HervÈ J. C. Goyens, Belgium’s new consul general in Atlanta, has assumed his position here in the Coca-Cola capital of the world more than ready to put this summer’s Coke affair behind him.
During an interview with GlobalFax last week in his North Tower office at Peachtree Center, he placed in perspective the ill effects suffered by the children from drinking Coke with other far more serious health crises that Europe has faced.
These include, he said, the deaths of people from drinking Austrian wine and those who died from eating Spanish olive oil, many years ago.
He praised Coke CEO Douglas Ivester’s decision to travel to Belgium as “an intelligent thing to do.” “There is a lesson to be learned from these incidents and that is that we must be careful in the future,” he added.
His top priority of the moment, however, is not to mull over the Coke episode. Rather, it is to prepare, he said, for the upcoming visit in September to the Southeast of Philippe of Belgium, the crown prince. This visit, he added, would underscore the trade and investment ties linking Georgia with Belgium.
It also will add luster to the opening of an exhibition at the Michael C. Carlos Museum entitled “So Many Brilliant Talents: Art and Craft in the Age of Rubens,” which Crown Prince Philippe will attend. He also will attend the annual “Taste of Belgium” gala event.
Mr. Goyens has been in his country’s diplomatic service since 1975. He said that his career has ranged from service in some of the wealthiest parts of the world to the poorest.
The contrast was particularly acute, he said, when he left his post from Houston where he was consul general from 1988-1990 to Bujumbura, Burundi, where he was ambassador form 1990-1992.
Most recently, he was Belgium’s consul general in Munich, Germany, from 1995 until arriving here at the end of June. Before leaving Munich, he said he met a number of German businessmen who said that they often visit Atlanta.
He may be reached by calling (404) 659-2150, fax, (404) 659-8474.