Runaway Spoon

Finland's Ambassador In the Spotlight

February 19, 2018

Finland’s Ambassador Kirsti Kauppi hosted D.C. decision-makers at a CARE Global Leaders Network reception on Tuesday to underscore the connection between food and nutrition security, and a clean environment.

Michelle Cross Fenty (right) with Toni Ford (left) & Judith Terra (Photo by: Neshan H. Naltchayan) Michelle Cross Fenty (right) with Toni Ford (left) & Judith Terra

Ambassador Kauppi, joined by celebrity chef Spike Mendelsohn, said: “Environmentally, economically and socially sustainable development is necessary to ensure a stable food supply for people from the Arctic to Africa….We are grateful for CARE’s work around the world to support small farmers and advocate for global action against climate change.” 

She also noted that after World War II, CARE was instrumental in helping her country’s people recover from the incurred devastation.

Celebrity Chef Spike Mendelsohn and Finland's Amb. Kirsti Kauppi (Photo by: Neshan H. Naltchayan) Celebrity Chef Spike Mendelsohn and Finland's Amb. Kirsti Kauppi

The reception is one of the ongoing events of CARE’s Global Leaders Network — an initiative to raise awareness about the importance of humanitarian and development aid for global stability and U.S. national security.

Next events in D.C. are scheduled for the Embassy of Australia April 17 and the Embassy of Canada May 22.

Brett & Tiffini Greene with Finland's Ambassador (Photo by: Neshan H. Naltchayan) Brett & Tiffini Greene with Finland's Ambassador

Former Navy Secretary and former U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Ray Mabus talked about the importance of maintaining high levels of aid: Without it, he said,  “by the time we get to war, it’s much more expensive in terms of lives …” than what it would be if money were spent upfront in humanitarian assistance.

Congressional staff, business leaders, media and members of the U.S. and international diplomatic communities, as well as CARE supporters attended the event.

Ana Utley, (right), new member of CARE's Global Leaders Network with Finland's Ambassador in front of a CARE poster (Photo by: Neshan H. Naltchayan) Ana Utley, (right), new member of CARE's Global Leaders Network with Finland's Ambassador in front of a CARE poster

The reception came on the heels of cuts proposed for the U.S. foreign assistance budget. Despite some $300 billion in new funding in the budget passed by Congress, the legislation includes approximately billions in cuts to foreign assistance, which would constitute a drastic reduction in life-saving humanitarian and development programs, said CARE.

Amb. Neil Parsan with Barbara Hawthorn (middle) & Michelle Cross Fenty (Photo by: Neshan H. Naltchayan) Amb. Neil Parsan with Barbara Hawthorn (middle) & Michelle Cross Fenty

 “The U.S. foreign aid budget faces these devastating cuts despite warnings from national security leaders that such investments are essential to global stability and our nation’s long-term security, said CARE’s Chief Operating Officer Heather Higginbottom.

Rachel Pearson with son Jacob with Sec. and Mrs. Mabus (Photo by: Neshan H. Naltchayan) Rachel Pearson with son Jacob with Sec. and Mrs. Mabus

Recognized as new ambassadors for CARE’s Global Leaders Network were Ana Utley (with husband Jon) of Georgetown, Jackie Finn, and Col. Henry and Joyce Moak. Former U.S. Ambassador to Yemen Barbara Bodine, now Director of Georgetown University's Institute for the Study of Diplomacy, was named to the CARE Global Leaders Network Advisory Board

Mendelsohn is a chef ambassador for CARE’s International Chefs’ Table Program, working with top chefs in the fight to end global hunger.  He is chef/owner of Good Stuff Eatery, and WE, The Pizza, among other restaurants.

Ambassador Hegbe of Togo with CARE's Abby Davidson and others (Photo by: Neshan H. Naltchayan) Ambassador Hegbe of Togo with CARE's Abby Davidson and others

Others at the reception, which drew some 110 guests, included:  Michelle Cross Fenty and Ambassador Neil Parsan (of Parsan Cross Global Strategic Advisors); Anna Gawel, Washington Diplomat managing editor; The Hon. Antoinette Ford of Double Nickels Theatre Co.; Togo’s Ambassador to the U.S. Frederic Edem Hegbe; Brett and Tiffini Greene (principles of American Management Corporation); arts activist Judith Terra; Georgetown photographer and D.C. diplomatic dean Didi Cutler, writer Annie Groer; interior designer Barbara Hawthorn; and Sister Cities International’s board member Christine Warnke.

Eric Shmitt of the New York Times, Felice Berkowitz, CARE's Beth Solomon and Amb. Kauppi (Photo by: Neshan H. Naltchayan) Eric Shmitt of the New York Times, Felice Berkowitz, CARE's Beth Solomon and Amb. Kauppi

CARE is a leading humanitarian organization fighting global poverty.

Last year, CARE worked in 94 countries and reached more than 80 million people around the world.   


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Women's Rights Priority for Kosovo's Ambassador

February 4, 2018

It is a true story of a road traveled from being a refugee to becoming an ambassador to the United States.

Now among the growing cadre of women ambassadors here in Washington is Kosovo’s Vlora Ҫitaku, the ex-refugee.

