FICAC WCC 12 was held in Brussels, Belgium

November 2, 2018 | News

On Thursday 4th of October 2018, before the welcome cocktail, delegates and their spouses walked to see “Manneken Pis”: in the morning, during an official ceremony, Manneken Pis had been dressed his 1011th costume. This diplomat uniform of Consul was fashioned by a Belgium Tailor. 

Manneken Pis, meaning “Lil Piddler” in Dutch is a landmark small bronze sculpture (61 cm) in Brussels, depicting a naked little boy urinating into a fountain’s basin. It was designed by Hieronymus Duquesnoy the Elder (nl) and put in place in 1618 or 1619. The current statue is a copy which dates from 1965. The original is kept in the Museum of the City of Brussels. Manneken Pis is the best-known symbol of the people of Brussels.

The welcome cocktail was held at the Brussels Town Hall with a musical welcome by “Duo Made in Belgium”. After the welcome speeches of the President of Belgium Consular Union, Hon. Willy Deswaef, and the President of FICAC, Hon. Aykut Eken, H.E. Herman Van Rompuy took the floor.

1. Discours à l’ Hôtel de Ville

On behalf of 200 honorary consuls accredited in Belgium and 300 Belgian honorary consuls active abroad, I would like to welcome you all to Brussels.

This Congress is for several reasons exceptional.

Firstly, because it brings together more than 100 honorary consuls from 40 countries, which has never happened before. Secondly, because you are received in the most exceptional places of the capital of Europe and thirdly, because the key topic we will work on during the Congress will define the new role of the honorary consul in the globalized world.

The President of the Belgian brewers, who tonight offers us four of the best Belgian beers, will take the floor later to describe the global success of Belgian beers.

Before giving the floor to my friend and the first President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy, who has agreed to address you with an official welcome, I give the floor to the President of FICAC, Mr Aykut Eken.

2. Discourse au Sénat

Excellences, ladies and gentlemen, this is a dream come true. As the organizer of this congress, the members of the BCU Council wished to offer you an exceptional setting. What could be more prestigious than to hold this first day of the congress at the place where the laws of the nation are elaborated and decided upon? I would like to thank the President of the Senate for agreeing to welcome us here today, and I also thank the senators and the organizing staff, without who we would not be here today. I can only say: “Excellent work!”

3. Discourse au Palais d’ Egmont

Someone once said “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened“. We are happy, because we had the opportunity to organize this 12th World Congress of Consuls, because we met so many colleagues from all over the world, because we celebrated with you the 25th anniversary of the existence of the BCU and because we are closing this congress by handing you not only a gift from one of the best Belgian chocolates, Neuhaus, but also because you will leave with a book – a pioneering work written by Mr Maxime Didat and published in two languages. This book pays tribute to our extraordinary institution and combines, in a very unique way, the theoretical concepts of political science and law and a rich arsenal of practical real-life examples. We could not imagine finishing the 12th World Congress of Consuls in a better way. Let me ask the ladies to give you these two gifts. Thank you and see you in 2021 in Korea.

Thank You,

Willy Deswaef


Honourable Colleagues,

Distinguished Guests,

This is a great pleasure for our Federation and for our colleagues from all around the world to have this first ceremony of the FICAC World Congress of Consuls in this magnificent Brussels Town Hall, completed in 1420 under direction of the architect Jacob van Thienen.

This Gothic building, which stands in the city’s Grand Place, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1998, is widely regarded as a masterpiece of medieval European secular architecture. It is interesting to note that the building’s distinctive Belfry was, however, the work of a different architect, Jan van Ruysbroeck.

By the way, I would like to remind that Belgium, and especially Brussels is not only the Center of Europe with EU and NATO Headquarters, but Belgium is also hosting more than 300 Embassies and 126 International Meetings every day.

I would like to thank my good friend for so many years, Hon. Willy Deswaef, for organizing and hosting this World Congress of Consuls 2018, together with our dear colleagues of BCU: tonight, they will give us the opportunity to taste a few of the so famous Belgian beers.

On behalf of FICAC, I am deeply honored to welcome all delegates and guests to this 12th FICAC World Congress of Consuls, with special thanks to those of our Colleagues who spent even more than 20 hours to be with us.

In October 1982, dedicated honorary consuls have worked hard to build a worldwide family, with the aim not only to bring consuls together, but also to set up an amazing global network: today, this is the result!

Thank you and Cheers!

