Monthly Archives: March 2009

‘The goal is to eradicate polio’ — Rotary International President visits Washington

Mr. Dong Kurn Lee and his wife

Rotary International’s president Mr. Dong Kurn Lee and his wife

EARLIER THIS WEEK, Rotary International President, Mr. Dong Kurn Lee of South Korea, held a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington to talk about Rotary’s fund raising campaign to eradicate polio. Mr. Lee was joined at the press conference by Oscar-nominated producer (for “The Final Inch”) Tom Grant and polio research specialist Dr. John Sever.

MR. LEE STATED that Rotary is one-third of the way toward its $200 million goal of raising funds for polio eradication. The $200 million will match a $355 million challenge grant by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The total $555 million will be used for polio eradication in countries where the crippling disease still infects children: Afghanistan, India, Nigeria and Pakistan. More than 2 billion children worldwide have been inoculated against the polio virus.

SINCE 1985, Rotary has raised nearly $850 million for polio eradication. In addition, individual Rotary members have contributed countless volunteer hours to help vaccinate more than two billion children, preventing five million cases of paralysis and 250,000 pediatric deaths. The initiative has reduced the incidence of polio by more than 99 percent, from 350,000 cases a year in 1988 to fewer than 2,000 in 2008. But a critical funding gap threatens to derail two decades of progress.

MR. LEE is the first Korean president of Rotary International, the 105-year-old humanitarian service organization whose membership comprises 1.2 million men and women of all races, religions, and nationalities in 33,000 Rotary clubs in 200 countries.

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Opening Reception for Christian Platt Paintings at Susan Calloway Gallery in Washington

Annie Arnest and Christian Platt

The painter Christian Platt and his girlfriend Annie Arnest

A big crowd turned out Friday night, March 27, for an opening reception for an exhibition of the art of painter Christian Platt at Susan Calloway Gallery in Washington, D.C.

Platt, who was born in 1986 in Washington, D.C., began his study of painting in early middle school in weekend classes at the Corcoran Gallery of Art and at the Maret School, from which he graduated in 2005. He moved west, and between 2005 and 2008 he spent time at the Switchback Ranch, a 200,000-acre ranch in Red Lodge, Montana, working in their cutting horse program and as a wrangler in their big game hunting camps in the Absaroka Range outside of Cody, Wyoming.

Painting full-time since the summer of 2008, Christian Platt focuses on large-scale oil landscapes, often inspired by his time in the wide open spaces of Montana and Wyoming, as well as by the countryside surrounding his home near Sperryville, Va. He also does large-scale still lifes.

The Susan Calloway Fine Arts Gallery is located at 1643 Wisconsin Ave., N.W., For more information, call the gallery at (202) 965-4601 or visit www.christianplatt.com.

Susan Calloway

Gallery owner Susan Calloway, Susan Calloway Fine Arts

Samuel T. Lloyd III

Samuel T. Lloyd III, Dean of Washington National Cathedral

Camilla McCaslin and Dorie Laurent

Camilla McCaslin and Dorie Laurent

Christian Zapatka

Architect Christian Zapatka

Kristen Moreau

Kristen Moreau

Pierre Rahal

Pierre Rahal

Susan Calloway Fine Arts opening reception

Susan Calloway Fine Arts opening reception

Christian Platt painting
Christian Platt paintings

Pecha Kucha Night in G?teborg, Sweden

Pecha Kucha Night in Gothenburg

Nergs Nazar, Malin Nilsson, Jasmin Davooai and Malin Andreasson

A PECHA KUCHA NIGHT gathering was held on Wednesday night, March 25, at the famous Park Lane club at the top of the Avenue in G?teborg (or Gothenburg) Sweden.
Pecha Kucha Night, was started in 2003 by architects Astrid Klein and Mark Dytham, is a gathering for young designers and other creative entrepreneurs to meet, network, and show their work in public.

