2023 Look Back: A Celebration of Events

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Come take a walk down memory lane with us as we reflect on the incredible moments that unfolded at Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center (RRB/ITC) in 2023. From game-changing galas and global celebrations to industry-leading conferences, engaging community gatherings and heartfelt weddings, the past year was full of unforgettable experiences, right here in the heart of Washington, DC.

As we look back, we’re proud to be DC’s premier destination and selected venue for showcasing global commerce, cultural exchange, philanthropic and humanitarian efforts, and a hub for knowledge sharing, building meaningful connections, creating unforgettable celebrations, and unifying a vibrant community. As we turn the page to a new year, we eagerly look forward to setting the stage for the powerful and captivating chapters to unfold ahead.


GALAS AND RECEPTIONS


In 2023, RRB/ITC served as the versatile setting for a series of galas and receptions, each tailored to encapsulate the event’s unique essence and mission. From fashion and sustainability to a spirited student homecoming dance, the transformations of our spaces reflected the diverse style of each organization and supported their goals for an impactful event.

The beginning of spring was marked by the National Cherry Blossom Festival's signature fundraiser the Pink Tie Party, where fashion took center stage in the Atrium and Ballroom. The must-attend social event typically kicks off the Festival and proceeds support its free, public programming. See all the details about this unforgettable evening in our blog and BizBash.


In late March, the Downtown DC Business Improvement District held its 2022 Momentum Awards—a yearly celebration recognizing outstanding contributions to DowntownDC. Before the ceremony, guests enjoyed interactive experiences like a jumbo lite-brite wall, coloring a giant mural filled with faces of DowntownDC's vibrant community, a VR roller coaster, and a 360 photo booth, adding an exciting prelude to the event.

June unfolded with the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation's Ocean Awards Gala, a tribute to champions of marine and Great Lakes stewardship during World Oceans Day. The Atrium and Hall were transformed into an aquatic realm, bathed in hues of blue.

In a salute to exemplary military service, the Military Times Foundation hosted an elegant reception for their Service Members of the Year Awards. This distinguished event paid homage to outstanding military members, selected from each branch of service who had gone above and beyond the call of duty.

In November, Best Buddies Virginia & DC celebrated their Homecoming: Two Parties, One Purpose Gala, uniting the Champions of Inclusion, celebrating emerging leaders in Virginia and D.C., and a heartwarming Homecoming Dance for Best Buddies students. Among other talented DC Chefs serving up dishes for the evening, RRB/ITC’s very own Executive Chef, Houman Gohary, partnered with his Buddy Sous Chef, Vince— preparing a 72-Hour Grass-Fed Short Rib paired with Anson Mills white cheddar grits.


Meetings and Conferences


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A variety of industries converged in RRB/ITC in 2023, with the Atrium and Amphitheater as commonly selected spaces. These versatile areas not only offer visibility for brands and organizations but also set the stage for impactful keynote sessions, breakout groups, and exhibitions, creating an optimal environment for the exchange of ideas and cultivating new connections during meetings and conferences.

In March, RRBITC proudly hosted PCMA Capital Chapter's celebration of Global Meetings Industry Day (GMID). This international advocacy day highlights the value of business meetings, trade shows, incentive travel, exhibitions, conferences, and conventions to individuals, businesses, and communities.

Syracuse University’s D’Aniello Institute for Veterans and Military Families brought the Veteran Entrepreneurship Success Summit to RRB/ITC in June. Over two days, attendees immersed themselves in learning, mentorship, and networking sessions with Vet100 honorees, senior corporate executives, government agency leaders, and more.

September saw the return of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for their Global Aerospace Summit, a premier event in the space and aviation industries. This gathering attracted government leaders and industry experts from around the world. Notably, Archer’s Midnight eVTOL aircraft made its U.S. debut at Woodrow Wilson Plaza during this event.

In October, the Hydrogen Americas Summit & Exhibition, co-hosted by the Sustainable Energy Council and the U.S. Department of Energy was in-house at RRB/ITC. With over 3,400 global industry leaders, the summit focused on unlocking hydrogen potential in the Americas. The event featured 140+ speakers, 60+ exhibiting companies, and 40+ sponsors showcasing the latest hydrogen technologies and projects.

To conclude the year, Splunk brought partners and public sector leaders to RRB/ITC for their 2023 GovSummit. Attendees explored strategies for ensuring the reliability, trustworthiness, and security of our nation’s digital systems. Adding an element of charm, Splunk's mascot, Buttercup, made a towering appearance on the Oculus (balcony that overlooks the Atrium), creating a whimsical and memorable presence throughout the event.


