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.

Vatican

Paulina Biggs Sparkuhl, Honorary Consul of Chile in Las Vegas, co-Founder of the Consular Chamber of Commerce and North American Director of the World Federation of Consuls (FICAC), was among twelve consuls invited to the Vatican on May 11, 2011.  Consul Biggs Sparkuhl was accompanied by Consular Chamber co-Founder Jonathan Warren, Honorary Consul of the Principality of Monaco in Las Vegas.

Pope Benedict XVI is awarded the FICAC Gold Star. His Holiness is pictured with FICAC President Hon. Arnold Foote, Jr. and FICAC Secretary Hon. Aykut Eken

His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI received the FICAC Gold Star, which has been awarded by FICAC only to distinguished world leaders.  The framed presentation will hang in the Vatican Museum, which FICAC President Hon. Arnold Foote, Jr. said “will always serve as a reminder of the highest recognition ever received by the World Federation of Consuls.”

Other invited consul members of the FICAC Board of Directors flew to the event their homes in Thailand, Cyprus, Turkey, Jamaica, Monaco, Greece, Philippines, India and Brazil.

FICAC Vatican

FICAC is a global federation of consular organizations.  A United Nations-recognized NGO, the group has served to preserve and maintain the honorary consul as the oldest form of bilateral diplomacy, and promotes adherence to the Vienna Conventions on Consular Relations.

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Pak Denim receiving FPCCI Export AwardPak Denim Receives Prestigious Export Award

  

Dr. Mirza Baig, Honorary Consul General of Yemen in Pakistan and Director of Pak Denim, a major manufacturer and exporter of textiles, has received the FPCCI Export Award in Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari in Karachi.  

Consul Baig’s firm has been Pakistan’s largest exporter of denim fabric for twelve consecutive years.  

FICAC Monte Carlo Conference

Consuls Biggs Sparkuhl, Baig, Warren and Dimata at FICAC Monte Carlo conference, 2009

 

 In addition to running Pak Denim and several other companies in various countries, Dr. Baig sits on the prestigious Board of Directors of the World Federation of Consuls, a UN-recognized, Brussels-based NGO working to further the effectiveness of the honorary consul.  The 25 member board also includes  Consular Chamber of Commerce co-founder Paulina Biggs Sparkuhl.