Have a very Merry Christmas and see how the White House is celebrating the holiday this year. The Kennedy Center Honors celebrate those who “the power to inspire.” Young African business people are learning through a chamber of commerce exchange program. America has its first Bangladeshi-American member of the Congress. And, finally, creativity can still thrive behind bars.
Christmas at the White House
Merry Christmas from America.gov! Explore the White House’s “Holidays at the White House” page, where you can tour the decorations, send “Season’s Greetings” messages to troops abroad, and watch behind-the-scenes videos. Each year a theme is selected for Christmas at the White House, a tradition started by First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy in 1961. This year’s theme is Simple Gifts, a celebration of friends and family, hearth and home, and the simple things that bring joy at Christmas time.
“The Power to Inspire”
A Kennedy Center Honor recognizes lifetime accomplishment by American performing artists and those from other nations who have achieved prominence in the United States. “The arts have always had the power to challenge and the power to inspire — to help us celebrate in times of joy and find hope in times of trouble,” says President Obama. The Kennedy Center Honors will be aired on CBS Television on December 28.
Africa’s “Rising Stars”
Upendo Minja of Tanzania and Patricia Kafoe of Sierra Leone were exposed to new ideas on business and community development that they hope to implement in their African organizations during Chamber of Commerce board meetings in the United States. The two participated in a five week program designed to provide young “rising star” employees of chambers of commerce and business associations overseas with leadership skills and professional development in the United States.
Mr. Clarke Goes to Washington
Hansen Hashem Clarke of Michigan will become the first Bangladeshi-American member of the U.S. Congress when the new congressional session begins in January. Clarke’s road to Capitol Hill mirrors the complex ethnic and social diversity of the United States in the 21st century.
Art Behind Bars
The nonprofit Prison Creative Arts Project, founded by William Alexander in 1990, fosters the creation of original artwork in Michigan prisons and juvenile facilities. This creative expression is helping prisoners and at-risk youth examine and sometimes transform their lives. According to Alexander, all people have the capacity to create art — and to benefit from it. Left, a painting by incarcerated artist Maurice Scott which evokes the prison experience.