Wednesday, July 2, 2014


I was talking to a new acquaintance from Ukraine a few days ago, and he mentioned that there seemed to be an interesting discrepancy in the political map of Ukraine on the Russian search website - aspiring Google alternative - Yandex.

I looked it up and turns out he was right: on the maps of the Russian domain - - Crimea is shown as a part of Russia; while on the Ukrainian - - it is still a part of Ukraine.

Ukraine according to

Ukraine according to

Then, I decided to check out Google Maps, since we usually expect a little more neutrality -- perhaps -- from global companies. Interestingly enough, the picture seemed as confusing there.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Brazilian Cultural Diplomacy in Yerevan

Football is perhaps the first thing that comes to mind in terms of Brazil and public diplomacy these days, but in Yerevan, the Brazilian Embassy had a different treat for the public: an evening of live music.

According to the Brazilian Ambassador Edson Marinho Duarte Monteiro, the event on June 27 was part of a global series of Brazilian music concerts organized by the embassies around the world. The "Journey Through Brazilian Music" provided a quick historical overview of the 20th century, from early samba to bossa nova and carnival tunes.

Along with the program, the Embassy was giving out informational brochures about Brazil. Never lose an opportunity!

The performers were all Armenian, including the singer -- Anoush Badalyan -- who did a wonderful job covering the pieces in what seemed to be great Portuguese. Their performance was accompanied by a brief introduction and background explaining how each genre developed and noting some of the most famous musicians/performers associated with them.