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Diplomatic Spotlight


Transatlantic Leadership Network and National Press host “Freedom of the Media” Ceremony

Julie Pace, Executive Editor and Senior Vice President of the Associated Press, gives keynote address at the National Press Club on Dec. 7. (JB Elliot Photography)

On Dec. 7, the Transatlantic Leadership Network (TLN), a Washington-based nonpartisan think tank, hosted its inaugural “Freedom of the Media” Gala Dinner and Award Ceremony at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. Opening remarks were delivered by National Press Club President, Lisa Nicole Matthews, and TLN President Dr. Daniel Hamilton. Julie Pace, Executive Director and Senior Vice President of the Associated Press, delivered the keynote speech.

The following journalists won awards:

  • Jackson Diehl, formerly of the Washington Post: TLN Freedom of the Media Gold Medal for Public Service
  • Fairouz Ziani, Al Jazeera Media Network: TLN Freedom of the Media Gold Medal for Investigative Reporting
  • Michel El Murr, MTV Lebanon: TLN Freedom of the Media Award for International Reporting
  • Natalie Sedletska, Radio Free Europe: TLN Freedom of the Media Award for Explanatory Reporting
  • Mujo Selimović, Oslobodjenje Media Group: TLN Freedom of the Media Award for Commentary and Criticism

Other attendees of the event included congressmen Andy Kim (D-New Jersey) and Robert Aderholt (R-Alabama), and former congressmen Jim Moran (D-Virginia) and Lincoln Davis (R-Tennessee), along with several other ambassadors, diplomats, journalists and scholars.

Journalism at its best casts a light — on oppression, on threats to freedom of expression, on the conditions, challenges and opportunities individuals encounter in their daily lives. TLN is proud to honor journalism at its best with our 2021 awards,” said Hamilton.


Norwegian Embassy welcomes back annual tree lighting

Washington Performing Arts President and CEO Jenny Bilfield speaks on Dec. 8. (FritzPhotoGraphics)

On Dec. 8, the Royal Norwegian Embassy partnered with the Norwegian-American Chamber of Commerce and Washington Performing Arts to host the annual Norwegian Christmas Tree Lighting at Union Station.

WUSA9’s Allison Seymour welcomed the event back after a one-year hiatus due to COVID-19, which featured the lighting of a 70-foot Christmas tree, decorated with nearly 20,000 ornaments and lights. It also included musical performances by the D.C.-based classical ensemble, C Street Collective; D.C.-based cross-genre vocalist, Rayshun Lamarr, who recently appeared on NBC’s The Voice; D.C.-based teenage dance virtuoso Matthew Crittenden; and New York-based Norwegian-Brazilian jazz singer Charlotte Dos Santos.

The event has been an annual tradition since 1997, when the Royal Norwegian Embassy and the Norwegian-American Chamber of Commerce began gifting a Christmas tree to the nation’s capital each year in recognition of the strong friendship between Norway and the United States.



Israel, Morocco, celebrate one year since signing of normalization agreement

On Dec. 9, the ambassadors of Morocco and Israel to the United States, Princess Lalla Joumala and Michael Herzog, jointly hosted an event to celebrate one year of normalization between Morocco and Israel. The event took place at the Watergate Hotel and featured traditional music and cuisine from the two countries.

Moroccan Tea served on Dec. 9.

“The relations between the Jewish people and Morocco are ancient, unique and noteworthy,” said Herzog. “Generations of Jews have found refuge all over Morocco at various points over the last few thousand years. Together, we can advance our shared vision for a peaceful, thriving and stable region. I strongly believe that the relations between us, as well as the relations between Jews and Muslims at large, could make a significant contribution in this respect.”

The event also welcomed Reps. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) and Ted Deutch (D-Florida), Yael Lempert, the State Department’s acting sssistant secretary for the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, and several other journalists, diplomats, and members of the Moroccan and Israeli communities.

Angelique Gingras

Angelique Gingras is an undergraduate at the University of Maryland where she studies journalism, history and global relations. Her interests include news and feature writing, photography and videography. Angel started at The Washington Diplomat as an editorial intern in August 2021 and was promoted to Associate Editor in March 2023.