A Forrest Gump Moment in Geneva

A last minute change from a weekend trip in the Swiss Alps took me from Zurich to beautiful Geneva to see a particular hotel suite that travel guru Mary Gostelow had been raving about. Little did I know I’d be front and center in the midst of international news.  As my taxi pulled up to the InterContinental Geneva, I arrived to a barricade of press and police blocking the front door. I had seen this before when celebs are staying at hotels, but this was Geneva — World political leaders are the celebrities in town.


I made my way to the back of the press line and ask a foreign reporter what was going on. He told me that United States Secretary of State John Kerry would be arriving any minute for last minute Iranian peace talks. As a resident of Massachusetts and former neighbor of former Senator Kerry, I couldn’t believe my good timing. I was a registered guest checking into the hotel, so I was able to make my way past the barricade and was warmly greeted by the General Manager, Jurgen Baumhoff who let me know that the world’s most important finance ministers were all about to convene on the hotel.

InterContinental Geneva

InterContinental Geneva

As I checked into my room, I accidentally dropped my scarf and a nice man walking by with an entourage pointed to the floor to let me know. Was that really Mr. Kofi Annan, former UN Secretary General?  I was officially star-struck!

Within minutes,  Secretary of State John Kerry was gliding through the hotel with his entourage and a friend later told me she saw me in the background of French TV5 Monde in the lobby watching as an insider as history was unfolding. Then there was news that the French, German, Russian and Chinese  finance ministers would be arriving for the talks all checking into the hotel. The hotel was buzzing again and security was on alert. I was eagerly updating my friends on Facebook.

US Secretary of State John Kerry

US Secretary of State John Kerry

The highlight of the next day was meeting NBC news correspondent, Ann Curry who so graciously spent a few minutes talking to me about how she was using social media to report updates from the talks. As a journalism graduate for both my undergraduate and master’s degrees, it was no doubt a thrill.  I was so proud to be an American.Tiffany Dowd and Ann CurryBut our meeting was brief as the sirens went off again, and everybody scurried. The Russians were coming. Everybody stand by!

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov

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