Last weekend and this weekend, many of the embassies in DC had an open house to the public allowing people to tour the embassies and experience some of the culture of their respective homes. I was really excited about this event and greatly enjoyed seeing the inside of different embassies and view other countries' public diplomacy efforts. I only was able to make it to about 15 embassies during the open house event but feel we made pretty decent time in absorbing the information and indulging in the offerings of the ones we made it to.
Some of the embassies went through some extraordinary effort for their open houses to include live music, free food and wine tasting, and plenty of give-away and fun things. Others displayed their embassies in a very perfunctory and lackluster manner. And then some, to my disappointment, seemed to commercialize the event to make it similar to some of the various fairs one might attend where there might be a show of some sort and then just overpriced food and trinkets for sale.
My favorites were those that seemed as if you were entering one's home or a festive party with good atmosphere and interesting cultural items and relics on display. I was very much impressed by some embassies whose countries I previously knew very little of or once gave no thought. I was most impressed by the Embassy of Trinidad and Tobago and the Embassy of Botswana, both countries I knew very little of until after visiting.
There were other pretty good embassies and almost all of them gave away some fun swag.
|Maraca from Embassy Nicaragua|
|Showing off the digeridoo at Embassy Australia|
|Food from Embassy Botswana. Notice the BBQ worm!|
|Incense from Embassy Croatia|