Kent Swig

My Thoughts.

Annual Gala Dinner for the Municipal Art Society

On June 11, 2014, I attended the annual gala dinner for the Municipal Art Society (MAS), on whose Board of Directors I serve. The gala dinner honored two good friends of mine: Bruce Ratner, Executive Chairman, and Maryann Gilmartin, President and CEO, both of Forest City Ratner Companies.  Both shared the honor of receivng the prestigious Jacqueline Kennedy Onasis Medal Award.   The evening for a great success for MAS, raising over $1 million for the organization!

For more than 120 year, MAS has made New York City a more livable city by advocating for excellence in urban planning and design, a commitment to historic preservation and the arts, and the empowerment of local communities to affect change in their neighborhoods. From saving Grand Central Terminal and the lights of Times Square to establishing groundbreaking land-use and preservation laws that have become national models, MAS is at the forefront of our City’s economic vitality, cultural vibrancy, environmental sustainability, and social diversity.

I am indeed proud to be a part of MAS and look forward to continuing my participation on the Board of Directors.
The 2014 Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Medal

The 2014 Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Medal

Invitation to the Annual Gala Dinner for the Municipal Art Society

Invitation to the Annual Gala Dinner for the Municipal Art Society

The MAS Board of Directors

The MAS Board of Directors

 

Written by swigeq

July 24, 2014 at 8:05 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Bedford Avenue Street Fair

I had the wonderful experience of visiting the Williamsburg area of Brooklyn over the weekend of June 14th and walked from Greenpoint to Dumbo. The area is dynamic and changing so quickly.   During my walk, I spent time at the Bedford Avenue Street Fair which was filled with so many activities and events, not to mention the fresh grass that was temporarily installed in the street transforming concrete roads into green sanctuaries! What a terrific experience!

Street Artist at Work

Street Artist at Work

Bedford Avenue Goes Green

Bedford Avenue Goes Green

 

Written by swigeq

July 20, 2014 at 8:10 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Visit to the U. S. Capitol

Kent Swig with Terry Gains, immediate past (38th)  Sargent of Arms of the House of Representatives.

Kent Swig with Terry Gains, immediate past (38th) Sargent of Arms of the House of Representatives.

Our final stop that we made as part of the Israel Bond Leadership Conference was to the U. S. Capitol on June 10, 2014. There, we met with Terry Gains, the immediate past Sergeant of Arms (38th) to the House of Representatives, and with the current Sergeant of Arms (39th), Drew Wilson. Terry Gains gave us a brief history of the U.S. Capitol and shared with us many personal amusing and touching stories during his tenure as Sergeant of Arms.

We next went on a tour of the Capitol which is always interesting and so lively. It is a testament to our country to walk through the Capitol and see all of the tourists walking among the many Congressmen as they walk from their meetings and votes. This intermixing of American citizens and our Representatives is unique among the World’s governments and is a physical manifestation of our democracy and its openness!

Kent Swig with Democratic Leader of the House of Representative Nancy Pelosi of California.

After our tour, we had a luncheon at the Canon Office Building where we heard from many of our Congressional leaders and Representatives including Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (Democrat of California); Michelle Bachman (Republican of Minnesota); Dan Maffei (Democrat of New York) among others. The remarks made by each of our Representatives were informative, interesting and very supportive of Israel Bonds. All in all, a great turn out and a wonderful luncheon.
Kent Swig with Representative Dan Maffei, Democrat from New York

Kent Swig with Representative Dan Maffei, Democrat from New York.

Representative Michelle Backman, Republican of Minnesota.

Written by swigeq

July 2, 2014 at 9:08 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Visit to The White House

Kent Swig overlooking the  The White House

Kent Swig overlooking The White House

The Israel Bond Leadership Conference in Washington D.C. also met at The White House on June 10, 2014. Specifically, we met in the Indian Treaty Room in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building where we spent 90 minutes listening to three high level briefings which followed a warm welcome by Matt Nosanchuk, Director for Outreach at the National Security Council.

The first briefing was given to us by Jason Miller, Special Assistant to the President and Deputy Director within the National Economic Council who provided us with an overview of the economy of the United States.

The next briefing was given by Laura Blumenfeld, Office of the Special Envoy for Israeli-Palestinian Negotions within the U.S. Department of State who provided us with a very insightful perspective of Secretary of State John Kerry’s view of the negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

The final briefing was given by Nitin Chadda, Director for Iran within the National Security Council who spoke about the very sensitive negotiations going on with Iran in regards to the nuclear issues. His talk was very candid and certainly highlighted the great sensitivity and urgency with the nuclear negotiations that are currently ongoing.

Overall, the briefings were very informative and very interesting and of the utmost importance.
Invitation to the White House

Invitation to the White House

Kent Swig at the entrance to The White House

Kent Swig at the entrance to The White House

President Obama's motorcade

President Obama’s motorcade

Kent Swig in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building at The White House

Kent Swig in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building at The White House

Written by swigeq

June 29, 2014 at 2:30 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

A very emotional visit to Arlington National Cemetery

Kent Swig at the amphitheater at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

Kent Swig at the amphitheater at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

On June 9, 2014, the Israel Bonds Leadership Conference participants visited  Arlington National Cemetery after departing from briefings and a tour of the Pentagon. At Arlington, we had a private tour of the Museum building and then viewed the “changing of the guard” at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. At the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, I was given the extreme honor of laying a wreath just after the changing of the guard ceremony.

Kent Swig laying the wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

Kent Swig laying the wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

As this honor is predominately reserved for Heads of State, I was overwhelmed at being selected to participate. To commence the ceremony, we walked down the stairs from the Museum to where the honor guard was waiting. From there, we presented the Israel Bonds wreath to the guard and together, laid the wreath at the Tomb.

