Saturday, June 15, 2024

Meet the Honorary Consul of El Salvador, Mrs. Sonia Meijer

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Diplomat Magazine
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DIPLOMAT MAGAZINE “For diplomats, by diplomats” Reaching out the world from the European Union First diplomatic publication based in The Netherlands. Founded by members of the diplomatic corps on June 19th, 2013. "Diplomat Magazine is inspiring diplomats, civil servants and academics to contribute to a free flow of ideas through an extremely rich diplomatic life, full of exclusive events and cultural exchanges, as well as by exposing profound ideas and political debates in our printed and online editions." Dr. Mayelinne De Lara, Publisher

Mrs. Sonia Meijer, the Honorary Consul of El Salvador to the Kingdom of the Netherlands, had recently given us an interview, about her role and actions, promoting her native country.

‘As honorary consul, I personally have dedicated myself to promoting trade, opportunities as well as attracting investment to different sectors. While searching opportunities for Import-Export, I founded the Binational Chamber of Commerce El Salvador – Holland, to help Salvadoran entrepreneurs of all sizes export their products to the Netherlands. The launching of the Salvadoran Chamber was a success. 70 Dutch companies were present. The launching was only possible after eight months of continuous hard economic research’.

Four times a year, newsletters in both English and Spanish are sent, to share news and information and to maintain a constant connection with companies in both countries.

‘Apart from the Board I have a hand full of honorary members, experts who contribute to developing of the Chamber, giving the right regulations to enter and advice, if needed, to the Salvadoran companies’.

Sonia is a very active and busy woman. She organizes many events for the diaspora and the Salvadoran community in the Netherlands. She just finished a Coffee Cupping event, now preparing for a Coffee Tasting, with organic coffee from Buena Vista Coffee Forest Farm and soon, also a rum tasting by Rum Guazapa, an outstanding rum from the mountains of El Salvador.

As President of the Organization of Salvadorans in the Netherlands she organized charity events to raise money to help children, as well as to help the elderly to have a dignified life in their old days. For the flood in Nejapa, she collected money to buy food for the victims. 

‘In these initiatives I must mention our career diplomat, ambassador of the Republic of El Salvador to the Netherlands, H.E. Mr. Agustín Vásquez Gómez, who offered his full support, participation and contribution’.

‘As Honorary Consuls, we are a support figure to an Embassy and country. We are committed to transmitting and enhancing knowledge and actions carried out by the government. We move forward with concrete actions to achieve objectives according to the possibilities. There are advantages of being a native Honorary Consul, as I understand best the habits, ways of interacting and culture’.

Sonia recently participated to a congress in El Salvador, where 48 Honorary Consuls accredited from various countries on 5 continents attended, at the invitation of Salvadoran President, Nayib Bukele.

When asked about him, she said warmly ‘What a special moment, what a special President. He brought safeness into the country and is very dedicated to his country and people.

It was more than wonderful to have the unique opportunity to meet him. The time he had to greet all Honorary Consuls one by one was too short. I would like to thank President Nayib Bukele for this marvelous opportunity to meet the other Honorary Consuls of El Salvador from all over the world. We listened to each other’s experiences and had the chance to see the New El Salvador impressively transformed. El Salvador is ready for investors and more tourism’.

About the important event, she adds: ‘this Congress has given us tools to continue performing and better representing our country. Through our diplomatic representations we get instructions and receive support. If I talk about protocol, El Salvador has it all. I would like to thank our Minister of Foreign Affairs, Chancellor Alexandra Hill, a wonderful, very talented and warm person, as well as our Vice Minister, Ms. Adriana Mira and Ms. Cindy Portal for strengthening our work capacities, so that El Salvador is promoted worldwide through wonderful projects. The government prepared all technical, cultural, trade related, touristic and investment information about El Salvador, we met the other Ministers who were speakers and we had such wonderful and informative tours at Cubos, Surf City, Caja Marca, National Theatre, National Palace and so many other places’.

Returning to the Netherlands, she has so many plans and goals. As the Netherlands is home to many Salvadorans, friendship and cooperation between El Salvador and the Netherlands is essential. One of her goals is to foster good trade between the two countries and to continue to strengthen the bilateral economic relations.

‘El Salvador has great potential to drive dynamic and resilient economic growth, it has low labor costs, so it could be attractive to European manufacturers; it has two modern harbors, so we could start a flow of trade from Central America to Europe and vice versa’.

The economy of El Salvador is growing, and, as Sonia says, ‘President Nayib Bukele is committed to lifting the economy of El Salvador and he is a man to keep his promises’.

So we may see a bright future when it comes to relations between the two countries!

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