Ambassadors Ball to Promote Peace, Unity and Diplomacy

The international community in Washington, D.C., will celebrate the second inauguration of President Barack Obama on Jan. 21 with the Ambassadors Inaugural Ball, “Promoting International Peace, Unity and Diplomacy,” at the Carnegie Library.

More than 2,000 persons are expected to dance to the sounds of American hip-hop artist Biz Markie; multi-platinum, award-winning South African singer/songwriter Lira; South African band Mi Casa and DJ Anané Vega. The evening will also feature a stirring tribute to President Obama and his wife, Michelle–a modern day version of

“We Are The World” entitled “Change This World Together,” led by the R&B sensation Quante Eggleston.

“Ticket sales are going very, very quickly,” said the Honorable Dr. Neil Parsan, ambassador of Trinidad and Tobago and co-chair of the event, about the level of interest.

"Any opportunity to bring the international community together, especially to celebrate the president of our host country is welcome," he added.

The gala–just like the inauguration itself–offers a time for the diplomatic community in Washington to let loose after the strain of the 2012 presidential elections.

"There was a level of anxiety leading up to the election," Parsan told the {AFRO}. "[And] there was an exhalation when it was all over."

For many in the global community, that exhalation was a sigh of relief that President Obama had been re-elected. During his first campaign and his first term in the White House, Obama was often greeted by enthusiastic, teeming crowds in his trips overseas. Foreign leaders and citizens welcomed the U.S. president's diplomatic, inclusive approach to solving world problems (for which he was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize).

“When you were elected in 2008, you inspired the world with a call to take responsibility for the problems we face as global citizens. Since then, you have made earnest efforts to live up to that great hope and trust placed in you by the American public. I believe you have been re-elected now in recognition of that effort," the Dalai Lama said in a Nov. 7 letter to the president, congratulating him on his re-election.

Obama's steady, inclusive approach will be necessary given the pressing economic, political and social issues facing many nations across the globe, leaders and other stakeholders said.

"There's just a sense of great foreboding about the direction the world is taking," said Martin Indyk, Brookings Institution vice president and director of foreign policy, in a video posted on the organization's website. "You get a sense that on any particular day that you wake up that the whole world is in turmoil; you feel like the tectonic plates are shifting. Certainly the Middle East is in upheaval…. Iran is moving toward nuclear weapons capability; the rising tensions in Asia–China and Japan are competing over some uninhabited rocks; and overall, the global economy is sputtering."

Parsan, the Trinidad and Tobago ambassador, said many countries are looking for Obama to shore up a still-weak U.S. economy given its widespread impact on the world's economy.

"There is a saying that when the U.S. sneezes some of us catch a cold and in fact, some countries caught pneumonia," said Parsan of the impact of the U.S. recession. The weakness of the U.S. economy, he added, “affects overall consumption, which affects overall production, which in turn affects import/export, which affects its balance of trade with certain countries, including Trinidad and Tobago."

In Europe, where the economic downturn wreaked havoc like a plague, Obama will be expected to work with his peers to boost growth–despite the lessening of the U.S.' strategic interests in Europe and Obama's re-concentration on the Asian Pacific as the source of future economic opportunity.

"I am convinced that, during your new mandate, you will continue to strengthen our partnership by favouring the return of economic growth in our countries [and] fighting against unemployment…," said French President Francois Hollande in a congratulatory statement after the election.

Global leaders are also looking for America to lead in addressing the maelstrom that is the Middle East–ending the bloodshed in Syria, containing the nuclear threat posed by Iran, nurturing the fledgling governments in Afghanistan, Iraq, Egypt and Libya and finding a peaceful resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict among several challenges.

"One of the first things I want to talk to Barack about is how we must do more to try and solve this crisis (in Syria),"said British Prime Minister David Cameron, on a visit to Syrian refugees on the Jordanian border.

"We need the United States to engage on these issues," said M. Laurent Fabius, French minister of foreign affairs, in a Nov. 7 interview posted on the French Embassy's website. "It’s true of Syria, where the Americans have recently been in the background a little. It’s true of Iran, where we absolutely need to put pressure on the Iranians so that they don’t head towards a nuclear weapon, and on the Israeli-Palestinian issue, where the Americans must help us gain recognition for the rights of the Palestinians."

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Ambassadors Ball to Promote Peace, Unity and Diplomacy


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