Austrian envoy hosts art exhibition

Ambassador Nicolaus Keller, Ursual Keller and artist Wendy Billingslea at the opening of the art exhibition in Islamabad.
Ambassador Nicolaus Keller, Ursual Keller and artist Wendy Billingslea at the opening of the art exhibition in Islamabad.

Ambassador Nicolaus Keller and his wife Ursula Keller hosted an art exhibition at the Austrian residence. The event was attended by a great number of ambassadors, UN staff, and members of the public.

In their speeches, the new Austrian ambassador, his wife and the artist, Wendy Billingslea underlined how pleased they were with the great turnout, and Mr Keller promised more exhibitions and other cultural events saying that he had recently served in the culture division in the foreign office in Austria.

“I am glad he continues the practice founded by his predecessor Ambassador Brigitta Blaha”, said a Pakistani woman attending the exhibition.

Ambassador Keller said that the reason for the exhibition having been given a French title, Images teintêes d’orient, was that it was related to the upcoming week of the French language, La samaine de la francophonie. The artist herself is a French national, working out of Paris.

“The brightly coloured paintings are neither French nor Austrian, but have an international flavour to them”, said a Pakistan visitor.

The artist said: “Continually studying the history of art inspires my paintings. The more I look and learn about the treasures of the past civilizations, the more fascinated I become.”

“I feel the medium of painting is a powerful conceptual tool to communicate from the heart and the mind’s eye in today’s world of screens, digits and wires”, Ms Billingslea said.

Chinese diplomat speaks at SVI

Chinese Deputy Ambassador Zhao Lijian speaks at the seminar at the Strategic Vision Institute (SVI) in Islamabad.
Chinese Deputy Ambassador Zhao Lijian speaks at the seminar at the Strategic Vision Institute (SVI) in Islamabad.

Zhao Lijian, deputy chief of mission of the Chinese Embassy, was the chief guest at a seminar at the Strategic Vision Institute (SVI) along with two Australian, one Chinese and two Pakistani speakers, chaired by Professor Zafar Iqbal Cheema. The theme of the seminar was the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and their impact on development in South West Asia. Several diplomats attended the seminar along with researchers, university teachers, private sector representatives and other guests.

Zhao Lijian is coordinator of CPEC at the Chinese Embassy.

“I was impressed by the detailed knowledge that Mr Lijian mastered about CPEC projects and activities”, said a participant. “He also spoke about projects other than those related to CPEC and said there are 22,000 Pakistani students in China”.

Dr. Vaqar Ahmed of SDPI drew attention to a number of areas where CPEC projects can be expanded.

A German-Pakistani participant drew attention to the need for CPEC projects to be spread geographically and in regards to the subject area, for example, with more activities in Gilgit-Baltistan.

This point created a lively debate, which continued during the pleasant tea session at the end of the event.

S. Lankan independence anniversary celebrated

Dancers entertain guests at Sri Lanka’s Independence Day reception in Islamabad.
Dancers entertain guests at Sri Lanka’s Independence Day reception in Islamabad.

Noordeen Shaheid, the new Sri Lankan High Commissioner and his wife hosted a large 71st Independence Day reception in Islamabad Serena Hotel. The chief guest was on the occasion was federal minister for food security and research, Mehboob Sultan.

The high commissioner and chief guest underlined in their speeches the cordial relations between the two countries, also stressing the potential for further cooperation in trade, tourism, education and other fields.

A group of dancers put on a show at the event.

“I cannot remember that we have had such a large number of dancers performing so well before”, said a retired Pakistani couple.

“It looks easy and light, but it is indeed much more strenuous than it looks, both for men and the women dancers”, said a European guest who had been a ballet dancer when she was young.

When the speeches and dance performances were over, a generous dinner was served. “There were so many dishes from Sri Lanka. I could only taste some of the varieties”, said a foreign diplomat. “It reminded me of the pleasant years I had in Colombo”, she said.

Published in Dawn, February 11th, 2019

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