekeeper’s house with a full kitchen, living room, three bedrooms and two bathrooms. But older isn’t always better. Lots of new homes on the market fall into the luxury segment too, said Marc Fleisher, one of Long & Foster’s top five agents in the country. He recently sold a $7 million house in the Spring Valley section of D.C. to the South African government for use by its ambassador to the United States. Among his current listings is a $6.9 million European villa-style home at 9411 Newbridge Drive in Potomac, Md., built in 2010. It has seven bedrooms, seven and a half bathrooms, 18,000 interior square feet of space and a lot of 2.25 acres. An ornate white mansion on the outside, the inside design includes one-of-a-kind plaster moldings, custom millwork, imported stones, a barrel-ceilinged foyer, a limestone-fluted staircase, an inlay wood-paneled Italian library and a gourmet chef’s kitchen. The lower level has a wood-paneled home theater, wine cellar, second kitchen, exercise facility and staff quarters. “There are people who think it’s fabulous; there are people who think it’s too much,” Fleisher said of the home. But for many top-tier homebuyers in D.C., you can never have too much, wheth-
er it’s detailed craftsmanship or entertaining space. And as much as modern properties have to offer, history never goes out of style for die-hard Old World Washingtonians. This, after all, is a city built on history, and even “new money” still flocks to old homes. One such historic showcase is the 30,000-square-foot Halcyon House, at 34003410 Prospect St., NW — which can be yours for $15 million,as listed byWashington Fine Properties. The 224-year-old estate, which looks like a university or old state house from the outside, has five levels, five bedrooms and nine full bathrooms. Inside, the Federal-style property is reminiscent of a museum, with a wood staircase punctuated in the center by ornate statues. The living areas are much homier, with fireplaces, crown molding and colorful yellow and peach walls. The house was built in 1787 by Benjamin Stoddert, the first secretary of the Navy, and played a role in the Underground Railroad during the Civil War. (Several websites report that the house is haunted by the ghosts of runaway slaves who died in the basement.) It too is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
BIG NAMES, BIG MONEY The listing agent for Halcyon House is Mark McFadden, who recently represented the buyer of Marwood Estate (once the home of Joseph P. Kennedy) at 11231 River View Drive in Potomac, Md., which came with a hefty price tag of $20 million. The buyer?Ted Leonsis,owner of the Washington Capitals and Wizards and a former AOL executive. Incidentally, AOL co-founder Steve Case’s Massachusetts Avenue home was sold in 2009 in another high-profile transaction to the government of Trinidad and Tobago, which got the property for $12 million after an original listing price of $14.9 million. Washington Fine Properties is also the listing agent for 1824 R St., NW, a 10,000-square-foot mansion in Dupont Circle that’s on offer for $15.5 million, currently the most expensive listing in D.C. At one point owned by the Embassy of Singapore, the eight-bedroom, nine-bathroom residence features no less than 13 fireplaces, a hydraulic elevator, a mix of antique wood and limestone floors, and a striking iron-railed staircase — providing an ideal backdrop for D.C. entertaining. In addition to a 2006 restoration that preserved the home’s historic workmanship, a few modern touches have been thrown as well, including a blast-resistant “safe” room for potentially panicky owners. A ballpark of around $15 million is the bargain basement price that real estate magnate Donald Trump is angling for as he sets his sights on the famed 45-room Albemarle House in Charlottesville,Va., that is listed by Sotheby’s International Realty for $24 million. Trump though reportedly put up a bid of $15.26 million for the estate — after an initial listing of $100 million — at an auction in February held by the bank
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on the steps of the county courthouse. It was a stunning and sad turn of events for the estate’s former owner, Patricia Kluge, once married to billionaire John Kluge, who put her heart and soul into turning her 23,000-square-foot English country manor into a state-of-the-art winery and vineyard, only to see her ambitious venture hammered by the economic recession. (Trump is currently negotiating for some of Kluge’s other former holdings.) The reversal of fortune was a reminder that, although ultra-expensive estates continue to sell, even luxury has its limits in the face of financial reality. If Trump manages to acquire Albemarle, he’ll have plenty show for his money. The estate was built in 1985 and rests on about 300 acres near Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello and former President James Monroe’s Ash Lawn-Highland. Besides the main house, there is a pool house, pavilion, log cabin, and a thatch-roof greenhouse.If Trump manages to acquire Albemarle, he’ll have plenty show for his money.The estate was built in 1985 and rests on about 300 acres near Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello and James Monroe’s Ash LawnHighland. Besides the main house, there is a pool house, pavilion, log cabin, and a thatch-roof greenhouse.
refuges surrounding this property.” The house was designed in keeping with the Georgian-era way of life, meaning the formal and living areas are separate but connected by a main hall that runs the length of the home and culminates in a magnificent winding staircase surrounded by floor-to-ceiling windows that overlook the river. “It’s a spectacular flow for formal entertaining, but the unusual thing about this house is it’s not one of those new McMansions with soaring ceilings everywhere and kind of overdone and it loses its comfort,” Gray Chambers said. “This house, you walk in and you get the grandness of it but it’s so comfortable and cozy.” PHOTO: GEORGETOWN LONG AND FOSTER
OUTSTANDING OUTLIERS MRIS defines the luxury market as homes priced at $1.5 million or more. But Heithaus points out that depending on where you are, that could be a two-bedroom condo or a sevenbedroom estate. In other words, you can get more house for your money farther from D.C., where space is at a premium and where estates like Albemarle simply aren’t possible. Some of the area’s biggest homes in fact sit in surrounding counties such as Fairfax in Virginia and Montgomery in Maryland, two of the wealthiest in the United States. Take, for example, a 20-year-old Georgian-style manor on the Mason Neck peninsula in Fairfax County, 18 miles outside D.C. Available for $6.49 million, it has six bedrooms, seven and a half baths, and 11,213 square feet of living space. “What really makes this property unique is that there are not many areas that are close to D.C. for the diplomatic com-
PHOTO: ANICE HOACHLANDER / HOACHLANDER DAVIS PHOTOGRAPHY
munity and the political community where one can find a setting like this,” said Susan Gray Chambers, an agent with Coldwell Banker Previews International.“You can have some privacy and a large amount of land, especially on the waterfront.” And if you still crave a piece history, you’re right next door to it. “The neighboring property is Gunston Hall, which is George Mason’s former home,” Gray Chambers said. Mason was an influential Virginia politician following the Revolutionary War. “The rest of the Mason Neck peninsula consists of thousands of acres of federal, state and regional parkland, so it will never be developed. There are wildlife
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Historic homes abound in Washington. Above, Evermay Estate is a 13,000-square-foot Federalist mansion that was completed in 1801 and is situated on 3.5 lush acres in Georgetown — and currently on the market for $29.5 million. Left, a recent high-profile sale was Marwood Estate, which was once the home of Joseph P. Kennedy and was just bought by Ted Leonsis, owner of the Washington Capitals and Wizards, for $20 million.
Despite the economy’s ups and downs, the outlook for the luxury home market in this area remains positive. Last year “was definitely a recovery year as far as the whole market goes,” according to Donna Evers, president of Evers & Co. Real Estate. “It’s still not what I’d call a boom market here, but it’s certainly getting better.” Local real estate prices may be high compared to many other parts of the country, but they are actually undervalued, the agents say. “We are not at the top at all in terms of highpriced inventory,” Long & Foster’s Warner said.“We are still a very good bargain” compared to home prices in San Francisco, Boston and London. “The Washington, D.C., metropolitan marketplace for upper-bracket homes is very undervalued in comparison to the world markets,” Fleisher added.“You can go to any other major city in the United States, be it Chicago, San Francisco, LA, Atlanta, Miami, New York, you can go to London, Paris, Istanbul — the upper-bracket markets have no ceiling. “Washington, D.C., is the nation’s capital, one of the most important world capitals that exists,” he said.“Inevitably there has to be an increase in upper-bracket prices.”
Stephanie Kanowitz is a contributing writer for The Washington Diplomat.
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[ neighborhoods ]
Rebirth at Water’s Edge Torrent of Development Changing Fortunes on Banks of Anacostia River by Luke Jerod Kummer
n some cases, the revitalization of the District has been the story of a rising tide lifting all boats, but for other longneglected neighborhoods, a better metaphor might involve the bursting of a dam. Only a decade ago, the area to the west of the Washington Navy Yard was a dried-up, post-industrial ghost town. But these days, a spate of construction projects is breathing new life along the banks of the Anacostia River as part of an ambitious residential and commercial venture called the Capitol Riverfront — which is transforming the area’s historic structures while trying to preserve the original industrial spirit that buoyed the neighborhood during the Navy Yard’s heyday. Across the river in the neighborhood of Anacostia, however, the changes have been much more subtle — and few insiders expect a flood of development there in the near future. But, because Anacostia had been a symbol of stagnancy for so long, many people have taken note of recent stirrings in the Southeast neighborhood, where a sit-down restaurant and bar opened earlier this year — the first in decades — and art galleries have been popping up. Plans to move the headquarters of the Department of Homeland Security, and with it tens of thousands of jobs, to neighboring Congress Heights have spurred further speculation about Anacostia’s prospects. Today, as real estate on the river’s opposite shore rises to new prominence, so too is long-dormant Anacostia churning. That the area around the Navy Yard and Anacostia would share successes should come as no surprise, however, because their fortunes have long been tied.
TIDES OF CHANGE Gazing across the Anacostia River from the grassy parklands on the water’s southeast shore, onlookers can spot the Navy Yard by the 4,050-ton destroyer moored at its docks. More tourists shuffle across the decks of the USS Barry now than sailors, but the decommissioned battleship remains an imposing symbol of the industry that grew up around the Navy’s oldest shore establishment. Until the War of 1812, this was the site of the Navy’s largest shipbuilding operation. Afterward, it became an important center for making ordnances. By World War II, it was the largest naval ordnance manufacturer anywhere. At its height, the Navy Yard employed 25,000 workers. The Navy Yard’s growth as an industrial center and employment base helped push the District’s population over the river. In the mid-18th century, what is now Anacostia was incorporated to become a bedroom community called Uniontown for the Navy Yard’s workforce.The land in the mostly rural area was affordable for workers at the Navy Yard, and Uniontown soon grew into a thriving middle-class neighborhood. As evidenced by some of the impressive houses dotting Anacostia today, however, it also added more affluent residents into the mix. The neighborhood continued to do well into the mid-20th century, but as the role of the Navy Yard shifted to becoming more administrative, and as new suburbs were drawing the people who could afford them further away from downtown, Anacostia’s appeal was gradually eroded. “It’s a situation where it slowly declined because the Navy Yards became less important first as a shipbuilding center and then as an ordnance production center. All of that stuff got moved out to other areas,” said Timothy Dennee, an architectural historian with the D.C. Historic Preservation Office.
PHOTO: CAPITOL RIVERFRONT BID
The Capitol Riverfront project aims to transform the Washington Navy Yard by capitalizing on its prime location and natural appeal — notably one and a half miles of waterfront just blocks from the U.S. Capitol. The biggest component of the revitalization endeavor will be The Yards, above, a 40-acre mix of homes, office space and swaths of recreational waterfront along the Anacostia River.
Around the same time, the area also saw one of America’s largest migrations play out as part of a national saga fueled by long-simmering issues of race and class. Back in 1854, Uniontown was incorporated as a neighborhood that forbade blacks and Irish from living there. But abolitionist Frederick Douglass moved there in 1877, near the end of the Reconstruction Era, as did other African Americans. By 1950, Anacostia was about 80 percent white, though by no means monolithic in regards to race. But over the next couple of decades a major demographic shift occurred. The so-called “white flight” and “urban renewal” sweeping across American cities in the middle of the 20th century completely inverted Anacostia’s makeup, to the point where more than 85 percent of its residents were black by 1970. While some people blamed the reverse itself as the cause of Anacostia’s decline, more subtle changes in housing policy and planning likely spelled the neighborhood’s economic collapse. Following a drive to clear low-income communities from the center of D.C. — in some cases to accommodate freeways for commuters traveling to and from distant suburbs — the city ran into a shortage of low-income housing. So in 1967, the District announced it would add 30,000 units of subsidized housing in Anacostia. The result was that residents who were struggling financially filed in just as more well-to-do ones poured out. Zoning laws were also rewritten around this time and by 1970, three-quarters of Anacostia was zoned for apartments, thus dramatically driving down the percentage of homeowners. The area’s tax revenues also fell steeply as the District’s changing income distribution clustered many low-income residents in neighborhoods east of the river.Anacostia soon began to suffer from the sociological problems associated with concentrated poverty combined with geographic isolation from the rest of the city and its social services. Rioting after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination in 1968 destroyed many of the area’s commercial properties and caused other business owners to flee,
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further stranding the community from amenities and branding it a dangerous place. Meanwhile, industrial activity in and around the Navy Yard was withering and buildings that were once sites for manufacturing began to fall into disrepair, fueling the vicious cycle of Anacostia’s decline. With few residential buildings, and no longer drawing a robust daily workforce, the area around the Navy Yard essentially became a deserted quarter of the city. On either side of the river, life in Anacostia and the Navy Yard was on the wane.
WATERFRONT RENAISSANCE Today, visitors strolling west from the Navy Yard will come across the sculpted walkways, fountains and manicured gardens of Yards Park, a 5.5-acre waterfront recreational area that opened last year to complement the torrent of development that has transformed what was once a no-man’s land into an up-and-coming destination in less than a decade. The Capitol Riverfront aims to capitalize on its prime location and natural appeal — notably one and a half miles of waterfront stretching north to the U.S. Capitol, which is just blocks away. Anchored by the Washington Navy Yard, the 500acre project is designed to preserve the area’s distinct industrial heritage while incorporating state-of-the-art green building technology (including more than 30 LEED-certified existing or planned buildings and the largest green roof in the city atop the Department of Transportation). In short, it’s a grand, multibillion-dollar, public-private endeavor that could finally fulfill Pierre L’Enfant’s original vision for Washington by creating a true hub of activity along the water’s edge. Already, the mixed-use community attracts 35,000 daytime employees in 6.5 million square feet of office space — including the Washington Navy Yard and U.S. Department of Transportation — along with nearly 2,500 residential units housing 3,300 people. “The riverfront is an incredible advantage to us,” said Michael Stevens, executive director of the Capitol Riverfront Business Improvement District. He points out that the area boasts a stop on the Metro’s popular Green Line and is walking distance to Capitol Hill — and, for baseball fans, is a stone’s throw from Nationals Park. But its distinguishing feature, he says, is the combination of accessibility to transportation and the scenic backdrop of the river. “There’s just not a lot of waterfront [in D.C.] where you can live, work and play.” Though Washington is positioned at the fork of a great waterway, it has been relatively slow to fully develop this real estate asset, and that has played to the Capitol Riverfront’s advantage, experts say. “Here we had the capital of the country, and yet it didn’t have much of a waterfront to speak of. There’s Georgetown waterfront, but that’s pretty new, and then there was all of this other waterfront that was under-utilized,” said Will Smith of UrbanTurf.com, an online real estate guide.“The whole idea of the Capitol Riverfront was to recapture this under-utilized waterfront land and make it into a great neighborhood, and there was a concerted effort by the city and the development community to do that.” The biggest component of the revitalization in the neighborhood has been the development of The Yards, which is expected to be completed over the next five years. The project, which sits on more than 40 acres of land — bounded by M Street in Southeast, the Navy Yard, 1st
Street, SE, and the Anacostia River — calls for Forest City Washington Inc. to create 2,800 residential units for sale and for lease, 1.8 million square feet of new office space and 400,000 square feet of retail space, while grooming new swaths of parkland and recreational waterfront. In doing so, the developer is tasked with converting existing historical structures from their industrial past for modern-day use. According to people in charge of the project at Forest City Washington, that’s a job the development company relishes. “We liked the fact that The Yards was going to be a combination of some historic buildings, adding authentic character and also new buildings to create this great synergy between old and new,” said Ramsey Meiser, senior vice president of development for Forest City Washington. “Typically, the company likes mixed-use urban redevelopments, and we’re very comfortable redoing historic buildings, so this fit right within our comfort zone.” Meiser cited Forest City’s work in the 1990s on Tobacco Row, a redevelopment of six abandoned tobacco warehouses on the James River in downtown Richmond, Va., as an instance when his company created a new mixed-use residential district that incorporated historical structures. The final result at The Yards, according to Meiser, will be an assemblage of historic buildings that maintain their original character, other structures that are a meld of historic and modern design, and new buildings styled with a nod to the area’s industrial past. “We’re going to work within the existing structures of the historic buildings, and the designs that we have in mind for a couple of the new buildings will be very consistent,” he said. Meiser noted that the Boilermaker Building — a historic structure beside the Department of Transportation headquarters that will serve as a main retail hub with six to eight shops and restaurants — “is going to remain consistent with what it looks like today.” “On the other hand,” he said, “there’s also a pavilion building that stands in the park where we tore the non-historic metal siding off and fixed up the concrete. That building is going to be wrapped in glass and pretty much look like a glass cube.” The Foundry Lofts, a 170-unit apartment building created from a four-story structure dating back to 1918, will keep much of the original feel intact, Meiser said, while adding two new modern stories on the rooftop. Although these projects have gotten many people to take a fresh look at the area, the Capitol Riverfront is years away from completion. Moreover, the recent economic recession and subsequent credit freeze hurt the ambitious project, which only picked up steam again in 2010 thanks in large part to a $40 million infusion from the D.C. Housing Finance Agency. In the meantime, if there is one frequent complaint from Capitol Riverfront residents and visitors, it’s that there just aren’t enough amenities right now. For example, there’s only one bar — Justin’s Café, which doubles as a spot for happy hour and takeout pizza in the first floor of the Velocity building at 1st and K Streets, SE. But that hasn’t detracted some residents who see the long-term potential. “This area is really a coming area — it’s convenient to get to almost anywhere you might work in the city.And if we could get a little retail it would be phenomenal,” said Peter Ufland, as
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Continued from previous page he was enjoying an evening with his 1-year-old at Justin’s. Ufland, a 42-year-old liberal studies professor at the Community College of the District of Columbia, moved into a high-rise in the neighborhood with his wife in September of 2009. Although he sees future growth, he questioned some of the current costs residents are paying.“I think it’s a little bit strange that they’re charging premium prices for what’s still an undeveloped neighborhood,” he told us. Developers counter that retailers and restaurateurs usually want to see a sufficient population in the neighborhood before they invest. Luckily, the say, the neighborhood is nearing that critical mass, growing from a relatively small number of residents a decade ago to more than 3,300 people today. Besides the new waterfront park, the other very prominent arrival to the riverbank is also primarily about entertainment: Nationals Park, which opened in 2008. The 41,546-seat stadium — built at a cost of more than $600 million — brought Washington its first Major League Baseball franchise after more than 30 years, and breathed its own new life into the area. Given all of the growth seemingly emanating from the river, one might be forgiven for thinking that the impetus behind every project in the area was its proximity to the water. Not so, says Brian Allen Jackson, senior vice president of EYA, the company responsible for Capitol Quarter, a townhouse community that will feature more than 200 new homes along seven city blocks in Southeast between M Street, 3rd Street, I Street and 5th Street. “When we got involved with the Capitol Quarter project back in 2003, it was before baseball or the Anacostia waterfront was being transformed.What we saw is an area that was walking
Today, thanks to the 500acre Capitol Riverfront revitalization effort, visitors to the Washington Navy Yard can stroll along the sculpted walkways and manicured gardens of Yards Park, a 5.5acre recreational area that opened last year to complement the torrent of development redefining this onceblighted neighborhood.
distance to Capitol Hill, but that had become really disconnected to what was happening on Pennsylvania Avenue and Barracks Row to the north and east because it had been 23 acres of nothing but low-income housing,” Jackson explained. Two years earlier, the District had been awarded a $35 million federal grant to redevelop the Arthur Capper and Carrollsburg public housing projects as a new mixed-income community. EYA agreed to revamp the sewer system and orchestrate other infrastructure improvements as well as to build about 90 low-income apartments for the D.C. Housing Authority — alongside marketrate, for-sale homes that would be identical in style to the low-income ones. All of the homes are designed in a row-house fashion mimicking Capitol Hill. The low-income apartments are scattered throughout the development. “When you walk through the community you can’t tell the low-income townhouses from the market-rate townhouses, which is one of the concepts behind the project,” Jackson said. The money for Capitol Quarter was paid forward by the city using guarantees from the increased tax revenue that the development would generate. Right now, four blocks are occu-
PHOTO: CAPITOL RIVERFRONT BID
pied with a second phase under construction and on target to be completed in 2013, Jackson said.The market-rate homes for the second phase will run from $675,000 to $860,000 for two- to four-bedroom townhouses.The townhouses from the first phase of the project ranged in price from $540,000 to $740,000, so there’s already been considerable appreciation in value. Although geared toward the Hill community, Jackson said Capitol Quarters has definitely benefited from all the action closer to the water.“It’s really been remarkable to see what’s happened there,” he said. “The fact that we now have new development to the west and east and south of us has made it an even stronger community. And now, of course, our buildings have spectacular rooftop views.”