DURING a Pecha Kucha Night each presenter is allowed 20 images, each shown for 20 seconds each – giving six minutes and 40 seconds of fame before the next presenter is up. This keeps presentation concise, the interest level up, and gives more people the chance to show. The speakers at the G?teborg Pecha Kucha Night were Hanna Brot? & Jessica Nilsson - Bittra Britta; composer Paula af Malmborg Ward; dancer & choreographer Veera Suvalo Grimberg; artist & skateboard producer Mattias Norstr?m; designer Fredrik F?g; Yukimi Nagano & Ann-Louise Landelius; Skambyr? (www.skambyran.se); designer Dan Henriksson; architect Torsten Ottesj?; architect firm Kjellgren & Kaminsky; ANTI design agency from Oslo; photographer Klara K?lstr?m; Anton Romanus, Vetenskapsfestivalen; and Bokpuffen.net. DJ after the presentation was Alex Berg.

PECHA KUCHA, which is Japanese for the sound of conversation, has tapped into a demand for a forum in which creative work can be easily and informally shown, without having to rent a gallery or schmooze magazine editors. This is a demand that seems to be global. The Pecha Kucha night has spread virtually to over 100 cities across the world. For information contact www.pecha-kucha.org.

Pecha Kucha Night in Gothenburg

Emilie Selin, Jannie Elgqvist and Hila Ahmadzai

Pecha Kucha Night in Gothenburg

Pecha Kucha Night in Gothenburg

Chinese companies talking about buying Volvo cars

WORD COMES that the Chinese have an interest in buying Volvo cars. The British Autocar Magazine reports that several Chinese companies are interested in buying Volvo cars from Ford, and no Western firms have indicated they will make an offer. Reportedly, Ford may get $1.2 billion for Volvo cars.

IF A CHINESE company buys Volvo cars from Ford, will the Americans traipsing to the Volvo complex north of Gothenburg be replaced by Chinese? Will Volvo cars, which many people said barely survived Ford, totally lose its soul if it is taken over by a Chinese company?

TIME…and money will tell the outcome.

WHAT do you think?

National Medical Association’s Annual Global Health Gala at Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington

Congressman John Conyers

Congressman John Conyers (D-Michigan) spoke at The National Medical Association’s 2009 Global Health Awards Dinner in Washington on Tuesday night.

ON TUESDAY night, March 24, the NMA, the National Medical Association, held its Annual Global Health Gala at Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, D.C. The Global Health Gala Awards Dinner was established to recognize, honor and promote individuals or organizations for their contributions to the global health community. NMA launched the Global Health Initiative and Gala Awards Fundraiser in 2008 to help African countries ease the severe shortage of health workers, and improve the scope and quality of health care delivery in select African nations.

CNN White House correspondent Suzanne Malveaux, who is the daughter of former NMA board member Dr. Floyd Malveaux, had been scheduled to be the evening’s mistress of ceremonies, but she had to cover President Obama’s press conference at the White House. So former NMA President Dr. Nelson L. Adams presided.

AMONG THE SPEAKERS at the gala were several members of congress, John Conyers (D-Michigan), James Clyburn (D-South Carolina) and Diane Watson (D-California). Other guests included several ambassadors from African countries. Special recognitions and honors went to former President Clinton’s foundation, The William J. Clinton Foundation, and NMA President Carolyn Barley Britton, M.D., M.S. A video-taped message from former President Clinton was presented as a part of the evening’s program. 

NMA Annual Global Health Gala

NMA Annual Global Health Gala

Learning How to Celebrate Easter the Swedish Way in Philadelphia

Swedish Easter celebration

Getting dressed up as an Easter witch and having your face painted is part of a traditional Swedish Easter celebration.

LOTS OF PEOPLE will be coming to the American Swedish Historical Museum in Philadelphia to on Sunday April 5 from 2-4 p.m. to learn how to celebrate Easter the Swedish way. Easter Sunday will be one week away on April 12, and taking the family to the museum’s Easter workshops where children and adults can work together to make crafts that reflect the Swedish celebration of the holiday is probably an excellent way to prepare for the holiday.

MANY PEOPLE may be particularly interested in the workshop focusing on the decoration of a p?kris, a colorful arrangement of birch twigs and feathers that serves as a welcome sign of spring.

OTHER CRAFTWORK, such as the making of wooden witches and black cat paper hangings, reveal traditions unique to a Swedish Easter. For instance, in Sweden witches and black cats are commonly associated with Easter, when boys and girls dress up as colorful Easter witches and go from door to door seeking candy from neighbors. The tradition is similar to trick-or-treating in this country.

