Runaway Spoon

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.

 


Click here to share your thoughts.


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


1 Comment   Click here to share your thoughts.


An Old Wine Culture Is Back With Loving CARE

October 18, 2018

Fantastic wines of Georgia served at the embassy in Washington (Photo by: Neshan H. Naltchayan) Fantastic wines of Georgia served at the embassy in Washington

Georgia’s reputation for hospitality with fine wines and delicious food has soared to diplomatic heights. Let’s be clear – we’re not talking about the U.S. state that includes Atlanta. We mean the independent European nation along the Black Sea that emerged from the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Old and new Georgian wines were uncorked Tuesday night at the embassy so the 80 invited guests could  pay tribute to  the philanthropic work of global humanitarian and development leader CARE, the organization that aided refugees and displaced persons after turmoil following wars and the end of Soviet rule.

The CARE Global Leaders Network, including business leaders, diplomats and members of the national security community who support the organization, joined the embassy to highlight CARE's work in Georgia throughout the years.

Journalist Alessandra Gelmi, Ana Utley & Thomas G. Knobloch (Photo by: Neshan H. Naltchayan) Journalist Alessandra Gelmi, Ana Utley & Thomas G. Knobloch

“Georgia is a model of commitment to civil society and democracy. This small but leading nation has risen to the occasion every time democracy in the region has been tested.,” said Beth Solomon, CARE’s managing director of external affairs. “CARE supports projects, from helping people with disabilities create and run businesses to support themselves to increasing the ability of small farmers through training and capital investments. CARE works to reduce poverty and advance the rights of women and girls, which is the only way to achieve just, democratic societies.”

Georgia is now a hub of tourism, a wine industry, and is praised for its devotion to freedom. CARE has been a partner of the country in support of that success.

CARE's work has come at critical moments. Sofia Gegechkori, a native of Sokhumi Abkhazia, now public affairs counselor at the embassy, spoke of her experiences when she was 15.   “I left my home on the last day it fell to the Russia-backed separatist forces, on a Ukrainian military ship coming to rescue a population fleeing the butchery. 

Georgia's Ambassador engages in conversation with Barbara Hawthorn, Jan DuPlain & Cary Pollack (Photo by: Neshan H. Naltchayan) Georgia's Ambassador engages in conversation with Barbara Hawthorn, Jan DuPlain & Cary Pollack

“The war leaves scars on our souls that do not really heal with time,” she said. “But what you all can do for refugees of today fleeing the war zones, is not only providing food, but providing future…if not for the aid, I most probably would not be in front of you today.

“Humanitarian aid became vital for our survival. From those times, I can still picture USAID food packages from American people distributed by …agencies like CARE, and the local government of the newly independent, still-shaky country struggling together with us.”

Georgia Ambassador David Bakradze took pride in pointing to his country’s friendship with America.

Lynda Webster and Amb. Hansjoerg Haber, who received the CARE Humanitarian Award (Photo by: Neshan H. Naltchayan) Lynda Webster and Amb. Hansjoerg Haber, who received the CARE Humanitarian Award

“The U.S. stands as a prominent ally and strategic partner of Georgia…Georgians stand shoulder to shoulder with American soldiers in Afghanistan to fight against terrorism through NATO missions.” 

Former German Ambassador and UN envoy to Georgia, Yemen and Turkey Hansjoerg Haber was presented with a  Humanitarian Award.  He underscored that it’s high time for Russia to stop its intimidating ways and aggression against Georgia, which he said still continues to this day.

Among the guests were Ambassador Javlon Vakhabov of Uzbekistan and representatives of the embassies of Monaco, Jordan, Japan, Finland, Zimbabwe, Armenia, Morocco and Togo;  and Georgia native Tamara Shukakidze, who has worked for CARE for 15 years and is director of Humanitarian Practice, Partnerships & Innovation.

 A crew from the Voice of America recorded the Georgia program for its international use.

Embassy chef Malkhaz Maisashvili prepared cuisine for the night's guests. He is also a chef at Georgian restaurant Supra in Shaw. (Photo by: Neshan H. Naltchayan) Embassy chef Malkhaz Maisashvili prepared cuisine for the night's guests. He is also a chef at Georgian restaurant Supra in Shaw.

Also attending were columnist Alessandra Gelma of The Epoch Times, Charles Green of Mayor Eric Garcetti's office, Rania Kiblawi, Abla Khoursheed, Brett Greene, president/CEO of American Management Corporation; Lynda Webster of the Webster Group; Kiyomi Buker and Mami Kawano of the Embassy of Japan, Rich Tafel and Tony Raffa of Raffa, Ashkan Bayatpour, Linda Harper, board member of the International Student House; members of the Global Leaders Network Martha Rees, Ana Utley, Christy Walika, Janet Lewis, Barbara Hawthorn of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Washington;  and Christine Warnke.

The next CARE Global Leaders Network reception is slated for Nov. 27 at the Australian Embassy.

Sofia Gegechkori who spoke from the heart with the Georgia Ambassador & Beth Solomon (Photo by: Neshan H. Naltchayan) Sofia Gegechkori who spoke from the heart with the Georgia Ambassador & Beth Solomon
Enjoying the hospitality: Ruth Seidman, Arvind Ramankole, Nicole Palardy & David Seidman (Photo by: Neshan H. Naltchayan) Enjoying the hospitality: Ruth Seidman, Arvind Ramankole, Nicole Palardy & David Seidman


Click here to share your thoughts.