Home Culture Culture EU hosts second awards ceremony; UAE cleans up Rock Creek Park

EU hosts second awards ceremony; UAE cleans up Rock Creek Park

EU hosts second awards ceremony; UAE cleans up Rock Creek Park
The Transatlantic Bridge Awards were held at the House of Sweden of May 9 (Photo by EU Delegation).

EU, House of Sweden host second annual awards ceremony

On May 9, the European Union Delegation and Ambassador Stavros Lambrinidis hosted the second annual Transatlantic Bridge Awards at the House of Sweden. Dr. Anthony Fauci, Sen. Rob Portman and journalist Judy Woodruff received awards for their efforts in fostering ties between the US and Europe. 

Senator Rob Portman, former PBS NewsHour Anchor Judy Woodruff, and Dr. Anthony Fauci honored at the 2023 Transatlantic Bridge Awards (Photo by EU Delegation).

Lambrinidis, along with Swedish Ambassador Karin Olofsdotter, opened with remarks about Europe’s current goals and highlighting the strength of US-EU relations, especially when it comes to the war in Ukraine.

“We will and we have continued to work for an EU that is greener, freer, and more secure, because when it is, we all benefit— Europeans and Americans alike,” said Olofstodder, who will be transferring to her new post in Moscow later this year after six years in Washington. “We really need the partnership with the United States, especially these days when there is a war in Europe.”

EU Ambassador Stavros Lambrinidis addresses the crowd at the 2023 Transatlantic Bridge Awards (Photo by EU Delegation).

Lambrinidis added: “We have the special responsibility as Americans and Europeans to make sure that we take care of our house. If our calling card in the world is our values and human rights, then we cannot ignore them when in our own borders, these are under threat. We in Europe, every day, make sure our house is in order on women’s rights, on equality, on fighting racism, which still exists in our borders.”

Among those in attendance: US Attorney General Merrick Garland; NBC’s Andrea Mitchell; journalist Al Hunt; director George Stevens Jr.; Institute for Education Coach Kathy Kemper; and dozens of ambassadors from Europe and elsewhere.

The event commemorated Europe Day, which falls on the anniversary of the 1950 Schuman Declaration, which laid the groundwork for the present-day European Union. The ceremony also kicked off the annual EU Open House, where EU embassies opened their doors to the public on May 13 as part of DC’s Cultural Awareness Month.

Swedish Ambassador Karin Olofstodder welcomes guests to her embassy on May 9 (Photo by EU Delegation).

“The 27 ambassadors of the European Union— here in this room today— decided last year that we are going to start celebrating precisely those Americans,” said Lambrinidis. “We are going to use May 9th in this country, Europe’s birthday, to remember why it is that we as Europe today, are capable to exercise the power of our values around the world. And it is because we do so hand-in-hand with this great country here, the United States.”

He added: “The three honorees today in their own work have reflected European values in an extraordinary way when it comes to science and technology, when it comes to economy and trade, when it comes to freedom and journalism.”


UAE Embassy joins in Earth Day cleanup

On April 22, the Embassy of the United Arab Emirates in collaboration with Emirati students from nearby universities, and partners at Rock Creek Conservancy, hosted a cleanup at Rock Creek Park in celebration of Earth Day.

The UAE’s commitment to environmentalism comes from the nation’s founder, Sheikh Zayed. Emirati diplomats in DC continued this tradition by helping local residents protect the city’s environment.

Rock Creek Park has a rich history and serves as an important green space in the city. Like any natural space, it requires constant care and upkeep. 

During the cleanup, participants aided park managers in their efforts to control the spread of English ivy and preserve the native flora. It concluded with a hike, putting into perspective the importance of environmental stewardship. 

And this isn’t the Embassy’s first campaign for environmental work.

In 2017, the UAE Embassy began a multi-year project with partners in Florida to restore and preserve 100 miles of coral reef in the Florida Keys that were damaged by Hurricane Irma. The embassy also supported groundbreaking work with experts at the San Diego and Phoenix zoos to reintroduce more than 6,000  vulnerable Arabian oryx into their natural habitat.

The embassy is working with US partners on the Agricultural Innovation Mission for Climate in an effort to develop new, eco-friendly approaches to farming that rely on less water and protect the soil.

Photos by UAE Embassy


Sri Lankan Embassy celebrates Sinhalese New Year

The Embassy of Sri Lanka and Ambassador Mahinda Samarasinghe celebrated the Sinhalese New Year on April 15.

In keeping with tradition, the celebration began with lighting the hearth and boiling milk amidst rhythmic beats of the Raban, followed by lighting an oil lamp and conducting religious observances.

Samarasinghe highlighted the cultural significance of the Sinhala and Tamil New Year and underscored how diversity is part of Sri Lanka’s social fabric.

The event concluded with a feast of traditional Sri Lankan sweetmeats and milk rice, the first meal of the new year. Traditional Avurudu games were also held, reminiscing Sri Lankan culture and way of life. Mohan Pieris, permanent representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations, along with the families of embassy staff also participated.

Photos by the Embassy of Sri Lanka


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.