Asian consuls experience Arctic summer

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The island Skrova in Vestfjorden. Photo: Ambassador Nils Ragnar Kamsvåg

Norway has around 360 honorary consuls worldwide. The honorary consuls are not professional diplomats, but citizens who live and work in the country in which they operate. Last week, the consuls in Asia went to Norway to learn more about the country.

Most of the Norwegian consuls are citizens of the country where they work, although a number of them are also Norwegian citizens or citizens of other countries. Norway has two honorary consuls in India: Mr. Arvind Gopinath in Chennai and Ms. Nayantara Palchoudhuri in Kolkata. The consuls are there to offer consular assistance to Norwegians and to help serve Norwegian commercial, economic and tourism interests and to promote cultural, scientific and educational ties. They are thus playing an important role in Norway’s international relations.

From time to time, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs invite the consuls to Norway to learn more about the country. Last week the honorary consuls in Asia were invited to an intense week of immersion in Norway. A very full program in Oslo featured, among other things, a reception by DDMM King Harald V and Queen Sonja at the Royal castle, meetings in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Parliament and a visit to the Astrup Fearnley Museum.  After Oslo, a trip to the Lofoten Islands and the midnight sun followed. The visit up north did offer stunning nature and colorful villages. It also offered an introduction to the Arctic summer; it actually snowed the day before the group arrived. However, the somewhat unusual summer temperatures for the group did not cool their enthusiasm for a very memorable experience.

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Honorary Consul Mr. Arvind Gopinath (Chennai), his wife Shittra, and Honorary Consul Ms. Nayantara Palchoudhuri (Kolkata) posing with guard in front of the Royal Palace in Oslo.