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Aspiring Diplomats Shine at Diplomatic Ball

by Sarah Alaoui

In the awe-inspiring Andrew W. Mellon auditorium that witnessed the signing of the North Atlantic Treaty by President Truman and the North American Free Trade Agreement by President Clinton, current diplomats mingled with hopeful diplomats at the 88th Annual Diplomatic Ball held by the Georgetown School of Foreign Service on April 12.

Photos: Sarah Alaoui

From left: Research Fellow in Foreign Policy Studies at the Cato Institute, Dr. Stanley Kober; former senior diplomat from Pakistan, Ambassador Touqir Hussain, and his wife Rafia Hussain.

“This ball represents two things about Georgetown. It’s about having fun and also a part of your education: inaugural balls in the future and state dinners at the White House, so enjoy that,” began Dean Carol Lancaster in her first keynote address at the ball which has been held in a different venue each year since 1925.

With a magician floating around the event, showing off his tricks to those not already busy dancing to the live performances by Georgetown Ballroom Dance Company and the Georgetown Jazz Band, as well as trays of diverse appetizers and desserts served throughout the night for whoever could sneak a bite in between conversations, there was no time to lose interest. Another attraction at this year’s Diplomatic Ball was the selection of gowns and tuxedos—no tacky prom dresses here, folks—of the student body. One gentleman even proudly donned a kilt.

Dean Mitch Kaneda, wittily introduced by Lancaster as, “the only Japanese economist I know that dances the salsa,” presented the winner of this year’s student-voted faculty award to deafening applause from the audience.

The Ambassador of Egypt to the United States, Mohamed Tawfik, and his wife Amani Amin.

“It’s a different site from up here. You look even more beautiful from up here.” the awardee, Father Matthew Carnes, warmly told his students from the stage. “I’m really touched to be honored by you in this way. I arrived on Georgetown’s campus 20 years ago along with a lot of you who are seniors today, so suddenly I feel a little bit like a senior myself.”

As per tradition and the unspoken pact sealed between mentors and mentees, Father Carnes offered the students words of advice.

“You need to be trained in the very best studies of today—both scientists in the best sense and political scientists in the best sense,” he said. “I want you to know that I’ve come to respect you so much and come to love you for who you are and for who you’ll be in the world,” he continued to more applause from the students.

The Ambassador of Kazakhstan to the United States, Kairat Umarov, and his wife Galiya Umarova.

The beautifully lit venue—shades of purple, pink and blue highlighted the pillars—held about 800 students including 150 VIPs from the community and 43 embassies. The entertainment continued with an enthusiastic choreographic piece by the Georgetown University Ballroom Dance Team. Pairs performed the tango then picked up the pace with the cha cha. Georgetown University’s co-ed a capella group Superfood—yes, it is named after the around the Odwalla™ beverage—sang charming renditions of classics such as Dean Martin’s “Ain’t that a Kick in the Head” and Dusty Springfield’s “The Look of Love”.

The Diplomatic Pouch spoke to ambassadors in attendance and they were all proud to take a night to support the young individuals in the community. The Ball has sold out in two days each year it has been hosted. Now ain’t that a kick in the head?

About the Author

Sarah Alaoui is a contributing writer for the Diplomatic Pouch.



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