AT ONE OF THE workshops kids will have the opportunity to dress up as Easter witches using aprons, scarves and face paints. There will be other craft projects, such as making fluffy chicks and hens with eggs. Following the workshops, there will be an Easter egg hunt for children on the grounds of the Museum, weather permitting.

ADMISSION is $6. Call 215-389-1776, e-mail info@americanswedish.org or visit www.americanswedish.org for more information and to reserve a space at the workshop.

THE AMERICAN SWEDISH HISTORICAIL MUSEUM is located in FDR Park at 1900 Pattison Avenue in South Philadelphia, five blocks west of the Sports Complex. The Museum is easily accessible from Route 95 or Route 76 and has free parking.

Pecha Kucha Night at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington

Rouzita Vahhabaghai, Karim Chrobog and Bita Vahhabaghai

Rouzita Vahhabaghai (left) and Bita Vahhabaghai (right) hosted Pecha Kucha in Washington. In the middle Karim Chrobog.

A PECHA KUCHA gathering was held on Wednesday night, March 18, at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. There have been Pecha Kucha events in more than 170 cities all over the world. Pecha Kucha Night, devised by Astrid Klein and Mark Dytham, was conceived in 2003 as a place for young designers to meet, network, and show their work in public. Each presenter is allowed 20 images, each shown for 20 seconds, giving 6 minutes and 40 seconds of fame before the next presenter is up. This keeps presentations concise. Pecha Kucha, which is Japanese for the sound of conversation, has tapped into a demand for a forum in which creative work can be easily and informally shown.

THE NIGHT’S PRESENTERS were Antje Kharchi, Associate Professor, Corcoran College of Art + Design; Ayo Okunseinde, Adrian Loving and Eric Brewer, Dissident Display – Multimedia Design Studio; photographer Christiana Aretta; Anya Pinchuk, Jewelry Designer of Jewelers Werk; Lawyer/Artist/Photographer Ali Herischi; John Athayde, Meticulous; Harry Chun, Marc Ross, Creative Director + Furniture Designer, Spectrum West Collection; Marielle Mariano, East Coast Coordinator of CHALK4PEACE, Inc.; and Gaurav Mishra, The Marketer Who Went Off Consumption.

THIS PECHA KUCHA event was sponsored by Corcoran College of Art + Design, Capitol Restaurant Concepts LTD and Bisnow, and the reception was sponsored by Neyla Restaurant in Georgetown. The next Pecha Kucha event in Washington will be held at House of Sweden on April 17.

Caroline Nord, Jenny M?lqvist, Linda Tocchini-Valentini and Daniella Fridl

Caroline Nord, Jenny M?lqvist, Linda Tocchini-Valentini, and Daniella Fridl

Antje Kharchi

Antje Kharchi talks about her trip to Tibet and Kashmir.

 

Antje Kharchi

Pecha Kucha Night in Washington

Pecha Kucha Night in Washington

Sweden’s Minister for the Environment Andreas Carlgren: “Very productive environmental meetings in Washington”

Stavros Dimas, Martin Bursik, Andreas Carlgren and Ned Helme

Stavros Dimas, EU Commissioner for the Environment; Martin Bursik, Minister for the Environment, Czech Republic; Andreas Carlgren, Minister for the Environment, Sweden; and Ned Helme, President of the Center for Clean Air Policy

A “TROIKA” of representatives from the European Union – Stavros Dimas, EU Commissioner for the Environment; Andreas Carlgren, Minister for the Environment, Sweden; and Martin Bursik, Minister for the Environment, Czech Republic, met with American counterparts this week in Washington, on March 16-17.

THE PURPOSE of the meetings was to establish contacts with the new administration and Congress. Included among their meetings were talks with President Obama’s assistant for energy and climate change, Carol Browner, and U.S. special envoy to climate change, Todd Stern. The three EU representatives also met with Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.).

ONE OF the Obama administration’s key priorities is the discussion on climate change. And after eight years of minor interest in this issue, it appears that President Obama and a majority of Congress will go forward with domestic action and international engagement.

THE NEXT UN climate treaty will be negotiated at the end of the year in Copenhagen. The European Union has set a strategy for reaching an agreement in the Danish capital, that would include setting global goals to reduce Greenhouse Gas (GNG) emissions and providing the basis to strengthen countries’ abilities to adapt to climate change, while inducing economic growth, innovation, reducing poverty and providing access to secure energy services.

