Welcome to Washington!

Welcome to Washington!

by guest contributor Megan Devlin
Photo credit: Courtesy of Meridian Int’l

“I’m very honored to be present tonight with such a great audience of fellow ambassadors and other leaders at Meridian International Center. The opportunity to connect with others in the diplomatic corps fosters a dynamic environment to exchange ideas, which is at the heart of Meridian’s mission and mine,” Swiss Ambassador Jacques Pitteloud told Hollywood on the Potomac.

Meridian CEO Ambassador Stuart Holliday welcomed 200 guests to Meridian House for the Welcome to Washington New Ambassadors Reception on January 15, 2020. The reception honored 12 newly credentialed ambassadors to their respective embassy posts in Washington, DC.

Ukrainian Ambassador Volodymyr Yelchenko, Austrian Ambassador Martin Weiss, Latvian Ambassador Maris Selga, Ambassador of Bosnia and Herzegovina Bojan Vujic, EU Ambassador Stavros Lambrinidis, Air Force Secretary Barbara Barrett, Ambassador Stuart Holliday, Fuad Sahouri, Icelandic Ambassador Bergdis Ellertsdottir, Angolan Ambassador Joaquim do Espírito Santo, Panamanian Ambassador Juan Ricardo De Dianous, Timor-Leste Ambassador Isilio Coelho, Somalian Ambassador Ali Sharif Ahmed, Honduran Ambassador Maria Dolores Aguero.

“Meridian is a diplomacy and leadership center that has been home for the diplomatic corps since its founding in 1960,” said Ambassador Holliday. “With almost 60 years of close relationships with the diplomatic community, Meridian is uniquely positioned to convene dialogues among leaders across borders, parties, and industries. The Meridian Center for Diplomatic Engagement does just that by accelerating collaboration between international diplomats and U.S. public and private sector leaders to cooperate on solutions to global economic and security issues.”

Lyndon Boozer of Capitol Counsel, Ambassador Jim Jones, Ambassador Stuart Holliday, EU Ambassador Stavros Lambrinidis

“What a pleasure to attend Meridian’s New Ambassadors Reception! I’m grateful for the opportunity to connect with fellow ambassadors and other leaders in diplomacy, which Meridian so expertly convenes. The center’s focus on assembling leaders in the public, private and international realms gives hope for exploring solutions to some of today’s most vexing global issues. I am happy to be a part of that conversation.”  EU Ambassador Stavros Lambrinidis

Ambassador Holliday welcomed Air Force Secretary Barbara Barrett – “a trained astronaut, pilot, former Ambassador and advisor to five American presidents on trade and defense policy” – to the podium for an address to the new ambassadors and other distinguished guests in attendance. Secretary Barrett shared an anecdote about what commitment to public service looks like, sharing the story of a worldly and curious young woman whose passion for geography and international relations sparked a career in diplomacy. She emphasized the importance of the cultural arts in helping leaders better understand people of different backgrounds, and how politics and business are shaped by a diversity of world views.

“I encourage all of you to get outside the Beltway and experience the ‘real’ America,” said Secretary Barrett. “You should feel honored to have been chosen for the responsibility of working with the United States. We are lucky to have you and you are lucky to be here.”

Notable guests in attendance include: Air Force Secretary Barbara Barrett, Adrienne Arsht, John Negroponte, Clarke Cooper, Ambassador Stuart Holliday and Gwen Holliday, Patrick Steel and Lee Satterfield, Representatives Jodey Arrington (R-TX 19), Rick Larsen (D-WA 02), Mark Meadows (R-NC 11); former Congressmen Barton Gordon and Edward Royce; Governor James Blanchard and Janet Blanchard; Ed Moy, Laurie Fulton, Howard Gutman, James Jones, Javier Ruperez, Loretta Greene, Loran Aiken, Holidae Hayes, Rafat and Shaista Mahmood, Pilar O’Leary, Kimberly Dozier, Sasha Johnson, Steve Morrissey, Tom Higgins, Ambassador Walter and Mrs. Didi Cutler, Gerardo Diaz Bartolome, Larry La, Chris Lu, Lyndon Boozer, Keith and Marianne Powell.