|The following is the citation presented to The Hon. Vagn Jespersen at the 8th World Congress of Consuls.
Some people stand on the sidelines and carp and criticise the work of others, and some people provide both the inspiration and the practical work to make ideas come to reality.
Our Founding President, Vagn Jespersen, whom we honour tonight, is a thoughtful and wise person who has the capacity to be innovative, decisive and to bring dreams to reality.
One such dream was the realization of a World Organization, now called FICAC, which is why we all are gathered here today in Jamaica 24 years later. He served as Founding President and remained at the helm for the period 1982 to 1995.When he gave up this post, he became the President of the Danish Consular Corps where he was revered for his service and positive influence.
We have the pleasure of the presence of his son and family as, regretably, our Awardee was unable to travel this distance at this time. We wish him well and know that he is with us in spirit as we are with him.
It was his idea and his leadership over the first 13 years that placed this organization where it is today and laid a basis for the future. Indeed, it was during his administration that we were recognized by the United Nations as an official Non Governmental Organization. This was at a time when the importance of the contribution of such organizations was not given significant notice. So that this occurence is a tribute to largely to his tenancity, his will and his capacity to persuade by example.
Mr. Jesperson has been honoured by many countries and organizations including his native Denmark. Though he is a Knight 1st. Grade of the Order of Dannebrog, Denmark, one of the most interesting of his national honours there is The Danish Resistance Medal.
When German authorities in Denmark ordered that Danish Jews be arrested and deported to Germany in October 1943, many Danes and Swedes took part in an effort to evacuate the roughly 8,000 Jews of Denmark by sea to nearby Sweden. As a result of the collective resistance and rescue, most of Denmark’s Jewish population survived the Holocaust. This is a testament to his personal courage and an acknowledgment of humanitarian acts based on principle.
He has also been honoured by Britain, Sweden and Brazil.
Having served as the Consul for the Principality of Monaco since 1963 to the present- a period of over 40 years, he was a trusted adviser to the late Prince Rainier and given the honour of an Officer of the Order of the Crown of Monaco.
Proud of his achievements but never haughty, farsighted and wise, he has projected, protected and promoted FICAC to a position of prominence in the world and we would do well to emulate his commitment and service.
For those and many other reasons, it gives us the greatest pleasure to ask the Governor General of Jamaica to present to the son of our Founding President the Award of Excellence from FICAC on this occasion of the 8th. World Congress – an occasion that would never have occurred without his sterling contribution building on his initial ideas. We will always be in his debt. He was a superb leader of FICAC and we value his work and inspiration. We wish for him and his family long life, health and prosperity.
Montego Bay, Jamaica