Runaway Spoon

Don't Sink Your Teeth Into This ... It's Eye Candy

November 10, 2015

The Qatar Embassy unveiled Tuesday night a lovely piece of wrapped candy.  Flag candy sculpture, that is. And it’s big.

So now, on M Street going into Georgetown from the West End, the burgundy-and-white polyester sculpture -- at 5 meters tall -- greets the eye on Qatar property at the main entrance.  The colors represent the national flag of Qatar.

Qatar's Ambassador (left) & artist Laurence Jenkell (Photo by: Embassy of Qatar) Qatar's Ambassador (left) & artist Laurence Jenkell

It’s the work of self-taught French artist Laurence Jenkell, who was at the embassy for the unveiling with Qatar Ambassador Mohammed Jaham Al-Kuwari and some 100 invited guests.

Jenkell, who lives and works in Vallauris, Alpes-Maritimes, has mastered her own novel technique of manipulating Plexiglass.  The work is rooted in Pop Art and New Realism. Her sculpture have been displayed around the world in various venues, including at the Embassy of the State of Qatar in Paris. Her candy-inspired sculptures are internationally recognized.

Underscoring the international flair, the ceremony was attended by several members of the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, including chair Kay Kendall and members Rhona Wolfe Friedman, Gretchen B. Wharton and Jose Alberto Ucles.  Also attending was the new commission executive director, Arthur Espinoza Jr.

Elvi Moore, former Washington Ballet general director and founder/president at the Laurel Fund for the Performing Arts, was among the guests.

Real candy was given out at the reception area, along with an array of cuisine.

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Ex DIA Chief Rebukes US Foreign Policy; Woolsey Named Chancellor of World Politics Institute

October 15, 2015

In a fire and brimstone talk at The Institute of World Politics’ silver anniversary gala and chancellor's dinner, retired (Army) Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn, former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), lambasted the Obama Administration for a “floundering … no one is in charge” foreign policy.

Entertainer Keni Thomas (Photo by: Cherie Cullen for IWP) Entertainer Keni Thomas

“Mr. President, a few drone strikes do not constitute a strategy,” Flynn said of the U.S. policy in the troubled Middle East. “Let’s win for a change, instead of simply participating in this perpetual conflict.  Develop a winning strategy and put a winner in charge of it. Take the fight to the enemy on every single level that exists.

“Let’s face it, right now, we’re floundering and we’re losing…..Taking our deflated ball and going home won’t work.” But on difficult international issues, he said, “don’t hold your breath if you’re waiting on this administration to make a decision.”

The next administration, he said, will face enormous global policy challenges; “we [must] ask potential presidents for their long-term vision for our country.”

Currently, said Flynn, “no one is in charge; our interagency process is lethargic and slow -- and that is being kind.

“Let’s face it: the Russians have stolen the march on us. They identified a seam, and in their very short decision-making cycle, moved fast to close it.  We have done a terrible job of identifying their unstated red lines and the imminent fall of Assad is obviously one of them. Another was the near eradication of their eastern Ukrainian enclaves, leading to direct…military intervention.”

KT McFarland (Photo by: Cherie Cullen for IWP) KT McFarland

His pointed criticism of the current administration came in the keynote speech at IWP’s dinner, which drew more than 420 ambassadors and diplomats, intelligence personnel, defense and foreign policy experts, students, and educators to The Ritz-Carlton in Pentagon City on Wednesday night.

The occasion coincided with the announcement that former CIA director R. James Woolsey Jr. has been elected by the board to serve as the first chancellor of the Institute, a preeminent graduate school in Washington.

 Woolsey headed the CIA from Feb. 5, 1993 until Jan. 10, 1995. He held a variety of government positions in the 1970s and 1980s, including Under Secretary of the Navy from 1977 to 1979.  In the 1980s, he was involved in treaty negotiations with the Soviet Union. A Phi Beta Kappa graduate from Stanford University, he has an M.A. from Oxford University where he was a Rhodes Scholar, and a law degree from Yale.

Fox News national security analyst KT McFarland, who held national security posts in the Nixon, Ford and Reagan administrations, was master of ceremonies.  She introduced performer Keni Thomas, a Nashville country singer and former U.S. Army Ranger.  As a member of the Bravo Company of the 3rd Ranger Battalion, Sgt. Thomas was part of the military operation recounted in the book and movie Black Hawk Down. Thomas sang his song “Hold the Line,” which was featured in the 2014 documentary, The Hornet’s Nest, which tells the story of an elite group of U.S. troops sent on a dangerous mission into Afghanistan.

