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Freedom of press feted at The Washington Diplomat’s pre-WHCD party

Diplomats, journalists and lawmakers celebrated journalism and freedom of the press on Friday at a pre-White House Correspondents Dinner party at the Argentinian embassy in Washington, D.C.

The Washington Diplomat’s annual party made a splashy return after a two-year break due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The event brought the diplomatic and international community together in a celebratory night that promoted freedom of the press. 

The event also paid tribute to journalists who’ve lost their lives while in the pursuit of a story.

“We’ve partnered with the Fallen Journalists Memorial Foundation, to help share the stories of some of the journalists who’ve sadly lost their lives while reporting on the news,” Washington Diplomat publisher Victor Shiblie said at the start of the event.

The organizers partnered with the Fallen Journalists Memorial Foundation – an organization that is dedicated to building a national memorial in D.C. – to create wine bottle labels with the names and stories of some of the journalists who’ve died around the world.

Shiblie highlighted the Fallen Journalists Memorial Foundation’s effort to “design, develop, construct and maintain” a Fallen Journalists Memorial that will serve as a tribute to the reporters, photojournalists, producers, editors and others who have died while performing their jobs as journalists. 

Those in attendance included Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), former Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs Marie Royce, Argentinian Ambassador Jorge Argüello and his wife Erika Grinberg and the director of the Smithsonian’s Office of International Relations, Aviva Rosenthal.

With over 300 attendees, the party took over an entire floor of the embassy, with the ballroom reserved for dancing. D.C.’s political community danced with a DJ to a mix of international music with impromptu salsa dance offs and Bollywood moves.

While COVID-19 vaccinations and masks were highly encouraged, there was no requirement. Very few attendees were seen wearing masks.

The embassy rolled out Argentina’s best food and wine including asado, empanadas and dulce de leche.

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