World Trade Center Washington, DC


Designated as the World Trade Center Washington, DC, RRB/ITC stands as a national forum for the advancement of international trade. Our WTCDC team supports the trade mission of RRB/ITC by curating a series of distinguished events each year that foster international dialogue, generate business opportunities and raise awareness about the economic benefits that can be realized through trade and cultural exchange. The WTCDC office also leverages its membership in the World Trade Centers Association (WTCA), a global ecosystem connecting over 320 trade centers in over 90 countries, to connect embassies, NGO’s, SMEs and more with public diplomacy, trade and investment initiatives and the international business community. From the grandeur of National Day festivities, where countries come together to showcase their rich cultures and traditions, to the dignified atmosphere of diplomatic conferences that foster dialogue and cooperation, our Center has been a stage for meaningful global engagements.

In collaboration with the Washington International Trade Association (WITA), we were honored to host Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO), in April. She addressed pressing global issues, including climate change, during this engaging event.

Come June, we had the privilege of being the venue for an exclusive "meet and greet" with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, organized by the US-Indian Community Foundation in partnership with the WTCDC. Over 900 members of the Indian diaspora and business community were captivated by Prime Minister Modi's insights and perspectives.

In July, WTCDC was one of the program partners for the African Export-Import Bank’s (Afreximbank) global roadshow. Dr. Benedict Oramah, the bank's chairman and president, hosted a prestigious investment dinner attended by diaspora and business executives.

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Concurrently, the Origami art installation #FriendshipTakesFlight, produced by the Embassy of Japan, featuring over 8,000 handmade paper cranes symbolizing the growing friendship between Japan and the U.S., landed at RRBITC. Explore the significance of this installation here.

Adding to our diverse portfolio of events, WTCDC proudly hosted the 61st Independence Day celebration for the Embassy of the Republic of Uganda. Ambassador H.E. Robie Kakonge shared insightful remarks, spotlighting the remarkable achievements of the Ugandan mission in DC and emphasizing the pivotal role of U.S.-Uganda bilateral relations.

In October, the Defy Conference 2023 welcomed a delegation of 50+ Korean tech startup firms. The two-day summit in partnership with the Korean Innovation Center, Washington DC unfolded as a dynamic display of cutting-edge technology, Korean culture, and art, offering a unique platform for collaboration and exchange.

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WEDDINGS


Throughout the year, RRB/ITC was the chosen venue for a series of enchanting weddings, each a unique celebration of love and commitment. Our versatile event spaces have played witness to a variety of wedding styles, from grand and opulent affairs under the skylight of our Atrium to intimate and charming ceremonies upstairs in our Pavilion. Our dedicated team worked tirelessly to ensure that each couple's vision was brought to life in our various spaces, creating an atmosphere that reflected their individuality and love story.

With timeless architecture and original works of art, the Woodrow Wilson Plaza is an urban oasis in the heart of DC. The outdoor venue often served as a picturesque backdrop for these momentous occasions, making the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center a destination for couples seeking a truly unforgettable wedding experience. As we reflect on these joyous celebrations, we are proud to be a part of the cherished memories that will last a lifetime for the newlyweds and their guests.

Photographers: 
Slides 1 and 2 - Carly Rose Photography@carlyrosephotography
Slides 3 and 4 - Tejasvir Photography | @tejasphotos
Slides 5 and 6 - Rachel E.H. Photography | @rachelehphotos
Slides 7 and 8 - Light & Lo | @lightandlo


WoODROW Wilson Plaza Events


Our impact extended beyond our walls with an array of engaging events outdoors on Woodrow Wilson Plaza. RRB/ITC has a mission to offer free-to-the-public programming to create a stronger community connection in Downtown DC and activate the space which serves as a thoroughfare between the National Mall and the business district north of Pennsylvania Avenue.

From May to October, Capital Harvest on the Plaza (CHoP) market opened on Wednesdays from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm. New this past season, on the first and third Wednesdays of each month, CHoP coincided with Capital Arts Collective, an arts market showcasing the best creations from local talents – jewelry, paintings, candles, custom designs, home goods, and more.

Summertime brought the Live! Concert Series, featuring DC's diverse music scene, providing an extraordinary lineup of talented entertainers, celebrating the vibrant sounds of our city.

Capital Book Fest, one of Carpe Librum’s pop-up bookstores sells gently used books, CDs, DVDs, and vinyl, all on sale for $6 or less, on the plaza on Thursdays from March to November. On Juneteenth Weekend, a special Children’s Book Festival offered a family-friendly day filled with engaging, educational activities and an exciting lineup of local, award-winning authors.

In October, the plaza came alive with the Fall Festival, which featured spooktacular Halloween activities including a hay bale maze, pumpkin decorating, face painting, balloon twisting, strolling characters, DJ and dancing, plus so much more.

Most of the public programming on Woodrow Wilson Plaza happens annually, therefore we invite you to join us in 2024 for the return of these exciting community events. Keep a keen eye on our event calendar for announcements and updates, ensuring you won't miss the chance to enjoy free and engaging activities at RRB/ITC.


Looking for a venue for your event in 2024? No matter the occasion, our experienced and dedicated professionals can help you design and implement an experience that will make an impact. Submit the contact form to begin planning today! To learn more about hosting events at #RRBITC, click here.