Embassy of Belgium in Washington, DC

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News and Events

Dutch classes at the Embassy
European Month of Culture in DC – May, 2014
EU Embassies Open House – May 10, 2014
Death of Wilfried Martens
Learn Dutch at the Belgian Embassy
EU Launches Grant Competition on Transatlantic Research and Debates
InBev-Baillet Latour Fund Invites Nominations for 2014 Health Prize
Combating Bribery in International Business Transactions
Upcoming Cultural Events
US Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA): Belgian financial institutions review their policy
Belgian Embassy Open House
Francophonie DC Cultural Festival
Belgian Designers at Artisphere
Guy Verhofstadt and Karel De Gucht to Speak at European Conference at Harvard
National Gallery Presents Program on the Dardenne Brothers
Washington Premiere of The Fifth Season at the National Gallery
Important modification to the Belgian Nationality Code
“The Cradle of Art Nouveau: Victor Horta and Brussels”
Belgium to Support OAS Demining Activities in Ecuador and Peru
Dutch language courses at the Embassy start on Monday, Sep 24
Read our new brochure 'Belgium at a glance'
Nato Marks Belgium’s National Day
As American as … Belgian Apple Frangipane Tart
Bach at the Belgian Residence
Isabelle De Borchgrave at Hillwood
Visit the Belgian Embassy on EU Open House Day, May 12.
April 7 Remembrance Day.
Bus Accident in Switzerland.
Recall of the Belgian ambassador to Syria for consultation.
Belgian scientist wins prestigious Crafoord Prize
EU imposes fresh round of sanctions on Iran
Minister Reynders encourages the Syrian opposition to create a united platform
Advanced level Dutch classes start on Monday, January 23, 2012
Embassy is grateful for support after
shooting incident in Liège, Belgium

BelCham Entrepreneurship Awards
Coming 2 Belgium? An easy introduction to the Belgian social security system
Minister Vanackere on the release of Gilad Shalit
Dutch Classes 2011
President Carter Honored by Belgium
The PBS History Detectives Follow Clues to Belgian Embassy in DC
Belgium and the United States Sign Agreement to Prevent and Combat Serious Crime
The Belgian American Educational Foundation (BAEF) Fellowships
Opening of the exhibition of the Pastrana Tapestries
at the National Gallery of Art

Belgium strengthens its ties with the USA
The Challenges of a Common European Foreign policy
Olivier Chastel congratulates Dr. Denis Mukwege, winner of the King Baudouin Prize


Dutch classes at the Embassy

Dutch language courses, taught by native speakers, will again be offered at the Belgian Embassy during the 2014-2015 academic year. Beginning in September, classes will take place on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings. For detailed information about levels, program content, schedule and fees, please contact Pat Boydens or Stefaan Lust.

July 23, 2014


European Month of Culture in DC – May, 2014

All information is on the EU Delegation’s website.
Includes a concert by Belgian saxophonist Robin Verheyen and American pianist Marc Copland on Sunday May 25th at 4:00 pm at the NGA.

May 1, 2014


EU Embassies Open House – May 10, 2014

Live a great Belgian experience while staying in DC!

On May 10 the European Union Embassies and the EU Delegation to the United States will open their doors to the public for the annual EU Embassies’ Open House: a day of family fun, food, culture and more. The event offers visitors a rare look inside the embassies and provides a unique opportunity for them to experience the cultural heritage and national traditions of the 28 member countries. For more information click here.

May 1, 2014


Wilfried Martens, former Belgian Prime Minister
and spokesman for European unification, has died..

Belgium has lost one its most renowned statesmen. Wilfried Martens, who served as our country’s Prime Minister between 1979 and 1992 (with the exception of an eight-month period in 1981), died during the night of October 9, at age 77. A leading figure in Belgium’s Christian Democratic Party for decades and a passionate federalist, he is credited with furthering the reform of Belgium into a federal state.

His experience leading the Belgian government put him in good stead for the next part of his career on the European stage, where he promoted European integration. He was a founder of the European People’s Party (EPP) and was its president from 1990 until his death. Joseph Daul, Acting President of the EPP, said of Martens “he worked with an unstoppable energy to promote Christian democratic values in Europe ...enjoyed the respect of the countless heads of state and government and party leaders whom he worked with over the years [and] was the architect of consensus building in the EPP.”

A state funeral is planned for Saturday, October 19 at Saint Bavo Cathedral in Ghent.

October 10, 2013


Learn Dutch at the Belgian Embassy

Dutch language courses, taught by native speakers, will again be offered at the Belgian Embassy during the 2013-2014 academic year.

Beginning in September, classes will take place on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings. For detailed information about levels, program content, schedule and fees, please contact Pat Boydens patboydens@hotmail.com or Stefaan Lust stefaan.lust@gmail.com.

August 22, 2013

EU Launches Grant Competition on Transatlantic Research and Debates

The Delegation of the European Union to the United States has published a call for grant proposals to support activities that advance transatlantic cooperation through policy research and debate on issues relevant to EU-U.S. relations. 

The Delegation invites think tanks, public policy research centers, chambers of commerce, civil society and stakeholder organizations, media institutions and other non-profit and non-governmental organizations based in the United States to submit proposals. Grant activities can focus on a number of different topics, in particular, strengthening economic policy dialogue to enhance jobs and growth, financial stability and the deepening of the transatlantic economy via the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership negotiations, strengthening the political dialogue on foreign policy, pursuing common approaches to issues of common concern (energy security, sustainable energy transition, climate change and its security aspects, sustainable transportation, green economy, global health and education). 

The European Union is allocating 2.4 million euros to this program and expects to award around 15 grants. The deadline for application is September 12. Activities under the grant have to take place between January 2014 and December 2015. For more information, please see: http://www.euintheus.org/what-you-can-do/apply-for-a-grant/transatlantic-research-and-debate/.

July 3, 2013

InBev-Baillet Latour Fund Invites Nominations for 2014 Health Prize

Established in 1979 and given annually since 2000, the InBev-Baillet Latour Health Prize is the most important scientific prize awarded in Belgium. The award of 250,000 € is intended to recognize outstanding scientific achievements in biomedical research by an individual and is open to scientists of all nationalities who have not received an equivalent prize for their personal use. Exceptionally, the Prize may be shared between two persons who have collaborated over a long period. The laureate will be selected by an international jury in February 2014. The theme for 2014 is Cardiovascular Diseases. The themes for the following years will be: Metabolic Disorders, Infectious Diseases, Neurological Diseases, Cancer. For more information, please go to www.inbevbailletlatour.com(click on “Medical research”).

Regulations and nomination forms can be obtained by e-mail from prix@frs-fnrs.be. The deadline for nominations is September 30, 2013

June 10, 2013

Combating Bribery in International Business Transactions

In fulfilling its responsibilities as a signatory of the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Officials in International Business Transactions (1999), the Belgian Government periodically reminds Belgian companies of its policies to prevent, detect, investigate and penalize the practice of bribery.

The OECD Anti-Bribery Convention, signed by 39 countries including the United States and Belgium, established legally binding standards to criminalize the bribery of foreign public officials in international business transactions. Belgium adopted the Convention as national law: bribery of foreign public officials is a criminal offense. Beyond the legal aspects, bribery raises serious moral and ethical concerns, and its political, social, economic and, in some cases, environmental repercussions are often considerable.

Belgian policy mandates awareness raising, which starts with information sharing about the definition of bribery, which under the Convention is defined as the voluntary giving (promising or offering) of something of value to a foreign public official in order to obtain or retain business or other improper advantage in the conduct of international business.

In keeping with this policy directive, the Embassy is hereby making available the text of the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention, the "Good Practice Guidance" and of the implementing Belgian legislation.

May 6, 2013

Upcoming Cultural Events

The film My Worst Nightmare (Mon Pire Cauchemar), directed by Anne Fontaine and starring Isabelle Huppert and Benoit Poelvoorde, will be screened at the Avalon Theatre in Washington, DC on Tuesday, April 23 at 8 p.m. (website)

A lecture-recital by Pamela Meys Kane, Sounds of the Silent Cinema Organ Recalled in the Life and Works of Firmin Swinnen, will be held at the Catholic University of America on May 2 at 12:30 p.m. (website)

Leaving Paradise, an installation by Koen Vanmechelen, will be on view at ConnerSmith Gallery in Washington, DC, from May 4 to June 29. The opening reception will be on May 4 from 6 - 8 p.m. (website)

Paul Oorts and Karen Ashbrook will represent Belgium in the EU Month of Culture Music Series, performing traditional music from Western Europe, on the hammered dulcimer, wooden flute, and string instruments, on the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage, May 6 at 6 p.m. (website)

April 19, 2013

US Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA):
Belgian financial institutions review their policy

The implementation of the US Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) has caused Belgian financial institutions to review their policies towards their US-based clients.

The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), adopted in 2010 in the United States, was designed primarily to combat offshore tax evasion and increase federal tax revenues. It requires financial institutions to identify US taxpayers who have invested in either non-US financial accounts or non-US entities. The intent behind FATCA is to keep US taxpayers from hiding income and assets overseas.

FATCA enters into force on January 1, 2014, but foreign financial institutions, including Belgian institutions, are preparing to comply with the new reporting regulations.

The consequences of the review may differ from financial institution to financial institution, depending on the status of each financial institution with regard to the US authorities, the specific US rules applicable to them, and the particular financial products held by individual customers.

