At the heart of the Institute for Education (IFE) is our community: building and sustaining a network of friends who can come together around our principles of civility and dialogue.
The COVID-19 pandemic has created significant disruptions here in our Nation’s capital. Our first responsibility is providing support and appreciation to those on the front lines helping to keep the city safe, fed, and healthy — on behalf of IFE, thank you for all you are doing
Like many civic organizations, the pandemic has also challenged how we approach our work: in a world where receptions are verboten and even socially distanced dinners problematic, we had to reinvent how to keep our community connected.
That said, IFE’s signature has always been agile innovation — and our Founder’s mantra of “Innovation born in Crisis” is alive and well as we pioneer new ways to stay together during this time apart. One of the ways we’ve been doing just that: Diplomatic Drinks & Quarantine Cocktails, a new programming series hosted by video conference.
On select Thursday nights, IFE CEO & Founder Coach Kathy Kemper, along with co-host and IFE Steward Dr. R. David Edelman, have hosted intimate virtual receptions of IFE’s diplomatic leadership and their partners. These informal gatherings have featured IFE Diplomatic Steward Ambassador of Belgium Dirk Wouters and Katrin Wouters, E.U. Ambassador Stavros Lambrindis and Phoebe Kapouano, Japanese Ambassador Shinsuke Sugiyama, Singapore Ambassador Ashok Mirpuri and Gouri Mirpuri, Portuguese Ambassador Domingos Vital and Isabel Vital, Kazakhstan Ambassador Erzhan Kazykhanov and Danara Kazykhanov, and Irish Ambassador Dan Muhal and Greta Muhal, to name a few of our All-Star Zoomers. Special guest appearances have included IFE Founder Jim Valentine, 91-year-old Joan Sealy, Coach’s mom, and more!
While the topics were varied, the conversations have included countries’ differing approaches to managing the crisis and lessons learned; the role of technology, including smart-phone contact tracing, to assist medical response; the impact on domestic and global economies, particularly travel, tourism, and manufacturing; and how social safety net programs might help minimize the hardship caused by the severe economic challenges. Beyond the immediate crisis, participants shared views on how the crisis might change the previously face-to-face profession of diplomacy — or at least what counts as an acceptable time between haircuts! Guests shared exercise routines and cooking tips!
Despite our engagement being virtual, We are grateful for the opportunity to keep the IFE Diplomatic community connected during these difficult times — and salute all those who are doing their best to serve their community and country.