Inside the red-brick building that now houses the German capital’s newest and perhaps most unusual mosque, Seyran Ates is staging a feminist revolution of the Muslim faith. [...] The inaugural Friday prayers at Berlin’s Ibn Rushd-Goethe Mosque came to a close — offering a different vision of Islam on a continent that is locked in a bitter culture war over how and whether to welcome the faith. Toxic ills like radicalization, Ates and her supporters argue, have a potentially easy fix: the introduction of a more progressive, even feminist brand of the faith.
Alan Gilbert has chosen to celebrate the close of his tenure as music director of the New York Philharmonic on a political note, with a program called “A Concert for Unity.” BY inviting musicians from countries including Iran and Israel to join Philharmonic members on the stage on Thursday-Saturday, Mr. Gilbert is clearly trying to steer against the divisive winds coming out of Washington. But he is also interesting himself into a tradition of bridge-building musical events that reach back to the aftermath of World War II. Here are five memorable moments of musical diplomacy:
Headlines explore government campaigns to increase their countries' soft power.
Generations of Indian diplomats have been using mango for years to win both friends and foes. [...] Foreigners didn’t know how to tackle the fruit, a fact happily taken advantage of by one Indian diplomat living in Geneva. He once met Dag Hammarskjold, the UN secretary-general, who told him he kept getting mangoes from Indians which he didn’t know how to eat. [...] It was reported in 1955 that as Chou ate his mango “his beetling brow relaxed, his lips rippled into a smile… Thereafter, he ate out of Mr. Nehru’s hand and signed the famous joint declaration.”
German Foreign Minister pledged 3.5 million euros of extra refugee aid for the conflict-ridden state struggling to emerge from the throws of civil war. The money will be used to improve the catastrophic conditions seen in the refugee camps across the country, with systematic sexual abuse and violence reportedly widespread. In the first five months of this year, 60,000 refugees have come to Europe via Libya, a rise of 26 percent compared to the previous year. Approximately 1,700 people were killed as they attempted to cross the Mediterranean Sea from January to May 2017.
Mark Dillen on the negative image of President Trump's first trip overseas.
While the agenda for discussion was as academic: 'Actively shaping democracy – taking responsibility at home and abroad', the speakers, Merkel and Obama, were received as if they were rockstars. Obama may not be US president, but he can still pull in the crowds. This was Obama's first public appearance since he left office in January 2017, but the warm reception was quite reminiscent of the kind he would command as president. Germany loves Obama. It was hard to spot a single placard critical of him.
The two-day OBOR summit, one of the most eagerly anticipated events in China this year, ended on May 15. Party mouthpieces referred to the meeting as a high-level international conference with far-reaching implications for the whole world. [...] If anything, the summit was marked by three things— big fat cheques, thunderous applause and hype surrounding president Xi Jinping’s “achievements”.[...] XI vowed pledged to provide an extra 60 billion yuan in foreign aid for countries along the economic corridor plus 2 billion yuan in emergency food aid.