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Friday, January 23, 2015

It pays to be a Democrat

The residence of the Egyptian ambassador to the United States, 2301 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C./Photo by Patricia Leslie

On a cold day last week, officers and governors of the Woman's National Democratic Club walked about a half mile from their clubhouse at 1526 New Hampshire Avenue at Dupont Circle to 2301 Massachusetts Avenue, residence of the Ambassador Mohamed M. Tawfik of the Arab Republic of Egypt to the U.S., who had invited the group for lunch.

Upon arrival, the guests were treated to juices served on silver trays by butlers, and then Ambassador Tawfik led a tour of Egyptian artifacts at the residence, some which are 5,000 years old. 

From the first floor, the tour continued upstairs where the ambassador proudly pointed out several contemporary artworks hanging on the walls, all drawn by Egyptians.  Ambassador Tawfik is an obvious arts enthusiast since he seemed happy to share his vast knowledge of Egyptian art and a bit about each artist. 
Ambassador Mohamed M. Tawfik of the Arab Republic of Egypt invited officers and governors of the Woman's National Democratic Club to his residence for lunch.  Ambassador Tawfik stands in the center with his wife Amani Amin (in blue suit), and club member Mimi I. Hassanein (in head scarf) who helped arrange the event. Egyptian Consul Aldesuky Youssef and his wife are on the far left.  The president of the Woman's National Democratic Club, Anna Fierst (in blue), is on the top row behind the ambassador.

After the art tour, the ambassador and his wife, Amani Amin, led the guests to a large dining room with a long table and three abundant arrangements of fresh red roses, greenery, and little white flowers, strategically designed to avoid interruption of eye contact. (The whole residence was filled with fresh red roses.)

At the table, 22 sat comfortably in seats designated by place cards featuring the Egyptian seal embossed in gold and centered at the top. Guests' names were handwritten in distinctive font on both sides of the card.

Every guest received a printed menu on paper held together with gold twine inside a card on coated stock, the front which pictured a different artifact from the residence with description.  One read:

Egyptian Pottery Drinking Jar Filter. Placed in the neck of drinking jars and perforated so that when the water is poured it is purified.  Decorated with Arabesque animal motifs and geometrical designs.  Fatimid Period, 11th century AD.  Part of the museum collection displayed at The Egyptian Residence in Washington, DC

On the menu were salmon crepes, shish tawook (grilled chicken served with vermicelli and vegetable medley), Mediterranean salad, and umm-ali (baked sweet pastry drizzled with milk and cream).  Tea was served.

Ambassador Tawfik said the Egyptian government has owned the residence since 1928 when it bought the building
for $150,000.  The house is frequently known as the Joseph Beale House and was designed for Mr. and Mrs. Beale. It has a strong French influence with elaborately decorated walls and ceilings.  Built between 1907 and 1909, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1973.

At the luncheon,  club member Mimi I. Hassanein was recognized for her efforts organizing the event. 

Each of the guests said she had either been to Egypt, or it was a destination.  One had honeymooned there.  The ambassador said tourist travel to Egypt is growing, and the country welcomes visitors.  Ambassador Tawfik and Consul Aldesuky Youssef said three museums are under construction in Egypt, including Cairo's Grand Egyptian Museum, the world's largest archaeological museum set to open this year on 120 acres, two kilometers from the pyramids at Giza.

شكرا لك، السيد السفير

المحطة التالية ، مصر !

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