Academically speaking, I am a European and U.S.-educated lawyer, with a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership, with certificates from the University of Geneva (International Organizations) and the Hague Academy of International Law (Diplomatic Law). My first law school thesis was on the Vienna Conventions on diplomatic and consular privileges and immunities.
Throughout my career I was committed to international education and was active in many organizations that shared the goal of preparing coming generations for the new global community. Among them: AALS (Association of American Law Schools) Section on Graduate Programs for Foreign Lawyers (founding president; newsletter editor); Florida State Commission on International Education (Law School Representative); NAFSA: Association of International Educators (national Parliamentarian); and more.
I was also a member of the Consular Corps College, Washington, D.C. and recently contributed to its Forum Magazine 2015 No 4.
The National Association of Foreign Consuls in the United State
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
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.
Most recently, I had a piece in the former on how businesses may benefit from understanding the services consulates provide in their areas.
As an active member of the Consular Corps of Miami (since my retirement I have remained an Associate Member) I served ten years as Secretary of the Corps and, as part of an informal trio with the long-time Dean and Treasurer at that time, made sure the community knew of our presence. We had special programs featuring individual countries, and our annual ball or Valentine’s party became quite sought-after for both their prestigious guests and the fun everyone seemed to have.
Enjoy the cavalcade of pictures below. To get the caption under each, just hover the cursor on the picture you’re curious about.
GENESIS OF THE CONSULAR GUIDE:
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. Around that time, 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?
Long before this chapter was added to the state book, I had already been fielding queries from cities and organizations around the country about some situation involving consuls. Therefore, I already knew that there was a historical need for an easy-to-understand guide not only for private citizens – such as business and civic leaders – but also officials, such as the representatives of municipalities with an already-existing consular presence. Suddenly, there was a surge in requests for copies of the state handbook, if only just for the consular chapter. In an official letter, Mr. Morris credited me for filling an existing void in practical and accurate advice on consuls. Today, the need for updated and relevant information continues.
At the time of the first revision of the state handbook, I was the secretary of the third largest consular corps in the U.S. As the keeper of the records, and in that sense somewhat of a “public face” of the corps, I was frequently asked to explain how and why foreign consuls should be treated with the respect and dignity that their position calls for. There was, after all, some sort of “rules” (not to be confused with the historical protocol used with ambassadors throughout the capitals of all nations), but nobody knew exactly what it was with consuls. Was it a matter of purely social etiquette or some form of protocol specific to people while serving as foreign consuls?
When some lawyers – some of whom were honorary consuls themselves – told me about their lack of understanding of their consular status I wrote a law review article with a very practical slant (1 U.M. International Yearbook 143 (1991): Counsel, Consul, or Diplomat: Any Practical Significance for Practitioners?)
Above all, I never stopped keeping notes on the many business, civic, or official situations where the position of a foreign consul is misunderstood or ignored. These scenarios, all using fictitious names for the nations and people involved, provide exciting fodder for all readers of the book.
This is the only work of its kind that contains actual case studies from all around the country, as it comes with a question-and-answer section (You Can’t Make this Stuff Up). In addition to my blog at http://chofstadter.com/blog/ this is where I share some of the common consular dilemmas I’ve been asked to resolve over the years and continue to be queried about.
FROM MY PERSONAL HISTORY AS CONSUL:
RECENT NEWS OF INTEREST:
Tequesta (Nr. LXXVII, Dec. 2017), the journal of HistoryMiami Museum, has a piece by me, A Corps of Foreign Consuls: Looking at its Miami Roots. Check it out to learn about how deeply these roots really run. The only way to get a copy of the journal is by purchasing it on Amazon; any profits go to the Museum.
The Business Section of the Miami Herald published my piece on how business and trade interests can connect with the resources provided by local consulates. Here’s the link: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/business/biz-monday/article45700416.html
Email me at: AboutConsuls@outlook.com