At the Washington National Opera Ball, musical diplomacy finds its way to Washington, DC year after year.
“In our country, we don’t just measure progress by the height of our buildings, the size of our airports, or the impact of our investments. Art has always been at the heart of Emirati society.” These were the opening remarks by UAE Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba at the unveiling of Past Forward: Contemporary Art from the Emirates, a one-of-a-kind exhibition of Emirati artwork, at a reception on May 21st at the Meridian International Center. The exhibit, a collaboration between the Embassy of the United Arab Emirates in Washington, DC and the Meridian Center for Cultural Diplomacy, features twenty-five artists representing all seven of the nation’s emirates across a variety of artistic genres and styles. It is the first major exhibition of Emirati art to tour outside of the UAE.
On May 30, 2014, Ambassador of Italy to the United States Claudio Bisogniero and Mrs. Bisogniero hosted at Villa Firenze in Washington, DC, Nobel Prize author Mario Vargas Llosa, cinematographer Vittorio Storaro, and Italian writer Alessandro Baricco to lead a symposium on the art of story telling and filmmaking with Georgetown University.
When folks say beauty lies in the eye of the beholder, perhaps diplomatic life in Washington was in their minds. In March, the cherry blossoms had not yet reached their peak and May flowers were still a few weeks away. But the musical event at the Portuguese ambassador’s residence was surely a thing of beauty.
The inaugural of Myron Belkind as the 107th President of the National Press Club (NPC), held on January 25, 2014, was a diplomatic event par excellence. Club photographer Noel St. John captured the occasion in a series of stunning photographs. Twenty-five of the diplomats who attended the event, which was given an international theme to reflect Belkind’s global career assignments, were ambassadors from various countries. Roger Isaacs of the South African Embassy sung beautiful renditions of the national anthems of both the United States and South Africa.
“Carpe Diem”—seize the moment, seize the day! It was not the set of the “Dead Poets Society”, but rather on one of the back seats of Air Force One that two warriors had this aphorism on their mind for U.S. national interests and for world peace. They discussed normalization of diplomatic relations with Vietnam. Both had served in Vietnam; one had been a resident of the famous “Hanoi Hilton” for five and a half years and the other was a swift boat captain in the troubled waters of Vietnam and Cambodia. As U.S. senators, John McCain and John Kerry both ran unsuccessfully sought to become president. They were, however, successful in their goal of helping normalize U.S. relations with Vietnam. On February 11, 2014, both leaders spoke at the 20th anniversary of the normalization of trade relations between Vietnam and the U.S.
A path northward from Geneva will take you to Interlaken, Switzerland and then to the Jungfrau Mountain summit in the Bernese Alps. From the commanding heights, one can enjoy the magnificent views of the Bernese Oberland and the Swiss Alps. Along the way, one passes the Schilltorn summit—the site where the James Bond 007 movie “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” was filmed. Interlaken area has served as a favorite location for Indian movies also. “Bollywood” has cast such a spell on tourism that the restaurant—representing the Indian movie industry—at the snowy peak of the Jungfrau is packed.
On grounds once walked by George Washington, Diplomatic Courier sat down with Muscarelle Museum of Art Director Aaron H. De Groft, Ph.D. to discuss his career and the work of the Muscarelle, as well as the forthcoming “21st Century Diplomacy: Ballet, Ballots, and Bullets” photography exhibit, due to open to the public on May 30, 2014.
In early 2012, the Intelligent Life magazine declared that "the best month is December,” providing lucid arguments. December 2013 also seems to be the time when diplomatic life is distinguished by camaraderie, cerebral discussions, and musical joys, and so it must be the best month.
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