(left) Sister Cities International's Christine Warnke & Adam Kaplan, Kosovo Amb.Vlora Citaku & CARE's Beth Solomon (Photo by: Neshan H. Naltchayan) (left) Sister Cities International's Christine Warnke & Adam Kaplan, Kosovo Amb.Vlora Citaku & CARE's Beth Solomon
Co-sponsored by The City Club of Washington’s Ambassador’s Luncheon series, the CARE Global Leaders Network and Sister Cities International, Ambassador Ҫitaku said she fights for all human rights but places a special importance on women’s rights.

Ҫitaku, 37, likes to say that she is living proof that to be involved in politics, one does not have to be a man.

She was only a teenager when she became an interpreter and reporter for Western news outlets at the start of the Kosovo War. Then in the late 1990s, as the war escalated, she became homeless and in those difficult times was aided by CARE, an international charitable organization.

Amb. Vlora Citaku gives big hug to Agnesa Ljamadjema, sr. executive assistant at CARE USA (Photo by: Neshan H. Naltchayan) Amb. Vlora Citaku gives big hug to Agnesa Ljamadjema, sr. executive assistant at CARE USA
Later, she entered into politics to fight for Kosovo’s freedom and independence. Before joining her nation’s diplomatic corps, Ambassador Citaku was a member of Parliament and served as minister for European Integration.  She became ambassador in August 2015. 

In flawless English, the ambassador proudly told the gathering at The City Club of Washington that all speak English in her home country. 

“Kosovo is a young democracy,” she said. “Seventy percent of the population is under 30.”  She also said the culture is highly diverse with a broad spectrum of people representing different ways of life and religions.

Moderating the discussion was Beth Solomon, managing director for external affairs & development for CARE, and a leader in CARE’s newly established Global Leaders Network. Ambassador Floreta Faber of Albania joined the luncheon, along with the Embassy of Australia's new Social Secretary Anthony Dainer, Council on Foreign Relations outreach leader Anya Schmemann, Global Ties US board member Barb Keller, The Newseum's Sonya Gavankar, CSIS outreach honcho Beverly Kirk, the American Legislative Exchange Council's Karla Jones, and The Georgetowner's editor-in-chief Robert Devaney.

Sister Cities International’s board member Christine Warnke and vice president Adam Kaplan presented the Ambassador with an illustrated book on that organization’s humanitarian works.


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3 Tenors + 1

January 28, 2018

The 2018 Pre-Alfalfa Luncheon boasted of hearing the on-stage wisdom from “3 Tenors of Foreign Policy.” But a 4th tenor, former Missouri Congressman James Symington, delivered the sweetest sounds.

Jordan's Ambassador Dina Kawar (right) & CEO CARE USA Michelle Nunn (Photo by: Natalia Janetti) Jordan's Ambassador Dina Kawar (right) & CEO CARE USA Michelle Nunn

Former Secretaries Henry Kissinger of State, Henry Paulson Jr. of Treasury and Robert Gates of Defense provided their accumulated knowledge on China-U.S. relations to the 200 plus invited attendees at the Center for Strategic & International Studies.

But at another table, just before lunch was served, Symington, 90, sang Irish tunes at the urging of his table mates.  He was on perfect pitch and nailed every verse beautifully.   What a gift to hear the poet, world traveler and distinguished senior politician take command through his famous singing voice again. Alas, the seasoned utterings of the three speakers were a bit harder to hear.

Henry Kissinger (Photo by: Natalia Janette) Henry Kissinger

For the most part, the CSIS lunch is primarily an occasion for old friends and colleagues to swap stories and catch up on what's happening in their lives. And, of course, to network with movers-and-shakers around town. 

Among the distinguished guests at other tables were Ambassador Dina Kawar of Jordan, Microsoft founder Bill Gates, Nancy Kissinger, Vicente Fox, former presdent of Mexico, J.W. MarriottSen. Dianne Feinstein, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, Frederick Malek, former Sen. Sam and Colleen Nunn, former FBI Director William and Lynda Webster, former Congressman Barry Goldwater Jr., former presidential candidate Jeb Bush, CARE CEO/President Michelle Nunn, Esther Coopersmith, former Senator Alan Simpson; CSIS Board Chairman Tom Pritzker, and CSIS president/CEO John Hamre.

Microsoft's Bill Gates (left) and Henry Paulson (Photo by: Natalia Janetti) Microsoft's Bill Gates (left) and Henry Paulson

Wine was plentiful and provided by the Michael Mondavi Family Estate.

Former Sen. Alan Simpson (left) & (far right) Ann Simpson with guest (Photo by: Natalia Janetti) Former Sen. Alan Simpson (left) & (far right) Ann Simpson with guest

John Hamre CEO of CSIS & Beth Solomon of CARE USA (Photo by: Natalia Janetti) John Hamre CEO of CSIS & Beth Solomon of CARE USA

Colleen Nunn and Amb. Kenichiro Sasae of Japan. The Sasaes -- beloved friends of Washington -- are set to depart in 2018, leaving many in DC in tears. (Photo by: The Georgetown Dish) Colleen Nunn and Amb. Kenichiro Sasae of Japan. The Sasaes -- beloved friends of Washington -- are set to depart in 2018, leaving many in DC in tears.


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