Runaway Spoon

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.


CARE Goes Global with #MeToo

October 14, 2018

Helene Gayle (left) and Michell Nunn (right) present award to Marcelina Bautista (Photo by: CARE/Marie Imbert) Helene Gayle (left) and Michell Nunn (right) present award to Marcelina Bautista

Twenty-five percent of men worldwide would never survive a Senate hearing and media firestorm even if they were otherwise eligible for a Federal judical appointment in the United States.  Why not? They believe, according to a CARE survey, that it is okay to demand sex from women who work for them.

Calling it a “moment in time,” with the spotlight on #MeToo, Time’s Up, and the Judge Kavanaugh confirmation hearing, CARE's CEO & President Michelle Nunn opened a “HerStory” symposium by citing the CARE survey of sexual harassment in the workplace done earlier this year in eight countries including the U.S., the UK, and Egypt. That opinion poll also showed that one-third of the women surveyed around the world experienced gender-based violence; that rose to 80% in Bangladesh, more than 66% in South Sudan, and 63% in Egypt.

Michelle Nunn (middle) chats with HerStory conference attendees (Photo by: CARE/Marie Imbert) Michelle Nunn (middle) chats with HerStory conference attendees

Alluding to the controversial Senate vote on the Supreme Court justice, Helene Gayle, CARE president emeritus, said, "The events of the last few weeks are somewhat discouraging," but she implored the audience to "keep our voices strong." Gayle said she "does take heart how the #MeToo Movement is bringing to light" the issues of sexual misbehavior.

And, on the brighter side, 63% of men and women in the CARE survey believe that change is coming.

CARE’s confab, which drew 250+ to George Washington University’s Jack Morton Auditorium on Tuesday, was held to explore the impact of gender-based violence in the lives of women and girls everywhere.

“Now more than ever, women are taking back the workplace, fighting for their right to be heard and breaking the secrecy surrounding sexual abuse and harassment. The #MeToo Movement has given power to women in the United States. Now is the time to highlight the effects of the movement worldwide,” said Nunn.

Henriette Kolb, (left), & Carla Koppell. (Photo by: CARE/Marie Imbert) Henriette Kolb, (left), & Carla Koppell.

Speaking at the Helene Gayle Global Development Symposium on how to empower women and girls through grass-roots and top-down  changes were Henriette Kolb, gender secretariat at the International Finance Corporation; Emily Bove, former executive director of Women Thrive Alliance; Ekene Osakwe of CARE Nigeria/and Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University; Carla Koppell, distinguished fellow at Georgetown University Institute for Women, Peace & Security; and Marcelina Bautista, founder of the Center for Support and Training for Domestic Workers in Mexico, among others.

Bautista was presented the 2018 Helene Gayle award for her dedication to women's empowerment in the work place.

Ekene Osakwe (left) & Emily Bove (Photo by: CARE/Marie Imbert) Ekene Osakwe (left) & Emily Bove

The moderator was Raj Kumar, founding president and editor in chief of Devex, a social enterprise and media platform for the global development community.

CARE works around the globe to achieve social justice, save lives and defeat poverty.

Attending the symposium Global Leaders Network members Janet Lewis and Martha Rees and as well as supporter Peter Ackerman.

 


Click here to share your thoughts.