History: 2021-2022 Program

Wednesday, June 1st

On 1 June 2022, we heard about Serbia, a Balkan country with a complex recent history which wants to join the EU.  H. E. Marko Djuric assumed the duties of Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Serbia to the United States of America in January 2020.

Within the Serbian Government, he served as Advisor to the President from 2012 – 2014 where he took part in implementing and creating the Serbian short, middle and long-term foreign policy agenda and headed the Serbian Negotiating Team in the process of accession negotiations with the European Union.

From 2014 to 2020 he was Director of the Office for Kosovo.  In this capacity, he was arrested by special forces loyal to Pristina. He led the team which carried out construction and reconstruction of 2470 houses and 45 churches for Serbs in Kosovo- for which he received one of the highest decorations of the Serbian Orthodox Church.

Ambassador Djuric was among the founding members of the Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) in 2008. SNS is currently the ruling party. He became a member of the SNS Main Board in 2009, a member of the SNS Party Presidency in 2012, and Deputy Chairman of the SNS Main Board from 2016 to the present.  He was head of the South-Eastern European delegation to the Belt and Road Summit in China in 2019.

Ambassador Djuric holds a degree in Law from Belgrade University.  He and his wife, Andrijana Djuric have 3 daughters.  He is an avid runner who completed the Berlin Marathon in 2019.

Video of the presentation

Wednesday, May 4th

Our speaker this evening, Dr. Mardoqueo Tóchez, was in a unique position to tell us about his important Central American country, which has adopted Bitcoin as its national currency in addition to the US Dollar.

Dr. Mardoqueo Tóchez has served as Minister Counselor for Economic Affairs at the Embassy of El Salvador in Washington D. C. since October 2020. He is responsible for investments and trade with El Salvador and the H2B and H2A visas program for Salvadorans.

Before joining the Embassy, Dr. Tóchez worked as a distinguished law professional in El Salvador, focused on business law and arbitration. He previously served as the President of the Salvadoran Chapter of the Club Español del Arbitraje (2018-2020), senior partner at Lawyers Corp (2010-2020), and a technical advisor to the Minister of Tourism (2010). He has lectured on arbitration, labor conciliation, and international trade law in Spain, Colombia, and Costa Rica.

Dr. Tóchez holds a doctorate of law from Universidad Dr. José Matías Delgado, an LLMM in Business law from Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona, an MAJE from Universidad de Deusto, and a postgraduate degree in international business from Universidad Tecnológica de El Salvador.

Video of the presentation.

Wednesday, April 6nd

Ambassador Eric Rubin, President of the American Foreign Service Association (AFSA) since 2019, spoke to us about “Challenges to American Diplomacy”-and there are many these days!

His Washington State Department assignments include: Regional and Security Affairs Officer for Central and Eastern Europe (1991-1993); Assistant White House Press Secretary for Foreign Affairs and NSC Director for Public Affairs (1997); Director of the Office of Policy Planning and Coordination of the State Department’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (2004-2006); Executive Assistant to the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs (2006-2008) and Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs (2008-2011)

His overseas assignments with the State Department have included working as the political and human rights officer in Honduras (1986-1988); Deputy Political Counselor in Kyiv, Ukraine (1994-1996); Consul General in Chiang Mai, Thailand (2001-2004); Deputy Chief of Mission in Moscow (2008-2011) and US Ambassador to Bulgaria (2016-2019).

Mr. Rubin holds a B.A. in history from Yale University (he is a classmate of Ernie Tucker). He was Dean and Virginia Rusk Fellow and a resident associate at Georgetown University’s Institute for the Study of Diplomacy from 1999-2000. Eric speaks Thai, Spanish, French, Bulgarian, Ukrainian, and Russian.

Ambassador Rubin is married with two children.
AFSA One-Pager

Video of the presentation.

