Cheers, Mr. President(s)

Cheers, Mr. President(s)

So I know I said that I was done talking about the SES, but I found a couple more pictures from it that I figured I had to share. What can I say; I guess I’m just a liar. I also said that there were only a few things that were different from the last seminar and, while that’s true, I totally blanked about one of our nighttime events that took place at the St. Regents Hotel. At the end of the first week of seminar, NESA held a dinner in honor of the recipient of the 2012 Distinguished Alumni Award, which this year went to General Sher Mohhamed Karimi (Chief of General Staff of the Afghan Army) who originally went through a Executive Seminar program at NESA in 2002. The Distinguished Alumni Award goes to a participant who has completed one of NESA's programs in the past and is an individual who best demonstrates "the qualities of professionalism and service that NESA participants seek to emulate" and has a "record of distinguished service in academia, government or humanitarian organizations that directly contributes to improvements in regional security". The dinner was superb and the St. Regents was a really nice venue, so I figured I'd post a couple pictures of the event. Unfortunately I couldn't take pictures of the event once it was underway, but just imagine a bunch of well dressed government officials in these seats and you'll get the picture.





The girls slacking

At our farewell luncheon talking with the Israeli participant about Israel's policy regarding Iran's acquisition of a nuclear weapon, a real hot topic this seminar.



Two of our Afghani participants. Their English wasn't great, but luckily Sayya speaks Farsi so she was able to communicate with them easily.


And that's all I have for the SES seminar... for real this time.


Presidents Day:

I also said that since I finally have some time off from NESA I'm going to be able to spend more time exploring the city, and this started in earnest last weekend during Presidents Day. Some of the gang decided to head out to our friend Diego's place in Alexandria, which is about a 35 minute metro ride from the RAF. He wasn't able to get housing at the RAF, but luckily The Washington Center was very fastidious about setting him in an awesome apartment in Alexandria, Virginia. We spent the night out there and the next morning went exploring in Alexandria, and particularly King Street, which is just a fantastic area of town. We ended up running into a Presidents Day parade, which, because George Washington's Mount Vernon is located in Alexandria, was pretty much all in honor of our first president. Of course, after spending a lot of time in our seminar with Dr. Michael Yaffe, an avid George Washington enthusiast, much of the information was old news to me, but the parade itself was still really great, as was the weather that day.



These guys were awesome. They were part of a community organization responsible for restoring old military vehicles, and this particular piece happened to be a WWII-era Jeep apparently used in Europe judging by the captured Nazi flags on the front of their vehicle. The driver also appeared to be waving around a bottle of whiskey, which I can only hope was full of apple juice or something a little less lethal. Either way, this organization's whole procession was really cool.

Abe also made an appearance, along with his younger, less stylish companion


Kenny being.


After the parade we decided to just walk around King Street, which ended up taking all day because there was so much cool stuff around. Kenny and I spent some time in a cool little used book store called the Book Bank (not to be confused with Hooray for Books! across the street, which, to our dismay, appeals only to a age 12-and-under demographic), which was on 15th and King and had a decent selection and very reasonable prices. I picked up a barely used copy of Naked Economics by Charles Wheelan for about $8 and started reading it a couple days ago and it's a great read for anyone who, like me, is incapable of understanding anything involving math, graphs, and things not related to words. It's really easy to read so I would recommend it if you're even remotely interested in economic theory but can't seem to handle certain technicalities inherent in the discipline.


We also stumbled upon the John Crouch Tobacconist shop, where Kenny and I invested in some delicious smelling tobacco and some pipes for about 20 bucks each. There are also a ton of cool and inexpensive restaurants once you get closer to the waterfront. The kindly gentleman at the tobacconist shop suggested Jake's of Old Town, but we somehow got sidetracked by the allure of Bugsy's Pizza, which turned out to be a really sweet sports (and by sports, I mean hockey) bar, with mediocre service, less than mediocre food, but overall a really cool atmosphere, especially if you like hockey. Personally, I haven't seen a Bruins game since I left New England, so I'll definitely be going back come playoffs; plus you can smoke in there. Oh, and word to the wise: don't order the chicken fingers.


After we ate we went down to the pier where Kenny reprimanded certain members of the seagull community (I won't name names) while we sat around and talked to the multitude of affable pets and pet owners who were taking advantage of the unseasonably warm day. All in all, it was a very Dr. Dolittle-esque afternoon, but nevertheless; if you do get the chance to come to D.C., I would definitely recommend spending time on King Street. There's a ton of stuff to do, it's inexpensive, and there's even a free trolley system that travels the length of King Street if you're not in the mood for walking. Granted, any situation is contingent upon having good friends to share in your bliss, and luckily for me we've made a nice little group here in DC. Hopefully those of you future TWC students will be able to share the same experience.





Oh, and kudos to Courtney for the pictures of Alexandria. I forgot my camera, yet again, and she was smart enough to pick up a disposable camera along the way. Good call, Courtney.


Until next time

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