ANACOSTIA ON THE HORIZON “It just felt familiar, it felt homey, it felt right,” said Jeanne Cannon, who moved to Anacostia last year from Cape Cod, adding that being near a body of water reminded her of life in Massachusetts. Cannon, 49, will soon start as the director of a nearby early child development center. Her husband, Bob Cannon, is a project manager for the Department of Homeland Security, and they moved so he could help orchestrate the department’s massive relocation to a 4.5-million-squarefoot headquarters that is being erected on the west side of the former St. Elizabeths Hospital on Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue — the largest public works project since the construction of the Pentagon. The couple moved into a remodeled 1905 row house that they say was significantly more affordable than comparable houses they had looked at elsewhere. Since the Cannons arrived, Anacostia added a new bar and grill called Uniontown at the end of January. In other places that small change might not be that big of a deal. But because it opened up in Anacostia, where no bar has opened in decades, Uniontown has created quite a buzz, including coverage by the Washington Post and National Public Radio. The reception has been even greater in the neighborhood, according to Natasha Dasher, Uniontown’s owner. “While we were remodeling people would pop in the window and ask,‘What is it? What’s it going to be?’” she recalled. On a recent weekday evening during happy hour, the bar was completely packed and a line was crowded around the doorway.“I thought the excitement was going to die down, but it really hasn’t,” said Dasher.“The community has definitely shown up and shown out.” Meanwhile, arts spaces like the Honfleur Gallery, which opened in 2007 near the 11th Street Bridge, and Vivid Solutions, a digital print lab and photo gallery that opened on Martin Luther King Avenue, are adding a bohemian vibe to Anacostia. Duane Gautier, who founded the ARCH Development Corporation, a nonprofit based in Anacostia, more than 20 years ago, helped to bring Honfluer and Vivid Solutions to the community. He said there’s also a restaurant in the works that will feature live music and will hope-
fully open this year. A lifetime lover of the arts, Gautier says if Anacostia becomes a caldron of creativity, that could stir other positive developments. “There’s been so many studies about how to renovate Anacostia, and none of them have really been able to move forward,” he said. “What we do is work on a small scale, storefront to storefront.” Modest investments like Uniontown or art galleries can bring great dividends for Anacostia, and they are often easier to finance than big projects, according to Stan Voudrie, a principal at Four Points, a real estate development firm that has moved its offices to the area. “Our focus since the economic downturn has to been to do smaller projects that we can do in this economic environment that don’t require big infusions of equity,” he said. While there have been some setbacks during the recession, Four Points nevertheless has ambitious plans to help redevelop Anacostia in a partnership with George Curtis III, a local property owner whose family business has been in the neighborhood since 1926. In a joint venture with Comstock Homes, Four Points will start construction on 40 residential units at W Street and 13th Street, SE, in the fall. Four Points will also be redeveloping a warehouse on Shannon Place into a 75,000-squarefoot office building. “We see this as a natural place for growth, much like the Capital Riverfront. Because of the close proximity to downtown employment centers and access to the Metro, there’s a lot of potential for residential and retail development,” said Voudrie. “I think people are being driven back into the city because commute times have gotten so out of control.” Voudrie also pointed out that the Department of Homeland Security’s move “makes the prospect of office building in this neighborhood more likely and more likely to happen sooner.” But in addition to looming development projects,Anacostia has drawn interest recently for the historic homes it inherited from the golden days when the neighborhood thrived alongside the Navy Yard. Today, the Anacostia Historic District nestles homes in various Victorian styles, including Italianate, Second Empire and some larger Queen Anne houses. Les Johnson, a 42-year-old human resources director, moved to the neighborhood in part to have more room for his growing family. In September 2010, Johnson bought a three-bedroom fixer-upper that dates back to the early part of the 20th century in the historic district for $200,000. “The top reasons that we moved to the area and decided to stay here is the location — the proximity to downtown, and that you can get to Maryland and Virginia pretty easily — and then the value for the house that you get,” Johnson told The Diplomat. “You can actually afford a pretty nice home here.” Robert DeWitty, a 37-year-old attorney, said he bought a building in Anacostia several years ago as an investment but then rented it out while he was working overseas. “Before there was a lot of drug activity, but all of the sudden when we came back about a year ago it wasn’t there any more,” he said. “It was good for me to be away, because I’ve really been able to see a lot of the changes.” Last fall, DeWitty moved into a home in his building with his family and is continuing to work on its renovation. Growing up in upper Northwest, DeWitty says he never thought about Anacostia. “You know, that was a place that you just didn’t go.” These days though he feels differently. “Anacostia is really the type of neighborhood that grows on you,” he said.“On a clear day you can see across the water all the way to the National Cathedral.” And perhaps one day soon, people may be able to stand on the other side of the river — on the revamped waterfront by the Navy Yard — and see Anacostia in a brand new light. Luke Jerod Kummer is a freelance writer in Washington, D.C.
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culture & ■ WWW.WASHDIPLOMAT.COM
Expert Marriage A scholar and longtime Indian government official, Ajay Shankar and his wife, Ambassador Meera Shankar, are two of a kind when it comes to the intricacies of Indian public policy. PAGE 48
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Philip Guston’s paintings of Rome — artistically ahead of their time — on display at the Phillips Collection, and Canaletto’s picture-perfect visions of 18th-century Venice at the National Gallery of Art form a scenic backdrop to “La Dolce DC,” a citywide showcase of Italian culture marking the 150th anniversary of the Risorgimento, Italy’s unification movement. PAGE 46
All of Albee at Arena Arena Stage’s Edward Albee Festival is an ambitious attempt to span the playwright’s entire emotional canon, including Albee’s unsympathetic rd. PAGE 50 mastery of the absurd.
Swedish Sensibility The Swedes examinee how intellip modern gent design can keep ng pressures from tearing apart our “Fabric off Life.” PAGE 52
The secrets of Wolfgang Puck’s ubiquitous success are divulged at The Source. PAGE 56
Absentee fathers and adolescent bullying collide in the Oscar-winning “In a Better World.” PAGE 58
[ la dolce dc ]
‘Roma’ Retreat In Eternal City, Guston Finds Solace But No Relief From Pain
by Jacob Comenetz n 1970, the American painter Philip Guston (1913-80), celebrated as a leading abstract expressionist of the New York School alongside Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko and Willem de Kooning, was at one point “excommunicated” by the New York art establishment. A show of paintings inspired by the political violence of the late 1960s, depicting hooded figures and taking stylistic cues from cartoons, horrified fellow artists and critics when it was held at the Marlborough Gallery in Manhattan. His movements toward pop art and minimalism, using the figural form and allegorical narrative over the reigning abstract expressionism, fell completely flat. One prominent critic, Hilton Kramer, accused Guston — whose abstractions in the 1950s and 1960s won him acclaim — of intentionally abandoning his own talents in a damning critique, calling the artist “a mandarin pretending to be a stumblebum.” Deeply shaken, Guston left for Rome in 1970 with his wife Musa and took up an artist-in-residency at the American Academy, where he’d previously been a fellow in the late 1940s. His sojourn in the Eternal City some 20 years later provided Guston with the opportunity to work through the critical disaster, but also to further develop the new mode of painting, incorporating elements of the Roman landscape and drawing inspiration from the Italian artists he revered. The Phillips Collection is the sole U.S. venue for an exhibition featuring 39 paintings on paper from this pivotal point in PHOTOS: ESTATE OF PHILIP GUSTON / MCKEE GALLERY, NEW YORK Guston’s career. First conceived for the Galleria Borghese in Rome by independent art historian Peter Benson Miller, “Philip Guston, After his minimalist, figural-inspired paintings Roma” sheds light on the artist’s diverse sources of inspiration, both psyshocked the New York art world in the late 1960s, chological and political. Philip Guston retreated to Rome, where he produced The exhibition is also part of the broader Italian cultural festival “La a groundbreaking series that’s now on display at the Dolce DC” marking the 150th anniversary of the unification of Italy, the Phillips Collection, which features 39 works including, culmination of the national movement known as the Risorgimento (see from top, “Untitled (Wall),” “Roma (Fountain)” and related story). “Rome” — as well as “Pantheon” on the culture cover. While Guston’s works from his earlier, abstract expressionist period and later, monumental existentialist period are held by major museums and are comparatively well known, most of the “Roma” pictures came are the names of great Italian artists who are part from private collections or the Guston estate. In assembling the exhibiof Guston’s “pantheon”: Tiepolo, Giotto, Piero, tion, curator Miller “rediscovered” some works Guston had given to Masaccio, and de Chirico. The entire painting is American Academy fellows before leaving Rome — pictures that had executed in various shades of salmon. never before been inventoried. The light bulb, one of the recurring motifs in “It was a very interesting project from that point of view, Guston’s work, represents his studio. Miller said because it was almost like reconstituting a whole part of his he believed the motif went back to Guston’s childhood, when he taught Philip Guston, Roma career that has never come under any serious scholarly scruhimself to draw — holed up in a closet with only a single, naked light through May 15 tiny,” Miller said. bulb to illuminate the space. The bulb now becomes like the oculus of “It’s a very specific moment where he’s working out the the “Pantheon” in a highly personal allusion. Phillips Collection ideas that will then take monumental form in the late paintGuston had been driven to take up painting again in the late 1960s 1600 21st St., NW ings. It’s a kind of love letter to Italy.” because he felt that only by telling stories through this medium could he For more information, please If the paintings are a love letter, though, it is a particularly respond to the profound violence shaking American society at the time. call (202) 387-2151 or visit pained one. The main color used in these works, various Similarly, Italy was in the midst of the “Years of Lead” or “anni di piombo,” www.phillipscollection.org. shades of pink, together with the menacing, recurring its own period of political and social upheaval in the early 1970s. hooded figures, evokes an aura of anxiety, rather than relaxThe demonstrations Guston witnessed in the streets of Rome served ation and enjoyment. to remind him of the Ku Klux Klan marches and race riots back in the United States. In For Guston, who had a deep knowledge of Italian art from Renaissance greats such as some paintings, a pink pine tree from a Roman garden may be just that; in others, it Piero della Francesca to 20th-century painters Giorgio de Chirico and Giorgio Morandi, morphs into a menacing, hooded figure. confrontation with genius was both stimulating and distressing. It brought forth a mixture So while delighting in the beauty and grandeur of Roman gardens and ancient ruins of ambition and nostalgia that in turn shaped his painting. — and the solace they provided him — Guston’s “Roma” paintings can’t seem to escape “He was in a very apocalyptic mood when he was painting these,” Miller said.“He had the blood and tragedy that haunted the artist. highs and lows and a lot of serious lows. And it was not only because he was reacting to For Miller, these layers of beauty tinged with pain make the underappreciated “Roma” the hostile reception to his work. It was also because, for an artist of Guston’s mettle and series such a consequential body of work.“Some of them are happy vistas of the Roman temperament, going to see Piero was a visceral, difficult emotional experience.And in fact landscape — rosy pink with fountains bubbling, a sense of joy — while other pictures some of his worst moods were when he was coming back from revisiting them.” have this tough, rather tragic undercurrent,” he said.“And I don’t think people looked to “Pantheon,” completed in 1973 following Guston’s return to the United States, is par- see the degree to which these were crucial for what came later.” ticularly illustrative of Guston’s confrontation with past genius. A light bulb hangs on the right side of the picture, balanced against an unknown implement on the left. In between Jacob Comenetz is a contributing writer for The Washington Diplomat.
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[ la dolce dc ]
Venetian Views Canaletto and Company Capture Landmark City on the Water PHOTO: RICHARD GREEN GALLERY
by Jacob Comenetz
hen the British ambassador to the Venetian Republic, Charles Montagu, was received at the famed Doge’s Palace on Sept. 22, 1707, the grandiose festivity marking the occasion did little to impress him. Montagu, who had come for a second term to coax the republic to side with Britain against the French and Spanish, wrote that the Venetian government was “an outward show, and their neutrality has been suffered … knowing that they are not in a condition of being serviceable in any manner.” Once a great European power and center of international trade, Venice in the early 18th century was in the midst of a long, gradual decline that began in the late 1500s and ended in 1797 with its surrender to Napoleon. But as its military and political power waned, the city of islands rising out of an emerald lagoon on the Adriatic would elevate itself on the world stage for its unparalleled beauty. And so this city on the water became famous for its festivals and extravagant lifestyle, a playground for aristocrats on the British Grand Tour throughout Europe and a magnet for tourists from across the continent. Much like the tourists of today, who crowd the Piazza San Marco and the Rialto Bridge, emerging from the maze-like network of narrow alleys crisscrossing the canals, the 18th-century visitors to Venice craved mementos of their sojourn in “La Serenissima” — the Most Serene Republic. This growing demand inspired artists to produce vedute, or view PHOTO: THE MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS, HOUSTON paintings, which depicted Venice in stunning detail from diverse The National Gallery of Art showcases 20 of angles — and in great numbers during the 1700s. But these were more than scenic 18th-century postcards — they became enduring artistic achievements. Venetian artist Canaletto’s finest works, including And though many painters competed to satisfy the tastes of their wealthy “The Entrance to the Grand Canal, looking West, patrons, and at a good price, one of them stood out for sheer artistic merit: with Santa Maria della Salute,” above, in addition Giovanni Antonio Canal, more famously known as Canaletto. to more than 30 other view, or vedute, paintings by The National Gallery of Art, no stranger to major exhibitions of Italian art, contemporaries such as Bernardo Bellotto, top, in having hosted more than 80 since opening in 1941, is the sole U.S. venue for “Venice: Canaletto and His Rivals” — which also a show featuring some 20 of Canaletto’s finest works, in addition to more than features a 35-foot-long, 19th-century gondola, left. 30 additional view paintings by his contemporaries. “Venice: Canaletto and His Rivals” forms the centerpiece of a program of the Molo — the stone quay marked by two PHOTO: THE MARINERS’ MUSEUM, NEWPORT NEWS, VA. Italy-themed cultural offerings at the National Gallery of Art through May 30. The he lecgranite columns that led into the Piazza San tures, film series and culinary showcases are all part of the broader “La Dolce DC” Italian Marco and was once the ceremonial landing spot for great officials and distinguished visitors. cultural festival marking the 150th anniversary of the Risorgimento, or resurgence: the These iconic visions of the city define the “multifaceted richness of the Venetian way of life,” national unification movement that in 1861 led to the proclamation of the Kingdom of Italy as Italian Ambassador Giulio Terzi di Sant’Agata put it. (no matter that Rome and the Veneto were not yet included). One such painting is Giovanni Battista Cimaroli’s “The Piazza San Marco with the Populace In addition to the Canaletto show, other events tied to La Dolce DC include “Philip Guston, Chasing Bulls in Celebration of the Visit of Friedrich Christian of Saxony, 16 February 1740.” Roma” at the Phillips Collection (see related story) and While present day mores and safety considerations preclude this Gaetano Donizetti’s “Don Pasquale” by the Washington type of activity, the artist’s meticulous execution gives a sense of Venice: Canaletto and His Rivals National Opera. In addition, Destination DC, the city’s tourthe animated energy inspired by Venice’s own version of the runism marketing arm, is also highlighting the city’s Italian through May 30 ning of the bulls. connections through specialized walks and hotel packages. For those seeking a more artistic bent, the show offers the National Gallery of Art The Canaletto exhibition was put together by the opportunity to compare view paintings of widely varying styles, on the National Mall between 3rd London-based vedute scholar and art dealer Charles from the precise to the painterly, as well as different subject matter, and 9th Streets at Constitution Avenue, NW Beddington, in cooperation with the National Gallery in from grand festivals, to harbor scenes, to intimate portraits of forFor more information, please call (202) 737-4215 London, where it was shown until midgotten corners of the city. The 20 Canaletto works, drawn from or visit www.nga.gov. January, and the National Gallery of Art collections across Europe and the United States, provide sufficient For more to in Washington. It brings together one of depth to examine the artist’s stylistic development, influenced, information on the finest groups of 18th-century view paintings ever assembled, ultimately, by the tastes of patrons such as British consul Joseph Smith (who wanted sunny La Dolce DC, visit Beddington said, and is one of very few such exhibitions on this theme scenes on canvases small enough to ship back to England). http://ladolcedc.washington.org or outside of Italy. Finally, the imposing 19th-century gondola that greets visitors at the entrance to the show www.ambwashingtondc.esteri.it. “With view paintings, as with so many things, there’s a world of differ- — all 35 feet of it — brought to Long Island by the American artist Thomas Moran, is sure to ence between the great and the merely good,” Beddington said at the ignite memories for those who have been to Venice, and kindle a desire to go for those who exhibition’s press preview.“And a remarkably high percentage of the paintings in this show haven’t yet been. are truly great.” If the viewer doesn’t enjoy or at least admire these paintings, he said, “I’m As curator Beddington said, the show’s breadth “provides an exercise in connoisseurship.” afraid 18th-century view painting is not going to be your thing.” In addition, it “introduces artists who hopefully deserve to be known better, while at the Because the exhibition can be appreciated on several different levels, however, it is likely same time enhancing, if anything, the status of the presiding genius, Canaletto himself.” to appeal to a variety of different interests. For one, it serves as a visual history lesson of Venice’s pageantry, from regattas down the Grand Canal to ornate diplomatic receptions on Jacob Comenetz is a contributing writer for The Washington Diplomat.
The Washington Diplomat Page 47
[ diplomatic spouses ]
Official Devotion Private Indian Couple Dedicates Careers to Public Service by Gail Scott
fficially, he may be retired from the Indian Administrative Service, the civil service arm of the government’s executive branch, but Ajay Shankar, the husband of Indian Ambassador Meera Shankar, remains highly involved in policy issues. And he’s just as comfortable and knowledgeable as his wife is in discussing the intricacies of India’s progress. This year, as a public policy scholar with the Washington-based Woodrow Wilson Center, he is researching the topic of India’s low-carbon growth challenge — taking on what he admits is a “huge mission.” He said India would like to be a responsible international stakeholder,“and yet still have our people live well.The question is how to overcome poverty but emit less carbon dioxide. We are a hot country — most people still use only fans in their homes, and we do not yet have air conditioning in most of our buildings,” Shankar explained. “I am looking at solar energy for developing countries like ours. But we are very sensitive about affordability. We need to bring costs down. We also want to leap frog ahead. The planet cannot just continue to handle what we are asking it to do.” He added:“We hope that, like with computers and mobile phones, we can bring prices down with economies of scale. Our mobile phone services are among the cheapest in the world and, yet, one of the best.” Shankar — well versed in discussing a range of subjects, from technology to foreign investment to urban planning — even mused on the thriftiness of most Indians — which he said has been a distinct advantage for the nation as a whole. “Everyone learned to text because it costs less,” he pointed out. “Missed calls are used frequently. When you finish a day’s work and need to call home, or you need to call your driver, you can call them but they don’t need to answer. It’s like the game people used to play when loved ones called person to person to signal that they arrived safely and then hung up.” A career member of India’s civil service since 1973, Ajay Shankar has extensive government experience, particularly in the industrial, energy and urban development fields. He most recently served in India’s Commerce and Industry Ministry, where he was secretary of the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion from 2007 to the end of 2009. During that time, Shankar implemented a plan for the Delhi-Mumbai industrial corridor project, further liberalized policies to encourage foreign direct investment, and chaired the PHOTO: EMBASSY OF INDIA Committee on Indigenization of Solar Energy Technology. Perhaps most notably though, as and liberalization that introduced competition and greater secretary he also played a critical role in crafting In the early decades after indepen- engagement with the global economy have delivered good India’s stimulus package that guided the country results and have popular support.” successfully through the global economic crisis, dence in 1947, India was seen as a counProudly rattling off a list of statistics and accomplishments, which caused only a modest downturn in India’s Shankar noted that from 2003 to 2008, foreign direct investtry with extreme poverty and enormous otherwise steady growth. ment increased eight-fold.“Foreign investment, which began in “We in India were fortunate,” he told The IT, is now broad-based across manufacturing, telecom, hotels, Washington Diplomat. “We didn’t have a reces- problems. But with our democratic system pharmaceuticals and heavy engineering,” he said. sion and we are almost back to our normal Another source of pride: “We have a booming car market. and freedoms, our people — with hard growth trajectory, which was 9 percent before We are the global leader in small, fuel-efficient cars. The new the crisis. We are inching back toward it with Toyota Etios was designed and introduced first in the Indian work, entrepreneurship and traditional growth this year likely to be about 8.6 percent. market. While every global car company is in India, the small Our banks had no exposure to toxic loans as they carmaker Suzuki is the market leader. Our Tata produces the values — are creating better lives. did in Europe and the United States. Our growth Nano, which gets 40 miles to a gallon in the city and sells for is based on domestic demand in India. Although only $2,500.” — AJAY SHANKAR we are open to trade and investment and have Despite India’s tremendous strides, the emerging powerpublic policy scholar and free and open markets, India is not dependent on house still faces tremendous obstacles. For example, that same husband of Indian Ambassador Meera Shankar exports for driving growth.” foreign direct investment Shankar mentioned fell more than 31 As a result, Shankar said, “we don’t have any percent in 2010 as investors looked to other developing big adjustments to make. We are not part of the global problem of imbalances. Our econo- nations, in part because of the government’s ongoing problems with corruption, bureaumy and exchange rates are market driven.” cracy and inefficiency. On a more basic level, the government still needs to lift hundreds of His country of nearly 1.2 billion, the world’s largest democracy (and second in popula- millions of people out of poverty. In fact, some 80 percent of Indians live on less than $2 a tion only to China), is also quite driven — and diverse, with 28 separate states, 24 distinct day — more than double the same poverty rate in China. languages, 1,600 dialects and a mix of ethnicities and religions, including Hindus, Muslims, Shankar acknowledges that India must confront “critical” economic challenges — chief Christians and Sikhs. among them taming inflation and the fiscal deficit — while pushing for more “inclusive “India is a complex and diverse country,” Shankar said.“It doesn’t fit into any stereotype. growth” so that the nation’s economic successes are better spread out among its citizens. Change in India is so rapid. In the early decades after independence in 1947, India was seen On that front, another social problem is the massive migration of India’s rural poor to its as a country with extreme poverty and enormous problems. But with our democratic sys- already-overcrowded cities and slums.As a distinguished fellow at the Energy and Resources tem and freedoms, our people — with hard work, entrepreneurship and traditional values Institute in India (TERI), Shankar studied the country’s rapid urbanization and how to — are creating better lives. design better cities, as well as ways that the government could “nudge the economy and “It is the democratic process that has driven public policy,” he added.“Economic reforms the people” into better urban environments, he said.
