As relations between the United States and the Russian Federation have grown confrontational over the prolonged crisis in Ukraine, pausing to refocus on diplomatic fundamentals is increasingly important for reconciliation. Effective diplomacy is greatly enhanced by mutual cultural understanding–an influential intangible that promotes trust and respect while facilitating cooperation and compromise. To develop cultural understanding between the U.S. and Russia, the American-Russian Cultural Cooperation Foundation (ARCCF) and American University’s Initiative for Russian Culture (IRC) seek to connect the next generation of American diplomats to the versatility and richness of Russian art, literature, film, language, and history. Such an appreciation for the perspective and life experiences of another group of people is critical to transcend inaccurate stereotypes and establish mutually beneficial relations.
The European-American Cultural Foundation launched with a spectacular evening at the Library of Congress on October 8th. The Foundation works to strengthen cultural bonds and collaboration between the European Union and EU Member states and the United States, reflective of their profound historical relationship and affinity. The October 8th evening was dedicated at taking the first step in fulfilling the mission. Among those in attendance were Kimberly Heatherington, Executive Director of E-ACF, and Susan C. Lehrman, Founding Board Member.
The Halcyon Incubator celebrated its inaugural class of Fellows, committed to solving 21st century challenges throughout the nation and world, during its grand opening last month. The first class of Halcyon Fellows includes entrepreneurs intent on connecting people to opportunities for public service, providing affordable feminine products to women and girls in developing countries, and compiling thousands of government-released data sets into a single, cross-national open access database.
Two biochemists turned patrons of the arts are sending shockwaves through the Washington, DC area.
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.
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