A Diplomatic Affair

Baroness von SchaeferMembers of the Nevada Consular Corps and the Consular Chamber of Commerce enjoyed a splendid evening of cocktails and sumptuous hors d’oeuvre at the home of Bruce Alverson in Las Vegas.  The law firm of Alverson, Taylor, Mortensen  Sanders hosted the event in honor of consuls serving Las Vegas.

Steve Schorr, Vice-President of Cox Communications, served as a member of the Host Committee, along with Count Guido R. Deiro and City of Henderson Mayor Andy Hafen.  Mr. Schorr welcomed the honored guests, many of whom he has known for many years.  Consuls present included representatives of Belize, Brazil, Chile, Finland, Poland, Sweden, France, Uzbekistan, Estonia, Ireland and Monaco.

Consular Chamber of Commerce Global Chief of Protocol Baroness J. Kathleen von Schaefer read a letter of congratulations from United States Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, addressed to his old law partner, Mr. Alverson.  The letter described the importance of consular representation in Nevada and the world, setting the stage for what appears to be the first of an annual event.

Photography by Adam Silversmith Photography

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Honorary Consul of Mali in Budapest featured at Dine with Dignitaries in Las Vegas June 22, 2011.

So who is Consul Andrew G. Szabo?

Andrew Szabo in coastal Mauritania

Andrew Szabo in coastal Mauritania

Andrew G. Szabo left his native Hungary in 1987 at the age of 18 to attend college in America. While in college he launched a phone matchmaking service. In 1996 he spent the most amount ever on a single domain name by purchasing Date.com for $50,000. A few years later Date.com was the third largest dating site on the internet. He launched and sold several online marketing and entertainment companies and junior mining companies. His mining ventures took him to West Africa where he was touched by the beauty and kindness of the African continent. He decided to enter the trans-Sahara Dakar Rally, but realized that the strict racing requirements and the high-speed dash through Africa took away the magic of adventure and discovery.

 Not finding a decent alternative to the Dakar, in 2005 he created a gentler, kinder and more humanitarian car race to explore Consul Szabo, creator of the Budapest to Bamako RallyAfrica. In 2005 the Budapest To Bamako Rally was born. For his work to promote travel, tourism and commerce to West Africa the Republic Of Mali appointed Mr. Szabo to be their Honorary Consul to Hungary. The 2005 run of the Budapest-Bamako had 100 participants. Four years later, the race hosting 600 participants from five continents became the largest amateur rally in the world and the most influential charity rally in Africa. In 2010 the Budapest-Bamako had more cars than Dakar.

Consul Szabo

Participants deliver 600,000 to 1 million dollars  worth of aid to West Africa each year. Mr. Szabo currently spends his time in Los Angeles, Budapest and Bissau with his wife and three daughters. He’s actively organizing next year’s rally to Bamako and working on his next internet venture. For his work in Guinea-Bissau, this small West African nation has recently bestowed the prestigious traveling ambassador to North America title to him. Mr. Szabo is also a founder of the Budapest Holocaust Museum and plays badminton for Guinea-Bissau’s Macabbi Badminton Team.

Consul Szabo will give a brief talk followed by a 90-minute Travel Channel documentary of the Budapest to Bamako Rally.  The audience will then adjourn to a nearby restaurant for a private dinner with the speaker.  See www.dinewithdignitaries.com for details.

North American Director of World Federation of Consuls (FICAC) proposes Las Vegas venue, loses to Principality in final decision of venue for 30 year anniversary of global organization. 

 

 Second FICAC event under High Patronage of HSH Prince Albert II in Monaco.

 

FICAC - World Federation of ConsulsThe tenth World Congress of Consuls, a triennial event of the World Federation of Consuls (FICAC), will be held in the Principality of Monaco in 2012.  The 2009 Congress was held in Izmir, Turkey. 

A federation of consular corps organizations from around the world, FICAC is a United Nations-recognized NGO which has furthered the ancient practice of bilateral diplomacy through honorary consulates since 1982.

The Principality of Monaco beat out the Consular Corps of Nevada in the final round decision in favor of the Consular Corps of Monaco.  FICAC’s North American Director is Paulina Biggs Sparkuhl, Honorary Consul of Chile in Las Vegas, a founder of the Consular Chamber of Commerce.