US-based clients may be asked to sign specific documents enabling the institution to comply with the regulations. In some cases, different rules of conduct may enter into force and a limitation of access to some services or products is possible for US-based clients on United States territory. The Embassy therefore advises US-based clients to contact their financial institution in Belgium as soon as possible to learn about the consequences of the new policies for them.

For general information on FATCA, please visit the Website

April 19, 2013

Belgian Embassy Open House

Please visit us on Saturday, May 11 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. when we will participate in “Shortcut to Europe,” the seventh annual European Union Open House. Explore the architecture of five stunning residences in the Belgian capital through the exhibition “The Cradle of Art Nouveau: Victor Horta and Brussels.” Meet a representative of Brussels Airlines who will tell you about the new direct flights between Washington/Dulles and Brussels Airport. Pick up some tourist brochures. Learn how diamonds are polished and discover what Belgians are researching in Antarctica. See models of the Solar Impulse airplane and a collection of comic book covers. Ask members of our military section about U.S. – Belgian defense cooperation. Watch the video “Belgium…at first sight.” Sample Belgian waffles, chocolate, beer and other specialties. Have your photo taken with a Smurf.

The Embassy would like to thank VisitBrussels, Brussels Airlines, Belgian Tourist Office, Visit Flanders, Antwerp World Diamond Centre, Belgian Polar Secretariat, Dupuis Publishers, the Solvay Solar Impulse Project, Sony Pictures, Orval Brewery, Brasserie DuBocq, Le Pain Quotidien, Lotus, Anheuser-Busch/InBev, Duvel Moortgat Brewery, Lindemans Brewery, Delhaize America, Tiense Suikerraffinaderij, Guylian, Jules Destrooper, Trappist Brewery of Westmalle, and all of our other generous sponsors.

For information on "Shortcut to Europe" and on the free shuttle bus service that will link the embassies, click here.

April 16, 2013

Francophonie DC Cultural Festival

For the 13th consecutive year, the countries and cultures of the French-speaking world will be celebrated with a month-long festival in Washington, DC. Among the various offerings in music, film, theatre, cuisine and children's programs are several events from Belgium: screenings of two films by the Dardenne brothers, a reading for children by Catherine Pineur and a performance by actor Pierre Megos . Thirty-five embassies will showcase their cultures and cuisines at the popular and always sold-out Grande-Fête, which takes place at the Maison Française at the Embassy of France on March 22 from 7 p.m. to midnight, and will this year include a concert by Swiss Pop star Bastian Baker. For the complete schedule, please visit Francophonie DC Website.

March 4, 2013

Belgian Designers at Artisphere

The Next Wave: Industrial Design Innovation in the 21st Century, an exhibition focusing on contemporary design in Europe and the United States is now on view at Artisphere, in Arlington, Virginia. Curated by Apartment Zero co-owner Douglas Burton, the show includes over 100 objects covering the areas of lighting, tabletop, furniture, textile, product, electronics, housewares, tools and interactive design. Participating Belgians include Sas Adriaenssens and Alain Gilles (whose Buzzihood is pictured here). The exhibition, which runs through May 19, will be complemented by a series of free public programs.
Artisphere Website

March 4, 2013

Guy Verhofstadt and Karel De Gucht to Speak at European Conference at Harvard, March 2-3

The European Clubs at Harvard Kennedy School and Harvard Business School will present the European Conference at Harvard -- Europe 2.0 Taking the Next Step, which aims to spark interest in key European topics and to provide a forum to discuss Europe with the business, economic and political leaders of today and tomorrow. Two prominent speakers from Belgium will be featured: Guy Verhofstadt, leader of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats in the European Parliament, and Karel De Gucht, European Commissioner for Trade. The Conference will host panels on European energy, investing, entrepreneurship, luxury and fashion, greentech, diplomacy, economics and much more. http://europeanconference.org

February 21, 2013

National Gallery Presents Program on the Dardenne Brothers
March 2 (2:00)

Belgian film directors Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne are the subject of a new book by Professor Philip Mosley of Pennsylvania State University. Mosley will be in Washington, D.C. on March 2 to present and sign his book, The Cinema of the Dardenne Brothers: Responsible Realism, at the National Gallery of Art. The afternoon program will include the screenings of two award-winning Dardenne films; Rosetta (1999) and the The Son (2002).
For a detailed description of the films and of the National Gallery event, click here.
The Cinema of the Dardenne Brothers: Responsible Realism is also available at Amazon

Professor Philip Mosley
Author of The Cinema of the Dardenne Brothers: Responsible Realism

February 21, 2013

Washington Premiere of The Fifth Season at the National Gallery
March 24 (4:30)

In Belgium’s secluded Ardennes, where people live close to the land, a mystifying force is changing the natural order—seasons are erratic, seeds don’t sprout, and birds and bees ignore their labor. Without the cyclical rhythms, the local villagers are on the verge of lunacy and revert to their only hope of recovery—a sacrifice of one of their own.
Weaving a surreal tapestry, The Fifth Season (La Cinquième saison) recalls the canvases of Magritte, Delvaux, and Ensor. (Peter Brosens and Jessica Woodworth, 2012.

HDCam, French and Dutch with subtitles, 94 minutes)Presented by the National Gallery of Art in association with the Environmental Film Festival. http://www.nga.gov/programs/film/index.shtm#fifthseason

February 21, 2013

Important modification to the Belgian Nationality Code

New requirement: official address in Belgium

As of January 1, 2013, foreign nationals wishing to voluntarily acquire or regain Belgian nationality must meet the condition of legal residence in Belgium. This applies to persons wishing to become a Belgian national by naturalization, by marriage, or if you once were a Belgian national and you wish to recover your nationality.

Therefore, Belgian diplomatic posts abroad – including the Embassy of Belgium in Washington DC and all Consulates General in the U.S. -- can no longer process applications to acquire or recover Belgian nationality.

Not affected by this modification: Belgians who wish to assign Belgian citizenship to a child under 5 years of age (attribution), and dual citizens born abroad filing an act of conservation before 28 years of age (conservation). These applications can still be done at the Embassy or Consulates General.

January 14, 2013


Victor Horta, a master of Art Nouveau architecture, and his five most outstanding building designs, all listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites, will be the centerpiece of an exhibit which will open on October 19 at the District Architecture Center in Washington, DC.

The Cradle of Art Nouveau: Victor Brussels is a panel exhibition that will explore the grandeur and beauty of many of Horta's residential works, including the Hôtel Tassel, Hôtel Solvay, Hôtel van Eetvelde, and his own home, now the Horta Museum.

The exhibit will be complemented by a film on Art Nouveau. The exhibition was organized by the Monuments and Sites Department of the Brussels-Capital Region in cooperation with the Washington Chapter of the American Institute of Architects, and VISITBRUSSELS, the Belgian capital's tourism agency. All involved hope that the show will bring attention to Brussels' extraordinary Art Nouveau heritage.

For more information, please visit the AIA/DC Website

October 19, 2012

Belgium to Support OAS Demining Activities in Ecuador and Peru

October 3, 2012

The government of Belgium today signed an agreement with the Organization of American States (OAS) through which it will provide financial support for the program “Landmine Victim Assistance in Ecuador and Peru,” carried out by the OAS. The contribution will help to prolong both countries’ control over their demining programs and ultimately achieve their goals of completion by 2017 in accordance with their commitments under the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention.

During the signing of the agreement, which took place at the Embassy of Belgium in Washington, DC, the Secretary General of the OAS, José Miguel Insulza, highlighted that the landmine program "is one of the most important and recognized" of the organization and mentioned the progress that has been made in the area, mainly in Central America. "Recently we celebrated in Nicaragua the success we've had with the countries of Central America, which was declared a couple of years ago a landmine-free zone," he said.

The Secretary General acknowledged the support received from Member Countries and Permanent Observers to the organization and recalled that, despite the achievements, "many challenges remain, especially in the countries of the Southern Cone, on Chile's border with Bolivia and Peru.” The Permanent Observer of Belgium to the OAS, Ambassador Jan Matthysen, recalled at the ceremony, the diplomatic and programmatic efforts that his country has made from several years ago in support of the eradication of antipersonnel mines in several countries, and recalled the social and economic implications of this scourge. "Belgium has focused its efforts in promoting the Ottawa Convention and to address this problem at a worldwide level." "Assisting the victims and rehabilitating the wounded children, adolescents and young adults is part of this purpose," he said. The Belgian diplomat stressed that the agreement "is not only an occasion to highlight the issue of landmines, but also to emphasize the importance of further strengthening ties between Belgium and Latin America and with the OAS," concluded the representative of the European country, that has, since becoming a Permanent Observer in 1972, devoted much of its cooperation with the OAS to support the Program for Comprehensive Action against Antipersonnel Mines (AICMA).

In the last two decades the OAS has played a key role in the efforts to eliminate anti-personnel mines in the Western Hemisphere. The program initially focused on Central America and soon spread to other countries of the hemisphere where such munitions are still a threat. Its contribution was decisive to the declaration in 2010 of Central America as a mine-free zone, a milestone that represents a significant achievement in promoting the goals of peace and security in the Americas.