Aykut Eken

President of the Belgian Breweries introduced some Belgian beers. The welcome cocktail ended around 10:00pm.

On the 5th of October Friday 2018, delegates seated in the Plenary Room of the Senate of Belgium. Following the welcome speech given by the President of the Senate, Mrs. Christine Defraine, the President of BCU and the President of FICAC delivered their welcome speeches. Afterwards, Minister of State H.E. Herman De Croo addressed to the attendees and declared the Official Opening of the World Congress of Consuls. Minister De Croo has been a parliamentarian for 50 years without interruption.

Madame la Présidente du Sénat, Mrs. De Fraigne,

Mr. Herman De Croo, Minister of State,


Honourable Colleagues,

Distinguished Guests,

This is a great honour for our Federation to have the opportunity to hold our today’s conference in this prestigious plenary room of the Senate: we are very grateful for your so kind hospitality.

First of all, I would like to thank my good friend for so many years, Hon. Willy Deswaef, for organizing and hosting this World Congress of Consuls 2018, together with our dear colleagues of Belgian Consular Union.

As a worldwide federation of consular associations in more than 80 countries, FICAC is bridging the consuls on cultural, social and economical aspects, but also informing about their privileges and their duties: we come together to strengthen the bond between our members and to further the role of Honorary Consuls.

Today, we have a great opportunity to learn from one another, to share the challenges our countries are facing and to find solutions together. We are “United Consuls like “United Nations”.

Recognized by UN as NGO with ECOSOC Roster status since 1993, I’m pleased to announce that ECOSOC has decided to approve the recommendation of the Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations for reclassification of consultative status of FICAC with Economic and Social Council from Roster to Special.

Diplomatic communications have changed radically in the last 20-30 years, with the increase of bilateral meetings and the advent of multilateral diplomacy ministers now meeting more frequently and informally.

Due to the involvement of new actors in international relations, Universities Media NGO’s, have joined the arena of traditional diplomacy and the way it is conducted has changed.

In recent years, there has been a global trend to gradually replace career consuls with honorary consuls. The economic dynamism of emerging regions in the world and the reduced financial resources of a lot of the countries have actually accelerated the reorganization of National Consular Networks.

Honorary Consuls are recognized by the international law and therefore can be granted the same privileges as career servants. Worldwide there are estimated 20.000 working honorary consuls.

One of the main reasons for the growing need of honorary consuls is the fact that the world is globalizing, meaning that travelling has become cheaper for regular citizens and that people are more mobile.

The job of the honorary consul is to strengthen ties, facilitate trade, investment and goodwill between two Nations, the Sending and the Receiving Countries. Business and trade promotion, culture, tourism and commerce go hand in hand, as both bring value and opportunities to each other. Career Consuls and Diplomats are increasingly located in the cities considered competitively strategic for the new world economy and they delegate their functions in the constituencies where the honorary consuls are stationed. This sort of “complementary hierarchy” maximizes the cost-benefit aspect of the consular activities of a state.

The role of honorary consul may differ depending on the circumstances of the state. There can be several tasks for an honorary consul from giving notary/consular aid for the citizens of the Sending Country, to pure marketing for the Sending Country.

We think ourselves as if we are Christians, Muslims, Budhists, Hindus, Americans, Chineses, Russians, Black, White, Rich or Poor: to make peace, we have to transform divisions into diversity and celebrate diversity.

We must uphold laws against discrimination in hiring, in housing, in education and in the criminal justice system.

Diplomacy is the application of intelligence and tact to the conduction of foreign relations. It also requires a true knowledge of both the country the diplomat is serving and the country the diplomat is serving in.

The Honorary Consul also serves as a vital link and liaison between the Government’s embassy and its citizens living abroad. But, the honorary consul is no more a civil servant, he or she is actually a “Civilian Servant”. The honorary consul is called upon to help citizens with a number of problems including legal assistance, immigration, and even medical assistance, while always helping to promote trade and investment. “A calm and modest life brings more happiness than the constant pursuit of success combined with constant relentlessness” said Einstein.

Think about a peaceful mind and a peaceful life is the key to Happiness. But look how the world thinks about happiness today: we are constantly told “Get this…Do that…Keep pushing yourself…Work really hard, and then you will be happy”. I wish that everybody could be rich and famous so that they can see for themselves that is not the answer! Let’s instead embrace a calm and modest way of life and experience the happiness we all deserve right now to find peace.