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As joint secretary in the Ministry of Power, Shankar also played a key role in India’s Electricity Act of 2003 that aimed to transform the country’s power sector with a new liberal regulatory framework.And as chief executive officer of the Greater Noida Industrial Development Authority, he was responsible for the development of one of the most attractive industrial townships on the outskirts of New Delhi. It is interesting to note that in India, senior central government public servants are repeatedly “on loan” to the country’s different states and may move back and forth several times as a unique way of giving the states a sense of participation in running the central government. Shankar comes from Uttar Pradesh, India’s largest state — the size of Germany — which is located just south of Delhi.“I am from Allahabad where I went to university and later taught. My hometown is known for being the center of the freedom struggle from Britain,” he noted. Although he dissects economic and public policy issues with ease, Shankar is hesitant to discuss anything he deems too personal — a trait he seems to share with his no-nonsense wife Meera, who previously served as India’s envoy to Germany before becoming ambassador to the United States in 2009. Today, India’s high-powered couple in Washington is all business and diplomacy — and they’ve become very active on the political, social and cultural front — but it’s clear they have also chosen to live as private a life as possible despite their high-profile careers. The two met shortly after they both successfully passed the rigorous exam to enter into either India’s prestigious Foreign or Administrative Service, which they each joined in 1973. “My wife and I met and got to know each other at the training Academy in Mussoorie, in the lower Himalayas — beautiful surroundings,” he said, smiling.“It was a good time and a good place to meet,” he added softly, not offering any other details before he took another sip of tea. Although they knew that her work in the Foreign Service could entail traveling all over the world, the couple made a conscious decision to reside in New Delhi as much as possible to create a stable family environment. What Ajay Shankar likes most about this current period in his professional life is having the opportunity “to sit back, reflect and then write. It’s a qualitative transformation.” He now writes on policy issues for two leading Indian publications, Economic Times and Business Standard. Their only child, 26-year-old Priya, is following in her father’s footsteps as a policy researcher with a think tank in London — even though “we tried to encourage her about the Foreign Service,” Shankar noted. Today, the family stays in touch by phone, e-mail and Skype. “My wife spent a bit more time with her than I did when she was growing up, but today Priya, at 26, is more like a friend to us,” he said.
PHOTO: MARGOT SCHULMAN
Ajay Shankar, retired from the Indian Administrative Service, is currently a public policy scholar with the D.C.-based Woodrow Wilson Center researching India’s low-carbon growth challenge. As husband of Indian Ambassador Meera Shankar, he also helps his wife promote Indian culture in Washington, as seen recently in the “maximum INDIA” festival at the Kennedy Center that staged 57 events and performances by groups such as the Gulabo Sapera snake charmers, above.
Priya will visit her parents in Washington this Easter, when she combines the spring holiday with the extra few days she has off due to the upcoming royal wedding in London in late April. With the little leisure time he and his wife have, they love to read, listen to both Indian and Western music, watch movies, and take walks together in Rock Creek Park, which borders their residence grounds. “My wife prefers fiction and contemporary history and politics while I am more inclined to read biographies and economic works. We both like reading some of our Indian writers who are now writing so well in English,” said Shankar, noting that he especially enjoys Nobel prize-winning economist and philosopher Amartya Sen,Pulitzer-winning author Jhumpa Lahiri, Indian novelist Amitav Ghosh and British-Indian novelist and essayist Salman Rushdie. “Netflix is a great blessing…. But seeing a movie in a big hall makes a big difference,” added Shankar, whose current film favorites include “The King’s Speech,”“The Social Network” and “True Grit.” The Shankars were posted to Washington on a prior occasion, while she served as commercial minister at the embassy from 1991 to 1995, during which time he earned a master’s degree in economics from Georgetown University. Now in their second posting, Shankar says he sees that India enjoys a much higher profile today in the nation’s capital. “There is an increasing understanding of India and more families have Indian friends,” he said. “Washington is more diverse, more cosmopolitan than before. There are definitely more Indian restaurants and more yoga centers.” This time as India’s top diplomatic couple, the Shankars are naturally much more involved and visible in the cultural and charitable life of Washington.They are the honorary patrons of this year’s Washington Performing Arts Society (WPAS) Gala and Silent Auction on April 2, as they were for the recent annual CARE Conference and Inter-
national Women’s Day Celebration that also featured former first lady Laura Bush and Melinda Gates. And the Shankars personally relished attending every possible performance they could during “maximum INDIA” — the spectacular three-week festival of Indian arts and culture held last month at the Kennedy Center. “I couldn’t believe it was the same Kennedy Center. It was transformed into a museum and an art gallery which became a slice of magical India,” Shankar said. “It was extraordinary. We attended everything we could.” For Meera Shankar, the connection to Indian arts and culture is not only a personal interest but also a part of her professional background. Earlier in her career, she oversaw all of India’s cultural diplomacy as head of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations in New Delhi, which was a co-sponsor of “maximum INDIA” along with the Kennedy Center
and the Indian Embassy. Now, as ambassador here, Shankar said the festival not only offered her country terrific public exposure, but it was a deeply moving, significant cultural showcase. “This festival provided a window into India’s rich and diverse cultural tradition — be it in dance, music, theater or film,” she said.“I also hope that it will convey a flavor of the immense explosion of cultural ferment and creativity with India’s opening up to the world.” Not surprisingly, their thoughts complement each other’s. Ajay Shankar told us that the festival introduced Washington to “a flavor of India’s ancient and contemporary culture, with its enormous variety, color and creativity — indeed a glimpse of India’s soul.” Gail Scott is a contributing writer for The Washington Diplomat and lifestyle columnist for the Diplomatic Pouch.
“The Best of DC’s International Destinations” Frommer’s 2009 Washington Guide
Uniting People through Musical Diplomacy
concerts & receptions SAEUNN THORSTEINSDOTTIR, Cello SAM ARMSTRONG, Piano Icelandic Ambassador’s Residence 2443 Kalorama Road, NW Saturday, May 7, 2011, 7:30 pm THE ART OF PORTUGUESE FADO O Back B Portuguese Ambassador’s Residence Popula y 2125 Kalorama Road, NW Dema r nd Thursday, May 5, 2011, 7:30 pm
CHATHAM BAROQUE Embassy of Italy Friday, May 20, 2011 7:30 pm
TICKETS: (202) 625-2361 Order online/info/mailing list: www.embassyseries.org
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[ theater ]
Who’s Afraid of Albee? Arena Stage Isn’t, Mounting Playwright’s Entire Canon by Lisa Troshinsky
[ Page 50
rena Stage has bitten off another huge chunk of the D.C. thespian pie and is reveling in its ambition. Within the span of two months, Arena’s Mead Center is hosting a far-reaching Edward Albee Festival — the first in a series that will spotlight a different giant American playwright each year. Given that Albee is known for his unsympathetic mastery of the absurd, this will be a lot of bizarre for the buck.Theater-goers with thick skin and a large appetite for the exquisitely disturbing will certainly have plenty from which to choose — including 30 staged readings of all of Albee’s plays and two full-length productions. Others with a mellower theater palate may just want to pay tribute to one of the greatest living playwrights by catching a single show. Either way, Albee admirers can experience a never-beforeattempted feat: a festival highlighting the entire canon of work by America’s greatest living playwright. With such a huge endeavor, Arena knew it couldn’t pull it off alone, so it enlisted the help of other theater troupes who are contributing performances — from Albee’s most signature scripts to his more remote works — in either the full-staged productions or readings. The festival kicked off with two powerfully emotional punches:“Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” and “At Home at the Zoo.” The former is the handiwork of Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre Company; the latter is staged by Arena and combines the original one-act play written in 1958 that launched Albee’s career,“The Zoo Story,” with an introductory act he penned a few years ago. The newer prequel explores the strained relationship Peter has with his wife at home right before he decides to visit the park where he meets Jerry. Although most have experienced an Albee play or two, here and there, and been strongly affected, the genius of this festival allows an audience, by total immersion, to compare and contrast one author’s works on multifaceted levels — and come up with a stronger grasp of the whole. Both “Woolf” and “Zoo” were written by Albee at the start of his career (late 1950s and early ’60s) and are critical of America’s lustful adoption of post-war materialism, shining a harsh light on the extremes of the negative human condition. The differences lie within the settings and characters. “Woolf” is tediously chaotic. It’s a three-hour saga of late-night, incessant ranting and relationship conflicts bedeviling two couples sequestered away in a small college town, in a home cluttered with abandoned stacks of books, EDWARD ALBEE FESTIVAL: papers and liquor bottles. The audience is bombarded with emotion overload from Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? the moment George and Martha step through April 10 onstage. At Home at the Zoo “Zoo,” by contrast, is hauntingly sparse. through April 24 Its world is materialistically minimal (maybe to represent the characters’ lack of Arena Stage souls?) — just a few sticks of furniture to 1101 6th St., SW connote a living room and two benches Tickets start at $55. for a park. It starts off slowly and innoFor more information, please call cently, only to menacingly build up in ter(202) 488-3300 or visit www.arenastage.org. ror, as does any good horror story. Both plays are word heavy. The characters in “Woolf” use stinging dialogue to assault each other while hiding behind their own vulnerabilities. The characters in “Zoo” use language to expose their weaknesses as a last-ditch, futile attempt to find reprieve in a world that lacks true meaning and compassion. Steppenwolf’s Pam MacKinnon and Arena’s Mary Robinson, who directed “Woolf” and “Zoo,” respectively, both prove that producing seasoned, often overdone, works need not be unsurprising.
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PHOTO: MICHAEL BROSILOW
The two full-stage centerpieces of Arena Stage’s massive Edward Albee Festival are Steppenwolf Theatre Company’s production of “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf,” above, starring Tracy Letts and Amy Morton as the dysfunctional George and Martha, as well as “At Home at the Zoo,” with Colleen Delany and Jeff Allin, left.
“Woolf” features Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winner Tracy Letts as George and Tony Award nominee Amy Morton as Martha. The fact that they are Steppenwolf veterans who PHOTO: SCOTT SUCHMAN have worked together for years easily translates into the realism of George and Martha’s long, festering marriage. Letts skillfully portrays an unusually sensitive and sympathetic George who quietly vacillates between tolerating and trying to crush Martha’s cruel dominance. Morton counters with an unapologetically aging, unglamorous, vindictive Martha who loses her obsessive stronghold by the play’s end. Carrie Coon, as Honey, and Madison Dirks, as Nick, round out the ensemble as the unwitting couple pulled into George and Martha’s vortex of destruction.Their portrayals, however, are not the often disappointing caricatures seen in other productions. Coon’s Honey precipitously hovers on the fence between naïve, wallflower victim and manipulative, desperate alcoholic. Dirk embraces the villainous part of Nick, who drowns out his gentlemanly front with eager greed and indiscretion. “Zoo” is equally, if not more, successful as an exercise in human pathos. This is mostly due to the fearsome acting chops of James McMenamin (as Jerry), who has the seemingly impossible mission of carrying the second act in an extended monologue. During a random encounter at the park, McMenamin takes his sweet time sizing up the distracted, cocooned Peter before speaking. By the time he utters the ominous, “I’ve been to the zoo,” the intensity onstage almost explodes and builds into a tour de force that never falters. Adding to the productions’ triumphs are their masterful sets, kudos of designers Todd Rosenthal (“Woolf”) and James Noone (“Zoo”).“Zoo” is staged in Arena’s newly
See ALBEE, page 57
[ music ]
Russian Undercurrent Post-Classical Reignites Stravinsky’s Comprehensive Composition by Rachael Bade
ith its asymmetric rhythms, unpredictable sharps, flats and crescendos, and swift background pulse — like an adrenaline-pumping heart — Igor Stravinsky’s “The Rite of Spring” shattered traditional classical music in the early 20th century. At its debut in 1913, the Russian composer’s infamous work, accompanied by a ballet choreographed by Vaslav Nijinsky that depicted a violent pagan sacrificial ritual, elicited boos from the audience and caused fistfights in the aisles. Contrast that with Stravinsky’s “Pulcinella,” a Mozart-like rendition of neoclassic music, written during his exile from Russia around World War I. Those didn’t occur in a vacuum: The difference between Stravinsky’s early folksy works, including “Firebird” and “Les Noces,” and his later compositions such as “Scherzo à la Russe” and his opera “The Rake’s Progress,” is as stark as night and day. The early pieces are saturated with emotion; the latter, a colder execution of notes. “As a young man, [Stravinsky] was considered a rebellious and controversial composer but adopted neoclassicism in West,” said Post-Classical Ensemble Artistic Director Joseph Horowitz. “He had a different public image, and it was in some ways more French than Russian. People expected a kind of music that is emotionally distanced and very different from his early works.” The dramatic change in the musical genius’s work takes center stage at a three-day musical showcase in April staged by Post-Classical Ensemble, an orchestra that prides itself on being more than an orchestra by linking classically tinged concerts with film, theater, dance and discussion to provide a comprehensive, thematic exploration of individual composers and their music (also see “Classic Innovation” in the March 2009 issue of The Washington Diplomat). It’s concerts with context — and the context here is Stravinsky’s Russian roots, unearthing them even in his later works after he resettled in Paris and then eventually Hollywood. In collaboration with the Music Center at Strathmore, the Post-Classical Ensemble’s “The Stravinsky Project” will feature concert performancPHOTO: TOM WOLFF es, film and discussions about the torn man who inspired legions of musicians, some of the most The Stravinsky Project beloved ballets, and even Walt Disney. For years, American musicians attributed the from April 8 to 10 change in Stravinsky’s work to his exile, claimMusic Center at Strathmore ing the composer became an entirely different 5301 Tuckerman Lane, Bethesda, Md. musician — more cosmopolitan French than For more information, please call (301) 581-5100 Russian after the 1920s and ’30s. But this festival or visit http://post-classicalensemble.org challenges that notion. For Post-Classical or www.strathmore.org/stravinskyproject. Ensemble, Stravinsky’s Russian identity was as tangible and enduring as his love for music. “The whole festival has to do with the question of whether Stravinsky is Russian,” Horowitz explained. “He tried to distance himself from his Russian roots, physically and emotionally. But toward the end of life Stravinsky discovered that he felt Russian, and this entire exercise of distancing himself was part of the trauma of exile. He had to cope with the fact that he lost his homeland.” The main event on April 8, titled “Stravinsky’s Russian Accent,” features five worldrenowned, Russian-trained pianists joining the Post-Classical Ensemble in three major Stravinsky works. The evening opens with “Symphonies of Wind Instruments,” a nine-minute piece inspired by Debussy, which Stravinsky described as the first of his “so-called classical
PHOTO: TOM WOLFF
Post-Classical Ensemble, led by Music Director Angel Gil-Ordóñez, far left, dissects Igor Stravinsky, left, using its signature blend of music, film, theater, dance and discussion to examine the iconic composer’s Russian roots, challenging the commonly held notion that Stravinsky was more cosmopolitan French than Russian.
works,” according to Horowitz. In addition, the Russian weddinginspired “Les Noces” will be performed by members of the Washington Bach Consort Chorus. Composed for the Ballets Russes, the dance cantata tells the story of a traditional Russian folk marriage. Guests will instantly recognize the wailing mother who fears losing her daughter, the proud papa of the groom and the hopeful young couple — as soloists belt out Stravinsky’s score amid the roar of a wild wedding celebration. It was said to be one of Stravinsky’s favorite pieces and is rarely played by orchestras because it calls for four lead pianists. The evening will end with the sacrificial dance passage from “The Rite of Spring,” which catapulted Stravinsky to fame, and infamy. Stravinsky’s career though was not only revolutionary, it was wide-ranging — earning him fame as a composer, pianist and conductor (and even author) who influenced ballet, theater and opera while veering over the years from neoclassicism to modern classical music. And there’s perhaps no better medium to fully examine that diversity than the Post-Classical Ensemble. Staying true to its reputation for breathing originality and novel interpretations into the classics by interweaving dance, film, discussion and even pop music, Post-Classical Ensemble elevates the festival — as it does all of its performances — beyond just a regular night out at the concert. It presents a holistic view of Stravinsky and his talents. The guest artists embody this approach. Horowitz said the pianists’ rendition of Stravinsky is “more Russian and romantic, emotional and visceral, rawer” than people might hear from American-trained orchestras. Trained in the former Soviet Union during the Cold War, the pianists were forbidden to play Stravinsky due to the composer’s anti-communist views. But these pianists, most of whom discovered Stravinsky’s work mid-career, were able to identify
See STRAVINSKY, page 57 The Washington Diplomat Page 51
[ events ]
Swedish Stitch-Up Weaving Intelligent Design Into ‘Fabric’ of Modern Life by Michael Coleman
nterested in immersing yourself in Swedish culture but don’t have the time to travel to Scandinavia? Come to think of it, don’t have much time to enjoy anything these days? Look no further than the House of Sweden’s “Fabric of Life” program, a yearlong multidimensional display of art, design, music and more. The ambitious series of events and exhibitions, showcased in the gorgeous, glass-encased and minimalist Swedish Embassy near the banks of the Potomac River in Georgetown, explores how modern-day life is enriched through innovation and intelligent design — Swedish style. But the goal is not just to spotlight the striking designs for which Sweden is renowned, but also to examine all facets of modern life, including its opportunities, demands, expectations and everincreasing pace. And in this capital of frenzy, the Swedish Embassy offers Washingtonians a chance to escape, slow down, admire the little things, reflect on the big things, and even spend some quality time with the entire family. Recent discussions in March, for instance, examined topics such as “Family Life in a Fast-Paced World,” “Living Life Smarter” and “Attention – Finding Focus in an Age of Distraction.” One of the visual highlights of the program that’s sure to keep viewers focused is an exhibition of 17 Swedish designers — all female — whose works embody the country’s streamlined, sustainable design aesthetic. A simple yet elegant glass wine decanter sits atop a small purple ball, which also serves as a lid. The effect is whimsical, but also functional. Nearby, a minimalist coat rack designed by famous Swedish designer Nina Jobs features three prongs of sleek, blonde wood curled into hooks. The piece looks light, almost fragile, but is surprisingly sturdy. Like many of the designers in this exhibition, Jobs lends her talents to Swedish-based IKEA, while others design for H&M clothing store, also born in Sweden. Perhaps most interestingly, the embassy is offering an unusual artistic haven for harried parents and their children, with two interactive play rooms that also double as fascinating installations. The first, called “Zero to One,” is a sprawling, white cloth-encased room with large protruding cushions — not exactly chairs and not exactly mats — for reclining or sitting on.The effect is one of total serenity, and that’s the point. Designed with “under-stimulation” in mind, the room aims to allow a parent and his or her infant child to simply be together without external stimulation. The only thing the parent and child can do in this environment of “spatial stillness” is be together and get to know each other. As they leave the room, parents are For more to encouraged to write a letter that their information child can open 10 years later. Suggestions include describon “Fabric of ing what it’s like to be a parent, how much they learned Life” at the House of Sweden, from their child in that time or anything else.The notion of 2900 K St., NW, please call a silent, peaceful place might be appealing to single adults (202) 467-2600 or visit hoping to escape the bustle of Washington life, but alas, you www.swedenabroad.com. do need a child to enter the room! An adjacent room, titled “Swedish Seeds,” showcases Swedish designs for children that are remarkable for their safety and functionality. Swedish designers spent years observing the everyday play habits of children. Taking cues from what they saw, they have created groundbreaking designs for life jackets, helmets, baby carriers and carriages, as well as car seats,
The Washington Diplomat
PHOTOS: DAKOTA FINE
The House of Sweden explores the theme “Fabric of Life” with exhibits and discussions looking at how the Swedes use intelligent design to enrich modern-day life, along with its many opportunities, demands, expectations and ever-increasing pace. A highlight is a family-friendly white room called “Zero to One,” bottom, designed so that parents and children can simply be together without external distractions.
furniture and toys. toys In all, all this part of the t exhibition features 50 design products by 30 different Swedish companies. Stroll across the hallway and you’ll encounter a series of arresting photographs by Charlotte Gyllenhammar, one of Sweden’s most renowned contemporary artists. Ethereal and dreamlike, the images are part of her acclaimed photographic series titled “Hang” that first premiered at Paris Photo in 2006. Her sculpture “In Waiting” is also included here. Always active, the embassy will switch gears a bit in April to showcase some of Sweden’s most accomplished musicians as part of a series called “House of Music.” Niklas Sivelöv will perform a piano concerto on April 20, Kristina Winiarski will perform a cello concert on May 9, followed by the annual Nordic Jazz Week in June. Finally, on May 20 to 21, “Music Doc 2011” will invade the House of Sweden’s rooftop. The prominent documentary film festival will screen some of the most exciting music docs to come out of Sweden. As part of that,“Music After Dark” will feature an eclectic mix of live music, film screenings, DJs, videos and more — ample opportunity to slow down and get our own busy houses in order. Michael Coleman is a contributing writer for The Washington Diplomat.
ONE MONTH. SIXTY EMBASSIES. HUNDREDS OF INTERNATIONAL ACTIVITIES. ONE UNFORGETTABLE GLOBAL JOURNEY THROUGH THE NATION’S CAPITAL.
Around the World Embassy Tour More than 30 embassies open their doors and invite visitors to experience food, fashion, art, music, dance, and so much more. Join Cultural Tourism DC for this once-a-year visit into the stately mansions and exclusive buildings that house the embassies. Discover the vibrant heritage and culture waiting inside. Saturday, May 14
10 am – 4 pm
schedule of events Short Cut to Europe: European Union Embassies’ Open House Come explore Washington, DC’s international culture and heritage. During the month of May Washington’s embassies and cultural centers open their doors for you to experience the music, art, dance, crafts, and cuisine from such faraway places as Korea, Bahrain, Ghana, and Thailand.
