Runaway Spoon

So Many Slices of Global Culture Under One Roof

December 9, 2018

Mayor Muriel Bowser officially proclaimed Winternational Day as more than 50 embassies showed off their cultures with food, handcrafts and beverages at the Ronald Reagan Building and World Trade Center on Thursday.

Banner (Photo by: Natalia Janetti) Banner

The ground floor was jam-packed with exhibits and people speaking a host of languages.

Over 3,500 guests – the event was free to the public – crowded into the huge space to buy, chat and explore the individual tables laden with goods, mostly handmade from countries across the globe.

Proclamation presentation by Lauren Vaughan to John P. Drew (left), Andrew Gelfuso, VP of Global Business Development for TCMA, & director of the World Trade Center; and (far right) Ambassador Sean Lawler (Photo by: Winternational) Proclamation presentation by Lauren Vaughan to John P. Drew (left), Andrew Gelfuso, VP of Global Business Development for TCMA, & director of the World Trade Center; and (far right) Ambassador Sean Lawler

Scarves over there.  Necklaces that way. Candles to the right. Jewelry right, left & center. Sculptures in the mix.  Cuisine everywhere.

In quoting the proclamation, Lauren C. Vaughan, secretary of the District of Colombia, said: “…the World Trade Center serves as a platform to build connections, foster diplomacy, grow businesses and create a more prosperous US and Global Economy.”

Assembled ambassadors & Speakers (Photo by: Natalia Janetti) Assembled ambassadors & Speakers

Also hobnobbing to build international bridges at a special ambassadors’ reception upstairs were Sean P. Lawler, Chief of Protocol at the US State Department and Patricia Elwood, DC Protocol and International Affairs Officer.  

“Only at the Winternational can you experience the heritage and traditions of all these countries under one roof,” observed John P. Drew president and CEO of presenting sponsor Trade Center Management Associates.  TCMA is a Drew Company.

A dress of wonders (Photo by: TCMA) A dress of wonders

Participating embassies and nation groups included Afghanistan, African Union Mission, Armenia, Australia, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Costa Rica, Egypt, El Salvador, European Union Delegation, Fiji, Ghana, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Indonesia, Kenya, Kosovo, Latvia, Lesotho, Lithuania, Malawi, Malaysia, Moldova, Mongolia, Morocco, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Qatar, Russia, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, Trinidad and Tobago, Uganda, Uzbekistan and Vietnam.

Kenya on Display (Photo by: TCMA) Kenya on Display

Helping to coordinate the 7th annual embassy showcase were Jan DuPlain, embassy liaison at the World Trade Center, and Golnaz Feiz, senior sales manager for sales and event planning, TCMA.

Cultural sales (Photo by: TCMA) Cultural sales

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New Congresswoman Stands for Gun Safety and CARE

November 29, 2018

No more dithering on gun safety.

Listening to CARE speakers. In front is Sofia Gegechkori of the Embassy of Georgia (center blonde) (Photo by: CARE) Listening to CARE speakers. In front is Sofia Gegechkori of the Embassy of Georgia (center blonde)
That was the promise of newly elected Georgia Congresswoman Lucy McBath at CARE’s Global Leaders Network reception Tuesday night at the Australian Embassy.

McBath is one of the record high number of women who will be sworn into the 116th Congress in 2019. 

Her mission is straightforward, understandable and honed by tragedy. In her talk, McBath, D-Ga., said that Congress has stalled enough on passing stricter gun safety laws.  She will fight for such stricter legislation, she said.

Her son, Jordan Davis, was shot and killed at a gas station Jacksonville, Fla., by a man objecting to the music he was playing in his car. The shooter used Florida’s stand-your-ground law as his defense. After a jury could not reach a verdict in the first trial, two years later, the shooter was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison.

Brett Greene with Dr. Maria J. Hankerson (Photo by: Patrick G. Ryan) Brett Greene with Dr. Maria J. Hankerson

“I have spent my few days in D.C. in deep reflection,” said McBath. “Almost exactly six years ago to date, I learned my son was murdered due to gun violence.  I immediately started asking questions – why did this happen? Where was the clergy?  Why were our political leaders not doing more to stem the rising tide of gun violence in this country? Elected leaders told her the timing wasn't right for stricter gun laws. So she ran for Congress and won. 

The freshman congresswoman said standing up for what's right on global issues is critical as well. 

"I am proud to be with you, as you fight for the rights of women and girls around the globe in the effort to eliminate poverty, because it's the only way we are going to have true democracy, just societies, prosperity, and peace in this world," she said.

Ambassador Cooper of Australia (Photo by: Patrick G. Ryan) Ambassador Cooper of Australia

The CARE event was among the first she attended in the Nation's Capital.

In presenting McBath with a CARE Global Leaders Network Humanitarian Award, CARE board member Michèle Flournoy said: 

 “Losing her son in such a senseless way has fueled her lifelong commitment to community activism and the importance of political engagement. You are a model leader and a role model for all of us.”

Before her election, McBath, who worked for decades at Delta Airlines, held dual roles as the national spokesperson for Everytown For Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.

