The OFII Dinner: Best Ticket in Town

By November 16, 2006General

Last night found the blogger-in-chief and the blogger’s apprentice at the 12th annual dinner of the Organization for International Investment (OFII). See, in Washington, there are dinners and there are dinners. There are endless receptions, fundraisers, you name it. But in the hierarchy of things, there are few events that are as good an invite to grab as this one. Thanks to the misguided largess of Nancy McLernon over at OFII, the bar was lowered enough to let the two of us pass.

OFII is an organization of companies headquartered outside the US who collectively employ over 5 million US workers and provide hundreds of billions of dollars in investment. This dinner is a coveted event for the hoi polloi who turn out, that’s true (present company excluded), but it is also now famous for its near-Hollywood quality “goody bags” on everyone’s seat. They are filled with stuff from OFII’s member companies, from sweets (Nestle, Cadbury Schweppes) to electronic gadgets (Bosch, Infineon, Philips Electronics), DVD’s (Sony), assorted consumer products (Degussa, GlaxoSmithKline, Unilever) and pet toys (Sumitomo) .

They also provide first-rate entertainment after dinner, this year featuring Canadian export Samantha Bee from the Daily Show, serving as anchor of “The Insourcing Show.” A self-described, “celebrated fake journalist,” she opened with a hilarious “Snakes on a Plane” video clip from the Daily Show that even featured Samuel L. Jackson and then went on a good riff on outsourcing. The latter bit included barbs at one of our favorite people — Lou Dobbs — and at Pat Buchanan as well. Not a good night for xenophobes. There was even a great clip of OFII chief Todd Malan on CNBC opposite Buchanan, who was ranting about furriners and foreign investment during the Dubai Ports dust-up. Malan calmly pointed out that Buchanan’s last two books were published by a German company. Ouch. Back to the drawing board, Pat.

In any event, it was a lot of fun, a celebration of this great American economy that’s a magnet for international investment and all the jobs and growth that it brings. May it be ever thus.