.org April 2011
MAY 7; 10 AM – 4 PM
The European Union Delegation and the Embassies of the 27 EU Member States invite visitors to experience the diversity and richness of Europe. Look for authentic music, dance, food, film, and art, along with a rare behind-the-scenes view of the European Union Embassies. Various Locations | Admission: Free
Kids World Cinema MAY 13-14, 20-22; 10 AM – 4 PM
Young cinema fans are sure to enjoy this celebration of children’s films from countries around the world. Presented in partnership with Alliance Française de Washington, this two-weekend festival features the screening of international children’s films as well as educational workshops. Various Locations | Admission: Free
National Asian Heritage Festival: Fiesta MAY 21; 10 AM – 7 PM
The Asia Heritage Foundation presents this street festival honoring the diverse cultures of Asia. Travel the continent with outdoor craft exhibits, special performances, cooking demonstration, and much more. Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, between Third and Sixth Streets | Admission: Free
International Children’s Festival MAY 21; 10 AM – 3 PM
Introduce the next generation of global travelers to cultures around the world. Children will enjoy a day of international performances and educational activities hosted by local embassies and cultural organizations. This festival is presented by Meridian International Center and THIS for Diplomats. Meridian International Center, 1630 Crescent Pl., NW. Admission: $10, free for children under 12
Hundreds of international events and activities will take place all month long! Check the full schedule of events at www.CulturalTourismDC.org or call 202-661-7581 for more information.
The Washington Diplomat Page 53
[ theater ]
Ambitious Script Ambassador Theater Fosters Artistic Relations, Cultural Dialogue by Stephanie Kanowitz
or Hanna Bondarewska, the path to world peace not only exists, she is walking it — one artistic endeavor at a time. “If we don’t have art, we cannot create anything,” Bondarewska said. “Even Einstein and all the most famous scientists used art as their inspiration to their inventions.” Her invention is the Ambassador Theater International Cultural Center (ATICC), a nonprofit the Warsaw native founded in 2008 to serve as part professional theater company and part educational epicenter. “I started this theater to really open up an international cultural dialogue,” Bondarewska said. “This is something that is very close to my heart, and I believe that through cultural understanding and education, you ultimately create peace.” She has so far partnered with the embassies of Bulgaria, France, Poland and Sweden as well as Alliance Française, the Kosciuszko Foundation and the Cultural Development Corporation.This year she’s adding the embassies of China, Egypt, India and Israel to her list. “If I am representing cultures, I want to work closely with their cultural attachés and any institutions, theaters, artists from around the world,” she said. Embassies’ roles vary from hosting events to helping with promotion. “We would like to bring more embassies that will eventually create an international theater festival where we bring actors from abroad and have a beautiful festival in Washington, D.C.” One of ATICC’s early shows was “Hopa Tropa,” a collaboration with the Bulgarian Embassy that recounted Bulgarian folk traditions for children and adults through song, dance and interactive puppetry. Most recently, ATICC worked with the embassies of Belgium and India on “Under the Shadow of Wings,” which consisted of two short mystery plays: “Karna and Kunti” by India’s Rabindranath Tagore and “Death of Tintagiles,” by Maurice Maeterlinck. “The Ambassador Theater has now twice featured plays by Maurice Maeterlinck, a Belgian who won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1911, whose work is not particularly well known in the United States,” said Andrea Rousseau Murphy, cultural officer at the Belgian Embassy. “The embassy is always pleased when the work of a Belgian literary great receives recognition in the U.S.” “I was dreaming about this theater for many years,” Bondarewska said.“But I was always scared for many reasons, natural reasons. Also I was brainstorming what kind of theater.There are so many theaters … and then it hit me, because I’ve been working with so many diplomats, so many ambassadors of various cultures. I was thinking, I am a foreigner myself.This is a melting pot.Washington, D.C., is like the capital of the world with all those diplomats and representatives from all the countries, so I said this is it.” Performances may target audiences of all ages, but the education arm of ATICC embraces kids. In fact, ATICC’s first undertaking was an educational program that Bondarewska put together in 2008 at the request of the Polish Embassy, which was working with D.C. Public Schools on cultural education and outreach, in partnership with the Washington Performing Arts Society’s Embassy Adoption Program. It culminated in a trip to Poland for the students who participated, along with a grand finale show at the embassy performed in front of Poland’s first lady. Last year, ATICC launched two two-week summer camps that gave students hands-on experience in all aspects of theater production.This year, Bondarewska is planning three camps for kids as young as 4. One will be devoted to Polish culture and held at the Kosciuszko Foundation on O Street, NW, and the other
The Washington Diplomat
PHOTOS: AMBASSADOR THEATER INTERNATIONAL CULTURAL CENTER
Above from left, Hanna Bondarewska stars with Tyler Herman in “Summer at Nohant” and at left, Alex Vernon and Ian Pedersen perform “The Little Prince” — two recent productions by the Ambassador Theater International Cultural Center, a nonprofit founded by Bondarewska in 2008 to serve as part professional theater company, part educational epicenter, and part embassy collaborator.
to Egypt held at the Source Theatre, also in downtown D.C. The third involves a little travel. “This time we would like to put together American and Polish kids camp in Poland, where they will be working on a little production but also getting to know each other, play together, have fun, and develop some relationships and better understanding of each other’s culture,” Bondarewska said. Bondarewska herself lives and breathes theater. She has performing arts and directing degrees from Poland and the United States, and even while she is heading ATICC she is still acting. She had a role in “Tintagiles,” which closed Feb. 12, for instance. Her work has been honored with awards such as recognition at the Kennedy Center Performing Arts Festival For more and has caught the eye of New York-based director David to Willinger, who directed “Under the Shadow of Wings.” information “I was just so excited to hear about this theater that’s interon the ested in doing all the international plays — that’s rare these Ambassador Theater days,” he said. Plus, Bondarewska struck him: “She was someInternational Cultural Center, thing, with an encyclopedic knowledge of world drama.” please visit www.aticc.org. Awards and attention are nice, but in the end, it’s the fostering of international relations that Bondarewska cares most about. “I would like to bring all those cultures together to find that international language,” she said.“We are going forward, technology is going forward, we are bringing each other closer, but if we don’t have that cultural understanding, what joins us? What is different? Then it’s hard to communicate and ultimately create peace.”
Stephanie Kanowitz is a contributing writer for The Washington Diplomat.
[ art ]
Not So Fast Canadian Dozen Offer Change of Pace to Runaway Change by Gary Tischler
hen it comes to Canada, people sometimes view deluge, many of the artists slow it down — compiling the country in monolithic, benign, cliché terms. visual diaries, documenting memory, resurrecting photoFor Americans especially, their neighbors to the graphic studies from the 1990s, drawing on history or north often seem like quieter, perhaps somewhat artifacts in museum collections, musing about the uncerfriendlier, slightly more foreign versions of them- tainty of change, and adopting traditional, time-intensive selves. In terms of culture, the most familiar thing artistic processes in a rebuke to today’s digital corner about Canada is that occasionally some of its singers cutting. become famous American pop stars. What Americans, and perhaps the world, tend to overlook is the great diversity found in Canada — in its geography, cities, peoples, and its art and culture. Canadians may not be a particularly noisy bunch; they’re certainly not pugnacious in proclaiming their achievements, although hockey players may beg to differ. But sometimes noise is just noise, or a whole lot of nonsense, something Canadians seem to have no need for. Yet there’s also a quietude that bears refuting. To be sure, Canadians have their serene vast spaces and natural beauty, but they also have their eccentric politicians and — yes — disagreements like any other society. Dispelling stereotypes has become something of a specialty at the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Cultural Center in Washington. Each year, when the IDB Board of Governor’s holds its annual meeting in a particular city, the center mounts an exhibition representative of the host city or country’s cultural glories and characteristics.The 52nd annual meeting was held last month in the city of Calgary in the Change is good, but so is simply being able to absorb province of Alberta, Canada — hence the current show that change — quality over quickness.These artists main“Canadian Impressions.” Once again, when you think of the Inter-American Develop- tain a very modern sensibility using modern techniques, ment Bank, Canada doesn’t instantaneously come to mind but they take their time as well. Technology can make over South American countries. But Canada is a big part of the humans carefree but it also makes them careless; this Americas — as is its art — and the IDB Cultural Center goes Canadian dozen offers controlled, thoughtful — yet still outside its usual southern hemisphere soul to capture that innovative — responses to age-old questions of religion, migration, politics, human rights and human behavior. northern spirit in fine style. Consider for instance Katie Fife, a young (almost 23) And once again, the center succeeds in capturing talent that flies under our artistic radar — rising with glimmering artist from Ontario who tries to connect printmaking and photography to the variety to the task of dispelling haunting complexities of Canadian clichés and offering a true memory, its loss, its preservapicture of its complex reality. tion and its malleable perception. “Canadian Impressions” centers Her translucent “After Image” on 12 printmakers from different suggests dust unsettled, weather regions of the country — ranging working on memory, the traces from Quebec to Saskatchewan to of what happened a minute ago Ontario to Vancouver — none of or a century ago. whom fit into the ideas we cherish Tracy Templeton also ponders about Canadians. the past, or the traces that linger And very little among the conas life moves forward. Her“Sliding temporary artwork is readily identiBehind the Hidden Door” feels fiable as being “about” Canada. Canadian Impressions like stumbling into a very old, Rather, it seems to be about change through April 29 creepy attic, where the remnants — and the need to slow down in Inter-American Development Bank of someone’s life sit deserted and order to really comprehend that left behind. change. Cultural Center Vanessa Hall-Patch portrays The 12 artists, selected from an 1300 New York Ave., NW the whole house and the “securiopen call issued widely throughout For more information, please call ty, stability and the reassurance of Canada, as evidenced by their geo(202) 623-3774 or visit www.iadb.org/cultural. familiar memories of the past,” graphical variety, all reflect on a she writes in the exhibit catasociety in flux, mirroring the economic and technological changes spreading throughout the logue.“Yet homes set adrift in open waters or expansive skies, now groundless, evoke a sense of the unknown.” world. René Derouin goes further back, taking his inspiration According to curator Félix Ángel, we see in the artists’ individual response to this change, to what has amounted to from ancient themes of the two-headed monster variety that an overflow of information. But instead of embracing the sprout from a mythic past. Michel Gautier takes far more
PHOTOS: INTER-AMERICAN DEVELOPMENT BANK CULTURAL CENTER
“Canadian Impressions” at the Inter-American Development Bank Cultural Center centers on 12 printmakers from different regions of the country who create vastly different work — though they share the common thread of reflecting on a world overwhelmed by change — as seen in, from clockwise top, René Derouin’s “La Mort,” Michel Gautier’s “Totem Poles,” Tracy Templeton’s “Sliding Behind the Hidden Door” and Katie Fife’s “After Image.”
serene-looking photographs of tree branches but stretches and contorts them into a trio of totem poles that look like delicate scrolls from another time. Only these scrolls aren’t meant to extol on the forest’s beauty, but rather warn about the exploitation of that beauty to advance economic development. All of these artists have looked to the future, but they’re also resurrecting the past to be firmly in the present. And they’re fearless about using printmaking, in both in traditional and off-the-reservation ways, to provide meaning and context before we fearlessly dive into our collective future. But they’re also careful — perhaps it’s the Canadian in them — careful to step back and appreciate the here and now before it gets swept up by the winds of change. Gary Tischler is a contributing writer for The Washington Diplomat.
The Washington Diplomat Page 55
[ dining ]
Reliable Source Newseum Restaurant Delivers Puck the Chef, Not the Celebrity by Rachel G. Hunt
eing stuck in airports several times this winter, I had idle time to consider the ubiquity of the Wolfgang Puck Express kiosks and eateries that seem to have sprouted like mushrooms in response to the airlines’ decision that they aren’t, after all, really responsible for feeding their passengers anymore. After so much growth, diversification and sheer market saturation — have you bought the latest Puck casserole dish? — I wondered how the rest of Puck’s culinary empire was faring, and whether his brand success has impacted the quality of his bread and butter: the celebrity chef’s signature restaurants.A visit to The Source sheds some light on whether Puck has become more celebrity than chef. Born in Austria, Puck began cooking, sometimes as a pastry chef, with his mother when he was a child. After stints in some of the best kitchens in France, including Maxim’s in Paris, he was advised by a friend to come to the United States, and the rest, as they say, is history. After a short sojourn in Indianapolis, he headed west to California where his work at Ma Maison garnered critical acclaim and led to the first of many cookbooks. Marrying his classical French techniques with the California focus on locally sourced whole foods, Puck opened his first Spago restaurant on Sunset Strip, launching what has become a family of restaurants that span the continent. But it was with the opening of Chinois in Santa Monica in 1983 that Puck began to tap Asian flavors. Combining these with French and California elements, he introduced the fusion concept that soon became a major chapter in America’s culinary evolution and laid the groundwork for the approach demonstrated at The Source, which opened in 2007. Located at the Newseum, The Source, Puck’s first (and only) Washington fine dining establishment, debuted to critical acclaim. Under the innovative ministrations of executive chef Scott Drewno, (who began his culinary career as a line cook at Puck’s Chinois in Las Vegas) and executive sous chef Burton Yi, the fusion approach that Puck pioneered back in The Source California all those years ago has evolved, and the appeal and qualin the Newseum ity remains undiminished since its 575 Pennsylvania Ave., NW opening. (202) 637-6100 The Source gives diners the www.wolfgangpuck.com/restaurants opportunity to experience both /fine-dining/3941 of Puck’s dining directions, with fine dining in the second-floor Lunch: Mon. - Fri., 11:30 a.m. - 3 p.m. formal dining room and more Dinner: Mon. - Thu., 5:30 - 10 p.m.; casual meals on the first-floor bar and lounge. All throughout, the menu produces Fri. and Sat., 5:30 - 11 p.m.; the kinds of dishes that have earned Puck Sun., 5 - 9:30 p.m. his global reputation. Pacific Halibut, for Brunch: Sat., 11:30 a.m. - 3 p.m. instance, is pan roasted and paired with rich Reservations: Recommended red Thai curry shrimp and a sweet pineapple sambal. In one of the best examples of Dress: Casual chic Puck’s signature fusion style, perfectly grilled lamb chops are served with a chilienhanced mint vinaigrette, pea tendrils and Hunan eggplant. It’s a surprising and highly effective combination. Another interesting yet delicious effect is the American Kobe short ribs — slow cooked, seasoned with Indian spices, and accompanied by an aromatic saffron raita that cools the palate as it intensifies the beef. While the main dishes are all equally inventive, the real marks of distinction
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The Washington Diplomat
PHOTOS: JESSICA LATOS
The Source, opened at the Newseum in 2007, embodies the fusion concept that Wolfgang Puck pioneered by melding California and French influences that would became a defining chapter in America’s culinary evolution.
show up among the “first flavors,” small plates that double as appetizers in the dining room and as dim sum during Saturday brunch. That brunch, which usually offers approximately 24 different small plate choices, is an excellent and economical way of tasting the creative genius of Drewno and Yi channeling Puck. Perhaps one of the restaurant’s most noted small plates is the spicy tuna tartare. It’s served in tiny, perfectly shaped sesame-miso cones, with shaved Bonito and Tobiko caviar — it’s almost too pretty to eat, but that would be a waste of a superbly inventive dish. For the more conventional palate, American Kobe beef sliders, served with a fat slice of pickle and house-made mini sesame buns, are a perfect choice. One of Puck’s original signature dishes, a salad of wild greens and chicken “Chinois style” appears on the small plates menu. Dressed with Chinese mustard dressing and candied cashews, it’s a light and tasty dish that shows up across the Puck empire, even in airports — for good reason. Many of Puck’s small plates are inspired by traditional dim sum but while the names of the dishes may sound familiar, the interpretations are not. The brilliant sea scallops “sui mai,” featuring steamed packets of chopped scallop, depart from the usual thanks to an intense saffron cream sauce. Bao buns take on a new level of sophistication by incorporating open-faced crispy duck.There’s also a dazzling array of dumplings, with ingredients ranging from organic chicken and wild field mushrooms to garlic chive stuffed with King crab to Kurobuta pork and Chinese mustard. In a nod to more traditional brunch fare, the Source offers sautéed Maryland crab
Continued from previous page cake Benedict and a lobster club sandwich served intriguingly on a whole grain, dried berry bread. Another choice, the Kobe beef hash, is heavier on the potato than the meat. While the savory dishes are uniformly delicious, the desserts are nothing short of spectacular.The sheer list is tempting: passion-fruit cheesecake, ginger-scented panna cotta, warm blueberry crumble, 15-layer carrot cake, glazed chocolate hazelnut mousse, and house-made ice creams, gelatos and sorbets. To offer additional dining options, The Source recently began to offer a Japanese Izakaya-style menu on the first floor. Modeled on the menus of traditional Japanese watering holes that offer a greater variety of food than is typically found in bars, it offers sushi, sashimi, noodles and dumplings, and dishes prepared on a traditional Japanese robata grill.
The menu provides diners (in particular visitors to the Newseum who have not come to Source as a destination spot) a chance to sample the talents of the kitchen without the commitment a full meal requires. Like the black and white of newsprint, The Source’s simple design amounts to so much more than the sum of its parts under the creative force of EDG (Engstrom Design Group). Glass and steel, soft neutral leathers and highly polished hard woods create a sleek, modern look that’s accentuated by low lighting and minimal table settings. In homage to the fourth estate, the openness created by the floor-to-ceiling windows and glass walls are meant to signify the transparency of the American press. While the sparkle that came with being a newly opened hotspot has mellowed to a duller gleam over the years, The Source remains elegant and chic — and its two-story wall of wine with more than 2,000
bottles is just as impressive. Service at The Source is confidently unobtrusive, with staff seeming to take a real interest in the food they are serving. The only downfall we’ve observed is the staging that sometimes seems to pose a challenge to the staff; long waits with nothing to eat, then so many plates presented all at once make it hard to enjoy the uniqueness of each one. But what’s remarkable about Source is its consistency.After four years, it’s as polished as ever. Despite the growth of the whole Puck culinary conglomeration, his presence in the nation’s capital hasn’t suffered any decline in quality or appeal, or overexposure for that matter. Perhaps this ability to maintain quality on all fronts is ultimately the source of Puck’s remarkably enduring success. Rachel G. Hunt is the restaurant reviewer for The Washington Diplomat.
PHOTO: MICHAEL BROSILOW
Carrie Coon, left, and Madison Dirks offer solid supporting performances in “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf,” part of the Edward Albee Festival at Arena Stage.
from page 50
Albee from page 51
Stravinsky the Russian elements of the composer’s work and claim his as one of their own. Expanding a night of classical music into a weeklong educational series is another signature Post-Classical element. “At the Post-Classical Ensemble, we are very obsessed with creating several events around a topic,” said Music Director Angel Gil-Ordóñez. “We bring context to the performance, showing that it’s not just about a beautiful piece, but it’s also how it was conceived and under what circumstances.” To that end, the group hosts “Stravinsky on Film” on April 9 with three biographical screenings at the National Gallery of Art. The festival continues April 10 with “Interpreting Stravinsky” at the Strathmore, documenting Stravinsky’s odyssey from Russia to Switzerland to France to California. Gil-Ordóñez and Horowitz hope “The Stravinsky Project” will inspire Washingtonians to learn more about the musical mastermind and look
beyond what they encounter in the theater or hear in a concert hall. “This event is an extended experience,” Gil-Ordóñez said. “We want people to go to the performances and the lectures and become part of a Stravinsky community.” It’s a big goal for a relatively small musical group. But Post-Classical got a major boost in these tight economic times — with arts groups in particular feeling the pinch — when the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation awarded it with a $200,000 grant in January. Gil-Ordóñez called the grant a “big prize” — part of which funded “The Stravinsky Project” — but not so much for the money as for the prestige. He said the grant puts “us at a higher level on the musical scene map” and shows the value of the Post-Classical Ensemble’s unique programming of festivals instead of isolated musical events. “Mellon is attempting to find innovation … and we view ourselves as an experimental laboratory in the symphonic field,” added Horowitz.“In this case, the 15-hour immersion experience and allowing the audience to mingle with the performers and learn more is a new idea. It’s unprecedented. I don’t think anything like this has ever happened in D.C.”
Lisa Troshinsky is the theater reviewer for The Washington Diplomat.
Rachael Bade is a contributing writer for The Washington Diplomat.
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constructed Kogod Cradle, in which Noone strategically places the bare necessities to showcase Albee’s haunting dialogue. “Woolf” is performed in the upgraded, intimate Kreeger Theater, where George and Martha’s frenzied life and living room practically spill out onto the audience. Theirs is a prop master’s dream, a feast for the eyes, and a house cleaner’s nightmare. It is absolutely fitting for Martha’s iconic line,“What a dump!” Leaving the theater, after seeing these masterpieces and voyeuristically witnessing these characters’ violently poignant lives, you’ll know you’ve beheld something horrid, retched, unspeakable and yet, magical. Like it or not, you’ll have succumbed to the Albee spell. But don’t worry — you’ll recover just in time for the next show.
