Runaway Spoon

Hurray for Those Who Advance Girls' Education Worldwide

July 15, 2018

Rexon Y. Ryu, partner, The Asia Group, is thanked by CARE's Heather Higginbottom & Michele Flournoy for the new  $100,000 grant. (Photo by: Neshan H. Naltchayan) Rexon Y. Ryu, partner, The Asia Group, is thanked by CARE's Heather Higginbottom & Michele Flournoy for the new $100,000 grant.

Daughters and granddaughters were the stars at an A-list reception by The Asia Group, a strategic advisory firm, celebrating philanthropic organization CARE on Thursday night, where the theme was educating young girls and women around the world.

Young women ruled the event. Some even introduced their parents and grandparents' palates to new kinds of foods, all from restaurants: Sunday in Saigon in Alexandria, Va., and Bindaas in Washington, D.C.

Honoree Ranvir Trehan, in keeping with the theme of women achieving power, was accompanied by daughter Veena and granddaughter Priya.  

Ranvir Trehan surrounded by Women Who Rule, daughter Veena & granddaughter Priya. (Photo by: Neshan H. Naltchayan) Ranvir Trehan surrounded by Women Who Rule, daughter Veena & granddaughter Priya.

Both mingled and greeted the gathering with ease, which prompted Trehan to observe:  “Women lead in our household.”

The Asia Group announced its largest charitable gift in the firm's history of $100,000 to support the expansion of educational programs for girls in India led by CARE, the global humanitarian and development organization.

Suzanne Spaulding, a CARE Global Leaders Network (GLN) member, brought her daughter Charlotte Slaiman, as did GLN’s Jorge Kamine of international powerhouse Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom -- who brought his daughter Audrey.  Former Ambassador of Yemen to the U.S. Abdulwahab AlHajjri -- member of the CARE Global Leaders Network Advisory Board -- was accompanied by his granddaughter.

Jon Utley & Ana Utley (members of the CARE Global Leaders Network) chat with Mami Kawano of the Japanese Embassy (Photo by: Neshan H. Naltchayan) Jon Utley & Ana Utley (members of the CARE Global Leaders Network) chat with Mami Kawano of the Japanese Embassy

The humanitarian award to Trehan, a CARE board member, was presented by Michèle Flournoy, former U.S. Under Secretary of Defense and co-founder of the Center for a New American Security and WestExec Advisors, and by Heather Higginbottom, COO of CARE and former U.S. Deputy Secretary of State. 

Trehan and his family live in McLean, Va.  He is founder of technology giant SETA.  Through their family foundation, Trehan and his wife, Adarsh, have donated generously to charities and cultural endeavors.

He noted that CARE has done “tremendous work” for women’s health, education and advancement. “We gave something to CARE but we got a lot back…more than we gave,” said Trehan.

Judith Terra with Cary Pollack (left) & Brett Greene (Photo by: Neshan H. Naltchayan) Judith Terra with Cary Pollack (left) & Brett Greene

In praising The Asia Group for its new grant, Flournoy said:  “The Asia Group Foundation is expanding its partnership with CARE from investments in the empowerment of women and girls in Vietnam and Nepal to include this landmark effort in India."  

Rexon Y. Ryu, partner and chair of The Asia Group’s board of directors, announced the grant will “expand CARE’s girl’s education project in India to an entirely new region of Uttar Pradesh, reaching nearly 30,000 additional out-of-school girls, teachers, parents, and community members.”  

The program builds confidence and teaches skills the girls need to overcome the social and economic factors that keep them from school, prepares parents to embrace educational opportunities for their daughters, and engages men and boys to be part of the support system.

Rexon Ryu, Beth Solomon & Dana Daoud of the Embassy of Jordan (Photo by: Neshan H. Naltchayan) Rexon Ryu, Beth Solomon & Dana Daoud of the Embassy of Jordan

The reception, which drew some 80 guests, also celebrated the CARE Global Leaders Network, an initiative to raise awareness about the importance of U.S. leadership in humanitarian and development aid for national security and global security.

Trehan and his family have invested millions in CARE’s work, focusing his philanthropy on innovative programs with the potential to create lasting change for women and girls. He has a special tie to CARE’s 70-year legacy of helping those in need. His father, a doctor, helped CARE distribute milk powder to poor families in the Himalayas of India when Trehan was a young boy.  

