Washington Life Magazine
Washington Life Magazine


It’s crucial that your work continues.”

America’s “Birth Certificate”
In a major ceremony held April 30th in the Library of Congress’ Great Hall, German Chancellor Angela Merkel symbolically transferred the last surviving copy of the 1507 Marin Waldseemüller Map, the first printed document to use the name “America.” The 500- year-old map, often called “America’s Birth Certificate” or “The Map that Named America,” has already been at the library for four years after its purchase for $10 million from a German prince in May 2003. Interestingly, by 1513 Waldseemüller and other mapmakers removed the name “America,” perhaps suggesting that they had second thoughts about honoring Americus Vespucci exclusively for exploring the new world.

Washington’s Newest Diplomatic Digs
Slovenia is redesigning the old Yugoslavian Embassy on California Street, N.W., to be its own. It’s prime location right behind the Venezuelan residence will be a great advantage for this young country. The $5 million renovation will include an apartment on the top floor with a terrace overlooking Massachusetts Avenue for Ambassador Samuel Zbogar, his wife Maya and their three children (aged 15, 12 and 5). According to Zbogar, “The most exciting part of the chancery will be the huge twostory bay window where Slovenian artists Tobias Putrih (Vienna Biennale) and Emil Memon will display their innovative work. With all this glass, we will have a much more inviting, friendly and transparent embassy to reflect our country, which has the same attributes.” It’s also a perfect setting for Slovenia, which will hold the EU Presidency in early 2008.

The Old School Try
When departing French Ambassador Jean- David Levitte and his wife Marie-Cécile heard that the innovative dual-language Rock Creek International School was in dire financial straits, they offered a fund-raising dinner.
“We live in a globalized world,” Levitte told his 60 dinner guests. “The United States is the leading country and you can’t lead if you don’t know the world; and you can’t lead if you don’t have the languages.”
This innovative private academy was founded 17 years ago as the first school in the nation to have non-religious dual language immersion programs in Arabic from pre-kindergarten through sixth grade. Rock Creek also has programs in English-Spanish and English-French, which is what first attracted the Levittes.
Their dinner raised $70,000 and now some parents are hoping against all odds to find a way to keep Rock Creek’s doors open past June.
With Headmaster Peter Greer’s blessing, parent Patrice Pisinski has organized a letter-writing campaign to Arabic and Spanish-speaking embassies to ask for help. Bahrain already gave $50,000 earlier this year.
A touching pre-dinner speech by Ruby Bridges of New Orleans urged parents to try one last time. Ms. Bridges, immortalized in a Norman Rockwell painting, was the first African-American to attend a white school in Louisiana and, as a six-year old in 1960, became the youngest foot soldier in America’s civil rights movement.
“You shouldn’t give up on your dream, your passion,” said Ms. Bridges. “Why not keep reaching out and start over?



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