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The Washington Diplomat Page 57
[ film reviews ]
Savagery Among Sons Bullies, Violence Make ‘In a Better World’ Not So Much Better by Ky N. Nguyen
n a Better World,” the latest from PHOTO: LAURENT THURIN NAL / IFC FILMS internationally acclaimed Danish director Susanne Bier (“Things We William Shimell, left, joins the lovely Juliette Binoche Lost in the Fire,”“After the Wedding,” for a tour of Tuscany in Abbas Kiarostami’s “Brothers”), garnered both the “Certified Copy.” Academy Award and Golden between English, French and Italian. Globe for Best Foreign Language She sits in on a lecture by English art historiFilm. “Hævnen,” the Danish title, an and author James Miller (opera star William means “revenge,” which better signShimell) covering original and fraudulent art. posts the elegantly written, somber Noticeably holding considerable attraction for script about spiraling violence in society him, she awkwardly invites him to check out and absentee fathers by Anders Thomas her shop. He makes a brief appearance before Jensen (Bier’s regular collaborator). brusquely stating that he prefers to drive Meanwhile, Bier’s director of photograthrough the countryside before his train departs. phy Morten Søborg strikingly captures She joins him on the road trip, setting up the bright African landscapes, which contrademark Kiarostami scene of talking in a trasts with the more dull if idyllic Danish vehicle in motion. While driving, they argue scenery in the film. over his theories, which infuriate her. Yet that Anton (Mikael Persbrandt), a physiPHOTO: PER ARNESEN / SONY PICTURES CLASSICS doesn’t stop her from blatantly hitting on him. cian serving in an African refugee camp, Due to a miscommunication that she amplifies, tends to patients suffering from the Mikael Persbrandt, left, and Trine Dyrholm star as an estranged couple trying to help their routine horrors of war like starvation eldest son who’s being bullied at school in Susanne Bier’s Oscar-winning “In a Better World.” people confuse him for her husband, which they don’t deny. In fact, they play along as if they were and amputated limbs.The scale of atrocity dramatically rises when pregnant women begin to appear with their bellies cut open, a married couple of many years. As they chat about art, life and love, something shifts, at the depraved result of a sadistic warlord who placed wagers on the sex of the unborn which time it’s clear that they do indeed know each other very well. Now how did that children.Then one day, the evil monster himself ends up as a patient in Anton’s clinic.The just happen? With a Kiarostami enigma, there are no easy answers, but the pleasure is in pondering the puzzle. good doctor naturally wrestles with his Hippocratic Oath, for better or for worse. Anton returns home to his quiet Danish town at Carancho the request of his former wife, Marianne (Trine In a Better World Ambulance-Chasing ‘Carancho’ (Spanish with subtitles; 107 min.) Dyrholm), who’s worried that their older son Elias (Hævnen) Set in Buenos Aires, the enjoyable Argentinean neo-film (Markus Rygaard) is being endlessly bullied in class. Landmark’s E Street Cinema (Danish with subtitles; 119 min.) Elias’s life noticeably improves though with the noir thriller “Carancho,” directed by Pablo Trapero (“Lion’s ★★★★✩ arrival of Christian (William Jøhnk Nielsen), a new Den,” “Rolling Family”) is a guilty pleasure delivering Landmark’s E Street Cinema plenty of violence, sex and black humor. Cinematographer classmate from London whose father Claus (Ulrich Opens Fri., April 8 Thomsen) frequently returns on business. Having Julián Apezteguia’s intrepid, long tracking shots evoke the “Mean Streets” of 1970s Martin Scorsese films. Leads Ricardo Darín (“The Secret in Their Eyes”) recently lost his mother to ★★★★✩ and Martina Gusman (“Lion’s Den”) display strong, compelling cancer, for which he blames chemistry as a star-crossed couple seeking an ounce of hope in his father, Christian takes no prisoners and fights back viciously their lives of despair. against the bullies, taking revenge on Elias’s behalf. In Argentina, traffic accidents are the leading cause of death, But when pacifist Anton takes the boys on a daytrip, he breaks killing more than 8,000 people annually. In response to the road up a fight between his younger son and another boy, whose carnage, a ghoulish industry has sprung up in which doctors and father (Kim Bodnia) then punches Anton for laying hands on his attorneys make a living from the medical and legal expenses that son. Anton loses the boys’ respect for not hitting back. He nonaccumulate afterward. Despite being disbarred, Sosa (Darín) still violent philosophical explanation also doesn’t hold any water hustles as a low-life ambulance chaser who’s called a “carancho,” with the boys. Rather, Christian and Elias take matters into their or vulture. He literally trails sirens to be the first to sign up victims own hands, with tragic results. in the hospital before his competitors get there.The victims themPHOTO: STRAND RELEASING selves barely get a fraction of any insurance, with Sosa getting a Ambulance chaser Ricardo Darín, left, falls for Beautiful Binoche in ‘Certified Copy’ bigger share and the bulk going to The Foundation, his sleazy employers. Legendary Iranian master Abbas Kiarostami (“Taste of Cherry,“ troubled emergency room doctor Martina His work brings him time and again into the presence of beauti”The Wind Will Carry Us”) is world-renowned for his thought- Gusman in “Carancho.” ful thirty-something Luján (Gusman), herself hustling to eke out fully crafted documentary-like features in which reality and a living juggling multiple shifts as a new physician recently fiction tightly intertwine to the point where the two cannot be Certified Copy moved to the big city.When Luján tries to save an accident victim, separated. With “Certified Copy,” he ventures to Italy to make (Copie Conforme) Sosa is often lurking around trying to snare a new client. The his first feature film set outside of Iran. Perhaps Italy provides a (English, French and Italian unlikely couple start a tender romance threatened by the violent refreshing change to the auteur, since the film is far more playwith subtitles; 106 min.) undercurrents of Sosa’s past catching up to him, forcing him to ful than his previous work. Landmark’s Bethesda Row Cinema do rather unpleasant wrongdoings.And Luján’s sleeplessness and Esteemed French actress Juliette Binoche (“Summer Hours,” drug addiction don’t mix too well with emergency life-saving “The English Patient,” “The Unbearable Lightness of Being”) ★★★★✩ surgery. Can they ever escape the muck surrounding them as deservedly won the Best Actress award at Cannes for playing an unnamed single mother who works as an antiquities gallery owner in a Tuscan village.As well as their own misdeeds? Don’t count on it. always, Binoche is a delight to watch, a yummy feast for the eyes. Her slightest movements can effortlessly express a potpourri of emotions. Similarly, she breezily switches Ky N. Nguyen is the film reviewer of The Washington Diplomat.
The Washington Diplomat
[ film interview ]
Refreshing ‘Eyre’ Mia Wasikowska Hops from Burton Wonderland to Brontë Classic
by Ky N. Nguyen
We all had similar ideas of who Jane was and what was important to bring out in the story. I liked the idea of bringing out a darker side — and also a younger side.
ia Wasikowska (whose name derives from her Polish mother),a native of Canberra, Australia, was plucked from relative obscurity to be proclaimed Forbes Magazine’s top grossing actress in 2010. That surprising crown was earned largely — MIA WASIKOWSKA thanks to her portrayal of Lewis Carroll’s star of ‘Jane Eyre’ iconic heroine Alice in Tim Burton’s blockbuster “Alice in Wonderland,” which grossed $1.03 billion worldwide, second only to home after a film where I had no school. Christopher Nolan’s “Inception.” The low-key So I made a list of books I was going to 21-year-old actress also appeared in Lisa read, and ‘Jane Eyre’ was on it,” she continCholodenko’s American indie hit, “The Kids ued.“I think I was on the fifth chapter, and Are All Right,” which added $29 million in box I e-mailed my agent. I was like, ‘This is office (a perfectly respectable return on a $4 great! Is there a script around?” million budget). Wasikowska gained critically Her agent said she’d look around.“Then, favorable notice as Joni, part of Cholodenko’s within a month or two later, she e-mailed PHOTO: LAURIE SPARHAM / FOCUS FEATURES stellar ensemble cast (including Annette me back. ‘Here’s the script and the direcBening, Julianne Moore and Mark Ruffalo) that Mia Wasikowska delivers a quietly powerful performance as Charlotte Brontë’s eponymous tor would like to meet you.’ So it was gathered a slew of nominations and awards. really kind of a case of great timing,” heroine in “Jane Eyre.” Wasikowska is back in movie theaters as Wasikowska said. the eponymous lead of “Jane Eyre,” a classically told specialty adaptation (BBC/Focus) The actress has generally won over critics with her portrayal, capturing Jane Eyre’s of Charlotte Brontë’s novel with modern elements by Japanese-American director Cary quiet fortitude with an “illuminating stillness,” as Time magazine put it. Wasikowska, Jôji Fukunaga (also see “Masterful Governess” film review in last month’s issue of The unadorned like the protagonist she plays, in part credits reading the classic to get a Washington Diplomat).Wasikowska shares the screen with German-Irish actor Michael better understanding of the complex heroine. Fassbender (“Inglourious Basterds”) as the domineering Rochester and British living “I like to just read it a lot of times. Especially when you’re dealing with language legend Dame Judi Dench as the kindly Mrs. Fairfax. that’s period language,” she says,“it’s a language we don’t use anymore, so it’s important At the Waldorf Astoria in Manhattan, Wasikowska mused about how she went from that it feels natural, it’s inside you somewhere. I like to read it a lot and also know it playing Alice, one of the most famous heroines in English literature, to another iconic very well because with the research you build a framework of the character. And then heroine: Brontë’s long-suffering young English governess who has complete confi- you further it with yourself and your own experiences and your emotions. dence in her abilities and self-worth. “For people who don’t know the story, you’re instantly drawn into it and want to “Yeah, I feel really, really lucky.They are roles that have been through generations and know what’s going on,” Wasikowska told us. “The challenge — when you are doing a who people have connected to over a number of years. So, yeah, it’s a huge deal to take book that is Jane’s internal monologue from start to finish — is to bring that richness them on, and I feel lucky to have been trusted with them.And it also sort of makes you across to the screenplay. But of course, you can’t have her talking all the time. It’s sort of the target of the bull’s eye, but it’s good fun though,” she said, laughing. See FILM INTERVIEW, page 61 “I’d just finished ‘Alice.’ I’d just gone home to Australia. It was the first time I’d gone
by Washington Diplomat film reviewer Ky N. Nguyen
Please see International Film Clips on the next page for detailed listings available at press time.
AMERICAN FILM INSTITUTE (AFI) SILVER THEATRE Don’t miss weeklong revivals of Bernardo Bertolucci’s “The Conformist” (April 1-7), Pier Paolo Pasolini’s “Mamma Roma” (April 1-7), Michelangelo Antonioni’s “My Girlfriends” (April 8-14) and Jean Luc-Godard’s “Every Man for Himself” (April 8-14) as well as the 25th anniversary rerelease of Claude Lanzmann’s monumental Holocaust documentary “Shoah” (April 2-10). (301) 495-6700, www.afi.com/silver
FREER GALLERY OF ART The Ninth Annual National Cherry Blossom Festival Anime Marathon on April 2 kicks off with Hayao Miyazaki’s “Kiki’s Delivery Service” (2 p.m.) and runs throughout the day. The Korean Film Festival DC
2011 (April 8-May 22) starts with a bang: Jang Hun’s “Secret Reunion” (April 8, 7 p.m.), which stars Song Kang-ho (“The Host,” “The Good, The Bad, the Weird”) in a melodramatic comedy espionage caper. (202) 357-2700, www.asia.si.edu/events/films.asp
NATIONAL GALLERY OF ART “A Season of Rohmer” (April 3-May 29) showcases comedies of manner by Eric Rohmer (1920-2010), the verbose French filmmaker often compared to Henry James, Jane Austen and Stendhal. He was a founding member of the French Nouvelle Vague, but he clearly differed from all the rest. According to film critic Roger Ebert, “A Rohmer film is a flavor that, once tasted, cannot be mistaken.” The series starts with 1959’s “The Sign of Leo,” Rohmer’s first Nouvelle Vague feature, after which the com-
plete retrospective of all his existing work unwinds at the National Gallery, the American Film Institute Silver Theatre and La Maison Française. “Richard Dindo: Artists, Writers, Rebels” (April 1-18) looks at the distinguished Swiss documentarian’s work, which includes biographies of Ernesto “Che” Guevara, Arthur Rimbaud and poet Breyten Breytenbach. (202) 842-6799, www.nga.gov/programs/film
GOETHE-INSTITUT “Helke Sander in Focus” (through April 18) presents documentaries and features by the noted German feminist filmmaker. “ShortCourts-Kurz” (April 9) showcases three hours of new short films from Germany and France. (202) 289-1200, www.goethe.de/ins/us/was/kue/flm/enindex.htm
The Washington Diplomat Page 59
[ film ]
CINEMA LISTING *Unless specific times are listed, please check the theater for times. Theater locations are subject to change.
circumcised at age 3 and sold into marriage at 13 who fled Africa and went on to become an American supermodel and U.N. spokeswoman against circumcision. (English and Somali)
Directed by Filip Renc (Czech Republic, 2005, 95 min.)
A 20-something women’s magazine editor and her widowed mother cross paths in their search for Mr. Right in this awardwinning romantic comedy.
Sat., April 9, 1:15 p.m.
Directed by Alfred Hitchcock (U.S., 1940, 130 min.)
Pacific. [Screens with “Aragon, the Book of Matisse” (2003, 52 min.)]
A Stravinsky Portrait
National Gallery of Art Fri., April 1, 2:30 p.m., Fri., April 8, 2:30 p.m., Fri., April 15, 2:30 p.m.
Dial M for Murder Directed by Alfred Hitchcock (U.S., 1954, 105 min.)
AFI Silver Theatre April to June
An ex-tennis pro carries out a plot to murder his wife, but when things go awry, he improvises a brilliant plan B.
Directed by Richard Leacock and Rolf Liebermann (U.S., 1966, 55 min.) This documentary follows composer and conductor Igor Stravinsky at his homes in California, London and Hamburg as he conducts an orchestra rehearsal. (English, French and German; screens with “Stravinsky: Once at a Border”)
Directed by Carlos Saldanha (Brazil/Canada/U.S., 2011, 92 min.)
National Gallery of Art Sat., April 9, 4:45 p.m.
AFI Silver Theatre April to June
When Blu, a domesticated macaw from small-town Minnesota, meets the fiercely independent Jewel, he takes off on an adventure to Rio de Janeiro with this bird of his dreams.
The Avalon Theatre Thu., April 21, 8 p.m.
A 16-year-old raised by her father in the wilds of Finland to be the perfect assassin is dispatched on a mission across Europe, and tracked by a ruthless intelligence agent and her operatives. (English and French)
Theater TBA Opens Fri., April 15
Theater TBA Opens Fri., April 8
When Robert, an inanimate tire, discovers his destructive telepathic powers, he soon sets his sights on a desert town and a mysterious woman who becomes his obsession.
In a Better World (Hævnen) Directed by Susanne Bier (Denmark/Sweden, 2010, 113 min.)
The lives of two Danish families cross each other, and an extraordinary but risky friendship forces everyone to come to terms with the complexity of human emotions, pain and empathy. (Danish, Swedish and English) Landmark’s E Street Cinema Opens Fri., April 8
Directed by Joe Wright (U.S./U.K./Germany, 2011)
I Am Directed by Tom Shadyac (U.S., 2010, 80 min.)
Director Tom Shadyac speaks with intellectual and spiritual leaders about what’s wrong with our world and how we can improve both it and the way we live in it. Landmark’s E Street Cinema
Winter in Wartime (Oorlogswinter) Directed by Martin Koolhoven (Netherlands/Belgium, 2008, 103 min.)
Near the end of World War II, a 14-year-old boy becomes involved with the Resistance after coming to the aid of a wounded British soldier. (Dutch, English and German) Theater TBA Opens Fri., April 15
Jane Eyre Directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga (U.K., 2011, 115 min.)
A mousy governess who softens the heart of her employer soon discovers that he’s hiding a terrible secret in Charlotte Bronte’s classic tale. AFI Silver Theatre Opens Fri., April 1 Landmark’s E Street Cinema
Kiki’s Delivery Service (Majo no takkyûbin)
Directed by Hayao Miyazaki (Japan, 1989, 103 min.)
Directed by Alastair Fothergill and Keith Scholey (U.S., 2011)
This magical tale from anime master Hayao Miyazaki tells the story of a 13-year-old witch-in-training and her talking cat.
This Disney-produced nature documentary centers on two cat families and how they teach their cubs the ways of the wild.
Freer Gallery of Art Sat., April 2, 11 a.m.
Theater TBA Opens Fri., April 22
Bhutto Directed by Duane Baughman and Johnny O’Hara (U.S./U.K., 2010, 111 min.)
The life of the late Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, who broke through the Islamic glass ceiling in a story of Shakespearean dimensions, is explored in this powerful documentary. Washington DCJCC Sun., April 3, 3 p.m.
Desert Flower Directed by Sherry Horman (U.K./Germany/Austria, 2009, 124 min.)
The autobiography follows a Somali nomad
The Washington Diplomat
When a naive young woman marries a rich widower and settles into his gigantic mansion, she finds the memory of the first wife maintains a powerful grip on her husband and the servants.
Landmark’s E Street Cinema
From Subway with Love (Román pro zeny)
THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT
Directed by Julian Schnabel (France/Israel/Italy/India, 2010, 112 min.)
An orphaned Palestinian girl growing up in the wake of Arab-Israeli war finds herself drawn into the conflict. Landmark’s E Street Cinema Opens Fri., April 1
Notorious Directed by Alfred Hitchcock (U.S., 1946, 101 min.)
Ingrid Bergman is asked to spy on a group of suspected Nazi collaborators in South America, while Cary Grant is the U.S. government agent worried she may be going too far with the ruse. AFI Silver Theatre April to June
Rubber Directed by Quentin Dupieux (France, 2010, 85 min.)
French Arthur Rimbaud, a Biography (Arthur Rimbaud, une Biographie) Directed by Richard Dindo (France/Switzerland, 1991, 143 min.) In one of Richard Dindo’s landmark documentaries, symbolist poet Arthur Rimbaud’s turbulent career, drug addictions and early death are framed through interviews with his family and friends. National Gallery of Art Sat., April 23, 1 p.m.
Theater TBA Opens Fri., April 15
Certified Copy (Copie conforme)
Shadow of a Doubt
Directed by Abbas Kiarostami (France/Italy/Iran)
Directed by Alfred Hitchcock (U.S., 1943, 108 min.)
A young woman discovers her visiting “Uncle Charlie” may not be the man he seems to be. AFI Silver Theatre April to June
Shoah Directed by Claude Lanzmann (France, 1985, Part 1: 273 min., Part II: 292 min.)
Twelve years in the making, Claude Lanzmann’s monumental epic on the Holocaust features not only historical footage but interviews with survivors, bystanders and perpetrators that “reincarnate” the Jewish tragedy. (English, German, Hebrew, Polish, Yiddish and French) AFI Silver Theatre Part 1: Sat., April 2, 1 p.m.,
Sun., April 3, 4:30 p.m.
In Tuscany to promote his latest book, a middle-age English writer meets a French woman who leads him on a tour of the countryside, during which he is mistaken for her husband so the two keep up the pretense of being married. (French, Italian and English) Landmark’s E Street Cinema
Every Man for Himself (Sauve Qui Peut (La Vie))
AFI Silver Theatre April 8 to 14
A psychotic socialite confronts a tennis star with a theory on how two complete strangers can get away with murder. AFI Silver Theatre April to June
A present-day variant on the country mouse and city mouse fable, this film follows the friendship of two young girls — a naïve young painter from the provinces and a worldly-wise student from Paris.
Stravinsky: Once at a Border
National Gallery of Art Sat., April 30, 2:30 p.m.
National Gallery of Art
The Marsdreamers (Les rêveurs de Mars) Directed by Richard Dindo (Switzerland/France, 2010, 83 min.)
In Southern California’s Mojave Desert, members of the Mars Society — a loosely connected group of people who live modestly but spend time planning a better life on the Red Planet — don homemade spacesuits and wander the Mojave. (French and English) National Gallery of Art Sat., April 16, 2:30 p.m.
Potiche Directed by François Ozon (France, 2010, 103 min.)
When her husband is taken hostage by his striking employees, a trophy wife (Catherine Deneuve) takes the reins of the family business and proves to be a remarkably effective leader. Theater TBA Opens Fri., April 22
Directed by Eric Rohmer (France, 1959, 90 min.)
Directed by Alfred Hitchcock (U.S., 1951, 101 min.)
This autobiographical film about one of the most influential composers of the 20th century includes documents, photographs and footage never show before publically as part of Post-Classical Ensemble’s “The Stravinsky Project.” (Screens with “A Stravinsky Portrait”)
Landmark’s E Street Cinema
A TV director — divorced, separated from his current girlfriend and slipping into a midlife crisis — meets a prostitute and takes her on as a tenant, while she takes him as a client.
Directed by Eric Rohmer (France, 1987, 95 min.)
Directed by Tony Palmer (U.K., 1982, 166 min.)
Eight French Christian monks live in harmony with their Muslim brothers in a monastery perched in the mountains of North Africa in the 1990s, but when a crew of foreign workers is massacred by an Islamic fundamentalist group, the monks must decide whether to stay or leave.
The Sign of Leo (Le Signe du Lion)
Strangers on a Train
Sun., April 10, 3:30 p.m.
Directed by Xavier Beauvois (France, 2010, 120 min.)
Directed by Jean-Luc Godard (France, 1980, 87 min.)
Four Adventures of Reinette and Mirabelle (Quatre Aventures de Reinette et Mirabelle)
Part II: Sat., April 9, 1 p.m.
Of Gods and Men (Des hommes et des dieux)
An American musician living high on the hog in Paris loses a grand inheritance and tries to make ends meet with help from his friends. [French, Italian and English; preceded by “Nadja à Paris” (1964, 13 min.)] National Gallery of Art Sun., April 3, 4:30 p.m.
A Tale of Autumn (Conte d’Automne) Directed by Eric Rohmer (France, 1998, 112 min.)
A middle-age wine producer and bookseller, good friends since childhood, become mixed up in a hopeless muddle when an outsider attempts to become the winemaker’s matchmaker. National Gallery of Art Sun., April 24, 4:30 p.m.
Gauguin in Tahiti and the Marquesas (Gauguin à Tahiti et aux Marquises)
A Tale of Springtime (Conte de Printemps)
Directed by Richard Dindo (France, 2010, 68 min.)
Directed by Eric Rohmer (France, 1990, 108 min.)
Paul Gauguin’s letters and other writings are paired with paintings and the settings that motivated them in this documentary chronicling the artist’s journey to the South
A philosophy teacher whose fiancé is away finds herself moving into a new living arrangement where her involvements with the present occupants of the household
turn curiously convoluted.
(Japan, 1968, 99 min.)
National Gallery of Art Sun., April 10, 4:30 p.m.
In war-torn medieval Japan, a demon is ripping out the throats of samurai in the grove beyond, so the governor sends a fearless war hero to confront the spirit, but what he finds are two beautiful women (who look just like his lost mother and wife.
A Tale of Summer (Conte d’Été) Directed by Eric Rohmer (France, 1996, 113 min.)
