Consular Corps of Arizona Former Chairman Michael Chan announces the recipient of the 2013 Global Diplomat Award - Amb. Raul Castro
Welcome to the Consular Corps of Arizona!
The United States of America has often been referred to as a “melting pot,” a phrase dating back centuries and called such because of the great numbers of foreign-born who have come to seek fortune, fame or, as is more often the case, simple freedom. Because of the great multitudes that have made America home from our beginning to this day, the fabric of America is interwoven with the identities, faiths and cultures of a planet.
In tandem with the great tide of immigration, America’s relationships with that planet and her inhabitants has created diplomatic relationships and postings – from Benjamin Franklin, first American Minister to France (Ambassador is the title today) to today’s Department of State in Washington, D.C. which accredits foreign ambassadors and their diplomats in America.
Into this milieu has arisen the need for consulates around the country, both career and honorary, the consulates representing and assisting their ambassadors in a variety of duties. These consulates, including those in Arizona, represent constituents and nationals that live in or visit our state and over the years, they have numbered in the millions.
The Consular Corps of Arizona (CCAZ) was created in 1961 to create a space for both career and honorary consuls to exchange ideas and information, perform official duties for their respective countries and educate and inform the Arizona public about their countries and their work. Today, the CCAZ has 32 consulates, 4 career and 28 honorary. Career consuls are full time employees of their government and a national of their country while honorary consuls may be either US citizens or permanent residents and are not required to be a national of the country they represent. Since honorary consuls are non-career diplomats, they also hold other full-time professions. Honorary consuls are generally appointed to provide consular services in areas not covered by a career consul and receive no remuneration for their services. Both career and honorary consuls are accredited by and issued official credentials by the United States Department of State.
Corps members work to facilitate and enhance relationships between their governments and people and Arizona. Both career and honorary consuls are appointed by the Head of State or Foreign Minister of the country they represent and each country determines their need for representation and establishes their consulate with the approval of the United States Department of State.
Career and honorary consuls represent the interests of their governments with Arizona. In addition, they promote tourism, trade, scientific, educational and cultural exchanges between their country and Arizona. They also provide consular aide to nationals of their countries who either reside in or visit Arizona. Consular aide can cover a variety of activities including authentication of documents, processing and issuance of passports and visas, identity cards, and visits in detention facilities when applicable.
The Consular Corps of Arizona also has a small number of distinguished Emeritus Members that are part of its membership and the Corps itself is governed by a group of voluntary officers who guide the Corps during their two-year terms. The current CCAZ Chairman is The Honorable Michael Chan, Honorary Consul of Estonia.
In essence, the CCAZ and their members serve as ambassadors of their countries to Arizona, working to build and foster awareness and relationships between Arizonans and our international friends. In doing so, it is the hope of the CCAZ that we can all contribute to a better understanding and appreciation of each other’s countries, cultures, and communities.
If you have arrived at these pages to learn more about the identities, cultures and geography represented through the Corps, we invite you to peruse the pages of our Corps members where you will learn more about the countries represented in Arizona and the individuals who represent those countries. On the other hand if you are here as a citizen of another country and need assistance, we invite you to contact your career or honorary consul through these pages. Information about all Corps members and our activities is available under their respective tabs.
Thank you for your interest in the Consular Corps of Arizona.
The first Honorary Consul appointed in Arizona was Joseph E. Refsnes, in 1949, representing Norway. This happened at a time when NATO was training cadets from other countries at Williams and Luke Fields. Others followed: Paul Coze was appointed Honorary Vice Consul of France in 1951, Rudy Zepada was appointed the first Honorary Consul of Belgium in 1952, Foster Mori was appointed Honorary Consular Agent of Italy in 1957, and Robert C. Kelso was appointed Honorary Consul of the Federal Republic of Germany in 1961. The preceding five consuls formed the Consular Corps of Arizona in 1961, electing Rudy Zepada as Chairman, Foster Mori as Vice Chairman, and Robert Kelso as Secretary/Treasurer. Robert P. LeMarr, representing Ecuador, joined the Consular Corps in 1963, while Dr. Ingel Anderson, representing Sweden, joined the Corps in 1967. Both Consul Anderson and Consul LeMarr subsequently served as Chairman. Emeriti Consuls Mori and LeMarr are still active in the activities of the Arizona Corps.
*NOTE: All career and honorary consuls listed have jurisdiction in the State of Arizona (unless otherwise noted). Following the practice of the US Department of State Office of Protocol, all accredited heads of post are accorded the courtesy title of “The Honorable” before their names. All consuls listed herein have presented their official credentials issued by the US Department of State (Consular Identification Card) and their appointment or patent letters from their respective Ministries of Foreign Affairs.