In a marked contrast to the red carpet swirl around the Academy Awards, Los Angeles last week welcomed guests for a different sort of event programming, one known as “Experience America.” The Office of the Chief of Protocol of the United States, led by Ambassador Capricia Penavic Marshall, organizes the program, which leads trips for foreign diplomats posted in Washington to different cities and states across America so they can develop a deeper understanding of the country. [BizBash C.E.O. David Adler has an advisory role with the Office of Protocol and has a hand in developing the program.] The group came to L.A. from February 28 to March 2 and kicked things off with a welcome dinner at the Getty Center.
The reception and dinner, produced by J.B. Miller of Empire Entertainment and hosted by Ambassador Marshall and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, drew more than 200 participants to the Getty. The Renaissance Arts Academy orchestra played classical music on the travertine marble plaza to greet the guests, who next moved to the rotunda for a cocktail reception where the wind ensemble L.A.’s Promise entertained. Museum tours were also available for those not inextricably engaged in conversation.
For dinner, the 200 guests walked across the Getty's main plaza to a clear, V-shaped tent from Classic Party Rentals, where dinner was served on a series of 80-foot-long banquet tables with white linens with white place settings. The Hamilton Jazz Group entertained during the meal from Bon Appetit.
Guests watched a video message from Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton followed by The City of Dreams, a movie tribute to Los Angeles produced by Richard Kaufman of Goodspot. Ambassador Marshall delivered welcome remarks in which she recognized the many dignitaries present, ambassadors and charges d’affaires to the United States from countries including Azerbaijan, Cameroon, Germany, Haiti, Qatar, Tanzania, and numerous others. Other speakers included Villaraigosa, J. Paul Getty Trust president and C.E.O. James Cuno, and his excellency Meret Bairamovich Orazov, ambassador of Turkmenistan to the United States and acting dean of the diplomatic corps. Others in attendance included Our America host Lisa Ling, Happy Hearts Fund founder and model Petra Nemcova, and Kareem Abdul Jabbar.
Programming for the rest of the week included visits to the L.A. Chamber of Commerce, Creative Artists Agency, Warner Brothers Studios, the University of Southern California, and CODA Automotive.