Swarms of people with fancy accents, wearing even fancier business suits gathered at the Corcoran Gallery last night for a multifaceted event hosted by Foreign Policy. The magazine wrapped into one night their 40th anniversary, special recognition for Richard Holbrooke (one of FP‘s original editors), the release of their 2010 “Top 100 Global Thinkers” list, a dinner and panel discussion.
Following a packed cocktail hour on the gallery’s second floor, guests flowed downstairs for the event program. The evening was kicked off by Don Graham who effervescently described the magazine’s growth and successes since the Washington Post Company acquired it in 2008. Of the evening’s festivities Graham said, “This is the only event I can remember that honors thought. Plenty honor power.”
Moderated by PBS’s Gwen Ifill and featuring Sen. John Kerry,Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorim, and electric-car visionary Shai Agassi, the panel focused mainly on energy policy and conservation but Ifill managed to slip in a few questions about the headlining WikiLeaks saga.
Ifill asked Davutoglu what he thought of the leaked documents that articulated the view of Turkey’s “Rolls Royce ambitions but Rover resources.”
Davutoglu responded diplomatically by first acknowledging “an interesting and productive meeting with Hillary [Clinton] today” and then went on to remind the room of President Obama’s trip to Turkey where he described the country as one of the most important strategic partners for America.
“Which should I take seriously,” questioned Davatoglu. “Obama’s address to the Turkish parliament or these statements?” The Foreign Minister ultimately dismissed the WikiLeaks documents, describing them as personal views from diplomats rather than government positions.
The WikiLeaks conversation carried on throughout the buffet dinner and drinks that followed the panel. On the way out of the event, guests were presented with magazines and FP logo cookies.