Wednesday, March 2nd

Ambassador Lazarus O. Amayo, told us about Kenya – the largest and most advanced economy in East and Central Africa and home to vast wildlife resources.
Ambassador Amayo presented his credentials to President Trump in July 2020. He has represented Kenya in many countries as well as regional and international organizations. He has represented Kenya as Permanent Representative at the United Nations and the International Maritime Organization and the Commonwealth Organization. He has been High Commissioner of Kenya to Zambia, Malawi, India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Singapore.
Within Kenya’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Amayo has served in positions of increasing responsibility up to Director for the Europe and Commonwealth Division and Acting Permanent Secretary.   Prior to his diplomatic service, Ambassador Amayo served as CEO/Managing Director of Catering Levy Trustees and as a Member of Parliament. He has also worked with Kenya’s Posts and Telecommunications Corporation, the Teacher’s Service Commission, and as a high school teacher.
He holds an MA in Political Science from the University of Delhi and a BA from Spicer Memorial College in India. Ambassador Amayo is married and has three children. He enjoys reading, tennis and chess.

Kenya One-Pager

Wednesday, February 2nd
Ambassador Taranjit Singh Sandhu told us about India, a large country in South Asia which plays an increasingly important role in the region and the world.  Ambassador Singh Sandhu has been India’s Ambassador to the United States since February 2020. He is one of the most experienced Indian diplomats on US affairs, having served in the Indian Mission in Washington DC twice earlier. He has also been at the Permanent Mission of India to United Nations, New York from July 2005 to February 2009.
Prior to his current assignment in Washington DC, Ambassador Sandhu was High Commissioner of India to Sri Lanka from January 2017 to January 2020. He has also served in Germany, the Soviet Union and Ukraine. Ambassador Sandhu has worked in the Ministry of External Affairs in various capacities: as Joint Secretary (United Nations) from March 2009 to August 2011; and later as Joint Secretary (Administration) heading the Human Resource Division.
Ambassador Sandhu graduated with History Honors from St. Stephens’ College, Delhi. He pursued a Masters’ Degree in International Relations at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. Ambassador Sandhu and Mrs. Reenat Sandhu (who is also a serving Indian diplomat) have two children. His interests include books, movies and outdoor sports.
Because of the current situation of the pandemic, the International Club asks everyone to show proof of being vaccinated and boosted at the registration desk for the dinner. The Club requires social distancing and wearing masks except when eating or drinking and appreciates your cooperation.

India One-Pager

Video of the presentation.

Wednesday, January 5th

Ambassador Kristjan Prikk told us about his homeland, Estonia.  It is a thriving Baltic Nation that has enthusiastically embraced democratic and economic links with the West.  Kristjan Prikk has served as Estonia’s Ambassador to the US since May 2021.
The dinner began with the ICA accepting a special citation from the Maryland Department of State presented by Deputy Secretary of State Luis Borunda.  It is being given to recognize our club’s role in publicizing international issues, especially with regard to Estonia. This dinner marked the latest of several talks that Estonia’s ambassadors have given here over the past few years. Maryland and Estonia have been building various types of partnerships over the past 25 years and this is part of commemorating that as well.

Wednesday, December 8th

Ambassador Asad Majeed Khan told us about Pakistan – a country at the physical and diplomatic border of Afghanistan, China, Iran and India. You can find a one-page fact sheet on Pakistan below.

Dr. Khan became Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United States in January 2019.

As a career Pakistan Foreign Service Officer he had the following responsibilities within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs:
-1990-1993: Desk officer for US and India
-2001-2004: Director Economic Coordination
-2004: Director South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation
-2010-2011: Director General for United Nations
-Additional Secretary Foreign Affairs
-2015-2016: Director General (West Asia)
-2016: Director General (Americas)

Overseas, he held positions of increasing responsibility in:
1993-1996: Tokyo, Second Secretary
2004-2010 -Minister-Counsellor at Pakistan’s Permanent Mission to United Nations
2012-2015: Washington, Deputy Chief of Mission
2017-2019: Tokyo, Ambassador

Ambassador Khan earned his Doctorate in International Economic and Business Law (L.L.D.) from Kyushu Japan.

He is married and has two children.

Pakistan One Pager

Wednesday, November 3rd

We had a presentation on immigration: “Where’s Everyone Going and Why?” Our speaker was Mark Hugo Lopez, Director of Race and Ethnicity Research at the Pew Research Center.  Note: Unfortunately, procedural and technical issues precluded us from offering either live streamed or a prerecorded version of this talk.

