This is our Easter week-end and I want to tell you how absolutely thrilled we are to share this Spring celebration with each and everyone of you.
In particular, I would like to acknowledge our gratitude to those ambassadors who have taken the time to be with us this afternoon, honoured emissaries who represent such important countries as Russia, Turkey, Pakistan, Egypt, Albania & Romania, inspire the utmost respect in us, for their work can never be ignored – they are the instruments of change, they are visionaries who lay the foundations for tomorrow’s global political reality. And while some may view them as ephemeral voices of their respective homeland, we appreciate their essential qualities as top diplomats and their outstanding contributions as individuals in their own right.
Much gratitude to all our principled friends who are gathered here today. Many of you have known my children since they were born and words cannot express the affection we feel for each one of you as you stand by us through thick and thin without counting the years.
April 4, 2015
Circa 45 guests
at my house
“Hi each and all,
For millions of people around the globe, this time of year holds great meaning. Even though Easter and Passover have their roots in miracles that took place long ago, they still inspire us, guide us, and strengthen us today. They remind us of our responsibilities to one another. The common thread of humanity that connects us all – not just Christians and Jews, but Muslims and Hindus and Sikhs – is our shared commitment to love our neighbours as we love ourselves. Whatever one’s faith, believer or nonbeliever, that’s our universal mission.
It is my distinct pleasure to welcome each and everyone here present. My children and I feel immensely privileged that you have taken the time off you busy schedules to share this joyful day with us. Their Excellencies the Ambassador of Turkey & his wife, the Ambassador of Romania and her husband, the Ambassador of Albania and her spouse, as also the Chargé d’Affaires of Pakistan and his wife, are all gracing us with their presence and we thank them most sincerely for their courtesy.
Both my children, Daniel and Liana, join me in offering our warmest expression of gratitude to our forever friends who quite faithfully celebrate with us shared traditions on such occasions as the advent of, for example, Pesach/Easter or Ottawa’s Spring Festival. This common thread is binding and weaves a story of hope between our families – a perpetual belief in yet better days to come, just around the bend.
Once again, a Big Thank You for honouring us with your presence! And I do trust you will find delight in Chef Roger’s divine concoctions!”
- December 28, 2013
Christmas/New Year reception
Circa 40 guests at my house
- It is my great pleasure, my great privilege, to welcome each of you here so we may together celebrate such festive moments as Christmas and the upcoming New Year. What better time than this to express our strong bonds with family & friends, to count our blessings for the past year, to have a charitable thought for those less fortunate?
Celebrating the values of peace, love and respect constitutes one of my family’s most important traditions. As an aside, even though friends and relatives have on such occasions been treated to expected dishes like turkey and pumpkin pie, I do hope today’s Mideastern fare will nevertheless delight you.
- At this time, what with Nelson Mandela’s passing, the Christian “love one another” principle takes on a new, as it were expanded dimension. For Mandela himself, in his famous book entitled Long Walk to Freedom, wrote (and I quote): “No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” –Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom
- Moreover, with 967,000 Canadian children still living in poverty, Nelson Mandela’s words should not leave us indifferent:
“Overcoming poverty is not a task of charity, it is an act of justice. Like Slavery and Apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings.”
- Thirdly, according to Mandela, “It is said that no one truly knows a nation until one has been inside its jails. A nation should not be judged by how it treats its highest citizens, but its lowest ones.”
- For applying the universal principle of loving his neighbours enough to choose imprisonment over a 27-year period rather than give up the fight to free his people from perpetual oppression, we should remember Mandela’s strength of character and altruism.
Ladies & Gentlemen, please raise your glasses and drink to Nelson Mandela’s memory!
“To Nelson Mandela!”