Dutch Embassy bestows Anne Frank Award on Nita Lowey
On Oct. 29, former Rep. Nita Lowey (D-New York) received the annual Anne Frank Award, which was established by the Dutch Embassy to honor Americans who have demonstrated a commitment to fighting antisemitism and discrimination. During her tenure, Lowey helped relaunch the House Bipartisan Task Force on Combating Antisemitism, and introduced legislation relating to the Holocaust to ensure that it never happens again.
“I do believe that the fight for truth and a shared belief in our collective humanity are the single most important challenges we face today,” said Lowey. “When we deny the humanity of any group of people, we threaten the humanity and safety of all. That principle is at the core of how I have tried to live my life and has guided me during my 32 years in Congress.”
The ceremony welcomed several lawmakers including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who called Lowey “an important voice in the fight against antisemitism.” As co-chair of the task force, said Pelosi, Lowey “lived up to the spirit of this award by advancing dignity and confronting intolerance with her Middle East Partnership for Peace Act, which became law in 2020.”
The embassy also presented its 2020 Anne Frank Special Recognition Award to Violins of Hope, a nonprofit that collects instruments that were donated by or bought from Jewish survivors of the Holocaust and restores them to be played by professional musicians around the world. Co-sponsors of the event included the Congressional Caucus on the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect USA, the Anne Frank House Amsterdam, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Freedom House and the Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice.
Embassy hosts Czech Christmas market
The Czech Embassy welcomed more than 3,000 guests back to its grounds Nov. 6 for its annual Czech Christmas Market. Eighteen vendors sold handcrafted ornaments and jewelry, Bohemian crystal, fine art, Moravian wines, liquors and more. Guests enjoyed Czech cuisine as well as a nativity scene with live animals. Orchestra Praževica, a folk band, performed Czech Christmas carols, as did children from the American Sokol Washington and Slavic American Sokol.
Visiting Honduran president lauds own record as term ends
Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández visited Washington on Nov. 11 to promote his book, “Together We Made History: 8 Years of Juan Orlando.” The end of his administration coincides with accusations about his ties to drug trafficking and fraud in his 2017 re-election campaign. In his near hour-and-a-half address at the Riggs Hotel in Washington, D.C. Hernández defended his name and drew on support from members of the Honduran and diplomatic community.
“The people won’t be able to say I failed them when my presidency ends. I’ve risked everything to contribute to my country and if there’s a problem, it needs to be met head-on,” he said. “We have achieved our goals, but we still have a long way to go.”
Hernández cited specific accomplishments including an increase in social programs for women, a decrease in the homicide rate, and a successful vaccine rollout, crediting the United States and the European Union for their help in the process. He heads back to Honduras to offer support for the country’s general election, scheduled for Nov. 28.
Restored hotel reopens as 144-room Kimpton Banneker
The newly restored Kimpton Banneker Hotel was unveiled in an opening ceremony on Nov. 9. It replaces the Kimpton Rouge Hotel, which closed in January 2020 to undergo $25 million of renovation work. The new property honors famed civil rights advocate, mathematician, and astronomer, Benjamin Banneker, who is credited to surveying the land that is now the District of Columbia, including the Meridian Line that runs down 16th Street NW, where the new building sits. The 10-story hotel features 144 guests rooms, along with several meeting facilities, modern art, and and two restaurants. The Lady Bird rooftop bar has a direct view of the Washington Monument and White House. The facility brings recognition to the work Banneker in the establishment of the nation’s capital.