Washington Life Magazine
Washington Life Magazine

The History Boys
Russian Ambassador Yuri Ushakov

Kissinger: Still A Star
Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger got the most attention at the American- Russian Cultural Cooperation Foundation’s black-tie gala “Salute of Arts and Culture to Diplomacy” at the Russian Embassy on November 15.

In his familiar gravely voice, this famous secretary of state,who helped negotiate an end to the Cold War advised that “a growing Asia, the religious-driven Islamic world, and a Europe where the structure has changed,” will take “persistent cooperation, mutual trust and friendship to re-stablish a new world order.”

The big celebration, marking 200 years of diplomatic and cultural exchange between the two giant nations, was full of lively storytelling and music. Foundation Chairman James W. Symington, subbing for a flustricken opera star, sang the beloved Russian song, Moscow Nights, with wife Sylvia at the piano. And, the light-hearted Symington didn’t miss announcing Foundation board member Jane Sloat’s unusual wedding night. “She just got married to C. Jackson Ritchie three hours ago. Now, that’s what I call devotion to this Foundation!”

Ambassador Said Jawad and his wife Shamim welcomed an impressive list of Washington’s top power players to their Kalorama residence in October for the Ayenda Foundation’s Afghan Children Initiative. Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff, Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez, Senator John Sununu of New Hampshire, National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley, Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs Paula Dobriansky and Kalorama neighbor and
former U.N. delegate Esther Coopersmith were guests for this benefit dinner sponsored by Freddie Mac and co-chaired by Timothy McBride, co-founder of Ayenda and a senior vice president of Freddie Mac. “Afghanistan’s future depends on literate, educated and healthy children,” said Dobriansky, also noting that Ayenda not only enhances the welfare, education, health, shelter and safety of Afghan children but encourages their artistic and athletic abilities too.

Funds from this second annual gala will go to a learning center for an isolated orphanage, song books of traditional Afghan songs (which were lost under Taliban rule) and a soccer field.

According to Shamim Jawad, it is the children themselves, despite their obvious hardships, who inspire her. “When you travel to Afghanistan, the first thing that you notice is the children. You will never forget their bright, curious eyes or their gentle, musical laughter.”

Building Bridges
Former Jordanian Ambassador Karim Kawar and his wife Luma were back in town in mid-October to host the inaugural conference of their new foundation “Bridges of Understanding” with cofounder and businesswoman Kathryn Hubbard. “Bridges,” in partnership with Meridian International Center, aims to increase understanding and acceptance between the United States and the Arab and Muslim world. This one-day conference brought together top government, corporate and think tank leaders, along with ambassadors from Egypt, Morocco, the Arab League and the current ambassador from Jordan, PrinceZeid Bin Ra’ad Al-Hussein.

“This was a great beginning,” said Karim Kawar, “We already have important projects and action, not just words, after only six months.”

Cigars and Rum Despite the downpour, guests flocked to Ambassador Flavio Espinal and wife Minerva’s second annual Cigar and Rum Night at the Residence of the Dominican Republic on October 24. “They always have the best parties,” pal Debbie Sigmund said. Avid Latin dancers proclaimed Victor Victor’s band incredible, and everyone enjoyed DR;s two favorite products -- Brugal Rum and Pro-Cigars smokes, which come from the Ambassador’s hometown of Santiago. Without question, this was commercial diplomacy at its finest.

Readers wishing to get in touch with Gail can
email: columns@washingtonlife.com.



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