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.

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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

After many years in the men’s formal wear business, Mikka Moon, owner of both Las Vegas locations of Tuxedo Junction for over three decades, expected few surprises from her occupation. 

Recent events proved otherwise when she received an email notifying her that His Serene Highness, Prince Albert II of Monaco had appointed a new Honorary Consul to represent his famous Principality in Las Vegas, and that the new appointee had asked that she accept the position of Personal Haberdasher to the Consul.
 
“I had no idea what would be required,” Ms. Moon says with her trademark smile, “but it sure sounded unusual, and exciting!” 
 

Mikka Moon at Tuxedo Junction
Mikka Moon at Tuxedo Junction in Las Vegas

Mikka was not completely in the dark.  The Consul chosen by the Prince was Jonathan Warren, a life-long local to Las Vegas who first did business with Tuxedo Junction in 1980.  Mr. Warren had been back for various purchases over the years, but his new appointment would mean hosting many formal events.  This has caused something of an inventory check at Tuxedo Junction. 

“Jonathan’s events have always been good for our business.  I’m told that now there will also be special collections, out-of-state events and official dress codes involved – not to mention the larger guest lists,”  Ms. Moon explains.

The Prince’s Palace, Monaco

Ms. Moon’s first task is outfitting Consul Warren for Monaco’s National Day ceremonies November 18th to the 20th, to which the Consul has been invited by the Prince’s Palace.  The two-day affair includes parties at the Palace in Monaco, and “more costume changes than Phantom of the Opera,” as described by the new official Haberdasher.  

Almost immediately following the National Day celebrations in Monaco, the Consulate is hosting consuls of several other countries at a private box at the Las Vegas concert of renowned violinist Andre Rieu.  Tuxedo Junction is already ordering the items of attire expected to be in demand for and after the event.
 
Mikka expects lengthy instructions to outfit Consul Warren and members of his guest list for the inauguration ceremony of the new Consulate in Las Vegas.  His Excellency Gilles Noghès, Ambassador of Monaco in Washington, DC is expected to perform the official ceremony, at an as-yet undisclosed location.
 
As for why Tuxedo Junction was chosen, Mr. Warren replies “Mikka has been my formal wear expert for thirty years.  I immediately thought of her when asked who could best outfit a few of us who enjoy the occasional white tie classic, and a touch of panache.” 
 
Asked what to expect from the one person in the world who officially represents Monte Carlo in Las Vegas, the new consul smiles, “Get dressed. We’re going out.”

Consul of Monaco Jonathan WarrenJonathan Warren has been tapped by HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco to become Honorary Consul of the Principality of Monaco in Las Vegas.  The post serves Nevada, Utah, Colorado and Wyoming.  Consul Warren has been accredited by the US Department of State.

Mr. Warren co-founded the Consular Chamber in 2006, and developed or co-developed several of its brands, including Identify.nu, Cocktails with the Consuls, Dine with Dignitaries, the Royal African Ball and the Global PURE Water Expo.  He has resided in Las Vegas for over 40 years.

Dr. Aldo Aguirre, photo by Las Vegas SunThe Las Vegas Clark County Library District Board of Trustees unanimously elected Dr. Aldo Aguirre as its Chairman on June 9th, 2010.  His 12-month term begins July 1. 

Dr. Aguirre will serve concurrently as President of the Consular Chamber of Commerce, in addition to his duties as a consultant and Honorary Vice-consul of Guatemala in Las Vegas.

“I am honored to serve as chair during these very challenging times for the Library District, as we are charged with providing more services with a significantly reduced operating budget,” stated Dr. Aguirre.

The Board of Directors and officers of the Consular Chamber of Commerce congratulate the LVCCLD Board of Trustees on making an outstanding appointment, and we congratulate Dr. Aguirre for his continued success.

Las Vegas Business Press

Discretion cited as key component of new service initiated in Las Vegas. 

“While some attorneys have long specialized in making embarrassments for high-profile clients ‘go away,’ they often only handle cases for Americans.  Because much of the Consular Chamber’s membership is foreign…they might not be as familiar with how the court system works.”  –  Tim O’Reilly, Las Vegas Business Press

~COMPLETE STORY:  LAS VEGAS BUSINESS PRESS~