Bill Clinton tops guest list at Kuwaiti embassy benefit for Maya Angelou charter schools


Bill Clinton in a tender moment with Maya Angelou at Monday’s benefit for D.C.'s Maya Angelou schools at the Embassy of Kuwait. (Tony Powell)

Unlike the Obamas, both Bill and Hillary Clinton are regulars, when schedules permit, on Washington’s charitable social scene. That’s one of the luxuries of being a former president: White House occupants— especially in the first term — spend very little time hanging out with Beltway elites.

By contrast, Clinton spent hours chatting with guests and gave remarks at the Kuwaiti embassy’s benefit for D.C.’s Maya Angelou charter schools. In 1993, Angelou created a poem for his first inauguration; he came Monday night to honor the poet and author, 84, who attended the dinner in a wheelchair.


Bill Clinton with Rima Al-Sabah, wife of Kuwaiti ambassador Salem Al-Sabah. (Tony Powell)

The night, which raised $500,000, was a classic feel-good-by-doing-good event. The students at the first school — all kids in the court system — voted to name it after Angelou; soon, she was an enthusiastic supporter. She thanked the crowd for helping kids “who, if you saw them walking down the street, you’d jump in your car.” Clinton gave an impassioned plea for education reform and at-risk kids: “The Maya Angelou charter schools are designed to give the dream back to kids who, literally, would otherwise probably spend their lives in prison,” he said. “It is insane to let all these young people go into the criminal justice system and not give them the chance to learn something.”


Skunk Baxter, Kuwaiti ambassador Salem Al-Sabah and former Hungarian ambassador Andras Simonyi talk guitars at the benefit dinner. (Tony Powell)

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