Secretary of State Clinton's message to the 9th World Congress of Consuls

Secretary of State Clinton sends best wishes to FICAC

Paulina Biggs Sparkuhl

At FICAC 2009 Monte Carlo Conference: Paulina Biggs Spakuhl, Honorary Consul of Chile

“I am disappointed that Las Vegas will miss out on such a large and distinguished group of visitors, but I am excited to return to Monaco,” said Consul Biggs Sparkuhl, “The Honorary Consular Corps of Monaco is large, cosmoplitan and welcoming.  I congratulate our Monaco colleagues, and look forward to the event.”

FICAC directors P. Touliatos, Honorary Consul General of Greece in Monaco and P. Biggs Sparkuhl, Honorary Consul of Chile in Las Vegas attend Monaco National Day opera event with J. Warren, Honorary Consul of Monaco in Las Vegas

“When Monaco opens her arms to the world, and the invitation extends all the way from the Palace itself, it is tough for any other location to compete,” said Jonathan Warren, Honorary Consul of Monaco in Las Vegas, “Las Vegas may have been a bit slow on the draw.  [Consul Biggs Sparkuhl's] proposal lacked support from the City or State government, and the Nevada [Consular] Corps responded by passing new membership rules excluding out-of-state consuls accredited here, after also voting not to associate with FICAC’s largest US membership organization.

“I’m sorry my hometown will miss out,” Warren continues, “but I am thrilled that the Principality has been chosen.  This will be my second World Congress [of Consuls].  I wouldn’t miss it.”

Consul General Furlong and Former Soviet Spokesman Vladimir Posner

One FICAC member, Gary Furlong, is the Honorary Consul General of Uzbekistan for the western United States, including Las Vegas.  His consulate is based in Seattle. 

“It’s too bad,”  said Furlong, “Las Vegas could have been a great venue, and it would have been such a pleasure to have so many consuls to introduce to the City, from all over the planet,” he continued, “But Monaco and it’s [Consular] Corps work hard to form inclusive relationships to attract prestigious international events.   The global focus of Monaco’s Consular Corps is well known and respected.  They follow the highest professional standards, including strict adherence to the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations and other globally accepted protocols and treaties.  

“The strong support of the Government for an effective, professionally run Corps makes Monaco tough competition for anyone.  It is a credit to the Las Vegas members of the Consular Chamber of Commerce that Las Vegas made the final round for such a prestigious program.”

Ed Prud’Homme Prudhomme, Gayle Anderson, Chief of Diplomatic Protocol, governor sandoval, David Henley, Lia Roberts

The Consular Chamber of Commerce is proud to support our friends at the Las Vegas World Affairs Council as they host former congressman and Ambassador to Tanzania, Mark Green.

Please RSVP to join us for this free foreign policy event.

Ambassador Nemotov presents Consul Warren with traditional Uzbek jacket

On the Occasion of the March 11 Spring Gala of the Prevent Cancer Foundation titled “The Enchanting Principality of Monaco,” members of the Consular Chamber of Commerce and the Consular Corps of Nevada made visits to four Washington, D.C. embassies.

Lunch at the Embassy of Uzbekistan

 

In addition to the Gala, participants enjoyed a private dinner at the home of the Ambassador of Monaco, a private luncheon at the Metropolitan Club hosted by the Principality of Monaco, a private lunch with the Ambassador of Uzbekistan arranged by Consul General Gary Furlong at the spectacular Uzbek embassy, coffee with the Consul General of Austria at the Austrian Embassy, and meeting with the Cultural Attaché and First Secretary at the Embassy of Chile.

Among the topics of discussion were tourism, international business and expansion of the consular corps and of the World Federation of Consuls (FICAC). 

Felix Danciu and Kim Schmidt with Ambassador Noghes of Monaco

Within the past year, officers and board members of the Consular Chamber have made over a dozen embassy visits in Washington, D.C. alone, including embassies of Austria, Slovakia, Monaco, Uzbekistan, Chile, Guatemala and others.  Expansion of the Consular Corps in Nevada has been discussed with embassies of countries not yet represented in Nevada, in hopes of increasing the number of consuls in Las Vegas to be on par with the number of visitors and percentage of foreign investment in the City. 
  
 
  

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