In the MIDDLE of all the ACTION

In the MIDDLE of all the ACTION

While my last post focused on cultural events in DC, this one will focus more on DC culture. Whether it is through The Washington Center, my internship site, blog anouncements, or simple word of mouth, I find that there is always too much stuff to do. I am saturated with options! Having so many options at my disposal is great, but also requires good time management skills. For instance, tonight I want to go to the Canadian embassy (where a friend works), finish up my weekly write-up for ambassador Milam at the Wilson Center, and meet up with fellow interns for happy hour at Dupont Circle. Can I do all three? Probably not. Will I try? Definitely.

Here's are some  highlights from some "typically DC" events that I attended. There are pictures as well that I hope to post soon

1.) Film screening with Filmmaker Justine Shapiro.

This took place at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), an impressive building on K Street. Justine Shapiro, the inspiring filmmaker who made Promises, screened her latest documentary called Our Summer in Tehran. The film is about her and her six-year-old son spending the summer in Iran, spending time there with three middle class families. They are Jewish, which makes the film an interesting lesson in tolerance. If you have ever heard Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speak about Jews or Israel, you know that the government is outly hostile to the Jewish people (and even denies the Holocaust!). But Iranians are not like that. Iranian culture is beautiful and complex, and watching the documentary, one really gets the feeling that there exists a common humanity that stretched across all national borders, religions and governments. It was really a wonderful film, and the proceeding question and answer session was equally amazing.

2.) Visiting the Indonesian Embassy.

How much do you know about Indonesia? It is embarrassing to admit, but even as an international affairs student, I did not know much. This changed after a two hour visit to the Indonesian embassy. The embassy, a 3 minute walk from Dupont Metro stop, is one of the nicest buildings I have ever seen. The main conference room is modeled after the interior of the Titanic, and the wooden walls had beautiful artwork and portraits of Indonesian presidents.

3.) Meeting with former congressmen and Kuwaiti/Oman professionals at TWC

This was a great opportunity to mingle with former politicians and important professionals from Kuwait and Oman. This delegation of Middle Eastern public figures had just arrived from the region a day before! Needless to say, they were quite jetlagged. Nevertheless we had a good time exchanging opinions and perspectives in a formal but warm atmosphere. Tip: always bring business cards!!!! I forgot mine and regretted it horribly.

4.) Walk against Modern Slavery

It's a great cause, organized by great people. If you ever get a chance, do the DC Stop Modern Slavery Walk. We met up at the National Mall last Saturday for a big march. Pay $5 and you get a cool t-shirt.

5.) Al Jazeera screening of Prop 19 documentary at Busboys and Poets

The screening, sponsored by Al Jazeera, was all about Proposition 19. This is a proposal to legalize marijuana in California. It is a very controversial ballot proposal, with many economic, ethical, and political repercussions, whether it passes or not. So far the polls show the voters at around 50-50. It is a very interesting issue, as the legalizing of the drug would change the dynamics of drug-trafficking in Mexico, bring about a power struggle between state and federal law, and have very interesting and unforseeable economic consequences (pot tourism, 1/3 less people in the prisons, a blow to black market drug dealers). Those against the proposal argue that it would lead to increased consumption, especially among minors. Read up on the issue, as we will certainly hear more about it in the near future!

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