Erin Juarez, April 14, 2022
The LEAP Ambassadors took an evening trip to the Woodlands to attend yet another fantastic WAC event on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine at the Glades Art Gallery. Walking in, the gallery was stunning to witness as the WAC staff welcomed us. It was a wonderful combination: looking at paintings from local artists while preparing to become more educated on a global issue was a terrific opportunity.
The art on display ranged from portraits and landscapes to statues. A favorite of ours was the Cherry Blossom tree that spread across six canvases by Victor Tapu. Throughout the exhibit, we connected the artwork in the Glade to similar works by renowned Masters; for example, we compared the miniature statue of a ballerina to Edgar Degas.
Moving from the art to learning about the current crisis in another part of the world, we heard from Richard Fontaine, the CEO of the Center for a New American Security, one of the world’s leading defense and geopolitical think tanks. Mr. Fontaine was also a top foreign policy adviser to Senator John McCain.
Dr. Fontaine discussed the horrific battle in Ukraine and how it could signal the start of a new post-Cold War era. Putin’s motive to overtake Ukraine was to prevent their affiliation with NATO, among many other things. The war has affected numerous countries. Poland, for example, was one Ukraine’s most significant trading partners, a relationship that will much limited until the end of the war and perhaps beyond. The war has also increased inflation in the US, while also affecting the oil supply and even food staples such as corn. China, too, is watching the war closely, seeing how it will shift the balance of power in the world and change their massive trade relationships.
One interesting fact we learned is that Ukraine has shattered the Russian government-built encrypted phone lines, compelling the Russian military to use unencrypted lines of communication. Who knew?
Hearing an update on the Ukraine-Russia war from Dr. Fontaine was eye-opening. Seeing how these impacts bordering countries of Ukraine and our homeland is heartbreaking, but this will bring us together and prepare us for future moves that may involve a more significant threat.
As always, the WAC event was enlightening and enjoyable, and we look forward to our next event!
Lama Mediterranean Restaurant
After filling our heads with new knowledge about the war in Ukraine, we stopped at Lama to expand on our understanding from outsides our country’s borders at a Mediterranean restaurant located in the Woodlands!
Our appetizers were classic Mediterranean dishes, homemade falafel, and hummus with warm pita bread. Overall, all the food was terrific, but the hummus appetizer we got was the biggest hit among the ambassadors. The entrees ranged from chicken shawarma and gyro sandwiches with sides of rice and french fries. At the end of the meal, our plates were empty from devouring each of our entrees. We had some hot tea and baklava to end our meal, which was a sweet touch to our full stomachs.