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Sunday, October 15, 2017 by Finn

Rima Al-Sabah

Washington’s diplomatic community is big on cocktail parties and get-togethers, and among that crowd, Rima Al-Sabah stands apart as an industry leader. She’s the wife of the Kuwaiti ambassador and a regular host of events that feature everyone from Ali Wentworth to Esther Coopersmith to Michelle Fenty.

Arguably D.C.’s most popular hostess, Al-Sabah knows how to throw a party: She hosted George W. Bush and his wife, Laura, at the Kuwaiti residence during his presidency. In 2007, When MSNBC’s Norah O’Donnell was about to give birth to her twins, it was Al-Sabah, together with socialite Debbie Dingell, who threw the baby shower. And during the Inauguration earlier this year, Al-Sabah hosted a cocktail buffet for 300 of her closest friends, including Peter Orszag, Colin Powell, Tina Brown and Stella McCartney.

“She is one of Washington’s top power players: knowledgeable, interested and willing to give her opinion,” says Tammy Haddad, who hosts a popular brunch every year before the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner. “She has so much power because she uses power to make things happen and never leaves her family behind. She is the real thing. ”

And when you’re always hosting parties for others, friends are happy to return the favor. When Al-Sabah was pregnant with her fourth son, she had multiple baby showers thrown in her honor. Coopersmith hosted one. Wentworth (George Stephanopoulos’s wife) hosted another. And Mary Kennedy (wife of Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy) feted Al-Sabah at another soiree.

“I feel overwhelmed by all of this kindness,” Al-Sabah told The Washington Post in 2007. “It’s really heartwarming to have so many friends share in our joy.”

A former war correspondent, Al-Sabah was born and raised in Lebanon and speaks Arabic, French and English. Rima and her husband, Sheikh Salem Abdullah Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, arrived in Washington a short time before Sept. 11, 2001, and quickly they became part of the Washington social scene.

“My husband and I are an absolute team,” Al-Sabah told The Washington Diplomat. “We always have been. He takes care of politics, and I am in charge of the social and cultural. He trusts my judgment.

“At social events, my husband says he comes as my guest,” Al-Sabah added.

(Photo by Reuters)


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