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Wednesday evening: Rome
July 8, 2009
I visit the Sant’Edigio Community, situated in a beautiful old monastery in the heart of Rome. A poignant moment on arrival to see a tiny little iron turnstile in the wall, where poor and desperate unmarried women in years long past had to tragically abandon babies without disclosing their own identity.
Today the 120,000 strong Sant’Edigio community across the world address new crises. With their hugely dedicated staff we talked about the work they are doing to fight HIV/AIDS in Africa aiming to offer a treatment in Mozambique and Malawi that matches the treatment you can find in Italy or the UK. In many of the poor countries I’ve visited, AIDS often has a female face. Pacem from Malawi has come to share with us her journey from her own HIV positive diagnosis to treatment and life now as an activist for Sant’Egidio, sharing the message of life after testing.
HIV is spreading fastest amongst women and young girls, and elderly women are often the ones left holding families and communities together in the epidemics wake. I am concerned that HIV-positive women are often denied health care, information and services. This can mean they pass the infection onto their baby during pregnancy, childbirth or breastfeeding even though there are effective ways of preventing mother to child transmission. The DREAM programme created by Sant’Egidio works in partnership with communities to overcome these barriers to treatment and care and offers hope and dignity to thousands of vulnerable people across Africa.
I am with Margarita Zavala from Mexico and Margarida Barroso whose husband is the Presidient of the EU and has herself just returned from a visit to Mozambique. We all know that we will follow up on today’s meeting to learn more, and I hope to engage them in the maternal mortality campaign I support.
After the visit, I returned to the British Embassy for a short break and then back out to the final visit of the day with the spouse group. We are hosted by the Italian President’s wife at the Quirinale Palace with a fascinating tour and a drink at the end. We all left ready to meet in L’Aquila in the morning to visit the town and witness the effects of the terrible earthquake here. I have made my way to L’Aquila tonight to find Gordon after his meetings and hear how his day has gone.
More from me tomorrow.
Sarah Brown, the wife of Gordon Brown, the Prime Minister, promised to provide a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the G8 Summit in L’Aquila, Italy, when she began a blog about the “spouses’ summit”.
Sarah Brown and the other G8 spouses will be hosted at the three-day summit in L’Aquila by Clio, wife of Italian president Giorgio Napolitano Photo: PA
Mrs Brown and the other G8 spouses will be hosted at the three-day summit in L’Aquila by Clio, wife of Italian president Giorgio Napolitano, as PM Silvio Berlusconi is currently going through a divorce.
While the world leaders are tied up in meetings on the economy, climate change and aid, the wives – and one husband – will follow an alternative programme, including visits to people affected by the devastating earthquake which struck the town in April and an audience at lunchtime today with Pope Benedict XVI.
The two most glamorous spouses, Michelle Obama and Nicolas Sarkozy’s pop star wife Carla Bruni, are expected to miss the meeting with the Pope – Mrs Obama because she and her husband have a separate meeting and Ms Bruni because she is arriving at the summit late.
In her first post on the G8 blog Mrs Brown said she was looking forward to meeting up with the other “first ladies”.
“Up at the crack of dawn to set off for the G8 in Italy!” she wrote. “There’s a busy few days ahead for me as part of the spouses programme while Gordon is at the summit.
“But I’m really looking forward to meeting up with the ‘other halves’ – some of them I have met before from last year’s G8 and the G20 in London. They are all very interesting people and I’m hoping to get to know them better and to discuss some of the issues that we all feel strongly about.
“It looks like we have some interesting visits lined up. There is some time planned in L’Aquila, the venue for the G8, to meet people affected by the devastating earthquake there in April, as well as visits to some great organisations and historical sites in Rome.
“Hopefully I can give you a flavour of what we have been doing through this blog – and I’m planning to post plenty of pictures from the trip, so make sure you check back regularly.”
Very Cool New Program That Allows You To See Who is Connected To Whom
Internews Presents the 2009 Recipients of its Media Leadership Awards
by Mitchell Polman
While we were getting a glimpse into the activities of the new President in the NBC Special Inside the Obama White House, Internews, the non-profit headed by board chair Kathy Bushkin-Calvin, held its third annual Media Leadership Awards at the Washington offices of DLA Piper.
What makes this significant is that Internews trains journalists to and media professionals the traditions and advantages of having free press around the world.
A crowd of journalists, diplomats, government officials, and NGO workers gathered to hear the inspiring stories of this year’s honorees from Pakistan, Thailand, and Haiti, and photojournalist James Nachtwey. The event was chaired by Washington Capitals owner and former AOL executive Ted Leonsis. Radio broadcaster Bob Edwards was on hand as master of ceremonies. [Read more…]
Packed with Protocol: When the US Entertains at Home and Abroad
The information contained herein is quoted from Social Usage and Protocol Handbook: A Guide for Personnel of the U.S. Navy (OPNAVINST 1710.7 dated 17 JUL 1979) Here is the suggestions that form the basis of official US Protocol.
Receptions are the most popular form of official entertainment for they allow wide variance in the number of guests invited and in the formality of the occasion. They range from the very formal, which might be a reception after 8:00 p.m. hosted by an ambassador in honor of his visiting chief of state, to the less formal, perhaps that hosted by a military attache from 8 to 10 o’clock in the evening in celebration of Armed Forces Day. The most common and least formal affair is held from approximately 6 to 8 o’clock, frequently in honor of a visiting official or in celebration of some event.
Characteristically, receptions differ from the simple cocktail party in that they are intended to honor individuals or a specific occasion, the atmosphere is somewhat more formal, their duration is prescribed, and there is always a receiving line.
The thoughtful host/hostess who plans a reception in honor of a high-ranking official will consult with the latter regarding a mutually agreeable date and time before ordering invitations. As indicated in Invitations, the person or the occasion being feted may be indicated on the invitation in one of several ways.
Guests should arrive before the receiving line disbands, normally within the first 35 minutes of the reception. The order of persons in the receiving line may vary with the type of occasion and desires of the hosting official.
The sequence which the Department of State follows for official functions in honor of high-ranking dignitaries is:
Announcer –– Host –– Guest of Honor –– Guest of Honor’s Wife –– Host’s Wife –– Extra Man
The announcer is often a military aide whose responsibility is to announce each guest by name.
The extra man avoids placing a woman at the end of the line. It is his function to move guests into the reception area. Very often, however, this extra person will make the line entirely too long, in which case he may be eliminated.
An alternative which is equally appropriate and which makes the relationship of those receiving clearer to the guests is:
Announcer –– Host –– Host’s Wife –– Guest of Honor –– Guest of Honor’s Wife –– Extra man [Read more…]
Washington will be glued to their television sets on Tuesday and Wednesday nights for Brian William’s special, “Inside the Obama White House”. Tune in to NBC on June 2 and 3 at 9pm eastern. Access doesn’t get better than this.
For easier viewing link
BizBash’s Top 100 Annual Events in Washington DC 2009 –