Honoring Ina Ginsburg, 2011 IFE Cultural Diplomacy Awardee & Steward

We are saddened to learn of the passing our dear, dear friend Ina Ginsburg. We are consoled by her legacy and the lasting impression she has left on our hearts…

View Ina Ginsburg Gallery | The Washington Post | The New York Times “INA, arts patron and hostess

Words from her admirers:

“Ina was a great friend of Portugal. I had the privilege to witness her sentiments toward my country when she reminisced about her past to tell me the story of her escape from Nazi terror and the cooperation she and her family received from the Portuguese  at the time. She was always the most personable and warm hostess to me and my wife Rosa, and her home was a certain destination for many of my predecessors. She was a profile in courage and grace and her memory will be a part of Washington social and cultural character. To her children Jonathan, Mark and Susan I wish to express my heartfelt sympathy for the passing of their mother.” ~Nuno Brito, Ambassador of Portugal

“Ina Ginsburg was a remarkable woman who lived an incredible life. I wasn’t around when she was escaping from Nazis, palling around with Andy Warhol, or bringing fine arts to the Federal Reserve. But I was fortunate enough to get to know Ina through her work as a steward of the Institute for Education, where she worked tirelessly to foster civility and bipartisan common ground. Ever elegant, she expressed optimism that any problem could be overcome and anyone made a friend. Ina made Washington a better place.” ~John Paul Farmer

“Ina was a much loved Washington institution and lived a rich, charmed and meaningful life. We will all miss her dearly.”  ~Gouri and Ashok Mirpuri, Embassy of Singapore

“Ina was a lovely and generous person – and devoted to helping causes she believed in.” ~Joanne Breyer

“I am utterly shocked at the sad news. Ina has been so kind and helpful since our arrival. As you rightly say, there will never be another Ina. But she will continue to be a role model that we aspire to follow.” ~Nobuko Sasae, Embassy of Japan

“Ina was a remarkable woman. She was kind, intelligent, knowledgeable and generous. No-one welcomed people more graciously. If she took you under her wing you were in good shape. And her wings were wide. She wanted Americans to understand Europeans better. She had broad interests. She loved art and beautiful objects including beautiful clothes. No-one dressed more exquisitely. She appreciated good manners and felt respectful debate should be encouraged especially among people who disagreed with each other. She was a most civilized person who had had an extraordinary life with  challenges she rarely discussed. No wonder she said with subtle humor after being told she would be ‘shown life’ by Andy Warhol’s magazine editor that “ having been born in Central Europe and having lived in Paris  I  was not sure that would be necessary” . Washington will miss her and so will her friends.” ~Justice Stephen and Joanna Breyer

“I first met Ina at the 2010 Opera Ball, when my husband, Todd Park, and I moved to DC. ‘Welcome to Washington!’ she said to us with a beaming smile, and later we understood that Ina embodied the essence of Washington society.  I was fortunate to be able to work with her this past year, at the Institute for Education.  Ina loved and supported IFE–she took her role as IFE Steward seriously and championed its mission tirelessly at innumerable diplomatic events.  She made everyone feel special.  We will miss her.”  ~Dr. Amy Geng, IFE Innovation Steward

“Ina was a venerable fixture in Washington’s high society.” ~Gerard Baker, Editor in Chief, The Wall Street Journal, IFE Steward.

“Ina was the embodiment of style and grace. She valued and encouraged civility and was a breath of fresh air in our nation’s capital. There is a good reason that Andy Warhol found a muse in Ina Ginsburg. She is iconic.”  ~Jennifer Griffin and Greg Myre

I was lucky enough to meet Ina a couple of decades ago through the Institute of Education. While one was immediately struck by her elegance and sophistication, the joy of becoming her friend was to share in her appreciation for art, culture and the non-political side of DC. Talking to Ina transported to Central Europe, my mother’s birthplace, a gift for which I am very grateful.  ~Juliet Eilperin

“We are deeply saddened by Ina’s passing. Ina was an inspiration, a wonderful friend and a remarkable mentor who helped us to appreciate and participate in so much that her Washington has to offer. We will miss her terribly.” ~Moshira Soliman and Les Deak

“Unforgettable! Nobody compares to Ina Ginsburg. Among the many thousands of interesting people we’ve met in our 5 wonderful years in Washington, Ina Ginsburg holds a very special place. We felt exceptionally blessed by her friendship. We were countless times invited at her home in Foxhall Crescents. Ina was a frequent guest at the Belgian residence. She loved to talk with us in French, and after a while we were shifting to German ..”Ich bin doch eine Wienerin”. No week could pass for us without meeting her somewhere: concerts, receptions, dinners, IFE-meetings, etc… Agnes and I were always glad to see her, for a short or for a longer conversation, for her generous introductions to friends, or for a ride home with us, as neighbors. Her long life spans over an astonishing “éventail” of world history, with culture, fashion, beauty, humanity. She shared some of her fascinating stories with us, there must be many more. We hope she kept notes for a biographer. She didn’t talk too much about the past, she was forward-looking, curious about the actual world, and interested in young people’s plans and views. That kept her young for so long. She was a noble, warm-hearted, wise person. Unforgettable.”~Former Ambassador to the US from the Kingdom go Belgium and IFE Diplomatic Steward, H.E. Jan Matthyson and Agnes Matthyson

“Ina Ginsburg was, indeed, a Washington institution and for all the best reasons:  she represented a grace and style and intelligence and generosity of spirit to which we all aspire.  She was much loved and will be much missed.  It is unlikely anyone could take her place.”~ Senator and Mrs Tom Udall

“Today is a very sad day for me. A notable public figure, editor, honorary trustee of the Washington National Opera and American Film Institute, philanthropist, patron of the arts and, more important, my precious acquaintance Ms. Ina Ginsburg passed away. It is hard to believe this tragic news since Ina was an example of a very strong and beautiful woman. We can speak a lot about her bright and multifaceted activity. For many years Ina worked as an editor of Andy Warhal’s “Interview magazine” where her perspicacious and acute interviews with famous people had great success among readers. Being remarkably talented and educated, she was always in the midst of Washington’s cultural and political life. Ina initiated a good tradition of hosting lunches in her cozy house to introduce wives of newly arrived Ambassadors to Washington D.C. During one of those meetings, with always homelike, friendly and in many ways creative atmosphere we met each other. Not to forget about wonderful dinners and evening parties with many well-known politicians, diplomats, artists and scientists that hospitable and cordial Ina would organize at her place. Time passed by, but made no impact on her as Ina was always energetic, elegant and attractive. In many ways she set a model of fashion and style. Men admired her, women would ask her advice in clothes. It is sad that I am obliged to use past tenses. However, in my memory this clever and charming woman will remain in Present. Rest in peace.”~Natalia Kislyak, Spouse of the Russian Ambassador

20th Season Ina and Family 3

KAP_IFE_Ginsburg-004KAP_IIE_Dinner-01 - CopyAmb-Mrs Sasae and Ina GinsbergKAP_IIE_Dinner-45Coach Kemper and Ina Ginsburg, IFE International Diplomacy Award Recipient 2011


Ambassador Vimont presents Ginsburg with her honor
Ambassador Vimont presents Ginsburg with her honor
Ginsburg addresses the crowd at the ceremony
Ginsburg addresses the crowd at the ceremony

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