A 'Farm Club' for the Whole World

They say students at the John Hopkins Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies want to save the world, run the world or own the world. Big ambition, but then who gets anywhere in Washington by thinking small?

SAIS celebrated its 60th anniversary Wednesday night with a black-tie dinner at the Italian Embassy, a high-powered crowd of foreign policy wonks, and a keynote address by Secretary of State Colin Powell. "SAIS is the farm club of the State Department," said Powell, who went on to extol the school's influence on world affairs.

Advisory council member Michael Sonnenreich described it this way: "This is basically where we train our foreign service people and our international business community leaders. We sensitize them to the world community."

SAIS co-founder Paul Nitze, 97, was unable to attend, but the crowd included Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz (former SAIS dean and current professor of international relations); Sir David Manning, British ambassador to the United States and a graduate of the school's Bologna campus; Italian Ambassador Sergio Vento; philanthropist Jim Kimsey; advisory council member Marc Leland; and SAIS Dean Jessica Einhorn.

In his remarks, Powell reiterated that the war on terrorism was the "number one priority of the Bush administration." The United States is facing a difficult time in Iraq, he admitted, but promised that "if we make this work -- and we will make it work -- it will change our image in that part of the world."

Does that qualify as saving the world, running the world or owning the world?

A Tonic for the Troops

At first glance the VIPs at Thursday's USO gala looked like strange bedfellows. But glitz and grit merged seamlessly at the Hilton Washington when it came to our troops. Vegas entertainer Wayne Newton made small talk with Gen. Richard B. Myers and NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue. Comedian Rob Schneider rubbed elbows with Sen. John Warner. And Bo Derek posed for photos with a platoon of young men in uniform. But the formula seemed to work as 1,000 guests helped raise over $1 million for the USO at a dinner honoring Newton for his many years spent entertaining American troops around the globe.

"I thought, they can stop me from fighting for my country, but they can't stop me from entertaining," said Newton, who was unable to fight in the Vietnam War because of his asthma. Newton, chairman of the USO Celebrity Circle, brought along some famous friends, including country singer Neal McCoy, to entertain the crowd before shipping out to southwest Asia on Friday for yet another tour.

"They leave the pretense in Hollywood because we can't deal with high-maintenance people," said USO President Ned Powell. "We like to say: If we get someone on a plane with us, they're hooked."

Bringing In Charity Funds in Saks

Not that they needed an excuse to shop, but the 700 women at Saks Fifth Avenue Thursday night could say with a straight face that it was for a good cause. The party at the Saks Wisconsin Avenue store kicked off "Key to the Cure," a charity shopping weekend with all the party proceeds and 2 percent of all sales benefiting breast cancer programs at Suburban Hospital.

Chairs Ginger Pickle and Liz Underhill designed the evening for material girls: gourmet nibbles from 17 restaurants, martinis, champagne, music, an oxygen bar, and the night's big hit, "Key to the Treasure" -- a locked box full of luxury goodies. Shoppers donated $50 per chance to open it. Many wore multiple keys around their necks; the very lucky Ann Friedman bought four keys and walked away with a $3,000 Carolina Herrera suit. "It's addictive," said Underhill. And lucrative. The night raised $130,000.

With Laura Thomas