Over 130 Honorary Consuls of Iceland from 57 countries are attending a consular conference in Reykjavik, hosted by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Iceland. The purpose of the conference is to strengthen the relationship and cooperation with these guardians of Iceland‘s interest abroad and to update them about the status of the economy, business, tourism, arts and business opportunities in Iceland, to name a few.
Foreign Minister Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson welcomed in his opening speech, the Honorary Consuls who had made the long journey to Iceland. “We take immense pride in being able to provide our citizens with first class consular services around the world and you are the key to that. For that we are extremely thankful," he said.
In total, Iceland has 243 Honorary Consuls abroad, operating in 89 countries. Most are foreign nationals, performing consular duties for Iceland, putting in immeasurable work to assist Icelandic citizens in need.
The Honorary Consuls are in fact Iceland's extended arm abroad. Their status and connections back home have proven to be extremely helpful for Icelandic exports and business over the years and many examples of new market-opportunities are thanks to their endeavors.
The Honorary Consuls did not arrive empty-handed, as they presented a gift to the Foreign Ministry; a conference table made from pieces of wood from over 80 countries, including a fragment of the Bergen pier which was built in 1702, wood from the Himalayas and the Amazon rain forest. The table reflects the diverse backgrounds of Iceland's Consuls, and is indeed a Word Wide Wood, says Iceland's consul in Bornholm, Jørgen Hammer, who's idea it was to assemble the pieces. The table was done by furniture architect Leifur Ebenezerson.
This is the seventh Icelandic consuls-conference, the last one being in 2006.