India International Center
Thursday, March 4
After almost two full days of travel via airplane and bus, our group was certainly in the mood for a comfortable sit-down dinner and fresh air. Fortunately, our dinner reception at the India International Center on the evening of Thursday, March 4th, our first night in Dehli, provided just that. We arrived at the center a little bit past six and were delighted to see a host of beautiful gardens, walkways and pictures of various icons of 20th century Indian history on the way in. The building was multifaceted and provided the feeling of being a combination of a ecumenical religious and cultural center. The reception itself was held on the third floor balcony, which provided a beautiful glimpse of the well-developed neighborhood and a sense of openness which would set the tone for the interchanges to follow. Our hosts were a series of local journalists, managing editors, teachers, diplomatic officers, religious and business leaders.
Three such notables were alumni of previous project Interchange trips. The most familiar face to us was the Deputy Chief of Mission at the Israeli embassy, Eli Belotsercorsky, whom we had just spoken to along with the Israeli Ambassador Mark Sofer at our hotel. A delicious buffet style dinner was served and rather than trying to combine all of the expertise and perspectives at one table, we broke up into at least eight tables of six or so guests.
Similarly to our experience at the American Consulate General’s house in Mumbai, we made a concerted effort to speak with as many of our hosts and local guests as possible, gleaning invaluable information about Indian newspapers, the business community, trilateral relations with the US and Israel, and the religious affairs of the day. Dinner and dessert lasted a good three hours and everyone involved shared in a memorable night of delicious food, dialogue, cross cultural learning and friendly exchanges.