Ed Royce on French; Matsui, Tsongas Go Irish: D.C. Scene

Ed Royce, the California Republican and chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said he’s “a French Enlightenment enthusiast.”

Fittingly, he found himself chatting with Monaco Ambassador Gilles Noghes under a portrait of the Marquis de Lafayette last night at the Alliance Francaise Educational Initiatives Benefit.

Royce’s wife, Marie Therese, is on the Alliance’s board and is senior director of international public affairs at Alcatel-Lucent.

The venue was the temporary residence of French Ambassador Francois Delattre, whose Kalorama home is undergoing extensive renovations.

Delattre’s wife, Sophie, saw to it that Lafayette’s portrait and a bust of Benjamin Franklin made their way to the new house.

“All the boys are here,” said the French Embassy’s social secretary, Francesca Craig.

Among the 65 francophones last night were David Short, senior counsel for legal, trade and international affairs for FedEx Corp. and Nancy Ziuzin Schlegel, a vice president at Lockheed Martin Corp.

Sydney McNiff Johnson, a principal with Dentons, wore Christian Dior, represented last night by Trina Sams-Manning, boutique manager of the only Dior store in the area. The reception raised $85,000 for the Alliance’s educational initiatives.

Bard Inc.

Edward Leahy, co-founder of AEG Capital LLC, cited “Othello” at the Folger Shakespeare Library’s annual gala.

He said institutions could learn a thing or two from Shakespeare’s ambitious innovation.

“I’m a little pushy,” said Leahy, last night’s event co-chairman, with his wife, and sponsor of next weekend’s Georgetown Pediatrics Gala. “Actually, I’m a lot pushy. Stasis equals decline.”

Congresswoman Doris Matsui, the California Democrat, declared her preference for “The Merchant of Venice,” because the Bard created in Portia such a strong female character.

Matsui brought along her congressional colleague Niki Tsongas, the Massachusetts Democrat, who said, “I remember the Cliffs Notes,” referring to student-friendly summaries of literary works.

The gala had an Irish theme in honor of the library’s current exhibition “Nobility and Newcomers in Renaissance Ireland.” Irish Ambassador Michael Collins attended the program and dinner, which featured Irish soda bread and Bailey’s Irish Cream with beef tenderloin and smoked salmon.

(Stephanie Green is a writer and photographer for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. Any opinions expressed are her own.)

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