diplomatic relations

When Jake Agna first stepped on the courts of the National Tennis Center in Havana he was shocked. The courts hadn’t received maintenance in years. Nets were being held up by chairs. But at the same time he was surprised by the enthusiasm and talent.

A new chapter of warm relations has opened between the governments of Tanzania and Rwanda after Tanzanian President John Magufuli officially participated in the 22-year remembrance of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, according to Tanzanian Foreign Minister Augustine Mahiga.

Forty-five years ago, Cold War tensions between the United States and communist China were lessened thanks to an unlikely diplomatic tool: ping-pong. On April 10, 1971, the U.S. table tennis team arrived in China for a 10-day visit, becoming the first group of Americans in over 20 years to get a peek behind the “Bamboo Curtain.” 

There’s something strange about the controversy surrounding Barack Obama’s recent visit to Cuba: It’s largely revolved around whether the Castro government deserved restored relations with the United States and a visit from the U.S. president. [...] If diplomacy is three-dimensional, the political debate in America over U.S.-Cuban affairs has been occurring on only one plane.

There are a number of no-go zones in the world for President Barack Obama these days. [...] But this week, President Obama is in Havana, and the greeting crowds have been enraptured. Such a trip was inconceivable back in 2008, when Obama was running for president. But as he finishes his last year in office, the president is determined to make his détente with Cuba irreversible.

Armenia and Turkey have long been at odds. Divided over a tragic past, the neighboring countries do not have diplomatic ties, and their border remains closed. Despite this, in November 2014, a group of Turks traveled to Armenia for Startup Weekend, an event where aspiring entrepreneurs hone and pitch their ideas to investors and experts.

French culture will be celebrated in Korea throughout 2016, as the year marks the 130th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Korea and France. [...] The 2015-2016 Korea-France Year kicked off in Paris last year with more than 150 cultural programs featuring traditional and contemporary Korean music, visual arts, films and literature hosted in France. 

President Obama starts his first full day in Cuba on Monday in the Plaza of the Revolution, where Fidel Castro once delivered stem-winding speeches denouncing U.S. imperialism. Obama’s presence there, to lay a wreath at the monument to 19th century Cuban independence hero José Martí, underscores the remarkable nature of his visit.