A guitar-toting math graduate goes on vacation on the Brittany coast without the girl he’s in love with, and strikes up a friendship with an intriguing waitress/ graduate student. National Gallery of Art Sat., April 30, 4:30 p.m.
A Tale of Winter (Conte d’Hiver) Directed by Eric Rohmer (France, 1992, 114 min.)
A woman who lost the love of her life after a whirlwind holiday romance due to a simple blunder years earlier forever keeps the faith that one day he will return. National Gallery of Art Sun., April 17, 4 p.m.
Filmfest DC The 25th Annual Washington, DC International Film Festival runs April 7 to 17. The opening night gala features the Washington premiere of “Potiche,” a French farce with legends Gérard Depardieu and Catherine Deneuve. The closing night showcases the Swedish comedy, “Sound of Noise.“ “Nordic Lights” (highlighting new Scandinavian cinema) and “New South Korean Cinema” comprise 2011’s geographic regions of focus. Other special series include “Circle Award,” “Global Rhythms” and “Justice Matters.” (202) 234-3456, www.filmfestdc.org
Landmark’s E Street Cinema
Freer Gallery of Art Sun., April 24, 3 p.m.
Old Partner (Wonangsori)
Directed by Satoshi Kon (Japan, 2006, 90 min.)
Directed by Lee Chung-ryoul (South Korea, 2008, 78 min.)
In director Satoshi Kon’s final film, a machine that allows people to enter one another’s dreams is stolen and the chaos that results is a breathtaking meditation on the nature of consciousness.
In this touching documentary depicting traditional rural life in Korea, an octogenarian farmer lives out his final days with his long-suffering wife and his loyal ox — who ploughs his fields but is also his best friend.
Freer Gallery of Art Sat., April 2, 7:30 p.m.
The Place Promised in Our Early Days (Kumo no mukô, yakusoku no basho) Directed by Makoto Shinkai (Japan, 2004, 90 min.)
(Greece, 1992, 108 min.)
Liberators Take Liberties, Part I and Part II (BeFreier und BeFreite)
Three stories about life in Athens in August are linked by loneliness, the need for human contact and the full moon. (Greek and French)
Two teenagers grow up in an imagined version of Japan that’s divided between the United States and a mysterious organization known as “The Union” in this beautifully detailed anime film.
Directed by Helke Sander (Germany, 1991, Part I: 94 min., Part II: 111 min.)
The Avalon Theatre Wed., April 6, 8 p.m.
Freer Gallery of Art Sat., April 2, 4:30 p.m.
After 46 years of silence, women who were raped by Red Army soldiers at the end of World War II talk for the first time publicly about the violent incidents that permanently scarred them. The second part of this controversial documentary explores the lasting ramifications of the attacks on the women and the resulting children.
Goethe-Institut Part I: Mon., April 11, 6:30 p.m., Part II: Mon., April 18, 6:30 p.m.
In the Midst of the Malestream Disputes on Strategy in the New Women’s Movement (Mitten im Malestream)
The Conformist (Il conformista)
Directed by Bernardo Bertolucci (Italy/France/West Germany, 1970, 115 min.) During the fascism of the 1930s, a bourgeois Italian man undertakes a desperate quest to belong — ultimately discovering that demonic conformity is the surest route to depravity. (Italian, French and Latin)
Directed by Yang Ik-june (South Korea, 2008, 130 min.)
AFI Silver Theatre April 1 to 7
This documentary explores the theory that many women want to have children, but choose to remain childless due to inflexible societal structures.
Directed by Michelangelo Antonioni (Italy, 1955, 104 min)
Told in a series of flashbacks, two friends and would-be womanizers reminisce over drinks and discover they once unknowingly spent a weekend in the same place, at the same time, and met their match in a highstrung tour guide.
Directed by Richard Dindo (Switzerland/France, 2006, 98 min.)
I Saw the Devil (Akmareul boatda)
Directed by Pier Paolo Pasolini (Italy, 1962, 110 min.)
Directed by Kim Jee-woon (South Korea, 2010, 141 min.)
A middle-age prostitute attempts to extricate herself from her sordid past for the sake of her son.
A dangerous psychopath kills the pregnant fiancée of an elite special agent, who, obsessed with revenge, decides to track down the murderer, even if doing so means becoming a monster himself. Landmark’s E Street Cinema
Quiet Days of August (Isyhes meres tou Avgoustou)
Directed by Pantelis Voulgaris
Directed by Kaneto Shindô
Poetry (Shi) Directed by Lee Chang-dong (South Korea, 2010, 139 min.)
A 60-something grandmother in the early stages of Alzheimer’s, faced with the discovery of a heinous family crime, finds strength and purpose when she enrolls in a poetry class.
Possessed (aka Disbelief Hell / Bool-sin-ji-ok)
Directed by Jang Hun (South Korea, 2010, 116 min.)
A North Korean spy and a South Korean spy chaser — former adversaries who were both abandoned by their countries — meet by chance years later and form a tense business partnership, each concealing their past identities from the other. Freer Gallery of Art Fri., April 8, 7 p.m.
Spanish Carancho Directed by Pablo Trapero (Argentina/Chile/France/South Korea, 2010, 107 min.)
This film noir thriller exposes the medical and legal industries that profit from the deaths of the more than 8,000 people killed every year in road accidents in Argentina. Landmark’s E Street Cinema Opens Fri., April 1
La Leyenda de la Nahuala (The Legend of the Nahuala) Directed by Ricardo Arnaiz (Mexico, 2007, 78 min.)
In this animated children’s film, it is the Day of the Dead in Mexico and a 9-year-old boy must rescue his older brother who’s been captured by the ancient evil spirit Nahuala. GALA Hispanic Theatre Sat., April 16, 3 p.m.
Manuelita Directed by Manuel García Ferré (Argentina, 1999, 86 min.)
A young girl turtle who gets lost on a balloon trip in this animated tale based on a character that is as famous in Argentina as Winnie the Pooh is in the United States. GALA Hispanic Theatre Sat., April 30, 3 p.m.
Hee-jin rushes home from college when her younger sister So-jin mysteriously disappears, but gets little help from her ultra-religious mother or the skeptical police. But when her neighbors start committing suicide in increasingly gruesome ways, it becomes clear that something supernatural is afoot.
Valentino y el Clan del Can (Valentino and the “Can Clan”)
Freer Gallery of Art Fri., April 15, 7 p.m.
GALA Hispanic Theatre Sat., April 23, 3 p.m.
Directed by Wendy Ramos (Peru, 2008, 105 min.)
Valentino is a brave puppy that gets separated from his family but makes new friends with the “Can Clan” on the street and joins the circus.
Sun., April 17, 2 p.m.
AFI Silver Theatre April 8 to 14
Freer Gallery of Art Fri., April 29, 7 p.m.
Secret Reunion (Ui-hyeong-je)
Freer Gallery of Art
Who Was Kafka? (Wer war Kafka?)
AFI Silver Theatre April 1 to 7
Set in a grim suburb of Seoul called Paju, a woman returns home after several years away to confront her brother-in-law about the mysterious death of her sister years ago.
Directed by Lee Yong-ju (South Korea, 2009, 106 min.)
Directed by Hong Sang-soo (South Korea, 2010, 115 min.)
National Gallery of Art Sat., April 16, 12 p.m.
Directed by Park Chan-ok (South Korea, 2009, 111 min.)
Freer Gallery of Art Sun., April 10, 2 p.m.
The Girlfriends (Le Amiche)
Set in Prague, this documentary is a biographical portrait of renowned writer Franz Kafka as told by his family, lovers and friends.
Freer Gallery of Art Fri., April 22, 7 p.m.
Directed by Helke Sander (Germany, 2005, 92 min.)
Goethe-Institut Mon., April 4, 6:30 p.m.
Freer Gallery of Art Sun., April 24, 1 p.m.
A terrifyingly brutal debt collector stumbles into a friendship with a high school girl from a wildly dysfunctional family, who proves to be just as tough as he is.
Fashion designer Clelia, just returned from Rome to her hometown of Turin to open a boutique, gets swept up in the glamour and excitement of her suicidal friend’s fashionable set of friends.
A young film student has affairs with her professor and a fellow student, but unlike typical romance films, the chronology of events are shuffled to emphasize the alternately humorous and heartbreaking trajectories of each relationship.
Oki’s Movie (Ok-hui-ui yeonghwa) Directed by Hong Sang-soo (South Korea, 2010, 80 min.)
from page 59
Film Interview like how do you keep her inner curiosity? It’s a challenge to convey everything because it’s not there in words. “I feel like that’s one of the cool things about it,” she added.“We all had similar ideas of who Jane was and what was important to bring out in the story. I liked the idea of bringing out a darker side — and also a younger side. Jane was 18. I think I was 20
when I did the role. So I was already two years older. She’s really a teenager. She is a teenager like any other teenager now.” On that note,Wasikowska describes the Victorian-era governess as a “very modern character. I feel like if you put her in our society now, she would thrive, which is why she has lived for such a long time. People keep connecting to her.” Ky N. Nguyen is the film reviewer for The Washington Diplomat.
The Washington Diplomat Page 61
[ around town ]
EVENTS LISTING **Admission is free unless otherwise noted. All information on event venues can be found on The Diplomat Web site at www.washdiplomat. com. Times and locations are subject to change. Unless listed, please call venue for specific event times and hours of operation.
ART April 2 to May 15
BRAVOS: Groundbreaking Spanish Design With artists such as Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dali, Spain was already renowned for its art in the 20th century. But after the conversion to democracy, Spain also moved to the forefront of contemporary product and furniture design, as seen in the 21 young avant-garde designers featured in this show. American Univeristy Katzen Arts Center Through April 4
Latvian Art in Exile: 1944-1950 Paintings and drawings by refugee artists from Latvia, done in post-World War II Germany, reflect the creativity that sprung during a time when Latvian refugees came to terms with their decision to flee their homeland, turning to artwork in difficult camp conditions. For information, visit www.latvia-usa.org. Embassy of Latvia Through April 8
Trent Parke: Borderlands Unsettling, sensual and brooding, more than 50 photographs created during a two-year, 55,000-mile journey through Australia demonstrate why Trent Parke — the first Australian to become a full member of the renowned Magnum Photo Agency — is one of the most innovative young photographers of his generation. (Photo ID required for entrance.) Embassy of Australia Gallery April 8 to July 30
Tom Wesselmann Draws This marks the most comprehensive exhibition of drawings by Tom Wesselmann, a brilliant colorist and innovator who in the 1960s was one of the key leaders in the pop art movement alongside Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein. The Kreeger Museum April 13 to June 18
Beyond the Labyrinth: Latin American Art and the FEMSA Collection This wide-ranging display features 50 works by some of the most renowned Latin American artists of the past century, including Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, David Alfaro Siqueiros, Rufino Tamayo, Roberto Matta and Fernando Botero, from an internationally renowned collection that spans cubism, surrealism, landscape, abstractionism and contemporary art. Mexican Cultural Institute April 17 to July 24
Gabriel Metsu 1629–1667 One of the most important Dutch genre painters of the mid-17th century, Gabriel Metsu captured ordinary moments of life with a freshness and spontaneity that was
The Washington Diplomat
matched by his ability to depict materials with an unerring truth to nature.
THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT ing through the late 1970s. Meridian International Center
National Gallery of Art
offer a rare insider’s view of day-to-day life in the Soviet Union before the Cold War. Hillwood Estate, Museum and Gardens
Through May 14 April 23 to May 22
Beyond Home Remedy: Women, Medicine, and Science
Through May 30
The Corcoran presents this dynamic, interactive and innovative exhibition featuring the thesis work of the senior students in the bachelor of fine arts program at the Corcoran College of Art + Design.
In this fascinating look at historic medicine concocted by women in Shakespeare’s England, this exhibition highlights women at all levels of society — from the Countess of Kent to Mrs. Anne Coates — who were known to practice medicine.
Corcoran Gallery of Art
Folger Shakespeare Library
Through April 29
Through May 15
Venice inspired a school of competitive painters whose achievements are among the most brilliant in 18th-century art. This exhibition celebrates the rich variety of these Venetian views, known as vedute, through some 20 masterworks by Canaletto and more than 30 by his rivals. (Part of “La Dolce DC,” a citywide series of events celebrating Italy)
Approximate Landscape (Ungefähre Landschaft Superficies)
Blinky Palermo: Retrospective 1964-1977
National Gallery of Art
Though long celebrated throughout Europe, the influential postwar German-born painter Blinky Palermo has mostly escaped America’s notice even though he continually expanded the definition of painting throughout his career. This exhibition marks the first comprehensive survey of his work in the United States.
Through June 5
NEXT at the Corcoran: BFA Class of 2011
In Christoph Engel’s photographs, golf courses in a barren, rocky landscape start to look like the palm of an outstretched hand — abstractions that visualize the grave consequences of human interventions into nature and the transformation of entire swaths of land pushed to the brink of ecological catastrophe. Goethe-Institut
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden Through May 15
Venice: Canaletto and His Rivals
Gauguin: Maker of Myth Paul Gauguin’s sumptuous, colorful images of Brittany and the islands of the South Seas are among nearly 120 works in the first major look at the artist’s oeuvre in the United States since the blockbuster 1988 National Gallery of Art retrospective “The Art of Paul Gauguin.”
Through Dec. 4
Artists in Dialogue 2: Sandile Zulu and Henrique Oliveira The second in a series of exhibitions in which two artists are invited to create new works — each inspired by, and in response to the other — this installment features Sandile Zulu, who lives in Johannesburg, and Henrique Oliveira, who lives in Sao Paolo, and their site-specific works composed of unlikely materials such as weathered wood and fire. National Museum of African Art Through December 2011
African Mosaic A towering, striking sculpture of Haitian leader Toussaint Louverture by contemporary Senegalese artist Ousmane Sow is the centerpiece of this exhibition of important acquisitions over the last decade, including more than 100 traditional and contemporary works, some never before on display. National Museum of African Art
National Gallery of Art
Through April 29
David Smith Invents
Through July 17
April 6 to 10
David Smith (1906-65), one of the country’s most celebrated sculptors, was the first American sculptor to make welded steel sculpture, infusing this industrial material with a fluidity and imaginative creativity that is at once beautiful and muscular. The Phillips showcases pivotal moments in Smith’s illustrious career, revealing the evolution of his personal aesthetic.
The Orchid in Chinese Painting
Coinciding with the National Museum of Natural History’s annual orchid show, the Sackler presents 20 works related to orchids in Chinese painting, ranging in date from the 15th to the 19th century.
The Washington Ballet performs this swashbuckling adventure of pirates, panshas and the slave girls who love them in this new production of the 19th-century classic by Marius Petipa. Tickets are $20 to $125.
To mark the 52nd Annual Meeting of Governors of the Inter-American Development Bank in Calgary, Alberta, in March, the IDB Cultural Center pays tribute to Canada by showcasing 12 printmakers from different regions in Canada whose multicultural backgrounds exemplify the fascinating cultural spectrum of Canada today. Inter-American Development Bank Cultural Center
The Phillips Collection Through May 15
Through May 1
Philip Guston, Roma
Cyprus: Crossroads of Civilizations
From the films of Federico Fellini to the vestiges of ancient Rome and the works of Italian masters, Philip Guston (1913-80) drew inspiration throughout his career from Italian art and culture. This exhibition of 39 paintings is the first to examine work Guston completed as an artist-in-residence at the American Academy in Rome in the early 1970s. (Part of “La Dolce DC,” a citywide series of events celebrating Italy)
Cyprus, the eastern-most island in the Mediterranean Sea, situated at the crossroads of Europe, Asia and Africa, has been a meeting point for many of the world’s great civilizations. Presented on the country’s 50th anniversary of independence, “Crossroads” features more than 200 artifacts — covering nearly 11,000 years of history — from the earliest villages to masterpieces of medieval religious art.
Charlotte Gyllenhammar’s thoughtprovoking photographic series is a gravitydefying journey that depicts women hanging upside down within the confines of their clothing in surrealistic states of vulnerability and weightlessness. House of Sweden Through May 8
In Small Things Remembered: The Early Years of U.S.-Afghan Relations More than 100 reproductions of photographs and documents culled from private and public archives around the United States and Afghanistan — created for the State Department and U.S. Embassy in Kabul, the exhibit — offer an in-depth chronicle of the relationship between the two countries beginning with initial contacts in the early 20th century and continu-
Through July 24
Word, Shout, Song: Lorenzo Dow Turner Connecting Community through Language
Through April 15
Lorenzo Dow Turner’s foundational work in the 1930s established that people of African heritage, despite slavery, had retained and passed on their cultural identity through words, music and story wherever they landed. Features of the exhibition include rare audio recordings, photographs and artifacts from Turner’s linguistic explorations into the African Diaspora. Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum Through July 31
Through May 22
Hang by Charlotte Gyllenhammar
Kennedy Center Eisenhower Theater
Francophonie 2011 Cultural Festival This annual extravaganza celebrating the cultural diversity of the Francophone (French-speaking) world features concerts, film, literary salons, seminars and other events. Highlights include a cutting-edge “Discothèque” at the National Postal Museum after hours on April 15. For information, visit http://francophoniedc.org or www.HouseofFranceDC.org. Various locations
The Phillips Collection
National Museum of Natural History Through May 1
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
Eye Wonder: Photography from the Bank of America Collection By selecting offbeat subjects, shooting intense close-ups, or manipulating focus and color, the artists featured in “Eye Wonder” have created dreamy and often haunting photographic images from 1865 to today, sharing a universal understanding that photographs offer an illusion of reality that is as subjective a means of expression as other visual art forms. National Museum of Women in the Arts
Echoes of the Past: The Buddhist Cave Temples of Xiangtangshan Majestic sixth-century Chinese Buddhist sculpture is combined with 3D imaging technology in this exploration of one of the most important groups of Buddhist devotional sites in early medieval China: the Buddhist cave temples of Xiangtangshan carved into the mountains of northern China — home to a magnificent array of sculptures, from monumental Buddhas and divine attendant figures to crouching monsters framed by floral motifs. Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
Through May 29
A Photographic Journey of the Ambassador’s Daughter: Moscow, 2937-38 While life in 1930s Moscow was a mystery to the outside world, special diplomatic access was granted to Emlen Knight Davies, daughter of U.S. Ambassador Joseph E. Davies, whose large photographic prints — 30 of which are seen here —
April 15 to 17
DC Tap Festival The DC Tap Festival offers more than 30 classes for tappers at all levels and ages, as well as jam sessions, student showcases, tap history lectures and performances by an array of Grammy- and Emmywinning artists as well groups from all over the world, including Dance Works of Taipei, Taiwan’s premier tap dance ensemble. For information, visit www.dctapfestival.com. Various locations Through April 10
National Cherry Blossom Festival
A new exhibition featuring 20 works by groundbreaking contemporary artist Nam June Paik (1923–2006) is the third in a series of shows installed in the Tower Gallery that centers on developments in art since the midcentury.
To commemorate the 1912 gift of 3,000 cherry trees from Mayor Yukio Ozaki of Tokyo to the city of Washington, D.C., this widely anticipated festival offers a series of citywide events, from the popular family day at the National Building Museum to photo safaris around the Tidal Basin. For information, visit www.nationalcherryblossomfestival.org.
National Gallery of Art
Through Oct. 2
In the Tower: Nam June Paik
widely acclaimed play that tells an uncommonly human story with humor and song. Please call for ticket information.
GALAS Sat., April 2, 6 p.m.
WPAS Annual Auction and Gala This year’s Washington Performing Arts Society’s (WPAS) Annual Auction and Gala — to benefit the group’s artistic initiatives and educational programs, including the Embassy Adoption Program — features Grammy winner Roberta Flack, whose legendary career has included hits such as “Killing Me Softly With His Song,” as well as dinner and more than 100 live and silent auction items, all under the diplomatic patronage of Indian Ambassador Meera Shankar. Tickets are $600; for information, call (202) 293-9325 or visit www.wpas.org. Marriott Wardman Park Hotel Wed., April 6, 6:30 p.m.
National Alzheimer’s Gala The eighth annual Alzheimer’s Association’s National Alzheimer’s Gala brings together political, business, philanthropic and social leaders to fight against the disease, including this year’s host, Emmy-winning actor David Hyde Pierce, who will honor the editorial team of “The Shriver Report: A Woman’s Nation Takes on Alzheimer’s.” Tickets are $500; for information, visit www.alz.org/galas/dc. National Building Museum Tue., April 12, 6:30 p.m.
Embassy Chef Challenge Cultural Tourism DC’s annual fundraising benefit, the Embassy Chef Challenge shines a spotlight on one of Washington’s best-kept secrets: the world-class talents of embassy chefs, attracting more than 400 guests, a panel of celebrity judges and renowned chefs from the city’s embassies for this third annual friendly cooking competition. Tickets are $250; sponsorships are also available. For information, visit www.culturaltourismdc.org. The Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center Tue., April 12, 7 p.m.
Brasserie Chic: La Coupole The Alliance Française de Washington hosts this evening of Parisian charm featuring hors d’oeuvres by acclaimed chef JeanPhilippe Bourgueil of the legendary La Coupole brasserie in Paris; music by pianist Marcus Johnson with DJ Young Pulse; and a silent auction of photographs spotlighting water preservation and the historic La Coupole restaurant itself — with proceeds benefiting Rotary Club International. Tickets are $70; for information, visit www.francedc.org. The Washington Club Wed., April 13, 6:30 p.m.