To understand the key role of FICAC for all the honorary consuls, I have the pleasure to launch the “36 Years of FICAC” book, giving some highlights of all what was accomplished by so many people for 36 years, but which is also remembering souvenirs and friendly events held all along these years.

Thank you!

After the coffee break, Mr. Herman Toch did a presentation focused on the theme of the Congress.

The lunch was served at the Cercle Gaulois.

The Senate is one of the two chambers of the bicameral Federal Parliament of Belgium, the other being the Chamber of Representatives. It is considered to be the “upper house” of the Federal Parliament. Created in 1831 as a chamber fully equal to the Chamber of Representatives, it has undergone several reforms in the past, most notably in 1993 and the reform of 2014 following the sixth Belgian state reform.

Government members, ambassadors, parliamentarians, magistrates, university professors, representatives of the liberal professions, business leaders, artists and writers meet daily over lunch in the heart of the Parc Royal in Brussels in the pleasant surroundings of the Cercle Royal Gaulois. The origins of the prestige Cercle date back to the 19th century; it was given its present name in 1950, on the merger of the Cercle Artistique et Litteraire de Bruxelles (1847) and the Cercle Royal Gaulois (1911).

In the afternoon, the moderator of the first work shop was H.E. Ambassador Patrick De Beyter.

Honorable Mr. President, Hon. Honorary Consuls, it is a pleasure for me to be invited here today to preside and to moderate this important workshop. Your activities are very important for society. The General Assembly of FICAC is an expression of your unity and symbolizes the cooperation between honorary consuls from whole over the world. Indeed, you are all playing an important role in economic diplomacy and consular affairs and that in close cooperation with your embassies. I wish to thank you for your full engagement and your availability. I have had the honor of working with many honorary consuls in the world and two of them are here today. Mrs. Mercedes Van Bladel performs fantastic work in Chile and Mr. François Piers accredited in Belgium as Honorary Consul of Tunisia was on a voluntary basis and without having to do so, an important support for the BE embassy in that country.

Hon. Piers, FICAC Director, delivered a presentation about Education and Art.

Thank you Mr. President for giving me the opportunity to highlight in this historical building, seat of the Belgian senate or second political legal chamber, another aspect that can be stimulated by the honorary consuls and its world organization FICAC.

Beside the more economic aspects like commerce and industry, we can also develop scientific exchange and research. This last item brings us to development of knowledge through academic exchange. In every country the education is part of the top priorities, as well in our sending states as in our receiving states. In both states it is organized through the school and universities. Through world organizations like UNESCO and regional like Erasmus there is a global permanent exchange to develop. It can be increased and financed through different networks. I think that our modest but active FICAC-Organization can also help these exchanges by combining in our sending and receiving states two of our daily spotlights culture and education. In each states there is culture and there is education. In each country both aspects have their own typical level of development, history, charm and effectiveness, dependent of the human and natural environment, political choice and situation, financial capacity and priorities.

Education is therefore very often dependent of an additional help coming from charity. In every country there is a culture and the local population takes care to maintain and develop different aspects of his own culture. The populations of the sending and the receiving states are proud to export or exchange their cultural background or import the one from another country. The youth and students like to stimulate these exchanges and develop new skills, expressions and creations through inspiration coming from other countries.

Therefore, I started last year with a charity exhibition in one area of culture, art, aquarelle or watercolor, but it could have been sculpture, music, fashion, and design accessories, whatever. The Honorary Consul can be the initiator such an exhibition in his sending or in his receiving state.

The charity exhibition could be organized when and where we have a regional meeting of FICAC and are an exceptional opportunity for all participants and local population to discover the charm and creativity of the exposed art, and through the art the expression of the represented country. Through the sale of the art-pieces and products, music or dance, it can contribute to the financial needs of the local and very often remote regional schools in poor areas, and will stimulate the bilateral future development of art and culture. It finally can help the more general education. After a first exhibition in Trieste in Italy two years ago, we could last year rebuild a school by another exhibition in Tunis and this year we plan to develop a new project in Israel.

I thank you for the minutes that you gave me to promote this initiative and thank you very much in advance if you have any school project in your sending or receiving state, and if you know artists or craftsmen or women who can be involved in that type of products.

I can help you in this initiative when we come to your sending or receiving state for a next regional meeting of FICAC.

I thank you in advance for your help and generosity.

François Piers

Consul of Tunisia in Belgium WVL

The Secretary General of FICAC, Hon. Nikolaos Margaropoulos, introduced the new FICAC ID cards and how to use it to access to a dedicated member zone on FICAC Website.

