Speakers Table

Trailblazing Ambassador Sparkles at Global Gender Event

June 26, 2018

By Kelly Sherretts

Ambassador Vlora Çitaku of the Republic of Kosovo made a special appearance at the recent Gender360 Summit in Washington, DC., to express her concerns on violence against girls and women. A former refugee and Georgetown resident, Ambassador Çitaku has broken through many glass ceilings as one of the first women ambassadors ever to represent her region in the United States. A former member of Parliment and Minister of European Intergration in Kosovo, Çitaku said: "There are still too many challenges; women are still considered exotic creatures in government."

Ambassador Çitaku with CARE's Besnik Leka (Photo by: Beth Solomon) Ambassador Çitaku with CARE's Besnik Leka
Çitaku spoke to a packed room hearing from panelists from around the globe.They convened to discuss the role gender development has on violence.

A friend of Ambassador Çitaku and panel member, CARE project coordinator Besnik Leka discussed CARE's Young Men Initiative in Kosovo. He asked the 120+ audience members to guess which emotion boys were most comfortable expressing, according to scientific research. They guessed it fairly quickly: "anger." The conference goers had more trouble guessing which emotions boys have the least comfort with. The answer, Leka told the audience, is "fear." 

"All males can benefit from sharing emotions," Leka said. 

Other panel speakers agreed with Leka including Preston Mitchum, from Advocates for Youth. "We really wanted to look at creating a world were all young people are included, all the sexual orientations, gender identities, and diversitites can really center the full range of rights." 

The panel: (Photo by: Kelly Sherretts ) The panel: "Transforming Harmful Social Norms: Advancing Positive Masculinity"
All heads turned when another point of view was considered. USAID executive Yolande Miller-Grandvaux dicussed the role of women supported by ISIS and Al-Qaeda. Miller-Grandvaux said that ISIS and Al-Qaeda are, in some ways, futher along than the United States when it comes to empowering women. "The women are given a voice that they never had before, and in that sense they are the most powerful human beings in a context where the men are in the front lines." 

Melanie Yahner, a panel speak from Save the Children, emphasized the importance of getting a head start on transforming social norms. "We know that these gender norms start to form at birth." 

The Gender360 Summit, where the panel discussion took place, was hosted by FHI 360, a nonprofit organization emphasizing a holistic approach to human development challenges. 

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'Wonder Woman 1984' in Georgetown

June 14, 2018

Written by Cathy Kerkam


Extras in costume (Photo by: Cathy Kerkam) Extras in costume

It's 7:00am on a gorgeous June morning - lovely, still and quiet which is the best time in Georgetown. I'm out on a dog walk, heading to Constance Chatfield-Taylor’s house to grab her for coffee. As I get to her house, I realized there were no SUVs in sight ... as far as the eye could see, only vintage cars from the 80's lined P Street and there at the end, was iconic punk boutique Commander Salamander.


Ah, the Wonder Woman sequel.  I had forgotten about the filming. Flashback to middle/high school and long trips in the old Plymouth station wagon with lots of noxious fumes ... then a memory of feeling so cool shopping at iconic punk boutique Commander Salamander for pins for my jean jacket when it was oh, so hip to wear them. I remember when the shop closed. Like other Georgetown stalwarts, it was hard to see it go.


What a treat this morning was! 

(Photo by: Cathy Kerkam)

The men in the photos live in NY and their profession? They source vintage cars, provide them and drive them on movie sets. How cool. No desk job for these guys. They love it, although they said it sometimes feels like paint drying. Each car along P Street had a driver - some in period outfits -  lurking about somewhere with a radio, just waiting to get the call to jump into action. A few cars were idling, filling the street with fumes. They had no idea how long they would wait. I asked if Wonder Woman would be driving one of these beauties, but no, sadly not.

One last thought - I LOVE the old DC license plates!

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Remembering Betsy Cooley

April 29, 2018

Betsy Cooley (Photo by: ) Betsy Cooley

Written by Jennifer Romm

Georgetown lost one of its treasures last week. Betsy Cooley passed away on Wednesday, April 25 at home with her daughters, Alison and Meredith, at her side.  We are all devastated by their loss and ours.  Betsy was our neighbor and our friend.  As executive director of the Citizens Association of Georgetown she was an inspiration.

She shepherded the organization through so much stuff.  She had the patience of a saint as she managed countless volunteers.  She was outgoing, loyal, creative and organized.  And she took pictures of everything!  Everyone knew her and admired her.  She was up for anything – and pretty much always had a plan B.  Her smile lit up the room.  And that hair!! 

She was an awesome artist, a world traveler, and an uber enthusiastic grandmother to Finn, Gustav and Gigi.  She was our biggest cheerleader.   She will be desperately missed. 

Betsy with Finn, Gustav and Gigi (Photo by: Betsy Cooley) Betsy with Finn, Gustav and Gigi

Betsy painting at the beach (Photo by: Betsy Cooley) Betsy painting at the beach

Plans are in the works for a memorial service.  Please save the date for 2pm June 23rd.  Her daughters are confirming with St Johns Episcopal Church in Georgetown this week.

Betsy Cooley, Catherine Parris Kerkam, Constance Chatfield-Taylor and Jennifer Romm (Photo by: ) Betsy Cooley, Catherine Parris Kerkam, Constance Chatfield-Taylor and Jennifer Romm

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