Mexico Rides in to Host Preakness The Embassy of Mexico will serve as the honorary host of the 2011 International Pavilion at the Preakness Stakes, the middle jewel in horse racing’s famed Triple Crown that will be held at the historic Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Md., on May 21. Following the success of the inaugural International Pavilion, hosted by the Spanish Embassy and Ambassador Jorge Dezcallar, the 2011 International Pavilion will invite dignitaries from the diplomatic and international business communities to explore the cultural variety and culinary specialities of Mexico, this year’s featured nation. “Mexico is honored to host the 2011 International Pavilion at the Preakness Stakes Race. The Preakness represents a great opportunity to showcase Mexico’s traditions, rich past and contemporary cutting-edge culture, as well as to acknowledge the hard work and contributions of thousands of Mexicans involved in horse racing and the backstretch throughout the United States,” said Ambassador Arturo Sarukhan, who noted: “I find it only fitting For more information, visit given that it was just in last year’s www.preakness.com. Preakness that Mexican-born Martín García rode ‘Lookin’ at Lucky’ to take the second jewel of the Triple Crown.” The International Pavilion is an invitation-only hospitality
Folger Shakespeare Library
King Lear The seventh installment of Synetic Theater’s “Silent Shakespeare” series is a provocative modern take on one of the Bard’s greatest tragedies, bringing lightness to this dark tale of a king’s descent into madness. Tickets are $40 to $55. Shakespeare Lansburgh Theatre Tue., April 26, 6:30 p.m.
Poetry Slam in French
The International Pavilion welcomes diplomats and other international officials to the annual Preakness Stakes, the middle jewel in horse racing’s famed Triple Crown held at Maryland’s Pimlico Race Course. destination catering to ambassadors, heads of international organizations and prominent business leaders. Tom Chuckas, president of the Maryland Jockey Club, pointed out that in just one year, “The International Pavilion has become the premier destination at Pimlico on Preakness Day, and we are delighted to partner with the Embassy of Mexico and Ambassador Sarukhan in bringing the international community to the annual running of the Preakness.”
Mathieu Barcella, a French poet, songwriter and author, dazzles with his signature mix of song, prose and passion for performance — a spectacle that encourages audience to explore literary license. Tickets are $12. Alliance Française de Washington Through May 22
Art Three friends debate the merits of a costly avant-garde painting, slowly shifting from the theoretical and artistic to the very private and personal, as their close friendship is put to the ultimate test in Yasmine Reza’s scathing dark comedy. Tickets are $50 to $76. Signature Theatre
— Anna Gawel
piano trios in Portugal and D.C. to critical acclaim, performs a spring-inspired repertoire of Beethoven, Haydn and Schubert. Tickets are $50, including reception; for information, visit www.embassyseries.org.
with a wickedly funny tale of pride, beauty, lust and industrial design, illuminating the high-tech war — from China to Silicon Valley — and the human price we pay for our toys. Tickets start at $40.
in a small Irish village are cajoled by their younger sister to tell and retell about their youth and the night that changed their lives (part of “New Ireland: The Enda Walsh Festival”). Tickets are $44 to $65.
Embassy of Austria
Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company
The Studio Theatre
Sat., April 9, 7:30 p.m.
Through April 10
April 22 to June 5
Randy Weston’s African Rhythms Trio
Edward Albee Festival: Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
The week of his 85th birthday, jazz master Randy Weston’s African Rhythms Trio — with Alex Blake on bass and Neil Clarke on African percussion — joins drummer Lewis Nash for this inventive concert combo. Tickets are $30.
As wickedly hilarious today as when it first shocked audiences, “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” is an ingeniously funny play that starts as a verbal sparring match between an older married couple at an impromptu cocktail party and devolves into a no-holds-barred battle of wits and wills. Tickets start at $40.
Kennedy Center Terrace Theater Fri., April 29, 7:30 p.m.
Christian Tetzlaff and Antje Weithaas
Through April 24
Two of Europe’s most innovative and exciting violinists, Christian Tetzlaff and Antje Weithaas, perform an imaginative program of Leclair, Bartók, de Bériot and Ysaÿe. Tickets are $125, including reception; for information, visit www.embassyseries.org. German Residence
THEATER April 6 to May 1
Edward Albee Festival: At Home at the Zoo In this meticulous and nuanced look at the lives of three New Yorkers, an everyday conversation between a husband and wife takes an unexpected turn into dangerously personal territory as American master Edward Albee offers a riveting new drama that expands on The Zoo Story, the one-act that launched his career 50 years ago. Tickets start at $40. Arena Stage
In war-torn Congo, Mama Nadi keeps the peace between customers on both sides of the civil war as she protects and profits from the women under her charge in this
Fri., May 6, 12 p.m.
Embassy Golf Tournament The Washington Diplomat presents the 7th Annual Embassy Golf Tournament — this year under the diplomatic patronage of Canadian Ambassador Gary Doer — a popular day of golf and networking that includes a lunchtime cookout and post-tournament dinner reception with awards and prizes. For more information on the tournament or to purchase tickets, visit www.washdiplomat.com. Cross Creek Golf Club, Md.
CULTURE GUIDE English Conversation Classes Learn English in a friendly and supportive environment. Beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels available. Information about American culture is also included during classes. Convenient location for Embassy personnel. Only $40 for a 10 week course. Sponsored by The Global Neighborhood Center. 3855 Massachusetts Avenue, NW (Christ Church) Washington, DC 20016
The Walworth Farce A family’s Sisyphean games are exposed when a father forces his two sons to reenact their troubled past through crossdressing, slapstick and denial, as a young woman intrudes on their farce, irrevocably changing the family’s life (part of “New Ireland: The Enda Walsh Festival”). Tickets are $44 to $65. The Studio Theatre
Through April 10
An Ideal Husband In Oscar Wilde’s witty social commentary, Sir Robert Chiltern, a well-regarded politician living in wedded bliss (or so he supposes) with his morally upstanding wife, finds his comfortable life challenged when a past crime comes to light and threatens his status as the “ideal husband.” Tickets start at $37.
Fri., April 1, 7:30 p.m.
Through April 10
The Shakespeare Theatre
Mendelssohn Piano Trio: Spring in Vienna
The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs
April 13 to May 1
The Mendelssohn Piano Trio, which recently presented a cycle of complete Beethoven
Mike Daisey pulls back the curtain veiling America’s most mysterious technology icon
Through April 24
2011 Folger Gala The Folger Shakespeare Library’s annual gala — which this year pays tribute to Gail Kern Paster, the library’s director, who will be retiring at the end of June — is its most important fundraiser of the year, providing vital support to the cultural and educational programming the Folger offers to the greater Washington area. Tickets are $600; for information, call (202) 675-0359 visit www.folger.edu.
The New Electric Ballroom
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Two middle-age sisters living together
The Washington Diplomat Page 63
DIPLOMATIC SPOTLIGHT Monaco Works to Prevent Cancer
The Washington Diplomat
From left, Ambassador of Morocco Aziz Mekouar, Madeleine Badia and Foreign Minister of Monaco José Badia attend the Prevent Cancer Foundation’s 17th annual spring gala hosted by Monaco at the National Building Museum.
From left, President and founder of the Prevent Cancer Foundation Carolyn Aldigé; Ambassador of Monaco Gilles Noghès; his wife Ellen, a three-time cancer survivor thanks to early detection; and U.S. Rep. Doris Matsui (D-Calif.), founder of the Congressional Families Cancer Prevention Program, attend the Prevent Cancer Foundation’s 17th annual spring gala, “The Enchanting Principality of Monaco,” at the National Building Museum.
PHOTOS: GAIL SCOTT
From left, Shamim Jawad, a recent cancer survivor, and former Afghan Ambassador Said Tayeb Jawad, now with Johns Hopkins University, join Ambassador of Liechtenstein Claudia Fritsche at the annual spring gala of the Prevent Cancer Foundation, which commits 84 cents of every dollar raised to its research, education and outreach programs.
From left, Ambassador of Uzbekistan Ilhomjon Tuychievich Nematov, U.S. Rep. Ed Royce (R-Calif.), his wife Marie Royce, senior director of international affairs at Alcatel-Lucent, and Deputy Chief of Mission Muzaffar Madrahimov at the Uzbek Embassy attend “The Enchanting Principality of Monaco” gala at the National Building Museum.
Ambassador of Monaco and gala co-host Gilles Noghès, left, dances with U.S. Chief of Protocol Capricia Marshall at the Prevent Cancer Foundation’s spring gala. Established in 1985, the foundation has raised more than $15 million to support cancer research and direct service programs to medically underserved communities.
Promoting Arab Investment
Among the guests at a recent luncheon hosted by the National U.S.-Arab Chamber of Commerce (NUSACC) at the Ritz-Carlton to promote U.S.-Arab investment were, from top row left, Philip Vaughn of Fluor Corp., Libyan Ambassador Ali Aujali, NUSACC President and CEO David Hamod, and Marty Bentrott of the Boeing Co., and bottom row from left, Minister Mohammed Al Rumaihi of Qatar, Jennifer Walto of Chevron, Moroccan Ambassador Aziz Mekouar, Undersecretary of Commerce for International Trade Francisco Sánchez, Omani Ambassador Hunaina Al-Mughairy, Bahraini Ambassador Houda Nonoo, Charles Johnston of Citi, and Hank Tucker of Lockheed Martin Corp.
From left, New York oncologist Dr. Maria Theodoulou, threetime cancer survivor Ellen Noghès, and Dr. Craig Jordan — internationally known for being the first to discover the breast cancer prevention properties of Tamoxifen — attend the Prevent Cancer Foundation 17th annual spring gala at the National Building Museum.
From left, Thierno Balde, Ambassador of Cape Verde Maria de Fátima Lima da Veiga, and Isabel Olivara attend the kickoff reception for the 2011 Francophonie Cultural Festival, a popular annual showcase of the world’s Frenchspeaking cultures.
Francophonie Fête at Belgium From left, Ambassador of Belgium Jan Matthysen, Ambassador of Côte d’Ivoire Daouda Diabaté, and Political Affairs Counselor at the Belgium Embassy Bruno Jans attend the 2011 Francophonie Cultural Festival kickoff reception at the Belgian Residence to celebrate this popular annual showcase of the world’s French-speaking cultures.
From left, Jennifer Walto of Chevron, Middle East Institute scholar Molly Williamson, and Donald Cooke of the State Department attend a National U.S.-Arab Chamber of Commerce (NUSACC) luncheon to promote Arab investment and honor Undersecretary of Commerce for International Trade Francisco Sánchez.
PHOTOS: ANNA GAWEL
Minister Mohammed Al Rumaihi of Qatar, left, talks with National U.S.-Arab Chamber of Commerce (NUSACC) President and Chief Executive Officer David Hamod at the NUSACC luncheon held at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel.
From left, Ambassador of St. Lucia Michael Louis, Ambassador of Haiti Louis Harold Joseph, and head of communications and cultural affairs at the Swiss Embassy Counselor Norbert Bärlocher attend a reception to kick off the 2011 Francophonie Cultural Festival, which features concerts, film, literary salons, seminars and other events in March and April.
Lithuanian Visit From left, Ambassador of the Central African Republic Stanislas Moussa-Kembe, Ambassador of Equatorial Guinea Purificación Angué Ondo, Ambassador of Mauritius Somduth Soborun, and Ambassador of Burkina Faso Paramanga Ernest Yonli attend a reception at the Belgian Residence to kick off the 2011 Francophonie Cultural Festival.
The Washington Diplomat
Ina Ginsburg, left, joins Agnes Julia Aerts, wife of the Belgian ambassador, for the 2011 Francophonie Cultural Festival kickoff reception at the Belgian Residence.
Permanent Representative of Haiti to the Organization of American States Duly Brutus, left, joins Ambassador of Benin Cyrille S. Oguin at the reception to launch the 2011 Francophonie Cultural Festival.
Lithuanian Foreign Minister Audronius Azubalis, left, joins Ambassador of Lithuania Zygimantas Pavilionis at a reception in honor of Azubalis’s Washington visit held at the Mayflower Renaissance Hotel.
Kuwaiti 50th National Day From left, Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates Yousef Al Otaiba, wife of the Kuwaiti ambassador Rima Al-Sabah, journalist Gail Huff, wife of Sen. Scott Brown, and Ambassador of Kuwait Salem Al-Sabah attend a reception at the Four Seasons Hotel to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Kuwaiti National Day.
PHOTO: MORRIS SIMON/THE SIMON FIRM FOR THE EMBASSY SERIES
Egypt Embassy Series Concert From left, Ambassador of Iraq Samir Shakir Mahmood Sumaida’ie joins Mrs. and Ambassador of the Arab League Hussein Hassouna at the Kuwaiti National Day reception. From left, Ambassador of Kuwait Salem Al-Sabah, Amina Farah Ahmed Olhaye, Rima Al-Sabah, and Ambassador of Djibouti Roble Olhaye, the dean of the diplomatic corps, attend a reception commemorating the 50th anniversary of Kuwait’s National Day.
Ambassador of Lebanon Antoine Chedid, left, joins former Ambassador of Ecuador Ivonne A-Baki, now a UNESCO goodwill ambassador, at the Kuwaiti National Day reception held at the Four Seasons.
From left, Ambassador of Egypt Sameh Shoukry, Egyptian violinist Caroline Chéhadé, founder and Artistic Director of the Embassy Series Jerome Barry, and Suzy Shoukry attend a black-tie Embassy Series concert featuring Chéhadé at the Egyptian ambassador’s residence.
ASEAN Textile Tour From left, Textile Museum Director Maryclaire Ramsey, wife of the Indonesian ambassador Rosa Rai Djalal — who organized the ASEAN Women’s Circle visit to the PHOTO: GAIL SCOTT Textile Museum’s exhibit “Colors of the Oasis: Central Asian Ikats” — and museum curator for eastern hemisphere collections Sumru Krody take a tour of the Textile Museum, which was followed by the monthly ASEAN Women’s Circle luncheon hosted by Laotian wife Somdy Soukhathivong at the Embassy of Laos, only a few doors away from the museum.
French Art Reception
Kreeger Museum Director Judy A. Greenberg, left, joins Filmfest DC Director Tony Gittens for a reception at the French Residence for the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. PHOTOS: GAIL SCOTT
Vital Voices at Canada Pakistani Art and Music as Dialogue From left, internationally known veterinarian Inayat Kathio, Ambassador of Japan Ichiro Fujisaki, Ambassador of Pakistan Husain Haqqani, and Ambassador of Morocco Aziz Mekouar attend “Art and Music as a Cultural Dialogue: Building Bridges Between Pakistan and the U.S.,” and exhibit by Pakistani artist Shahid Rassam and concert by CounterPoint chamber orchestra at the Embassy of Pakistan.
PHOTO: GAIL SCOTT
From left, Canadian Embassy Deputy Chief of Mission Deborah Lyons, acclaimed Afghan-Canadian actress and film producer Nelofer Pazira, Canadian Embassy Minister of Congressional, Public and Intergovernmental Relations Deanna Horton and Marie-Lucie Morin, executive director for Canada, Ireland and the Caribbean at the World Bank, attend the Canadian Embassy screening and discussion of Pazira’s “Act of Dishonour,” presented in partnership with Vital Voices on International Women’s Day.
Recently appointed French Ambassador François Delattre, right, welcomes Alex Nyerges, director of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond, to a reception celebrating the museum’s exclusive new exhibit, “Picasso: Masterpieces from the Musée National Picasso, Paris.”
Bulgarian National Day From left, Ambassador of Montenegro Srdjan Darmanovic joins Ambassador of Bulgaria Elena Poptodorova and her husband Georgi Petrov for the Bulgarian National Day reception held at the Organization of American States.
Norwegian Women’s Day Celebration
PHOTO: GAIL SCOTT
On International Women’s Day, Rev. Cecilie Stroømmen, wife of the Norwegian Ambassador, center, welcomed wife of the Swedish ambassador Eva Hafström, left, and wife of the Finnish ambassador Laurel Colless to an evening of reflection that included an excerpt from Henrik Ibsen’s “Lady From The Sea” presented by the Embassy Players.
Micronesia Toasts Yap Islands From left, First Secretary Dominic R. Maluchmai and Deputy Chief of Mission James Naich of the Micronesian Embassy join Don Evans of the Yap Islands’ Visitors Bureau, Jan Du Plain, embassy liaison to Cultural Tourism DC, and Maria Anderson and Juliana Caroline Tinagchugen of the Yap Visitors Bureau Delegation for a reception hosted at the Embassy of Micronesia to celebrate the Yap Islands, one of the world’s top diving destinations.
Assistant Secretary of South and Central Asian Affairs Robert Blake, left, joins Ambassador of Uzbekistan Ilhomjon Tuychievich Nematov at the Bulgarian National Day reception held at the Organization of American States.
The Washington Diplomat Page 65
The Washington Diplomat
Iceland Music and Food
Liechtenstein Country Briefing
Ambassador of Iceland Hjálmar W. Hannesson, center, stands with members of the band For a PHOTO: ANNA GAWEL Minor Reflection (FaMR), which performed an intimate concert at the Icelandic Residence to kick off “A Taste of Iceland in the Nation’s Capital,” a festival of music, food and film that also spotlighted the launch of direct air service between Washington and Reykjavik that Icelandair will resume in May.
From left, Fannie Mae Technology Director Nshokano Katabana, Ambassador of Liechtenstein PHOTO: GAIL SCOTT Claudia Fritsche, and Nelson Garcia of the Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association attend a country briefing on Liechtenstein at the ambassador’s residence for the 3,300-member Washington Intergovernmental Professional Group, a nonpartisan organization founded by Garcia to foster trade and investment cooperation with the diplomatic community.
Post-Classical at Indonesia
PHOTO: GAIL SCOTT
From left, Post-Classical Ensemble Music Director Angel Gil-Ordóñez, Rosa Djalal, Gamelan Master Sumarsam of Wesleyan University, Post-Classical Artistic Director Joseph Horowitz, and Indonesian Ambassador Dino Patti Djalal attend Post-Classical’s concert at the Indonesian Embassy honoring Lou Harrison, an American composer who incorporated traditional Javanese gamelan music into his work.
Latvian Youth Choir
Italy’s 150th Anniversary
Latvian choir conductor Maris Sirmais and his world-renowned youth choir “Kamer” are congratulated by Latvian Ambassador Andrejs Pildegovics following their performance at the embassy. Choral singing in Latvia is a favorite national pastime that, over the centuries, has evolved as an integral part of Latvia’s cultural identity.
PHOTOS: GAIL SCOTT
From left, conductor of Latvia’s Kamer choir Maris Sirmais, U.S. Ambassador Tracey Ann Jacobson, currently deputy director of the Foreign Service Institute who was posted to Latvia as deputy chief of mission, and Ambassador of Latvia Andrejs Pildegovics attend a concert by the Kamer youth choir at the Latvian Embassy.
From left, Mrs. and Ambassador of Barbados John Beale join Ambassador of Italy Giulio Terzi di Sant’Agata and Antonella Cinque at the Italian Embassy to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Italy’s unification with a concert by the Fondazione Petruzzelli and Bari Theatre orchestra conducted by Lorin Maazel, far right.
Jamaica at Baker and McKenzie
From left, Ambassador of Tanzania Mwanaidi Sinare Maajar poses with Marilou and Dave MacDonnell, winners of a Tanzania safari, at the Serengeti Serenade gala to raise funds for the Christ Child Society of Washington, D.C.
PHOTO: LARRY LUXNER
From left, Ambassador of Jamaica Audrey Marks, Jamaican Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett, and Simone Williams, an attorney with the Baker & McKenzie law firm — which represents Jamaica — attend a reception celebrating the firm’s partnership with Jamaica at its office in Washington.
From left, Matrida Masasi Mkama, Melanie Smeallie Mbuyi, Ambassador of Tanzania Mwanaidi Sinare Maajar, Mary Sentimore and Belle O’Brien attend the Serengeti Serenade gala held at the Columbia Country Club in Chevy Chase, Md., and sponsored by the D.C. chapter of the Christ Child Society to support the group’s programs for underserved children.
THIS Spring Soirée
THIS President Joan Keston, left, joins Sharon Wilkinson, senior vice president at the Meridian International Center and former U.S. Ambassador to Burkina Faso and Mozambique, for the THIS for Diplomats Spring Soirée at the Meridian International Center.
PHOTOS: LARRY LUXNER
Finnish Tango Night
PHOTOS: GAIL SCOTT PHOTOS: GAIL SCOTT
From left, Ambassador of Malta and Mrs. Mark Miceli — who donated a dinner for 10 at their residence for the evening’s silent auction — join THIS for Diplomats Spring Soirée Chair Jacqui Michael and her husband David Weisman at the Meridian International Center.
The Washington Diplomat
From left, Finnish Embassy Cultural Counselor Anneli Halonen joins Mrs. and Ambassador of Finland Pekka Lintu for the Finnish Embassy’s “Tango Night” that included a concert by Finnish crooner Eino Grön, far right, who’s especially known for his tango interpretations.
THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT
HOLIDAYS APPOINTMENTS AFGHANISTAN April 28: Victory of Mujahedeen ANDORRA April 22: Good Friday April 24: Easter April 25: Easter Monday ANGOLA April 24: Peace and National Reconciliation Day ANTIGUA and BARBUDA April 22: Good Friday April 24: Easter April 25: Easter Monday ARGENTINA April 22: Good Friday April 24: Easter ARMENIA April 24: Armenian Genocide Memorial Day AUSTRALIA April 22: Good Friday April 24: Easter April 25: Easter Monday April 25: ANZAC Day
CAMEROON April 22: Good Friday April 24: Easter April 25: Easter Monday CANADA April 22: Good Friday April 24: Easter April 25: Easter Monday CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC April 24: Easter April 25: Easter Monday CHAD April 24: Easter CHILE April 22: Good Friday April 24: Easter April 25: Easter Monday COLOMBIA April 21: Maundy Thursday April 22: Good Friday April 24: Easter April 25: Easter Monday COSTA RICA April 11: Juan Santamaria Day April 20 to 25: Holy Week
AUSTRIA April 25: Easter Monday
CÔTE D’IVOIRE April 25: Easter Monday
BAHAMAS April 22: Good Friday April 24: Easter April 25: Easter Monday
CROATIA April 24: Easter April 25: Easter Monday
BANGLADESH April 14: Bangla New Year BARBADOS April 22: Good Friday April 24: Easter April 25: Easter Monday April 28: National Heroes’ Day BELGIUM April 24: Easter April 25: Easter Monday BELIZE April 22: Good Friday April 23: Holy Saturday April 24: Easter April 25: Easter Monday BENIN April 24: Easter April 25: Easter Monday BOLIVIA April 22: Good Friday April 24: Easter BOTSWANA April 22: Good Friday April 24: Easter April 25: Easter Monday BRAZIL April 21: Tiradentes’ Day April 22: Good Friday BULGARIA April 24: Easter April 25: Easter Monday BURKINA FASO April 24: Easter CAMBODIA April 13-15: Cambodian New Year
CYPRUS April 1: Greek Cypriot National Day April 22: Good Friday (Greek Orthodox) April 25: Easter Monday (Greek Orthodox) CZECH REPUBLIC April 24: Easter April 25: Easter Monday DENMARK April 16: Queen’s Birthday April 17: Palm Sunday April 21: Maundy Thursday April 22: Good Friday April 24: Easter April 25: Easter Monday DOMINICAN REPUBLIC April 22: Good Friday ECUADOR April 22: Good Friday EL SALVADOR April 20 to 25: Holy Week EQUATORIAL GUINEA April 22: Good Friday April 24: Easter April 25: Easter Monday ESTONIA April 24: Easter April 25: Easter Monday ETHIOPIA April 24: Easter April 25: Easter Monday FIJI April 22: Good Friday April 24: Easter April 25: Easter Monday FINLAND April 22: Good Friday
April 24: Easter April 25: Easter Monday April 30: May Day Eve FRANCE April 24: Easter April 25: Easter Monday GABON April 24: Easter GAMBIA April 24: Easter GEORGIA April 24: Easter GERMANY April 22: Good Friday April 24: Easter GHANA April 22: Good Friday April 24: Easter April 25: Easter Monday GREECE April 22: Good Friday (Greek Orthodox) April 25: Easter Monday (Greek Orthodox) GRENADA April 22: Good Friday April 24: Easter April 25: Easter Monday
LAOS April 13-15: Lao New Year LATVIA April 22: Good Friday April 24: Easter April 25: Easter Monday LEBANON April 22: Good Friday April 24: Easter LESOTHO April 22: Good Friday April 24: Easter April 25: Easter Monday LIECHTENSTEIN April 22: Good Friday April 24: Easter April 25: Easter Monday LITHUANIA April 24: Easter April 25: Easter Monday LUXEMBOURG April 24: Easter April 25: Easter Monday MACEDONIA April 24: Easter MADAGASCAR April 24: Easter April 25: Easter Monday
GUATEMALA April 21: Holy Thursday April 22: Good Friday April 24: Easter
MALAWI April 22: Good Friday April 24: Easter April 25: Easter Monday
HONDURAS April 20 to 25: Easter Week April 14: Day of the Americas
MALTA April 22: Good Friday
HUNGARY April 24: Easter April 25: Easter Monday ICELAND April 21: First Day of Summer April 21: Maundy Thursday April 22: Good Friday April 24: Easter April 25: Easter Monday INDIA April 22: Good Friday INDONESIA April 22: Good Friday IRELAND April 24: Easter April 25: Easter Monday ISRAEL April 18 to 26: Passover ITALY April 24: Easter April 25: Easter Monday April 25: Liberation Day
MOLDOVA April 24: Easter April 25: Easter Monday MOZAMBIQUE April 7: Women’s Day NAMIBIA April 22: Independence Day April 22: Good Friday April 24: Easter April 25: Easter Monday NETHERLANDS April 24: Easter April 25: Easter Monday April 30: Queen’s Day NEW ZEALAND April 22: Good Friday April 24: Easter April 25: Easter Monday April 25: ANZAC Day NICARAGUA April 21: Holy Thursday April 22: Good Friday NIGER April 24: Easter April 24: National Day
JAMAICA April 22: Good Friday April 24: Easter April 25: Easter Monday
NIGERIA April 22: Good Friday April 24: Easter April 25: Easter Monday
JAPAN April 29: Greenery Day
NORWAY April 17: Palm Sunday April 21: Maundy Thursday April 22: Good Friday April 24: Easter
KENYA April 22: Good Friday April 24: Easter April 25: Easter Monday
Albania Gilbert Galanxhi became ambassador of Albania to the United States on Feb. 23. Ambassador Galanxhi joined the Foreign Service in 1994 as head of the Press and Information Department Ambassador and spokesman of the Foreign Affairs Ministry. Gilbert Galanxhi Most recently, he served as Albania’s ambassador to the United Nations Office in Vienna and to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (200710). From 2000 to 2007, he worked for the European Union (Police Assistance Missions in Tirana, Albania, with the training unit, and lastly as the chief of cabinet. In 1997, he served as charge d’affaires at the Albanian Embassy in Argentina, and in 1999, he worked for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees in Tirana as the coordinator between the Albanian government and the international organizations in Albania. Ambassador Galanxhi is an English language and literature graduate of Tirana University from the Faculty of History and Philology. He graduated from the Swiss International Relations Institute of Geneva in 1994 and from the Foreign Service Institute of the State Department in Washington, D.C., in 1995. Ambassador Galanxhi is married to Etleva Galanxhi, and they have a daughter, Xhiljola, 20, and a son, Xhesi, 14. He was born in Tirana on July 28, 1962.
France François Delattre became ambassador of France to the United States in Feb. 23. He previously served as France’s ambassador to Canada (2008-11), consul general in New York Ambassador (2004-08), and press and communications François Delattre director at the French Embassy in Washington, D.C. (1998-2002). A member of President Jacques Chirac’s foreign policy team (1995-98), Ambassador Delattre was responsible for European and transatlantic defense and security matters and managing the Bosnian crisis. He also served as deputy director of the French Foreign Minister’s Office (2002-04) and was a member of Foreign Minister Alain Juppé’s cabinet (1993-95), following two years with the Strategic, Security and Disarmament Department of the French Foreign Ministry (1991-93). In addition, Ambassador Delattre was posted in Bonn at the French Embassy in Germany (1989-91), where he was in charge of matters pertaining to the economic impact of Germany’s unification and the environment.
Hungary György Szapáry became ambassador of Hungary to the United States on Feb. 23. Ambassador Szapáry previously served as deputy governor of the National Bank of Hungary and a member of the Monetary Council on two occasions (200107; 1993-99), as well as advisor to the president of the National Bank of Hungary (1999-2001) and senior resident representative of the International Monetary Fund in Hungary (199093). Prior to that, he worked at the IMF in Washington, D.C., most recently as assistant director, from 1966 to 1993. Other positions
include alternate governor for the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (199495); president of the Board of Directors for the International Training Centre for Bankers in Budapest Ambassador (1993-2001); board member of the György Szapáry Budapest Commodity Exchange (1997-2001); president of the Foundation for Enterprise Promotion for the Hungarian province of Jász-Nagykun-Szolnok (1995-99); member of the Economic and Financial Committee of the European Commission and of the European Central Bank’s International Relations Committee (2004-07); and member of the Hungarian Economic Social Council (2004-07). Ambassador Szapáry has also been a member of the Advisory Council for the European Studies Foundation in Budapest since 2002, a member of the Euro 50 Group since 2001, a member of the Gyula Andrássy Foundation in Budapest since 2006, and a member of a steering group on public finances for the European Commission in Brussels. He holds a master’s degree and a doctorate in economics from the University of Louvain in Belgium, where he was also a research assistant in the early 1960s.
Kyrgyzstan Muktar Djumaliev became ambassador of the Kyrgyz Republic to the United States on Dec. 3. Most recently he served in the administration of President Roza Ambassador Otunbayeva as first deputy chief from June Muktar Djumaliev to December 2010. He also previously served as ambassador and permanent representative of Kyrgyzstan to the United Nations and to the World Trade Organization in Geneva, as well as ambassador to the Swiss Confederation. Ambassador Djumaliev also spent six years as an official in various ministries under President Askar Akayev’s administration, serving as deputy minister in the Ministry for Economic Development, Industry and Trade; first deputy minister in the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Industry; assistant of the minister in the Ministry of Finance; and head of the Foreign Economic Relations Division in the Ministry of Finance. In addition, he was deputy director in the Directorate on Investment and technical assistant for the National Bank of the Kyrgyz Republic. Ambassador Djumaliev obtained a master’s in international law and economics from the University of Bern in Switzerland and an undergraduate economics degree from the National University of the Kyrgyz Republic. He was born on June 22, 1972.
Tajikistan Jonibek Hikmatov departed the post of second secretary on March 5. Farhod Salim assumed the position of counselor, deputy chief of mission on March 1, having previously served as head of the Department of European and American Countries at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
See HOLIDAYS, page 68 The Washington Diplomat Page 67
from page 21
Libya not opposition parties. The West knows nothing about the rebels’ true intentions and has no idea what kind of government they’d form. For his part, Qaddafi, true to form, seems perfectly willing to fight to his “last drop of blood” before going into the good Arabian night quietly. Calling the foreign forces “Nazis,” he pledged “a long, drawn-out war,” saying,“They will never have peace.” Despite his flair for the dramatic, the longtime ruler knows how to strike a cord — a drawn-out conflict is exactly what the United States fears. Libya, in fact, has put the United States in one of its most difficult binds yet during the protests that continue to rock the Arab world. President Obama has consistently stressed that the Arab spring must be homegrown and not imposed by the West. But that’s not the only reason for his reticence. Faced with straining an overstretched military already tied up in two wars and possibly sucking the United States into another nation-building quagmire for a nation not considered a vital strategic interest — all during a time of economic crisis back home — the president resisted rebel pleas for help. But the potential for genocide at Benghazi seemed to force his hand. Still, Obama insists the U.S. is not targeting Qaddafi himself and won’t put any boots on the ground, eager instead to hand over the reins to European military commanders. Aujali, however, says the Arab world is undergoing a seismic shift, and if the United States wants to be a part of that change, it will have to abide by its principles and stand on the right side of history.“If the United States tells people all the time
that it wants a free, democratic system, and encourages people to rise up against dictatorships, then it has to stand by its words. Otherwise, they shouldn’t encourage people who are burning in fire.” From the very beginning, he pushed hard for the United Nations to impose a no-fly zone over Libya, although Aujali doesn’t support a full-scale ground occupation. “The main issue for me is, if the U.S. believes in democracy, they have to support these fighters. We don’t want American or European soldiers on our soil.We just want cover.We’ve seen what happened in Iraq, and we don’t want this for Libya,” he told us. On that point, Aujali says the two countries are vastly different and shouldn’t even be compared when it comes to military operations. “Iraq is a big country with a large population and many ethnic groups — Sunnis, Shiites, Christians, Kurds — who fight among themselves. We don’t have any of this. We are one nation and one people. And we have no mountains where the resistance can hide. Most of our land is desert, with 95 percent of the population along the coast. We have no geographical complications. To control Libya is very easy. Libya is not Afghanistan. Libya is not Iraq.” But there are some similarities. If cornered, Aujali warns that Qaddafi might even sabotage Libya’s vast petroleum industry in an attempt to sow chaos — a frightening scenario reminiscent of Saddam Hussein’s burning of Kuwaiti oil fields back in 1990. “We are dealing with a very dangerous criminal mind,” the longtime diplomat said. “Qaddafi doesn’t care what he does, even if he uses chemical weapons. He’s worse than Saddam, believe me.” Representing someone who’s “worse than
Saddam,” we asked Aujali what his most embarrassing moment as ambassador was. He paused, recalling many such moments all at once. “I was embarrassed whenever I found myself in the position of having to defend Qaddafi,” he finally answered. “For example, when al-Megrahi [the accused mastermind of the Pan Am bombing, who was released by Scotland for humanitarian reasons] was coming back to Libya, I made a very strong recommendation that he should be received at the airport like any Libyan citizen, and not be given media attention or propaganda. But I was sure Qaddafi would act against our advice, and he did.” Besides the brutality, Aujali criticized the blatant corruption that regularly greased the wheels of business in his native country — fueled by oil wealth that Qaddafi regularly tapped to build his network of tribal alliances and buy influence throughout Africa. Not long ago, the envoy recalled, the Libyan government allocated $5 million for construction of a new school in Tripoli and $300,000 a year to maintain it. But the school was never built; it existed only on paper. The money, according to Aujali, ended up in secret bank accounts controlled by you-know-who. “Even if you’re a clean man, the corruption is incredible, starting with Qaddafi and his family,” he complained. “Companies won’t get government contracts unless they pay 10 or 15 percent of the contract in bribes. The regime makes it impossible to get visas to Libya. Even in the embassy some people were still attached to this regime because their families are corrupt.” For his part, Aujali has unequivocally thrown his loyalty behind the rebel government in Benghazi. And a few of the faces in that new government might seem familiar — beginning with the former justice minister, Mustafa Abdel Jalil. A soft-spoken lawyer who, as the Financial Times noted recently,“has a thin white beard and a passion for beekeeping and Italian football,” Abdel Jalil is the undisputed head of the opposition National Council. He resigned Feb. 20 — only three days after the uprising began — immedi-
ately throwing his considerable weight behind the rebellion. “This man has principles. He has vision,” Aujali said.“At the last People’s Congress, he declared his resignation because he said there were 300 political prisoners in Libya who were innocent and being held without any legal basis. But Qaddafi would never let anybody go with dignity.” Like Aujali, Abdel Jalil is under no illusions about what lies ahead. He told the Financial Times that “Qaddafi is ready to fight on even if he kills half or two-thirds of the Libyan population. He does not mind killing 6 million people and then ruling over 10,000.” Despite the odds, which as of press time still seemed stacked against a rebel victory, Aujali insists he remains very optimistic. And now, with the long-awaited foreign intervention, he may indeed have some cause for optimism. Either way, Aujali says, Qaddafi’s days are numbered. “Qaddafi will go away, dead or alive, and the Libyan people will get their unity. Thousands of our people have graduated from universities all over the world. Unfortunately, we had no chance to form our government the way we wanted. But now, I’m sure that when Qaddafi’s game is over, Libyans will sit together, form a government and draft a constitution. And we will reshape our country with the $30 billion or more that has been frozen, thanks to Qaddafi and his family and their enormous accounts.” He added: “This regime’s days are numbered. I hope I can go back to Libya next month. When I do, oh my God, for the first time since 1969, I’ll feel like a free man.” As for Qaddafi’s ultimate legacy, the dictator’s former man in Washington smiled vaguely.“I think his private life is very dirty. It’s completely different than what we have seen [publicly],”Aujali said, keeping The Diplomat intrigued right up until the end. “There are still many stories to be told. You would be astonished.”
Larry Luxner is news editor of The Washington Diplomat.
arm yourself with information. Do you know what to do if there’s a chemical or biological attack in your community? How about a radiological explosion? In an emergency
from page 67
April 24: Easter
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PAPUA NEW GUINEA April 22: Good Friday April 23: Easter Saturday April 24: Easter PARAGUAY April 21: Holy Thursday April 22: Good Friday PERU April 21: Holy Thursday April 22: Good Friday PHILIPPINES April 9: Araw Ng Kagitingan April 21: Holy Thursday April 22: Good Friday POLAND April 24: Easter April 25: Easter Monday PORTUGAL April 22: Good Friday April 24: Easter April 25: Liberty Day ROMANIA April 24: Easter April 25: Easter Monday
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ST. VINCENT and THE GRENADINES April 22: Good Friday April 23: Easter Saturday April 24: Easter SENEGAL April 24: Easter April 24: Independence Day SEYCHELLES April 22: Good Friday April 24: Easter SIERRA LEONE April 27: Independence Day SINGAPORE April 22: Good Friday SLOVAKIA April 22: Good Friday April 24: Easter April 25: Easter Monday SLOVENIA April 24: Easter April 25: Easter Monday April 27: National Uprising Day
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SOUTH AFRICA April 22: Good Friday April 25: Family Day April 27: Freedom Day
ST. KITTS and NEVIS April 22: Good Friday April 23: Easter Saturday
SPAIN April 21: Holy Thursday April 22: Good Friday
SWAZILAND April 19: King’s Birthday April 25: National Flag Day SWEDEN April 22: Good Friday April 23: Easter Saturday April 24: Easter SWITZERLAND April 22: Good Friday April 23: Easter Saturday April 24: Easter SYRIA April 17: Independence Day TANZANIA April 22: Good Friday April 24: Easter April 25: Easter Monday April 26: Union Day (National Day) THAILAND April 6: Chakri Memorial Day April 13-15: Songkran Festival Day TOGO April 24: Easter April 25: Easter Monday April 27: Independence Day TONGA April 22: Good Friday April 24: Easter April 25: Easter Monday TRINIDAD and TOBAGO April 22: Good Friday April 24: Easter April 25: Easter Monday
TUNISIA April 9: Martyrs’ Day TURKEY April 23: Children’s Day UGANDA April 22: Good Friday April 24: Easter April 25: Easter Monday UNITED KINGDOM April 22: Good Friday April 24: Easter April 25: Easter Monday URUGUAY April 20 to 25: Holy Week VENEZUELA April 22: Good Friday April 24: Easter April 19: Declaration of Independence VIETNAM April 30: National Reunification Day ZAMBIA April 22: Good Friday April 23: Holy Saturday April 24: Easter April 25: Easter Monday ZIMBABWE April 18: Independence Day April 19: Public Holiday April 22: Good Friday April 23: Holy Saturday April 24: Easter April 25: Easter Monday
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Elegant Chancery style mansion in close proximity to Embassy Row. Adjacent to the DuPont Circle Metro Station. Parking. Lease/Sale. LPC Commercial Services Inc. (202) 491-5300.
1337 Balls Hill Rd. McLean, VA 22101 - An elegant and stately home. 5 BR, 3.5 FB, 10’ ceilings. 3/4 acre lot, 6,000 sq. ft. living area. Rent $5,500 per month. Call (202) 378-4900.
PRIME OFFICE SPACE IN NW DC FOR RENT (Connecticut Ave. & M St.)
Downtown law ﬁrm has ofﬁces available in a Class A building in the heart of downtown DC at 1150 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Ninth Floor.
Placing your Classifieds Ad
Agent has numerous other properties to show!
MASSACHUSETTS AVE. HEIGHTS —
COMMERCIAL PROPERTY — Looking to relocate your office? We can help! Summit Commercial Real Estate has an unparalleled track record of providing premier properties to our clients. We specialize in commercial office sales and leasing for all of the following: • Embassies/Consulates/Chanceries • Corporate Relocations Please call Guy d’Amecourt at (202) 415-7800 for all available properties. Also visit us on the web at: www.summitcre.com.
Flip Back for More Diplomat Classifieds MONTGOMERY COUNTY LIFESTYLE SPECIALIST — Let me find the house for you! Honesty, Integrity and Experience with the International Community Sarah G. Thomas, W.C. & A.N. Miller Realtors A Long and Foster Company firstname.lastname@example.org (240) 330-9048.
Estate Land Assemblage. Unique Diplomatic Church School Compound-Style Property. Can build. Approximately 30,000 sq. ft. with parking. Metro 2 blocks. LPC (202) 513-6708.
call (301) 933-3552 The Diplomat reserves the right to refuse any classified ads for any reason.
LORTON, VA — Located at 7362 Old Pohick Way, Lorton, Virginia 22079. Well maintained, 4 BRs, 3.5 BAs, large living room areas both up and down stairs, as well as a large kitchen area, completely furnished townhouse for rent in Lorton, Virginia. Conveniently located near major highway access, Ft. Belvoir military base to name one of a few, two large shopping centers within 3-4 miles, also part of one of the best school districts in the country (Fairfax County public schools). Asking $2,450 per month plus utilities. Please Contact Andres Martinez for information: Call (703) 926-2860 or email: email@example.com.
DIPLOMAT REAL ESTATE CLASSIFIEDS —
For detailed information and ﬂoor plans:
Amanda Ryan | 302.841.9603 | www.amandaslistings.com Rehoboth Avenue • Rehoboth Beach, DE 19971 • 302.227.6767 • www.oasothebysrealty.com
The Washington Diplomat
Rentals offer: • Furnished ofﬁces with phone and internet • Option to rent as a group or single ofﬁces • Short term or one year renewable basis • Receptionist services
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• Use of large and small conference rooms and kitchen, phones, high speed internet, two workrooms with copiers, faxes, postage equipment, and a high-end copier with scanning and email capability • Daily cleaning included
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• Metro within just one block
To see the space, please call Pat Martin at 202-862-4303.
Classifieds get superb results! Place your real estate classifed today in The Washington Diplomat by calling (301) 933-3552.
This custom home by Turnstone Builders, LLC is under construction and will be ready for the summer season! Located in the prestigious North Indian Beach Community, this home is situated a 1/2 block to the private beach, 1.5 blocks to the marina, and a short distance to all amenities of the towns of Dewey and Rehoboth. This ICF (insulated concrete form) Construction home offers superb energy efﬁciency and durability necessary for coastal living. The home boasts 7, 150 heated sq. ft. of living space, an inverted ﬂoor plan, 1,800 sq. ft. rooftop deck boasting panoramic ocean and bay views, outside bath and shower perfect for the beach, decks and porches abounds, and luxurious custom ﬁnishes at every turn! $2,790,000
Walk in with your briefcase and start to work!
Real Estate ads: Rates start at $20. 25 words with a photo is $40, without photo, $20. Additional words, 35¢. Deadline: The deadline for ads is the 15th of each month at the close of business.
A Resort Home Like No Other
Rates: Rates start at $20. Classified ad is $20 for 25 words, 35¢ each additional word. Add photo for $20.
• Parking available in the building
Hire a Realtor...
SELL - BUY - RENT: 301-933-3552
...you y can depend on
703-581-7994 3-581-7994 http://www.shawnaparde.com naparde www.shawnaparde.com e.com REALTOR
Long & Foster
The Total Homeownereship Experience
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The Washington Diplomat
The Washington Diplomat is an independent monthly newspaper with a readership of more than 120,000 that includes the 180 embassies in Washin...
Published on Apr 12, 2011
The Washington Diplomat is an independent monthly newspaper with a readership of more than 120,000 that includes the 180 embassies in Washin...