Hon. L.K. Sverstad, FICAC Director, delivered presentation on Trade Tourism and Health.

Hon. Gönül Oray Eken, Chairperson of the Women in Diplomacy Committee of FICAC, presented numerous video messages of prominent women leaders throughout the world.



Dear colleagues and

Distinguished guests,

It is such a great privilege for me to make a presentation about Women in Diplomacy Committee at the 12th General Assembly of FICAC.

The 21st century brings lots of fresh challenges into the diplomatic world.

-The increasing use of social media, mobile apps and other technology are changing the way diplomacy works.

-The rate of refugees is growing irresistible in that are already over-populated cities.

-Climate change is destroying lands, and inhabitants, evidently more devastating than war.

-The economic crisis is forcing the balance of the Global world.

New challenges require new negotiating solutions provided by fresh insight from relatively new candidates.

As such;

Bringing women into diplomacy is a symbol of hope and modernization for the 21st century.

Why are women necessary in diplomacy?

When regarding the skill of negotiation, women have proven themselves to be capable of deciding what is in their best interest whilst making moral judgments that are rational.

As the process of engaging in negotiations requires patience, cooperation, careful listening, and mutual understanding

for maintaining peace, the willingness to negotiate and hammer out solutions is an innate trait in women.

As FICAC, we have obviously realized that women are not well represented in senior diplomatic positions.

Diplomats must be able to represent the whole of society without gender inequality.

If diplomacy is supposed to reflect all of society!

Why does gender hierarchy exist in diplomacy?

What are women currently doing in overcoming gender hierarchy?

How can management promote better representation of women in diplomacy?

As Phumzile Mlambo-Ngucka,

The Executive Director of UN Women once said during an interview; “We have to be making sure that we get the rest of the society to buy in.

Because it is not the women who must change, it is the society that must change.

When blaming women for not doing anything, the women are the ones who have tried the hardest and the society has not changed.”

The female political leaders such as Margaret Thatcher and Theresa May in the United Kingdom, Mrs.Vigdis Finnboga-dottir in Iceland, Chancellor Angela Merkel in Germany, Madeleine Albright and Condoleezza Rice in the United State have gained more visibility in the political and diplomatic fields in particular through their professional achievements.

In time

Corazon C. Aquino of the Philippines,

Sheikh Hasina Wajed of Bangladesh,

Megawati Sukarnoputri of Indonesia,

Tsai Ing-wen of Republic of China

Chandrika Bandara-naike Kumaratunga of Sri Lanka Benazir Bhutto of Pakistan Bidhya Devi Bhandari of Nepal and many other women diplomats and leaders took places in Asia.


The number of women serving in the diplomatic field increased over the past decade, but these changes were more common in the West than the rest of the world.


We have visual messages from Female diplomats and leaders who have highly difficult positions and good negotiating skills.

They answered the following questions which outlines the aim of our strategy;

-What does it mean to be a Diplomat?

-What are the challenges and advantages?

-How do you see the status of Women Diplomats in the next decade?

Thank you for your kind attention.

Gönül Eken

President of Unica, Mr. Luciano Saso, presented “the Erasmus programme a European success story”

Moderator of the second workshop was H.E. Ambassador Thomas Antoine. This 2nd work shop was focused on MoU’s signed by FICAC with different foundations and associations.

The role of the honorary consul and the economic diplomacy in the global world. Brussels, 5 October 2018

Dear president of the FICAC, My President Aykut Eken, Dear President of the Belgian Consular Union Willy Deswaef, dear members of the FICAC, I feel greatly honored to be among real friends, true and tested.

I will not give you an intellectual speech today but rather a testimony based on my experience of 35 years of a career diplomat.

All along those years, I could appreciate the indispensable support of the Honorary Consuls, true and tested friends.

Indeed, the challenge of an official envoy is to create a network of trusted allies, in a spirit of understanding, cooperation, and friendship. Beyond the zero-sum games!

How is this possible without the HC? They already have a fantastic network of trusted people. Ambassadors pass, HC stay.

TRUST is the keyword of international life (actually of all life), not power. Convaincre is better than vaincre.

And who are those HC? Advisors and friends;

But who are you my friends? Let us have look to your name: honorary Consul

Consul” has a double etymology:

Consulere: verb meaning consult, decide, judge, originally the Consul was a magistrate, a person of authority and wisdom.

