Who are consuls? What do they do? Why are they in our communities? Aah, those lingering questions for which answers don’t come quickly when the word is used in marketing and promotion. Here are some examples of consuls in their inanimate form:

Consul as a butterfly species

Ford Consul Convertible

And now for a brief look at living, human consuls. When George Firestone was Florida’s Secretary of State 1978-87, he officially acknowledged that the state’s international identity was tied to the foreign consuls who functioned within it. Soon, Florida officials also came to realize that the old handbook on state protocol – Practical Protocol for Floridians – should be updated to reflect this part of the emerging globalism in trade and culture.

In 1984, Allen Morris, the Clerk of the House of Representatives, asked me to add a chapter on not only the protocol for dealing with consuls but also to expound on the meaning of the role of consuls. Why do foreign consuls have different titles? Should they be approached differently when they serve in a career or honorary position? Are there rules of protocol that really matter? And, above all, how can civic and business leaders and state officials benefit from having this knowledge?

In an effort to educate the larger community on consular issues, I created and for almost ten years penned a monthly column on consular affairs (“Esprit de Corps”) for Miami Today, Newspaper for the Future of Miami http://www.miamitodaynews.com

Writers (like myself) and staff on the roof of Miami Today, 1985

 

 

 

Around that time I also filed corrections on consular status and terminology with the Miami Herald, and later I was the Education Reporter for the Palm Beach Observer.

 

You may also consider the branding of “Consul” for a certain kind of typewriter.

Consul typewriter

How quaint it all seems today, when we know that a consul is an official of a foreign nation, either in a career position or as an honorary consul but both performing consular functions for another country.