Then, the honor guards played “taps” while we stood with our right hands placed over our hearts (the soldiers stood at attention and saluted).

At the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier while Taps was played

At the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier while Taps was played

In front of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

In front of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

 

 

 

 

 

 

We then turned around, and walked back up the stairs to the Museum as the honor guard escorted us up.

Also escorting us was Lt. General Michael S. Linnington, U.S. Army, who turned to me and thanked me. When I asked why he was thanking me, he responded that during his 34 year career in the military, (and even being posted with President Obama), he never had the honor and privilege to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier until this day. And, he continued to tell me, that this was among the great honors in which he was able to participate. I was overwhelmed by the General’s graciousness and openness.

Needless to say, the entire ceremony was deeply emotional and it was very difficult not to openly shed tears. This was a day that I will certainly never forget and ranks among my most proud moments.

At Arlington National Cemetery from left to right: Superintendent of Arlington National Cemetery Jack Lechner; Richard Hirsch, Chairman of Israel Bonds; Kent Swig; Operations Officer of Arlington National Cemetery Dave Kemmen

At Arlington National Cemetery from left to right: Superintendent of Arlington National Cemetery Jack Lechner; Richard Hirsch, Chairman of Israel Bonds; Kent Swig; Operations Officer of Arlington National Cemetery Dave Kemmen

After laying the wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

After laying the wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

The stage at the Amphitheater at Arlington National Cemetery

The stage at the Amphitheater at Arlington National Cemetery

 

 

 

 

 

 

Written by swigeq

June 25, 2014 at 3:41 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Tour and Briefing at the Pentagon

Kent Swig with Lt. General Michael S. Linnington, US Army, at the Pentagon.

Kent Swig with Lt. General Michael S. Linnington, US Army, at the Pentagon.

On June 9, 2014, as part of the Israel Bonds Leadership Conference in Washington, D.C., we visited the Pentagon where we had a private tour and then participated in a high level briefing from Lt. General Michael S. Linnington, U.S. Army.  The General is an extraordinary man with a keen insight into world affairs and a person with a warm and caring heart. Our country is indeed in good care with men like the General leading our military.

Kent Swig at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.

Kent Swig at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.

The tour was extremely interesting and very emotional as we also had the privilege to tour the area that was destroyed and rebuilt from the 911 terrorist attack on the Pentagon on September 11, 2001.

We also gained access to the private  911 Memorial Chappel and the museum area that was set up at the Pentagon to pay respects and remembrance to all those who died in this terrible and vicious attack .

Our group also laid a wreath at the 911 Memorial at the Pentagon in a very emotional ceremony.
Wreath ceremony at the 911 Memorial at the Pentagon

Wreath ceremony at the 911 Memorial at the Pentagon

Wreath laying ceremony at the 911 Memorial at the Pentagon: from left to right: Lt. General Michael S. Linnington, US Army; Rabbi Mendy Carlibach, Rabbi at Rutgers University; Izzy Tapoohi, President of  Israel Bonds.

Wreath laying ceremony at the 911 Memorial at the Pentagon: from left to right: Lt. General Michael S. Linnington, US Army; Rabbi Mendy Carlibach, Rabbi at Rutgers University; Izzy Tapoohi, President of Israel Bonds.

911 Memorial at the Pentagon

911 Memorial at the Pentagon

Written by swigeq

June 22, 2014 at 12:26 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Israel Bonds Leadership Conference in Washington D.C.

Kent Swig with Ambassador Ron Dermer, Israel's Ambassador to the Untied States

Kent Swig with Ambassador Ron Dermer, Israel’s Ambassador to the Untied States

Over a three day period from June 8 through June 10, 2014, I participated in the annual Israel Bond Leadership Conference in Washington D.C. The purpose of the conference was to provide timely briefings and insights into the leading issues affecting Israel, its neighbors, and its strategic relationship with the Untied States.

The Leadership Conference “kicked off” with a a dinner known as The Ambassador’s Gala where Israel’s Ambassador to the Untied States, Ron Dermer, was honored along with his wife Mrs. Rhoda Dermer.

The dinner was wonderful and Ambassador Dermer provided great insights into the unpresented current events that are affecting the Middle East and Israel.

Also honored were the two ranking congressman from the House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs: Representative Ed Royce, the Republican Chairman from California, and Representative Elliot Engel, the Democrat Ranking Member from New York.

Kent Swig with Congressman Ed Royce, Chairman, House Committee  on Foreign Affairs

Kent Swig with Congressman Ed Royce, Chairman, House Committee on Foreign Affairs

Congressman Elliot L. Engel, Ranking Member, House Committee on Foreign Affairs

Congressman Elliot L. Engel, Ranking Member, House Committee on Foreign Affairs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Most heatening, was the way in which Congressman Royce, a Republican, and Congressman Engel, a Democrat, spoke of their unique working relationship with one another and of their bipartisan approach to their Committee on Foreign Affairs. If only the rest of Congress could take their approach to working together and setting the “good of the country” ahead of partisan bickering, the Untied States and Washington, D.C. would be a much better and productive place!

Ambassador Ron Dermer and Mrs. Rhoda Dermer

Ambassador Ron Dermer and Mrs. Rhoda Dermer

Kent Swig with Representative Michelle Backman of Minnesota

Kent Swig with Representative Michelle Backman of Minnesota

Invitation to the Ambassador's Gala

Invitation to the Ambassador’s Gala

Written by swigeq

June 18, 2014 at 1:06 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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