The distinctive aspect of the AICMA is its eminently humanitarian nature, as it seeks to reestablish safe and secure living conditions for people, reduce the risk and dangers of unexploded ordnance (UXO) and antipersonnel mines, and return previously mined land to productive use. It is a multilateral program in which, in addition to beneficiary countries, a number of donor and contributing countries, international organizations, and non-governmental entities participate.

A gallery of photos of the event is available here

For more information, please visit the OAS Website at www.oas.org.

Reference: E-349/12

October 3, 2012

Dutch courses at the Embassy start on Monday Sep 24

The Belgian Embassy opens its doors for a new academic year of "Dutch language courses" which will resume on September 24, 2012. From this year on, two teachers will be independently offering the courses at the Embassy.

Classes will take place on Mondays and Wednesdays. Three course levels will be offered. For more detailed information about the programs provided, please feel free to contact:

Pat Boydens: patboydens@hotmail.com

Stefaan Lust: stefaan.lust@gmail.com

September 20, 2012

Read our new brochure 'Belgium at a glance'

België op het eerste gezicht
Coup d'oeil sur la Belgique
Belgium at a glance

August 9, 2012

Nato Marks Belgium’s National Day

The Allied Command Transformation, NATO’s only strategic command located in North America, held a flag raising ceremony in Norfolk, Virginia, in July to mark Belgium’s National Day. Belgian Ambassador Jan Matthysen travelled to Norfolk for the occasion with Belgium’s Defense Attaché, Brigadier General Mike Delobel.

ACT Commander General Stéphane Abrial welcomed participants and guests and spoke of Belgium’s unique place as the Alliance’s headquarters. He went on to say, “But Belgium is much more than just the country that, more than any other, the Alliance calls home. She is above all a valued member nation, one that can be counted upon in every major NATO operation. From her 500 men in ISAF to her air and sea engagement in Operation Unified Protector, from Kosovo to Operation Ocean Shield, the Belgian Armed Forces have proudly represented their nation wherever the Alliance’s security and values were at stake.”

In his remarks, Ambassador Matthysen noted the positive effect that Belgium’s renewed political stability has had on the Belgian economy and on the country’s ability to play an even more meaningful role in European affairs and in international alliances. The Ambassador highlighted several aspects of the longtime friendship between Belgium and the United States, and stressed the “productive operational relationship” that exists between Brussels and Washington. He noted that, “Belgium has successfully risen to the challenge of its size and used its central location in Western Europe to become a champion of international trade and an important player in the forging and sustaining of international alliances.”

August 9, 2012

As American as … Belgian Apple Frangipane Tart

There was a new feature at this year’s July 4th State Department reception that brings together foreign ambassadors and their families to celebrate America’s Independence Day: the “Melting Pot of America Apple Pie Contest.” Each diplomatic mission was invited to submit its own take on the iconic American dessert. The role of food in diplomacy is well understood by Belgians and Embassy Chef Jan Van Haute enthusiastically took up the challenge. A panel of judges, which included food critic Tom Sietsema of the Washington Post, awarded first prize to the Belgian entry – an apple frangipane tart.

Ambassador Jan Matthysen happily accepted the award at the event which later included a surprise appearance by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and President Bill Clinton. In addition to the Ambassador’s diplomatic colleagues and State Department officials, this year’s guests also included nearly one hundred representatives from nations and organizations on five continents who were in Washington at the invitation of U.S. Chief of Protocol Capricia Marshall for the Global Chiefs of Protocol Conference.

July 5, 2012

Bach at the Belgian Residence

The Belgian Embassy has enjoyed a decades-long friendship with the Washington Bach Consort, a Baroque chorus and orchestra founded thirty-five years ago by J. Reilly Lewis. Over the years, Belgian Ambassadors have attended the Consort’s programs and have also helped its fundraising efforts by hosting benefit receptions. In addition to bringing together Consort supporters and benefactors, the most prominent of whom may be Senator Jay Rockefeller, these receptions bring the glorious music of Bach to the Belgian Residence.

Such was the case on May 14, when about one hundred guests of Ambassador and Mrs. Matthysen enjoyed a buffet of Belgian specialties and were then treated to a private concert of arias and duets by select Consort vocalists and instrumentalists, interspersed with Inventions performed by J. Reilly Lewis on a period harpsichord.

The evening’s grand finale was a four-hand performance of Bach’s Contrapunctus IX from the Art of the Fugue played by Lewis and Scott Dettra, the Consort’s Keyboard Artist, on the Embassy’s Steinway piano. This piece was recorded live several weeks later at the Ambassador’s Residence and is now available on You Tube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pj3FIVll5zA

June 20, 2012

Isabelle De Borchgrave at Hillwood

A selection of exquisite costumes and dresses made of paper by Belgian painter and designer Isabelle de Borchgrave opened at Hillwood Museum on June 16. Prêt-à-Papier: The Exquisite Art of Isabelle de Borchgrave is the first exhibition of the artist’s work to be presented in Washington, DC. It brings together more than 25 of de Borchgrave’s quintessential interpretations of historical costumes and haute couture dresses, with six new works made for this show, including one commissioned solely for Hillwood.

For over 15 years, inspired by the rich history of fashion represented in European paintings, famous costumes in museum collections, and designs of the grand couturiers, de Borchgrave has turned her passion for painting toward the recreation of elaborate costumes – crumpling, pleating, braiding, and painting the surface of simple rag paper to achieve the effect of textiles and create the illusion of haute couture.

By reconstructing dresses from key period in fashion history, including gowns worn by the famous, Prêt-à-Papier presents a range of styles from the late 17th to the early 20th century. (For information on visiting Hillwood, please visit:s http://www.hillwoodmuseum.org/

In honor of the opening of the exhibition, Ambassador and Mrs. Matthysen feted the Brussels-based artist and Hillwood staff and supporters at a luncheon at the Belgian Residence on June 15.

June 20, 2012

Visit the Belgian Embassy on EU Open House Day, May 12.

Come learn about Belgium when the Embassy opens its doors on Saturday, May 12 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. as part of EU Open House Day. In keeping with Belgium’s “2012 Year of Gastronomy” tourist theme, this year we will be highlighting Belgian food and drink specialties.

Barry Callebaut®, the world’s leading manufacturer of high quality cocoa and chocolate, is celebrating its 100th anniversary and, to mark the occasion, throughout the day we will be screening the company’s film “Unveiling the Secrets of Cocoa and Chocolate.” Learn about the process of chocolate- making from cocoa bean to finished product and sample some gourmet baking Callets.

In another room, Le Pain Quotidien, the Belgian bakery with over 140 locations around the world, will be offering samples of its delicious organic breads and spreads.

Belgian waffles will be prepared outside (weather permitting) by chefs from Locolat, an authentic Belgian café on Florida Avenue, and Embassy chef Jan Van Haute.

Featured beers will include Stella, Leffe, Hoegaarden (all supplied by Anheuser-Busch), Orval and Lindemans fruit beers.

The Embassy is also very appreciative for the generous support of Biscuiterie Jules Destrooper and Bloom/Food Lion.

Please stop by our economic information desk and watch the video about Belgium’s economic achievements. Our Police Liaison Officer will also be on hand to speak about law enforcement cooperation between the United States and Belgium. A slide show on the Belgian Residence will be played on a continuous loop in the Ambassador’s office. And, if you’re thinking about a trip to Belgium, pick up some tourist brochures.

For information on what other EU Member States are doing on Open House Day, please visit www.euopenhouse.org

We look forward to seeing you on May 12!

April 26, 2012

April 7 Remembrance Day.

In 1997, the Belgian Government declared an official day of remembrance to honor members of the military who have died since l945 while in service to humanitarian causes or peacekeeping operations. April 7 was chosen as the specific date, because it marks the day in 1994 when ten Belgian paratroopers, UN soldiers in Rwanda who were escorting the Rwandese prime minister, were captured and brought to a camp in Kigali, where they were brutally murdered. Since the end of World War II, more than 200 Belgian military servicemen have lost their lives in the line of duty. They are now remembered with a ceremony that takes places on April 7 at 11 a.m. (Belgian time) at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Brussels; Belgian military and civilian personnel elsewhere in the world also honor their fallen comrades on this day.

April 7, 2012

Bus Accident in Switzerland.

King Albert II, Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo and Minister of Foreign Affairs Didier Reynders expressed their grief on hearing the news of the terrible bus accident that took place in Switzerland last night. The thoughts of the entire nation go out to the 28 victims, their parents and family members. The Belgian government takes every possible step to keep the families informed, to arrange transport to the site of the accident and to offer psychological counseling. Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo and several other ministers will also visit the site of the crash today. The embassy wishes to take this opportunity to thank those who left messages of condolence at the embassy, by phone or online. If you wish to send a message, you can do so on our facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Embassy-of-Belgium-in-Washington-DC/172024242858297

March 14, 2012

Recall of the Belgian ambassador to Syria for consultation.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs Didier Reynders announced that he was immediately recalling the Belgian ambassador to Syria for consultations.

Didier Reynders has also requested that High Representative Catherine Ashton quickly organise the coordination of the 27 EU Member States regarding the security of our diplomatic posts in Syria and concerning the correct measures that could be taken in order to best respond to the development of the situation.

February 8, 2012

Belgian scientist wins prestigious Crafoord Prize.

The Swedish Royal Academy of Sciences has awarded the prestigious Crafoord Prize to Belgian mathematician and professor at Princeton University, Jean Bourgain.

