1 Here I am back in June 2010, when I traveled to Malaysia and was invited to the Prime Minister's home and to a lovely brunch with First Lady Datin Paduka Seri Rosmah Mansor at her residency.
2 My good friend, Memrie Lewis and my niece, Sophie, were also honored to be inivited to the beautiful Kuala Lampur home of Her Excellency.
3 At brunch, we were served amazing foods! Sophie and I still talk about this dish called nasi lemak. When the banana leaf is opened, it serves as a plate for the condiments, all of which are colorful and delicious.
4 We were also served these intriguing jellies made from layered tapioca - there were so flavorful and fresh!
5 While in Malaysia, we got to see many amazing traditional Songket weavings. Here I am with Dr. June Ngo, director and designer for the Queen's Yayasan Tuanku Nur Zahirah organization.
6 More stunning Songket weavings
7 In Kuala Lampur, we also visited the Malaysian Handicraft Development Corporation, http://www.malaysiancraft.com/index.cfm a center for the traditional crafts of the country. The staff greeted us on the steps - the lady in white is the director - Datuk Zakiah Ahmad.
8 The traditional cotton and silk batiks made by the Malaysian Handicraft Development Corporation are simply exquisite.
9 This is Malaysia's capital, Kuala Lampur, with one of the few examples of a tiny traditional colonial house still standing amidst the tall skyscrapers.
10 These are Malaysia's famous Petronas Towers, designed by architect César Pelli, who is known for designing some of the world's tallest buildings.
11 Jumping ahead to last week - This is Sophie with First Lady Datin Paduka Seri Rosmah Mansor at the luncheon held at the Millennium UN Plaza Hotel, a side event of the 56th Session of the Commission of the Status of Women (CSW).
12 The entertainment at the New York luncheon was provided by Permata Seni (Jewels of the Arts) Malaysia. This 11 year-old girl is an exceptional violinist!
13 Each table was labelled after the beautiful flowers found in Malaysia, like this Bunga Raya, or hibiscus rosa-sinensis, the national flower of Malaysia.
14 Though not Malaysian fare, the lunch was lovely, none-the-less.
15 Mary Covington (right) and Dr. Fadzilah Muhammad Ali, who lives in Malaysia. Mary is on the board or an organization called GEAR, providing support to grandparents who find themselves being parents a second time around.
16 It was an honor to hear United Nations Secretary Mr. Ban Ki-moon speak, who talked about the importance of empowering women, as they are often the biggest poverty fighters in their communities.
17 The First Lady delivered an inspiring keynote address entitles 'Economic Empowerment of Rural Women', which touched on Malaysia's success stories and how to use that success to help rural women worldwide.
18 It was a full house and everyone listened intently.
19 UN Secretary General Mr. Ban Ki-moon and First Lady Datin Paduka Seri Rosmah Mansor
20 During the luncheon, there was a fashion show. This pretty model was showing off some of that beautiful Malaysian Songket weaving.
21 More beautiful Songket weaving - This brocade type of fabric is hand-woven in silk or cotton, and is intricately patterned with gold or silver threads.
22 The children in Permata Seni (Jewels of the Arts) Malaysia ventured all the way from Kuala Lampur. They were so excited to be visiting New York City!
23 And their dancing was adorable!
24 These children were so great! Everyone was beaming - performers and audience alike!
25 These young violinists, ages 11 and 8, joined the dancers.
26 As you can see, it was a most captivating and enjoyable show.
27 The final song was a moving tribute to Malaysia.
28 Madam Michelle Bachelet, Executive Director/Under-Secretary General of UN-Women, with a representative from Palestine. Madam Bachelet also gave a wonderful speech about empowering women in rural areas throughout the world.