Kurt Campbell, chairman of The Asia Group, given award by Flournoy (Photo by: Patrick G. Ryan) Kurt Campbell, chairman of The Asia Group, given award by Flournoy
Also honored at the reception hosted by Australian Deputy Head of Mission Ambassador Katrina Cooper was Asia strategist Dr. Kurt Campbell, CEO of The Asia Group. He was presented with a humanitarian award for the “inspiring contributions he has made to the economic empowerment of women and girls across Nepal, Vietnam and India in partnership with CARE and across the world through his leadership of The Asia Group Foundation." Appropriately, he shared the award with Grace Riley-Adams, a younger member of his team who manages the Foundation.

The evening included a holiday fair to support the work of women artisans and craftspeople throughout Asia.

Daryl Edwards of the Australian Embassy, with Beth Solomon of CARE's Global Leaders Network, and a friendly croc (Photo by: CARE) Daryl Edwards of the Australian Embassy, with Beth Solomon of CARE's Global Leaders Network, and a friendly croc
Among the 100 or so guests were Nicole Clifton of UPS, Dr. Maria Hankerson, Susannah George of the Associated Press, Eric Schmitt of the New York Times, Felice Berkowitz,  Lynda Webster, Rexon Rhu, Toni Bush, David Bohigian of OPIC, D.C. business leader Brett Greene, David Jahng (Washington Diplomat), Voice of America’s Lina Correa and Beth MendelsonWes HepplerDavid Cooper of Anglicotech, Bill Costello and Daryl Edwards of the Embassy of Australia, Sofia Gegechkori of the Embassy of Georgia, and Florida political consultant Daryl Glenney.

Ambassador Katrina Cooper welcomes guests (Photo by: Patrick G. Ryan) Ambassador Katrina Cooper welcomes guests

Guests enjoyed Australian wines and food from the Indo-Pacific region from Bindaas and Nooshi as they shopped for trade goods from CARE’s own Living Blue social enterprise as well as from Ten Thousand Villages, Global Goods Partners, Fair Trade Winds, and We Help War Victims.

A portion of all sales will be donated directly to CARE to continue their lifesaving work across 94 countries, which directly impacted 80 million people last year with a focus on women and girls.

The CARE Global Leaders Network is a strategic initiative to raise awareness about the critical role of humanitarian and development aid in global stability and national security. CARE was founded in 1945 and has been working in Southeast Asia since 1949, beginning in Bangladesh and the Philippines.


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Cheers, Tears & Hope

November 13, 2018

James Hawthorn emcees the program (Photo by: Neshan H. Naltchayan) James Hawthorn emcees the program

Flicks4Change, the new film festival dedicated to raising awareness of the hardship of children and the forgotten around the world and too often man’s inhumanity to man, debuted last week in Georgetown and across the river in Arlington, Virginia. Hope for a better world was a theme running through the dialogue.

Many of the documentary films for the two nights were hard to watch.  Some were impossible to watch. Some were inspiring. The producers of the films acknowledged that it was a rugged showing but offered no apologies for the gut-wrenching truthfulness of what was on the screen for the “festival that turns films into philanthropy.”

More than 400 people viewed films related to gun violence, child labor and pornography, animal cruelty, illicit drugs, homeless refugees, health care issues, the environment and senseless human losses. 

Documentary film shown at Flicks4Change (Photo by: Neshan H. Naltchayan) Documentary film shown at Flicks4Change

Bravery also was depicted in the documentaries. Bravery by big brothers protecting little sisters.  Bravery by brothers threatened by violent parents.  Bravery from mothers nourishing their children.  Many of the documentaries were not fare for the faint-hearted.  Reality often is not entertaining as Hollywood might view it.

One of the films was made by young Syrian refugees (part of the CARE’s Azraq Film School) who were given cameras to shoot footage about their lives in and around Azraq Refugees Camp in Jordan.  

Co-founder and director of Flicks4Change James Hawthorn, a native of McLean, Va., put together a team of Los Angeles-based staff to organize Flicks4Change, which started in LA , then was spotlighted in Australia and now comes to Washington, DC.

Singing for philanthropy (Photo by: Neshan H. Naltchayan) Singing for philanthropy

Among the supporters of Flicks4Change in DC include, Bob Guberman, David Rutchik and Selwa Masri, Joe and Teresa Farruggio (il Canale owners in Georgetown); arts activist Judith Terra; CARE International and CARE’s Global Leaders Network; Halcyon; Creative Visions; Arlington Academy of Hope, Virginia arts leader Howard Forman; The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, In A Perfect World; Charity: water; The Clarendon Ballroom; Mother Earth Project, Alla Rogers of Alla Rogers Gallery; Sylvia Ragheb, owner of a Middle East arts shop in Georgetown; and Barbara Hawthorn Interiors.

At a reception before the screenings, there was a much more upbeat tribute to tunes of joy.  Belting out such permanent favorites as “Only You,” and “The Great Pretender” were tenor Joe Coleman, Glenn Leonard and Joe Blunt, variously from The Platters, The Temptations, and The Drifters. The combined entertainers go by the name of LCB.

The audience (Photo by: Neshan H. Naltchayan) The audience

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