Dr. Lopez is an expert on immigration globally and in the U.S., world demography, U.S. Hispanics and Asian Americans. He was previously the Center’s director of Hispanic Research, and before that served as the Associate Director. Prior to joining Pew Research Center, Dr. Lopez served as a research assistant professor at the University of Maryland’s School of Public Policy and as research director of the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE).

He is an author and co-author of reports about the Hispanic electorate, Hispanic identity and immigration. Some titles include:

“Adjusting to a World in Motion: Trends in Global Migration and Migration Policy,” “Future of the First Amendment,” “Who is Hispanic?,” “The Latino Vote in 2020,” “Changing US Unauthorized Immigrant Population”

Dr. Lopez received his doctorate in economics from Princeton University. He frequently appears in national and international media in both Spanish and English. Dr. Lopez is from Los Angeles.  He was born in a Mexican-American family based in California for more than a century.

About Pew Research Center:

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Post Presentation Notes:

Dr. Mark Lopez, Director of Race and Ethnicity Research at the Pew Research Center, Washington DC. –Immigration
Dr. Lopez shared his vast knowledge with us in a low-key, understandable, and amusing fashion. Key takeaways were: (1) Eighty percent of African immigration takes place within the African continent; (2) Germany does a better job of promoting immigrants than the US, but Germans envy the way immigrants rise to the highest levels in the US; (3) Although the US has the highest total number of immigrants, it has increasing competition from Europe in bringing them in; (4) A major problem for the US in the next decade will be a shortage of incoming immigrants.

See below for three appendices with information about and from Dr. Lopez.

Appendix 1. Contact info for Dr. Lopez:
Mark Hugo Lopez
Director of Race and Ethnicity Research
Pew Research Center
202.419.3617 | mlopez@pewresearch.org | @mhugolopez
1615 L Street, NW Suite 800, Washington, D.C. 20036

Appendix 2. Report on U.S. soft power mentioned by Dr. Lopez in his talk:
What People Around the World Like – and Dislike – About American Society and Politics | Pew Research Center

Appendix 3. PDF of Dr. Lopez’s PowerPoint:

Lopez PowerPoint ICAnnapolis Nov2021

Wednesday October 6th – 

We learned about Cuba, a neighboring island nation which is often in the press, yet little understood. Our presenter was Ambassador Alejandro Garcia del Toro.

Ambassador Garcia took up the position of Deputy Chief of Mission and Minister Counsellor of the Embassy of the Republic of Cuba to the United States in 2021.

He graduated Summa Cum Laude from the Law Faculty at the University of Havana in 2001 and graduated from a Course of Diplomatic Attaches at the Highest Institute of International Relations (Havana) in 2003

Within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, he advanced from Official at the Legal Division (2005-2006) to Official at the United States General Division (2011-2015) to Director of Analysis and Legal Affairs of the United States General Division (2015-2019). His overseas career started when he was Diplomatic Attache at the Cuban Interests Section in Washington, D.C. (2001-2005).  He then advanced to Second Secretary at the Cuban Interests Section in Washington, D.C. (2001-2011). From 2019 to 2021 he was the Ambassador of Cuba to the Commonwealth of the Bahamas.

Cuba One-Pager

Wednesday, September 8th – Dinner at the Annapolis Doubletree Hotel

Presentation by the Deputy Chief of Mission of Japan, Ambassador Tamaki Tsukada. 

Ambassador Tamaki Tsukada is the Deputy Chief of Mission at the Embassy of Japan in Washington, a post he assumed in September 2020. He will discuss the nature and value of US-Japan relations as seen from Japan’s perspective, how the situation in the Indo-Pacific is evolving, and its impact on the US.

Prior to his present position, he was Director General for Global Issues at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He also served as Sous-Sherpa for G20 and G7, Chief Negotiator for Climate Change, and board member of several key international organizations. He joined the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1987 and worked in the areas of trade and overseas development assistance, among others. Foreign postings include London 1990-1992; Moscow 1999-2001; Geneva 2001-2004; New Delhi 2011-2014; and most recently Washington D.C. 2014-2017.

Ambassador Tsukada has a law degree from Tokyo University and a master’s degree in History from Oxford University. Born on November 23, 1964; he is an amateur flutist and a lover of chess, contract bridge, and math problem solving.