On Tuesday, February 5, 2013, Meridian and THIS for Diplomats hosted a reception to honor the Embassy Social Secretaries as part of the Insights at Meridian series. This special event was designed to express appreciation for the social secretaries’ tireless efforts on behalf of their ambassadors and missions, and to share our gratitude for their partnership in numerous events and programs throughout the year.
As social secretaries are a critical link and access point to their respective ambassadors, this reception acknowledged these important individuals and the work they do in connecting diplomats not only to Meridian and THIS, but to the broader Washington community. Throughout the festive evening, guests sampled a delicious menu, networked with their colleagues and peers—many of whom they had never met in person, despite frequent correspondence — and enjoyed informal tours by Meridian curators of the exhibition, Style in Silk: Tradition and Innovation in Chinese Fashion. Meridian’s President and CEO, Ambassador Stuart Holliday, and Dr. Phyllis Kaplan, President of THIS for Diplomats, shared welcome remarks, while Meridian’s Chairman, Governor James Blanchard, acknowledged those embassies and ambassadors in attendance and introduced the evening’s distinguished speakers.
Special guests for the evening included Ambassador Capricia Penavic Marshall, Chief of Protocol of the United States, and The Honorable Jeremy Bernard, Special Assistant to the President and White House Social Secretary. In his remarks to the audience, Mr. Bernard, the first male in the role of White House Social Secretary, noted that even when working with different parts of the world and various languages spoken, “the language of diplomacy does not change” and referenced “the language of unspoken acts, behavior, the protocol that helps build and strengthen bridges across nations.” The reception was supported by Tiffany & Co., with a special presentation by Diane Brown, Vice President of the mid-Atlantic Region, to Ambassador Marshall and Mr. Bernard.