Home Culture Culture DC’s latest envoy changes; Embassies mark WWII battle; Local eatery honors Portuguese culture

DC’s latest envoy changes; Embassies mark WWII battle; Local eatery honors Portuguese culture

DC’s latest envoy changes; Embassies mark WWII battle; Local eatery honors Portuguese culture
St. Anselm offers more than 60 varieties of Madeira at its Union Market location (Photo by Angelique Gingras).

February 2023 Ambassador Appointments

Check out the latest updates on Washington’s ambassador changes, including recent appointments and diplomats who have announced their departure:

Australia: Former prime minister of Australia Kevin Rudd is set to become the next ambassador to the U.S. in March. He replaces Arthur Sinodinos, who has been in Washington since February 2020.

China: In January, Chinese Ambassador Qin Gang left Washington to be China’s next minister of foreign affairs after an 18-month posting. His successor has not been announced yet.

France: French Ambassador Philippe Etienne is leaving Washington after a three and a half year posting. The embassy staff organized a going away party for Etienne on Jan. 31.

Kuwait: Kuwaiti Ambassador Jasem Mohamed Albudaiwi is leaving Washington after six months for his new post as secretary general of the Gulf Cooperation Council.


Luxembourg and Belgium mark commemoration of the Battle of the Bulge

Under the cold rainy skies at Arlington National Cemetery, Luxembourg Ambassador Nicole Bintner-Bakshian and Belgium’s Chargée d’Affaires Sophie Karlshausen laid wreaths to commemorate the 78th anniversary of the end of Battle of the Bulge on Jan. 25. The diplomats were joined by Battle of the Bulge Association president John Mohor, along with members of the association and U.S. Army Col. Michael Binetti, chief of staff at Arlington National Cemetery. A special tribute was paid to two veterans of this battle, Darryl Bush and Joe Landry, who  laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Bintner-Bakshian and Karlshausen conveyed their countries’ profound gratitude to the US veterans who liberated the two nations and expressed feelings of deep-rooted friendship with the American people. Before the event ended, Army Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville and Maj. Gen. Allan Pepin, commander of Joint Task Force–National Capital Region and the U.S. military district of Washington, shook hands with the veterans. The veterans and their families were then invited to lunch at the Luxembourg embassy.

The wreath laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery is an annual event, marked by the Battle of the Bulge Association and the embassies of the Kingdom of Belgium and the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.

This piece was contributed by the Embassy of Luxembourg. 


Union Market’s St. Anselm eatery honors Portugal’s Madeira island

Did you know that Madeira wine— named for the Portuguese island where it’s produced— was toasted at the 1776 signing of the US Declaration of Independence?
Francisco António Duarte Lopes, Portugal’s ambassador to the United States, shared that fact at a Jan. 31 celebration of Madeira at Union Market’s St. Anselm restaurant. The event, hosted by the Portuguese Embassy and St. Anselm, highlighted the extensive collection St. Anselm has to offer.
St. Anselm’s beverage director Jack Zarecky with Portuguese Ambassador Francisco Duarte Lopes.

“This evening gives us a sense of normalcy, coming back to events and getting people together after the pandemic… and also the relationship between the US and Portugal,” said Lopes, who’s been in the U.S. for more than five years, first as ambassador to the U.N. and now in Washington. “It’s important for people to know this part of Portugal from different perspectives, from tasting the wine to the cocktail.”

Guests enjoyed an hour of wine-tasting, which included a glass of Madeira and an infused cocktail, paired with a variety of meats, cheeses and bread. St. Anselm’s beverage director Jack Zarecky then walked guests through a history of Madeira at the restaurant. 

“Madeira is a very old style of wine and runs parallel to American history. It’s been brought over from the island of Madeira, off the coast of Portugal, since the 1700s.” said Zarecky. “When we talked about how excited we are about Madeira, the [Portuguese] Embassy was happy to know we would be featuring this collection.”

The bottles at St. Anselm date back to 1875, making it the restaurant’s oldest wine and one of the most featured on its menu, with more than 60 varieties in its collection. 

The evening was a sold out event, with 50 tickets issued to the general public and several VIPs, including Lopes and his wife; Danish Ambassador Christina Markus Lassen and her husband; and U.S. Ambassador to Portugal, Randi Charno Levine.



Angelique Gingras

Angelique Gingras is an undergraduate at the University of Maryland where she studies Journalism and British History. Angel started at The Washington Diplomat as an editorial intern in August 2021 and was promoted to Associate Editor in March 2023.