But also

Cum salire: to walk together, an idea of solidarity, of collegiality of which the FICAC and this splendid event is an obvious illustration. Together we stand (and we walk)

Honorary: honor, honesty has a sacred meaning: something money cannot buy; this idea of honor is at the very base of the independence of the HC of his judgment, of the trust he inspires.

Honor is not what you have, it is who you are.

TRUST thus, the foundation of peace and trade.

I come to the title of this speech: the role of the honorary consul and the economic diplomacy in the global world.


Diplomacy was at the origin economic; the first diplomats were traders with the purpose of profitable mutual exchange. Origin of immunity, to make sure the trader would come again.

If the exchange is fair, if trust is at the base of the relation, trade is more than the exchanges of goods.

Trade, the “doux commerce” of Montesquieu, is to recognize that you need the other, that, every people on earth can contribute to more prosperity and happiness, based on trust (again).

That’s where the HC are indispensable to foster the right contacts, to inform on the notoriety of possible partners. You do not do business with a company, you do business with people.

A global world is more challenging: climate, environment, security, radicalization, the 17 sustainable development goals (SDG) to be dealt with other mores, other mentalities, other jurisdictions, difficulties, misunderstandings that are amplified by the distance, whether geographic, linguistic and cultural. The wisdom and experience of the HC is vital, like a “living bridge”.

I can tell you how much I appreciated the help of Aykut and Gönul Eken in Istanbul, of François and Bernadette Piers in Tunisia, of the numerous HC in Argentina, a country 100 times larger than Belgium, in Uruguay, in Paraguay.

So, in a nutshell, what can a HC do for the Ambassador? Help him to get out of his office, to discover the real country, to meet the real people, to help him fall in love with them.

Thank you for all this!

Thomas Antoine

There was Presentation of Doctoral Diploma handover ceremony to Hon. Aykut Eken, President of FICAC, by representatives of Alfred Nobel Open Business School and Milton Friedman University (Hungry), Dean Prof. Dr. Rudolf Sardi and Ambassador H.E. Dr.Gyorgy, Chairman of the Business School.

Mr. Joao Paulo Menezes Falcao, President of INTERLEGAL, spoke about his own association.

Mrs. Caroline Petit, Vice Chairman of UNRIC, spoke about UN and UNRIC

Hon. Nikolaos Margaropoulos spoke about different MoU’s signed by FICAC.

Vote of thanks was made by FICAC Vice President, Hon. Kostas Lefkaritis.

The family photo was taken at the Senate.

In the evening, the delegates visited Bozar and enjoyed the exposition “New Horizons beyond Klimt”. H.E. Mrs. Elisabeth Kornfeind, Ambassador of Austria, presented the theme of the exposition.

Delegates had the opportunity to taste several Belgian specialties.

On Saturday 6th of October 2018, Triennial and Constitutional General Assembly of “FICAC AISBL” was held at the Arenberg Hall at the Egmont Palace. Accredited delegates and observers took a place for a fruitful working meeting.

The Egmont Palace was built between 1548 and 1560 by Françoise of Luxembourg and her son, Lamoral, Count of Egmont, first in Flemish Gothicstyle later Renaissance. The fabric was dramatically transformed in the 18th century, when the building was clothed in neoclassical style, while the property passed onto the Arenberg family. The venue hosted the fencing events for the 1920 Summer Olympics in the garden. After World War I, the owner, the German Arenberg family, was forced to sell the building to the Belgian state reform was signed in the Egmont Palace. The palace is used for receptions and meetings by the Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Hon. Aykut Eken, President of FICAC aisbl, presented his report for the period 2015-2018, on behalf of Board of Directors.

Honorable Colleagues,

Distinguished Observers,

During the 3 years of the present administration of FICAC, we have made great strides forward. Regional Conferences and meetings have been held all around the world, all with the goal to strengthen and to consolidate FICAC.

As a result, new members have joined our Federation and several other ones are on the way. Now, we look forward to strengthening our presence in Africa and Australia-Oceania Region. It was one of the issues, amongst many other ones, which was discussed at our regular Executive Committee Meetings, attended by 13 FICAC Directors coming from all around the world for very intensive sessions.

To my administration, my Colleagues for 3 years, I have drawn their energy and to reflect back what they displayed: heart, character and idealism. Our Constitution is remarkable, it is a piece of paper, but we, the honorary consuls, are giving it power thanks to our involvement, our work and our ideas.