Higginbottom said: “The approach has been so effective that CARE is working in partnership with the government of India to expand the program to other states across India where the needs are greatest, and this commitment by The Asia Group Foundation will make that possible.“

Didi Cutler chats with former Yemen Amb. Abdulwahab Abdulla Al-Hajjri (Photo by: Neshan H. Naltchayan) Didi Cutler chats with former Yemen Amb. Abdulwahab Abdulla Al-Hajjri

The Asia Group, based in Washington D.C., has an affiliated office in Hong Kong.  It is an advisory firm to leading companies seeking to excel across Asia.

Guests included David Ray, CARE's VP of Advocacy; Mami Kawano and Katsuto Hisano, first secretaries, economic section at the Embassy of Japan;  Dana Daoud of the Embassy of Jordan; Brett O. Greene, CEO & president of American Management Corporation; Ana and Jon Utley (GLN members); International Student House board of directors member Didi Cutler; Daryl Edwards of the Embassy of Australia; arts leader Judith F. Terra; lawyer and international gourmet chef Cary Pollack; Lee Brian Reba, executive director, corporate affairs, the University of the District of Columbia; Beth Mendelson of the Voice of America; interior designer/charity leader Barbara Hawthorn (GLN member); and longtime CARE supporters Peter and Pilar Lunt of Alexandria, Va.

Peter and Pilar Lunt (Photo by: Neshan H. Naltchayan) Peter and Pilar Lunt

Global Leaders Network Advisory Board members, whose purpose is to promote America's legacy of humanitarian and development assistance as a critical component of national security and global stability, included Martha Rees, David Cooper and Dick Crawford.

For more information, contact Beth Solomon, managing director for external affairs and development at CARE, via beth.solomon@care.org.


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Fashion & Politics On The Runway & The Front Burner

June 20, 2018

Dr. Ivonn Szeverenyi is presented birthday bouquet from Csaba Kael, CEO, Palace of Arts Budapest. On far left is Hungarian Amb. Szabo. (Photo by: Natalia Janetti) Dr. Ivonn Szeverenyi is presented birthday bouquet from Csaba Kael, CEO, Palace of Arts Budapest. On far left is Hungarian Amb. Szabo.

Breathtaking haute couture from Hungary?  Who would’ve guessed?

Heads up: New York/Milan/Paris.   Hungary is challenging.

The Washington premiere of  Katti Zoób fashion was on display during a runway show Tuesday at the Hungarian Embassy in Washington,  D.C.  The models --  all from Hungary -- wore stunning capes, flowing evening gowns,  coats and tops of many colors,  but the predominant shade was mainly sophisticated black for evening wear.

Most of the clothes bore the distinct touch of classic Old World Hungary –  born again in the 21st Century.

Aniko Gaal Schott (l) with Katti Zoob, Michelle Belliveau & show stealer Zsuzsu with (Photo by: Michelle Belliveau) Aniko Gaal Schott (l) with Katti Zoob, Michelle Belliveau & show stealer Zsuzsu with

This oft-elaborate fashion is structured for those who want to make a Wow statement when they enter a ballroom.  Definitely not for wall flowers.

Among the models were a few kids, and of course, kids always are show stealers, especially the ambassador and his wife's young daughter Zsuzsu, who nonchalantly walked with a pacifier while wearing a fancy dress. 

The reception for 200+ guests also celebrated the conclusion of Hungary’s presidency of the Visegrád Group, a cultural and political alliance of Hungary, the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia.

It’s all part of the diplomatic mission of Hungary’s ambassador Dr. László Szabo and his wife, Dr.  Ivonn Szeverényi, to introduce Hungarian commerce and culture to the United States.  Just by chance, it also was the birthday of Dr. Szeverenyi.  Participating  among the fashion models were the couple’s two young daughters.

The show’s organizers included  public relations guru Aniko Gaal Schott, who the ambassador described as “the social animal of the city.”

And the Hungarian music  played on. (Photo by: Natalia Janetti) And the Hungarian music played on.

Earlier in the day, the ambassador hosted a salon for journalists to discuss Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s reelected government and Hungarian-American relations, among other topics.

When asked about the phone call President Trump made to Orban on Saturday, the ambassador said the two leaders saw eye-to-eye on illegal immigration.

“President Trump … spoke about the importance of border protection and agreed that a country that cannot defend its own borders is no longer a country,” according to the embassy which issued a statement.

“The prime minister ensured the president that Hungary is committed to continuing its migration policy and protecting Hungary’s borders…Orban stressed that it is important to Hungary for the European Union to win backs its competitiveness, considering that almost 80 percent of the country’s exports go to other EU member states.”

Fashion on Parade (Photo by: Embassy of Hungary) Fashion on Parade

So what, in his words, “pisses off “ Szabo in undiplomatic ways nowadays?   