Flynn with IWP backers Mary and Terry Kohler (Photo by: Cherie Cullen for IWP) Flynn with IWP backers Mary and Terry Kohler

In her remarks, McFarland said, “Today’s world is a confusing and complicated place and that’s where the IWP continues to fill the vacuum of leadership….It’s the only academic institution dedicated to teaching all the arts of statecraft including military strategy, the art of diplomacy, public diplomacy, opinion formation, strategic influence, intelligence, counterintelligence, economic strategy and moral leadership.”

Since its beginning, the IWP has grown into a premier graduate school dedicated to developing new generations of American leaders. Key supporters are political activists Mary and Terry Kohler of Brule, Wisconsin, who were co-chairs of the gala.

John Lenczowski, IWP founder and president, said its mission is to “teach our students to see the world as it really is rather than the way they wish it to be…. What makes us even more unique is our focus on moral leadership and applied ethics. Since we teach the instruments of power, and since power can be abused, we want our graduates to exercise it responsibly, prudently, and ethically.”

IWP chair & president John Lenczowski (left), Flynn & James Woolsey Jr. (Photo by: Cherie Cullen for IWP) IWP chair & president John Lenczowski (left), Flynn & James Woolsey Jr.

Among notables at the dinner was former FBI and CIA director William Webster.

IWP’s campus is in downtown Washington, DC. IWP has launched a campaign to raise $10,250,000  -- of which $4.5 million has been secured -- for expansion of the student body and curriculum.  The goal is to raise the balance by July 30, 2016.

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Free Expo Italiana Showcases Tastes, Sounds & Products

October 1, 2015

To celebrate its 40th birthday, the National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) is bringing back the popular Expo Italiana. On Saturday, October 17, Expo Italiana will showcase Italian food and specialties, wine, fashion and culture, as part of the foundation’s 40th Anniversary Awards Gala weekend. 

Mark your calendars:  Expo Italiana – free and open to the public -- will be held at the Washington Marriott Wardman Park Hotel, in Exhibition Hall C, from 9:00 am. to 4:00 pm.

David Greco owner of the famous Mike’s Deli of Arthur Avenue in the Bronx, N.Y., will prepare old-fashioned sandwiches and Italian specialties as a complimentary lunch for all guests.

Vendors will present new Italian brands as well as top-of-the-line products from Italy in pop-up boutiques. See the latest Italian luxury cars; sample Peroni Nastro Azzurro beer, enjoy espresso at Lavazza Café; sip limoncello, one of Italy’s most popular liqueurs; and indulge in Dolce Gelati.

There will be an exciting auction preview during Expo Italiana. Guests can bid on vacations in Rome and along Italy’s Amalfi Coast, including Sorrento, or take home the latest Ferragamo handbag. For book lovers, a collection of illustrated books published by Rizzoli, including “Giorgio Armani,” written by fashion designer; “Maserati: The Evolution of Style” and a library of Italian cookbooks from The Silver Spoon Kitchen donated by Phaidon, will be available to take home.

Pinstripes of Georgetown also will set up an indoor bocce court with demos, instructions and celebrity games. Children and families are welcome to join the fun. There will be face painting; Italian story time; folklore dance performances and presentations; a sing along and live music to dance throughout the day.

Italian artist and Italian language educator Simona Rodano will appear at 2 p.m. as La Fata Italiana (The Italian Fairy), and present a musical learning program for children. The fun, interactive performance will teach Italian language and culture through song and dance.

Special to the event is NIAF’s Exhibit of Italian American Culture and a photographic exhibit showcasing the life in southern Italy. Guests can also learn about Italian dual citizenship, genealogy, language and travel programs.

NIAF is also hosting a wine tasting for lovers of Italian wines alongside the expo and later in the afternoon, at 1:30 p.m.  Enjoy a special wine tasting and antipasti with a sommelier.  The ticketed wine event is $150.

For more information about Expo Italiana, contact Stephanie Gordon at 202-939-3107.  For the ticketed NIAF Wine Tasting & Antipasti, contact Xavier Atizol at 202-939-3100 or for events and ticket information for NIAF’s 40th Anniversary Awards Gala Weekend, visit

The National Italian American Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving and promoting the heritage and culture of Americans of Italian descent.

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