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The World In Our City celebrates the diversity of our international city, an expression of cultural diplomacy that has been integral to Washington Performing Arts’ mission since our founding in 1966. In response to the international community around us, we aim to provide a window on what it means to be a citizen of the world through a unique, arts-based lens.

Now well into the 21st century, that aim is culturally and strategically crucial. Some of our most important programs focus on accentuating international cultural understanding and exchange, as well as building an educated workforce of cultural citizens. We bring this to life through performances in both formal and informal venues around Washington by spotlighting visiting and local artists and ensembles whose creative work, advocacy, and identity are grounded in connections to their homes of origin, as well as through vibrant cross-cultural collaborations. 

  • Through our mainstage performances audiences experience a wide array of both well-known and emerging artists traveling to the US
  • Through our Mars Urban Arts Initiative, we provide a platform for local artists with international heritage that have chosen the Capital region as their home
  • Through our 40+ year partnership with the DC Public Schools, the Embassy Adoption Program connects nearly 90 embassies and classrooms in a year of study and cultural exchange

Pictured at right (top to bottom): Vusi Mahlasela; Embassy Adoption Program students; Elena & los Fulanos

The World in Our City 2018/19 Events

To learn more about 
The World in Our City, contact Elizabeth Racheva, Chief Philanthropy Officer, at or (202) 533-1862.


The World in Our City: Her Excellency Shaikha Aisha AlKhalifa, Spouse of the Ambassador, Embassy of the Kingdom of Bahrain; Jennifer and Brian Coulter; Dr. Gary Mather and Ms. Christina Co Mather; Jan and Marike Paulsson; Mary Jo Veverka; Michael Frankhuizen; Karin’s Florist

Yekwon Sunwoo: Dr. Michael Gold and Mrs. Ellen Gold

Vusi Mahlasela: His Excellency Mninwa Mahlangu, Ambassador of the Republic of South Africa (Honorary Patron)

Czech Philharmonic: Karel Komárek Family Foundation; Dr. Gary Mather and Ms. Christina Co Mather (WiOC co-sponsor); His Excellency Hynek Kmoníček, Ambassador of the Czech Republic (Honorary Patron)

West-Eastern Divan Orchestra: Morton and Norma Lee Funger; Dr. Gary Mather and Ms. Christina Co Mather; Northern Trust; Dallas Morse Coors Foundation for the Performing Arts

Edgar Meyer, Zakir Hussain & Béla Fleck: Dan Cameron Family Foundation, Inc.; Gordon and Lisa Rush; His Excellency Navtej Sarna, Ambassador of India (Honorary Patron) 

Danish String Quartet: An anonymous donor; His Excellency Lars Gert Lose, Ambassador of Denmark (Honorary Patron)

2018/19 Orchestral Performances: Betsy and Robert Feinberg

2018/19 Performances at Sixth & I: Galena-Yorktown Foundation

Mars Urban Arts Initiative: Jacqueline Badger Mars and Mars, Incorporated

Embassy Adoption Program: The Boeing Company; James J. Sandman and Elizabeth D. Mullin; Kinder Morgan Foundation