By day, many of the guests to Meridian International Center‘s annual Meridian Ball — ambassadors, members of congress, cabinet secretaries, etc. — bear the weight of the world on their shoulders as they grapple with increasingly complex and sometimes diametrically opposing worldviews.
But for at least one night a year, the guards come down in Washington and global challenges are temporarily forgotten, with the city’s leaders joining together for a celebration highlighting the benefits of communication and the power of exchange.
Friday’s affair served as the nonprofit’s 48th annual incarnation of the wildly popular, black tie benefit, thereby demonstrating the enduring value of the Center’s mission.
Much as they do every year, attendees began the night at one of many dinners hosted by various ambassadors throughout the District or at Meridian’s own pregame, held on the grounds of the nonprofit’s White-Meyer House property.
The ball itself is really therefore an after party, which begins at 9:30pm, and sees everyone converge at Meridian House until the early hours of the following morning. United Arab Emirates and Panama Ambassadors Yousef Al Otaiba and Emanuel Gonzalez-Revilla and their wives Abeer Al Otaiba and Luciana Gonzalez-Revilla, respectively, served as the co-chairs to this year’s festivities.
They were joined by a who’s who list of honorary supporters, which counted everyone from First Lady Michelle Obama to Ambassador Peter A. Selfridge, Chief of Protocol of the United States. And some one hundred Congressmen and Senators on top of that.
But what really makes Meridian Ball so much fun are the dozens of young twenty- and thirty-somethings also in attendance, among a sea of VIPs. It’s this rare mix of baby boomers and millennials, career veterans and those just making their mark on the world that provides the gathering with an energy that makes it one of the best events of the year.
It’s a model that mirrors the Meridian International Center’s own vision of a more secure and prosperous world, characterized by the principles of inclusion, innovation, and mutual understanding. The fun is just an added bonus.
Check out all photographs from this event here!