Story and Photo by
Staff Sgt. Crista Yazzie
U.S. Army-Pacific Contingency Command Post Public Affairs
FORT SHAFTER — Members of the Consular Corps of Hawaii met with Lt. Gen. Benjamin Mixon, commanding general, U.S. Army-Pacific, for the first time during a luncheon and briefing about the USARPAC mission and its environmental programs, Aug. 27.
“Gen. Mixon was kind enough to offer an invitation for us to come to Fort Shafter, and his briefing was excellent and very detailed,” said Patricia Lee, honorary consul of France and dean of the Consular Corps of Hawaii. “We certainly came away with a tremendous respect and greater understanding of (USARPAC’s) mission. Certainly, many of us were not aware of the conservation and environmental stewardship effort. (USARPAC) is very supportive of preserving the land and that’s information that should go out to the public.”
The Consular Corps of Hawaii consists of six career consulates general and 32 consulates general, or consulates ad honorem, all representing different countries. According to the group’s official website, activities for the Consular Corps include furthering trade, maintaining close relations with state and county governments and the military, advising and helping nationals in Hawaii, and supporting culture and the arts.
Consular Corps members annually brief U.S. Pacific Command, but this time was the first they had met with USARPAC.
Mixon detailed various USARPAC endeavors throughout the Asia-Pacific region, noting everything from command post exercises, to humanitarian aid and disaster relief. Other topics of discussion included USARPAC’s interaction with other nations’ partners and what the command is doing to enhance these relations and future plans for the region.
After Mixon’s speech, Michelle Mansker, natural resources manager for U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii’s Environmental Management Program, provided information about Army environmental and cultural programs.
Approximately 20 consulars general and associates attended the briefing and lunch with approximately 15 officers from the USARPAC staff, who represented the command group and Security Cooperation and Policy division. Of the consulars in attendance, three were consuls general while the remainder were appointed as honorary consuls.
Representatives attending from as far as Finland, Peru, Australia and Japan were only a sampling of the many countries, and their interests, which are present in the Consular Corps. The corps has a diverse background; some of the representatives are career foreign service officers while others are distinguished local citizens with a connection to the country they represent. As a result, the group has strong networks within the local business, cultural and academic communities.
“The Consular Corps in Hawaii has a long and distinguished history dating back to King Kamehameha II in 1820, and you continue to play a very important role to this day in maintaining a broad and beneficial understanding of the (U.S.) and its activities in the Asia-Pacific Region,” Mixon said, to the audience. “Today is so important, and I hope it will be only the first of many other interactions between the Hawaii Consular Corps and (USARPAC).”
To learn more about the Consular Corps of Hawaii, visit www.consularcorpshawaii.org.