Professor Bourgain will be given the 445,000 Euros prize for his ground-breaking work on number theories and differential comparisons. He shares the prize with the Australian-American scientist Terrence Tao from the University of California at Los Angeles.

“There are so many other colleagues who excel and deserve this prize as much as I do,” commented a surprised Bourgain.

The Crafoord Prize, often referred to as equivalent to the Nobel Prize, is not the first honor to be bestowed upon professor Bourgain. In 1985 he won both the prize of the Belgian National Fund for Scientific Research, and the Langevin Prize of the French Academy of Sciences. Prizes in Switzerland and Ukraine followed. He received honorary doctorates from the universities of Marne-la-Vallée in France and the Free University of Brussels in Belgium. Two years ago, he shared the Hong Kong Shaw Prize in Mathematical Sciences with four colleagues.

The Crafoord Prize will be presented to professor Bourgain by King Carl Gustaf of Sweden at a ceremony in April.

January 24, 2012

EU imposes fresh round of sanctions on Iran

Today the European Union has decided to broaden restrictive measures on Iran. The steps have been agreed upon by the 27 Member States of the EU, at the Foreign Affairs Council. The targets of today’s decision are the sources of finance of Iran’s nuclear program. These new sanctions are designed to complement and reinforce previous action by the EU against the Iranian regime.

The EU’s objective is to develop a durable and positive relationship with Iran. There is great potential for a constructive partnership, from which both sides could draw benefits.

However, since 2005, the serious concerns over the Iranian nuclear program have dominated EU-Iran relations. A number of United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions have been passed in relation to Iran. As a member of the UN, Iran is bound by these resolutions. However, resolutions in 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2010 have not persuaded Iran to alter its current course.

In October 2011, the issue of Iran’s nuclear program descended further, with the publication of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) report. The report raised further concerns over the nature and intent of the Iranian nuclear program. The start of operations of enrichment of uranium to a level of up to 20%, in the deeply buried underground facility in Fordow near Qom, further aggravates concerns about possible military dimensions to Iran’s nuclear programme. Iran’s acceleration of enrichment activities is in flagrant violation of six UNSC Resolutions and eleven IAEA Board resolutions and contributes to increasing tensions in the region. Against this background and the lack of engagement from the Iranian side with the efforts aimed at constructive talks made by Catherine Ashton, on behalf of the E3+3, the EU has decided to extend sanctions. By targeting the sources of finance of the Iranian nuclear programme, the EU aims to starve the programme of money and so encourage Iran back to the negotiating table.

Why sanctions?
EU sanctions are designed to persuade Iran to comply with its international obligations and constrain its development of sensitive technologies in support of its nuclear and missile programmes.

The EU has consistently argued that the best way to solve the impasse is through constructive negotiations. The EU remains committed to achieving a comprehensive and long-term settlement which would build international confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of the Iranian nuclear programme, while respecting Iran’s legitimate rights to the peaceful uses of nuclear energy in conformity with the Non Proliferation Treaty. Catherine Ashton, as the designated negotiator on behalf of the E3+3, has always signalled her readiness to resume talks.

Who do the sanctions target?
It is important to note that EU sanctions are not targeted at the Iranian people, but rather those individuals and entities that are bankrolling Iran’s nuclear programme. Today the EU banned imports of Iranian crude oil and petroleum products. The prohibition concerns import, purchase and transport of such products as well as related finance and insurance. Already concluded contracts can still be executed until 1 July 2012. A review of the measures relating to oil and petroleum products will take place before 1 May 2012. In addition, the EU outlawed imports of petrochemical products from Iran into the EU, as well as the export of key equipment and technology for this sector to Iran. New investment in petrochemical companies in Iran as well as joint ventures with such enterprises are also no more allowed.

The EU also froze the assets of the Iranian central bank within the EU, while ensuring that legitimate trade can continue under strict conditions. Trade in gold, precious metals and diamonds with Iranian public bodies and the Central Bank will no longer be permitted, nor will the delivery of Iranian-denominated banknotes and coinage to the Iranian Central Bank. A number of additional sensitive dual-use goods may not be sold to Iran. Finally, the EU subjected three more persons to an asset freeze and a visa ban. It also froze the assets of eight further entities.

For more information, please visit:

January 24, 2012

Minister Reynders encourages the Syrian opposition
to create a united platform

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs Didier Reynders had separate meetings with two important Syrian opposition groups. He spoke with Mr Burhan Ghalioun, leader of the Syrian National Council (SNC), and with Mr Haytham Manna, representative of the National Coordination Committee (NCC). Minister Reynders is one of the first to be able to speak with these two groups since their recent attempt at unification.

He advocates peaceful action and an opposition that represents as many of Syria’s communities as possible. The Minister also emphasised the importance of reaching a united opposition platform in order to offer a decisive alternative after the departure of President Assad. A split opposition, after all, only plays into the hands of the current Syrian regime. According to Didier Reynders, it would be good to have a joint opposition structure. But it is even more important to be in agreement on a number of principles before the transition, such as a programme and a calendar.

Due to the serious situation in Syria, the two groups have declared that they are ready to continue discussions to reach a common point of view, which the Minister welcomed.

The Arab League’s initiative was also discussed, including an evaluation of the first observation mission. Didier Reynders confirmed Belgium’s support of the Arab League, which must continue to play a key role as a regional organisation.

The SNC also urged the creation of a European aid fund to alleviate the major humanitarian needs in Syria.

Furthermore, Minister Reynders defended the European sanctions policy. He also believes that a strong resolution from the UN Security Council is necessary. Russia’s willingness to negotiate a resolution must be used to send a clear signal to the Syrian regime that the violence must stop and that President Assad must make way for truly democratic reforms. Belgium, within the European Union and together with the international community, will continue to strive towards a swift end to the dramatic situation in which the Syrian people find themselves.

January 09, 2012

Advanced level Dutch classes start on Monday, January 23, 2012

The Embassy of Belgium is pleased to announce that, starting in January, its Dutch language courses for Beginners and Intermediates will be augmented by a course for Advanced students.

This new 15-week course will take place at the Belgian Embassy on Mondays from 6pm to 8pm. These classes are offered at the price of $300, payable on the first day of the course, in cash or check to the “Embassy of Belgium – Dutch classes”.

Please fill out the registration form accessible on the Embassy’s website: PDF and MS Word format) and bring the completed form with you on the first day of the course.

Advanced Curriculum

At this level we will focus on conversation. We will use the book “Niet Vanzelfsprekend” as a guide throughout the course. It offers dialogues and more complicated texts and articles that give us plenty of materials to discuss. Grammar and exercises on new vocabulary will also be part of our classes.

The goal of the course is to strive for a balance between listening, reading and speaking skills. In order to obtain that balance, we will take advantage of other articles, newsflashes and reports directly from the internet, in addition to the book. All these components will make it an exciting course!

Course material : The book “Niet Vanzelfsprekend. Een vervolgmethode Nederlands voor anderstaligen” is available for purchase at the price of $ 80. The price includes shipping and handling fees.

January 06, 2012


The Belgian residence was fully decorated for the Christmas season when Ambassador and Mrs. Matthysen opened their doors to the veterans of the Battle of the Bulge on December 15.

Ambassador and Mrs. 
			Matthysen at the Belgian residence with veterans of the Battle of Ambassador and Mrs. Matthysen at the Belgian residence with veterans of the Battle of the Bulge

Upon arrival at the residence, the veterans and other guests were greeted with holiday songs performed by the Madrigals of Walter Johnson High School, Bethesda, Maryland, under the direction of Choral Director, Isabel Hernandez-Cata. Throughout the reception, the singers, sometimes solo, sometimes in small groups, serenaded guests with songs popular in the 1940’s.

Ambassador Matthysen reminisced about the monumental battle for freedom that took place on Belgian and Luxembourg soil 67 years ago: Those who fought in that long, cold, fierce battle were so involved in the daunting task of routing the enemy that they probably did not have time to consider their role as peace-makers. With hindsight, however, we know that they did make a significant contribution to winning the war and to creating lasting peace in Europe. He emphasized the respect in which Belgium holds the veterans, the country’s gratitude for their accomplishments and the need to keep alive the memory of the Battle of the Bulge.

A highlight of the reception came when the Ambassador announced that a special Belgian award, the Fourragère 1940, had been bestowed on three veterans who were part of a unit cited twice in the Daily Orders of the Belgian Army for heroic actions during the Battle of the Bulge: Mr. Sossio E. (Pat) Capasso; Mr. Ted Hauprichts and Mr. Harry E. McCracken. Warm and sustained applause followed and during the reception many guests had the opportunity to individually thank the veterans for their service.

On December 16, Ambassador Matthysen, together with Consul Wiezen of the Embassy of Luxembourg, laid a wreath at the Battle of the Bulge Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery.

December 20, 2011

Embassy is grateful for support after
shooting incident in Liège, Belgium

This morning a tragic shooting incident took place in the Belgian city of Liège.

A lone gunman opened fire, resulting in the tragic deaths of three innocent bystanders and the wounding of more than 120 others. Several victims remain in critical condition.

Ambassador Jan Matthysen and the staff of the Belgian Embassy are grateful for the comforting expressions of support that have been received throughout the day.

