What is the role of a consul?

On Monday 9th of January, 2023 the US consul General Kristen Grauer of the General Consulate of the United States in Marseille was received in our High school « Theodore Aubanel » and delighted our students with her presence and her conference in which she presented her role as a US consul and her long and fascinating journey across the globe.

To begin with, KRISTEN K. GRAUER is a Consul General of the United States which means that she is the representative of the United States in the country that she might be working in, she has held many roles in many countries since she has visited and lived on almost all the continents; from Côte D’ivoire, Bénin and Liberia in Africa to Iraq and Russia In both Europe and Asia without forgetting France… . She explained to us that she is grateful for having had the opportunity to visit all these places around the globe and all the wonderful cultures they contain.

She started her presentation by clearing the meaning of some political terms such as Consul, Ambassador, Diplomat and then she explained the main differences to not confuse them. And well the distinction is as simple as that an ambassador represents his country in the capital city of the country that he works in and a Consul also represents his country but in other cities than the capital and both of them are diplomats.

Nevertheless she explained that she has been confronted with many difficulties at the same time that she was doing her job. While accomplishing her missions she has witnessed many shocking events such as the terrorist attack that happened while she was in Iraq in the period of 2009-2010 for example. During the time that she served in African nations she has put efforts into fighting against child trafficking as it is very common in the least countries countries, she also strove to defend civil rights and solve Civil Wars. However this is the hidden face of her duty that nobody points out.

Yet she has been mostly charged with roles that have been linked to her studies as she has a certificate in economic study of the Foreign Service Institute (FSI) and a diploma in economic development from the international programme in London University and much more which resulted in positions as charged Deputy Director of the Economic Policy and Public Diplomacy Service in the Economic Bureau, Political and Economic Counselor amongst others.

Moreover, she seems to adore traveling and diversity since she has been doing it for decades. Discovering different cultures and languages has of course not prevented her from starting a lovely family which has grown to love traveling as much as she does. As a matter of fact she has previously served in France as the economic officer at the American Embassy in Paris during 2010 to 2013 making this time her second visit to France, does this show that France is one of her favorite destinations? Maybe, but what we know is that nothing stopped her from helping and fighting for different causes.

To conclude, her visit was really rewarding as she was very calm and took the time for the students to really understand the principles of Diplomacy. She answered all the questions and uncertainties that might trouble them . She has also inspired many of them that were interested in politics to take the next step and gave them a warm image of what being a diplomat means.

Morad, élève de première, 2023