I wish to all and each of you, a very fruitful General Assembly.

Thank you!

FICAC General Assembly, Brussels, Belgium, 6th of October, 2018

Dear Honourable Colleagues,

It is a great pleasure to welcome all of you in this beautiful and prestigious “Palais d’Egmont”. I’m aware most of you have travelled from far away and I’m very grateful to all of you: your presence is showing your support to our Federation. Thank you!

Since the last General Assembly in Istanbul in 2015, I wish to report the main achievements of our Board.

New Provisional Members

  • Bulgaria
  • Chile
  • Columbia
  • Honduras
  • Kazakhstan
  • Lithuania
  • Mauritania
  • Morocco
  • Romania
  • Saudi Arabia
  • South Korea
  • Thessaloniki Greece
  • Tunisia
  • Uganda

Proposal of Amendments to our Statutes will be submitted later on during this General Assembly.

Successful conferences & Events organized worldwide and attended by several Directors, by Observers, by my wife Gönül and myself:

  • November 2016 – FICAC East Asia regional Conference in Penang, Malaysia, prepared by Dato Rafiq Karim. The delegation had a meeting with The Right Honourable Mr. Lim Gwanang, Chief Minister of Penang, and with the Head of State of Penang His Excellency Tun Dato Utama Agi Badul Rakman Bin Agin Abas
  • March 2017 – FICAC Consular Conference in Tel Aviv, Israel, organized by the Late Hon. Peter Gad Naschitz. At this occasion, the delegation visited Jaffa Peres Center of Peace and met Chimi Peres, the son of Shimon Peres.
  • FICAC Horses Race Cup : every year a race in organized in Turkey, end of September
  • February – April 2018 – Exhibition in Istanbul « Un Regard Francophone : Turquerie et Orientalisme »
  • April 2018 – high level conference was held in Santiago de Chile, organized by Hon. Mercedes Van Bladel, President of the Association of Honorary Consuls in Chile – ACACHI -, in cooperation with PDI, Police Department of Investigations, with the theme “Migration, Security, Human Traffic, Role of Women in Diplomacy and Sustainable Development”.
  • June 2018 – 2nd FICAC South East Europe Consular Conference was held in the beautiful city of Thessaloniki, Greece. The event was organized by the Consular Corps of Thessaloniki.
  • Participation to several events/courtesy visits to promote actively FICAC

December 2015: Courtesy visit to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Belgium, His Excellency Didier Reynders.

February 2016: Courtesy visits to MFA and Officials of several Central America and Caribbean’s countries (the Vice-President of Panama, Her Excellency Isabel Saint Malo; Minister of Foreign Trade of Costa Rica, His Excellency Alexander Mora; Minister of Foreign Affairs of Guatemala, His Excellency Rodrigo Vielman; Minister of Foreign Affairs of Jamaica, Senator Kamina Johnson Smith; Minister of Foreign Affairs of St Kitts & Nevis, Honourable Mark Bandley; Minister of Foreign Affairs of Barbados, Honourable Jerome Walcott; Minister of Foreign Affairs of Dominican Republic, His Excellency Andres Navaro)

February 2016: The President of the Dominican Republic His Excellency Medina Sanchez was awarded with the FICAC Gold Star in presence of the Board of Directors, Members of the Consular Corps of the Dominican Republic and Members of FICAC

Mai 2016: Meeting in New York with the President of the UN General Assembly, His Excellency Mogens Lykkctoft; the President of UN ECOSOC His Excellency Of Sun, Ambassador of South Korea and the President of Brooklyn Eric Adams.

September 2016: in Brussels, Belgium, Meeting with the President of UNRIC Mrs. Deborah Seward (United Nation Regional Information Centre) and the Secretary General of ICC (International Chamber of Commerce) Mr. Mathieu Maes.

November 2016: President attended Gusi Peace Prize in Manila, Philippines, to support the awarded FICAC Director Hon. K.L. Ganju.

January 2017: President visited the Prime Minister and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of St Kitts & Nevis His Excellency Timothy Harris.

February 2017: President delivered a speech in the plenary room of the UN Headquarters in New York for the International Day of Women and Girls in Sciences, Vice-President Hon. Lefkaridis and Hon. M.E. Davis also attended the event.

