Why is US President Barack Obama cold-shouldering European leaders? While we search for the answers, French President Nicolas Sarkozy thought of the next best thing…if the US president could not be persuaded to socialise with him, why not play host to Obama’s family?
Sarkozy enjoyed a consolation prize yesterday: lunch with the President’s wife Michelle and their children, reports The Times.
“Mr Obama was already flying home to Washington after doing the Paris sights with his family when Mrs Obama, Sasha, Malia and other members of the group were greeted at the Élysée Palace by the French President and Carla Bruni, his wife.
“The two premières dames were the stars of the informal lunch that included Mr Sarkozy’s three sons by two marriages and Ms Bruni’s eight-year-old son.
“Mr Sarkozy led a chorus of Happy Birthday to Sasha Obama, who turned 8 yesterday, and they toasted the occasion of Mother’s Day in France. Mrs Obama’s mother, her godmother and a cousin of the two girls joined them.” More here…
Meanwhile here is an earlier report from The Times Paris correspondent Charles Bremner: “After Barack Obama’s two days in France and Germany, Europe is getting a clearer idea of the way the new US president operates. Lesson number one: he keeps his distance.
“In Germany on Friday Chancellor Angela Merkel was put out by Obama’s decision to steer clear of Berlin during his flying visit to the Buchenwald concentration camp. In France, Obama’s way of imposing his own schedule has been more striking — to the embarrassment of President Sarkozy.” More here…
The Times also provides a saucy copy of Michelle Obama’s visit to London…”Until yesterday Malia and Sasha Obama may have been under the impression that politics is largely about cascades of balloons and jubilant crowds cheering on their nation’s leader. Then their mother brought them to Westminster.
“Michelle Obama gave her children a swift tour of British democratic institutions yesterday as they were shuttled across London in an unofficial visit to Downing Street and the Houses of Parliament.
“The First Lady and her daughters flew to Stansted airport in Essex from France, where they had accompanied President Obama on an official visit, in a Boeing 757 US Air Force jet. They were escorted to London in customised Chryslers driven by US Secret Service agents.
“If Mrs Obama had hoped to inject some harsh realism into her children’s lives and show them the unhappy side of political life, she could not have chosen a better time. The world of Westminster as Gordon Brown fights to preserve his leadership and MPs seek to atone for the expenses scandal is a long way from the sunny uplands of today’s US political scene.” More here…
Photo above: President Obama and daughter Malia enjoy the sights of Paris.
Swaraaj Chauhan describes his two-decade-long stint as a full-time journalist as eventful, purposeful, and full of joy and excitement. In 1993 he could foresee a different work culture appearing on the horizon, and decided to devote full time to teaching journalism (also, partly, with a desire to give back to the community from where he had enriched himself so much.)
Alongside, he worked for about a year in 1993 for the US State Department’s SPAN magazine, a nearly five-decade-old art and culture monthly magazine promoting US-India relations. It gave him an excellent opportunity to learn about things American, plus the pleasure of playing tennis in the lavish American embassy compound in the heart of New Delhi.
In !995 he joined WWF-India as a full-time media and environment education consultant and worked there for five years travelling a great deal, including to Husum in Germany as a part of the international team to formulate WWF’s Eco-tourism policy.
He taught journalism to honors students in a college affiliated to the University of Delhi, as also at the prestigious Indian Institute of Mass Communication where he lectured on “Development Journalism” to mid-career journalists/Information officers from the SAARC, African, East European and Latin American countries, for eight years.
In 2004 the BBC World Service Trust (BBC WST) selected him as a Trainer/Mentor for India under a European Union project. In 2008/09 He completed another European Union-funded project for the BBC WST related to Disaster Management and media coverage in two eastern States in India — West Bengal and Orissa.
Last year, he spent a couple of months in Australia and enjoyed trekking, and also taught for a while at the University of South Australia.
Recently, he was appointed as a Member of the Board of Studies at Chitkara University in Chandigarh, a beautiful city in North India designed by the famous Swiss/French architect Le Corbusier. He also teaches undergraduate and postgraduate students there.
He loves trekking, especially in the hills, and never misses an opportunity to play a game of tennis. The Western and Indian classical music are always within his reach for instant relaxation.
And last, but not least, is his firm belief in the power of the positive thought to heal oneself and others.