“When we are accused of'" following policies that we don’t, said Szabo.  “…a shining example is when we are called far right;” he named  the Washington Post and New York Times as prime culprits.

He said Hungary is a democratic nation that has close economic and cultural ties to the United States. That relationship, he said, has improved from when President Obama was at the White House. 

It was clear there will be few tears shed in Hungary if German Chancellor Angela Merkel is ousted. Dr. Agoston Samuel Mráz, CEO of Central European Perspectves, said in his remarks: “if Merkel is gone…it would be a victory for Mr. Orban…the change would be a good message for Hungary.”

Hungary has tightened its borders to reduce the flow of illegal immigrants into the country.


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Display of U.S.-Japan Baseball History Hits Homer this All-Star Season

June 14, 2018

Written by Dick Barnes

Cheers to baseball (Photo by: The Georgetown Dish) Cheers to baseball

A fascinating look at 1½ centuries of U.S.-Japan baseball is available downtown during this All-Star season.

Today’s American baseball fan, like me, knows about Japanese players such as future Hall-of-Famer Ichiro Suzuki, just retired from the Seattle Marinersand rookie sensation Shohei Ohtani of the Los Angeles Angels, who have come here to star in Major League Baseball. But few of us know the seeds of that international exchange were laid a century and a half ago when American advisors to the Japanese government brought their then-new game to Japan as recreation.

The Embassy of Japan’s Information and Culture Center is telling the story of baseball in Japan through an exhibition of memorabilia, documents, and narrative that is free and open to the public in downtown DC through August 10. The exhibition is open Monday through Friday except holidays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Center is at 1150 18th Street NW; its street-level entrance is just to the right of the main building entrance.

Kenichi Kobayashi (left), chats with Josh Stanka in front of memorabilia that Stanka made available for the exhibition. (Photo by: The Georgetown Dish) Kenichi Kobayashi (left), chats with Josh Stanka in front of memorabilia that Stanka made available for the exhibition.

At a preview on Wednesday, Josh Stanka, grandson of an American who played most of his career in Japan, described portions of the exhibition that he made available from his personal collection. His favorite item is a game ball from the final game of the 1964 Japan Series that he pointed out to Kenichi Kobayashi, the Embassy of Japan's Minister for Economic Affairs. His grandfather, Joe Stanka, was Most Valuable Player of that championship.

Adam Berenbak, a baseball memorabilia collector with professional expertise as an archivist at the National Archives, curated the exhibition. Old documents illustrate how early competition between the countries focused on college games. For example, Wasada University played at Stanford in 1905 and the University of Wisconsin played games in Japan in 1909.

Adam Berenbak, baseball memorabilia collector & archivist at the National Archives, discusses an element of the exhibition that he curated. (Photo by: The Georgetown Dish) Adam Berenbak, baseball memorabilia collector & archivist at the National Archives, discusses an element of the exhibition that he curated.

A tour in 1934 by a U.S. All Star team that included Babe Ruth ultimately helped spur the creation of a Japanese professional league in 1936.  World War II intervened, but after the war, U.S. occupation authorities focused on baseball as a social tool to rebuild the country’s morale, according to Dr. Yukako Tatsumi of the University of Maryland’s Gordon W. Prange Collection of occupation-era publications; she compiled materials from the Collection for the exhibition. U.S. professional teams began touring Japan again in 1949.

In 1964, Masanori Murakami, the first player from Japan to appear in the majors, joined the San Francisco Giants in mid-season. He pitched well, but returned to Japan in 1965 as the result of a contract dispute between the Giants and his Japanese team.

Takehiro Shimada, Minister of Communications & Cultural Affairs at the embassy (Photo by: The Georgetown Dish) Takehiro Shimada, Minister of Communications & Cultural Affairs at the embassy

As a young reporter for The Associated Press in San Francisco, I recall writing the story of Murakami’s coming to the Giants.

It was another 31 years before another Japanese player, pitcher Hideo Nomo, came from Japan to the majors with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Josh Stanka said Monday that his grandfather was involved in getting Murakami to the U.S., “but he messed up so much diplomatically that no other Japanese player came for another 30 years.”

Takehiro Shimada, the Minister for Communications and Cultural Affairs, announced that an exhibition public special event on July 20, three days after the Major League All-Star Game in Washington, will feature Murakami, now 74. 

Dr. Yukako Tasumi of the Gordon W. Prange Collection at the U. of Maryland (Photo by: The Georgetown Dish ) Dr. Yukako Tasumi of the Gordon W. Prange Collection at the U. of Maryland

 


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