February 2017: President visited the Consul General of Belgium Mr. Van Thieghem, in Los Angeles, USA, who organized a meeting with members of the Los Angeles Consular Corps

March 2017: President attended the Gala Dinner organized jointly by 3 Consular Associations from Belgium (Liège), the Netherlands (Maastricht) and Germany (Aachen)

October 2017: President attended the Gala Dinner of the Belgian Consular Union in Brussels, Belgium

October 2017: FICAC Board visited Tunisia and met with His Excellency Sabri Bach Tobi, Secretary of States to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, and His Excellency Mohammed Ali Nafti, Director General of the Consular Affairs at MFA.

November 2017: Courtesy visits of the President to MFA in Tokyo, Japan, and to Busan, South Korea, where President and his spouse Gönül met the Mayor and some Officials.

November 2017: President attended the Gusi Peace Prize in Manila, Philippines, to support the awarded FICAC Director Hon. Asif Chowdhury.

December 2017: Courtesy visit to MFA, H.E. Ambassador Gyorgy Suha in Budapest, Hungary, who kindly travelled here to attend the conference.

February 2018: Vice-President Hon. Lefkaritis, Hon. Van Bladel, Hon. E.M. Davis and Hon. Bouraoui attended the 3rd International Day of Women & Girls in Science Forum at United Nations Head-Quarters in New York. Vice-President delivered a speech.

February 2018: visit of the President to 2 US Congressmen Adam Kinsinger and Donald BR Jr. in Washington DC.

April 2018: visit of the President and Director Hon. B. Shrestha to Columbia Consular Associations in Cartagena and Barranquilla.

July 2018: visit of the President and Secretary General to the Consular Corps in Greece to meet the President Hon. Captain Soutos.

September 2018: Courtesy visit of the Board of Directors to the Mayor of Bodrum in Turkey

September 2018: FICAC Horses Race Cup was held in Turkey, like every year.

  • 13 Fruitful Board of Directors thanks to the support and the attendance of each one.
  • Several Awards and Certificates given to FICAC Members and Guest-Speakers to our conferences.
  • FICAC ID Cards

More than 400 FICAC ID Cards have been issued and we do hope the new FICAC ID Card, with validity until the end of 2021, will be issued even more largely, since providing the opportunity for FICAC Members to have exclusive access to a Forum, where they will be able to network with all Colleagues and to exchange about business opportunities.

We are still looking to find partners and benefits to be proposed to the holders of these cards and to succeed, as already mentioned several times, we need the active support of all of you, but also of all FICAC Members. I’m aware it is taking time, but I’m convinced it is important to showing to all our members that FICAC is not only words, but also acts. All FICAC Directors and FICAC Members who are enjoying some privileged links with any potential partners are the most welcome to approach them in order to have FICAC in position to propose the largest panel of benefits.

  • Signature of MoU
  • RASIT – Royal Academy of Sciences International Trust (HRH Princess Nisreen El-Hashemite)
  • INTERLEGAL (Legal Worldwide Network)
  • ASCAME (the Association of the Mediterranean Chambers of Commerce and Industry)
  • With universities : IHU, International Hellenic University (Thessaloniki); Bahçeşehir University, Turkey;
  • FICAC Pins

The design of the pins has been highly appreciated and the sales are a success

  • Social Media

Besides the website, FICAC is now present on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram.

  • A letter to introduce FICAC was prepared by the Office of the President to be forwarded to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of all countries, through their Ambassador in Brussels, Belgium. So we duly informed all the countries about FICAC.
  • Central and Regional Committees were installed and, in particular a new one, “Women in Diplomacy” is very active and successful, doing an excellent job to promote the role of Women in Diplomacy
  • 36 Years of FICAC” book.

Thanks to the son of the Founding President Consul General Vagn Jespersen and to the Dean of the Consular Corps Helsinki-Finland, Hon. Harry Blassar, we collected a lot of documents regarding the period 1982-2000.

From 2000, I had a look to my own archives and to the archives of the Permanent Secretariat in Brussels. Today, we have a book giving some highlights of all what was accomplished by so many people for 36 years, but it is also remembering souvenirs and friendly events held all along these years.

It is a non-exhaustive vision of all what happened, with the goal to understand the key role of FICAC for all the honorary consuls.

  • Last, but not least, UN ECOSOC decided to approve the recommendation of the Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations for reclassification of consultative status of FICAC with the Economic and Social Council from Roster to the higher one, Special. At this point I would like to thank my Chief of Cabinet Patrick Debus who worked 5 years to achieve this important goal.