December 13, 2011

BelCham Entrepreneurship Awards

240 guests, including the fine fleur of the local Belgian business community, attended the latest BelCham Entrepreneurship Awards gala ceremony at the Harvard University Club in New York on November 5, 2011. The awards honor both Belgian and U.S. small and medium-sized enterprises in the U.S. market with powerful ventures, business plans and existing or potential success stories.

From left to right: Georges Ugeux, Lifetime Achievement Award Winner, Ambassador Jan Matthysen and Mrs. Kneissel, at the 2011 Belcham Entrepreneurship Gala
From left to right: Georges Ugeux, Lifetime Achievement Award Winner, Ambassador Jan Matthysen and Mrs. Kneissel, at the 2011 Belcham Entrepreneurship Gala

The Company of the Year Award went to one of Belgium’s favorite bakers in the U.S., Le Pain Quotidien; accepting the award were founder Alain Coumont and CEO Vincent Herbert. Le Pain Quotidien (LPQ) was established in 1990 in Brussels. Nowadays, the company does business in 20 countries, with almost 170 bakery-eateries turning over more than $200 million. The United States has become a major market for LPQ, with 53 restaurants in four cities. New York alone houses 26 LPQ locations as well as the company’s North America headquarters. LPQ is known for using organic ingredients, influencing every part of the company’s business. Like all of the furniture, for instance, the communal table in every restaurant is made from reclaimed wood.

The Most Promising Company of the Year Award went to I-MOVIX, a Belgian company offering market-leading technology in the domain of extreme slow motion.

The other highlight of the evening was the Lifetime Achievement Award awarded to Georges Ugeux, CEO of Galileo Global Advisors. Introduced by his long-time friend and colleague William Kneissel, the Belgian former Executive Vice President of the New York Stock exchange quickly proved, in an acceptance speech full of wit, balance and foresight, why he has been described as one of Belgium’s greatest financiers ever. Accepting the “last award for the first part of his life”, the 66-year-old lawyer and economist delivered a “sharp and blunt” assessment of the current economic woes in the Western World, accompanied by concrete ideas to reduce the current imbalances.

Ambassador Matthysen also tackled festive and serious issues in his remarks, highlighting the wonderful cooperation between US and Belgian companies and federal and regional agencies that had secured the success of the economic mission to the United States led by Prince Philippe last June. He also underlined the challenging bilateral economic issues the Embassy focuses on, such as double taxation issues, U.S export controls, foreign account tax compliance laws, tax deferral for U.S. corporations abroad, trade barriers, and the impact of U.S. innovation, energy and transportation policies, just to name a few.

Having started with an inspiring and passionate plea for entrepreneurship by Belcham’s President Olivier Smekens, the formal part of the evening was concluded by a few humorous remarks by Consul General Herman Portocarero. Then, the music took over, leading to a night of joy, dancing and glamour. Please judge for yourself on www.facebook.com/BelCham.org.

November 22, 2011


On November 1, Belgium-born Professor Matthias Matthijs became the 6threcipient of the Fisher Prize for Excellence in Teaching. Named afterthe late industrialist and presidential adviser Max M. Fisher, the prizeis presented at commencement each year to a Johns HopkinsUniversity/SAIS professor selected by the graduating studentsthemselves.

Introducing Prof. Matthijs' "Fisher Lecture," Dean Jessica P. Einhornreminded the audience that he had himself obtained both his MA and PhDfrom Johns Hopkins University and thus already had been with JHU formany years. Born in Eeklo, Belgium, in 1979, Matthias Matthijs is agraduate of the University of Antwerp and, concurrently with his SAISchair, a full-time Assistant Professor of International Politics atAmerican University.

In his very lively presentation, "After the Crisis, the Compromise: ThePolitics of Economic Adjustment," Prof. Matthijs shook up a fewconventional wisdoms and in-fashion economic theories, e.g. thequasi-automatic relation between sovereign debt and financial crises.

Among other surprising statistics, he underlined the fact that the bulkof the increase of the US public debt since 2008 (39.1%) was due to lossof government revenue, with the stimulus plan and the bank bailouts"only" accounting for 4.5% and 3.5% respectively. According to Prof.Matthijs, US tax intake is now at its lowest ever level at 14% of GDP.

November 22, 2011


The privilege of joining an artist residency program in the Red Barn Art Center near Beatty, Nevada, recently proved a very enriching painting experience for an Embassy spouse. And, as experience goes, it also turned out to be a very pleasantly surprising from a Belgian point of view!

"Albert Szulaski's Last Supper, Artist Impression" by S. King
"Albert Szulaski's Last Supper, Artist Impression" by S. King

Indeed, the Goldwell Open Air Museum, to which the renovated historic barn belongs, revealed an unexpected story of Belgian art roaming the world. In this tale of boldness and vision, a stretch of Mojave Desert, flanked by the ruins of the ghost town of Rhyolite and the daunting slopes of Death Valley, becomes a haven for modern Flemish creators and plastic artists.

First, at the heart of the Museum's collection is its very first work (and symbol), the monumental installation "The Last Supper" by the late Antwerp artist Albert Szukalski, which hauntingly recreates Leonardo's famous biblical painting in front of arresting views of the Amargosa Valley.

In 1992, Szukalski's thirteen spook-like canvas and plaster biblical silhouettes were joined by two other purpose-sculpted figures by Antwerp artists: "Lady Desert: The Venus of Nevada" by Dr. Hugo Heyrman, and the late Dré Peeters' wood sculpture "Icara". A (thusfar) last work by Belgian sculptor Fred Bervoets, "Tribute to Shorty Harris," with its very un-Nevadian penguin, was added in 1994.

The Goldwell Museum is located near Beatty, only 115 miles north of Las Vegas on Highway 95 (and a little more through the breathtaking roads of Death Valley National Park). The Museum is free and can be visited 24/7; the Visitor Center is open six days a week (but closed on Saturdays).



November 22, 2011

Coming 2 Belgium? An easy introduction to the Belgian social security system

The Belgian government has launched a new, user-friendly, online tool to help people planning to live, work or study in Belgium figure out the Belgian social security rules that apply to them. The new tool, called “Coming2Belgium”, is designed for newcomers to the country as well as for Belgian citizens who return to their own country after a long stay abroad. Professionals, employees, retirees and students can all use the site to get answers to their questions regarding pensions, unemployment benefits, health care, leave policy, child care allowances, long term disability and related matters.

“Coming2Belgium” is available on the Belgian social security portal site www.coming2belgium.be. Users must identify only their nationality, country of origin and employment status and then select the subject of their inquiry from a pull-down list (e.g. child care allowances, pensions, reimbursement of medical expenses, incapacity for work, payment of social contributions, …) to obtain immediate information that applies to their specific situation.

In 2010, a similar tool, in French, Dutch and German, was designed for Belgian citizens planning to leave their country to live, work or study abroad: https://www.socialsecurity.be/CMS/en/leaving_belgium/index.html.

For further information please contact: SPF Sécurité Sociale
Direction Générale Appui Stratégique
Centre Administratif Botanique - Finance Tower
Boulevard du Jardin Botanique 50/135
1000 Brussels

November 17, 2011


On October 21 a wide-ranging agreement between the Museum for African Art (MfAA) and the Royal Museum for Central Africa (RMCA) was signed at the residence of the Consul general of Belgium in New York.
The museums will collaborate to exchange collections and expertise, to set up joint thematic and traveling exhibitions and to extend their respective missions in education and outreach, including to the African diaspora. RMCA brings to this cooperation one of the world’s most prestigious collections of African art. MfAA’s strengths lie in a flexible and all-encompassing approach to the African continent as a source of pride and beauty. The New York Museum is presently being relocated to its new headquarters, a spacious and prestigious new building on 5th Avenue’s world famous Museum Mile. MfAA is scheduled to open to the public in late 2012.

October 25, 2011


The 24th edition of the European Union Film Showcase will run from November 3 through 22 at the American Film Institute Silver Theatre and Cultural Center in Silver Spring, Maryland.

To purchase tickets, click Movie Tickets .

There are three films from Belgium in the lineup:

THE KID WITH A BIKE [Le Gamin au Vélo]
Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne’s latest film once again plumbs the lives of the young, vulnerable and dispossessed with uncommon sensitivity and moral rigor. Placed in a group home for children, peppery 11-year-old Cyril (non-pro Thomas Doret) promptly escapes, unwilling to accept that his deadbeat dad (former Dardenne discovery Jérémie Renier) has abandoned him. Rebuffed by his father, the distraught Cyril is taken in by concerned passerby Samantha (Cécile de France), who in time becomes his foster guardian. Samantha’s good heart could make a world of difference in Cyril’s life, but the troubled young boy still has demons to deal with. Grand Prize, 2011 Cannes Film Festival; Official Selection, 2011 Karlovy Vary, Telluride, New York Film Festivals. DIR/SCR/PROD Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne; PROD Denis Freyd. Belgium/France/Italy, 2011, color, 87 min. In French with English subtitles. NOT RATED
Sun, Nov 6, 3:45; Tue, Nov 8, 7:00

