While foreign diplomats in the nation's capital often yearn to connect with people and places outside of Washington's tight circles, few actually venture beyond the Beltway.
U.S. Chief of Protocol Nancy G. Brinker is changing that. The former U.S. ambassador to Hungary and founder of the breast cancer research foundation Susan G. Komen for the Cure, has organized a series of Experience America tours designed to connect diplomats and their spouses with the private sector, nonprofit organizations, academics, and state and local government officials around the country and to expose them to the nation's businesses, technology, health care and environmental practices.
As part of the program's first West Coast Experience trip, a group of diplomats representing nearly 60 countries on five continents will tour UCLA's new state-of-the-art Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center on Monday, June 23.
The UCLA International Institute, which is hosting the visit, will showcase the new medical center and demonstrate how it will deliver on its three-fold mission of patient care, research and teaching. The tour will include a visit to the emergency department, a demonstration of the high-fidelity patient simulation program known as "Robo Doc" and a stop on the neurological floor, where neuroscience research and MRI and CT imaging occurs. The new medical center is slated to open officially on June 29.
"We are delighted to host this cultural exchange between UCLA and representatives from around the world and be able to showcase our new world-class medical center," said Nick Entrikin, acting vice provost of the International Institute.
"Year after year, UCLA Medical Center is recognized as one of the world's top hospitals," said Dr. David Feinberg, associate vice chancellor and chief executive officer of the UCLA Hospital System. "Our new facility will allow us to continue our mission to offer the very best patient care, research and teaching in a new facility, with the latest cutting-edge technology."
Since opening its doors in 1955, UCLA Medical Center has consistently been recognized as a health care innovator and is known worldwide for its pioneering technological contributions, including advancements in organ transplantation, cancer research, heart treatments, pediatrics and neuroscience.
The International Institute serves as the focal point for international research and teaching at UCLA. Through its multidisciplinary centers and programs dedicated to the study of world regions and global issues, the institute fosters learning about and active participation in the contemporary world.
Diplomats on the trip represent the following countries: Angola; Antigua and Barbuda; Bahamas; Bangladesh; Barbados; Bosnia and Herzegovina; Brunei; Cambodia; Chad; Democratic Republic of the Congo; Republic of Congo; Costa Rica; Croatia; Dominican Republic; Estonia; Ethiopia; Gabon; Ghana; Guyana; Iceland; Iraq; Ireland; Kenya; Laos; Latvia; Liberia; Libya; Luxembourg; Macedonia; Republic of Maldives; Mali; Mauritania; Mauritius; Monaco; Mongolia; Montenegro; Mozambique; Niger; Nigeria; Panama; Papua New Guinea; Paraguay; Senegal; Sierra Leone; South Africa; St. Vincent and the Grenadines; Suriname; Swaziland; Tanzania; Togo; Tonga; Trinidad and Tobago; Turkmenistan; Uganda; and Yemen.
The group will be in Los Angeles on June 23 and 24 and will then travel to the Silicon Valley and San Francisco.
The UCLA tour is open to the media. Journalists interested in attending should contact Elizabeth Kivowitz of the UCLA Office of Media Relations at 310-206-1458.
For additional information, please contact Katy Ballenger Mitarai, Office of the Chief of Protocol, at 202-647-2299 (work) or 202-341-6527 (cell).