BELGIUM TODAY       DECEMBER 2013  
 
WHAT'S COMING
 
December 7 & 8
Falls Church, VA
Huguette Roe's last photography show will take place at the Falls Church Holiday Gift and Crafts Show, 223 Little Falls St.
Sat 9-4; Sun 11-5
 
December 12
Washington, DC
Paul Van Hoeydonck, the only sculptor to have a work of art on permanent display on the Moon, will speak about his work, in the Moving Beyond Earth gallery of the National Air and Space Museum. (This event was rescheduled because of the government shutdown.) Website
 
December 12-19
Silver Spring, MD
Three films from Belgium will be featured in this year's EU Film Showcase at the American Film Institute Theatre:
Tenderness (La Tendresse)
Dec 12 at 5:30; Dec 13 at 5:20; Dec 15 at 7:45
The Strange Color of Your Body's Tears (L'étrange couleur des larmes de ton corps) Dec 14 at 10:15; Dec 19 at 9:35
The Verdict (Het vonnis)
Dec 17 at 9; Dec 18 at 5  Website
 
 
WHAT'S ON
  
 
Through  December 8
Chestnut Hill, MA
The exhibition Courbet: Mapping Realism expands upon an exhibition shown this summer at the Royal Museums of Fine Arts in Brussels titled Gustave Courbet and Belgium, which examined the role Belgium played in Courbet's development, at the McMullen Museum, Boston College.  Website
 
Through January 5
Washington, DC
Look for works by Flemish artists Aegidius Sadeler and Bartholomaeus Spranger in the exhibition Northern Mannerist Prints from the Kainen Collection, at the National Gallery of Art.
 
Through  January 12
New York, NY 
The exhibition Magritte: The Mystery of the Ordinary, 1926-1938 includes 80 paintings, collages and objects, along with a selection of photographs, periodicals and early commercial work, at the Museum of Modern Art.
 
Through January 13
San Marino, CA
The exhibition Face to Face: Flanders, Florence and Renaissance Painting juxtaposes 15th century Flemish and Italian paintings, at the Huntington.
 
Through January 18
New York, NY
New oil paintings by Jan De Vliegher, at the Mike Weiss
Gallery.  Website 
 
Through March 23
Gainesville, FL
The exhibition Kongo Across the Waters, co-organized by the Museum for Central Africa in Tervuren,  explores Kongo art and cultural expression on both sides of the Atlantic, at the Samuel P. Harn Museum, University of Florida. Website
 
 
VISIT OUR SITES: 
A FAREWELL MESSAGE
FROM AMBASSADOR MATTHYSEN
At the end of December, I will be returning to the Foreign Ministry after more than  four intellectually stimulating and professionally rewarding years as Ambassador of Belgium to the United States.  I was fortunate to be posted in Washington during a period when both political and economic relations between the United States and Belgium continued a very positive trajectory.  The warm American welcome extended to the many high level Belgian officials who have visited in the recent past is, for me, a wonderful confirmation of the excellence of our transatlantic relationship. 
 
My wife and I have greatly enjoyed living in Washington, DC, as well as the numerous opportunities we’ve had to travel to other parts of the United States.  We leave with fond memories of the places we’ve seen and the people we’ve met.  We are grateful for the many friendships we have made in this country and will always treasure our American experience.
 
B-FAST AIDS TYPHOON VICTIMS
Responding to a request for international assistance from the Philippine government, 37 members of the B-FAST team, arriving on a Belgian Air Force Airbus loaded with 40 tons of disaster-relief equipment, were the first Europeans to be operational in the Tacloban region,  an area hit particularly hard by Typhoon Haiyan.
 
To help with rescue and reconstruction work, the Belgians set up  a field hospital in the town of Palo, about 5km south of Tacloban; in their week of service, they  treated more than 1000 patients  The B-FAST team also brought water purification equipment that was able to produce 4,000 liters of clean water per hour.  When the Belgians left the Philippines on November 21, they handed over the field hospital to the Workers Samaritan Association of Germany and offered the water purification system to the Philippine government.  Their efforts were appreciated by many, including Kristalina Georgieva, EU Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response, who commented favorably on their speed and efficiency.
Read more about B-FAST.
 
DEFENSE MINISTER IN WASHINGTON
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Pieter De Crem was in Washington, DC, from November 4 to 8 for bilateral consultations. He was welcomed to the Pentagon by U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, who praised the key role Belgium continues to play in supporting security efforts in several regions of the world. 
 
On the agenda of the talks were issues like security assistance funding and support for stability efforts in Afghanistan post-2014. Additionally, Belgium demonstrates its commitment to maintaining peace and security in Africa through participation in bilateral EU and UN missions in Mali, Somalia and the Democratic Republic of Congo.   Secretary Hagel and Minister De Crem also discussed the situation in Syria, noting the importance of the international community's efforts to work together to secure and destroy Syria's chemical weapons. 
 
Minister De Crem also had meetings with Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for European Affairs on the National Security Staff Dr. Karen Donfried and Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasia Affairs, Ambassador Victoria Nuland.  The discussion centered on security and defense cooperation across the Atlantic, looking ahead to the 2014 summit of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.  The Alliance was also a topic at a working dinner at the Belgian Ambassador's residence: high level experts from Washington think tanks exchanged ideas with the Minister on the way forward towards a more balanced and more global NATO.
 
TWO MILITARY JET PILOT GRADS
ARE PART OF A LONG TRADITION
Of the many Belgians who come to the United States for education or training, two recent graduates illustrate the long-standing cooperation between the Belgian and US defense departments.
 
On November 8, Lt. Benjamin Gilson and Lt. Martijn Bunens were graduated as military jet pilots, having completed a one-year training program at Sheppard Air Force Base in Texas.  Since 1981, the Belgian Air Force has been taking part in the Euro NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training (ENJJPT) hosted by the US Air Force.  More than 50 Belgian jet fighter pilots have graduated from the program.  Currently, ENJJPT also has one Belgian instructor pilot present at Sheppard on a permanent basis, Lt. Col. Jan Vandenberghe.    And, at this graduation ceremony, the keynote speech was delivered by Brigadier General Johan Andries, who will take up duties as Belgian Defense Attaché to the United States on January 1, 2014.
 
DC LIFE SEEN THROUGH BELGIAN EYES
Hélène Toye,  a Belgian who has been living in Washington for four years, delightfully recounts her experiences adjusting to life in the U.S. capital in a collection of humorous stories titled Go West: A Belgian Attempts American Motherhood.  With a light touch and subtle wit, Toye navigates chasms of cross-cultural misunderstanding and attitudinal differences.
 
Belgian readers of Toye's book will smile in recognition of shared experiences, while Americans will gain insight into how their  everyday rituals are  perceived through a European prism. Read a sample.
 
 
 
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Embassy of Belgium, 3330 Garfield Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20008
washington@diplobel.fed.be or 202 333-6900 with questions or comments.

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