“A joyous heartwarmer with an endearing Mark Twain meets Ken Loach vibe.”— Screen International THE GIANTS [Les Géants]
Actor Bouli Lanners demonstrates great warmth and humor as a writer/director with this follow-up to his acclaimed ELDORADO (2008 AFI European Union Film Showcase). Abandoned by their troubled mother at their late grandfather’s house in the country, teen brothers Seth and Zak, along with their new ne’er-do-well friend Danny, set about enjoying a summer of mischief. But as their circumstances comically go from bad to worse, the boys learn that they have no one to depend on but themselves. The beautiful woodland lake locations were shot in Luxembourg; the freak-folk soundtrack is by The Bony King of Nowhere. Best French Language Film and the Art Cinema Prize, 2011 Directors Fortnight, Cannes Film Festival. DIR/SCR Bouli Lanners; SCR Elise Ancion; PROD Jacques-Henri Bronckart, Jani Thiltges. Belgium/France/Luxembourg, 2011, color, 84 min. In French with English subtitles. NOT RATED
Sat, Nov 12, 1:00; Mon, Nov 14, 7:10

2011 Oscar Submission, Belgium
BULLHEAD [Rundskop]
This gritty, gonzo and stylish thriller, the debut feature from writer/director Michael R. Roskam, heralds an important new filmmaking talent to watch. An unlikely setting for organized crime, the farmlands of Flanders, and an unusually sympathetic villain—a cattle farmer (seriously beefed-up Matthias Schoenaerts, alternately sensitive and psychotic in a career-making performance) who deals in black market bovine growth hormone, abuses steroids and has a most unusual skeleton in his closet—make for a fascinating genre mashup: a crime thriller with quirky humor, harrowing suspense and elements of “Frankenstein” and “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.” An English-language remake is in the works. DIR/SCR Michael R. Roskam; PROD Bart Van Langendonck. Belgium, 2011, color, 124 min. In Dutch and French with English subtitles. NOT RATED
Wed, Nov 16, 6:30; Sat, Nov 19, 9:30

October 25, 2011


Belgium’s Théâtre Maât will be coming to Washington, DC, in early November to perform in the fourth edition of the Kids Euro Festival. Please bring your children and join us in welcoming this talented troupe from Brussels at a free performance at the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage on Tuesday, November 8 at 6 p.m.
No reservations are necessary.

Banquise / Ice Floe
Music / Theater (without words)
Age: 3-8 47 minutes
Matthieu Moureau ("Paxo" - saxophone)
Julien de Borman ("Paccor" - accordion)
Hélène Blesch ("Piole" - cello)
Hadi El Gammal ("Anton Pravitch")

Take an imaginary Arctic expedition — and discover some fun! On this wacky — and melting — glacier, you'll meet the most musical group of penguins you've ever seen. Paxo, Paccor, and Piole all perform for a circus in the Great North, where Anton Pravitch, their caretaker, thinks he’s the one in charge. Both humorous and moving, Banquise (Ice Floe) will make you laugh — and think.

October 21, 2011

Minister Vanackere on the release of Gilad Shalit

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs Steven Vanackere is delighted with the release of Gilad Shalit. After more than five years in captivity, there is now an end in sight to the extremely testing time that Gilad Shalit and his family have had to endure.

Minister Vanackere is pleased that, after so many years, the international call to release Gilad Shalit has finally been answered. His imprisonment was always in clear contravention of the Geneva Conventions: “Together with my European colleagues, I have called for the immediate release of Gilad Shalit on many occasions. Bilateral contacts have also been maintained, including at ministerial level, with the Shalit family in order to offer Belgium’s support and sympathy.”

The Minister took this occasion to draw attention to the daily conditions and the rights of Palestinian prisoners in Israel, some of whom are minors. Israel will now release over 1,000 Palestinian prisoners, but there remain many thousands more in Israeli prisons.

At all times, and in all circumstances, the respect for international human rights is of the utmost importance.

Minister Vanackere also stresses the great importance of talks between Israel and the Palestinians being rapidly resumed, as this is the only way in which a lasting solution to the conflict can be reached. “Violence merely generates more violence. So my appreciation goes out to those who work tirelessly towards a peaceful, non-violent solution.”

October 19, 2011

Dutch Classes 2011

Learning new languages can be a fascinating way to discover other cultures and open your viewpoint to the world. Belgium has three official languages: French, Dutch and German. English is taught from early on in school. That is why many Belgians can easily make conversation in 3 or 4 languages. Are you interested in learning one of our official languages?

For those interested in learning French or German, the Alliance Française (www.francedc.org/en/Classes ) and the Goethe Institute (www.goethe.de/ins/us/was/lrn/enindex.htm) are among the options.

For those interested in learning Dutch, the Embassy of Belgium is pleased to announce the continuation of its Dutch language courses. Classes are open to all interested persons, age 16 or older, and take place at the embassy. Groups are formed according to proficiency and no prior knowledge of Dutch is required to enroll at the beginners’ level. Classes at each level are scheduled on weekday evenings from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. and meet once a week for 26 weeks.

Don’t miss your chance to learn more about the course by taking a look at the enclosed information form (in PDF or MS Word format) in order to register, please return the enclosed registration form (again, available in PDF and MS Word format).

September 02, 2011

President Carter Receives high Belgian honorary distinction

On Tuesday, October 4th, President James Earl ‘Jimmy’ Carter received the Belgian Grand Cross in the Order of the Crown in recognition of his numerous and excellent efforts in waging peace, fighting disease and building hope.

Prime Minister Yves Leterme lauded President Carter for being “a fighter for peace, and successfully so, not only during his presidency but long afterwards.” The Prime Minister cited examples both during and after the Carter presidency. He talked about the success of President Cater in brokering a peace agreement between Israel and Egypt that still stands as a model today, and talked at length about several successes of the Carter Center. This Center was founded by the President and his wife Rosalynn in order to advance peace and health worldwide. The Belgian government supports the Carter Center in this endeavor, resulting in an excellent cooperation between both in countries such as Nepal, Tunisia and Congo.

Prime Minister Leterme offered the decoration “In the name of the countless people who benefit from the Carter Center’s support.”

October 11, 2011

The PBS History Detectives Follow Clues to Belgian Embassy in DC

It all started with a California man who found an ornate medal in an embossed red box while cleaning out the garage after his father’s death. Along with the medal he found a photograph of his father, Joseph Goularte, at an award ceremony in February, 1951 with a caption explaining the Belgian government bestowed upon him the "Order of Leopold." His father seldom talked about his military service. The Belgian government awards this honor for extreme bravery or meritorious service. George Patton and Dwight Eisenhower have a Leopold Cross. What did this soldier do to earn this decoration?

History Detectives host Gwendolyn Wright resolves to find the answer and interviews Joris Totté, First Secretary Press and Public Affairs at the Embassy of Belgium. With the help of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Brussels, he provides key information that solves the mystery surrounding this medal.

This episode episode of History Detectives aired on most PBS stations on Tuesday, September 20. To see it online, click here: www.pbs.org

October 7, 2011

Belgium and the United States Sign Agreement to Prevent and Combat Serious Crime

On Tuesday September 20th, Belgian Minister of Justice Stefaan De Clerck and Minister of Interior Annemie Turtelboom were joined by U.S. Attorney General Eric H. Holder to sign an agreement on Preventing and Combating Serious Crime (PCSC), which will allow for the exchange of biometric and biographic data of suspected criminals between the United States and Belgium to bolster counterterrorism and law enforcement efforts while protecting individual privacy.

Under the agreement, Belgium and the United States will leverage state-of-the-art technology to share law enforcement data, including fingerprints, to better identify known terrorist and criminals during investigations and other law enforcement activities. The agreement authorizes the use of specific mechanisms for sharing vital information to help prevent serious threats to public security, and requires measures to ensure the protection and privacy of citizens in both countries. In fact, the PCSC contains numerous provisions pertaining to the handling, sharing, and retention of relevant data, all designed to ensure privacy and data protection.

This agreement is one of many examples of the strong bilateral ties between Belgium and the United States of America.

September 26, 2011

The Belgian American Educational Foundation (BAEF) Fellowships

The Belgian American Educational Foundation (BAEF) encourages applications for fellowships for advanced study or research during the academic year 2012-2013, at a Belgian University or institution of higher learning.

The BAEF will award up to eight fellowships each carrying a stipend of $25,000 for oneyear.

If the fellow chooses to remain less than the full 12 months, the stipend will be prorated accordingly. The fellowship period must be at least 6 months.

In addition to the stipend, the Foundation will provide health insurance. No other supplements can be expected.

Applicants must be citizens or permanent residents of the United States.

Applicants must:

● either be registered in a graduate program towards a Ph.D. or equivalent degree in the United States,
● or register in a graduate program in Belgium,
● or hold a Master’s, Ph.D., or equivalent degree.

Preference is given to applicants under the age of 30 with some knowledge of Dutch, French, or German.

Applicants should make their own arrangements to register or affiliate with a Belgian University or research institution. BAEF Fellows must reside in Belgium during the tenure of their fellowship.

In addition to the application form, applicants must furnish 3 letters of recommendation, a letter of nomination from the Dean of his or her U.S. school if applicable, undergraduate and graduate transcripts, a brief biographical statement, and a statement of purpose.

Application forms can be downloaded from the BAEF website at: www.baef.us

For application blanks or additional information contact the Foundation at the above address or email: emile.boulpaep@yale.edu

Completed applications for 2012-2013 fellowships are due no later than October 31, 2011.

September 23, 2011

Opening of the exhibition of the Pastrana Tapestries
at the National Gallery of Art

On Sunday September 18th, the exhibition The Invention of Glory: Afonso V and the Pastrana Tapestries will open to the general public at the National Gallery of Art.

