Parker: New honorary consul for France adds to international corps in Calgary

The newly appointed French honorary consul is Emmanuel Giry

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Honorary consul is a prestigious title given to a non-professional diplomat who represents one country in another, primarily to promote economic, cultural and economic ties between the two countries.

Calgary is a truly international city with a strong consular corps of eight permanent missions (China, Colombia, El Salvador, Japan, Mexico Philippines, U.K. and United States) called consuls general, and 31 honorary consuls.

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Those appointed to honorary positions receive no remuneration, but are tasked with representing trade interests and promoting cultural and educational ties. The volunteer position can be a strong commitment of time and energy.

France naturally has major relationships with this province and its honorary consul position is one that carries a heavy duty. Most recently it was carried out by Roy Klassen, a partner of McLeod Law, who has completed his mandate that began in 2014. The newly appointed French honorary consul is Emmanuel Giry.

Giry was born in Belgium. His father worked for and travelled with an international organization, which meant Giry spent early years in the French Alps and returned to Brussels for much of his schooling, but attended Paris-Saclay University to earn his degree in industrial engineering. He worked in France for 15 years — 10 as engineering manager with a large construction material manufacturing company and five as director of logistics for a company based in the Paris area.

His wife, Veronique, in an executive position with Total, was transferred in 2005 to Venezuela and Giry moved to Caracas as operations manager for Veolia Environment, involved in municipal waste management services. But when the government there made it tough for foreign companies a year later, the move was made to Calgary.

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Giry worked here briefly through the French embassy for a state/private organization, then for the Alberta Energy Regulator for four years and also with Husky, before joining Conoco Philipps in process safety management.

He and his family are now Canadian citizens who have been passionately involved in our local French community. Along with Klassen and Gerard Carlier, former French honorary consul and secretary of the Calgary Consular Corps (CCC), they founded Calgary Accueil, a non-profit organization for those interested in learning more about French culture and way of life.

Giry is looking forward to serving France in his new role, and Klassen is expecting to continue representing its government; he has been approached to serve as an honorary trade adviser by the Department of Commerce (Conseiller du Commerce Extérieur).

Carlier also reports on other recent moves within the Calgary Consular Corps.

Stuart McDowall has resigned as honorary consul for the Ivory Coast to spend more time at his family ranch.

Catriona Le May Doan, retired speedskater and double Olympic champion who served as chef de mission for Team Canada at the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, has been appointed as the new honorary consul for the Netherlands. She is currently president and CEO of Sport Calgary, responsible for more than 350 member organizations who rely on Sport Calgary for assisting, supporting and influencing the growth of sport in Calgary.

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Peter Manousos, a lawyer with Merchant Law Group, is the new honorary consul for Greece, Brad Mitchell, CEO of the Alberta Real Estate Association, is the new honorary consul for Romania, and avid golfer Cyril Zupan, owner and operator of CZ Sports Sales, represents Slovenia.

Consuls general are usually given a fixed time of around four years to serve in a foreign country, so we can expect changes to at least two in the near future.

Notes:

• Consul general of the People’s Republic of China, Liying Zhao, will no doubt be busy for the next few weeks helping our local Chinese community to celebrate the Year of the Dragon in a number of festivities. Gong Xi Fa Cai to all of my Chinese friends.

• David Mulholland has joined Steve Vesuwalla’s team at Clearview Commercial Realty as vice-president of office leasing and sales. Since beginning his real estate career in 2008 after earning a bachelor of commerce in finance at the University of Alberta, Mulholland, formerly with Blackstone Commercial and JLL, has facilitated more than 4.7 million square feet in leasing and sales transactions.

David Parker appears regularly in the Herald. Read his columns online at calgaryherald.com/business. He can be reached at 403-830-4622 or by email at [email protected]

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