Lawyers Christina Tolvas-Vincent and John Gibson have been installed as honorary consuls of Finland in Southampton and Liverpool respectively. Tolvas-Vincent and Gibson were appointed to their new roles by Erkki Tuomioja, the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Finland.
The honorary consulates augment Finland’s network of diplomatic missions, made up of embassies, consulates general, consulates and other liaison offices. Honorary consuls are private individuals who take care of their tasks on a part-time basis without remuneration.
Together with diplomatic missions, an honorary consul promotes economic and cultural relations between Finland and the country in question, and takes part in strengthening Finland’s image abroad. An honorary consul can advise Finnish companies, for instance, in obtaining information about local business culture and in finding cooperation partners.
Christina Tolvas-Vincent, Partner at Bond Pearce law firm in Southampton, is delighted to take on the role of honorary consul of her native Finland. “As a Finn living and working in the UK I have unique perspective on the relationship between the two countries and the issues faced by those in the Finnish business world who wish to interact with the UK and vice versa”, she told the BBC Hampshire & Isle of Wight.
The Finnish Honorary Consulate in Southampton was officially opened on 20 December in the presence of Ambassador Pekka Huhtaniemi and local notables, including the Mayor and Mayoress of Southampton, Councillor Terry Matthews and Mrs Lesley Matthews.
John Gibson, Head of Notarial Services at the Liverpool law firm Hill Dickinson, was formally introduced to his new role in the beginning of December when Ambassador Pekka Huhtaniemi visited Liverpool and introduced John to local dignitaries. Finland has significant and longstanding connections with Liverpool, and has had an honorary consul in the city for over a century.
“This is quite on honour for me and for the firm as Hill Dickinson’s Liverpool office will become the Honorary Consulate of Finland. As such, it will fly the flag and display the Finnish Coat of Arms in reception. It is also anticipated that this role will enhance the many business relationships Hill Dickinson has with a number of Nordic firms”, John said of his new role.
Embassy of Finland in London, 30.12.2011