- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 8, 2005

The CARE Ball has rejuvenated itself just in time for the world relief organization’s 60th anniversary next year.

Friday’s crowd was louder and younger — even though the music was a bit older (Little Anthony and the Imperials) — and the mix worked, unless you wanted to talk. It was obvious immediately who liked to dance (Icelandic Ambassador Helgi Agustsson and his wife, Heba; Austrian Ambassador Eva Nowotny and her husband, Thomas; Gen. Richard B. Myers and his wife, Mary Jo) and who didn’t (a very long list).

More than anything, today’s global economy has pumped new life into the event, which raises major money for CARE’s humanitarian efforts. In the old days, it was considered undiplomatic for an ambassador to talk about business at a social affair. Now, talking trade is a priority, and diplomats are increasingly eager to meet top executives from CARE’s corporate partners, including UPS, Lockheed Martin, BellSouth and Motorola.

The reverse is true as well, of course, which explains why benefit co-chairwomen Franki Roberts, Jeanne Warner and Diane Nelson (the wives, respectively, of Sens. Pat Roberts, Kansas Republican;John W. Warner, Virginia Republican; and Ben Nelson, Nebraska Democrat) were able to attract so many business leaders for dinner and dancing at the Mellon Auditorium following intimate dinners hosted by 30 ambassadors all over town.

Envoys sighted later included Turkish Ambassador Osman Faruk Logoglu and his wife, Mimi (in a gorgeous plum strapless velvet dress); Afghan Ambassador Said Tayeb Jawad and his wife, Shamim; Mexican Ambassador Carlos Gonzalez; Guatemalan Ambassador Jose Castillo; and Hungarian Ambassador Andras Simonyi, a jazz artist who didn’t dance but kept to the beat while his wife, Nada, talked with Veronica Ferrero, wife of Peruvian Ambassador Eduardo Ferrero.

Yemeni Ambassador Abdulwahab Al-Hajjri looked particularly dapper in a well-tailored tuxedo, greeting colleagues as longtime CARE supporters Sheila Katz, Fariba Jahanbani and Debbie Sigmundthanked guests for helping CARE reach its $500,000 fundraising goal.

—Gail Scott

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