1ST FICAC EAST ASIA REGIONAL CONFERENCE
14TH NOVEMBER 2007
ADDRESS BY HON. ARNOLD FOOTE
WORLD FEDERATION OF CONSULS
HIS EXCELLENCY GENERAL SURAYUD CHULANONT
PRIME MINISTER OF THAILAND
MINISTERS AND OTHER OFFICIALS OF THE GOVERNMENT OF THAILAND
MEMBERS OF THE DIPLOMATIC CORPS
DEAN AND MEMBERS OF THE HONORARY CONSULAR CORPS OF THAILAND; OUR SUPERB HOST
DIRECTORS OF FICAC
MEMBERS OF THE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND THE PRIVATE SECTOR
CONSULS AND CONSULS GENERAL OF THE EAST ASIA REGION
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN
I stand before you today proud and happy and so privileged to be part of this very first FICAC East Asia Regional Consular Conference and The World Consular Fair In Bangkok, Thailand.
I am awed, humbled and deeply appreciative that the Prime Minister of Thailand, His Excellency General Surayud Chulanont has discerned the importance of the occasion and
taken the time to add his presence to address us and declare the 1st FICAC East Asia Consular Conference officially open. What a great honour. Thank you Honourable Prime Minister.
(Please give The Prime Minister another round of applause.)
I cannot say enough about the graciousness and hospitality that we have each received, to say nothing of the logistics, the preparation, the setting, the atmosphere and the attendance.
My heart is full, as a dream that we had as Directors of FICAC has now come true.
A year ago in Jamaica, in this same month, at the General Assembly of the 8th World Congress of Consuls, where I had the honour to be elected President of the World Federation of Consuls, I made a pledge for outreach and the expansion of membership.
At that time I met a Delegate from your country Hon. Dr. Virachai Techavijit who impressed me deeply.
My first target area was your part of the world and I embarked upon a long journey to start the process and he was my Link and has become the Rock. Ladies and gentlemen, please give Hon. Dr. Virachai and Hon. Dr. Sribhumi Sukhanetr, Dean of the Honorary Consular Corps of Thailand a big round of applause.
Today, thanks to the work of the Honorary Consular Corps of Thailand and in particular the Organizing Committee, the 1st FICAC East Asia Regional Conference and the 1st World Consular Fair has become a reality.
The Board of Directors of the World Federation of Consuls owe all of you a debt of gratitude and respect that can actually never be repaid. Thank you very much.
This year marks the 25th Anniversary of FICAC and we thought it would be a good idea for us to launch our 25th Anniversary Celebrations in Bangkok, Thailand, to coincide with this Consular Conference and the World Consular Fair. Later in the programme we will have the 1st FICAC 25th Anniversary Awards Ceremony and Special Presentations will be made to Consuls who have made an outstanding contribution to their Corps and to the World Federation of Consuls.
The recent history of the world claims Europe and the USA as central to everything, but the tectonic plates of history, commerce and influence, have shifted and the countries of the East now again rise to take their rightful places in our world.
For so many centuries the learning and skills, the economic patterns, culture, spices, treasure of all sorts topped with talented hard working disciplined people have come from this region and, as is the way of the world, have been absorbed and taken for granted and the origins not acknowledged or lost in the mists of time.
This is not to downplay the contributions of Europe, Africa, the Americas and other regions, but to say that it had been the initial major policy thrust of my Administration, as President, to reach out to this region and to strengthen the Consular movements in this part of the world.
Those seeds duly planted are yielding an impressive harvest.
Our work in this modern world has taken on new and significant dimensions, but despite Emails, Web Cameras and Video Conferencing there is no substitute for meeting someone face to face and making personal acquaintance and building on the networks and enhancing friendships that we already have and making new friends and contacts.
That process can only increase our effectiveness in the roles that we are called upon to play. That is one of the opportunities that we have here over these days.
And so, I welcome you;
I thank you for coming
I know you will find it is worth your while
Thank you for making my dreams comes true.