The Washington Diplomat rolled out the red carpet for its fourth annual Media Bash on April 28—one of many events around the District leading up to the White House Correspondents Association’s annual dinner on April 29 focusing on the First Amendment and the value of a free press. The Italian Embassy hosted this year’s Media Bash, whose theme was courageous women in journalism.
Our publisher, Victor Shiblie, opened the event with a welcome address, followed by remarks from Italian Ambassador Mariangela Zappia, the first woman to represent her nation in Washington.
“Whenever we devise a policy, we always think about how we will communicate that policy and is it really embedded in what we do as diplomats, governments, and institutions,” Zappia said. “We need our friends, journalists, to precisely report on what we present. I believe strongly in good communication and good journalism.”
Guests enjoyed a wide selection of drinks—including a Prosecco wine station—a buffet dinner, and dancing with an opportunity to explore the culture the embassy offers. Banners and signs decorated the tables featuring women from around the world who’ve demonstrated outstanding bravery in their reporting. Elisa Lees Muñoz, executive director of the International Women’s Media Foundation, introduced their 2020 Courage in Journalism award winner Solafa Magdy.
Pavlos Livanios, chief strategy officer for Western Transportation Group, an event sponsor, said his company was lucky to be included.
“It’s an important event because we are an international logistics company… and [we] can meet people from all over the world at a party like this,” said Livanios. “As a sponsor, we value women in journalism. We promote our brand and try to be as efficient as possible in our industry.
Among those mingling around the evening were Irish Ambassador Geraldine Byrne Nason; Nicaraguan Ambassador Francisco Campbell; former House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce and his wife, Marie Royce, former State Department assistant secretary for educational and cultural affairs; Manisha Singh, former assistant secretary for economic and business affairs at the State Department; and David Livingston, senior advisor in the office of John Kerry, special presidential envoy for climate.
“This is the most exciting weekend to be in town, right? So we wanted to be part of it, and this is a way of being part of it with The Washington Diplomat and all the correspondents and other friends here,” said Zappia. “It’s really a great pleasure.”
This bash marked the second return to an in-person celebration since the pandemic. Last year’s event took place at the Embassy of Argentina while the Embassy of Qatar hosted in 2019 and the British Embassy in 2018.
The Washington Diplomat thanks its generous sponsors: Eni, Enovation brands, VogaItalia, Gemma di Luna, Toscano Cigars, and Western Transportation Group.
Photos by Jessica Latos