ON MARCH 16, the EU representatives participated in a seminar at the Swedish Embassy’s House of Sweden. The seminar was titled “On the Road to Copenhagen: Transatlantic Perspectives on a New Climate Change Agreement.” The participants all agreed that there is now a window of opportunity for transatlantic dialogue on climate, a dialogue which has been missing for the last decade.

MARTIN BURSIK of the Czech Republic said that “it is an interesting and challenging time…we have been waiting so long for Carol Browner…Now countries like China, India, Brazil, Mexico and others can’t hide behind the United States.”

ANDREAS CARLGREN, who has held his environmental cabinet post since 2006, said he was proud that the EU has been in the forefront on climate issues, with ambitious targets. Mr. Carlgren also talked about “a new transatlantic partnership.” He pointed out that the renewable sector in Europe could create up to 1 million new jobs. Already in the early ’90s Sweden introduced a carbon tax, and the emission of carbon oxide decreased by ten percent. Mr. Carlgren also pointed out that due to high oil prices in the ’70s Sweden started to transform energy systems. Additionally, he talked about the importance of moving to “greening the economy,” with a goal of independence from fossil energy by 2030.

NED HELME, president of the Center for Clean Air Policy, stated that “Washington has become ‘Climate Center” after eight years of ‘Nuclear Winter’,” but mentioned that there could still be some problems with getting Congress to go along with the new environmental programs. However, the EU Commissioner for the Environment, Stavros Dimas, mentioned that he is encouraged by the signals from Congress and President Obama.

THE SEMINAR was arranged by House of Sweden, in cooperation with the Heinrich B?ll Stiftung (Foundation) of North America and the Brookings Institution.

South African Embassy Night in Washington

Ambassador Welile Nhlapo of South Africa and Hugh Grindstaff

Ambassador Welile Nhlapo of South Africa and Hugh Grindstaff

IT WAS ONE OF THOSE fabulous Washington events last night at the South African Embassy. Host Ambassador Welile Nhlapo received members of the National Press Club at the embassy located in a stately mansion on Embassy Row on Massachusetts Avenue in Northwest Washington, just down the street from the Vice President’s residence and just across the street from where Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former President Bill Clinton live. The festive evening featured a lavish spread of wonderful and tasty food and drink.

MYRON BELKIND, chair of the International Correspondents’ Committee at the National Press Club initiated the event, and the Embassy’s Nadira Bayat, Counselor for Public Diplomacy, made the arrangements.

THE EVENT WAS especially timely as it came in advance of the South African general elections on April 22. Following the welcome reception, Ambassador Nhlapo gave a presentation about recent political and economic developments in South Africa, including its own economic stimulus package. He also mentioned that this spring’s election is the most exciting one since 1994.

AMBASSADOR NHLAPO’S contribution to the movement against apartheid can be traced back to his days as a student activist in the Black Conscious Movement. Together with the late Steve Biko and Tebogo Mafole in 1972, he co-authored “Black Review,” which reviewed the activities of black organizations in South Africa.

Nadira Bayat and Donna Leinwand

Nadira Bayat, Counselor for Public Diplomacy at the South African Embassy, and National Press Club President Donna Leinwand

Tanya Bennett and Gene Kuleta

Tanya Bennett and Gene Kuleta

Ambassador Welile Nhlapo of South Africa

Ambassador Welile Nhlapo speaks about the upcoming South African general elections on April 22.

Ambassador Welile Nhlapo, Donna Leinwand and Myron Belkind

Ambassador Welile Nhlapo of South Africa receives the traditional NPC mug from NPC President Donna Leinwand and Myron Belkind, Chair of the International Correspondents’ Committee.

Michael Coveney and Amanda Williams

Michael Coveney and Amanda Williams

Constance Chiogor Ikokwu and Jean Nzie

Constance Chiogor Ikokwu, Washington Bureau Chief for the Lagos newspaper This Day, and Jean Nzie

Charles Shuey and Frederica Dunn

Charles Shuey and Frederica Dunn

Hugh Grindstaff and Joan Keston

Hugh Grindstaff and Joan Keston

The South African Embassy on Massachusetts Ave., N.W., in Washington, D.C.

The South African Embassy on Massachusetts Ave., N.W., in Washington, D.C.