Georgia‘s diplomatic door continued to revolve as expected in 2018, with some consuls general ending their stints here and others just getting started as the year closed.
But the most consequential shifts for Atlanta’s global standing were those that resulted in new outposts from countries that had covered their expatriate communities and business interests in Atlanta from consulates or embassies as far away as Miami, Houston or Washington.
New Consulates and Trade Offices
Global Atlanta broke the news in May that the Netherlands would be opening an Atlanta consulate in 2019; we also were the first to announce the name and background of the newly appointed consul general, Ard van der Vorst, as well as to interview him about his goals.
Mr. van der Vorst had to spring into action quickly, as he hosted the Dutch ambassador on a visit here with his Benelux colleagues even before his office was officially up and running.
The Korean government also opened a new Atlanta office for KOTRA, the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency, which is headed up by Taewoon Youn. KOTRA has long been active in the United States, but landing a local KOTRA presence is a major coup for a state in which thousands of jobs depend on Korean auto manufacturing. Even outside of the auto-sector behemoths like SK Innovation, some of Georgia’s biggest investment wins this year came from Korean firms like Hanwha Solar.
ProMexico also quietly reopened its trade office in Atlanta. It’s led by Nicole Felix, a Mexican trade representative with extensive experience in Germany, a heavy investor both here in the South and in Mexico.
Conny Van Wulpen was also named the new Trade and Investment Commissioner for the Belgian region of Flanders.
According to Abby Turano, the Georgia Department of Economic Development’s deputy commissioner for international relations, the state welcomed the following career diplomats to their new home in Atlanta:
- Young-jun Kim, Consul General of Korea (5 January)
- Andrew Staunton, Consul General of the United Kingdom (25 June) — replacing Jeremy Pilmore-Bedford, who headed to Chennai, India. Read: From South to South
- José Luis Jácome, Consul General of Ecuador (17 July) — replacing Juan Rafael Arcos Tuitza
- Heike Fuller, Consul General of Germany (15 August), replacing Detlev Ruenger. Read our intro interview with Dr. Fuller here.
- Dr. Swati Kulkarni, Consul General of India (6 September), replacing Nagesh Singh, who is now head of protocol for India’s Ministry of External Affairs. Read more about Dr. Kulkarni here.
- Amb. Carlos Abreu, Consul General of Brazil (accreditation date pending), replacing Maria Stela Pompeu Brasil Frota. Read about his arrival from Sydney here.
New Staff at Existing Consulates
- Eilís O’Keeffe, Vice Consul at the Consulate General of Ireland
- Michael Cerulus, Consul at the Consulate General of Belgium
New Honorary Consuls
- Tom Rosseland, Honorary Consul of Norway (21 May). Read more about how Mr. Rosseland represents both Norway and Sweden in Georgia here.
- Jean-Yves Vendeville, Honorary Consul of France in Savannah (16 July)
- Doug Heckman, Honorary Consul of Monaco (21 September)
- Dr. Elaine Bryan, Honorary Consul of Jamaica (1 October)
- Alcides Vicente, Honorary Consul of Cape Verde (1 December)
Global Atlanta’s Diplomatic Outreach
Global Atlanta in 2018 intensified its own outreach to local diplomats, whom we see as essential allies in telling the stories of Atlanta’s connections with the world, both here in town and when we travel abroad. (We’ll be putting these connections to the test while traveling to Asia this year.)
We continued to publish the monthly Diplomacy newsletter, a compilation of stories each month tracking ambassador visits to Atlanta, new consular appointments and departures, activities of local consulates, policy issues and speeches, and interviews with international affairs experts.
The newsletter, which continues to set records among our targeted publications for audience engagement, is generously sponsored by the University of Georgia School of Law’s Dean Rusk International Law Center.
We also doubled down on Consular Conversations, a series of events to introduce local diplomats to our community of readers through a public interview during a small roundtable-style networking luncheon. We attracted about 400 attendees from around the community.
Sponsored by the law firm of Miller & Martin PLLC, we welcomed nine speakers and some 400 attendees throughout the year and have completed more than 25 events in the monthly series since it began in 2016.
Read all available Consular Conversations summaries below, or view all here.