|From the right: Mr. Gauis Gyllenbogel, Consul General of Indonesia; Prime Minister of Finland, Mr. Matti Vanhanen; Mr. Harry B. Berner, Consul General of Chile and Doyen of the Consular Corps; Mr. Bob Biaudet, Consul of Latvia; Mr. Steven Anderson, Vice-Consul of Great Britain (Career); Mr. Olavi Rautio, Consul of Bolivia; and standing Mr. Harry Blassar, Consul General of Bangladesh & Secretary of the Consular Corps.
The Consular Corps of Helsinki, Finland, is getting regularly together for luncheon meetings and the participation is usually very good, because we have had the pleasure on these occasions to introduce high level speakers to give presentations on topical items in the political, economic and cultural fields.
In the spring 2004 the Prime Minister of Finland, Mr. Matti Vanhanen, was our guest of honour, and in September the Speaker of the Finnish Parliament and previous Prime Minister, Mr. Paavo Lipponen, had been invited to meet the Consuls. Our latest lecturer was Mr. Jaakko Iloniemi, former Ambassador in Washington, who examined two recent elections: the presidential elections in the United States and the Finnish municipal elections, which also were held in October 2004.
The Finnish capital was visited by the Consular Corps of Stockholm in September 2004 and a number of joint functions were organized together with their Finnish colleagues. A closer cooperation between the Consular Corps of the two neighbouring countries was set up and the Corps Consular of Helsinki is expected to pay a similar visit to Stockholm, presumably during the year of 2005.
There are 75 Honorary Consuls active in Helsinki and it is the location for 50 Embassies. At our consular gatherings we include both the Honorary Consuls and Career Consuls. We also invite the Honorary Consuls from the other cities to participate in our activities when they have the opportunity to call on Helsinki. So far there have been no requirements for the establishment of a nation-wide Consular Corps in Finland. Joint consular gatherings, though, have been organized in the provinces as well, like a Nordic consular conference in Turku, and consular dinner parties in Tampere and Lahti respectively.
The Consular Corps of Helsinki is a founding member of FICAC and is looking forward to its forthcoming activities and conferences. The letters with the visions, goals and action plans addressed by the President, Consul General Ronald Dahlman, have been duly noted and distributed to our members. Any reactions received will be sent directly to the President.