I would like to also address my gratitude to our Secretary General Hon. Nikos Margaropoulos who has been anytime present to assist me and my office: he has been extremely helpful throughout this 3-year term. Thank you Nikos!

But now I have another dream: to have a Consular Day recognized and celebrated internationally.

I wish to put in records, how grateful I’m to all and each of you for your involvement in the World Federation of Consuls.

Thank you!

Hon. Nikolaos Margaropoulos Secretary General and Hon. Sylvain Cohen, Treasurer, presented their reports.

After discharge book years 2015/2016/2017 and Board of Directors, Hon. Nikolaos Margaropoulos presented the proposed amendments to the Constitution. The amendments were approved unanimously and going immediately in force.

The former Secretary General presented the candidates for the period 2018-2021 and the countries candidates to host the XIII World Congress of Consuls.

General Assembly elected Board members as follows;

  • President, Hon. Aykut Eken
  • Vice President, Hon. Kostas Lefkaritis
  • Secretary General, Hon. Nikolaos Margaropoulos
  • Treasurer, Hon. Sylvain Cohen


  • Hon. Dr. M. Ikhtiar Baig
  • Hon. Jelil Bouraoui
  • Hon. Asif Chowdhury
  • Hon. Francois Piers
  • Hon. Marko Smole
  • Hon. Leif-Kristian Sverstad 
  • Hon. Mercedes Van Bladel

Korea was elected as the host country for the XIII World Congress of Consuls.

Honourable Colleagues,

Distinguished Observers,

First of all, I wish to congratulate all the elected Directors: welcome within the Board of Directors!

I also wish to thank the candidate who has not been elected this time: FICAC needs all of you to go ahead and to work together for the benefit of all our Member Associations and all the Honorary Consuls worldwide.

We need all of you to be involved in the Central and Regional Committees: FICAC is a team, we need to work together to be stronger.

Following the Constitution, General Assembly of FICAC is the mother body and all Committees are its children.

Democratic bodies have to be transparent in their work: for this reason, at our Board of Directors meetings, we are inviting Members as Observers.

We are informing regularly about the achievements of the Committees, but it is not sufficient: we need more members involved in FICAC Committees and to be even more transparent and to spread the info to all Members.

There is no time for criticism and condemnation, but for cooperation and consideration. We have to work together closely, to help each other to work as an organized team that will bring the required results for the benefit of the consuls of the future.

If you are ready to work, it does matter who you are, where you are coming from, what you look like or where you live: you are the most welcome!

There is nothing better than personal contacts to foster deeper friendships and greater understanding between each other.

Myself and all Members of the Board of Directors for the coming 3 years, we are needing your support, your help and your assistance to successfully achieve our important work for the benefit of all FICAC Members.

Thank you!

XII WCC in Brussels ended with a Black Tie Gala Dinner at Egmont Palace.

After the speech of the new elected President, Hon. Eken, and after the presentation of the new members, H.E. Didier Reynders, Vice-Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Belgium, Mrs. Vincianne Pirenne received the Gianni Award from Belgian Consular Union.

Your Excellency Min. Didier Renders,

Dear Excellencies, Colleagues, Distinguished Guests,

It gives me great pleasure to be here this magnificent place Palais D’Egmont at the Gala Dinner of FICAC’s the 12th World Congress of Consuls in Brussels. We have finalized our working at the end of the 3 hard days.

First of all, let me thank my dear friend, my colleague Hon. Willy Deswaef for organizing this fantastic meetings and hosting us with our dear colleagues BCU in different high-end building of Brussels. Such as;

Town Hall in Grand Place

Senate of Belgium

Beaux Arts of Brussels

Palais D’Egmont

Thank you Willy.

I also thank to all of you for being here and attending all the meetings by coming away from all around the world.

At this opportunity, I would like to express my appreciation for working of my previous Administration Board Members. I wish to congratulate all the new elected directors: welcome within the Board of Directors.

The role of FICAC is to answer the expectation of our members and regionalize in order to have more relationships with each one so we have a very long way to walk all together not only with the Directors, but also, with all our colleagues. We need your ideas, your guidance, your advice, your assistance.

Now, I would like to present his book to Willy our FICAC 36 year’s history. Now I would like to rise my glass for healthy and peaceful life. Enjoy your dinner.

Thank you.

Gala Dinner ended with the thanks of the President of Belgium Consular Union, Hon. Willy Deswaef, to all the participants.

The family photo with the entire participant was taken at the Palais D’Egmont.