the art (and pitfalls) of diplomatic gift-giving - white gold necklace and earring set
Christmas shoppers who work hard to buy things for people who have everything should think about ways for those whose daily job is to find the right gift for the world's most powerful leaders.
Forget about the Santa Claus Workshop in the Arctic--
The elves at the State Council's busy concierge office had to pick and pack thoughtful gifts as an important sign of a diplomatic visit.
They will also have to document all the gifts presented to President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and Secretary of State John Kerry and his spouse.
"Donation is an art with a long history, and many leaders and many countries take it very seriously, so we have to be prepared for everything," a State Department official told AFP . ".
In 2013, first lady Michelle Obama received a White Golden Flower.
A collection of earrings, rings and necklaces of the Queen of Brunei with yellow sapphire and diamonds.
Its value is estimated at $71,468 and is accepted as "non-
According to the official gift list submitted to the Federal Register and released last month, acceptance will cause embarrassment to donors and the US government. ".
In fact, this is the reason to accept all the gifts given to US government officials, which the law must declare.
In 2013, Obama also received a large number of gifts, from vases, paintings to sculptures, all blue.
Striped ottoman with storage box from Peru;
British song by British Prime Minister David Camerona hand-
Drums made in Senegal;
A zebra crossing from Tanzania and even some porcelain plates from Russian President Vladimir Putin.
For his wife, a pair of silver and blue crystal Baccarat earrings by French President Francois Hollande's former partner, Valerie trivelle, with a book called nature: "simple health ", worth $435. -
Symbol of global connection
According to the National Archives, the president of the United States can receive more than 15,000 gifts a year, which is responsible for storing and recording the so-called "enduring symbol of international cooperation and friendship ".
"If gifts are worth more than $375, they belong to the US government and must be handed over unless the recipient decides to buy them by market value.
In October 2012, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton bought two black pearl necklaces from her idol Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi for $970.
The wife of a senior US diplomat, Teresa Heinz Kerry, chose to keep a $425 set of silver and coral jewelry ---
A gift from President Hadi of Yemen.
In contrast, the value of the gift given by the United States to foreign leaders is closely protected, and some may say it is a state secret.
Officials rarely reveal the gifts Obama and Kerry carry with them during their overseas diplomatic trip to avoid embarrassing the US government or host.
They do have a list. -
There's nothing worse than getting what you already have.
"You don't want to make such a mistake in diplomacy," State Department officials laughed and asked for anonymity.
Once diplomatic travel is confirmed, the concierge office will go all out and recommend the right gift for all foreign dignitaries they may encounter.
However, the final choice was made by a gift --giver.
"We strive to make every gift as meaningful as possible," the official said . ". -No returns -
The Office studies the interest of the recipient, trying to establish a link between the two countries, showing the United Statesmade products.
When Obama visited Pope Francis this year, he brought a box containing nine seeds from the White House garden, which he hoped would be planted in the garden of the Imperial Palace, Gandalf.
The box is handmade.
Known as the first cathedral in the United States, Baltimore Cathedral is made of wood and decorated with copper on the Statue of Liberty.
But also ugly.
In 2009, when Obama gave Gordon Brown, then British prime minister, a set of 25 classic American films on dvd, British media criticized him and the films were not on the British system.
Brown's gift to her seems to be a bad reward, the gift is a pen holder carved with only the wood on the sister ship, which gives the wood to make the famous "resolute" in the Oval Office
In the same year, during his trip to London, the president of the United States once again raised his eyebrows because he gave Queen Elizabeth II an iPod containing video clips and photos of her visit to the United States in 2007.