- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 7, 2009

OBAMA’S GRANDMA

The Kenyan grandmother of President-elect Barack Obama will travel to Washington to attend his inauguration and a ball hosted by African ambassadors to the United States, the Kenyan Embassy said Tuesday.

Sarah Obama will lead a delegation of Mr. Obama’s relatives from the village of Kogelo, including an uncle, Said Obama, and a half-brother, Malik, according to reports in the Standard newspaper of Kenya.

Kenyan Foreign Minister Moses Wetang’ula and Erastus J.O. Mwencha, deputy chairman of the African Union Commission, are also expected in town for the Jan. 20 inauguration.

The African Diplomatic Corps, the government of Kenya, the Corporate Council on Africa and African Professionals in Washington will host the African inaugural ball at the Crystal Gateway Marriott Hotel in Arlington.

OBAMA INVITED

Now that they expect the relatives from Kenya, African ambassadors are pressing the Presidential Inaugural Committee to get the star attraction to their ball in Arlington.

“The election of Barack Obama has generated unprecedented enthusiasm around the world and especially in Africa,” Ambassador Roble Olhaye of Djibouti said in a letter to the committee, requesting it include the African ball on Mr. Obama’s schedule.

“We look forward to an inaugural evening filled with fellowship, entertainment and unique African hospitality, as Africans join American friends in celebrating and reflecting on Mr. Obama’s historic achievement.”

Mr. Olhaye, the longest-service foreign ambassador in Washington, is dean of both the African Diplomatic Corps and the Diplomatic Corps, which includes all foreign envoys accredited to the United States.

MILESTONE IN INDIA

The United States and India marked another milestone in their diplomatic relationship this week, as diplomats celebrated the 50th anniversary of the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi.

“The U.S.-India partnership is broad, deep, and flourishing,” said Ambassador David C. Mulford at a ceremony to commemorate the occasion.

“This building has served generations of American diplomats working in its service. Even after 50 years, it remains a powerful symbol of the relationship’s future prospects.”

At the opening ceremony Jan. 5, 1959, Ambassador Ellsworth Bunker called the embassy a symbol of hope at a time of rocky relations between the two countries, when India developed closer relations with the Soviet Union than with the United States. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, relations improved steadily.

“To me this building is symbolic of what can be achieved through the cooperation of our two countries. From beginning to end it has been a joint venture,” Mr. Bunker said.

Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit represented India at the ceremony.

The Press Trust of India described the embassy building as a “magnificent building” and an “outstanding example of Indian-American collaboration in design and craftsmanship.”

The embassy, designed by American architect Edward Durell Stone, is an example of modernist design that gained popularity after World War II.

The United States appointed Henry F. Grady, the president of an American shipping firm, at its first ambassador to India in 1947 during a transition period to independence from British colonial rule.

• Call Embassy Row at 202/636-3297, fax 202/832-7278 or e-mail James Morrison.

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