The Pastrana Tapestries—four monumental works of art on loan from the Collegiate Church of Our Lady of the Assumption in Pastrana, Spain—are among the finest Gothic tapestries in existence. This exhibition represents the first time the set will be on view in the United States. Depicting the conquest in 1471 of two strategically located Moroccan cities by the King of Portugal, Afonso V, the tapestries are highly unusual in portraying contemporary events. Exquisitely rendered in wool and silk threads by Flemish weavers in Tournai, Belgium, the recently restored works teem with colorful images of knights, ships, and military paraphernalia set against backdrops of maritime and urban landscapes.

The exhibition is organized by the National Gallery of Art, Washington, and the Fundación Carlos de Amberes, Madrid, in association with the Embassy of Spain, the Spain-USA Foundation, the Embassy of Portugal and the Embassy of Belgium and with the cooperation of the Embassy of Morocco in Washington, DC, as well as the Diocese of Sigüenza-Guadalajara and Church of Our Lady of the Assumption, Pastrana, Spain.

The exhibition is made possible through the generous support of the government of Spain; the government of Portugal, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Instituto Camões; and the government of Belgium, Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

In 2008 the tapestries were sent to Belgium, where they originally had been woven more than five centuries earlier, for conservation treatment by the Royal Manufacturers De Wit in Mechlin.

The conservation of the tapestries was undertaken at the initiative of the Fundación Carlos de Amberes, with support from the Belgian InBev-Baillet Latour Fund, and the following Spanish institutions: Fundación Caja Madrid, Region of Castilla—La Mancha, Provincial Council of Guadalajara, and Diocese of Sigüenza-Guadalajara and Church of Our Lady of the Assumption, Pastrana. The conservation of the tapestries received the European Union Prize for Cultural Heritage/Europa Nostra Awards 2011.

During the opening reception and press preview on September 13th, Belgian ambassador Jan Matthysen said “to be struck by the aesthetical beauty of the tapestries”. About the restoration and the contribution made by Belgian multinational Inbev, ambassador Matthysen said that “skills go in different directions, but excellence and savoir-faire is always there”.

After Washington, The Invention of Glory: Afonso V and the Pastrana Tapestries will be on view at the Meadows Museum, Dallas, Texas (February 5–May 13, 2012); the San Diego Museum of Art (June 10–September 9, 2012); and the Indianapolis Museum of Art (October 5, 2012–January 6, 2013).

September 16, 2011


A team of the Belgian Air Force’s 15th Transport Wing, flying a Lockheed C-130H Hercules aircraft, participated in the International Air Mobility Rodeo which took place from July 24 to 29 at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington State. The rodeo is a “readiness competition” that tests the flight and ground skills of aircrews as well as the related skills of special tactics, security forces, aerial port operations, aero-medical evacuation and maintenance team members. According the U.S. Air Force, more than 150 teams and 3,000 people participated. Other foreign competitors included Air Forces from the Netherlands, Pakistan, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Spain and Sweden; in addition, some twenty other countries sent observers. At the July 29 closing ceremony that capped the five-day competition, Belgium was named “Best International Team” at USAF Rodeo 2011.

August 18, 2011

Belgium strengthens its ties with the USA

At the end of June, Their Royal Highnesses Prince Philippe and Princess Mathilde of Belgium led a Belgian economic mission to the USA. The objective was to highlight the extraordinary opportunities for investment, trade and innovation offered by Belgium’s dynamic economy. Over nine days, the delegation visited New York, Washington DC and Boston.

Numerous seminars, visits and networking events were organized as part of this mission. For example, the Belgian delegation visited the headquarters of Johnson & Johnson and IBM. HRH Prince Philippe opened the Belgian pavilion at the International Biotechnology Industry Convention and presided over the signing of numerous cooperation agreements between Belgian and US companies or institutions, notably between:

In addition to the purely economic aspects, the mission was also aimed at highlighting themes of a more social nature such as child literacy, the fight against cancer, poverty eradication, philanthropy and culture. It was in this context that HRH Princess Mathilde participated in events on microfinance and social entrepreneurship. The Princess visited a home run by the Little Sisters of the Poor and attended a meeting of the Council of Women World Leaders, during which she gave a very committed speech on combating violence against women.

This visit was also the perfect opportunity to emphasise the ties of friendship and solidarity which exist between the USA and Belgium. TRH Prince Philippe and Princess Mathilde spent a few moments of silence at Arlington National Cemetery, where the bodies of many American soldiers killed in Belgium, most notably at the Battle of the Ardennes, are buried. The Royal couple also visited the site of Ground Zero to pay their respects to the innocent victims of 11 September 2001.

Finally, there was also a political component to the mission, with Minister Vanackere making great use of the occasion to hold talks with Mr Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations, in New York. The dramatic situations in Syria and Libya and the measures needed to respond to them, the prospect of elections in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the Middle-East peace process all featured prominently on the agenda. In the US capital, Minister Vanackere held talks with Mr Joe Biden, Vice President of the United States, and conducted high-level meetings with Congress - Republican Senator John McCain and Democrat Senator John Kerry - and the Department of State. Among other topics, these talks centred on the “Arab Spring” and in particular on the ongoing Syrian crisis.

You can find a complete account of the mission at belgianeconomicmissiontous.tumblr.com or www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Embassy-of-Belgium-in-Washington-DC

July 27, 2011

The Challenges of a Common European Foreign policy

On June 27th, Vice Prime-Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Belgium, Steven Vanckere, was invited to share his views on Common European Foreign Policy at the European Institute in Washington DC. You can read his full speech below.

Mr. Steven Vanackere, Vice-Prime Minister and
Minister of Foreign Affairs of Belgium
European Institute Washington D.C.

JuNE 27, 2011

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Dear Friends,

In a few days, millions of people in this city and throughout the country will again celebrate the adoption of the Declaration of Independence and thus commemorate the decisive role of the Founding Fathers in creating and shaping the United States of America.

Although Europe has no “Declaration of Independence”, we sometimes tend to forget that the European Union has also her own founding fathers. Eminent politicians such as Adenauer, Schuman and Monet created a framework for peace and cooperation in a continent with a history of wars and made it possible for the EU to become a major world power and a force to be reckoned with in the trade, economic, monetary… and yes, also in the political field. Thanks to their efforts integration of Europe has come a long way. It has been a rich and unique experience. The horror of continental wars brought our founding fathers to believe that the integration of Europe was an end in itself to ensure systemic peace on the European continent. Their strategy was to irreversibly interlock Nation-States in a network of institutions, and to let them give up parts of their sovereignty. Europe’s Single Market and its Single currency are the major achievements of this strategy.

We have now integrated Nation-States in a collective system of governance, but without a Government. Europe is no longer a patchwork of fully sovereign states. Yet it has also not become a single Federal State. Over decades, and by sometimes small, sometimes big steps, sometimes by design, but very often through reaction on “events” , Europe has devised a hybrid system in which, side-by-side, supranational European institutions exert federal powers and produce legislation in the field of monetary policy, agriculture or trade while 27 nation-states continue to exert national powers in the field of defense, fiscal policy or justice. And even where those 27 Nation-states still hold full sovereignty, they intensively coordinate their sovereign policies with each other. Thus, I meet every month with my 26 fellow colleagues, under chairmanship of Cathy Ashton to coordinate our policies. In other words, today in Europe, there is hardly a field of policy-making where Nation-States are not bound by European legislation or where they do not seek synergies through coordination.

For Americans, no doubt, a complex story ! Yet integration will undoubtedly continue, while serving other purposes. Globalization has become the main drive for further integration.

Globalization is shaking-up the balance of power. The powerhouse of the global economy is moving to Asia where our new export strategies need increased market access. And the share of power in the governance of world affairs needs an overhaul. Our individual Nation States may have an opinion, but they have not such a strong voice in this process. Only collectively and through the Union can they exert leverage. Today Europe’s leaders work with the Union as the best external protection shield against global disruptions. And facing sovereign debt crises, they also turned Europe’s institutions into their internal platform for stronger surveillance of fiscal discipline and tightened coordination of structural reform. This was not the plan. It is an enforced process of improvement, resulting from unpredictable developments.

This brings me now to our main topic : Europe’s Foreign Policy. The complex model of hybrid governance, by which supranational institutions and nation-states exert powers side-by-side complementarily, also applies here. The new institutional arrangements flowing from the Lisbon treaty should produce more synergy between the Foreign policies of Europe’s Nation-states and institutions. But make no mistake : national foreign policies will not cease to exist. European States still hold their sovereignty on making war and peace. The thousands of diplomatic staff of the 27 European nations working in Embassies or Delegations remain civil servants of their own governments. The millions of European men and women under arms still obey to national commanders. Decision-making allowing the Union to deploy diplomatic or military action remains under tight control of the 27 Member States, deciding in each case by unanimity. One veto can suffice to block the European Union from action. If for example four Member States refuse to recognize Kosovo, the Union cannot develop treaties and normal diplomatic relations with Kosovo.

While most of the tools for action in diplomacy or crisis-management thus rest in the hands of 27 Nations, we have however created a European External Action Service under leadership of Cathy Ashton, Europe’s Foreign Policy supremo. This is a unique, hybrid diplomatic service where civil servants from the Institutions and diplomats from the 27 Member States will work side by side. Financial means of the Union and national diplomatic know-how are brought together in this diplomatic Service in Brussels and all over the world, in EU delegations.

Here again, Europe’s undertaking is unique ! This new Service should fuse different business cultures and breed a common strategic culture for the 21st Century. Europe has a wide array of know-how and capabilities. European Institutions have expertise in institution-and capacity building, in infusing change by norms and standards. This “soft power” is dense and broad, but often lacks a sense of political interest, short term output, and convergence with actions and strategies of the 27 nation-states. Put bluntly : it is too often a “checkbook diplomacy” lacking punch or muscle. Nation-States have political interests, expertise in diplomatic action and crisis-management. But their “hard power” is fragmented, and is rapidly dwindling by lack of investments and economies of scale. It no longer matches with global challenges. Last but not least, we do not, today, tap full potential from the rich diversity of strategic cultures of our 27 Nation-States. Our nations have historic relations and incomparable expertise with all corners of the planet. Spain and Portugal have a dense network with South America. Belgium, Portugal, France and the United Kingdom have strong bonds with most of the African nations. Our new Member States bring formidable expertise on Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and even Central Asia.

Bringing this diversity and divergence to synthesis and a common strategic culture is now the challenge for Europe’s new External Action Service. In a few years time, the expected result would be that Europe’s External Action Service will better tie-in all different strands of Europe’s foreign policy making and develop a common platform for coordination with Europe’s Nation-states on diplomatic action and crisis-management. A particular challenge will also be to “externalize” what we do in common internally: migration, policies against global warming, defending the Single Market through our common trade policy, developing a genuine “energy diplomacy”. All this adds up to the tasks.

But improving soft power, stemming the decline of hard power and fusing diversity to breed a unique European strategic culture can of course not be the job of just the European External Action Service.

What about our attitudes and willingness to deliver ? I spoke about a shift in paradigm in the field of economic governance. Leaders are clearly looking at the Union as an external shield against globalization and the internal platform for strengthening fiscal discipline and structural reforms.

Is a similar shift of paradigm taking place on the Foreign Policy front ? I say yes, even though our External Action is still in its infancy. It is probably right to compare Europe’s Foreign policy with where our Monetary policies stood before we took the first steps in launching the Euro, almost twenty years ago.

In the nineties, the irruption of wars in the Balkans left Europe’s national diplomacies in disarray. We neither had capability nor resolve to bring destruction to a hold. On the European continent, crisis-management by Nation States seemed to have gone bankrupt. America’s diplomacy jumped in and brought war to an end. Would we now fare better ? Well, at least we learned that we are doomed to fail further if we do not act together through the Union.

Thus, twelve years ago, we appointed our first High Representative, Javier Solana, who was asked to develop our “Common Foreign and Security Policy”. Only eight years ago, the Union embarked in crisis management, with its first military and civilian operations in 2003. Since then, Member states have deployed tens of thousands of military and civilian personnel under Command of the European Union. Today, collective action of the Union brought sounding success in many places on earth. In Aceh – Indonesia, the Union deployed a civilian mission to frame the implementation of a peace agreement between separatist rebels and Jakarta. Today, a huge success just known by few. Military action in the Congo, Chad, or Bosnia and a robust civilian operation in Kosovo are other successful examples of our new policies. Or say, tough collective sanctions on Iran, joint diplomatic demarches to avoid Serbia getting entangled in a negative process with Kosovo and the Union, our present maritime operation Atalanta in the fight against piracy along the coasts of Somalia: just to name other examples of success…

For sure, when we compare the present output of Europe’s collective action with the output of America’s foreign policy, our results may look meager. But what we do is just brand new. And we are indeed forced to make a long detour by a shift of attitude before we come to a shift in result. So dear Friends, yes we experience a shift of paradigm in Foreign Policy. European nations failed by acting individually and therefore decided to invest their future capital in acting collectively.

Of course, we still have a lot to improve, and of course we still will lose a lot of energy with institutional wrangling in Brussels, with a mismatch of ambitions between Nation States and European Institutions or with diverging conduct for the coming years. It will still take time to overcome those remaining problems of our infant Foreign Policy. Meanwhile, other challenges around us are huge.

The Arab Spring or Awakening brings enormous opportunities for improved relations between Europe and the young societies on the southern Mediterranean. We are asked to invent a policy mix of short term action and crisis-management and longer term promotion of what Cathy Ashton calls “deeper democracy”. We are in the most challenging scenarios in our direct neighborhood since the collapse of states in the Balkans. But I dare say this time we display more resolve. European nations have taken the lead in negotiating a mandate in the Security Council and in running consequently the military operation against Kadhafi. Cathy Ashton is leading intense consultations with the new leaders in both Egypt and Tunisia. The Middle East Peace Process definitively needs to be reactivated and Europe should, in my eyes, take bold initiatives to avoid the deadlock to which inaction, cynic calculations or unilateral initiatives may lead. But Europe also needs to be more assertive with strategic partners, including the BRICS countries. Europe’s influence in the G20 – take the example of our push for regulation of the global financial sector – is not bad at all.

Dear friends,

To conclude, I will make some last remarks on what I think are other key issues for us to succeed in the coming years :

First, European Nations and Institutions need to accept a real shift in attitude. This applies as much for within the Institutions in Brussels, where turf battles draw away attention and energy from the key task, which is to make Cathy Ashton and the Service succeed. It basically means work with one another, and not along or even against one another (new multilateralism).

Second, even if we cannot as from now always act together, we must at least find ways to read events together. In the coming months and years, we must start reading from one book on, say, the BRICS, the G20 or on Multilateral Organizations. We then have to define common strategies. The European External Action Service should bring to daylight these common textbooks.

Third, we have to provide adequate funding for Europe’s foreign policy. Presently, the European institutions run yearly an 8 billion Euro (11,5 billion USD) budget, which is roughly just four times the budget Belgium has at its disposal for Foreign policy, development cooperation and defense. It is not all about money of course, it is also about a better use of funds, rapid disbursements and special financial instruments for crisis management and deployment of civilian missions.

Fourth, we must improve the state of our rapid response and “hard power” capabilities. We have more soldiers than America, yet the quality of their equipment is not on pair, mainly due to a total fragmentation amongst Nations. We do not need more budget for the military, our fiscal pains do not allow for this, but should integrate our efforts. The same goes for Europe’s response capacity to natural and manmade disasters. Belgium has always advocated a European Disaster Response capability. The devastating earthquake in Haïti, the flooding in Pakistan, the tsunami in Japan all indicate that Europe will need better response capabilities on the domestic front, but also to provide efficient help on the world stage.

This, dear ladies and gentlemen, is basically what I had to say today. Belgium is extremely keen on having a strong foreign policy for the Union. The hybrid governance of this policy, bringing our Nations and Institutions to synergy, is a unique answer to the main challenges for the 21st Century. I therefore have tasked my staff to stay closely involved in discussions on building up the External Action Service and asked them to present, with our colleagues from Luxembourg and the Netherlands, some ideas on how we see this happen. This Benelux non-paper is presently being discussed within the European Union.

But my last word goes to the American friends in the audience. Europe rose from the ashes after the Second World War thanks to the generosity of your ancestors. Your Presidents all have advocated a stable, united European Union. We do have a common destiny and common responsibilities. A strong Foreign Policy is the best the European Union could offer to America, as the future challenges will more than ever request us to be united in our response.

I thank you for your attention.

July 11, 2011

Olivier Chastel congratulates Dr. Denis Mukwege, winner of the King Baudouin Prize

The Minister for Development Cooperation, Olivier Chastel, congratulates Dr. Denis Mukwege, who was awarded the King Baudouin International Development Prize on Tuesday. Olivier Chastel wishes to specifically thank him for his major contribution to development in the Democratic Republic of Congo and expresses his admiration of Dr. Mukwege’s fight against sexual violence against women in this region.

The King Baudouin International Development Prize aims to acknowledge the work of persons or organizations which have made a substantial contribution to the development of countries in the southern hemisphere or to solidarity between industrialized nations and developing nations. It also seeks to remind public opinion that the problems of development are today even more acute than when they gradually emerged in the collective awareness of nations in the aftermath of the Second World War.

“It is a privilege and an honor for me to be receiving the King Baudouin International Development Prize. Most importantly, I am grateful for the opportunity to reiterate the critical need for all of us to take action for women in the Democratic Republic of Congo. We cannot risk being silent on this grave injustice – destroying women means destroying life,” said Dr. Mukwege.

Established in 1978 and worth 150,000 euros, the King Baudouin International Development Prize is awarded every other year by the King Baudouin Foundation. Beyond its actual financial value, the Prize provides winners international visibility and publicity, with the main agents of development in particular, such as the United Nations and its specialised agencies, the World Bank, the European Union and a number of bilateral development agencies, the world of foundations or international NGOs.

“Belgium has been playing a mobilising and pioneering role in the fight against sexual violence in the RDC by supporting the programme jointly managed by three UN agencies: the Population Fund, UNICEF and the High Commission for Human Rights. Our country is continuing to provide support to the harmonised approach coordinated by the Congolese government in order to provide, in the framework of the STAREC (the stabilisation and reconstruction plan for the eastern DRC), a global response to the medical, psychosocial and legal needs of the victims of sexual violence, who also need to be re-integrated into society at a socio-economic level,” Olivier Chastel explains.

June 05, 2011



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